xt7fn29p3412 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7fn29p3412/data/mets.xml Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909. 1907  books b92-203-30752402 English Samuel French, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Truth  : a play in four acts / by Clyde Fitch. text Truth  : a play in four acts / by Clyde Fitch. 1907 2002 true xt7fn29p3412 section xt7fn29p3412 

   The Truth





   P 18( SHER


Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown  Company

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Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown  Company

   The Truth





                        COPYRIGHT, 1907,


                      ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  This play is fully protected by the copyriphr !sw, all requirements of
which have been complied with. In its present printed form it is dedi-
cated to the reading public only, and no performance of it, either pro-
fessional or amateur, may be given without the written permission of
the owner of the acting rights, who may be addressed in care of the
publishers, Little, Brown, and Company.






       APRIL 6, 1907

          C. F.

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              THE TRUTH


            Thursday Afternoon.


            Saturday After-noon,yust after lunch.


            Saturday ANight.


           Monday Morning.

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  Produced in Cleveland, Ohio, October, 1906,
and later played at The Criterion and Lyceum
Theatres, New York, with the following cast: -

Warder .

Servant at the Warders'

Becky Warder . .

Eve Lindon  . . .
Laura Fraser.

Mrs. Genevieve Crespigny

Messenger Boy

... .  . William J. Kelly
...    ...     J. E. Dodson
... .  . . George Spink
             Hodgson Taylor
. . . . . Clara Bloodgood

.M.. ..  rs. Sam Sothern
                Elene Fraser

... .  .   .         .Zelda Sears
     . . Frederick Harrison

 Played in New York by William B. Mack, and also by John

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  Produced at the Comedy Theatre, London,
April 6, 1907, with the following cast:-




Servant at the Warders' .

Becky Warder .      .

Eve Lindon .

Laura Fraser .

Mrs. Genevieve Crespigny

Messenger Boy .     .

. . .   Allan Aynesworth

... .   .          .Dion Boucicault

            Dawson Milward

... .   .          .Horton Cooper

... . .  . Marie Tempest

.... . .  . . Grace Lane

... .  .  .         .Sybil Carlisle

  .. . . . . Rosina Filippi

     . . . .Donald Calthrop

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  Revived by Winthrop Ames at The Little
Theatre, New York, on April il, 19I4, with the
following cast: -




Servant at the Warders'

Becky Warder   .
Eve Lindon

Laura Fraser .
Mrs. Genevieve Crespigny.

Messenger Boy  . .

              Sydney Booth

        Ferdinand Gottschalk
... .  .           .Conway Tearle

. . . . .   Lionel Ifogarth
              Grace George
              Isabel Irving
              Fanny Hartz

... .  .   .         .Zelda Sears

           Guthrie McClintic

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                     ACT I

Al MRS. WARDER'S. An extremely attractive

  room, in the best of taste, gray walls with dull

  soft green mouldings, old French chintz curtains,

  furniture painted to match the walls and covered

  with the same chintz. Some old colored engrav-

  ings are on the mantel shelf and a couple of

  eighteenth-century French portraits on the wall.

  On the Left is a mantel, and near it a large writ-

  ing table agains.' the back c,' a low sofa whitch

  laces the audience; on the taole a telephone; an

  armchair and a smal; taole on th.i Lelt; a Bab-y

  Grand piano in the upperJeft corner n; the room.

  Some consols and tables in the room; four

  windows at the back, through which one sees the



  park. Doors, Right and Left;    books, photo-

  graphs, flowers, etc., on the tables and consols.

A smart, good-looking man-servant, JENKS, shows


  former is a handsome, nervous, overstrung

  woman of about thirty-four, very fashionably

  dressed; Miss FRASER, on the conti ary, a

  matter-of-fact, rather commonplace type of good

  humor- wholesomeness united to a kind sense

  of humor. MRS. LINDON is the sort of woman

  warranted to put any one on edge in the course

  of a few hours' consecutive association, while

  /riction -udth MISS FR ASER is equally certain

  to smooth down the raw edges.

