Cuthbertson. Very kind of her indeed. I’m really ashamed—
Craven. Don’t mention it, Jo, don’t mention it. She’s waiting for me below. (Going.) Good night. Good night, Charteris.
Charteris. Good night.
Cuthbertson (seeing Craven out). Goodnight. Say good night and thanks to Miss Craven for me. To-morrow any time after twelve, remember. (They go out; and Charteris with a long sigh crosses to the fireplace, thoroughly tired out.)
Craven (outside). All right.
Cuthbertson (outside). Take care of the stairs; they’re rather steep. Good night. (The outside door shuts; and Cuthbertson returns. Instead of entering, he stands in the doorway with one hand in the breast of his waistcoat, eyeing Charteris sternly.)
Charteris. What’s the matter?
Cuthbertson (sternly). Charteris: what’s been going on here? I insist on knowing. Grace has not gone to bed: I have seen and spoken with her. What is it all about?
Charteris. Ask your theatrical experience, Cuthbertson. A man, of course.
Cuthbertson (coming forward and confronting him). Don’t play the fool with me, Charteris: I’m too old a hand to be amused by it. I ask you, seriously, what’s the matter?
Charteris. I tell you, seriously, I’m the matter, Julia wants to marry me: I want to marry Grace. I came here to-night to sweetheart Grace. Enter Julia. Alarums and excursions. Exit Grace. Enter you and Craven. Subterfuges and excuses. Exeunt Craven and Julia. And here we are. That’s the whole story. Sleep over it. Good night. (He leaves.)
Cuthbertson (staring after him). Well I’ll
(The act drop descends.)
End of act I.
Next day at noon, in the Library of the Ibsen club. A spacious room, with glass doors right and left. At the back, in the middle, is the fireplace, surmounted by a handsome mantelpiece, with a bust of Ibsen, and decorated inscriptions of the titles of his plays. There are circular recesses at each side of fireplace, with divan seats running round them, and windows at the top, the space between the divan and the window sills being lined with books. A long settee is placed before the fire. Along the back of the settee, and touching it, is a green table, littered with journals. A revolving bookcase stands in the foreground, a little to the left, with an easy chair close to it. On the right, between the door and the recess, is a light library stepladder. Placards inscribed “silence” are conspicuously exhibited here and there.