BLANCHE _[shrewishly]_ Well? So you have...

Widowers' Houses

Blanche Sartorius

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BLANCHE [shrewishly] Well? So you have come back here. You have had the meanness to come into this house again. [He flushes and retreats a step. She follows him up remorselessly]. What a poor spirited creature you must be! Why don’t you go ? [Red and wincing, he starts huffily to get his hat from the table ; but when he turns to the door with it she deliberately gets in his way, so that he has to stop] I don’t want you to stay. [For a moment they stand face to face ', quite close to one another, she provocative, taunting, half defying, half inviting him to advance, in a flush of undisguised animal excitement. It suddenly flashes on him that all this ferocity is erotic that she is making love to him. His eye lights up: a cunning expression comes into the corners of his mouth : with a heavy assumption of indifference he walks straight back to his chair, and plants himself in it with his arms folded. She comes down the room after him]. But I forgot : you have found that there is some money to be made here. Lickcheese told you. You, who were so disinterested, so independent, that you could not accept anything from my father! [At the end of every sentence she waits to see what execution she has done]. I suppose you will try to persuade me that you have come down here on a great philanthropic enterprise to befriend the poor by having those houses rebuilt, eh? Yes : when my father makes you do it. And when Lickcheese has discovered some way of making it profitable. Oh, I know papa ; and I know you. And for the sake of that, you come back here into the house where you were refused ordered out. [Trench's face darkens : her eyes gleam as she sees it]. Aha ! you remember that. You know it's true : you can’t deny it. [She sits down, and softens her tone a little as she affects to pity him]. Ah, let me tell you that you cut a poor figure, a very, very poor figure, Harry. [At the word "Harry" he relaxes the fold of his arms ; and a faint grin of anticipated victory appears on his face]. And you, too, a gentleman! so highly connected ! with such distinguished relations! so particular as to where your money comes from! I wonder at you. I really wonder at you. I should have thought that if your family brought you nothing else, it might at least have brought you some sense of personal dignity. Perhaps you think you look dignified at present, eh? Well, I can assure you that you don’t: you look most ridiculous as foolish as a man could look you don’t know what to say ; and you don’t know what to do. But after all, I really don’t see what anyone could say in defence of such conduct. [He looks straight in front of him, and purses up his lips as if whistling. This annoys her ; and she becomes affectedly polite]. I am afraid I am in your way, Dr Trench. [She rises]. I shall not intrude on you any longer. You seem so perfectly at home that I need make no apology for leaving you to yourself. [She makes a feint of going to the door ; but he does not budge ; and she returns and comes behind his chair]. Harry. [He does not turn. She comes a step nearer]. Harry : I want you to answer me a question. [Earnestly, stooping over him] Look me in the face. Do you hear? [Putting her hand on his shoulder] Look me in the face. [He still stares straight in front of him. She suddenly kneels down beside him with her breast against his right shoulder, and, taking his face in her hands, twists it sharply towards her]. Harry: what were you doing with my photograph just now, when you thought you were alone ? [His face writhes as he tries hard not to smile. She flings her arms round him, and crushes him in an ecstatic embrace as she adds, with furious tenderness] How dare you touch anything belonging to me?

Shaw, George Bernard. Widowers’ Houses: a play. https://archive.org/stream/widowershousespl00shawuoft/widowershousespl00shawuoft_djvu.txt. Retrieved January 28, 2019.

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