The curtain falls
A cobble-stoned alley, without pavement, behind a suburban theatre. The tall, blind, dingy-yellowish wall of the building is plastered with the tattered remnants of old entertainment bills, and the words: “To Let,” and with several torn, and one still virgin placard, containing this announcement: “Stop-the- War Meeting, October 1st. Addresses by Stephen more, Esq., and others.” The alley is plentifully strewn with refuse and scraps of paper. Three stone steps, inset, lead to the stage door. It is a dark night, and a street lamp close to the wall throws all the light there is. A faint, confused murmur, as of distant hooting is heard. Suddenly a boy comes running, then two rough girls hurry past in the direction of the sound; and the alley is again deserted. The stage door opens, and a doorkeeper, poking his head out, looks up and down. He withdraws, but in a second reappears, preceding three black-coated gentlemen.
Doorkeeper. It’s all clear. You can get away down here, gentlemen. Keep to the left, then sharp to the right, round the corner.
The three. [Dusting themselves, and settling their ties] Thanks, very much! Thanks!
First black-coated gentleman. Where’s More? Isn’t he coming?
They are joined by a fourth black-coated gentleman.
Fourth black-coated gentleman. Just behind. [To the doorkeeper] Thanks.
They hurry away.
The doorkeeper retires. Another boy runs
past. Then the door opens again. Steel and more come out.
More stands hesitating
on the steps; then turns as if to go
Steel. Come along, sir, come!
More. It sticks in my gizzard, Steel.
Steel. [Running his arm through More’s, and almost dragging him down the steps] You owe it to the theatre people. [More still hesitates] We might be penned in there another hour; you told Mrs. More half-past ten; it’ll only make her anxious. And she hasn’t seen you for six weeks.
More. All right; don’t dislocate my arm.
They move down the steps, and away to the left, as a boy comes running down the alley. Sighting more, he stops dead, spins round, and crying shrilly: “’Ere ’e is! That’s ’im! ’Ere ’e is!” he bolts back in the direction whence he came.
Steel. Quick, Sir, quick!
More. That is the end of the limit, as the foreign ambassador remarked.
Steel. [Pulling him back towards the door] Well! come inside again, anyway!