Rome. Public parlors at the Hotel de Paris ; evening. Wide windows at the back, overlooking the Corso, open upon a balcony, which must be apparent, behind light curtains, to the audience. The Carnical is going on outside, and the flare of torches, the sound of voices and of music, the uproar of a popular festival, come into the room, rising and falling at intervals during the whole act.
SCENTS I. MRS. COSTELLO, MISS DURANT, CHARLES REVERDV. He comes in first at the left, holding the door open for the others to follow.
REVERDY. YOU can see very well from this balcony, if you won’t go down into the street.
MRS. C. Down into the street — to be trampled to death? I have no desire to be butchered to make a Roman holiday.
REVERDY, aside. They would find you a tough old morsel! (Aloud.) It’s the last night of the Carnival, and a peculiar license prevails.
MRS. C. I ‘m happy to hear it’s the last night. Their tooting and piping and fiddling hasn’t stopped for a week, and my poor old head has been racked with pain.
Miss D. IS it very bad now? You had better go to our own quiet parlor, which looks out on the back.
MRS. C. And leave you here with this youth ?
Miss D. After all—in the Carnival !
MRS. C. A season of peculiar license — as he himself confesses. I wonder you don’t propose at once to mingle with the populace — in a fancy dress!
Miss D. I should like to very much ! I’m tired of being cooped up in a balcony. If this is the last night, it’s my only chance.
MRS. C., severely. Alice Durant, I don’t recognize you ! The Carnival has affected you—insidiously. You’re as bad as Daisy Miller.
REVERDY. Poor little butterfly ! Don’t speak harshly of her: she is lying ill with Roman fever.
MRS. C. Since her visit to the Coliseum, in the cool of the evening, with the inveterate Giovanelli ?
Miss D. I suppose he ’ll marry her when she recovers — if she does recover !
REVERDY. It was certainly idiotic, from the point of view of salubrity, to go to enjoy the moonlight in that particularly mouldy ruin, and the inveterate Giovanelli, who is old enough to know better, ought to have a thrashing. The poor girl may never recover. The little Flower of the West, as Mrs. Walker says, is withering on the stem. Fancy dying to the music of the Carnival!
Copyright, 1883, by HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & Co.
MRS. C. That’s the way I shall die, unless you come now and take your last look, so that we may go away and have done with it. (Goes to the window.) Good heavens, what a rabble ! (Passes out on the balcony.)
REVERDY, to Miss Durant, remaining behind. Will you give her the slip, and come out with me ?
Miss D., looking at him, and listening to the music. In a fancy dress ?
REVERDY. Oh, no; simply in a mask. I’ve got one in my pocket. ( Takes out a grotesque mask and holds it to his face a moment, shaking his head at her.) How d’ye do, lovely woman ?
Miss D. Dear me, how very hideous!
REVERDY. If you put it on, I shall be as handsome as ever.
Miss D., aside. If he should propose out there, it would hide my blushes !
MRS. C., from the balcony. Young people, what are you doing ? Come out here this minute !
REVERDY. There she is again ! (Aloud.) Are you afraid they will pelt you with flowers ?
MRS. C. A gentleman has already kissed his hand to me !
REVERDY. A season of peculiar license! (To Miss Durant.) We can’t escape from her now, but it won’t be long! (They rejoin Mrs. Costello on the balcony, Reverdy holding the mask behind him. While they remain there, apparently absorbed in the spectacle in the street, Eugenio and Giovanelli come in.)
SCENE II. EUGENIO, GIOVANELLI ; then REVERDY, MISS DURANT.
EUGENIO. YOU must come in here; we can’t talk in the hall.
GIOVANELLI,with a bouquet of flowers. I have come for news of the dear young lady. I’m terribly nervous.
EUGENIO. You think you may lose her ? It would serve you right!
GIOVANELLI. If I lose her I shall never try again. I am passionately in love with her.
EUGENIO. I hope so, indeed ! That was part of our agreement.
GIOVANELLI. If you begin to joke, I see she’s better.
EUGENIO. If I begin to joke ? I ‘m as serious as you. If she’s better it’s no thanks to you — doing your best to kill her on my hands.
GIOVANELLI. It was no fault of mine. She had her own way.
EUGENIO. The Coliseum by moonlight — that was a lovely invention ! Why did n’t you jump into the Tiber at once ?
GIOVANELLI. We are not the first who have been there. It’s a very common excursion.
EUGENIO. By daylight, of course; but not when the miasma rises.
GIOVANELLI. Excuse me : it is recommended in the guide-books.
EUGENIO. Do you make love according to Murray? — or, perhaps, according to Bädeker? I myself have conducted families there, to admire the general effect; but not to spend the evening.
GIOVANELLI. I was afraid for myself, Heaven knows !
EUGENIO. " Afraid for yourself ” is good — with an American heiress beside you!
GIOVANELLI. I couldn’t induce her to come away, the moon was so bright and beautiful! And then you wanted her to be talked about.
EUGENIO. Yes : but I wanted you to take her alive. She ’s talked about enough to-day. It was only a week ago, but the whole town knows it.
GIOVANELLI. Per Bacco ! That solemn fool of a Winterbourne has spread the story.
EUGENIO. The further the better ! But I thought I had given him something else to do.
GIOVANELLI. I don’t know what you had given him to do ; but, as luck would have it, he turned up at the Coliseum. He came upon us suddenly, and stood there staring. Then he took off his hat to my companion, and made her the lowest of bows.
EUGENIO. Without a word ?
GIOVANELLI. Without a word. He turned his back and walked off.
EUGENIO. Stupid ass! But it is all right: he has given her up.
GIOVANELLI. He gave her up that day on the Pincian; he has not been near her since.
EUGENIO, aside. The Katkoff is really perfect! — though he comes to ask about her every day. (Aloud.) Yes, but he wanted a reason: now he has got his reason.
GIOVANELLI, pretentiously. I ’ll give him a better one than that!
EUGENIO. He’s perfectly content with this one; and it must be admitted it would suit most people. We must hope it will suit Mr. Miller.
GIOVANELLI, gloomily. Ah, Mr. Miller ? I seemed to see him there, too, in the moonlight!
EUGENIO. YOU ’re afraid of him, and your fear makes images. What did Miss Daisy do ?
GIOVANELLI. After the American had left us ? She held her tongue still till we got home.
EUGENIO. She said nothing about him ?
GIOVANELLI. Never a word, thank goodness!
EUGENIO, thoughtful a moment. Cavaliere, you ’re very limited.
GIOVANELLI. I verily believe I am, to stand here and answer your questions. All this time you have told me nothing about my adored !
EUGENIO. She is doing very well; it has been a light attack. She has sat up these three days, and the doctor says she needs only to be careful. But being careful doesn’t suit her; she’s in despair at missing the Carnival.
GIOVANELLI,tenderly. Enchanting young person ! Be so good as to give her these flowers. Be careful of them, you know!
EUGENIO. I should think so — when I pay for them myself.
GIOVANELLI. And ask if I may come up and see her.
EUGENIO, looking at the bouquet. You get ’em handsome, I must say. — I don’t know what the doctor would say to that.
GIOVANELLI, smiling. Let me be the doctor. You ’ll see !
EUGENIO. YOU ’re certainly dangerous enough for one. But you must wait till we go out — the mother and the brother and I.
GIOVANELLI. Where are you going, at this hour ?
