She draws away from
him a little, and after looking long at her,
he sits down at the dressing-table and begins turning over the
brushes and articles of toilet, trying to find words.
More. Never look forward. After the time I’ve had—I thought— tonight—it would be summer—I thought it would be you—and everything!
While he is speaking
Katherine has stolen closer. She suddenly
drops on her knees by his side and wraps his hand in her hair.
He turns and clasps her.
Katherine. Ah! yes! But-to-morrow it begins again. Oh! Stephen! How long—how long am I to be torn in two? [Drawing back in his arms] I can’t—can’t bear it.
More. My darling!
Katherine. Give it up! For my sake! Give it up! [Pressing closer to him] It shall be me—and everything——
Katherine. It shall be—if—if——
More. [Aghast] You’re not making terms? Bargaining? For God’s sake, Kit!
Katherine. For God’s sake, Stephen!
More. You!—of all people—you!
[For a moment more yields utterly, then shrinks back.]
More. A bargain! It’s selling my soul!
He struggles out of her arms, gets up, and stands without speaking, staring at her, and wiping the sweat from his forehead. Katherine remains some seconds on her knees, gazing up at him, not realizing. Then her head droops; she too gets up and stands apart, with her wrapper drawn close round her. It is as if a cold and deadly shame had come to them both. Quite suddenly more turns, and, without looking back, feebly makes his way out of the room. When he is gone Katherine drops on her knees and remains there motionless, huddled in her hair.
It is between lights, the following day, in the dining-room of MORE’s house. The windows are closed, but curtains are not drawn. Steel is seated at the bureau, writing a letter from MORE’s dictation.
Steel. [Reading over the letter] “No doubt we shall have trouble. But, if the town authorities at the last minute forbid the use of the hall, we’ll hold the meeting in the open. Let bills be got out, and an audience will collect in any case.”
More. They will.
Steel. “Yours truly”; I’ve signed for you.
Steel. [Blotting and enveloping the letter] You know the servants have all given notice—except Henry.
More. Poor Henry!
Steel. It’s partly nerves, of course—the windows have been broken twice—but it’s partly——