Why, in every conceivable way. MITCH: I'm surprised to hear that. BLANCHE: Are you? MITCH: Well, I-<lon't see how anybody could be rude to you. BLANCHE: It's really a pretty frightful situatiou. You see, there's no privacy here. There's just these portieres between the two rooms at night. He stalks through the rooms in his under- wear at ·night. And I have to ask him to . close the bath- . room door. That sort of commonness isn't necessary. You probably wonder why 1 don't move out. Wen, rn tell you frankly. A teacher's sa1ary is barely sufficient for her living- expenses. I didn't save a penny last year and so. 1 bad to come here for the summer. That's why I have to put up with my sister's husband. And he has to put up with me, apparently so much against his wishes. • • • Surely he must have told you how much he hates mel MITCH: I don't think he hates you. BLANCHE: He hates me. Or why would he insult me? The first time I laid eyes on him I thought to myself, that man is my executioner I That man will destroy me, unless- MITCH: Blanche>- BLANCHE: Yes, honey? MITCH: Can I ask you a question? BLANCHE: Yes. What? MITCH: How old are you? [She makes a nervous gesture.} 93
I ; I t' I I , I , , SOENE SIX BLANCHE: Why do you want to know? MITCH: I talked to my mother about you and she said, "Howald is Blanche?" And I wasn't able to tell her. [There is another pause.] BLANCHE: You talked to your mother about me? MITCH: Yes. BLANCHE: · Why? MITCH: I told my mother how nice you were,.-and I liked you. BLANCHE: Were you sincere about that? MITCH: You know I was. BLANCHE: Why did your mother want to know my age? MITcH: Mother is sick. BLANCHE: I'm sorry to hear it. Badly? MITCH: She won't live long. Maybe just a few months. BLANCHE: Oh. MITCH: She worries because I'm not settled. BLANCHE: Oh. MITCH: She wants me to be settled down before she--[His voice is hoarse and he clears his throat twice, shuffling nervously around with his hands in and out of his pockets.) BLANCHE: You love her very much, don't you? 94 SOENE SIX MITCH: Yes. BLANCHB: I think you have a great capacity for devotion. You wiD be lonely when she passes on, won't you? [Mitch clears hJ.r throat and nods.] I understand what that is. MITCH: To be lonely? BLANCHB: I loved someone, too, and the person I loved I lost. MITCH: Dead? [She crosseJ to the window and sitJ on the sil" look- ing out. She pours herself another drink.] A man? BLANCHB: He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very·young girl. When I was sixteen, 1. made the discovery-love. AIl at once and much, much too completely. It was like you sud- denly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that's how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded. There was something different about the boy, a nervousness, a softness and tenderness which wasn't like a man's, although he wasn't the least bit effeminate looking-<ltill-that thing was there. . •• He came to me for help. I didn't know that. I didn't find out anything till after our marriage when we'd run away and come back and all I knew was I'd failed birO in some mys- terious way and wasn't able to give the help
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