EUGENIO. TO show that peevish little brat the illumination.
GIOVANELLI. Mrs. Miller leaves her daughter — at such a time ?
EUGENIO. Master Randolph’s the head of the family.
GIOVANELLI. I must get his consent to the marriage, then ?
EUGENIO. You can get it with a pound of candy.
GIOVANELLI. I’ll buy him a dozen to-morrow.
EUGENIO. And charge it to me, of course.
GIOVANELLI, stiffly. Please to open the door. I ’ll wait in the hall till you go out. (Eugenio opens the door, looks at him, and then passes out first. Giovanelli follows. When they have left the room, Reverdy and Miss Durant come in from the balcony.)
REVERDY, his finger on his lips. Hush, hush! She’s looking for the gentleman who kissed his hand.
Miss D. When she kissed hers back, she frightened him away !
REVERDY. I can’t stand that balcony business ! I want to dance and sing, in the midst of it, with a charming creature on my arm!
Miss D. I forbid you to touch any of your creatures!
REVERDY. In the Carnival one may touch any one. All common laws are suspended.
Miss D. Cousin Louisa won’t listen to that.
REVERDY. She’s a great deal worse than we herself — having an affair with a perfect stranger ! Now’s our chance to escape; before she misses us, we shall be a mile away.
Miss D. A mile away is very far! You make me feel dreadfully like Daisy Miller.
REVERDY. TO be perfect, all you want is to be a little like her.
Miss D. Oh, you wretch — I never !
REVERDY. There, now, you ’re just like her!
Miss D. I certainly am not used to being a wall-flower.
REVERDY. A plant in a balcony’s even worse. Come, come ! here’s the mask.
Miss D. It’s very dreadful. I can’t bear to look so ugly!
REVERDY. Don’t I know how pretty you are ?
Miss D., taking his arm, aside. He can do anything with me he wants ! (Exeunt. Enter Daisy on the opposite side.)
SCENE III. DAISY alone; then WINTERBOURNE, a WAITER ; MRS. COSTELLO.
DAISY. She wears a light dressinggown, like an invalid, and it must be apparent that she has been ill, though this appearance must not be exaggerated. She wanders slowly into the room, and pauses in the middle. Ah, from here the music is very distinct — and the voices of the crowd, and all the sound of the fête. Upstairs, in our rooms, you can hear it just dimly. That’s the way it seemed to me — just faint and far — as I lay there with darkened windows. It’s hard to be sick when there’s so much pleasure going on, especially when you ’re so fond of pleasure as poor silly me ! Perhaps I’m too fond ; that’s one of the things I thought of as I lay there. I thought of so many — and some of them so sad — as I listened to the faraway Carnival. I think it was this that helped me to get better. I was afraid I had been bad, and I wanted to live to be good again. I was afraid I should die, and I did n’t want to die. But I’m better now, and I can walk and do everything I want. (Listening again.) Every now and then it grows louder, as if the people were so happy ! It reminds me of that poetry I used to learn at school, “ There was a sound of revelry by night.” That’s a sound I always wanted to hear. This is the last night; and when mother and Randolph went out, I could n’t stay there alone. I waited a little; I was afraid of meeting some one on the stairs. But every one is in the streets, and they have gone to see the illumination. I thought of that balcony : just to look out a little is better than nothing. (Listens again a moment.) Every now and then it increases. ( Goes to the window, but seeing Mrs. Costello outside comes back.) Ah, there’s some one there ; and with this old wrapper . . . (Looking at her dressing-gown.) Perhaps the night air is n’t good for me; the doctor forbids the night air. Ah, what a pity it’s the last evening! ( Goes to the window again, and while she stands there a waiter throws open the door and ushers in Winterbourne, who at first does not see her.)
THE WAITER. The ladies are here, sir. (Surprised not to find them.) Excuse me. I saw them come in with Mr. Reverdy, but they have gone out again.
WINTERBOURNE. It’s not those ladies I want. Please to ask Madame de Katkoff if she can see me.
THE WAITER. Won’t you go up to her sitting - room ? She has a great many guests.
WINTERBOURNE, annoyed. A great many guests ?
THE WAITER. A party of friends, who have come to see the fête from one of her windows. Her parlor is in the Square, and the view is even finer than from here.
WINTERBOURNE. I know all about her parlor. (Aside.) It’s hateful to see her with a lot of others! (Aloud.) Ask her if she will kindly speak to me here.
THE WAITER. Ah, you lose a great deal, sir ! (Exit.)
WINTERBOURNE. The servants in this place are impossible; the young Randolph has demoralized them all! That ’s the same fellow who, last summer, wanted to give me a definition of my aunt. (Seeing Daisy.) Ah, that poor creature! (Aloud.) I’m afraid I’m intruding’on you here.
DAISY, coming forward. You have as good a right here as I. I don’t think I have any.
WINTERBOURNE. You mean as an invalid ? I am very happy to see you better.
DAISY. Thank you. I’m very well.
WINTERBOURNE. I asked about you every day.
DAISY. They never told me.
WINTERBOURNE. That was your faithful courier !
DAISY. He was so frightened at my illness that he could n’t remember anything.
WINTERBOURNE. Oh, yes, he was terribly afraid he should lose you. For a couple of days it was very serious.
DAISY, How do you know that ?
WINTERBOURNE. I asked the doctor.
DAISY, aside. He ’s very strange. Why should he care ?
WINTERBOURNE. He said you had done what might kill you.
DAISY. At the Coliseum ?
WINTERBOURNE. At the Coliseum.
DAISY. Why didn’t you tell me that, when you saw me there ?
WINTERBOURNE. Because you had an adviser in whom you have much more faith.
DAISY. Mr. Giovanelli? Oh, it ’s not his fault. He begged me to come away.
WINTERBOURNE. If you didn’t mind him, you would n’t have minded me.
DAISY. I did n’t care what happened. But I noticed, all the same, that you did n’t speak to me.
WINTERBOURNE. I had nothing to say.
DAISY. You only bowed, very low.
WINTERBOURNE. That was to express my great respect.
DAISY. I had never had such a bow before.
WINTERBOURNE. YOU had never been so worthy of it!
DAISY, aside. He despises me ! Well, I don’t care ! (Aloud.) It was lovely there in the moonlight.
WINTERBOURNE. I was sure yon found it so. That was another reason I did n’t wish to interrupt you.
DAISY, playing indifference. What were you doing there, all alone ?
WINTERBOURNE. I had been dining at a villa in that part of Rome, and I simply stopped, as I walked home, to take a look at the splendid ruin.
DAISY, after a pause, in the same manner. I should n’t think you’d go round alone.
WINTERBOURNE. I have to go as I can ; I have n’t your resources.
DAISY. Don’t you know any ladies ?
WINTERBOURNE. Yes; but they don’t expose themselves . . .
DAISY, with quick emotion. Expose themselves to be treated as you treated me !
WINTERBOURNE. You’re rather difficult to please. (Reënter the waiter.)
THE WAITER. Madame de Katko will come in about ten minutes, sir.
WINTERBOURNE. Very good.
THE WAITER. She ’s just pouring out tea for the company.
WINTERBOURNE. That will do.
THE WAITER, smiling. You know the Russians must have their tea, sir.
WINTERBOURNE. YOU talk too much.
THE WAITER, going out. He ’s very sharp to-night! (Exit Waiter.)
