Walter. Have you any brandy?
Cokeson. I’ve got sherry.
Walter. Get it, then. Quick!
He places Ruth in a chair—which James has dragged forward.
Cokeson. [With sherry] Here! It’s good strong sherry. [They try to force the sherry between her lips.]
There is the sound of feet, and they stop to listen.
The outer door is reopened—Wister
and Sweedle are seen carrying
James. [Hurrying forward] What is it?
They lay the burden
doom in the outer office, out of sight, and
all but Ruth cluster round it, speaking in hushed voices.
Wister. He jumped—neck’s broken.
Walter. Good God!
Wister. He must have been mad to think he could give me the slip like that. And what was it—just a few months!
Walter. [Bitterly] Was that all?
James. What a desperate thing! [Then, in a voice unlike his own] Run for a doctor—you! [Sweedle rushes from the outer office] An ambulance!
Wister goes out.
On RUTH’s face an expression of fear and
horror has been seen growing, as if she dared not turn towards
the voices. She now rises and steals towards them.
Walter. [Turning suddenly] Look!
The three men shrink
back out of her way, one by one, into
Cokeson’s room. Ruth drops on her knees by the body.
Ruth. [In a whisper] What is it? He’s not breathing. [She crouches over him] My dear! My pretty!
In the outer office doorway the figures of men am seen standing.
Ruth. [Leaping to her feet] No, no! No, no! He’s dead!
[The figures of the men shrink back]
Cokeson. [Stealing forward. In a hoarse voice] There, there, poor dear woman!
At the sound behind her Ruth faces round at him.
Cokeson. No one’ll touch him now! Never again! He’s safe with gentle Jesus!
Ruth stands as
though turned to stone in the doorway staring at
Cokeson, who, bending humbly before her, holds out his hand as
one would to a lost dog.
The curtain falls.
Contents: The Fugitive The Pigeon The Mob
A Play in Four Acts