|FERRANDThe good God made me so that I would rather walk a whole month of nights, hungry, with the stars, than sit one single day making round business on an office stool! It is not to my advantage. I cannot help it that I am a vagabond. What would you have? It is stronger than me. [He looks suddenly at Wellwyn.] Monsieur, I say to you things I have never said.|| 1|
| Wellwyn [quietly]Go on, go on. [There is silence.]|| 2|
| Ferrand [suddenly]Monsieur! Are you really English? The English are so civilized.|| 3|
| WellwynAnd am I not?|| 4|
| FerrandYou treat me like a brother.|| 5|
[Wellwyn has turned towards the street door at a sound of feet, and the clamor of voices.] Timson [from the street]Take her in ere. I nows im.
[Through the open doorway come a Police Constable and a Loafer, bearing between them the limp while-faced form of Mrs. Megan, hatless and with drowned hair, enveloped in the policemans waterproof. Some curious persons bring up the rear, jostling in the doorway, among whom is Timson carrying in his hands the policemans dripping waterproof leg pieces.] Ferrand [starling forward]Monsieur, it is that little girl!
| WellwynWhats happened? Constable! Whats happened!|| 8|
[The Constable and Loafer have laid the body down on the dais; with Wellwyn and Ferrand they stand bending over her.] ConstableTempted sooicide, sir; but she hadnt been in the water arf a minute when I got hold of her. [He bends lower.] Cant understand her collapsin like this.
| Wellwyn [feeling her heart]I dont feel anything.|| 10|
| Ferrand [in a voice sharpened by emotion]Let me try, Monsieur.|| 11|
| Constable [touching his arm]You keep off, my lad.|| 12|
| WellwynNo, constablelet him. Hes her friend.|| 13|
| Constable [releasing Ferrandto the Loafer]Here you! Cut off for a doctorsharp now! [He pushes back the curious persons.] Now then, stand away there, pleasewe cant have you round the body. Keep backClear out, now!|| 14|
[He slowly moves them back, and at last shepherds them through the door and shuts it on them, Timson being last.] FerrandThe rum!
[Wellwyn fetches the decanter. With the little there is left Ferrand chafes the girls hands and forehead, and pours some between her lips. But there is no response from the inert body.] FerrandHer soul is still away, Monsieur!
[Wellwyn, seizing the decanter, pours into it tea and boiling water.] ConstableIts never drownin, sirher head was hardly under; I was on to her like a knife.
| Ferrand [rubbing her feet]She has not yet her philosophy, Monsieur; at the beginning they often try. If she is dead! [In a voice of awed rapture.] What fortune!|| 18|
| Constable [with puzzled sadness]True enough, sirthat! Wed just begun to know er. If she as been takenher best friends couldnt wish er better.|| 19|
| Wellwyn [applying the decanter to her lips]Poor little thing! Ill try this hot tea.|| 20|
| Ferrand [whispering]La mortle grand ami!|| 21|
| WellwynLook! Look at her! Shes coming round!|| 22|
[A faint tremor passes over Mrs. Megans body. He again applies the hot drink to her mouth. She stirs and gulps.] Constable [with intense relief]Thats brave! Good lass! Shell pick up now, sir.
[Then, seeing that Timson and the curious persons have again opened the door, he drives them out, and stands with his back against it. Mrs. Megan comes to herself.] Wellwyn [sitting on the dais and supporting heras if to a child]There you are, my dear. There, therebetter now! Drink a little more of this tea. [Mrs. Megan drinks from the decanter.]
| Ferrand [rising]Bring her to the fire, Monsieur.|| 25|
[They take her to the fire and seat her on the little stool. From the moment of her restored animation Ferrand has resumed his air of cynical detachment, and now stands apart with arms folded, watching.] WellwynFeeling better, my child?
| Mrs. MeganYes.|| 27|
| WellwynThats good. Thats good. Now, how was it? Um?|| 28|
| Mrs. MeganI dunno. [She shivers.] I was standin here just now when you was talkin, and when I heard im, it cam over me to do itlike.|| 29|
| WellwynAh, yes, I know.|| 30|
| Mrs. MeganI didnt seem no good to meself nor anyone. But when I got in the water, I didnt want to any more. It was cold in there.|| 31|
| WellwynHave you been having such a bad time of it?|| 32|
| Mrs. MeganYes. And listenin to him upset me. [She signs with her head at Ferrand.] I feel better now Ive been in the water. [She smiles and shivers.]|| 33|
| WellwynThere, there Shivery? Like to walk up and down a little? [They begin walking together up and down.]|| 34|
| WellwynBeastly when your head goes under?|| 35|
| Mrs. MeganYes. It frightened me. I thought I wouldnt come up again.|| 36|
| WellwynI knowsort of world without end, wasnt it? What did you think of, um?|| 37|
| Mrs. MeganI wished I adnt jumpedan I thought of my babythat diedand[in a rather surprised voice] and I thought of d-dancin.|| 38|
[Her mouth quivers, her face puckers, she gives a choke and a little sob.] Wellwyn [slopping and stroking her]There, therethere!
