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

The sitting-room in the ANDERSONS’ apartments.

The scene is the same as SCENE IV.  DAISY and the AMAH.

DAISY is walking restlessly backwards and forwards.

DAISY.  At what time does the train from Kalgan get in?

AMAH.  Five o’clock, my think so.

DAISY.  What time is it now?

[The AMAH takes a large gold watch out and looks at it.

AMAH.  My watch no walkee.

DAISY.  Why don’t you have it mended?  What’s the good of a watch that doesn’t go?

AMAH.  Gold watch.  Eighteen carats.  Cost velly much money.  Give me plenty face.

DAISY. [Impatiently.] Go and ask Wu what time it is.

AMAH.  I know time.  I tell by the sun.  More better than European watch.  I think half-past four perhaps.

DAISY.  Why doesn’t George come?

AMAH.  Perhaps he velly busy.

DAISY.  You gave him the note yourself?

AMAH.  Yes, I give him letter.

DAISY.  What did he say?

AMAH.  He no say nothing.  He look:  damn, damn.

DAISY.  Did you tell him it was very important?

AMAH.  I say, you come quick.  Chop-chop.

DAISY.  Yes.

AMAH.  I tell you before.  Why you want me tell you again?  He say he come chop-chop when he get away from office.

DAISY.  As if the office mattered now.  I ought to have gone to him myself.

AMAH.  You no make him come more quick because you walk up down.  Why you no sit still?

DAISY.  The train is never punctual.  It’ll take Harry at least twenty minutes to get out here.

AMAH.  Lee Tai....

DAISY. [Interrupting.] Don’t talk to me of Lee Tai.  Why on earth should I bother about Lee Tai?

AMAH. [Taking up an opium pipe that is on the table.] Shall Amah make her little Daisy a pipe?  Daisy very restless.

DAISY.  Have you got opium?

AMAH.  Lee Tai give me some. [She shows DAISY a small tin box.]
Number one quality.  You have one little pipe, Daisy.

DAISY.  No.

[WU comes in with a card.  He gives it to DAISY.

Miss Knox.  Say I’m not at home.

WU.  Yes, missy.

[He is about to go out.

DAISY.  Stop.  Is she alone?

WU.  She ride up to gate with gentleman and lady.  She say can she see you for two, three minutes.

DAISY. [After a moment’s consideration.] Tell her to come in.

[WU goes out.

AMAH.  What you want to see her for, Daisy?

DAISY.  Mind your own business.

AMAH.  George come very soon now.

DAISY.  I shall get rid of her as soon as he does. [Almost to herself.]
I want to see for myself.

     [SYLVIA comes in.  She wears a riding-habit.  DAISY greets her
     cordially.  Her manner, which was restless, becomes on a sudden gay,
     gracious, and friendly
.

DAISY.  Oh, my dear, how sweet of you to come all this way!

[The AMAH slips out.

SYLVIA.  I can only stop a second.  I was riding with the Fergusons and we passed your temple.  I thought I’d just run in and see how you were.  I haven’t seen you for an age.

DAISY.  Are the Fergusons waiting outside?

SYLVIA.  They rode on.  They said they’d fetch me in five minutes.

DAISY. [Smiling.] How did your bridge party go off last night?

SYLVIA.  How on earth did you hear about that?  Did Mr. Conway tell you?  I wish you played bridge.  We really had rather a lark.

DAISY.  George didn’t come in till late, I suppose?

SYLVIA.  Oh, no, he got away in fairly decent time.  Where there’s a will there’s a way, you know, even at official functions.

DAISY. [With a little laugh.] Oh, I know!  I’m expecting him here in a minute.  I hope you won’t have to go before he comes.

SYLVIA.  Well, I saw him yesterday.  I can live one day without seeing him.

DAISY.  I wonder if he can live one day without seeing you?

SYLVIA.  I’m tolerably sure he can do that.

DAISY. [As if she were merely teasing.] A little bird has whispered to me that there’s a very pretty blonde in Peking....

