Read SCENE III of East of Suez a Play in Seven Scenes , free online book, by William Somerset Maugham, on ReadCentral.com.

SCENE:  The Temple of Fidelity and Virtuous Inclination.  The courtyard of the temple is shown.  At the back is the sanctuary in which is seen the altar table; on this are two large vases in each of which are seven lotus flowers, gilt but discoloured by incense, and in the middle there is a sand-box in which are burning joss-sticks; behind is the image of Buddha.  The sanctuary can be closed by huge doors.  These are now open.  A flight of steps leads up to it.

A service is finishing.  The monks are seen on each side of the altar kneeling in two rows.  They are clad in grey gowns and their heads are shaven.  They sing the invocation to Buddha, repeating the same words over and over again in a monotonous chaunt. DAISY stands outside the sanctuary door, on the steps, listlessly. The AMAH is squatting by her side. Now the service ends; the monks form a procession and two by two, still singing, come down the steps and go out.  A tiny acolyte blows out the oil lamps and with an effort shuts the temple doors.

     DAISY comes down the steps and sits on one of the lower ones.
     She is dreadfully bored.

AMAH.  What is the matter with my pletty one?

DAISY.  What should be the matter?

AMAH. [With a snigger.] Hi, hi.  Old amah got velly good eyes in her head.

DAISY. [As though talking to herself.] I’ve got a husband who adores me and a nice house to live in.  I’ve got a position and as much money as I want.  I’m safe.  I’m respectable.  I ought to be happy.

AMAH.  I say, Harry no good, what for you wanchee marry?  You say, I wanchee marry, I wanchee marry?  Well, you married.  What you want now?

DAISY.  They say life is short.  Good God, how long the days are.

AMAH.  You want pony-Harry give you pony.  You want jade ring-Harry give you jade ring.  You want sable coat-Harry give you sable coat.  Why you not happy?

DAISY.  I never said I wasn’t happy.

AMAH.  Hi, hi.

DAISY.  If you laugh like that I’ll kill you.

AMAH.  You no kill old amah.  You want old amah.  I got something velly pletty for my little Daisy flower.

DAISY.  Don’t be an old fool.  I’m not a child any more. [Desperately.] I’m growing older, older, older.  And every day is just like every other day.  I might as well be dead.

AMAH.  Look this pletty present old amah have got.

[She takes a jade necklace out of her sleeve and puts it, smiling, into DAISY’S hand.

DAISY. [With sudden vivacity,] Oh, what a lovely chain.  It’s beautiful jade.  How much do they want for it?

AMAH.  It’s a present for my little Daisy.

DAISY.  For me?  It must have cost five hundred dollars.  Who is it from?

AMAH.  To-day is my little Daisy’s wedding-day.  She have married one year.  Perhaps old amah want to give her little flower present.

DAISY.  YOU!  Have you ever given me anything but a beating?

AMAH.  Lee Tai Cheng pay me necklace and say you give to Daisy.

DAISY.  You old hag. [She flings the necklace away violently.]

AMAH.  You silly.  Worth plenty money.  You no wanchee, I sell rich
Amelican.

[She is just going after the necklace, when DAISY catches her violently by the arm.

DAISY.  How dare you?  How dare you?  I told you that you were never to let
Lee Tai speak to you again.

AMAH.  You very angry, Daisy.  You very angry before, but you go back to
Lee Tai; he think perhaps you go back again.

DAISY.  Tell him that I loathe the sight of him.  Tell him that if I were starving I wouldn’t take a penny from him.  Tell him that if he dares to come round here I’ll have him beaten till he screams.

AMAH.  Hi, hi.

DAISY.  And you leave me alone, will you.  Harry hates you.  I’ve only got to say a word and he’ll kick you out in five minutes.

AMAH.  What would my little Daisy do without old amah, hi, hi?  What for you no talkee true?  You think old amah no got eyes? [With a cunning, arch look.] I got something make you very glad. [She takes a note out of her sleeve.]