[For a moment her face is buried in his sleeve, then she recovers herself.] Mrs. MeganThen e got hold o me, an pulled me out.
| WellwynAh! what a comfortum?|| 41|
| Mrs. MeganYes. The water got into me mouth. [They walk again.] I wouldnt have gone to do it but for him. [She looks towards Ferrand.] His talk made me feel all funny, as if people wanted me to.|| 42|
| WellwynMy dear child! Dont think such things! As if anyone would!|| 43|
| Mrs. Megan [stolidly]I thought they did. They used to look at me so sometimes, where I was before I ran awayI couldnt stop there, you know.|| 44|
| WellwynToo cooped-up?|| 45|
| Mrs. MeganYes. No life at all, it wasntnot after sellin flowers, Id rather be doin what I am.|| 46|
| WellwynAh! Wellits all over, now! How dyou feeleh? Better?|| 47|
| Mrs. MeganYes, I feels all right now.|| 48|
[She sits up again on the little stool before the fire.] WellwynNo shivers, and no aches; quite comfy?
| Mrs. MeganYes.|| 50|
| WellwynThats a blessing. All well now, Constablethank you!|| 51|
| Constable [who has remained discreetly apart at the doorcordially]First rate, sir! Thats capital! [He approaches and scrutinizes Mrs. Megan.] Right as rain, eh, my girl?|| 52|
| Mrs. Megan [shrinking a little]Yes.|| 53|
| ConstableThats fine. Then I think perhaps, for er sake, the sooner we move on and get her a change o clothin, the better.|| 54|
| WellwynOh! dont bother about thatIll send round for my daughterwell manage for her here.|| 55|
| ConstableVery kind of you, Im sure, sir. But [with embarrassment] she seems all right. Shell get every attention at the station.|| 56|
| WellwynBut I assure you, we dont mind at all; well take the greatest care of her.|| 57|
| Constable [still more embarrassed]Well, sir, of course, Im afraid I cant depart from the usual course.|| 58|
| Wellwyn [sharply]What! Butoh! No! No! Thatll be all right, Constable! Thatll be all right! I assure you.|| 59|
| Constable [with more decision]Ill have to charge her, sir.|| 60|
| WellwynGood God! You dont mean to say the poor little thing has got to be|| 61|
| Constable [consulting with him]Well, sir, we cant get over the facts, can we? There it is! You know what sooicide amounts toits an awkward job.|| 62|
| Wellwyn [calming himself with an effort]But look here, Constable, as a reasonable man.This poor wretched little girlyou know what that life means better than anyone! Why! Its to her credit to try and jump out of it! [The Constable shakes his head.]|| 63|
| WellwynYou said yourself her best friends couldnt wish her better! [Dropping his voice still more.] Everybody feels it! The Vicar was here a few minutes ago saying the very same thingthe Vicar, Constable! [The Constable shakes his head.] Ah! now, look here, I know something of her. Nothing can be done with her. We all admit it. Dont you see? Well, then, hang ityou neednt go and make fools of us all by|| 64|
| FerrandMonsieur, it is the first of April.|| 65|
| Constable [with a sharp glance at him]Cant neglect me duty, sir; thats impossible.|| 66|
| WellwynLook here! Sheslipped. Shes been telling me. Come, Constable, theres a good fellow. May be the making of her, this.|| 67|
| ConstableI quite appreciate your good eart, sir, an you make it very ard for mebut, come now! I put it to you as a gentleman, would you go back on yer duty if you was me?|| 68|
[Wellwyn raises his hat, and plunges his fingers through his hair.] WellwynWell! God in heaven! Of all the dd topsy-turvy! Not a soul in the world wants her aliveand now shes to be prosecuted for trying to be where everyone wishes her.
| ConstableCome, sir, come! Be a man!|| 70|
[Throughout all this Mrs. Megan has sat stolidly before the fire, but as Ferrand suddenly steps forward she looks up at him.] FerrandDo not grieve, Monsieur! This will give her courage. There is nothing that gives more courage than to see the irony of things. [He touches Mrs. Megans shoulder.] Go, my child; it will do you good.
[Mrs. Megan rises, and looks at him dazedly.] Constable [coming forward, and taking her by the hand]Thats my good lass. Come along! We wont hurt you.