SYLVIA. [Interrupting.] Probably peroxide.

DAISY.  Not in this case.  Who is not entirely indifferent to the
Assistant Chinese Secretary at the British Legation.

SYLVIA.  Fancy!

DAISY.  I suppose you haven’t an idea who I’m talking about?

SYLVIA.  Not a ghost.

DAISY.  Then why do you blush to the roots of your hair?

SYLVIA.  I was outraged at your suggestion that my hair was dyed.

DAISY.  It’s too bad of me to tease you, isn’t it?

SYLVIA.  I’m a perfect owl.  You know what a tactless idiot my brother is.  He will chaff me about George Conway, so it makes me self-conscious when anybody talks about him.

DAISY.  Darling, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Why shouldn’t you be in love with him?

SYLVIA. [With a laugh.] But I’m not in love with him.

DAISY.  Why does your brother chaff you then?

SYLVIA.  Because he’s under the delusion that it’s funny.

DAISY.  But you do like him, don’t you?

SYLVIA.  Of course I like him....  I think he’s a very good sort.

DAISY.  Would you marry him if he asked you?

SYLVIA.  My dear, what are you talking about?  The thought never entered my head.

DAISY.  Oh, what nonsense!  When a man’s as attentive to a girl as George has been to you she can’t help asking herself if she’d like to marry him or not.

SYLVIA. [Coldly, but still smiling.] Can’t she?  I’m afraid I haven’t a close acquaintance with that sort of girl.

DAISY.  Am I being very vulgar?  You know, we half-castes are sometimes.

SYLVIA. [With a trace of impatience.] Of course you’re not vulgar.  But I don’t know why you want to talk about something that’s absolute Greek to me.

DAISY.  The natural curiosity of the Eurasian.  Everybody tells me that you’re engaged to George.

SYLVIA.  Look at my hand.

[She stretches out her left hand so that DAISY should see there is no ring on the fourth finger.  DAISY stares at it for a moment.

DAISY.  You always used to wear an engagement ring.

SYLVIA. [Gravely.] It was put on my finger by a poor boy who was killed.  I meant to wear it always.

DAISY.  Why have you taken it off?

[She looks at SYLVIA. She can no longer preserve her artificial gaiety and her voice is cold and hard.  Before SYLVIA can answer GEORGE CONWAY comes in.

DAISY. [Regaining with an effort her earlier sprightliness.] There you are at last.

GEORGE.  I couldn’t come sooner.  I was with the Minister.

DAISY.  We were wondering why you were so late.

SYLVIA.  Daisy was wondering.

GEORGE. [Shaking hands with Sylvia.] I thought that was your pony outside.

SYLVIA.  Clever.

GEORGE.  The Fergusons were just riding up as I came.

SYLVIA.  Oh, they’ve come to fetch me!  I must bolt.

GEORGE.  I’m afraid we kept you up till all sorts of hours last night.

SYLVIA.  Not a bit.  Do I look jaded?

GEORGE.  Of course not.  You young things can stay up till three in the morning and be as fresh as paint.  Wait till you’re my age.

SYLVIA.  You haven’t passed your hundredth birthday yet, have you?

GEORGE.  Not quite.  But I’m old enough to be your father.

SYLVIA.  I will not stay and listen to you talk rubbish.  Good-bye, Daisy. 
Do come and see me one day this week.

DAISY.  Good-bye.

GEORGE.  I’ll come and help you mount, shall I?

SYLVIA.  Oh, no, don’t bother!  Mr. Ferguson is there.

GEORGE.  Oh, all right!

[She goes out.

DAISY. [Her smiles vanishing, hostile and cold.] You might shut the door.

GEORGE. [Doing so.] I will.

DAISY.  Aren’t you going to kiss me?

GEORGE.  Daisy.

DAISY. [Hastily.] Oh, no, it doesn’t matter!  Don’t bother.

GEORGE.  You said you wanted to see me very importantly.

DAISY.  It’s kind of you to have come.

