An octagon ante-room of the hall at lord William DROMONDY’S. A shining room lighted by gold candelabra, with gold-curtained pillars, through which the shining hall and a little of the grand stairway are visible. A small table with a gold-coloured cloth occupies the very centre of the room, which has a polished parquet floor and high white walls. Gold-coloured doors on the left. Opposite these doors a window with gold-coloured curtains looks out on Park Lane. Lady William standing restlessly between the double doors and the arch which leads to the hall. James is stationary by the double doors, from behind which come sounds of speech and applause.
Poulder. [Entering from the hall] His Grace the Duke of Exeter, my lady.
[His grace enters.
He is old, and youthful, with a high colour
and a short rough white beard. Lady William advances to meet
him. Poulder stands by.]
Lady W. Oh! Father, you are late.
His G. Awful crowd in the streets, Nell. They’ve got a coffin— couldn’t get by.
Lady W. Coin? Whose?
His G. The Government’s I should think-no flowers, by request. I say, have I got to speak?
Lady W. Oh! no, dear.
His G. H’m! That’s unlucky. I’ve got it here. [He looks down his cuff] Found something I said in 1914—just have done.
Lady W. Oh! If you’ve got it—James, ask Lord William to come to me for a moment. [James vanishes through the door. To the Duke] Go in, Grand-dad; they’ll be so awfully pleased to see you. I’ll tell Bill.
His G. Where’s Anne?
Lady W. In bed, of course.
His G. I got her this—rather nice?
[He has taken from his
breast-pocket one of those street toy-men
that jump head over heels on your hand; he puts it through its
Lady W. [Much interested] Oh! no, but how sweet! She’ll simply love it.
Poulder. If I might suggest to Your Grace to take it in and operate it. It’s sweated, Your Grace. They-er-make them in those places.
His G. By Jove! D’you know the price, Poulder?
Poulder. [Interrogatively] A penny, is it?
Something paltry, Your
His G. Where’s that woman who knows everything; Miss Munday?
Lady W. Oh! She’ll be in there, somewhere.
[His grace moves
on, and passes through the doors. The sound of
applause is heard.]
Poulder. [Discreetly] would you care to see the bomb, my lady?
Lady W. Of course—first quiet moment.