  MRS. LINDON. [Coming in to a chair near the

Centre witk quick determination.] You have no

idea when Mrs. Warder will be in

  SERVANT. No, madam.




  MRS. LINDON. She was lunching out

  SERVANT. Yes, madam.

  LAURA. [With a movement to go.] Come!

She may be playing bridge and not come home

for hours.

  MRS. LINDON. [Firm, though irritable.] I will

wait till half-past five. [To SERVANT.] If Mrs.

Warder comes in before that, we will be here.

  [Nervously picks up check-book Irom the writ-

  ing-table, looks at it but not in it, and puts it


  SERVANT. Very good, madam.

                              [Goes out Left.

  LAURA. [Goes to EVE.] My dear, you must

control yourself. That man, if he has half a

servant's curiosity, could easily see you are ex-


  MRS. LINDON. Yes, but think! She's been




meeting Fred probably every day for the last

two months, although she knew I had left his

house, and always pretended to me she never

saw him!

                 [Sitting beside the writing-table.

  LAURA. [Sitting Left.] You shouldn't have

come here at once. You should hav. waited

till you had time to think over your information

and calm yourself a little.

  MRS. LiNDoN. I couldn't wait! Becky! One

of my oldest friends! One of my bridesmaids!

  LAURA. What!

  MRS. LINDON. No, she wasn't, but she might

have been; she was my next choice if any one

had backed out.

  LAURA. Probably   Fred's appealing  to her

sympathy,-you know your own husband!

  MRS. LINDON. [With a disagreeable hald-laugh.]



                THE TR UTH                215

Yes, I know him better than she does! What

I don't like is her secrecy about it after I'd made

her the confidante of my trouble!

  LAURA. I thought I was that

  MRS. LINDON. You are - another! But you

mustn't forget that I have gone to Becky in hys-

terics and begged her to make it up for me with


  LAURA. Were you perfectly frank with her

  MRS. LINDON. Perfectly! I told her the truth,

and more too! I told her I loved Fred in spite

of his faults -Good Heavens! if a woman had

to find a faultless man to love! -I've asked her


          [Rising nervously and going to the so/a.

  LAURA. You haven't taken it!

  MRS. LINDON. That doesn't make any differ-

ence! Who ever does  [Sitting on the so/a.] She


216              THE TRUTH

owed me her loyalty instead of flirting with Fred

behind my back.

  [She opens the cigar box on the writing-table

    behind her and then bangs it shut.

  LAURA. Perhaps she's really trying to make

peace between you in her own way!

  MRS. LINDON. Does it look like it Actually

telling me yesterday she wouldn't trust herself

in his presence for fear she'd lose her control and

tell him what she thought of him! -and all the

time she had an appointment to meet him this

afternoon -in the Eden Ml uste, if you please!

  LAURA. [With comic disgust.] Oh! Horrors!

  MRS. LINDON. Yes, in the chamber of them!

If that isn't compromising!

  LAURA. Eve!

  MRS. LLNDON. And Tom Warder so nice!

Everybody likes him!



         [Picks up stamp box and bangs it down.

  LAURA. Including Becky.   That's the point.

Becky loves her own husband. What does she

want of yours

  MRS. LLNDON. She loved Tom Warder when

she married him, but that was in I903! Besides,

Becky always liked having men fond of her whether

she cared for them or not.

  LAURA. Nonsense!

  MRS. LINDON. She's what the French call an

"allumeuse"-leads them on till they lose their

heads, then she gets frightened and feels in-

sulted !

  LAURA. But you claim she does care for Fred!

  MRS. LINDON. My dear, a magnetic man like

Fred has a way of winding himself around a

woman and keeping himself wound as long as

he wishes I even when she doesn't wish, -look




at me! I'd give anything to throw him off for

good, but I can't stop being in love with him!

