THE FIRST AND THE LAST
A DRAMA IN THREE SCENES
PERSONS OF THE PLAY
Keith Darrant, K.C.
Larry Darrant, His Brother.
Scene I. Keith’s Study.
Scene II. WANDA’s Room.
Scene III. The Same.
Between scene I. and scene II.—Thirty
Between scene II. and scene III.—Two months.
It is six o’clock of a November evening, in Keith DARRANT’S study. A large, dark-curtained room where the light from a single reading-lamp falling on Turkey carpet, on books beside a large armchair, on the deep blue-and-gold coffee service, makes a sort of oasis before a log fire. In red Turkish slippers and an old brown velvet coat, Keith Darrant sits asleep. He has a dark, clean-cut, clean-shaven face, dark grizzling hair, dark twisting eyebrows.
[The curtained door away out in the dim part of the room behind him is opened so softly that he does not wake. Larry Darrant enters and stands half lost in the curtain over the door. A thin figure, with a worn, high cheek-boned face, deep-sunk blue eyes and wavy hair all ruffled—a face which still has a certain beauty. He moves inwards along the wall, stands still again and utters a gasping sigh. Keith stirs in his chair.]
Keith. Who’s there?
Larry. [In a stifled voice] Only I—Larry.
Keith. [Half-waked] Come in! I was asleep. [He does not turn his head, staring sleepily at the fire.]
The sound of LARRY’s breathing can be heard.
[Turning his head a little] Well, Larry, what is it?
Larry comes skirting
along the wall, as if craving its support,
outside the radius of the light.
[Staring] Are you ill?
Larry stands still again and heaves a deep sigh.
Keith. [Rising, with his back to the fire, and staring at his brother] What is it, man? [Then with a brutality born of nerves suddenly ruffled] Have you committed a murder that you stand there like a fish?
Larry. [In a whisper] Yes, Keith.
Keith. [With vigorous disgust] By Jove! Drunk again! [In a voice changed by sudden apprehension] What do you mean by coming here in this state? I told you—— If you weren’t my brother——! Come here, where I can we you! What’s the matter with you, Larry?
[With a lurch Larry
leaves the shelter of the wall and sinks into
a chair in the circle of light.]
Larry. It’s true.
[Keith steps quickly
forward and stares down into his brother’s
eyes, where is a horrified wonder, as if they would never again
get on terms with his face.]