[Scene: The Wordlys’ House, decorated in a considerably primitive fashion. The living room is dimly lit with a band placed near the right hand corner of the room, performing a known caprice. There is a heavily cushioned sofa-set placed exactly at the centre of the room. Senthil Jacob, Kathy Woods and the hostess, Margaret Wordly, occupy a section of the set. The ceiling right above is adorned by a magnificent Adam style chandelier. The room is relatively empty, with most of the guests relishing in the Dance Hall.]
Senthil: A fancy place you’ve got, Mrs Wordly.
And weren’t you the one who suggested that this would be no big party?
Mrs Wordly: Blame her not, Senthil. It was just a small ‘conspiracy’, as you would call it.
You wouldn’t have come here had we been truthful. Alas! I’ve heard you find my parties to be grandiose. You hurt me, dear friend. You haven’t even been to one until today.
Senthil: Ah, how rude of you to have such preconceived thoughts. Why shouldn’t you celebrate your fifteenth wedding anniversary sumptuously! The arrangement is nicely laid. Your taste expounds your elegance, Mrs Wordly.
Mrs Wordly: Oh, that’s very kind of you. And, please call me Margaret. Being married doesn’t oblige any woman to be named as her husband’s tail.
Senthil: Of course, Margaret!
Mrs. Wordly: Yes, that sounds so much better. I am sorry, but it is true what people say about me. I am an obstinate feminist, straight out of an Austen book. Ha ha!
Senthil: Women were created to refine men. What do you say, Kathy?
Kathy(blushes): If you say so.
Mrs. Wordly: So you do agree men are crude by nature?
Senthil: Aye, I think quite highly of Mr. Wordly.
Mrs. Wordly: There, now! Why do I feel like I’ve been hit on the head with an enormous hammer?
Senthil(laughs): Maybe a dance may cure you. How about a dance, Kathy?
Kathy(smiles): If you say so.
Senthil: So Margaret, bring your mister and join us. I am quite eager to meet him.
[Kathy, Senthil exit. Mrs. Wordly retires to the restroom to look for her husband.]
[Scene: The dance hall contains an exuberant pack of guests, frolicking around. The lively colours of the decoration help set up the ambience.]
Alexis: It’s amazing how prompt Senthil has been in make building friendship. It has not been even a year since he came into this society.
Alexis: Hm, I suspected too. Mrs. Wordly says he’s all praises for her. Maybe that’s why he is here today.
Alexis: Oh, who is that in beige, to whom the maid hands a letter?
Alexis: Look! Senthil is coming towards us.
Senthil: Hello, ladies. Have you seen a lady named Delilah?
Alexis(points): Yes, she..
(realizes that Delilah is nowhere to be seen)
..was right there. Do you know her?
Senthil: Well.. in a way. Thanks, Miss.
[Senthil resumes his search. Meanwhile Delilah has read the letter which then accidently slips off. Mrs Wordly takes notice and places her heel over the letter. Delilah rushes away and hides behind a curtain.]
Content of the letter-
O, my sweet love.
I never thought I’d see you again.
I have tried enough, but it is impossible to erase you from my mind.
My love for you has only grown.
I am willing to forget your errors. I forgive you, my love.
Delilah(aside): Oh! I see him here, after more than a year, and.. and this is too good to be true!
Senthil(spots her and draws the curtain): Dear!
Delilah: Oh! Darling! I thought you would never want to see me again. Oh! I have missed you so much.
Senthil: Love, where have I not looked for you!
(lifts her chin)
Why did you leave me?
Delilah: Horrible, horrible story it is. I was indebted to someone. But it was my fault. I gave precedence to my career, he made me dream and..oh.. I was distraught. I am sorry, dear. I have broken all cords with him. That is why I am here. To tell him that.
Senthil: You were with another man?
[Kathy sees them, and interrupts]
Kathy: Senthil! First you leave me alone during the dance and now.. what am I to make of this!
Senthil: Kathy, dear. It is not as it seems.
Kathy: Then do explain, for from what I gather people are expecting our engagement today!
Senthil: Oh.. no, no Kathy. You might have misread me. And others too. Oh god! I have never considered you more than a sister.
Kathy: Oh, this can’t be true. This wicked woman has brought you to this!
Senthil: Do not speak like that of my wife!
Kathy(crossly): If you say so!
Delilah: I am so sorry—
Senthil: I don’t want to hear another word from you. You have defeated my trust, and my love.
Delilah: Oh..oh.. don’t say that. But.. but you said you forgave me.. in your letter.
Senthil: What letter? I know nothing of it.
Delilah: Oh.. it must be him then!
[In the meantime, Mrs. Wordly calls for attention]
Mrs. Wordly(gravely): Everyone, here! I have a discovery to share with all my dear guests.
[Senthil, Delilah hold their breath. Mrs. Wordly produces the letter]
Mrs. Wordly: It hurts me to say this, but being a woman of honour I have no other choice. Today I found this letter written in my husband’s unmistakable handwriting, addressed to a young lady almost half his age.
(reiterates the contents of the letter)
Yes, Roger. You can suitably hide yourself behind some decoration, but expect not me to play along. Perhaps you forgot that every maid has her price. And yours sold out quite willingly. Friends,
My husband here has been blackmailing a young lady for the past one year and claims fervently to be in love with her..
..Ah! Didn’t everybody think we were the perfect couple?
I am glad the truth is out. However hideous it has turned out to be.
Well, though the house is under my name, you won’t be thrown out, Roger. Take your time. I’ll take care of the legalities.
Thank you, dear guests.. for coming here for our.. (breaks off)