The rooms are richly furnished and decorated, but in an old-fashioned and formal manner. Everything is subdued and faded in tone. There are no pillows upon the chairs, nor on the settee, nor any other signs of ease and comfort. Keys are in the locks of both the doors.
[The DUCHESS and MRS. EDEN are seated—the DUCHESS in the arm-chair, MRS. EDEN upon the settee—smoking cigarettes. MRS. EDEN is wearing a smart dressing-jacket; the DUCHESS is still fully dressed. SOPHY, who has assumed an apron, is engaged in bringing hair-brushes and some toilet bottles from the bedroom and in arranging them upon the dressing-table. Her eyes are constantly upon the DUCHESS.
These are awfully pleasant cigarettes. I didn’t know you—
[Plaintively.] My doctor insists—for my nerves.
[Blowing rings.] I love smoking. Such a bore, because women are rather dropping it. [Examining her cigarette.] What are these?
[There is a knock at the door. SOPHY goes to the door and opens it slightly; a note is handed to her.
[Looking at the note.] Oh, thanks. [Closing the door.] I beg your pardon, your Grace—it’s for me.
[She returns to the dressing-table, reading the note.
[Jestingly.] Ah, Sophy! you must encourage no more sweethearts now, remember.
This is from him, Mrs. Eden—from Mr. Valma, saying good-night. He’s gone to bed.
Good gracious! how do you know?
Mrs. Gregory, the housekeeper, has allowed him to sleep here to-night, so that we may go back together in the morning.
[Taking off her bracelets.] My jewel-case, Sophy.
[SOPHY puts the note to her lips, slips it into the bodice of her dress, and re-enters the bedroom.
[To the DUCHESS.] By-the-by, what did Valma see in your hand, Duchess, after dinner? Why wouldn’t you tell us?