DAISY.  What’s that?

AMAH.  I got letter.

DAISY. [Snatching it from her.] Give it me.  How dare you hide it?

AMAH.  Have come when you long Harry.  I think perhaps you no wanchee read when Harry there. [DAISY tears it open.] What he say?

DAISY. [Reading.] “I’m awfully sorry I can’t dine with you on Thursday, but I’m engaged.  I’ve just remembered it’s your wedding-day and I’ll look in for a minute.  Ask Harry if he’d like to ride with me.”

AMAH.  Is that all?

DAISY.  “Yours ever.  George Conway.”

AMAH.  You love him very much, George Conway?

DAISY. [Taking no notice of her, passionately.] At last.  I haven’t seen him for ten days.  Ten mortal days.  Oh, I want him.  I want him.

AMAH.  Why you no talkee old amah?

DAISY. [Desperately.] I can’t help myself.  Oh, I love him so.  What shall I do?  I can’t live without him.  If you don’t want me to die make him love me.

AMAH.  You see, you want old amah.

DAISY.  Oh, I’m so unhappy.  I think I shall go mad.

AMAH.  Sh, sh.  Perhaps he love you too.

DAISY.  Never.  He hates me.  Why does he avoid me?  He never comes here.  At first he was always looking in.  He used to come out and dine two or three days a week.  What have I done to him?  He only comes now because he does not want to offend Harry.  Harry, Harry, what do I care for Harry?

AMAH.  Sh.  Don’t let him see.  Give amah the letter.

[She snatches it from DAISY and hides it in her dress as HARRY comes in.  DAISY pulls herself together.

HARRY.  I say, Daisy, I’ve just had the ponies saddled.  Put on your habit and let’s go for a ride.

DAISY.  I’ve got a headache.

HARRY.  Oh, my poor child.  Why don’t you lie down?

DAISY.  I thought I was better in the air.  But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ride.

HARRY.  Oh, no, I won’t ride without you.

DAISY.  Why on earth not?  It’ll do you good.  You know when my head’s bad
I only want to be left alone.  Your pony wants exercising.

HARRY.  The boy can do that.

DAISY. [Trying to conceal her growing exasperation.] Please do as I ask.  I’d rather you went.

HARRY. [Laughing.] Of course if you’re so anxious to get rid of me....

DAISY. [Smiling.] I can’t bear that you should be done out of your ride.  If you won’t go alone you’ll just force me to come with you.

HARRY.  I’ll go.  Give me a kiss before I do. [She puts up her lips to his.] I’m almost ashamed of myself, I’m just as madly in love with you as the day we were married.

DAISY.  You are a dear.  Have a nice ride, and when you come back I shall be all right.

HARRY.  That’s ripping.  I shan’t be very long.

[He goes out.  The lightness, the smile, with which she has spoken to Harry disappear as he goes, and she looks worried and anxious.

DAISY.  Supposing they meet?

AMAH.  No can.  Harry go out back way.

DAISY.  Yes, I suppose he will.  I wish he’d be quick. [Violently.] I must see George.

AMAH. [Picking up the necklace.] Velly pletty necklace.  You silly girl.  Why you no take?

DAISY.  Oh, damn, why can’t you leave me alone? [Listening.] What on earth is Harry doing?  I thought the pony was saddled.

AMAH. [Looking at the necklace.] What shall I do with this?

DAISY.  Throw it in the dust-bin.

AMAH.  Lee Tai no likee that very much.

DAISY. [Hearing the sound of the pony, with a sigh of relief.] He’s gone.  Now I’m safe.  Where’s my bag? [She takes a little mirror out of it and looks at herself.] I look perfectly hideous.

AMAH.  Don’t be silly.  You velly pletty girl.

DAISY. [Her ears all alert.] There’s someone riding along.

AMAH.  That not pony.  That Peking cart.

