Wha’ I was goin’ tell you was—I ’ve had a row with her. [He waves the reticule.] Have a drink, Jonessh ’d never have got in without you—tha ’s why I ‘m giving you a drink. Don’ care who knows I’ve scored her off. Th’ cat! [He throws his feet up on the sofa.] Don’ you make a noise, whatever you do. You pour out a drink—you make yourself good long, long drink—you take cigarette—you take anything you like. Sh’d never have got in without you. [Closing his eyes.] You’re a Tory—you’re a Tory Socialist. I’m Liberal myself—have a drink—I ’m an excel’nt chap.
[His head drops back. He, smiling, falls asleep, and Jones stands looking at him; then, snatching up JACK’s glass, he drinks it off. He picks the reticule from off Jack’s shirt-front, holds it to the light, and smells at it.]
Jones. Been on the tiles and brought ’ome some of yer cat’s fur. [He stuffs it into JACK’s breast pocket.]
Jack. [Murmuring.] I ’ve scored you off! You cat!
[Jones looks around
him furtively; he pours out whisky and
drinks it. From the silver box he takes a cigarette, puffs at
it, and drinks more whisky. There is no sobriety left in him.]
Jones. Fat lot o’ things they’ve got ’ere! [He sees the crimson purse lying on the floor.] More cat’s fur. Puss, puss! [He fingers it, drops it on the tray, and looks at jack.] Calf! Fat calf! [He sees his own presentment in a mirror. Lifting his hands, with fingers spread, he stares at it; then looks again at jack, clenching his fist as if to batter in his sleeping, smiling face. Suddenly he tilts the rest o f the whisky into the glass and drinks it. With cunning glee he takes the silver box and purse and pockets them.] I ’ll score you off too, that ’s wot I ’ll do!
[He gives a little snarling
laugh and lurches to the door. His
shoulder rubs against the switch; the light goes out. There is
a sound as of a closing outer door.]
The curtain falls.
The curtain rises again at once.
In the Barthwick’s dining-room. Jack is still asleep; the morning light is coming through the curtains. The time is half-past eight. Wheeler, brisk person enters with a dust-pan, and Mrs. Jones more slowly with a scuttle.
Wheeler. [Drawing the curtains.] That precious husband of yours was round for you after you’d gone yesterday, Mrs. Jones. Wanted your money for drink, I suppose. He hangs about the corner here half the time. I saw him outside the “Goat and Bells” when I went to the post last night. If I were you I would n’t live with him. I would n’t live with a man that raised his hand to me. I wouldn’t put up with it. Why don’t you take your children and leave him? If you put up with ’im it’ll only make him worse. I never can see why, because a man’s married you, he should knock you about.