DAISY, who has turned away a moment, coming down. If you are expecting some one, I ’ll go away.
WINTERBOURNE. There’s another public room. I ’ll see my friend there.
DAISY. I ’ve nothing to do here. ( Goes toward the door, but stops half-way, looking at him.) You see a great deal of Madame de Katkoff. Doesn’t she expose herself ?
WINTERBOURNE, smiling. To dangerous consequences ? Never!
DAISY. She comes down again, as if unable to decide to leave him. Aside. I’m determined to know what he thinks. (Aloud, in a different tone.) I was going out on the balcony, to see what’s going on.
WINTERBOURNE. Aren’t you afraid of the night air ?
DAISY. I ’in not afraid of anything!
WINTERBOURNE. Are you going to begin again?
DAISY. Ah, I’m too late ! It’s nearly over. (At the moment she speaks, Mrs. Costello appears in the window, from the balcony. Reënter Mrs. Costello.)
MRS. C., to Winterbourne. Merciful powers! I thought you were Mr. Reverdy! (Looking at Daisy.) And that this young lady was my Alice !
DAISY. Something very different, you see! Now I can have the balcony. (She passes out of the window.)
MRS. C. What are you doing with that girl ? I thought you had dropped her.
WINTERBOURNE. I was asking about her health. She has been down with the fever.
MRS. C. It will do her good — make her reflect on her sins. But what have you done with my young companions ?
WINTERBOURNE. Nothing in the world. The last I saw of them they were frolicking in the Corso.
MRS. C. Frolicking in the Corso? Alice and Mr. Reverdy ?
WINTERBOURNE. I met them as I was coming from my lodgings to the hotel. He was blowing a tin trumpet, and she was hiding behind a mask.
MRS. C. A tin trumpet and a mask ! Have they gone to perdition ?
WINTERBOURNE. They are only taking advantage of the Carnival.
MRS. C. Taking advantage of my back; I had turned it for three minutes ! They were on the balcony with me, looking at this vulgar riot, and they slipped away to come in here.
WINTERBOURNE. You never give them a chance : they hunger and thirst!
MRS. C. A chance to masquerade ? Think of her education !
WINTERBOURNE. I’m thinking of it now. You see the results.
MRS. C. I said to myself that I was perhaps too vigilant, and I left them here a moment to talk things over. I saw through the window a young lady and a gentleman, and I took it for granted it was they.
WINTERBOURNE. Ingenuous aunt ! They were already a mile away !
MRS. C. It’s too horrible to believe. You must immediately bring them back.
WINTERBOURNE. Impossible just now. I have an engagement here.
MRS. C. I ’ll go and look for them myself!
WINTERBOURNE, laying his hand on her arm. Don’t, don’t! Let them have a little fun!
MRS. C. I never heard of anything so cynical !
WINTERBOURNE. Don’t you want them to marry ?
MRS. C. TO marry, yes; but not to elope!
WINTERBOURNE. Let them do it in their own way.
MRS. C. With a mask and a tin trumpet? A girl I’ve watched like that!
WINTERBOURNE. You’ve watched too much. They ’ll come home engaged.
MRS. C. Ah, bring them, then, quickly !
WINTERBOURNE. I ’ll go down into the street and look ; and if I see them, I ’ll tell them what’s expected of them.
MRS. C. I ’ll go to my room ; I feel a headache coming on. (Before she goes out, to herself, as if a thought has struck her.) Had they bribed that monster to kiss his hand ? (Exeunt.)
SCENE IV. GIOVANELLI, DAISY. He enters the room, and she comes in from the balcony at the same moment. He advances with a radiant smile, takes both of her hands, holds them for a moment devotedly, then kisses each of them.
GIOVANELLI.Carissima signorina! When I see you restored to health, I begin to live myself!
DAISY. Poor old Giovanelli! I believe you do care for me !
GIOVANELLI. Care for you ? When I heard you were ill, I neither ate nor slept. I thought I, too, should have to have the doctor.
DAISY,laughing. I should have sent you mine if I had known it. You must eat a good supper to-night, for I am all right now.
GIOVANELLI. YOU look still a little pale.
DAISY. I look like a fright, of course, in this dreadful dress; but I’m only a convalescent. If I had known you were coming, I should have worn something better.
GIOVANELLI. You look like an angel, always. You might have been sure I would come, after so many days. I was always at your door, asking for news. But now, I think, we shall never again be separated.
DAISY. Never again ? Oh, don’t talk about the future ! What were you doing there in the street ?
GIOVANELLI. When I looked up and saw you on the balcony, bending over like a little saint in her shrine? It was that vision that made me come up again.
DAISY. You had gone out to enjoy the Carnival ?
GIOVANELLI. I had come here to see you ; but I learned from your excellent Eugenio that your mother and your brother were going out in a carriage. They appeared at that moment, and I went down with them to the door, to wish them a happy drive. Little Randolph was greatly excited.
DAISY. He insisted on mother’s going ; she ’ll do anything for Randolph. But she did n’t want to leave me.
GIOVANELLI,smiling. She has left you to me!
DAISY. Did Eugenio go with them ?
GIOVANELLI. Oh, yes ; he got into the carriage. (Aside.) The cheek of that man !
DAISY. They have left me alone, then.
GIOVANELLI. I am almost of the family, dear Miss !
DAISY,apparently not hearing him, listening to the sounds from without. They oughtn’t to have left me alone — when I’m sick, when I’m weak.
GIOVANELLI,anxiously. You are not so well, then, as you say ?
DAISY,looking at him a moment, with a little laugh. You look so scared at the idea of losing me ! Poor old Giovanelli ! What should you do if you were to lose me ?
GIOVANELLI. Don’t speak of it — it’s horrible ! If you are not well, you should go to your room.
DAISY. Oh, I’m all right. I only wanted to frighten you.
GIOVANELLI. It is n’t kind — when you know how I love you!
DAISY. I don’t know it, and I don’t want to know it, as I’ve told you often. I forbid you to speak of that.
GIOVANELLI. YOU will never let me mention the future.
DAISY. I hate the future ; I care only for the present!
GIOVANELLI. The future is the present, when one sees it as we see it.
DAISY. I don’t see it at all, and I don’t want to see it. I saw it for a moment, when I was sick, and that was enough.
GIOVANELLI. YOU have suffered much; but it was not my fault.
DAISY. I don’t blame you, Giovanelli. You are very kind. Where are they going, mother and Randolph ?
GIOVANELLI. Up and down the Corso ; wherever there is something to see. They have an open carriage, with lots of flowers.
DAISY. It must be charming. Have you been going round ?
GIOVANELLI. I have strolled about a little.
DAISY. Is it very, very amusing ?
GIOVANELLI. Ah, you know, I’m an old Roman; I have seen it many times. The illumination is better than usual, and the music is lively enough.
DAISY. Listen to the music — listen to it!
GIOVANELLI, smiling. You mustn’t let it go to your head. (Daisy goes to the window, and stands there a moment.) She has never been so lovely as tonight !
DAISY, coming back, with decision. Giovanelli, you must get me a carriage.
GIOVANELLI, startled. A carriage, signorina ?
DAISY. I must go out — I must!
GIOVANELLI. There is not a carriage to be had at this hour. Everything is taken for the fête.
DAISY. Then I ’ll go on foot. You must take me.
GIOVANELLI. Into the air of the night, and the crowded streets ? It’s enough to kill you !