  LAURA. [Who has moved over to the chair

beside the so/a, pats EVE'S hand.] Poor old Eve!

Well, when she comes, what are you going to do

  MRS. LINDON. Give her one more chance to

tell me the truth! I'll ask her outright when

she saw Fred last.

  LAURA. But if she keeps on with her "bluff"

of not seeing him, you can't tell her she lies with-

out making a horrid scene, and what good would

that do

  AMRS. LINDON. Exactly! She'd never acknowl-

edge she was lying but just go on! I may appeal

to Tom Warder himself!

  [Rises and goes to mantel, looking at the fly-leaves

    o0 two books on a table which she passes.





  MRS. LINDON. Why not We've been friends

since babies.

  LAURA. You wouldn't I

  MRS. LINDON. I don't accuse Becky of any-

thing dreadful! Besides, it will be for his good

too, as well as mine, - he knows Fred, and I'll

wager anything he'll be as eager as I to stop any

excess of friendship with him. [Goes up to the

window.] Sh! here she is! and a man with

her !

  LAURA. [Rises, excited, and joins her.] Who

  MRS. LINDON. [Going to the other window.]

I can't see.

  LAURA. [Joining her at the second window.]

Suppose it should be -

  MRS. LINDON. Exactly! If she hears I'm here,

she'll never let him in. [She starts with a new

idea and goes to the door Right.] The window in



220              THE TR UTH

that hall juts out; perhaps we can see the front

door from  there. Come quickly!

                  [Tries to pull LAURA out Right.

  LAURA. I don't approve of what you're doing

at all.

  MRS. LINDON. Oh, come!

      [They go out and close the door behind them.

  [The SERVANT shows in BECKY and LINDON,

    Left. BECKY is a pretty, charming, volatile

    young woman, sprightly, vivacious, lovable.

    She is dressed ultra smartly, and in the best

    of taste. LINDON is dapper, rather gool-

    looking, though  not particularly strong  in

    character, and full of a certain personal charm.

    He also wears very fashionable clothes. He

    is a man whose chief aim in life is to amuse


  SERVANT. Mrs. Lindon and Mfiss Fraser were



waiting to see you, madam; they must have


  BECKY. [With a humorous raising of the eye-

brows and a look to LINDON.] Oh! - I'm so sorry!

                       [The SERVANT goes out.

  LINDON. Gee! wliat a narrow escape.

  LAURA. [Off stage Right, pleading    loudly.]

Eve! Eve!! Come'!!

  MRS. LINDON. [Ofi stage Right, loudly.] I ill

not. I will run my own affairs my own way.

  BECKY. [rho has heard this, with an amused,

mischievous expression.] They  are there! Do

you suppose thcy saw you

                [They lower their voices slightly.

  LINDON. Vell, - Eve can see through most

things, but not through the walls! Good-by.

  [He starts to hurry out, but BECKY stops him.

  BECKY. You must come back! That's what I




brought you home with me to-day for -to talk

about Eve. This estrangement has gone on long

enough. I've come to the conclusion you're as

much to blame as she is, - or more.

  LINDON. I like that from you !

  BECKY. I mean it, and if she wants you back,

you've got to go.

  LINDON. Well, let me get a cocktail first.

  BECKY. I'm serious.

  LINDON. So'Hl I be if Eve comes in and catches


  BECKY. [Going with him.] I'll let you out -

but I expect you here again in half an hour. Do

you understand [They go out Left. Of stage.]

You're to come back at six.

  LI.NDON. [Of stage, at a distance.] All right.

          rEVE comes in excitedly from the Right.



                THE TRUTH                 223

  MRS. LINDON. I think it is Fred! Watch

from the window! I'll stay here in case Becky

comes in. [She comes to the uriting-table.] I'd

like to scratch her eyes out!

    [LAURA comes in and goes to right of the so/a.