GEORGE. [With an effort at ease of manner.] My dear child, what are you talking about?  You must know that if there’s anything in the world I can do for you I’m only too anxious to do it.

DAISY.  Is that girl in love with you?

GEORGE.  Good heavens, no!  What put that idea in your head?

DAISY.  The eyes in my head.

GEORGE.  What perfect nonsense!

DAISY.  Has it never occurred to you that she was in love with you?

GEORGE.  Never.

DAISY.  Why do you lie to me?  I’ve been told that you were engaged to her.

GEORGE.  That’s ludicrous.  It’s absolutely untrue.

DAISY.  Yes, I think it is.  At the first moment I believed it.  And then I thought it over and I knew it couldn’t be true.  I don’t think you’d do anything underhand.

GEORGE.  At all events I shouldn’t do that.

DAISY.  In fairness to me or in fairness to her?

GEORGE.  My dear Daisy, what are you talking about?

DAISY.  Did you break with me yesterday so that you might be free to propose to her?

GEORGE.  No, I swear I didn’t.

DAISY.  Why are you so emphatic?

GEORGE.  Oh, Daisy, what’s the good of tormenting yourself and tormenting me?  You know I loved you just as much as you loved me.  But I’m not like you.  It was a torture.  I knew it was wrong and hateful.  I couldn’t go on.

DAISY.  Do you think it would have seemed wrong and hateful if it hadn’t been for Sylvia?

GEORGE.  Yes.

DAISY.  You don’t say that very convincingly.

GEORGE.  I do think it is because she is so loyal, and good and straight that I saw so clearly what a cad I was.  I think I found courage to do the only possible thing in her frankness and honesty.

DAISY.  I think you deceive yourself.  Are you sure this admiration of yours for all her admirable qualities isn’t-love?

GEORGE.  My dear, I’m unfit to love her.

DAISY.  She doesn’t think so.  If you asked her to marry you she’d accept.

GEORGE. [Impatiently.] What nonsense.  What in heaven’s name made you think that?

DAISY.  I made it my business to find out.

GEORGE.  Well, you can set your mind at rest.  I’m not going to ask her to marry me.

[The AMAH comes in.

AMAH.  Five o’clock, Daisy.

DAISY.  Leave me alone.

[The AMAH goes out.

GEORGE.  When does Harry come back?

DAISY. [After a pause, in a strange, hoarse voice.] To-day.

GEORGE. [Surprised at her tone and manner.] Is anything the matter,
Daisy?

DAISY.  I’m afraid I have some very bad news for you.

GEORGE. [Startled.] Oh!

DAISY.  You know those letters.  I kept them locked in the box.  Lee Tai was furious because I wouldn’t have anything to do with him.  Last night he broke open the box.  He’s sent the letters to Harry.

GEORGE. [Overwhelmed.] My God!

DAISY.  I’m awfully sorry.  It wasn’t my fault.  I couldn’t dream that there was any risk.

GEORGE.  Was that why you sent for me?

DAISY.  Say you don’t hate me.

GEORGE.  Oh, poor Harry!

DAISY.  Don’t think of him now.  Think of me.

GEORGE.  What do we matter now, you and I?  We’re a pair of rotters.  Harry is a white man through and through.  He loved you, and he trusted me.

DAISY.  What are we going to do?

GEORGE.  Give me a minute.  I’m all at sixes and sevens.  It’s such a knock-out blow.

DAISY.  Harry will be here soon.  His train’s due at five.

GEORGE.  We’ll wait for him.

DAISY.  What?

GEORGE.  Did you think I was going to run away?  I’ll stay and face him.

DAISY.  He’ll kill you.

GEORGE. [With anguish.] I wish to God he would.

DAISY.  Oh, George, how can you be so cruel?  Don’t you love me any more? 
I love you.  George, what is to become of me if you desert me?

GEORGE.  Harry loves you so much and he loves me too.  Heaven knows what sacrifices he’s not capable of.  Oh, I’m so ashamed!

