Maud. I don’t want any lunch. Did you give it?
Topping. Miss Athene was out. I gave the message to a young party. She looked a bit green, Miss. I hope nothing’ll go wrong with the works. Shall I keep lunch back?
Maud. If something’s gone wrong, they won’t have any appetite, Topping.
Topping. If you think I might risk it, Miss, I’d like to slip round to my dentist. [He lays a finger on his cheek].
Maud. [Smiling] Oh! What race is being
run this afternoon, then,
Topping. [Twinkling, and shifting his finger to the side of his nose] Well, I don’t suppose you’ve ’eard of it, Miss; but as a matter of fact it’s the Cesarwitch.
Maud. Got anything on?
Topping. Only my shirt, Miss.
Maud. Is it a good thing, then?
Topping. I’ve seen worse roll up. [With a touch of enthusiasm] Dark horse, Miss Maud, at twenty to one.
Maud. Put me ten bob on, Topping. I want all the money I can get, just now.
Topping. You’re not the first, Miss.
Maud. I say, Topping, do you know anything about the film?
Topping. [Nodding] Rather a specialty of mine, Miss.
Maud. Well, just stand there, and give me your opinion of this.
Topping moves down Left. She crouches over the typewriter, lets her hands play on the keys; stops; assumes that listening, furtive look; listens again, and lets her head go slowly round, preceded by her eyes; breaks it off, and says:
What should you say I was?
Topping. Guilty, Miss.
Maud. [With triumph] There! Then you think I’ve got it?
Topping. Well, of course, I couldn’t say just what sort of a crime you’d committed, but I should think pretty ’ot stuff.
Maud. Yes; I’ve got them here. [She pats her chest].
Topping. Really, Miss.
Maud. Yes. There’s just one point, Topping; it’s psychological.
Topping. Indeed, Miss?
Maud. Should I naturally put my hand on them; or would there be a reaction quick enough to stop me? You see, I’m alone—and the point is whether the fear of being seen would stop me although I knew I couldn’t be seen. It’s rather subtle.
Topping. I think there’s be a rehaction, Miss.
Maud. So do I. To touch them [She clasps her chest] is a bit obvious, isn’t it?
Topping. If the haudience knows you’ve got ’em there.
Maud. Oh! yes, it’s seen me put them. Look here, I’ll show you that too.
She opens an imaginary
drawer, takes out some bits of sealing-wax,
and with every circumstance of stealth in face and hands, conceals
them in her bosom.