  LAURA. It was Fred.

  MRS. LINDON. [Gives a tigerish, hal/-controlled,

hashed cry of rage.] The wretched little beast

  [BECKY comes in with a start o/ surprise.  She


  BECKY. My dears! What a pleasant surprise!

Why didn't Jenks tell me Where in the world

did you drop from Laura, darling!

  [She kisses LAURA, who is very unresponsive,

    having pressed MRS. LLNDON'S hand as she

    passed her.

  MRS. LINDON. We heard you come in, -we

thought with some one, -and as I'm rather upset,



we went in there till you should be alone. If you

are busy, don't let us interrupt.

  [BECKY shows that she is relieved when she

    hears they don't know FRED was there.

  BECKY. 0 dear, no, I'm not busy. I came

home alone,-you must have heard me talking

with the servant. I've been playing bridge since


               [BECKY and LAURA sit on the so/a.

  MRS. LINDON. WI here

  BECKY. Clara Ford's, our usual four.

              [LAURA and EVE exchange glances.

  MRS. LINDON. Why! I saw her lunching at


  BECKY. [Quickly, after only a second's hesi-

tation.] Yes, she couldn't play to-day, but it was

her turn at her house, so we went all the same -

and - er - er - Belle Prescott took her place.




  [Another surreptitious look passes between LAURA

  and MRS. LINDON.

  LAURA. Did you win 

  BECKY. Yes, a hundred and fifty!

  LAURA. A hundred and fifty Good!

  MRS. LINDON. [Who has seated herself in the

chair beside the sofa.] Becky, Laura knows all

my troubles; she's the bosom I weep them out on.

  BECKY. Oh, come, I've gathered a few dewey

diamonds off my laces! Well, how is Fred be-

having Has he shown any sign yet

MRS. LINDON. Not one. I thought perhaps

you'd have some news.

BECKY. [Looking away.] I How should I


[Leans over and smooths her skirt.    MRS.

   LINDON exchanges a look with LAURA.

 MRS. LINDON. You said two days ago for me



226             THE TRUTH

to keep silent and wait, and Fred would make an


  BECKY. And so he will, I'm sure! unless you

do what you threatened. [To LAURA.] I tell Eve

if she starts a suit for separation or does anything

of that sort publicly, Fred may be furious and

accept the situation, no matter how much of a

bluff it might be on Eve's part.

  LAURA. Very likely.

  MRS. LINDON. I thought perhaps you meant

to see Fred and have a talk with him


change glances, as BECKY, rising, rings bell Right.]

INhat good would that do To have the recon-

ciliation mean anything it must be of his own

volition. He must come for you, Eve, because

he misses you, because he wants you back. [MRS.

LLNDON joins LAURA on the sola and talks in a


                THE TRUTH                  227

loud and excited whisper to her as to BECKY'S

very evAdent prevarication. SERVANT enters Right;

BECKY speaks to him   aside, amiusedly watching

them, and then comes above table. As she comes

back.] WellI

  MRS. LINDON. I believe there's another woman

in it!

  BECKY. [Laughing.] I knew she was jealous!

[To MRS. LINDON.] That's just the sort of thing

that has made quarrels all along between you and


                              [She comes to her.

  MRS. LINDON. Well, if you knew all I've had

to forgive Fred, and all I have forgiven, you'd

realize I had good reason always for my share of

the quarrels.

  BECKY. Listen to me, Eve. You're a luckier

woman than you know!



  MRS. LINDON. [Startled.] How do you mean

  [LAURA puts her hand on EVE'S shoulder to

    calm her.

  BECKY. Because, instead of having the for-

giveness always on his side, you have the blessed

privilege of doing the forgiveness yourself. [AIRS.

LINDON gives a falsetto snort.] You may smile if

you like -

  MRS. LINDON. [Interrupting.] Oh, no, thank

you. I don't fccl at all like smiling!

