[They are all looking at Strangway, who, under Jarland’s drunken insults is standing rigid, with his eyes closed, and his hands hard clenched. The church bell has stopped slow ringing, and begun its five minutes’ hurrying note.]
Trustaford. [Rising, and trying to hook his arm into Jarland’s] Come away, Tam; yu’ve a-’ad to much, man.
Jarland. [Shaking him off] Zee, ’e darsen’t touch me; I might ’it un in the vase an’ ’e darsen’t; ’e’s afraid—like ‘e was o’ the doctor.
[He raises the pewter
as though to fling it, but it is seized by
Godleigh from behind, and falls clattering to the floor.
Strangway has not moved.]
Jarland. [Shaking his fist almost in his face] Luke at un, Luke at un! A man wi’ a slut for a wife——
[As he utters the word “wife” Strangway seizes the outstretched fist, and with a jujitsu movement, draws him into his clutch, helpless. And as they sway and struggle in the open window, with the false strength of fury he forces Jarland through. There is a crash of broken glass from outside. At the sound Strangway comes to himself. A look of agony passes over his face. His eyes light on Jim Bere, who has suddenly risen, and stands feebly clapping his hands. Strangway rushes out.]
[Excitedly gathering at the window, they all speak at once.]
Clyst. Tam’s hatchin’ of yure cucumbers, Mr. Godleigh.
Trustaford. ’E did crash; haw, haw!
Freman. ‘Twas a brave throw, zurely. Whu wid a’ thought it?
Clyst. Tam’s crawlin’ out. [Leaning through window] Hello, Tam— ‘ow’s t’ base, old man?
Freman. [Excitedly] They’m all comin’ up from churchyard to zee.
Trustaford. Tam du luke wonderful aztonished;
haw, haw! Poor old
Clyst. Can yu zee curate? Reckon ’e’m gone into church. Aw, yes; gettin’ a bit dimsy-service time. [A moment’s hush.]
Trustaford. Well, I’m jiggered. In ’alf an hour he’m got to prache.
Godleigh. ’Tes a Christian village, boys.
[Feebly, quietly, Jim
Bere laughs. There is silence; but the
bell is heard still ranging.]
The same-in daylight dying fast. A lamp is burning on the bar. A chair has been placed in the centre of the room, facing the bench under the window, on which are seated from right to left, Godleigh, Sol Potter the village shopman, Trustaford, Burlacombe, Freman, Jim Bere, and Morse the blacksmith. Clyst is squatting on a stool by the bar, and at the other end Jarland, sobered and lowering, leans against the lintel of the porch leading to the