DAISY. It’s a lovely night, as mild as June ; and it’s only for five minutes.
GIOVANELLI. The softer the night, the greater the danger of the malaria. Five minutes, in your condition, would bring back the fever.
DAISY. I shall have the fever if I stay here listening, longing, fidgeting ! You said I was pale ; but it’s only the delicacy of my complexion.
GIOVANELLI. YOU are not pale now ; you have a little spot in either cheek. Your mother will not be happy.
DAISY. She shouldn’t have left me alone, then.
GIOVANELLI. You are not alone when you ’re with me.
DAISY. Of what use are you, except to take me out ?
GIOVANELLI. It’s impossible to contradict you. For five minutes, then, remember !
DAISY. For five minutes, then ; or for ten ! I ’ll go and get ready. Don’t mind about the carriage: we ’ll do it better on foot.
GIOVANELLI, at the door. It’s at your own risk, you know. I ’ll try for a cab.
DAISY. My own risk! I’m not afraid.
GIOVANELLI, kissing his hand to her. You are awfully beautiful ! (Exit Giovanelli.)
DAISY, alone. I’m not afraid — I don’t care ! I don’t like him to-night; he’s too serious. I would rather be out-of-doors with him than shut up here. Poor Giovanelli; if he thinks I love him, after all I’ve said to the contrary ... I can dress in three minutes. (She is going to the door opposite to the one through which Giovanelli has made his exit when Madame de Katkoff comes in, meeting her.)
SCENE V. DAISY, MADAME DE KATKOFF. They stand a moment, looking at each other.
MME. DE KATKOFF, very kindly. I have not the pleasure of knowing you, though we have spent half the winter in the same hotel ; but I have heard of your illness, and you must let me tell you how glad I am to see you better.
DAISY, aside. Why does she speak to me ? I don’t like her, nor want to know her. Aloud.) Thank you, I’m better. I’m going out.
MME. DE K. YOU must be better, indeed ; but(with interest) you look a little flushed.
DAISY. It’s talking with a stranger. I think I must go.
MME. DE K. Perhaps you can tell me something first. A gentleman sent me his name, and I was told I should find him here. May I ask you whether you have seen such a person ?
DAISY. If you mean Mr. Winterbourne, he was here just now ; but he went away with his aunt.
MME. DE K. I suppose he ’ll come back, then. But he oughtn’t to keep me waiting.
DAISY,very coldly. I haven’t the least idea what he ought to do. I know nothing whatever of his movements.
MME. DE K., aside. Poor little thing, she hates me! But she doesn’t’ hate him. (Aloud.) I’m a stranger as you say; but I should be very glad to become a little less of one.
DAISY. Why should you want to know me ? I’m not of your age.
MME. DE K., aside, smiling. She hates me indeed! (Aloud.) I should be tempted to say that we might know each other a little as mother and daughter— if I hadn’t heard that you are already the devoted daughter of a devoted mother.
DAISY. She’s good enough for me — and I’m good enough for her.
MME. DE K,, more and more gracious. I envy you both, and I am happy to have the opportunity of saying so. One doesn’t know how pretty you are till one talks to you.
DAISY. If you are laughing at my dress, I am just going to change it.
MME.DE K. Laughing at your dress? It has always been my admiration.
DAISY,aside. What does she mean by that? It’s not as good as hers. (Aloud.) I can’t stay with you. I’m going to the Carnival.
MME. DE K. It will last all night; you have plenty of time. I have heard Mr. Winterbourne speak of you.
DAISY. I did n’t suppose he ever did that.
MME. DE K. Oh! very often. That’s why I want to know you.
DAISY. It’s a strange reason. He must have told you pretty things of me.
MME. DE K. He has told me you ’re a charming young girl.
DAISY, aside. Oh, what an awful story ! (Aloud.) I don’t understand what you want of me.
MME. DE K., aside. I can hardly tell her that I want to make up to her for the harm I have done her, for I can’t do that unless I give up everything. (Aloud, as if struck by an ideal) I want to be kind to you. I want to keep you from going out.
DAISY,smiling. I don’t think you can do that.
MME. DE K. You are barely convalescent: you mustn’t expose yourself.
DAISY. It won’t hurt any one but me.
MME. DE K. We all take a great interest in you. We should be in despair if you were to have a relapse.
DAISY. YOU all despise me and think me dreadful ; that’s what you all do !
MME. DE K. Where did you learn that remarkable fact ?
DAISY. Mr. Winterbourne told me — since you speak of Mr. Winterbourne.
MME. DE K. I don’t think you understood him. Mr. Winterbourne is a perfect gentleman.
DAISY. Have you come here to praise him to me ? That’s strange — for you!
MME. DE K. You know at least that I consider him an excellent friend.
DAISY. I know nothing whatever about it. (Aside.) She wants to torture me — to triumph !
MME. DE K., aside. She’s as proud as she’s pretty ! (Aloud.) Are you going out alone ?
DAISY. No, indeed. I have a friend.
MME. DE K., aside. A friend as well as I. (Aloud.) My dear child, I am very sorry for you. You have too many wrong ideas.
DAISY. That’s exactly what they say!
MME. DE K. I don’t mean it as other people may have meant it. You make a great many mistakes.
DAISY. As many as I possibly can! In America I was always right.
MME. DE K. Try and believe you are in America now. I’m not an American, but I want to be your friend.
DAISY. I’m much obliged to you, but I don’t trust you.
MME. DE K. You trust the wrong people. With whom are you going out?
DAISY. I don’t think I’m obliged to tell you.
MME. DE K., gently. I ask for a very good motive.
DAISY, aside. She may be better than I think. (Aloud.) With Mr. Giovanelli.
MME. DE K., smiling. A mysterious Italian — introduced by your courier !
DAISY, with simplicity. Oh, no; Eugenio got some one else !
MME. DE K., aside. Adorable innocence ! (Aloud.) That’s all I wanted to know.
DAISY. I hope you’ve got nothing to say against him.
MME. DE K. Nothing but this: he’s not a gentleman.
DAISY. Not a gentleman ? Poor old Giovanelli!
MME. DE K., aside. “ Poor old Giovanelli ? ” Good ! (Aloud.) If he were a gentleman, he would n’t ask you to do what you tell me you are on the point of doing.
DAISY. He never asked me. He does what I wish !
MME. DE K., aside. She does n’t care a fig for him — and I should like to exasperate the courier. (Aloud.) It’s none of my business ; but why do you wish, in your condition, to go out ?
DAISY. Because it’s the last night of the Carnival, and I have no one else to take me.
MME. DE K. Excuse me ; but where is your mother ?
DAISY. Gone out with my brother.
MME. DE K., aside. Extraordinary family ! (Aloud.) Let me make you an offer : I will order out my carriage, and take you myself.
DAISY, staring. Take me yourself ? (Then abruptly, ironically.) Pray, what would become of Mr. Winterbourne ?
MME. DE K., aside. She adores him! (Aloud.) Ah, you don’t care for Giovanelli !
DAISY. Whether I care for him or not, I must n’t keep him waiting. (Exit Daisy, hastily.)
MME. DE K., alone. She’s trembling with agitation, and her poor little heart is full. She thought I wished to torment her. My position is odiously false! And to think I hold her happiness in my hands ! (Winterbourne comes in.) His, too, poor fellow ! Ah, I can’t hold it any longer !