DAISY.  Why do you bother about him?  He doesn’t count.  He’ll get over it.  After all, what can he do?  He can only divorce me and perhaps we can get him to let me divorce him.

GEORGE.  Could you allow him to do that?

DAISY.  It means so little to a man.  I don’t care, I was thinking of you.  It would make it so much easier for you. [He gives her a quick look.  He perceives the allusion to marriage.] George, George, you wouldn’t leave-leave me in the cart.

GEORGE.  Of course I’ll marry you.

DAISY. [Smiling now, loving and tender.] Oh, George, we shall be so happy.  And you know, some day I’m sure you’ll think it’s better as it’s turned out.  I hate all this deceit just as much as you do.  Oh, it’ll make such a difference when our love can be open and above board.  When I’m your wife you’ll forget all that has tormented you.  Oh, George, I know we shall be happy!

[All this time GEORGE has been thinking deeply.

GEORGE.  How do you know that Lee Tai sent those wretched letters to
Harry?

DAISY.  He sent me a message.  He wasn’t satisfied with doing a dirty trick.  He wanted me to know that he’d done it.

GEORGE.  How did he know you kept my letters there?

DAISY.  I told you I was reading them while I waited for you.  He came in and I put them away.  I suppose he suspected.  It was very easy for him to get into the room after amah and I went away.

GEORGE. [Sarcastically.] Had you left the key of the box on the table?

DAISY.  What do you mean, George?  I’d locked it up.  Of course I took the key with me.  I suppose he broke it open.  What does it matter?  The harm’s done.

GEORGE.  How do you know Harry received the letters this morning?

DAISY.  Lee Tai said he would.

GEORGE.  In Kalgan?

DAISY.  Yes.

GEORGE.  How did he know Harry was in Kalgan?

DAISY.  The Chinese know all one’s movements.

GEORGE.  They can’t do miracles.  Harry was going up there unexpectedly on a private mission.  The fellows in that company know very well how to keep their own counsel when it’s needful....  I imagine you were the only person in Peking who knew Harry was going to Kalgan.

DAISY. [Casually.] Well, it appears I wasn’t.

GEORGE.  How do you suppose Lee Tai found out something that Harry had particularly told you to keep quiet about?

DAISY.  How can I tell?  He may have found out from the amah for all I know.

GEORGE.  Surely you hadn’t told her?

DAISY.  Of course not.  She may have read the letter.  She always does read my letters.

GEORGE.  Can she read English?

DAISY.  Enough to find out about other people’s business.

GEORGE.  Why should she have told Lee Tai?

DAISY.  I suppose he bribed her.  She’d do anything for a hundred dollars.

GEORGE.  Not if it would do you harm.

DAISY.  She’s not so devoted to me as all that.

GEORGE.  She’s your mother, Daisy.

DAISY. [Quickly.] How d’you know?

GEORGE.  Harry told me.

DAISY.  I thought he was too ashamed of it to do that.

GEORGE. [Persistently.] How did Lee Tai know that Harry was in Kalgan?

DAISY.  I tell you I don’t know.  Why do you cross-examine me?  Good God,
I’m harassed enough without that!  What do you mean?

GEORGE. [He seizes her wrists and draws her violently to him.] Daisy, did you send those letters to Harry yourself?

DAISY.  Never!  Do you think I’m crazy?

GEORGE.  Did you give them to Lee Tai to send?

DAISY.  No.

GEORGE.  God damn you, speak the truth!  I will have the truth for once in your life.

     [They stare at one another.  He is stern and angry.  She pulls
     herself together.  She is fierce and defiant.  She shakes herself
     free of him.

DAISY.  I gave them to Lee Tai.

GEORGE. [Hiding his face with his hands.] My God!

DAISY.  He told me you were engaged to Sylvia.  For a moment I believed it and I gave him the letters.  I hardly knew what I was doing.  And now, even though I know it wasn’t true, I’m glad.  I wish I’d done it long before.

GEORGE.  You fiend!

