Languid lord. [To the young man standing there aghast] What’s this? Friend of yours?
Young man. My God! She was a lady. That’s all I know about her.
Languid lord. A lady!
[The blond and dark gentlemen have slipped from the room; and out of the supper-party’s distant laughter comes suddenly a long, shrill: “Gone away!” And the sound of the horn playing the seven last notes of the old song: “This day a stag must die!” From the last note of all the sound flies up to an octave higher, sweet and thin, like a spirit passing, till it is drowned once more in laughter. The young man has covered his eyes with his hands; Arnaud is crossing himself fervently; the languid lord stands gazing, with one of the dropped gardenias twisted in his fingers; and the woman, bending over Clare, kisses her forehead.]
A Fantasy in Three Acts
PERSONS OF THE PLAY
Christopher Wellwyn, an artist
Ann, his daughter
Guinevere Megan, a flower-seller
Rory Megan, her husband
Ferrand, an alien
Timson, once a cabman
Edward Bertley, a Canon
Alfred Calway, a Professor
sir Thomas Hoxton, a Justice of the Peace
Also a police constable, three humble-men, and some curious persons
The action passes in Wellwyn’s Studio, and the street outside.
Act I. Christmas Eve.
Act II. New Year’s Day.
Act III. The First of April.
It is the night of Christmas Eve, the scene is a Studio, flush with the street, having a skylight darkened by a fall of snow. There is no one in the room, the walls of which are whitewashed, above a floor of bare dark boards. A fire is cheerfully burning. On a model’s platform stands an easel and canvas. There are busts and pictures; a screen, a little stool, two arm. chairs, and a long old-fashioned settle under the window. A door in one wall leads to the house, a door in the opposite wall to the model’s dressing-room, and the street door is in the centre of the wall between. On a low table a Russian samovar is hissing, and beside it on a tray stands a teapot, with glasses, lemon, sugar, and a decanter of rum. Through a huge uncurtained window close to the street door the snowy lamplit street can be seen, and beyond it the river and a night of stars.
The sound of a latchkey turned in the lock of the street door, and Ann Wellwyn enters, a girl of seventeen, with hair tied in a ribbon