SCENE VI. MME. DE KATKOFE, WINTERBOURNE.
WINTERBOURNE. I am afraid I have kept you waiting. I was carried away by my aunt.
MME. DE K. Is she keeping the Carnival, your aunt ?
WINTERBOURNE. No, but her companions are. They are masquerading in the Corso, and she’s in despair. She sent me to hunt them up, but they are lost in the crowd.
MME. DE K. Do you mean the young lady whom you described as so prim ? If that’s a specimen of her primness, I was right in my little theory.
WINTERBOURNE. Your little theory?
MME. DE K. That the grave ones are the gay ones.
WINTERBOURNE. Poor Miss Durant is n’t gay: she’s simply desperate. My aunt keeps such watch at the door that she has been obliged to jump out of the window. — Have you waited very long ?
MME. DE K. I hardly know. I have had company — Miss Daisy Miller !
WINTERBOURNE. That must have made the time fly !
MME. DE K. She’s very touching.
WINTERBOURNE. Very, indeed. She has gone to pieces.
MME. DE K. Gone to pieces ?
WINTERBOURNE. She’s quite impossible. You ought n’t to talk to her.
MME. DE K., aside. Ah, what a fool ‘I’ve made of him ! (Aloud.) You think she ’ll corrupt my innocence ?
WINTERBOURNE,after a moment. I don’t like you to speak of her. Please don’t.
MME. DE K. She completes my little theory — that the gay ones are the grave ones.
WINTERBOURNE. If she’s grave, she well may be : her situation is intensely grave. As for her native solemnity, you used to insist upon that when, for reasons best known to yourself, you conceived the remarkable design of inducing me to make love to her. You dropped the idea as suddenly as you took it up ; but I’m very sorry to see any symptoms of your taking it up again. It seems to me it’s hardly the moment.
MME. DE K., aside. It’s more the moment than you think.
WINTERBOURNE,rather harshly. I was very sorry to learn, on coming here, that you have your rooms full of people.
MME. DE K. They have come to look out of my windows. It is not my fault that I have such a view of the Corso.
WINTERBOURNE. You had given me to understand that we should be alone.
MME. DE K. I did n’t ask them; they came themselves.
WINTERBOURNE,impatiently. I wish to goodness they had stayed at home!
MME. DE K. Should you like me to turn them out ?
WINTERBOURNE. I should like it particularly.
MME. DE K. The ambassador and all ?
WINTERBOURNE. You told me a month ago that where I was concerned you did n’t care a straw for the ambassador.
MME. DE K., after a moment. A month ago — yes !
WINTERBOURNE. If you intended to change so soon, you ought to have notified me at the moment.
MME. DE K. The ambassador is very considerate. When I have a few visitors, he helps me to entertain them.
WINTERBOURNE. That proves how little you have need of me.
MME. DE K. I have left my guests in his charge; with perfect confidence.
WINTERBOURNE. Oh, if you mean you are at liberty, that’s just what I want.
MME. DE K. What does it occur to you to propose ?
WINTERBOURNE. That you should drive out with me, to see the illumination.
MME. DE K. I have seen fifty illuminations ! I am sick of the Carnival.
WINTERBOURNE. It is n’t the Carnival ; it’s the drive. I have a carriage at the door.
MME. DE K. I have no doubt it would be charming; but I am not at liberty in that sense. I can’t leave a roomful of people planted there ! I really don’t see why they should make you so savage.
WINTERBOURNE. I am not savage, but I am disappointed. I counted on this evening : it’s a week since we have been alone.
MME. DE K. DO I appear to so little advantage in company? Are you ashamed of me when others are present? I do the best I can.
WINTERBOURNE. You were always strange — and you always will be! Sometimes I think you have taken a vow to torment me.
MME. DE K. I have taken a vow — that’s very true; and I admit I’m strange. We Russians are, you know : you had warning of that!
WINTERBOURNE. Yes; but you abuse the national privilege. I’m never safe with you—never sure of you. You turn from one thing to the other.
MME. DE K., aside. Poor fellow, he’s bewildered ! (Aloud.) Will you do me a favor ?
WINTERBOURNE. I’m sure it’s something horrible !
MME. DE K. You say you have a carriage at the door. Take it, and go after that poor girl.
WINTERBOURNE. Oh, are you coming back to her ? You try my patience !
MME. DE K. She has just risen from an attack of fever, and it strikes her as a knowing thing to finish her evening in the streets !
WINTERBOURNE, starting a little. She has gone out — looking that way ?
MME. DE K., aside. That will touch him! (Aloud.) She won’t come home alive.
WINTERBOURNE, attentive. Do you believe that ?
MME. DE K., aside. It has touched him. (Aloud.) I think it’s madness. Her only safety was to have left Rome the moment she could he moved.
WINTERBOURNE, after a pause. I ’m not sure the best thing that can happen to her is not to die! She ought to perish in her flower, as she once said to me !
MME. DE K. That’s a convenient theory, to save you the trouble of a drive !
WINTERBOURNE. You’re remarkably pressing, but you had better spare your sarcasm. I have no further interest in the fate of Miss Daisy Miller, and no commission whatever to interfere with her movements. She has a mother — a sort of one — and she has other protectors. I don’t suppose she has gone out alone.
MME. DE K. She has gone with her Italian.
WINTERBOURNE. Giovanelli ? Ah, the scoundrel!
MME. DE K., smiling, aside. My dear friend, you ’re all right.(Aloud.) Gently, gently ! It’s nothis fault.
WINTERBOURNE. That she is infatuated ? Perhaps not.
MME. DE K. Infatuated ? She does n’t care a straw for him !
WINTERBOURNE. And to prove her indifference, she lets him take her on this devil’s drive ? I don’t quite see it.
MME. DE K. He’s her convenience — her little pretext — her poor old Giovanelli. He fetches and carries, and she finds him very useful; but that’s the end of it. She takes him to drive : he does n’t take her.
WINTERBOURNE. Did she kindly inform you of these interesting facts ?
MME. DE K. I had a long talk with her. One woman understands another!
WINTERBOURNE. I hope she understands you. It’s more than I do.
MME. DE K. She has gone out because she’s unhappy. She does n’t care what becomes of her.
WINTERBOURNE. I never suspected her of such tragic propensities. Pray, what is she unhappy about ?
MME. DE K. About the hard things people say of her.
WINTERBOURNE. She has only to behave like other girls, then.
MME. DE K. Like your friend, Miss Durant? A pretty model, this evening! You say you hope poor Daisy understands me ; but she does n’t — and that’s part of the misery. She can’t make out what I have made of you !
WINTERBOURNE. A creature as miserable as herself ! You might have explained : you had the opportunity.
MME. DE K. She left me abruptly — and I lost it forever !
WINTERBOURNE. All this is nothing tous. When will your friends leave you?
MME. DE K., after a pause. No, it’s nothing to us. — I have n’t asked my friends how long they mean to stay.
WINTERBOURNE. Till eleven o’clock — till twelve ?
MME. DE K. Till one in the morning, perhaps — or till two. They will see the Carnival out. (Smiling.) You had much better join us !
WINTERBOURNE, passionately. Unfathomable woman! In pity’s name, what did you mean by raising my hopes to such a point, a month ago, only to dash them to the ground ?
MME. DE K. I tried to make you happy — but I did n’t succeed.
WINTERBOURNE. You tried ? Are you trying now ?
