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- How He Lied to Her Husband - 6/6 -

myself in lies for your sake; and the only reward I get is a lump on the back of my head the size of an apple. Now I will go back to the straight path.

SHE. Henry: for Heaven's sake--

HE. It's no use. Your husband is a fool and a brute--

HER HUSBAND. What's that you say?

HE. I say you are a fool and a brute; and if you'll step outside with me I'll say it again. [Teddy begins to take off his coat for combat]. Those poems were written to your wife, every word of them, and to nobody else. [The scowl clears away from Bompas's countenance. Radiant, he replaces his coat]. I wrote them because I loved her. I thought her the most beautiful woman in the world; and I told her so over and over again. I adored her: do you hear? I told her that you were a sordid commercial chump, utterly unworthy of her; and so you are.

HER HUSBAND [so gratified, he can hardly believe his ears] You don't mean it!

HE. Yes, I do mean it, and a lot more too. I asked Mrs Bompas to walk out of the house with me--to leave you--to get divorced from you and marry me. I begged and implored her to do it this very night. It was her refusal that ended everything between us. [Looking very disparagingly at him] What she can see in you, goodness only knows!

HER HUSBAND [beaming with remorse] My dear chap, why didn't you say so before? I apologize. Come! Don't bear malice: shake hands. Make him shake hands, Rory.

SHE. For my sake, Henry. After all, he's my husband. Forgive him. Take his hand. [Henry, dazed, lets her take his hand and place it in Teddy's].

HER HUSBAND [shaking it heartily] You've got to own that none of your literary heroines can touch my Rory. [He turns to her and claps her with fond pride on the shoulder]. Eh, Rory? They can't resist you: none of em. Never knew a man yet that could hold out three days.

SHE. Don't be foolish, Teddy. I hope you were not really hurt, Henry. [She feels the back of his head. He flinches]. Oh, poor boy, what a bump! I must get some vinegar and brown paper. [She goes to the bell and rings].

HER HUSBAND. Will you do me a great favor, Apjohn. I hardly like to ask; but it would be a real kindness to us both.

HE. What can I do?

HER HUSBAND [taking up the poems] Well, may I get these printed? It shall be done in the best style. The finest paper, sumptuous binding, everything first class. They're beautiful poems. I should like to show them about a bit.

SHE [running back from the bell, delighted with the idea, and coming between them] Oh Henry, if you wouldn't mind!

HE. Oh, I don't mind. I am past minding anything. I have grown too fast this evening.

SHE. How old are you, Henry?

HE. This morning I was eighteen. Now I am--confound it! I'm quoting that beast of a play [he takes the Candida tickets out of his pocket and tears them up viciously].

HER HUSBAND. What shall we call the volume? To Aurora, or something like that, eh?

HE. I should call it How He Lied to Her Husband.

How He Lied to Her Husband - 6/6

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