  BECKY. Well, honestly, I envy you. LTakes

EVE'S hands in hers. MIRS. LINDON looks once

at LAURA questioninglv, and tack again quickly

to BECKY.] You know I love Tom with my whole

heart -and it's a big heart for a little woman

-and yet I keep him forgiving me -forgiving

me something or other all the time. I'd be afraid

his forgiveness would wear out, only it's in his



                THE TRUTH                 229

soul instead of his body, and if our bodies wear

out, our souls don't -do they  Already at the

very beginning of our life together I owe him

more dear forgiveness than I can ever repay, and

believe me, Eve, such a debt would be unbear-

able for a woman unless she adored her husband.

  AIRS. LINDON. You've too much sentiment-

I'm practical.

  BECKY. [Sitting down in the chair at Centre.]

Does being practical give you one-half the happi-

ness my "sentiment" gives me

  AIRS. LLNDON. Nonsense! My sympathies are

with the one who has the forgiving to do.

  BECKY. You mean, like all selfish people, you

sympathize with yourself, so you'll never be

happy, even if you get Fred back.

  MRS. LINDON. [Startled, angry.] If What do

you mean by that


230             THE TRUTH

  [Looks at BECKY, then at LAURA, sharply, then

    back at BECKY.

  BECKY. [Smiling.] Say when instead! when

you get Fred back. Trust me, teach yourself

to be grateful that it is you who have to forgive,

and not the other way round.

  MRS. LINDON. [Rises, facing her, almost tri-

umphantly, lully persuaded that BECKY is in the

wrong.] I knew when I came here you'd make

excuses for him.

  BECKY. [Smiling.] You've misunderstood me.

I'm trying to make them for you.

  MRS. LINDON. Thank you. You need excuses

more than I do.

  LAURA. [Rises, alarmed.] Eve!

  MRS. LINDON. I am perfectly well aware that

I made a very serious mistake in coming to you

of all women!


                THE TR U TH                231

  BECKY. [Rises.] In that case I think it best

to consider the matter closed between us.

  MRS. LINDON. You can think what you please,

but I have no such intention!

  LAURA. Eve!

                    [She sits again on the so/a.

Really Becky has shown herself reasonable and

kind, and you've said enough to-day. We'd

better go.

  BECKY. I should have to ask you to excuse me

in any case, as I have an engagement in a few


        [MRS. LINDON looks meaningly at LAURA.

  AIRS. LLNDON. [To BECKY.] I intend to have

the whole thing out now!

                            [WARDER enters left.

  [WARDER is a strong and sensible, unsuspicious

    man, -no nerves and no "temperament," noth-



    ing subtle about him; he is straightforward

    and lovable.

  WARDER. Oh, excuse me!

  BECKY. No, come in, Tom; it's Laura and

Mrs. Lindon.

  [LAURA and MRS. IINDON say " How do you

    do," as WARDER comes into the room. He

    greets them in turn. BECKY writes in pencil on

    a sheet of paper on the desk.

  Tom. I wanted to ask Becky if she wished

to go to a theatre to-night.

  BECKY. Yes, I should like to. [She indicates

to Tom that she wants EVE and LAURA to go, and

having finished writing, comes to him.] I'm sorry,

but you really must excuse me. [Slipping into

WARDER'S Ihand the note she had secretly written.]

Mrs. Lindon and Laura are going. What are

you going to do now




  [M\IRS. LINDON looks again meaningly at LAURA.

  WARDER. I thought I'd go round to the club

till dinner.

  BECKY. [Relieved.] That's right. I shall be

engaged till half-past six, - er - AIrs. Clayton

is coming to see me about the Golf Club at Ros-

lyn - and - lots of things. You needn't hurry


  [She gives him an affectionate little squeeze of

    the arm and goes out Right. He looks down

    at the paper slyly and reads it.

