Larry. [Bringing out a little box] I’d better have done with it.
KErra. You fool! Give that to me.
Larry. [With a strange smite] No. [He holds up a tabloid between finger and thumb] White magic, Keith! Just one—and they may do what they like to you, and you won’t know it. Snap your fingers at all the tortures. It’s a great comfort! Have one to keep by you?
Keith. Come, Larry! Hand it over.
Larry. [Replacing the box] Not quite! You’ve never killed a man, you see. [He gives that crazy laugh.] D’you remember that hammer when we were boys and you riled me, up in the long room? I had luck then. I had luck in Naples once. I nearly killed a driver for beating his poor brute of a horse. But now—! My God! [He covers his face.]
Keith touched, goes up and lays a hand on his shoulder.
Keith. Come, Larry! Courage!
Larry looks up at him.
Larry. All right, Keith; I’ll try.
Keith. Don’t go out. Don’t drink. Don’t talk. Pull yourself together!
Larry. [Moving towards the door] Don’t keep me longer than you can help, Keith.
Keith. No, no. Courage!
Larry reaches the
door, turns as if to say something-finds no
words, and goes.
[To the fire] Courage! My God! I shall need it!
At out eleven o’clock the following night an WANDA’S room on the ground floor in Soho. In the light from one close-shaded electric bulb the room is but dimly visible. A dying fire burns on the left. A curtained window in the centre of the back wall. A door on the right. The furniture is plush-covered and commonplace, with a kind of shabby smartness. A couch, without back or arms, stands aslant, between window and fire.
[On this Wanda is sitting, her knees drawn up under her, staring at the embers. She has on only her nightgown and a wrapper over it; her bare feet are thrust into slippers. Her hands are crossed and pressed over her breast. She starts and looks up, listening. Her eyes are candid and startled, her face alabaster pale, and its pale brown hair, short and square-cut, curls towards her bare neck. The startled dark eyes and the faint rose of her lips are like colour-staining on a white mask.]
[Footsteps as of a policeman, very measured, pass on the pavement outside, and die away. She gets up and steals to the window, draws one curtain aside so that a chink of the night is seen. She opens the curtain wider, till the shape of a bare, witch-like tree becomes visible in the open space of the little Square on the far side of the road. The footsteps are heard once more coming nearer. Wanda