Grace. I am quite in earnest about them too, though you are not; and I will never marry a man I love too much. It would give him a terrible advantage over me: I should be utterly in his power. That’s what the New Woman is like. Isn’t she right, Mr. Philosopher?
Charteris. The struggle between the Philosopher and the Man is fearful, Grace. But the Philosopher says you are right.
Grace. I know I am right. And so we must part.
Charteris. Not at all. You must marry some one else; and then I’ll come and philander with you. (Sylvia comes back.)
Sylvia (holding the door open). Oh, I say: come along. I’m starving.
Charteris. So am I. I’ll lunch with you if I may.
Sylvia. I thought you would. I’ve ordered soup for three. (Grace passes out. Sylvia continues, to Charteris) You can watch Paramore from our table: he’s pretending to read the British Medical Journal; but he must be making up his mind for the plunge: he looks green with nervousness.
Charteris. Good luck to him. (He goes out, followed by Sylvia.)
END OF ACT II.
Still the library. Ten minutes later. Julia, angry and miserable, comes in from the dining room, followed by Craven. She crosses the room tormentedly, and throws herself into a chair.
Craven (impatiently). What is the matter? Has everyone gone mad to-day? What do you mean by suddenly getting up from the table and tearing away like that? What does Paramore mean by reading his paper and not answering when he’s spoken to? (Julia writhes impatiently.) Come, come (tenderly): won’t my pet tell her own father what— (irritably) what the devil is wrong with everybody? Do pull yourself straight, Julia, before Cuthbertson comes. He’s only paying the bill: he’ll be here in a moment.
Julia. I couldn’t bear it any longer. Oh, to see them sitting there at lunch together, laughing, chatting, making game of me! I should have screamed out in another moment—I should have taken a knife and killed her—I should have—(Cuthbertson appears with the luncheon bill in his hand. He stuffs it into his waistcoat pocket as he comes to them. He begins speaking the moment he enters.)
Cuthbertson. I’m afraid you’ve had a very poor lunch, Dan. It’s disheartening to see you picking at a few beans and drinking soda water. I wonder how you live!
Julia. That’s all he ever takes, Mr. Cuthbertson, I assure you. He hates to be bothered about it.
Craven. Where’s Paramore?
Cuthbertson. Reading his paper, I asked him wasn’t he coming; but he didn’t hear me. It’s amazing how anything scientific absorbs him. Clever man! Monstrously clever man!
Craven (pettishly). Oh yes, that’s all very well, Jo; but it’s not good manners at table: he should shut up the shop sometimes. Heaven knows I am only too anxious to forget his science, since it has pronounced my doom. (He sits down with a melancholy air.)