DAISY. [Violently.] Do you think I’m going to let you go so easily?  Do you think I’ve done all I have to let you marry that silly little English girl?

GEORGE. [With anguish.] Oh, Daisy, how could you?

DAISY.  Has it never struck you how you came to be wounded that night?  It wasn’t you they wanted.  It was Harry.

GEORGE.  I know. [Suddenly understanding.] Daisy!

DAISY.  Yes, I could do that.  I only wish it had succeeded.

GEORGE.  I can’t believe it.

DAISY.  You’re mine, mine, mine, and I’ll never let you go.

GEORGE. [With increasing violence.] Do you think I can ever look at you again without horror?  In my heart I’ve known always that you were evil.  Ten years ago when I first loved you there was a deep instinct within that warned me.  Even though my heart was breaking for love of you I knew that you were ruthless and cruel.  I’ve loved you, yes, but all the time I’ve hated you.  I’ve loved you, but with the baser part of me.  All that was in me that was honest and decent and upright revolted against you.  Always, always.  This love has been a loathsome cancer in my heart.  I couldn’t rid me of it without killing myself, but I abhorred it.  I felt that I was degraded by the love that burned me.

DAISY.  What do I care so long as you love?  You can think anything you like of me.  The fact remains that you love me.

GEORGE.  If you had no pity for Harry, who raised you from the gutter and gave you everything he had to give, oh, if you’d loved me you’d have had mercy on me.  What do you think our life can be together?  Don’t you know what I shall be?  Ruined and abject and hopeless.  Oh, not only in the eyes of everyone who knows me shall I be degraded, but in my own.  Do you think there’s much happiness for you there?

DAISY.  I shall have you.  That’s all the happiness I want.  I’d rather be wretched with you-oh, a thousand times-than happy with anyone else.

GEORGE. [Wrathfully, trying to wound her.] You were tormenting me just now because you were jealous of Sylvia.  Do you know what I felt for her?  It wasn’t love-at least not what you mean by love.  I can never love anyone as I’ve loved you and God knows I’m thankful.  But I had such a respect for her.  I’ve been so wretched and she offered me peace.  And I did think that some day when all this horror was over, if I could do something to make myself feel clean again, I should go to her and, all unworthy, ask her if she would take me.  And now the bitterest pang of all is to think that she must know what an unspeakable cad I’ve always been.

     [He has flung himself into a chair.  He is in despair. DAISY goes
     up to him and going down on her knees beside him puts her arm round
     him.  She is very tender
.

DAISY.  Oh, George, I can make you forget her so easily.  You don’t know what my love can do.  I know I’ve been horrible, but it’s only been because I loved you.  Ten years ago I was all that she is.  I’m like clay in your hands and you can make me what you will.  Oh, George, say you forgive me!

     [In the caressing gestures of her hands as she tries to move him
     one of them rests by chance on his coat pocket.  She feels something
     hard.  He moves slightly away.

GEORGE.  Take care.

DAISY.  What’s that in your pocket?

GEORGE.  It’s my revolver.  Since my accident I’ve always carried it about with me.  It’s rather silly, but the Minister asked me to.  He said he’d feel safer.

DAISY.  Oh, George, if you only knew the agony I suffered when you were brought in!  The remorse, the fear!  I thought I should go mad.

GEORGE. [With a bitter chuckle.] It must have been rather a sell for you.

DAISY.  Oh, you can laugh!  I knew you’d forgive me.  My darling.

GEORGE.  I’m sorry for all the rough things I said to you, Daisy.  I don’t blame you for anything.  You only acted according to your lights.  The only person I can blame is myself.  It’s only reasonable that I should suffer the punishment.

DAISY.  My sweetheart!

GEORGE.  I suppose you know that I shall be quite ruined.

DAISY.  You’ll have to leave the service.  Does that really matter to you very much?

GEORGE.  It was my whole life.

DAISY.  You’ll get a job in the post office.  With your knowledge of the language they’ll simply jump at you.  It’s a Chinese service.  It has nothing to do with Europeans.

