Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 6,432 pages of information about Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works.


Evening the same day.

BUILDER’s study is dim and neglected-looking; the window is still open, though it has become night.  A street lamp outside shines in, and the end of its rays fall on builder asleep.  He is sitting in a high chair at the fireside end of the writing-table, with his elbows on it, and his cheek resting on his hand.  He is still unshaven, and his clothes unchanged.  A Boy’s head appears above the level of the window-sill, as if beheaded and fastened there.

Boy’s voice. [In a forceful whisper] Johnny Builder!

Builder stirs uneasily.  The Boy’s head vanishes.  Builder, raising his other hand, makes a sweep before his face, as if to brush away a mosquito.  He wakes.  Takes in remembrance, and sits a moment staring gloomily before him.  The door from the hall is opened and topping comes in with a long envelope in his hand.

Topping. [Approaching] From the “Comet,” sir.  Proof of your interview, sir; will you please revise, the messenger says; he wants to take it back at once.

Builder. [Taking it] All right.  I’ll ring.

Topping.  Shall I close in, sir?

Builder.  Not now.

     Topping withdraws.  Builder turns up a standard lamp on the table,
     opens the envelope, and begins reading the galley slip.  The signs
     of uneasiness and discomfort grow on him.

Builder.  Did I say that?  Muck!  Muck! [He drops the proof, sits a moment moving his head and rubbing one hand uneasily on the surface of the table, then reaches out for the telephone receiver] Town, 245. [Pause] The “Comet”?  John Builder.  Give me the Editor. [Pause] That you, Mr Editor?  John Builder speaking.  That interview.  I’ve got the proof.  It won’t do.  Scrap the whole thing, please.  I don’t want to say anything. [Pause] Yes.  I know I said it all; I can’t help that. [Pause] No; I’ve changed my mind.  Scrap it, please. [Pause] No, I will not say anything. [Pause] You can say what you dam’ well please. [Pause] I mean it; if you put a word into my mouth, I’ll sue you for defamation of character.  It’s undignified muck.  I’m tearing it up.  Good-night. [He replaces the receiver, and touches a bell; then, taking up the galley slip, he tears it viciously across into many pieces, and rams them into the envelope.]

     Topping enters.

Here, give this to the messenger-sharp, and tell him to run with it.

Topping. [Whose hand can feel the condition of the contents, with a certain surprise] Yes, sir.

     He goes, with a look back from the door.

The Mayor is here, sir.  I don’t know whether you would wish

     Builder, rising, takes a turn up and down the room.

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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