Builder. Friends! Good heavens! With one’s own wife and daughters! [With great earnestness] Now, look here, Julia, you haven’t lived with me all this time without knowing that I’m a man of strong passions; I’ve been a faithful husband to you—yes, I have. And that means resisting all sorts of temptations you know nothing of. If you withdraw from my society I won’t answer for the consequences. In fact, I can’t have you withdrawing. I’m not going to see myself going to the devil and losing the good opinion of everybody round me. A bargain’s a bargain. And until I’ve broken my side of it, and I tell you I haven’t—you’ve no business to break yours. That’s flat. So now, put all that out of your head.
Mrs builder. No.
Builder. [Intently] D’you realise that I’ve supported you in luxury and comfort?
Mrs builder. I think I’ve earned it.
Builder. And how do you propose to live? I shan’t give you a penny. Come, Julia, don’t be such an idiot! Fancy letting a kiss which no man could have helped, upset you like this!
Mrs builder. The Camille, and the last straw!
Builder. [Sharply] I won’t have it. So now you know.
But Mrs builder has very swiftly gone.
Julia, I tell you— [The outer door is
heard being closed] Damnation!
I will not have it! They’re all mad! Here—where’s my hat?
He looks distractedly round him,
wrenches open the door, and a
moment later the street door is heard to shut with a bang.
Ten o’clock the following morning, in the study of the Mayor of Breconridge, a panelled room with no window visible, a door Left back and a door Right forward. The entire back wall is furnished with books from floor to ceiling; the other walls are panelled and bare. Before the fireplace, Left, are two armchairs, and other chairs are against the walls. On the Right is a writing-bureau at right angles to the footlights, with a chair behind it. At its back corner stands Harris, telephoning.
Harris. What—[Pause] Well, it’s infernally awkward, Sergeant. . . . The Mayor’s in a regular stew. . . . [Listens] New constable? I should think so! Young fool! Look here, Martin, the only thing to do is to hear the charge here at once. I’ve sent for Mr Chantrey; he’s on his way. Bring Mr Builder and the witnesses round sharp. See? And, I say, for God’s sake keep it dark. Don’t let the Press get on to it. Why you didn’t let him go home—! Black eye? The constable? Well, serve him right. Blundering young ass! I mean, it’s undermining all authority. . . . Well, you oughtn’t—at least, I . . . Damn it all!—it’s a nine days’ wonder if it gets out—! All right! As soon as you can. [He hangs up the receiver, puts a second chair behind the bureau, and other chairs facing it.] [To himself] Here’s a mess! Johnny Builder, of all men! What price Mayors!