Jack. [Leaning from his seat.] Dad! that’s what you said to me!
[There is a silence,
while the magistrate consults his clerk;
Jones leans forward waiting.]
Magistrate. This is your first offence, and I am going to give you a light sentence. [Speaking sharply, but without expression.] One month with hard labour.
[He bends, and parleys
with his clerk. The bald constable
another help Jones from the dock.]
Jones. [Stopping and twisting round.] Call this justice? What about ’im? ’E got drunk! ’E took the purse—’e took the purse but [in a muffled shout] it’s ’is money got ’im off—justice!
door is shut on Jones, and from the
seedy-looking men and women comes a hoarse and whispering groan.]
Magistrate. We will now adjourn for lunch! [He rises from his seat.]
[The Court is in a stir.
Roper gets up and speaks to the
reporter. Jack, throwing up his head, walks with a swagger to
the corridor; Barthwick follows.]
Mrs. Jones. [Turning to him zenith a humble gesture.] Oh! sir!
then yielding to his nerves, he makes a
shame-faced gesture of refusal, and hurries out of court. Mrs.
Jones stands looking after him.]
The curtain falls.
A play on the letter “I”
PERSONS OF THE PLAY
Colonel hope, R.A., retired
Mrs. Hope, his wife
miss beech, their old governess
Letty, their daughter
Ernest blunt, her husband
Mrs. Gwyn, their niece
joy, her daughter
Dick Merton, their young friend
Hon. Maurice lever, their guest
rose, their parlour-maid
Time: The present. The action passes throughout midsummer day on the lawn of Colonel Hope’s house, near the Thames above Oxford.
The time is morning, and the scene a level lawn, beyond which the river is running amongst fields. A huge old beech tree overshadows everything, in the darkness of whose hollow many things are hidden. A rustic seat encircles it. A low wall clothed in creepers, with two openings, divides this lawn from the flowery approaches to the house. Close to the wall there is a swing. The sky is clear and sunny. Colonel hope is seated in a garden-chair, reading a newspaper through pince-nez. He is fifty-five