MRS GILBEY. What are servants coming to?
MRS KNOX. Did it come true, what he said?
JUGGINS. It stuck like a poisoned arrow. It rankled for months. Then I gave in. I apprenticed myself to an old butler of ours who kept a hotel. He taught me my present business, and got me a place as footman with Mr Gilbey. If ever I meet that man again I shall be able to look him in the face.
MRS KNOX. Margaret: it’s not on account of the duke: dukes are vanities. But take my advice and take him.
MARGARET. [slipping her arm through his] I have loved Juggins since the first day I beheld him. I felt instinctively he had been in the Guards. May he walk out with me, Mr Gilbey?
KNOX. Dont be vulgar, girl. Remember your new position. [To Juggins] I suppose youre serious about this, Mr—Mr Rudolph?
JUGGINS. I propose, with your permission, to begin keeping company this afternoon, if Mrs Gilbey can spare me.
GILBEY. [in a gust of envy, to Bobby] Itll be long enough before youll marry the sister of a duke, you young good-for-nothing.
DORA. Dont fret, old dear. Rudolph will teach me high-class manners. I call it quite a happy ending: dont you, lieutenant?
DUVALLET. In France it would be impossible. But here—ah! [kissing his hand] la belle Angleterre!
Before the curtain. The Count, dazed and agitated, hurries to the 4 critics, as they rise, bored and weary, from their seats.
THE COUNT. Gentlemen: do not speak to me. I implore you to withhold your opinion. I am not strong enough to bear it. I could never have believed it. Is this a play? Is this in any sense of the word, Art? Is it agreeable? Can it conceivably do good to any human being? Is it delicate? Do such people really exist? Excuse me, gentlemen: I speak from a wounded heart. There are private reasons for my discomposure. This play implies obscure, unjust, unkind reproaches and menaces to all of us who are parents.
TROTTER. Pooh! you take it too seriously. After all, the thing has amusing passages. Dismiss the rest as impertinence.
THE COUNT. Mr Trotter: it is easy for you to play the pococurantist. [Trotter, amazed, repeats the first three syllables in his throat, making a noise like a pheasant]. You see hundreds of plays every year. But to me, who have never seen anything of this kind before, the effect of this play is terribly disquieting. Sir: if it had been what people call an immoral play, I shouldnt have minded a bit. [Vaughan is shocked]. Love beautifies every romance and justifies every audacity. [Bannal assents gravely]. But there are reticences which everybody should respect. There are decencies too subtle to be put into words, without which human society would be unbearable. People could not talk to one another as those people talk. No child could speak to its parent—no girl could speak to a youth—no human creature could tear down the veils— [Appealing to Vaughan, who is on his left flank, with Gunn between them] Could they, sir?