DAISY.  You old fool, I tell you it’s a pony.  At last.  Oh, my heart’s beating so....  It’s stopping at the gate.  It’s George.  Oh, I love him.  I love him. [To the AMAH, stamping her foot.] What are you waiting for?  I don’t want you here now, and don’t listen, d’you hear.  Get out, get out.

AMAH.  All-light.  My go away.

[The AMAH slinks away.  DAISY stands waiting for GEORGE, holding her hands to her heart as though to stop the anguish of its beating. She makes a great effort at self-control as GEORGE enters. He is in riding kit.  He has a bunch of orchids in his hand.

GEORGE.  Hulloa, what are you doing here?

DAISY.  I was tired of sitting in the drawing-room.

GEORGE.  I remembered it was your wedding-day.  I’ve brought you a few flowers. [She takes them with both hands.]

DAISY.  Thank you.  That is kind of you.

GEORGE. [Gravely.] I hope you’ll always be very happy.  I hope you’ll allow me to say how grateful I am that you’ve given Harry so much happiness.

DAISY.  You’re very solemn.  One would almost think you’d prepared that pretty speech beforehand.

GEORGE. [Trying to take it lightly.] I’m sorry if it didn’t sound natural.  I can promise you it was sincere.

DAISY.  Shall we sit down?

GEORGE.  I think we ought to go for our ride while the light lasts.  I’ll come in and have a drink on the way back.

DAISY.  Harry’s out.

GEORGE.  Is he?  I sent you a note this morning.  I said I couldn’t dine on
Thursday and I’d come and fetch Harry for a ride this afternoon.

DAISY.  I didn’t tell him.

GEORGE.  No?

DAISY.  I don’t see you very often nowadays.

GEORGE.  There’s an awful lot of work to do just now.  They lead me a dog’s life at the legation.

DAISY.  Even at night?  At first you used to come and dine with us two or three nights a week.

GEORGE.  I can’t always be sponging on you.  It’s positively indecent.

DAISY.  We don’t know many people.  It’s not always very lively here.  I should have thought if you didn’t care to come for my sake you’d have come for Harry’s.

GEORGE.  I come whenever you ask me.

DAISY.  You haven’t been here for a month.

GEORGE.  It just happens that the last two or three times you’ve asked me to dine I’ve been engaged.

DAISY. [Her voice breaking.] You promised that we’d be friends.  What have I done to turn you against me?

GEORGE. [His armour pierced by the emotion in her voice.] Oh, Daisy, don’t speak like that.

DAISY.  I’ve tried to do everything I could to please you.  If there’s anything I do that you don’t like, won’t you tell me?  I promise you I won’t do it.

GEORGE.  Oh, my dear child, you make me feel such an awful beast.

DAISY.  Is it the past that you can’t forget?

GEORGE.  Good heavens, no, what do I care about the past?

DAISY.  I have so few friends.  I’m so awfully fond of you, George.

GEORGE.  I don’t think I’ve given you much cause to be that.

DAISY.  There must be some reason why you won’t ever come near me.  Why won’t you tell me?

GEORGE.  Oh, it’s absurd, you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

DAISY.  You used to be so jolly, and we used to laugh together.  I looked forward so much to your coming here.  What has changed you?

GEORGE.  Nothing has changed me.

DAISY. [With a passion of despair.] Oh, I might as well batter my head against a brick wall.  How can you be so unkind to me?

GEORGE.  For God’s sake ... [He stops.] Heaven knows, I don’t want to be unkind to you.

DAISY.  Then why do you treat me as an outcast?  Oh, it’s cruel, cruel.

[GEORGE is excessively distressed. He walks up and down, frowning. He cannot bear to look at DAISY and he speaks with hesitation.

