Rev. S. [piteously] Frank, my boy: when I wrote those letters I put myself into that woman’s power. When I told you about them I put myself, to some extent, I am sorry to say, in your power. She refused my money with these words, which I shall never forget. “Knowledge is power” she said; “and I never sell power.”
Thats more than twenty years ago; and she has never made use of her power or caused me a moment’s uneasiness. You are behaving worse to me than she did, Frank.
Frank. Oh yes I dare say! Did you ever preach at her the way you preach at me every day?
Rev. S. [wounded almost to tears] I leave you, sir. You are incorrigible. [He turns towards the gate].
Frank [utterly unmoved] Tell them I shan’t be home to tea, will you, gov’nor, like a good fellow? [He moves towards the cottage door and is met by Praed and Vivie coming out].
Vivie [to Frank] Is that your father, Frank? I do so want to meet him.
Frank. Certainly. [Calling after his father] Gov’nor. Youre wanted. [The parson turns at the gate, fumbling nervously at his hat. Praed crosses the garden to the opposite side, beaming in anticipation of civilities]. My father: Miss Warren.
Vivie [going to the clergyman and shaking his hand] Very glad to see you here, Mr Gardner. [Calling to the cottage] Mother: come along: youre wanted.
[Mrs Warren appears on the threshold, and is immediately transfixed, recognizing the clergyman.]
Vivie [continuing] Let me introduce—
Mrs Warren [swooping on the Reverend Samuel] Why it’s Sam Gardner, gone into the Church! Well, I never! Don’t you know us, Sam? This is George Crofts, as large as life and twice as natural. Don’t you remember me?
Rev. S. [very red] I really—er—
Mrs Warren. Of course you do. Why, I have a whole album of your letters still: I came across them only the other day.
Rev. S. [miserably confused] Miss Vavasour, I believe.
Mrs Warren [correcting him quickly in a
loud whisper] Tch! Nonsense! Mrs
Warren: don’t you see my daughter there?
[Inside the cottage after nightfall. Looking eastward from within instead of westward from without, the latticed window, with its curtains drawn, is now seen in the middle of the front wall of the cottage, with the porch door to the left of it. In the left-hand side wall is the door leading to the kitchen. Farther back against the same wall is a dresser with a candle and matches on it, and Frank’s rifle standing beside them, with the barrel resting in the plate-rack. In the centre a table stands with a lighted lamp on it. Vivie’s books and writing materials are on a table to the right of the window, against the wall. The fireplace is on the right, with a settle: there is no fire. Two of the chairs are set right and left of the table.]