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- The Philanderer - 18/18 -


CHARTERIS (taking Craven's hand). No offence, my dear Craven: none in the world. I didn't mean to shew any temper. But (aside, after looking round to see whether the others are listening) only just consider!--the spectacle of a rival's happiness!

CRAVEN (aloud, decisively). Charteris: now you've got to behave like a man. Your duty's plain before you. (To Cuthbertson.) Am I right, Jo?

CUTHBERTSON (firmly). You are, Dan.

CRAVEN (to Charteris). Go straight up and congratulate Julia. And do it like a gentleman, smiling.

CHARTERIS. Colonel: I will. Not a muscle shall betray the conflict within.

CRAVEN. Julia: Charteris has not congratulated you yet. He's coming to do it. (Julia rises and fixes a dangerous look on Charteris.)

SYLVIA (whispering quickly behind Charteris as he is about to advance). Take care. She's going to hit you. I know her. (Charteris stops and looks cautiously at Julia, measuring the situation. They regard one another steadfastly for a moment. Grace softly rises and gets close to Julia.)

CHARTERIS (whispering over his shoulder to Sylvia). I'll chance it. (He walks confidently up to Julia.) Julia? (He proffers his hand.)

JULIA (exhausted, allowing herself to take it). You are right. I am a worthless woman.

CHARTERIS (triumphant, and gaily remonstrating). Oh, why?

JULIA. Because I am not brave enough to kill you.

GRACE (taking her in her arms as she sinks, almost fainting, away from him). Oh, no. Never make a hero of a philanderer. (Charteris, amused and untouched, shakes his head laughingly. The rest look at Julia with concern, and even a little awe, feeling for the first time the presence of a keen sorrow.)

CURTAIN.


The Philanderer - 18/18

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