GEORGE.  You’ll think me an awful rotter, Daisy, but you can’t think me more of a rotter than I think myself.  I don’t know how to say it.  It seems such an awful thing to say.  I’m so ashamed of myself.  I don’t suppose two men have ever been greater pals than Harry and I. He’s married to you and he’s awfully in love with you.  And I think you’re in love with him.  I was only twenty-three when I-first knew you.  It’s an awful long time ago, isn’t it?  There are some wounds that never quite heal, you know.  Oh, my God, don’t you understand? [His embarrassment, the distraction of his tone, and the way the halting words fall unwillingly from his lips have betrayed the truth to DAISY. She does not speak, she does not stir, she looks at him with great shining eyes.  She hardly dares to breathe.] If ever you wanted revenge on me you’ve got it now.  You must see that it’s better that I shouldn’t come here too often.  Forgive me-Goodby.

[He hurries away with averted face. DAISY stands motionless, erect; she is almost transfigured. She draws a long breath.

DAISY.  Oh, God!  He loves me.

[She takes the orchids he has brought her and crushes them to her heart. The AMAH appears.

AMAH.  You wantchee buy Manchu dress, Daisy?

DAISY.  Go away.

AMAH.  Velly cheap.  You look see.  No likee, no buy.

DAISY. [Impatiently.] I’m sick of curio-dealers.

AMAH.  Velly pletty Manchu dresses.

[She draws aside a little and allows a man with a large bundle wrapped up in a blue cotton cloth to come in.  He is a Chinese.  He is dressed in a long black robe and a round black cap. It is LEE TAI CHENG. He is big and rather stout.  From his smooth and yellow face his black eyes gleam craftily.  He lays his bundle on the ground and unties it, showing a pile of gorgeous Manchu dresses. DAISY has taken no notice of him. Suddenly she sees that a man, with his back turned to her, is there.

DAISY. [To the AMAH.] I told you I wouldn’t see the man.  Send him away at once.

LEE TAI. [Turning round, with a sly smile.] You look see.  No likee, no buy.

DAISY. [With a start of surprise and dismay.] Lee!

LEE TAI. [Coming forward coolly.] Good afternoon, Daisy.

DAISY. [Recovering herself.] It’s lucky for you I’m in a good temper or I’d have you thrown out by the boys.  What have you brought this junk for?

LEE TAI.  A curio-dealer can come and go and no one wonders.

AMAH.  Lee Tai velly clever man.

DAISY.  Give me that chain. [The AMAH takes it out of her sleeve and gives it to her.  DAISY flings it contemptuously at LEE TAI’S feet.] Take it.  Pack up your things and go.  If you ever dare to show your face here again, I’ll tell my husband.

LEE TAI. [With a chuckle.] What will you tell him?  Don’t you be a silly girl, Daisy.

DAISY.  What do you want?

LEE TAI. [Coolly.] You.

DAISY.  Don’t you know that I loathe you?  You disgust me.

LEE TAI.  What do I care?  Perhaps if you loved me I shouldn’t want you. 
Your hatred is like a sharp and bitter sauce that tickles my appetite.

DAISY.  You beast.

LEE TAI.  I like the horror that makes your body tremble when I hold you in my arms.  And sometimes the horror turns on a sudden into a wild tempest of passion.

DAISY.  You liar.

LEE TAI.  Leave this stupid white man.  What is he to you?

DAISY.  He is my husband.

LEE TAI.  It is a year to-day since you were married.  What has marriage done for you?  You thought when you married a white man you’d become a white woman.  Do you think they can look at you and forget?  How many white women do you know?  How many friends have you got?  You’re a prisoner.  I’ll take you to Singapore or Calcutta.  Don’t you want to amuse yourself?  Do you want to go to Europe?  I’ll take you to Paris.  I’ll give you more money to spend in a week than your husband earns in a year.

DAISY.  I’m very comfortable in Peking, thank you.

LEE TAI. [Snapping his fingers.] You don’t care that for your husband.  He loves you.  You despise him.  Don’t you wish with all your heart that you hadn’t married him?

AMAH.  He very silly white man.  He no likee Daisy’s old amah.  Perhaps one day he b’long sick.  Daisy cry velly much if he die?

DAISY. [Impatiently.] Don’t be such a fool.

