GIBSON: Indeed it’s not! It only seemed to me from what we’ve just heard here—
NORA [bitterly]: Oh, I suppose all business men’s meetings and arguments, when their interests happen to clash, are angelically sweet and amiable! Because you see that my comrades are human and have their human differences—
GIBSON: Nora, don’t be angry.
NORA: I’ll try not. Of course it isn’t all a bed of roses! Of course things don’t run like oiled machinery!
GIBSON: But they do run?
NORA: It’s magnificent!
GIBSON: Do you want me to come to that meeting to-morrow?
NORA: Yes; I’d like you to see how reasonable people settle their differences when they have an absolutely equal and common interest.
GIBSON [in a low voice]: Aren’t you ever tired?
[For a moment she
has looked weary. She instantly braces up
and answers with spirit.]
NORA: Tired of living out my ideals?
GIBSON: No; I just mean tired of working. Wouldn’t you rather stop and come here and live in this quiet house?
NORA [incredulously]: I?
GIBSON: Couldn’t there even be a chance of it, Nora? That you’d marry me?
NORA [amazed and indignant]: A chance that I would—
GIBSON: Well, then, wouldn’t you even be willing to leave it to the meeting to-morrow?
[Already in motion
she gives him a look of terror and intense
NORA: Oh! [She runs from the gateway.]
The scene is the same as the first, the factory office—with a difference. It is now littered and disorderly. Files have been taken from the cases and left heaped upon the large table and upon chairs. Piles of mail are on the desk and upon the table. The safe is open, showing papers in disorder and hanging from the compartments. Hanging upon the walls, variously, are suits of old overalls and men’s coats and, hats. The chairs stand irregularly about the large table; a couple of old soft hats are on the water filter. The former posters have been replaced by two new ones. One shows a brawny workman with whiskers, paper cap, and large sledge hammer leaning upon an upright piano. Rubrics: “The Freedom and Fraternity Cooeperative Upright.” “The Piano You Ought to Support.” The other poster shows a workman with a banner upon which is printed: “No Capital! The Freedom and Fraternity Cooeperative Upright The Only Piano Produced by Toilers Not Ground by Capital. Buy One to Help the Cause!"
NORA is busily engaged
at GIBSON’S desk. Her hat and jacket
hang on the wall.