  MRS. LINDON. [Rises and goes to Tom.] Tom,

if Xou've nothing in particular on at the club,

would you give me half an hour

  LAURA. [Rises and goes to EVE.] Eve, you

haven't the time yourself; you must come with


WARDER. [Suppressing a smile as he finishes



234             THE TRUTH

reading the note, he is a little embarrassed.] WeR

-really - Eve -I don't know, - I'll tell you

how it is-

  MRS. LINDON. Oh, I don't mean here! I

know Becky wrote you a note telling you not to

let me stay, didn't she

  XWARDER. [Laughing.] She did - you see, she

has an engagement. [Reading from the paper,

good-naturedly.] "Get rid of Eve, I want the


  MRS. LINDON. At six o'clock.

                  [Glances meaningly at LAURA.

  WARDER. [Casually.] Is it

  MRS. LINDON. To see Fred in!

  LAURA. Eve! be sensible!

  WARDER. NO, it's for Mrs. Clayton about


  MRS. LrNDON. Then why must she be rid of


                THE TR U TH              235

me  Georgia Clayton and I are the best of

friends, and I have as much to do with Roslyn

as Becky.

  WARDER. [Still pleasantly.] I suppose Beck

has a good reason, if she cared to tell us.

  MRS. LINDON. I know Becky has an appoint-

ment here, at six, with Fred.

  LAURA. You don't know it, Eve!

  MRS. LLNDON. I do.

  WARDER. [Still pleasantly.] In any case that

is Becky's and Fred's business, isn't it

  MRS. LINDON. You know Fredl

  WARDER. Yes!


  WARDER. You don't want my opinion of Fred,

at this late day! I also know Becky!

  MRS. LINDON. Becky and Fred meet every

single day.


236             THE TRUTH

  LAURA. [Interpolates.] She thinks so.

  WARDER. What are you talking about

  MRS. LINDON. What I know! And if you'll

wait here with me a few minutes now, in spite of

what Becky said, you'll see Fred and not Mrs.

Clayton arrive.

  WARDER. If your husband s really coming, it

was probably to spare you that Becky spoke of

Mrs. Clayton, and I shouldn't think of embarrass-

ing her by waiting.

  MRS. LINDON. [Disagreeably, irritatingly.] Oh,

you don't mind, then

  WARDER. Almost any man, my dear Eve,

would mind your husband meeting his wife every

day! I only think you've been misinformed, or

only half informed, that's all.

  MRS. LINDON. You are aware that Fred and I

have been separated for two months


THE TR U                 2J7

  WARDER. Yes, Becky told me.

  LAURA. [Looking at her watch.] It's almost six

now. Come, Eve.

  WARDER. [Going toward the door, Le/t.] Yes,

I'm afraid I must ask you -

       [Rings electric bell on wall beside the door.

  MRS. LINDON. [Going to him.] Tom, for the

sake of our boy and girl friendship, walk home

with me, and let me speak plainly.

  LAURA. [On the other side of WARDER.] Mr.

Warder, please don't go.

  MRS. LINDON. [To LAURA, angry.] What do

you mean [To WARDER, pleadingly.] I've no

other man in the world to go to; I need advice.

Won't you give me yours

  WARDER. [Looks at her a moment, hesitates,

then says.] My advice Of course, if you wish

that. [The SERVANT appears in the doorway in



238             THE TR UTH

answer to the bell. To SERVANT.] My hat and

coat - and say to Mrs. Warder I'm walking home

with Mrs. Lindon.

                            [He goes out Left.

  SERVANT. Yes, sir.

                             [Follows him out.

     [LAURA looks significantly at MRs. LINDON.

  LAURA. If you keep on, there soon won't be a

soul left in New York whose advice you haven't

asked and not taken !

  MRS. LINDON. Well, it's my own trouble; I

can do what I like with it. What are you going

to do now 

            [She sits in the armchair at the Left.

  LAURA. [Going to her.] Don't tell him all you

think you know about Becky.