AMAH.  Perhaps one day he drink whisky soda.  Oh, velly ill, velly ill.  What’s the matter with me?  No sabe.  No can stand.  Doctor no sabe.  Then die.  Hi, hi.

DAISY.  You silly old woman.  Harry’s not a Chinaman and he wouldn’t call in a Chinese doctor.

LEE TAI. [With a smile.] China is a very old and a highly civilized country, Daisy.  When anyone is in your way, it’s not very difficult to get rid of him.

DAISY. [Scornfully.] And do you think I’d let poor Harry be murdered so that I might be free to listen to your generous proposals?  You must think I’m a fool if you expect me to risk my neck for that.

LEE TAI.  You don’t take any risk, Daisy.  You know nothing.

AMAH.  Lee Tai velly clever man, Daisy.

DAISY.  I thought so once.  Lee Tai, you’re a damned fool.  Get out.

LEE TAI.  Freedom is a very good thing, Daisy.

DAISY.  What should I do with it?

LEE TAI.  Wouldn’t you like to be free now? [She looks at him sharply.  She wonders if it can possibly be that he suspects her passion for George Conway.  He meets her glance steadily.] One day Sen Shi Ming was sitting with his wife looking at a Tang bronze that he had just bought when he heard someone in the street crying for help.  Sen Shi was a very brave man and he snatched up a revolver and ran out.  Sen Shi forgot that he had cheated his brother out of a house in Hatamen Street or he would have been more prudent.  Sen Shi was found by the watchman an hour later with a dagger in his heart.  Who killed cock-robin?

AMAH.  Hi, hi.  Sen Shi velly silly man.

LEE TAI.  His brother knew that.  They had grown up together.  If I heard cries for help outside my house late in the night, I should ask myself who had a grudge against me, and I should make sure the door was bolted.  But white men are very brave.  White men don’t know the Chinese customs.  Would you be very sorry if an accident happened to your excellent husband?

DAISY.  I wonder what you take me for?

LEE TAI.  Why do you pretend to me, Daisy?  Do you think I don’t know you?

DAISY.  The door is a little on the left of you, Lee Tai.  Would you give yourself the trouble of walking through it?

LEE TAI. [With a smile.] I go, but I come back.  Perhaps you’ll change your mind.

[He ties up his bundle and is about to go. HARRY enters.

DAISY.  Oh, Harry, you’re back very soon!

HARRY.  Yes, the pony went lame.  Fortunately I hadn’t gone far before I noticed it.  Who’s this?

DAISY.  It’s a curio-dealer.  He has nothing I want.  I was just sending him away.

[LEE TAI takes up his bundle and goes out.

HARRY. [Noticing the orchids.] Someone been sending you flowers?

DAISY.  George.

HARRY.  Rather nice of him. [To the AMAH.] Run along, amah, I want to talk to missy.

AMAH.  All light.

HARRY.  And don’t let me catch you listening round the corner.

AMAH.  My no listen.  What for I listen?

HARRY.  Run along-chop-chop.

AMAH.  Can do. [She goes out.]

HARRY. [With a laugh.] I couldn’t give you a greater proof of my affection than consenting to have that old woman around all the time.

DAISY.  I don’t know why you dislike her.  She’s devoted to me.

HARRY.  That’s the only reason I put up with her.  She gives me the creeps.  I have the impression that she watches every movement I make.

DAISY.  Oh, what nonsense!

HARRY.  And I’ve caught her eavesdropping.

DAISY.  Was it amah that you wanted to talk to me about?

HARRY.  No, I’ve got something to tell you.  How would you like to leave
Peking?

DAISY. [With a start, suddenly off her guard.] Not at all.

HARRY.  I’m afraid it’s awfully dull for you here, darling.

DAISY.  I don’t find it so.

HARRY.  You’re so dear and sweet.  Are you sure you don’t say that on my account?

DAISY.  I’m very fond of Peking.

