Mrs. Jones. No, Sir, I don’t say that, sir. I think there’s a great deal of good in him; though he does treat me very bad sometimes. And of course I don’t like to leave him, but I think I ought to, because really I hardly know how to stay with him. He often raises his hand to me. Not long ago he gave me a blow here [touches her breast] and I can feel it now. So I think I ought to leave him, don’t you, sir?
Barthwick. Ah! I can’t help you there. It’s a very serious thing to leave your husband. Very serious thing.
Mrs. Jones. Yes, sir, of course I ’m afraid of what he might do to me if I were to leave him; he can be so very violent.
Barthwick. H’m! Well, that I can’t pretend to say anything about. It’s the bad principle I’m speaking of——
Mrs. Jones. Yes, Sir; I know nobody can help me. I know I must decide for myself, and of course I know that he has a very hard life. And he’s fond of the children, and its very hard for him to see them going without food.
Barthwick. [Hastily.] Well—er—thank you, I just wanted to hear about you. I don’t think I need detain you any longer, Mrs. Jones.
Mrs. Jones. No, sir, thank you, sir.
Barthwick. Good morning, then.
Mrs. Jones. Good morning, sir; good morning, ma’am.
Barthwick. [Exchanging glances with his wife.] By the way, Mrs. Jones—I think it is only fair to tell you, a silver cigarette-box —er—is missing.
Mrs. Jones. [Looking from one face to the other.] I am very sorry, sir.
Barthwick. Yes; you have not seen it, I suppose?
Mrs. Jones. [Realising that suspicion is upon her; with an uneasy movement.] Where was it, sir; if you please, sir?
Barthwick. [Evasively.] Where did Marlow say? Er—in this room, yes, in this room.
Mrs. Jones. No, Sir, I have n’t seen it—of course if I ’d seen it I should have noticed it.
Barthwick. [Giving hey a rapid glance.] You—you are sure of that?
Mrs. Jones. [Impassively.] Yes, Sir. [With a slow nodding of her head.] I have not seen it, and of course I don’t know where it is.
[She turns and goes quietly out.]
[The three BARTHWICKS avoid each other’s glances.]
The curtain falls.
The JONES’s lodgings, Merthyr Street, at half-past two o’clock.