  MRS. LLNDON. Think /

  LAURA. It will be a very great mistake.



  MRS. LINDON. Laura, I'll tell you the truth;

I've had Fred watched by private detectives for

over a month, and I have a list of dates and places

of their meetings to more than prove what I say.

  LAURA. How dreadful of you!

  MRS. LINDON. Oh, wait till you get a hus-

band, and then you'll sympathize more with a

woman who is trying to keep one!

  LAURA. But these places where they meet

  MRS. LINDON. Are respectable so far as I

know. But daily meetings my dear, daily!

  LAURA. And you'll tell Mr. Warder

  MRS. LINDON. I don't know yet how much I

shall tell. What are you going to do now

  LAURA. Wait till to-morrow! Give yourself

time to recover, to consider.

  MRS. LINDON. [Simply repeals.] What are you

going to do now




  LAURA. [Deliberately crosses to the chair at

Centre and sits.] Stay and see Becky.

  MRS. LINDON. [Rises,  delighted.]  Oh, do!

Stay till Fred comes, and catch her!

  LAURA. No, no! I've finished with this now.

I don't sympathize with what you're going to do.

  WARDER. [With hat and coat, in the doorway

Left.] Ready


  WARDER. Good-by, Laura.

  LAURA. Good-by. [MRS. LINDON goes out Left

with WARDER. After the outside door is heard to

close BECKY comes into the room hurriedly. She

stops suddenly on seeing LAURA, turns and tries to

steal out. Just as she gets to the door, LAURA

catches her.] Becky!

  [BECKY turns and their eyes meet. BECKY

    laughs, realizing she is caught.




  BECKY. Oh, you didn't go with them 

  LAURA. No!

  BECKY. Had enough of Eve to-day

  LAURA. Not enough of you.

  BECKY. [Sings instead of speaks.] "Thank

you ! "

[She puts her arm around LAURA, and they sit

   on the so/a.

 LAURA. Becky, why won't you be frank with Eve

 BECKY. I was.

 LAURA. No, you didn't tell the truth about see-

 ing Fred.

 BECKY. Oh, that!

 LAURA. Yes, that!

 BECKY. I may have seen him once or twice,

that's all.

LAURA. Exactly what Eve says -you don't

tell the truth!



242             THE TRU TH

  BECKY. It's false! I never told a malicious

lie in my life. I never told a fib that hurt any

one but myself!

  LAURA. Tell Eve the truth. Make her have

confidence in you. She says if you cross the

ferry to Jersey City, you say you've been abroad.

  BECKY. [Laughing.] Well, so I have! Laura!

I'm doing my best to make Eve happy. I can't

do any more than my best, and if I do it at all, I

must do it my own way!

  LAURA. You've seen Fred to-day.

  BECKY. No, I haven't.

  LAURA. Becky! He came home with you just


  BECKY. What makes you think so

  LAURA. I saw his back on the steps with you.

  BECKY. Oh, I see - spying on me Well, you

made a mistake in the back.


                7HE TR UTH                243

  LAURA. I know it was Fred Lindon.

  BECKY. And I know it wasn't.

  LAURA. You're not seeing him every day

  BECKY. Certainly not! But what affair is it

of yours, if I do

  LAURA. We're all friends, and you're making

Eve wildly jealous.

  BECKY. That is entirely her own fault, not


  [The SERVANT enters Lelt with a bill on a small

    silver tray.

  SERVANT. Pardon me, madam, a man with a

box and a bill to collect.

  BECKY. [Taking bill.] A bandbox

                               [She opens bill.
  SERVANT. Yes, madam.

  BECKY. [To LAURA.] Oh, my dear, such a

duck of a hat! And only sixty-five dollars. I



saw it on my way here and couldn't resist buying

Are hats a passion with you

  LAURA. [Uninterested.] Yes, rather.

  BECKY. I told them to send it C.O.D., but I

didn't suppose it would come till to-morrow and I

haven't a cent!