HARRY.  We’ve been married a year now.  I don’t want to hurt your feelings, darling, but it’s no good beating about the bush, and I think it’s better to be frank.

DAISY.  Surely you can say anything you like to me without hesitation.

HARRY.  Things have been a little awkward in a way.  The women I used to know before we married left cards on you-

DAISY.  Having taken the precaution to discover that I should be out.

HARRY.  And you returned those cards and that was the end of it.  I asked George what he thought about my taking you to the club to play tennis and he said he thought we’d better not risk it.  The result is that you don’t know a soul.

DAISY.  Have I complained?

HARRY.  You’ve been most awfully decent about it, but I hate to think of your spending day after day entirely by yourself.  It can’t be good for you to be so much alone.

DAISY.  I might have known Mrs. Chuan.  She’s a white woman.

HARRY.  Oh, my dear, she was-heaven knows what she was!  She’s married to a Chinaman.  It’s horrible.  She’s outside the pale.

DAISY.  And there’s Bertha Raymond.  She’s very nice, even though she is a
Eurasian.

HARRY.  I’m sure she’s very nice, but we couldn’t very well have the Raymonds here and refuse to go to them.  Her brother is one of the clerks in my office.  I don’t want to seem an awful snob....

DAISY.  You needn’t hesitate to say anything about the Eurasians.  You can’t hate and despise them more than I do.

HARRY.  I don’t hate and despise them.  I think that’s odious.  But sometimes they’re not very tactful.  I don’t know that I much want one of my clerks to come and slap me on the back in the office and call me old chap.

DAISY.  Of course not.

HARRY.  The fact is we’ve been trying to do an impossible thing.  It’s no good kicking against the pricks.  What with the legations and one thing and another Peking’s hopeless.  We’d far better clear out.

DAISY.  But if I don’t mind why should you?

HARRY.  Well, it’s not very nice for me either.  It’s for my sake just as much as for yours that I’d be glad to go elsewhere.  Of course everybody at the club knows I’m married.  Some of them ignore it altogether.  I don’t mind that so much.  Some of them ask after you with an exaggerated cordiality which is rather offensive.  And every now and then some fool begins to slang the Eurasians and everybody kicks him under the table.  Then he remembers about me and goes scarlet.  By God, it’s hell.

DAISY. [Sulkily.] I don’t want to leave Peking.  I’m very happy here.

HARRY.  Well, darling, I’ve applied for a transfer.

DAISY. [With sudden indignation.] Without saying a word to me?

HARRY.  I thought you’d be glad.  I didn’t want to say anything till it was settled.

DAISY.  Do you think I am a child to have everything arranged for me without a word? [Trying to control herself.] After all, you’d never see George.  Surely you don’t want to lose sight of your only real friend.

HARRY.  I’ve talked it over with George and he thinks it’s the best thing to do.

DAISY.  Did he advise you to go?

HARRY.  Strongly.

DAISY. [Violently.] I won’t do it.  I won’t leave Peking.

HARRY.  Why should his advice make the difference?

DAISY.  Why? [She is confused for a moment, but quickly recovers herself.] I won’t let George Conway-or anybody else-decide where I’m to go.

HARRY.  Don’t be unreasonable, darling.

DAISY.  I won’t go.  I tell you I won’t go.

HARRY.  Well, I’m afraid you must now.  It’s all settled.  The transfer is decided.

DAISY. [Bursting into tears.] Oh, Harry, don’t take me away from here. 
I can’t bear it.  I want to stay here.

HARRY.  Oh, darling, how can you be so silly!  You’ll have a much better time at one of the outports.  You see, there are so few white people there that they can’t afford to put on frills.  They’ll be jolly glad to know us both.  We shall lead a normal life and be like everybody else.

DAISY. [Sulkily.] Where do you want to go?

HARRY.  I’ve been put in charge of our place at Chung-king.

DAISY. [Starting up with a cry.] Chung-king!  Of course you’d choose
Chung-king.

