Fanny's First Play
On the afternoon of the same day, Mrs Knox is writing notes in her drawing-
room, at a writing-table which stands against the wall. Anyone placed so as to
see Mrs Knox's left profile, will have the door on the right and the window an the
left, both further away than Mrs Knox, whose back is presented to an obsolete
upright piano at the opposite side of the room. The sofa is near the piano. There
is a small table in the middle of the room, with some gilt-edged books and
albums on it, and chairs near it.
Mr Knox comes in almost furtively, a troubled man of fifty, thinner, harder, and
uglier than his partner, Gilbey, Gilbey being a soft stoutish man with white hair
and thin smooth skin, whilst Knox has coarse black hair, and blue jaws which no
diligence in shaving can whiten. Mrs Knox is a plain woman, dressed without
regard to fashion, with thoughtful eyes and thoughtful ways that make an
atmosphere of peace and some solemnity. She is surprised to see her husband
at home during business hours.
MRS KNOX. What brings you home at this hour? Have you heard anything?
KNOX. No. Have you?
MRS KNOX. No. Whats the matter?
KNOX. [sitting down on the sofa] I believe Gilbey has found out.
MRS KNOX. What makes you think that?
KNOX. Well, I dont know: I didnt like to tell you: you have enough to worry you
without that; but Gilbey's been very queer ever since it happened. I cant keep my
mind on business as I ought; and I was depending on him. But hes worse than
me. Hes not looking after anything; and he keeps out of my way. His manner's
not natural. He hasnt asked us to dinner; and hes never said a word about our
not asking him to dinner, after all these years when weve dined every week as
regular as clockwork. It looks to me as if Gilbey's trying to drop me socially. Well,
why should he do that if he hasnt heard?
MRS KNOX. I wonder! Bobby hasnt been near us either: thats what I cant make
KNOX. Oh, thats nothing. I told him Margaret was down in Cornwall with her