  LAURA. I thought you said you wor a hundred

and fifty at bridge

  BECKY. No, no, my dear, you misunderstood

me, I lost. [To SERVANT.] Tell the man if he can't

leave the box, to take it back and call later; say

Mrs. Warder is out.

  SERVANT. Yes, madam.

                    [Goes out with the bill, Lelt.

  LAURA. You said you won at bridge!

  BECKY. Oh, you tedious person! You hang

on to anything like a terrier, don't you! I said I

won because I didn't want Eve to think I'd lost;




I never can bear to own up I've lost anything

before Eve. [Laughs, pulls LAURA by the arm.j]


  LAURA. I won't go yet.

  BECKY. [Urging her.] You must. I have an


  LAURA. With Fred Lindon!

  BECKY. It is not. [SERVANT enters and an-

nounces "MR.LINDON." LINDON follows in. He

is surprised to see LAURA, bzst instantly covers his

surprise. Going to LINDON, quickly.] Oh, what a

surprise I

  LINDON. Surprise Am I early

  BECKY. [Indicating LAURA.] ShI Yes, sur-

prise. [LINDON sees LAURA and makes an amused

grimace.] But I can only give you a very few

minutes. I have an engagement, haven't I,





                          [As they shake hands.

  LINDON. Oh, hello, Laura!

  LAURA. [Very dryly.] How d'you do, Fred

  LINDON. How's Eve

  LAURA. [Embarrassed.] Very well -at least

not very - yes, she is of course very well ! She's

just left here.

[She adds this


  LINDON. Oh! sorry I missed her! Give her

my regards when you see her, and say I'm glad

she's well.

  [He goes to the piano, sits on the bench, and


  LAURA. [Rises indignant.] I shaHl do nothing

of the kind.

  [She starts to leave the room. LINDON runs what

    he is playing into "Good-by, little girl, Good-




THE TR U                  24

  BECKY. [Offering her hand.] Good-by.

  LAURA. [Pretends not to see BECKY'S hand.]


                             [She goes out Left.

  BECKY. [Going to the piano.]  They both saw

you come back with me /

  LINDON. [Still playing, improvising. Laugh-

ing.] No! Did they'

  BECKY. [Laughing.] Yes, but it's no laughing

matter! Eve is jealous.

  LINDON. [Stops playing.] What right has she

Did she expect me to sit alone in the drawing-

room for two months straining my ears to hear her

ring the front door bell

                         [He continues playing.

  BECKY. They know we've been meeting every

day, -at least they think so. Have we

  LINDON. [Still playing.] No!



248             THE TR UTH

  BECKY. Yes, we havel Haven't we

  LINDON. [Stops playing.] Well, yes, if you

wAant the truth.

  BECKY. [Goes to sofa and sits.] There's no use

telling a story about it. I've nothing to be

ashamed of, -I did it with the best of motives.

  LINDON. [Goes to BECKY.] Oh, don'. spoil it

all, Becky, with motives!

  [He leans over the arm of the sofa to talk to her.

  BECKY. [Laughs.] You know Eve mustn't be

jealous of me !

  LLNDON. [Earnestly.] Now you're not going to

let her break up our little -

  BECKY. [Interrupting.] Fred, how much do you

like me

  LINDON. [Smiling.] I daren't tell youl

  BECKY. No, I mean reallyl

  LINDON. So do I I


THE TR U                  249

  BRECKY. I believe you are fond of me.

  LINDON. I am I

  BECKY. And I like you to be.

  LINDON. [Placing his hand on hers on the sofa's

atrm.] Because

  BECKY. [Slowly drawing her hand Irom his.] I

like men to like me, even though it really means


  LINDON. Nothing
                             [Rather chagrined.

  BECKY. [Amused.] I like it for myself, and

besides I think it's a compliment to Tom!

  LINDON. [M11ockingly.] Oh!