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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 35 pages of information about Four Short Plays.

     [A hand, slipping in at the casement window, softly lays a pair
     of braces on the windowsill.  She looks at the braces, then at
     the ring.  Her lip curls.]

Sue. [Murmuring deeply] Ah!

Curtain

DEFEAT

A TINY DRAMA

CHARACTERS

The Officer
The girl.

DEFEAT

During the Great War.  Evening.

An empty room.  The curtains drawn and gas turned low.  The furniture and walls give a colour-impression as of greens and beetroot.  There is a prevalence of plush.  A fireplace on the Left, a sofa, a small table; the curtained window is at the back.  On the table, in a common pot, stands a little plant of maidenhair fern, fresh and green.
Enter from the door on the Right, a girl and a Young Officer in khaki.  The girl wears a discreet dark dress, hat, and veil, and stained yellow gloves.  The Young Officer is tall, with a fresh open face, and kindly eager blue eyes; he is a little lame.  The girl, who is evidently at home, moves towards the gas jet to turn it up, then changes her mind, and going to the curtains, draws them apart and throws up the window.  Bright moonlight comes flooding in.  Outside are seen the trees of a little Square.  She stands gazing out, suddenly turns inward with a shiver.

Young off.  I say; what’s the matter?  You were crying when I spoke to you.

Girl. [With a movement of recovery] Oh! nothing.  The beautiful evening-that’s all.

Young off. [Looking at her] Cheer up!

Girl. [Taking of hat and veil; her hair is yellowish and crinkly] Cheer up!  You are not lonelee, like me.

Young off. [Limping to the window—­doubtfully] I say, how did you how did you get into this?  Isn’t it an awfully hopeless sort of life?

Girl.  Yees, it ees.  You haf been wounded?

Young off.  Just out of hospital to-day.

Girl.  The horrible war—­all the misery is because of the war.  When will it end?

Young off. [Leaning against the window-sill, looking at her attentively] I say, what nationality are you?

Girl. [With a quick look and away] Rooshian.

Young off.  Really!  I never met a Russian girl. [The girl gives him another quick look] I say, is it as bad as they make out?

Girl. [Slipping her hand through his arm] Not when I haf anyone as ni-ice as you; I never haf had, though. [She smiles, and her smile, like her speech, is slow and confining] You stopped because I was sad, others stop because I am gay.  I am not fond of men at all.  When you know—­you are not fond of them.

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