A monologue from Act 3

by: Arthur W. Pinero

NOTE: His House in Order was first published in 1906. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

NINA: You ask me whether I intend to make use of the letters. The question slipped out, but I'll answer it. Yes, I do intend to use them . . . What's to prevent me -- or who? Or who? [Gripping the letters through her bodice.] Even if you snatched them away from me -- tore them away from me -- I know; I know. But I don't think you'd forget yourself to that extent . . . [She sits upon the seat before the escritoire.] While you are all out of the house -- opening the park! -- I shall shut myself up in my bedroom and copy the letters . . . Oh, yes, they shall enjoy their solemn parade . . . Afterwards -- I shall put the copy into an envelope, with a note explaining how the originals came into my possession -- . . . And see that Geraldine receives it directly when she returns . . . I'm not hurting Filmer, much as he has hurt me -- or the boy. Except for Maurewarde, the secret will be yours and mine -- and the Ridgeleys'. Trust them to keep it. It's the Ridgeley's I'm aiming my blow at. [Clenching her fists.] The Ridgeleys! The Ridgeleys! . . . She shall crawl to me -- Geraldine shall -- as I've crawled to her; and you're right -- she shall make them all crawl. Hilary -- Mr. Jesson -- often and often I've cried myself to sleep, after being tormented by Geraldine almost beyond endurance; cried half through the night. Now it's her turn, if she has a tear in her. She shall be meek and grovelling now, to me -- consulting my wishes, my tastes, in everything; taking orders from me and carrying them out like a paid servant. I shan't be terrified any longer at her frown and her thin lips, but at a look from me she shall catch her breath -- as I've done -- and flush up, and lower those steely grey eyes of hers. And she won't be able to free herself from me. I've got her! I've got her, and she shan't leave me till I choose to dismiss her. [Striking the back of the settee.] Oh, she has tortured me -- tortured me -- she and her tribe; and from today -- ! You watch! You watch! [She sinks down upon the settee weeping with anger.]