ERNEST (perhaps to kindle jealousy in Miss FISHER). LADY BROCKLEHURST (to CRICHTON). Mary, I have heard that they arealways very still just before they jump. ERNEST. I have already told you, Lady Brocklehurst, that Ernest andI--. He has defied me. How do you do, Gladys. It was him--Mr. Ernest, your ladyship.
Yes, my lord. My lord, I am glad. (As ERNEST approaches.)
(LADY MARY is shaken at last, and her sisters with her. Here comes Ernest; now see if you can say these horridthings to his face. Itis covered with skins and is in four leaves, like the swing doors offashionable restaurants, which allow you to enter without allowingthe hot air to escape. (Her tears again threaten. (Large-eyed.) LADY MARY. The old man--you saw what it means to him. I was searching thepools for little fishes, which I caught in my hat, when suddenly Isaw before me--on the sand--. (He goeschivalrously on his knees.) LORD BROCKLEHURST (stoutly).
LORD LOAM tries to sink out ofsight.). I made a mistake, your ladyship.
LADY MARY. Not at all.
With the lanternin one hand and his cutlass in the other, he searches the groundaround the hut.
LORD LOAM (looking an old man now, and shuddering a little). (He goes, and CRICHTON is to follow him, but is stopped by AGATHAimpulsively offering him her hand.). But think of the joy to Tweeny. To be sure. Why should I hesitate; I have no longer any doubt. Now, that's really odd. (They give themselves up for lost. Uncommon good.Thank you, Crichton. Bravely true to his faith thatnature will decide now as ever before, he proceeds manfully with hispreparations for the night. It was gorgeous. Ernest, you dear, I got such a shock. CATHERINE (speaking also for AGATHA). Of course, asthe eldest, I have decided that it is my maid we shall take with us. Then, if you want to say it very much,Gov., please say it to Polly Lasenby. ERNEST. I had nigh forgotten them. (She reflects again.)
LADY MARY (who perhaps thinks he is presuming). One moment. (CRICHTON is too respectful to answer.) I remember saying so when I saw him;nice little fellow.
Had a verytiring day also, Mary? This was by theGov. Thank you, John. In 1905, Lord Henry Loam, his family and his servants are shipwrecked on a deserted island where the survival of the fittest renders the rigid class system irrelevant.
The man who could forget it would be aselfish wretch and a--But I say, this makes a difference! (CATHERINE and AGATHA gleam, but LADY MARY is of sterner stuff.). LADY MARY (disdaining him).
I'm sorry for him, but I had to be firm. You're quite right. Can you forgive me, Mary? He's a master I'm proud to pluck for.
I lost him in the marshes, got on his trackagain near Bread Fruit Wood, and brought him down with an arrow inFirefly Grove.
LADY MARY (who is taken aback). There's always work to do;but if you want me, Ernest--. LADY MARY (tilting her nose). How was it managed? (He goes, and they bury themselves in cushions.). Itis the old life that has come back to him. (He goes. After last month's meeting the pageboy, in aburst of equality, called me Crichton. About this?
LADY MARY (speaking without looking up).
I sometimes fancy that that's why he's so fond ofwearing it. Wonderful. LADY MARY. (He puts his arm roundCATHERINE, and in another moment they are all dancing to Daddy'smusic. I told him to take it away.
Is it Brocklehurst? LORD LOAM. CRICHTON. )Do you ever think of old times now? LADY MARY (drying her eyes). Odd?
LORD LOAM (sharply). Father, I have lived Arabian nights. He was alwayshonourable as could be. She carries bow and arrows and a blow-pipe, andover her shoulder is a fat buck, which she drops with a cry oftriumph. LADY BROCKLEHURST. I'm as good as you are. CATHERINE. If my whistlingannoys you, I shall try to cure myself of it. Rushed down to the beach; yes, always that—I often dream it. (He has not heard them, but he hears them now, the watchful CRICHTONgiving them a lead.). Never again make use of that word in thishouse, Mary.
LADY MARY. CRICHTON (after hesitating). There is nothing in the world we wouldn't give for boots.
You do please me, child, very much--(he halfrises)--very much indeed. On the other days you would never see mefrom breakfast time to supper. Some people seem to have all the luck. (Suddenly anxious.) TREHERNE (with proper humility).
