Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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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 eyes
     are fixed on her daughter.  Miss beech is watching them
     intently.  Mrs. Hope is buttoning the colonel’s coat.]

The curtain falls.

ACT II

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.

Lever. [Quizzically.] Of course, sir, if you advise that——­

Colonel.  If it were mine, I’d no more sit down under the belief that the ore stopped there than I ’d—–­There’s a harmony in these things.

Never.  I can only tell you what our experts say.

Colonel.  Ah!  Experts!  No faith in them—­never had!  Miners, lawyers, theologians, cowardly lot—­pays them to be cowardly.  When they have n’t their own axes to grind, they’ve got their theories; a theory’s a dangerous thing. [He loses himself in contemplation of the papers.] Now my theory is, you ’re in strata here of what we call the Triassic Age.

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