MME. DE K. No, I have given it up : it’s a waste of time !
WINTERBOURNE. Have you forgotten the day on the Pincian, after your arrival, and what you suddenly offered me — what you promised me — there ? You had kept me at arm’s length for three years, and suddenly the barrier dropped. The angel of justice has kept the record of my gratitude and eagerness — as well as of my surprise; and if my tenderness and respect were not greater than ever, it is because you had already had the best of them ! Have you forgotten our moonlight drive through the streets of Rome, with its rich confusion of ancient memories and new-born hopes ? You were perfect that evening, and for many days afterwards. But suddenly you began to change — to be absent, to be silent, to be cold, to go back to your old attitude. To-night it’s as if you were trying to make me angry! Do you wish to throw me over, and leave me lying in the dust? Are you only the most audacious of coquettes ?
MME. DE K. It’s not I who have changed; it’s you ! Of course I remember our moonlight drive, and how glad you were to take it. You were happy for an hour — you were happy for three days. There was novelty and excitement in finding that, after all, I had a heart in my bosom ; and for a moment the discovery amused you. But only for a moment! So long as I refused to listen to you, you cared for me. From the day I confessed myself touched, I became a bore!
WINTERBOURNE. If you want to get rid of me, don’t put it off on me !
MME. DE K. You don’t really care for me; your heart is somewhere else. You are too proud to confess it, but your love for me is an elaborate deception.
WINTERBOURNE, The deception is yours, then — not mine !
MME. DE K. You are restless, discontented, unhappy. You are sore and sick at heart, and you have tried to forget it in persuading yourself that I can cure your pain. I can cure it; but not by encouraging your illusion !
WINTERBOURNE. If you thought it an illusion, why did you turn there and smile on me ?
MME. DE K. Because I was vile and wicked — because I have played a part and worn a mask, like those idiots in the Carnival — because I’m a most unhappy woman !
WINTERBOURNE,looking at her, surprised. I assure you, I understand you less and less!
MME. DE K. I had an end to gain, and I thought it precious ; but I have suddenly begun to loathe it! When I met that poor girl just now, and looked into her face, I was filled with compassion and shame. She is dying, I say, and between us we are killing her! Dying because she loves you, and because she thinks you despise her ! Dying because you have turned away from her, and she has tried to stifle the pang! Dying because I have held you here — under compulsion of a scoundrel — and she thinks she has lost you forever! I read it all in her eyes — the purest I ever saw! I am sick of the ghastly comedy, and I must tell the miserable truth. If you ’ll believe me, it’s not too late!
WINTERBOURNE,amazed and bewildered. Under compulsion — of a scoundrel ?
MME. DE K. I have the misfortune to be in the clutches of one, and so has our little friend. You know that her mother’s horrible courier was once in my husband’s service. Thanks to that accident, he has some papers of mine which I wish to buy back. To make me pay for them, he has forced me to play his game.
WINTERBOURNE. His game ? What has he to do with a game ?
MME. DE K. I don’t defend him: I explain. He has selected a husband for his young lady, and your superior attractions had somehow to be muffled up. You were to be kept out of the way.
WINTERBOURNE,frowning. Because I love her ? (Correcting himself.) I mean, because he thinks so ?
MME. DE K., smiling. You see I’m right! Because she loves you : he has discovered that! So he had the happy thought of saying to me, “ Keep Mr. Winterbourne employed, and if the young lady marries my candidate you shall have your letter.”
WINTERBOURNE. Your letter? What letter ?
MME. DE K. A very silly — but very innocent — one that I wrote some ten years ago.
WINTERBOURNE. Why did n’t you ask me to get it ?
MME. DE K. Because I did n’t want it enough for that ; and now I don’t want it at all.
WINTERBOURNE. You shall have it — I promise you that.
MME. DE K. YOU are very generous, after the trick I have played you.
WINTERBOURNE. The trick ? Was it all a trick ?
MME. DE K. An infamous, pitiless trick ! I was frightened, I was tempted, I was demoralized ; he had me in his power. To be cruel to you was bad enough : to be cruel to her was a crime I shall try to expiate !
WINTERBOURNE, seated, his head in his hands. You ’ll excuse me if I feel rather stunned.
MME. DE K., sinking on her knees. I ask your forgiveness ! I have been living in a bad dream.
WINTERBOURNE. Ah, you have hurt me — more than I can say !
MME. DE K., rising to her feet. Don ‘t think of yourself,—think of her! If I had only met her before, how much sooner I should have done that! We will go and find her together; we will bring her back ; we will nurse her and comfort her, and make her understand!
WINTERBOURNE. It’s all so extraordinary — and I have only your word for it.
MME. DE K. See if she contradicts me when you tell her you love her ! You don’t venture to deny that.
WINTERBOURNE. I have denied it to myself : why should n’t I deny it to you !
MME. DE K. You have denied it to yourself ? Who, then, had charged you with it ?
WINTERBOURNE. You are not consistent, but you are perhaps more consistent than I! And you are very deep !
MME. DE K. I am deep enough to be very sure that from this moment forward I shall be nothing to you. If I have cured you of a baseless passion, that at least is a good work. Venture to say that for these three weeks I have satisfied you.
WINTERBOURNE, turning away. You are pitiless — you are terrible !
MME. DE K., looking at him a moment. My vanity bleeds : be that my penance! Don’t lose time. Go to her now.
WINTERBOURNE, in thought, gloomily. Dying ? — Dying ? — Dying ?
MME. DE K. That was a little for the sake of argument. She will live again — for you!
WINTERBOURNE, in the same tone. Gone out with that man ? Always with him!
MME. DE K. My dear friend, she has her little pride, as well as you. She pretends to flirt with Giovanelli because her poor, swollen heart whispers to her to be brave!
WINTERBOURNE, uncertain. Pretends — only pretends ?
MME. DE K., impatient. Oh, you’ve been stupid ; but be clever now!
WINTERBOURNE, after a pause. How am I to know that this is not another trick ?
MME. DE K., clasping her hands, but smiling. Have mercy on me ! Those words are my punishment!
WINTERBOURNE. I have been an idiot — I have been a brute— I have been a butcher!
MME. DE K. Perhaps she has come back. For God’s sake, go and see !
WINTERBOURNE. And if she’s still out there ? I can’t talk of these things in the street.
MME. DE K. Bring her home, bring her home ! Every moment’s a danger. I offered to go with you ; but you would rather go alone.
WINTERBOURNE, takes up his hat. Yes, I would rather go alone. You have hurt me very much ; but you shall have your letter.
MME. DE K. I don’t care for my letter now. There’s such a weight off my heart that I don’t feel that one. (She leaves the room by the right, and Winterbourne is on the point of quitting it on the other side, when Mrs. Walker, Miss Durant and Charles Reverdy come in, meeting him.)
SCENE VII. WINTERBOURNE, MRS. WALKER, MISS DURANT, REVERDY.
MRS. W. Pray, where is your aunt, Mr. Winterbourne ? I have brought her back her truants.
WINTERBOURNE. She has retired to her room, to nurse a headache produced by the sudden collapse of her illusions.
Miss D. I thought she would be rather shocked ; but Mr. Reverdy assured me that in the Carnival all common laws are suspended.
REVERDY. SO we thought the law that governs Mrs. Costello’s headaches might conform to the others.
WINTERBOURNE. What did you think about the law that governs her temper ?
