Mrs. Juno. Yes; but the impulse to commit suicide is sometimes irresistible.
Gregory. Not with you.
Mrs. Juno. What!
Gregory. Oh, it sounds uncomplimentary; but it isn’t really. Do you know why half the couples who find themselves situated as we are now behave horridly?
Mrs. Juno. Because they can’t help it if they let things go too far.
Gregory. Not a bit of it. It’s because they have nothing else to do, and no other way of entertaining each other. You don’t know what it is to be alone with a woman who has little beauty and less conversation. What is a man to do? She can’t talk interestingly; and if he talks that way himself she doesn’t understand him. He can’t look at her: if he does, he only finds out that she isn’t beautiful. Before the end of five minutes they are both hideously bored. There’s only one thing that can save the situation; and that’s what you call being horrid. With a beautiful, witty, kind woman, there’s no time for such follies. It’s so delightful to look at her, to listen to her voice, to hear all she has to say, that nothing else happens. That is why the woman who is supposed to have a thousand lovers seldom has one; whilst the stupid, graceless animals of women have dozens.
Mrs. Juno. I wonder! It’s quite true that when one feels in danger one talks like mad to stave it off, even when one doesn’t quite want to stave it off.
Gregory. One never does quite want to stave it off. Danger is delicious. But death isn’t. We court the danger; but the real delight is in escaping, after all.
Mrs. Juno. I don’t think we’ll talk about it any more. Danger is all very well when you do escape; but sometimes one doesn’t. I tell you frankly I don’t feel as safe as you do—if you really do.
Gregory. But surely you can do as you please without injuring anyone, Mrs. Juno. That is the whole secret of your extraordinary charm for me.
Mrs. Juno. I don’t understand.
Gregory. Well, I hardly know how to begin to explain. But the root of the matter is that I am what people call a good man.
Mrs. Juno. I thought so until you began making love to me.
Gregory. But you knew I loved you all along.
Mrs. Juno. Yes, of course; but I depended on you not to tell me so; because I thought you were good. Your blurting it out spoilt it. And it was wicked besides.