Rob Storrs

Act II, page 34


(Enter MERRIMAN. He carries a salver, tablecloth and plate stand. GWENDOLINE is about to make a retort. The presence of a servant exercises a restraining influence under which both girls chafe.)

GWENDOLINE. (Satirically) I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.

MERRIMAN. Shall I lay tea here as usual, Miss?

CECILY.    (Sternly, in a clear voice ) Yes, as usual. (MERRIMAN begins to clear table and lay cloth. Long pause. CECILY and GWENDOLINE glare at each other.)

GWENDOLINE.  Are there any interesting walks in the vicinity, Miss Cardew.

CECILY.    Oh yes, a great many.  From the top of one of the hills quite close by one can see five counties.

GWENDOLINE.  Five counties!  I don’t think I should like that.  I hate crowds.

CECILY.    I suppose that is why you live in the town.

GWENDOLINE. (Looking round)  Quite a well-kept garden this is, Miss Cardew.

CECILY.    So glad you like it, Miss Fairfax.

GWENDOLINE.  I had no idea there were any flowers in the country.

CECILY.    Oh, flowers are as common here, Miss Fairfax, as people are in London.

(MERRIMAN places tray with plates and cover dishes containing uncut cake, muffins, and tea-cake on table.)

GWENDOLINE.  Personally I cannot understand how anybody manages to exist in the country, if anybody who is anybody does. The country always bores me to death.

CECILY.    Ah! That is what the newspapers call agricultural depression, is it not? I believe the aristocracy are suffering very much from it just at present. It is almost an epidemic amongst them, I have been told. May I offer you some tea, Miss Fairfax? (Sits and begins to pour out tea.)

GWENDOLINE.  (With elaborate politeness) Thank you. (Aside) Detestable girl! But I require tea!

CECILY.    (Sweetly) Sugar?

GWENDOLINE. (Superciliously) No, thank you.  Sugar is not fashionable any more. (CECILY looks angrily at her, takes up tongs again, and puts four lumps of sugar into the cup which she then places on salver that MERRIMAN is holding.)

CECILY.    (Severely) Cake, or bread and butter?

GWENDOLINE. (In a bored manner) Bread and butter, please. (CECILY is about to put bread and butter on tray.) Cake is rarely seen at the best houses nowadays.  (CECILY cuts a large slice of cake, and puts it on MERRIMAN'S tray.)  Hand that to MIss Fairfax.   (MERRIMAN goes down to GWENDOLINE, places plate-stand beside her, hands tea, and puts cake on stand. Exit MERRIMAN into house.)

    (GWENDOLINE drinks the tea and makes a grimace, puts down cup at once, reaches out her hand for bread and butter, looks at it and finds it is cake, rises in indignation.)