HARRY.  Why, what’s wrong with it?  Do you know it?

DAISY.  No-oh, what am I talking about?  I’m all confused.  Yes, I was there once when I was a girl.  It’s a hateful place.

HARRY.  Oh, nonsense!  The consul’s got a charming wife, and there are quite a nice lot of people there.

DAISY. [Distracted.] Oh, what shall I do?  I’m so unhappy.  If you cared for me at all you wouldn’t treat me so cruelly.  You’re ashamed of me.  You want to hide me.  Why should I bury myself in a hole two thousand miles up the river?  I won’t go!  I won’t go!  I won’t go! [She bursts into a storm of hysterical weeping.]

HARRY. [Trying to take her in his arms.] Oh, Daisy, for God’s sake don’t cry.  You know I’m not ashamed of you.  I love you more than ever.  I love you with all my heart.

DAISY. [Drawing away from him.] Don’t touch me.  Leave me alone.  I hate you.

HARRY.  Don’t say that, Daisy.  It hurts me frightfully.

DAISY.  Oh, go away, go away!

HARRY. [Seeking to reason with her.] I can’t leave you like this.

DAISY.  Go, go, go, go, go!  I don’t want to see you!  Oh, God, what shall
I do?

[She flings herself doom on the steps, weeping hysterically. HARRY, much distressed, looks at her in perplexity. The AMAH comes in.

AMAH.  You make missy cly.  You velly bad man.

HARRY.  What the devil do you want?

AMAH. [Going up to DAISY and stroking her head.] What thing he talkee my poor little flower?  Maskee.  He belong velly bad man.

HARRY.  Shut up, you old ...  I won’t have you talk like that.  I’ve put up with a good deal from you, but if you try to make mischief between Daisy and me, by God, I’ll throw you out into the street with my own hands.

AMAH.  What thing you do my Daisy?  Don’t cly, Daisy.

HARRY.  Darling, don’t be unreasonable.

DAISY.  Go away, don’t come near me.  I hate you.

HARRY.  How can you say anything so unkind?

DAISY.  Send him away. [She begins to sob again more violently.]

AMAH.  You go away.  You no can see she no wanchee you.  You come back bimeby.  My sabe talk to little flower.

[HARRY hesitates for a moment. He is harassed by the scene.  Then he makes up his mind the best thing is to leave DAISY with the AMAH. He goes out. DAISY raises her head cautiously.

DAISY.  Has he gone?

AMAH.  Yes.  He go drink whisky soda.

DAISY.  Do you know what he wants?

AMAH.  What for he tell me no listen?  So fashion I sabe he say something
I wanchee hear.  He wanchee you leave Peking.

DAISY.  I won’t go.

AMAH.  Harry velly silly man.  He alla same pig.  You pull thisa way, he pull thata way.  If Harry say you go from Peking-you go.

DAISY.  Never, never, never!

AMAH.  You go away from Peking you never see George anymore.

DAISY.  I should die.  Oh, I want him!  I want him to love me.  I want him to hurt me.  I want.... [In her passion she has dug her hands hard into the AMAH.]

AMAH. [Pushing away DAISY’S hands.] Oh!

DAISY.  He loves me.  That’s the only thing that matters.  All the rest....

AMAH.  Harry wanchee you go Chung-king.  Missionary ladies like see you again, Daisy.  Perhaps they ask you how you like living along Lee Tai Cheng.  Perhaps somebody tell Harry.

DAISY.  The fool.  Of all the places in China he must hit upon Chung-king.

AMAH.  You know Harry.  If he say go Chung-king, he go.  You cly, he velly solly, he all same go.

DAISY.  Oh, I know his obstinacy.  When he’s once made up his mind-[Contemptuously.]-he prides himself on his firmness.  Oh, what shall I do?

AMAH.  I think more better something happen to Harry.

DAISY.  No, no, no!

AMAH.  What you flightened for?  You no do anything.  I tell Lee Tai more better something happen to Harry.  I say you not velly sorry if Harry die.

