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