[He smiles; JOHN relaxes and takes one step back.
JOHN. Possibly it’s been about that length of time since you were human, eh?
WILL. Possibly—but you see, Mr. Madison, after all, you’re at fault.
WILL. Yes, the very first thing you did was to lose your temper. Now people who always lose their temper will never make a lot of money, and you admit that that is a great necessity—I mean now—to you.
JOHN. I can’t stand for the brutal way you talk. [Crosses up to seat, picks up newspaper, slams it down angrily on seat, and sits with elbow on balustrade.
WILL. But you have got to stand it. The truth is never gentle. [Crosses up and sits left of JOHN.] Most conditions in life are unpleasant, and, if you want to meet them squarely, you have got to realize the unpleasant point of view. That’s the only way you can fight them and win.
JOHN [Turns to WILL.] Still, I believe Laura means what she says, in spite of all you say and the disagreeable logic of it. I think she loves me. If she should ever want to go back to the old way of getting along, I think she’d tell me so. So you see, Brockton, all your talk is wasted, and we’ll drop the subject.
[Crosses down and sits in armchair.
WILL. And if she should ever go back and come to me, I am going to insist that she let you know all about it. It’ll be hard enough to lose her, caring for her the way you do, but it would hurt a lot more to be double-crossed.
JOHN. [Sarcastically.] That’s very kind. Thanks!
WILL. Don’t get sore. It’s common sense and it goes, does it not?
JOHN. [Turns to WILL.] Just what goes?
WILL. If she leaves you first, you are to tell me, and if she comes to me I’ll make her let you know just when and why.
JOHN is leaning on arm, facing WILL; his hand shoots out in a gesture of warning to WILL.
JOHN. Look out!
WILL. I said common sense.
JOHN. All right.
WILL. Agreed? [A pause.
JOHN. You’re on.
By this time the stage is black and all that can be seen is the glow of the two cigars. Piano in the next room is heard. JOHN crosses slowly and deliberately to door, looks in, throws cigar away over the terrace, exits into house, closes doors, and, as WILL is seated on terrace, puffing cigar, the red coal of which is alone visible, a slow curtain.