DAISY. [Putting her hands over her ears.] Be quiet!  I won’t listen to you.

AMAH. [Roughly tearing her hands away.] Don’t you be such a big fool, Daisy.  You go to Chung-king and Harry know everything.  Maybe he kill you.

DAISY.  What do I care?

AMAH.  You go to Chung-king, you never see George no more.  George, he love my little Daisy.  When Harry gone-George, he come say....

DAISY.  Oh, don’t tempt me, it’s horrible!

AMAH.  He put his arms round you and you feel such a little small thing, you hear his heart beat quick, quick against your heart.  And he throw back your head and he kiss you.  And you think you die, little flower.

DAISY.  Oh, I love him, I love him!

AMAH.  Hi, hi.

DAISY. [Thinking of the scene with George.] He would hardly look at me and his hands were trembling.  He was as white as a sheet.

AMAH. [Persuasively.] I tell you, Daisy.  You no say yes, you no say no.  I ask Buddha.

DAISY. [Frightened.] What for?

AMAH.  If Buddha say yes, I talk with Lee Tai; if Buddha say no, I do nothing.  Then you go to Chung-king and you never see George any more.

[The AMAH goes up the temple steps and flings open the great doors.  DAISY watches her with an agony of horror, expectation, and dread.  The AMAH lights some joss-sticks on the altar, and strikes a deep-toned gong. HARRY comes in, followed by LEE TAI with his bundle.

HARRY. [Anxious to make his peace.] Daisy, I found this fellow hanging about in the courtyard.  I thought I’d like to buy you a Manchu dress that he’s got.

DAISY. [After a moment’s reflection, with a change of tone.] That’s very nice of you, Harry.

HARRY.  It’s a real beauty.  You’ll look stunning in it.

LEE TAI. [Showing the dress, speaking in Pidgin English.] Firs class dless.  He belong Manchu plincess.  Manchus no got money.  No got money, no can chow.  Manchus sell velly cheap.  You takee, Missy.

[DAISY and LEE TAI exchange glances.  DAISY is grave and tragic, whereas LEE TAI has an ironical glint in his eyes.  Meanwhile the AMAH has been bowing before the altar.  She goes down on her knees and knocks her head on the ground.

HARRY.  What in God’s Name is amah doing?

DAISY.  She’s asking Buddha a question.

HARRY.  What question?

DAISY. [With a shadow of a smile.] How should I know?

HARRY.  What’s the idea?

DAISY.  Haven’t you ever seen the Chinese do it?  You see those pieces of wood she’s holding in her hands.  She’s holding them out to the Buddha so that he may see them and she’s telling him that he must answer the question. [Meanwhile the AMAH, muttering in a low tone, is seen doing what DAISY describes.] The Buddha smells the incense of the burning joss-sticks, and he’s pleased and he listens to what she says.

HARRY. [Smiling.] Don’t be so absurd, Daisy.  One might almost think you believed all this nonsense.  Why, you’re quite pale.

DAISY.  Then she gets up.  The pieces of wood are flat on one side and round on the other.  She’ll lift them above her head and she’ll drop them in front of the Buddha.  If they fall with the round side uppermost it means yes. [DAISY has been growing more and more excited as the ceremony proceeds.  Now the AMAH steps back a little and she raises her arms.  DAISY gives a shriek and starts to run forward.] No! no!  Stop!

HARRY. [Instinctively seizing her arms.] Daisy!

     [At the same moment the AMAH has let the pieces of wood fall. 
     She looks at them for an instant and then turns round
.

AMAH.  Buddha talkee, can do.

DAISY. [To HARRY.] Why did you stop me?

HARRY.  Daisy, how can you be so superstitious?  What is the result?

DAISY.  Amah asked Buddha a question and the answer is yes. [She puts her hand to her heart for an instant, then looking at HARRY she smiles.] I’m sorry I was silly and unreasonable just now, Harry.