HORSHAM. [Taking as keen, but no keener, an interest in this than in the difficulty he has just surmounted.] Yes, by the will she can, but she mustn’t. Dear me, I thought I’d put a stop to that foolishness. Well now, we must take that matter up very seriously ...
They go out talking arm in arm.
THE FOURTH ACT
At TREBELL’S again; later, the same evening.
His room is in darkness but for the flicker the fire makes and the streaks of moonlight between the curtains. The door is open, though, and you see the light of the lamp on the stairs. You hear his footstep too. On his way he stops to draw back the the curtains of the passage-way window; the moonlight makes his face look very pale. Then he serves the curtains of his own window the same; flings it open, moreover, and stands looking out. Something below draws his attention. After leaning over the balcony with a short “Hullo” he goes quickly downstairs again. In a minute WEDGECROFT comes up. TREBELL follows, pausing by the door a moment to light up the room. WEDGECROFT is radiant.
TREBELL. [With a twist of his mouth.] Promised, has he?
WEDGECROFT. Suddenly broke out as we walked along, that he liked the look of you and that men must stand by one another nowadays against these women. Then he said good-night and walked away.
TREBELL. Back to Ireland and the thirteenth century.
WEDGECROFT. After to-morrow.
TREBELL. [Taking all the meaning of to-morrow.] Yes. Are you in for perjury, too?
WEDGECROFT. [His thankfulness checked a little.] No ... not exactly.
TREBELL walks away from him.
TREBELL. It’s a pity the truth isn’t to be told, I think. I suppose the verdict will be murder.
WEDGECROFT. They won’t catch the man.
TREBELL. You don’t mean ... me.
WEDGECROFT. No, no ... my dear fellow.
TREBELL. You might, you know. But nobody seems to see this thing as I see it. If I were on that jury I’d say murder too and accuse ... so many circumstances, Gilbert, that we should go home ... and look in the cupboards. What a lumber of opinions we inherit and keep!
WEDGECROFT. [Humouring him.] Ought we to burn the house down?
TREBELL. Rules and regulations for the preservation of rubbish are the laws of England ... and I was adding to their number.
WEDGECROFT. And so you shall ... to the applause of a grateful country.
TREBELL. [Studying his friend’s kindly encouraging face.] Gilbert, it is not so much that you’re an incorrigible optimist ... but why do you subdue your mind to flatter people into cheerfulness?
WEDGECROFT. I’m a doctor, my friend.
TREBELL. You’re a part of our tendency to keep things alive by hook or by crook ... not a spark but must be carefully blown upon. The world’s old and tired; it dreads extinction. I think I disapprove ... I think I’ve more faith.