Christine gives her brother a flying kiss. Joan and latter pause and look at him shyly without speech.
Bill. [Putting his hand on JOAN’s shoulder]
Good luck, you two!
Lady Cheshire. Well, my dear boy! Nice to see you at last. What a long time!
She draws his arm through
hers, and they move towards the
The curtain falls.
The curtain rises again at once.
Cheshire, dot, Mabel Lanfarne,
and Joan, are returning to the hall after dinner.
Christine. [in a low voice] Mother, is it true about young Dunning and Rose Taylor?
Lady Cheshire. I’m afraid so, dear.
Christine. But can’t they be——
Dot. Ah! ah-h! [Christine and her mother are silent.] My child, I’m not the young person.
Christine. No, of course not—only—[nodding towards Joan and Mable].
Dot. Look here! This is just an instance of what I hate.
Lady Cheshire. My dear? Another one?
Dot. Yes, mother, and don’t you pretend you don’t understand, because you know you do.
Christine. Instance? Of what?
Joan and Mabel have ceased talking, and listen, still at the fire.
Dot. Humbug, of course. Why should you want them to marry, if he’s tired of her?
Christine. [Ironically] Well! If your imagination doesn’t carry you as far as that!
Dot. When people marry, do you believe they ought to be in love with each other?
Christine. [With a shrug] That’s not the point.
Dot. Oh? Were you in love with Ronny?
Christine. Don’t be idiotic!
Dot. Would you have married him if you hadn’t been?
Christine. Of course not!
Joan. Dot! You are!——
Dot. Hallo! my little snipe!
Lady Cheshire. Dot, dear!
Dot. Don’t shut me up, mother! [To Joan.] Are you in love with John? [Joan turns hurriedly to the fire.] Would you be going to marry him if you were not?
Christine. You are a brute, Dot.
Dot. Is Mabel in love with—whoever she is in love with?
Mabel. And I wonder who that is.
Dot. Well, would you marry him if you weren’t?
Mabel. No, I would not.
Dot. Now, mother; did you love father?
Christine. Dot, you really are awful.
Dot. [Rueful and detached] Well, it is a bit too thick, perhaps.