LADY MARY. And whatever is natural,John, is right. They are but hewers of wood and drawers of water for me. Signed Ernest Woolley, in command of our little party.' (AGATHA has an idea, and whispers to LADY MARY.). Silence! A romantic figure, too.
It must be every one. LORD LOAM: (strongly). Out of half a dozen rusty nails. Surely you can think of some one? I'm--not--young--enough--to--know--everything. LADY MARY (every inch an English peer's daughter).
LADY MARY (a little desperate). I see, my lady, that topart from her would be a wrench to me, though I could not well sayso in her presence, not having yet decided how far I shall go withher.
At the same time, the thing isutterly and absolutely inexcusable--. It was sufficient to me that I should be allowed to wait on you at that table. Circumstances alter cases. She's the most terrifying,suspicious old creature in England; and Crichton simply can't tell a lie. LADY MARY. CRICHTON (quite humbly). No.
CRICHTON. I am glad you say that, for Ihave just taken the liberty of asking two of them to step upstairs. LADY MARY beats a tom-tom,which is the dinner bell. There issome mournfulness in his voice.) Ernest, that isvery thoughtful of you. But LADY MARY is no longer there to receive it. This isscandalous. It's my deserts; I'm a second eleven sort of chap. ERNEST. LORD LOAM (expansively). It would require a cataclysm. And here, sir, is our little home. It may have been; you hear me, it may have been. Should you choose to download and/or utilise this script in any way, it is, Well, you see he ain't. (Instead of calmingTWEENY, this floods her face in tears.) Its easy to link to paragraphs in the Full Text Archive If this page contains some material that you want to link to but you don't want your visitors to have to scroll down the whole page just hover your mouse over the relevent paragraph and click the bookmark icon that appears to the left of it. Well, my heartiest good wishes, Ernest. LADY MARY (alarmed by his unnatural calmness). LORD BROCKLEHURST. I assureyou, mother, that wasn't it at all. Don't you see thatthat is what makes him so dangerous?
LADY MARY (good-naturedly).
Weshall fight your vulgarity together. He dallies, however, beforedelivering the thrust. I wonder what he meant by the same person might not bemaster, and the same persons might not be servants. A score of pieces have been added here and there as necessity compelled, and these have been patched and repatched in incongruous colours; but, when all is said and done, it can still be maintained that Tweeny wears a skirt. As quietly as if he were in goloshes, mind aswell as feet, he dismisses the domestics; they go according toprecedence as they entered, yet, in a moment, they are gone. But he hasbeen chivalrous always. Gone away to dry her eyes, Isuppose? Ta-ta, all of you. ERNEST. And you do forgive me, Mary?
CRICHTON (loaded with bamboo). AGATHA (frankly a supplicant). Mr. Treherne, this is Fisher, my maid. So that is it. And what did she say? AGATHA. There are a thousand or so of roses in basins, severallibrary novels, and a row of weekly illustrated newspapers lyingagainst each other like fallen soldiers. A moment's pause ispresently created by the return of CRICHTON, wearing the wonderfulrobe of which we have already had dark mention. (But TWEENY shakes her off, and retires to thekitchen fire.). Some one outside has been whistling to Tweeny; the guarded whistle which, on a less savage island, is sometimes assumed to be an indication to cook that the constable is willing, if the coast be clear. LORD BROCKLEHURST (with a groan). What became of them I cannottell, but we, after dreadful sufferings, and insufficiently clad, inwhatever garments we could lay hold of in the dark'--. (She turns to LORD LOAM.)
Shells! ERNEST (relieved).
Can't yousee, Crichton, that our divisions into classes are artificial, thatif we were to return to nature, which is the aspiration of my life,all would be equal? Daddy, you're of little use, but you're a bright, cheerful creature to have about the house.
I won't giveyou up.
(His gay old heart makes himagain proclaim that he is a chickety chick.
LADY MARY only is absent. What is your position downstairs?
TWEENY (not less proud). It was all owing to the boat being so late at Calais. I ask a favour of a servant?--never! (a little nettled). (He motions to them to go, but the time is not yet.). CRICHTON (smiling). A lady's-maid? Crichton will be--considered inyour wages. 'From the first to the last of Mr. Woolley'sengrossing pages it is evident that he was an ideal man to bewrecked with, and a true hero.' CATHERINE (forlornly).
Agatha is a very fine girl.
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