REVERDY. Nothing at all, because, so far as I have ascertained, there is n’t any !
MRS. W., to Winterbourne. They were jostling along, arm in arm, in the midst of the excited populace. I saw them from my carriage, and, having the Consul with me, I immediately overhauled them. The young lady had a wonderful disguise, but I recognized her from Mr. Reverdy’s manner.
Miss D. There, sir, I told you you had too much !
REVERDY, aside. One needs a good deal, when one’s about to make an offer of one’s heart. (Aloud.) It takes a vast deal of manner to carry off a tin trumpet! ( Winterbourne has listened to this absently; he appears restless and preoccupied; walks up, and goes out upon the balcony.)
MRS. W., noticing Winterbourne. What’s the matter with him ? — All I can say is that in my representative position I thought I must interfere.
REVERDY, aside. The wife of the Consul again ? Our consuls ought to be bachelors !
MRS. W. YOU were dragging her along, with your arm placed as if you were waltzing.
REVERDY. That ’s very true; we were just trying a few rounds.
MRS. W. In that dense mass of people, where you were packed like sardines ?
REVERDY. We were all turning together ; it was all one waltz !
MRS. W., to Miss Durant. Mrs. Costello, my dear, will make you dance in earnest !
Miss D. I don’t care for Mrs. Costello now !
REVERDY. Let me thank you for those noble words. (Aside.) You understood, then ?
Miss D., ingenuous. Understood what ?
REVERDY. What I was saying when she came down on us.
Miss D. Oh yes, as far as you’d got!
REVERDY. I must get a little farther.
MRS. W., who has gone up to Winterbourne, and comes down with him. You may be interested to hear that I saw our little friend in the crowd.
WINTERBOURNE. Our little friend?
MRS. W. Whom we tried to save from drowning. I didn’t try this time.
WINTERBOURNE. In the crowd, on foot ?
MRS. W. In the thickest and roughest part of it, on Giovanelli’s arm. The crush was so dense, it was enough to kill her.
Miss D. They are very good-natured, but you do suffocate !
MRS. W. She ’ll suffocate easily, in her weak state.
WINTERBOURNE. Oh, I can’t stand this! Excuse me. (Exit Winterbourne.)
MRS. W. What’s the matter with him, I should like to know?
Mrss D. He has been like that these three weeks, rushing in and out — always in a fidget.
REVERDY, to Mrs. Walker. He’s in love with Miss Durant, and he can’t stand the spectacle of our mutual attachment.
Miss D., gayly. You horrid vain creature ! If that’s all that troubles him!
REVERDY, aside. She ’ll accept me! (Aloud.) Courage—the old lady! (Enter Mrs. Costello.)
SCENE VIII. MRS. WALKER, MISS DURANT, REVERDY, MRS. COSTELLO; then DAISY, WINTERBOURNE, GIOVANELLI, MME. DE KATKOFF.
MRS. C. (She stops a moment, looking sternly from Miss Durant to Reverdy.) Alice Durant, have you forgotten your education ?
Miss D. Dear Cousin Louisa, my education made no provision for the Carnival !
REVERDY. That’s not in the regular course ; it’s one of the extras.
Miss D. I was just going to your room, to tell you we had come back.
MRS. C. I ’ve passed an hour there, in horrible torture. I could stand it no longer : I came to see if, for very shame, you hadn’t reappeared.
MRS. W. The Consul and I picked them up, and made them get into our carriage. So you see it was not for shame !
REVERDY. It was n’t for ours, at least; it was for yours.
MRS. C., with majesty, to Miss Durant. We shall start for America tomorrow.
Miss D. I’m delighted to hear it. There, at least, we can walk about.
MRS. C. Ah, but you ’ll find no Carnival !
REVERDY. My dear Madam, we shall make our own.
MRS. C., aside to Miss Durant. This time, it’s to be hoped, he has done it ?
Miss D., blushing and looking down. He was on the very point, when Mrs. Walker interrupted!
MRS. C. I declare, it ’s beyond a joke — to take you back just as I brought you.
MISS D. It’s very tiresome ; but it’s not my fault.
REVERDY, who has been talking to Mrs. Walker. Miss Alice, shall we try the balcony again ?
MRS. C. It’s past midnight, if you please; time for us all to retire.
REVERDY. That’s just what I propose : to retire to the balcony !
Miss D., to Mrs. Costello. Just occupy Mrs. Walker!
REVERDY,to Mrs. Walker. Just keep hold of Mrs. Costello ! ( Offers his arm to Miss Durant, and leads her to the balcony.)
MRS. W., looking after them. I must wait till the Consul comes. My dear friend, I hope those young people are engaged.
MRS. C., with asperity. They might be, if it had n’t been for you !
MRS. W., surprised. Pray, how have I prevented ? . . .
MRS. C. You interrupted Mr. Reverdy, just now, in the very middle . . .
MRS. W. The middle of a declaration ? I thought it was a jig! (As the door of the room is flung open.) Bless my soul! what’s this ? (Enter rapidly Winterbourne, carrying Daisy, in a swoon, in his arms, and followed by Giovanelli, who looks both extremely alarmed and extremely indignant. At the same moment Madame de Katkoff enters from the opposite side.)
MME. DE K., with a cry. Ah, it’s all over! She is gone !
WINTERBOURNE. A chair ! A chair ! Heaven forgive us, she is dying ! ( Giovanelli has quickly pushed forward a large arm-chair, in which Winterbourne places Daisy with great tenderness. She lies there motionless and unconscious. The others gather round. Miss Durant and Reverdy come in from the balcony.)
MRS. C., seeing the two last. Ah, they ’re interrupted again !
MRS. W. This time, she ’s really drowned!
GIOVANELLI,much agitated, but smiling to Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Walker. It will pass in a moment. It is only the effect of the crowd — the pressure of the mob !
WINTERBOURNE,beside Daisy, with passionate tenderness. It will pass — because she ’s passing! Dead — dead — in my arms !
MRS. C., harshly. A pretty place for her to be ! She’ll come to life again : they don’t die like that.
MRS. W., indignant, to Giovanelli. The pressure of the mob ? A proper pressure to subject her to!
GIOVANELLI, bewildered and apologetic. She was so lovely that they all made way ; but just near the hotel we encountered one of those enormous cars, laden with musicians and maskers. The crowd was driven back, and we were hustled and smothered. She gave a little cry, and before I knew it she had fainted. The next moment this gentleman — by I know not what warrant — had taken her in his arms.
WINTERBOURNE. By the warrant of being her countryman ! Instead of entertaining those ladies, you had better go for a doctor.
GIOVANELLI. They have sent from the hotel. Half a dozen messengers started.
REVERDY. Half a dozen is no one at all ! I ’ll go and bring one myself — in five minutes.
Miss D. Go, go, my dear! I give you leave. (Reverdy hurries out.)
MRS. C., to Miss Durant. “My dear, my dear ”? Has he done it, then ?
Miss D. Oh yes, we just managed it. (Looking at Daisy.) Poor little thing !
MRS. C. Ah, she has n’t a husband!
WINTERBOURNE, angry, desperate, to the others. Can’t you do something ? Can’t you speak to her ? — can’t you help her ?
MRS. W. I ’ll do anything iu the world! I’ll go for the Consul. (She hurries away on the right.)