GEORGE.  Do you think the postmaster in a small Chinese city is a very lucrative position?

DAISY.  What does money matter?  If I’d wanted money I could have got all I wanted from Lee Tai.  We can do with very little.  You don’t know what a clever housekeeper I am.

GEORGE. [In a level, dead voice.] I’m sure you’re wonderful.

DAISY.  We’ll go to some city where there are no foreigners.  And we shall be together always.  We’ll have a house high up on the bank and below us the river will flow, flow endlessly.

GEORGE.  You seem to have got it all mapped out.

DAISY.  If you only knew how often I’ve dreamed of it.  Oh, George, I want rest and peace too!  I’m so tired.  I want endless days to rest in. [With a puzzled look at him.] What is the matter?  You look so strange.

GEORGE. [With a weary sigh.] I was thinking of all the things you’ve been saying to me.

DAISY.  If you think it’ll be easier for you if you don’t marry me, you need not.  I don’t care anything about that.  I’ll be your mistress and I’ll lie hidden in your house so that no one shall know I’m there.  I’ll live like a Chinese woman.  I’ll be your slave and your plaything.  I want to get away from all these Europeans.  After all, China is the land of my birth and the land of my mother.  China is crowding in upon me; I’m sick of these foreign clothes.  I have a strange hankering for the ease of the Chinese dress.  You’ve never seen me in it?

GEORGE.  Never.

DAISY. [With a smile.] You’d hardly know me.  I’ll be a little Chinese girl living in the foreigner’s house.  Have you ever smoked opium?

GEORGE.  No. [DAISY takes the AMAH’S long pipe in her hands.] Who does that belong to?

DAISY.  It’s amah’s.  One day you shall try and I’ll make your pipes for you.  Lee Tai used to say that no one could make them better than I.

GEORGE.  However low down the ladder you go there’s apparently always a rung lower.

DAISY.  After you’ve smoked a pipe or two your mind grows extraordinarily clear.  You have a strange facility of speech and yet no desire to speak.  All the puzzles of this puzzling world grow plain to you.  You are tranquil and free.  Your soul is gently released from the bondage of your body, and it plays, happy and careless, like a child with flowers.  Death cannot frighten you, and want and misery are like blue mountains far away.  You feel a heavenly power possess you and you can venture all things because suffering cannot touch you.  Your spirit has wings and you fly like a bird through the starry wastes of the night.  You hold space and time in the hollow of your hand.  Then you come upon the dawn, all pearly and gray and silent, and there in the distance, like a dreamless sleep, is the sea.

GEORGE.  You are showing me a side of you I never knew.

DAISY.  Do you think you know me yet?  I don’t know myself.  In my heart there are secrets that are strange even to me, and spells to bind you to me, and enchantments so that you will never weary.

[A pause.

GEORGE. [Standing up.] I’ll go and get myself a drink.  After all these alarums and excursions I really think I deserve it.

DAISY.  Amah will bring it to you.

GEORGE.  Oh, it doesn’t matter!  I can easily fetch it myself.  The whisky’s in the dining-room, isn’t it?

DAISY.  I expect so.

[He goes out. DAISY goes over to a chest which stands in the room and throws it open.  She takes out the Manchu dress which Harry once gave her and handles it smilingly.  She holds up in both her hands the sumptuous headdress.  There is the sound of a door being locked.  DAISY puts down the headdress and looks at the door enquiringly.

DAISY. [With a little smile.] What are you locking the door for, George? [The words are hardly out of her mouth before there is the report of a pistol shot. DAISY gives a shriek and rushes towards the door.] George!  George!  What have you done? [She beats frantically on the door.] Let me in!  Let me in!  George!

[The AMAH comes in running from the courtyard.

AMAH.  What’s the matter?  I hear shot.

DAISY.  Send the boys, quick.  We must break down this door.

AMAH.  I send the boys away.  I no want them here when Harry come.

