Colonel. [From the depths, in a high voice.]
Well, dash it then!
What do you want?
Mrs. Gwyn. Peachey, may I introduce Mr. Lever to you? Miss Beech, my old governess.
[They shake each other by the hand.]
Lever. How do you do? [His voice is pleasant, his manner easy.]
Miss beech. Pleased to meet you.
[Her manner is that of one who is not pleased. She watches.]
Mrs. Gwyn. [Pointing to the tree-maliciously.] This is my uncle and my aunt. They’re taking exercise, I think.
[The Colonel and
Mrs. Hope emerge convulsively. They
hot. Lever and Mrs. Gwyn are very cool.]
Mrs. Hope. [Shaking hands with him.] So you ’ve got here! Are n’t you very hot?—Tom!
Colonel. Brought a splendid day with you! Splendid!
[As he speaks, Joy comes
running with a bunch of roses; seeing
Lever, she stops and stands quite rigid.]
Miss beech. [Sitting in the swing.] Thunder!
Colonel. Thunder? Nonsense, Peachey, you’re always imagining something. Look at the sky!
Miss beech. Thunder!
[Mrs. GWYN’s smile has faded. ]
Mrs. Hope. [Turning.] Joy, don’t you see Mr. Lever?
[Joy, turning to her
mother, gives her the roses. With a forced
smile, Lever advances, holding out his hand.]
Lever. How are you, Joy? Have n’t seen you for an age!
Joy. [Without expression.] I am very well, thank you.
[She raises her hand,
and just touches his. Mrs. Gwyn’s
are fixed on her daughter. Miss beech is watching them
intently. Mrs. Hope is buttoning the colonel’s coat.]
The curtain falls.
It is afternoon, and at a garden-table placed beneath the hollow tree, the Colonel is poring over plans. Astride of a garden-chair, Lever is smoking cigarettes. Dick is hanging Chinese lanterns to the hollow tree.
Lever. Of course, if this level [pointing with his cigarette] peters out to the West we shall be in a tightish place; you know what a mine is at this stage, Colonel Hope.
Colonel. [Absently.] Yes, yes. [Tracing a line.] What is there to prevent its running out here to the East?
Lever. Well, nothing, except that as a matter of fact it doesn’t.
Colonel. [With some excitement.] I’m very glad you showed me these papers, very glad! I say that it’s a most astonishing thing if the ore suddenly stops there. [A gleam of humour visits lever’s face.] I’m not an expert, but you ought to prove that ground to the East more thoroughly.