MRS. C. I’ve got something in my room — a precious elixir, that I use for my headaches. (To Miss Durant.) But I ’ll not leave you !
Miss D. Not even now ?
MRS us. C. Not till you’re married! (They depart on the left.)
WINTERBOURNE, holding Daisy’s hands and looking into her face. Daisy ! — Daisy ! — Daisy !
MME. DE K., who all this time has been kneeling on the other side of her, her face buried on the arm of the chair, in the attitude of a person weeping. If she can hear that, my friend, she’s saved ! (To Daisy, appealing.) My child, my child, we have wronged you, but we love you !
WINTERBOURNE, in the same manner. Daisy, my dearest, my darling! Wake a moment, if only to forgive me !
MME. DE K. She moves a little ! (Aside, rising to her feet.) He never spoke so to me !
GIOVANELLI, a little apart, looking round him. Where is he, where is he — that ruffian Eugenio ?
WINTERBOURNE. In the name of pity, has no one gone for her mother ? (To Giovanelli.) Don’t stand there, sir ! Go for her mother !
GIOVANELLI, angrily. Give your commands to some one else ! It is not for me to do your errands.
MME. DE K., going to him pleadingly. Have n’t you common compassion ? Do you want to see the child die ?
GIOVANELLI, folding his arms. I would rather see her die than live to be his !
WINTERBOURNE. There is little hope of her being mine. I have insulted — I have defamed — her innocence !
GIOVANELLI. Ay, speak of her innocence ! Her innocence was divine !
DAISY, stirring and murmuring. Mother! Mother!
WINTERBOURNE. She lives, she lives, and she shall choose between us !
GIOVANELLI. Ah, when I hear her voice, I obey ! (Exit.)
DAISY,slowly opening her eyes. Where am I ? Where have I been ?
MME. DE K. She’s saved ! She’s saved !
WINTERBOURNE. You ’re with me, little Daisy. With me forever !
MME. DE K. Ah, decidedly I had better leave you! (Goes out to the balcony.)
DAISY, looking at Winterbourne. With you? With you ? What has happened ?
WINTERBOURNE, still on his knees beside her. Something very blessed. I understand you — I love you !
DAISY, gazing at him a moment. Oh, I’m very happy ! (Sinks back again, closing her eyes.)
WINTERBOURNE. We shall be happy together when you have told me you forgive me. Let me hear you say it — only three words ! (He waits. She remains silent.) Ah, she sinks away again ! Daisy, won’t you live — won’t you live for me?
DAISY, murmuring. It was all for you —it was all for you!
WINTERBOURNE, burying his head in her lap. Vile idiot! Impenetrable fool !
DAISY, with her eyes still closed. I shall be better — but you mustn’t leave me.
WINTERBOURNE. Never again, Daisy — never again ! (At this moment Eugenio strides into the room by the door opposite to the one through which Giovanelli has gone out.)
SCENE IX. WINTERBOURNE, DAISY, EUGENIO, MADAME DE KATKOFF ; then RANDOLPH, and all the others.
EUGENIO, looking amazed at Daisy and Winterbourne. What does this mean ? What horrible thing has happened ?
WINTERBOURNE, on his feet. You will learn what has happened quite soon enough to please you ! But in the meanwhile, it is decent that this young lady should see her mother. ( While he speaks, Madame de Katkoff comes back and takes her place at Daisy’s side, where she stands with her eyes fixed upon Eugenio.)
EUGENIO. Her mother is not important : Miss Miller is in my care. Cara signorina, do you suffer ?
DAISY, vaguely. Poor mother, poor mother! She has gone to the Carnival.
EUGENIO. She came home half an hour ago. She has gone to bed.
MME. DE K. Don’t you think there would be a certain propriety in your requesting her to get up ? (Randolph comes in at this moment, hearing Madame de Katkoff’s words.)
RANDOLPH. She is getting up, you can bet your life ! She’s going to give it to Daisy.
MME. DE KATKOFF. Come and speak to your sister. She has been very ill. (She draws Randolph towards her, and keeps him near her.)
DAISY, smiling languidly at her brother. You are up very late — very late.
RANDOLPH. I can’t sleep — over here ! I’ve been talking to that waiter.
EUGENIO, anxious. I don’t see the Cavaliere. Where is he gone ?
RANDOLPH. He came up to tell mother, and I came back ahead of him. (To Giovanelli, who at this moment returns.) Hallo, Cavaliere!
GIOVANELLI, solemnly, coming in. Mrs. Miller is dressing. She will presently arrive.
MME. DE K., to Randolph. Go and help your mother, and tell her your sister is better.
RANDOLPH. I ’ll tell her through the door — or she ’ll put me to bed! (Marches away.)
GIOVANELLI, approaching Eugenio, aside. I shall never have the girl!
EUGENIO. YOU had better have killed her ! (Aside.) He shall pay me for his flowers ! (Reënter Reverdy.)
REVERDY. The doctor will be here in five minutes.
MME. DE K. He won’t be necessary now; nor even (seeing Mrs. Costello come back with a little bottle, and accompanied by Miss Durant) this lady’s precious elixir !
MRS. C., approaching Daisy, rather stiffly. Perhaps you would like to hold it to your nose.
DAISY, takes the phial, looking at Mrs. Costello with a little smile. Well, I was bound you should speak to me !
REVERDY. And without a presentation, after all!
WINTERBOURNE. Oh yes, I must present. (To his aunt.) I present you my wife !
GIOVANELLI, starting ; then recovering himself and folding his arms. I congratulate you, Mademoiselle, on your taste for the unexpected.
DAISY. Well, it is unexpected. But I never deceived you !
GIOVANELLI. Oh, no, you have n’t deceived me : you have only ruined me !
DAISY. Poor old Giovanelli! Well, you’ve had a good time.
MRS. C., impressively, to Winterbourne. Your wife ?
WINTERBOURNE. My dear aunt, she has stood the test!
EUGENIO, who has walked round to Madame de Katkoff, a low tone. You have n’t kept the terms of our bargain.
MME. DE K. I’m sick of your bargain — and of you !
EUGENIO. (He eyes her a moment; then, vindictively.) I shall give your letter to Mr. Winterbourne.
MME.DE K. Coward! (Aside, joyously.) And Mr. Winterbourne will give it to me.
GIOVANELLI, beside Eugenio. You must find me another heiress.
EUGENIO. I thought you said you’d had enough.
GIOVANELLI. I have been thinking over my debts.
EUGENIO. We ’ll see, then, with my next family. On the same terms, eh ?
GIOVANELLI. Ah, no ; I don’t want a rival ! (Reënter Mrs. Walker.)
MRS. W., to Daisy. I can’t find the Consul ; but as you ’re better it does n’t matter.
DAISY. I don’t want the Consul: I want my mother.
MRS. W. I went to her room as well. Randolph had told her you were better, and so — and so — (Pausing, a little embarrassed, and looking round the circle.)
DAISY. She is n’t coming ?
MRS. W. She has gone back to bed !
MRS. C., as to herself and the audience. They are queer people, all the same!
Miss D., to Mrs. Costello. Shall we start for America now ?
REVERDY. Of course we shall — to be married !
WINTERBOURNE, laying his hand on Reverdy’s shoulder. We shall be married the same day. (To Daisy.) Sha’n’t we, Daisy — in America ?
DAISY,who has risen to her feet, leaning on his arm. Oh, yes ; you ought to go home !
Henry James, Jr.