Not a gentleman! Good gracious, Liza, whatever do you mean?
’E would come in, mum.
But what does he want?
Liza [over shoulder]
What does you want?
I am a beggar.
O, really? You’ve no right to be coming into houses like this, you know.
I know that, madam, I know that. Yet somehow I couldn’t help myself. I’ve been begging for nearly three years now, and I’ve never done this before, yet somehow to-night I felt impelled to come to this house. I beg your pardon, humbly. Hunger drove me to it.
I’m very hungry, madam.
Unfortunately Mr. Cater has not yet returned, or perhaps he might . . .
If you could give me a little to eat yourself, madam, a bit of stale bread, a crust, something that Mr. Cater would not want.
It’s very unusual, coming into a house like this and at such an hour—it’s past eleven o’clock—and Mr. Cater not yet returned. Are you really hungry?
I’m very, very hungry.
Well, it’s very unusual; but perhaps I might get you a little something.
[She picks up an empty plate from the supper table.]
Madam, I do not know how to thank you.
O, don’t mention it.
I have not met such kindness for three years. I . . . I’m starving. I’ve known better times.
I’ll get you something. You’ve known
better times, you say?
I had been intended for work in the City. And then, then I travelled, and—and I got very much taken with foreign countries, and I thought—but it all went to pieces. I lost everything. Here I am, starving.
Mary [as one might reply to the Mayoress who had lost her gloves]
O, I’m so sorry.
[John sighs deeply.]