DAISY.  George!  George!  Speak to me. [She beats violently on the door.]
Oh, what shall I do?

AMAH.  Daisy, what’s the matter?

DAISY.  He’s killed himself sooner-sooner than....

AMAH. [Aghast.] Oh!

[DAISY staggers back into the room.

DAISY.  Oh, my God!

     [She sinks down on the floor.  She beats it with her fist.  The
     AMAH looks at her for an instant, then with quick determination
     seizes her shoulder
.

AMAH.  Daisy, Harry come soon.

DAISY. [With a violent gesture.] Leave me alone.  What do I care if
Harry comes?

AMAH.  You no can stay here.  Come with me quick.

DAISY.  Go away.  Damn you!

AMAH. [Stern and decided.] Don’t you talk foolish now.  You come.  Lee
Tai waiting for you.

DAISY. [With a sudden suspicion.] Did you know this was going to happen?  George!  George!

AMAH.  Harry will kill you if he find you here.  Come with me. [There is a knocking at the outer gate.] There he is.  Daisy!  Daisy!

DAISY.  Don’t torture me.

AMAH.  I bolt that door.  He no get in that way.  He must come round through temple.  You come quick and I hide you.  We slip out when he safe.

DAISY. [With scornful rage.] Do you think I’m frightened of Harry?

AMAH.  He come velly soon now.

[DAISY raises herself to her feet.  A strange look comes over her face.

DAISY.  Lee Tai has made a mistake again.  Bolt that door.

[The AMAH runs to it and slips the bolt.  While she does this DAISY takes the tin of opium and quickly swallows some of the contents.  The AMAH turns round and sees her.  She gives a gasp.  She runs forward and snatches the tin from DAISY’S hand.

AMAH.  What you do, Daisy?  Daisy, you die!

DAISY.  Yes, I die.  The day has come.  The jungle takes back its own.

AMAH. [Distraught.] Oh, Daisy!  Daisy!  My little flower.

DAISY.  How long will it take? [The AMAH sobs desperately.  DAISY goes to the Manchu clothes and takes them up.] Help me to put these on.

AMAH. [Dumbfounded.] What you mean, Daisy?

DAISY.  Curse you, do as I tell you!

AMAH.  I think you crazy. [DAISY slips into the long skirt and the AMAH with trembling hands helps her into the coat.  In the middle of her dressing DAISY staggers.] Daisy.

DAISY. [Recovering herself.] Don’t be a fool.  I’m all right.

AMAH. [In a terrified whisper.] There’s Harry.

DAISY.  Give me the headdress.

HARRY. [Outside.] Open the door.

DAISY.  Be quick.

AMAH.  I no understand.  You die, Daisy.  You die.

[The knocking is repeated more violently.

HARRY. [Shouting.] Daisy!  Amah!  Open the door.  If you don’t open I’ll break it down.

     [DAISY is ready.  She steps on to the pallet and sits in the
     Chinese fashion
.

DAISY.  Go to the door.  Open when I tell you.

     [There is by DAISY’S side a box in which are the paints and
     pencils the Chinese lady uses to make up her face
.  DAISY opens
     it.  She takes out a hand mirror
.

HARRY.  Who’s there?  Open, I tell you!  Open!

     [DAISY puts rouge on her cheeks.  She takes a black pencil and
     touches her eyebrows.  She gives them a slight slant so that she
     looks on a sudden absolutely Chinese
.

DAISY.  Open!

[The Amah draws the bolt and HARRY bursts in.

HARRY.  Daisy! [He comes forward impetuously and then on a sudden stops.  He is taken aback.  Something, he knows not what, comes over him and he feels helpless and strangely weak.] Daisy, what does it mean?  These letters. [He takes them out of his pocket and thrusts them towards her.  She takes no notice of him.] Daisy, speak to me.  I don’t understand. [He staggers towards her with outstretched hands.] For God’s sake, say it isn’t true.

     [Motionless she contemplates in the mirror the Chinese woman of
     the reflection.