Mr march. I wonder if Cook could do anything with him?
Mary. She’s tried. He told her to go to hell.
Mr march. I Say! And what did Cook—?
Mary. She’s gone.
Mr march. Tt! tt! This is very awkward.
Cook enters through the door which Mary has left open.
Mr march. Ah, Cook! You’re back, then? What’s to be done?
Mrs march. [With a laugh] We must devise means!
Cook. Oh, ma’am, it does remind me so of the tantrums he used to get into, dear little feller! Smiles with recollection.
Mrs march. [Sharply] You’re not to take him up anything to eat, Cook!
Cook. Oh! But Master Johnny does get so hungry. It’ll drive him wild, ma’am. Just a Snack now and then!
Mrs march. No, Cook. Mind—that’s flat!
Cook. Aren’t I to feed Faith, ma’am?
Mr march. Gad! It wants it!
Mrs march. Johnny must come down to earth.
Cook. Ah! I remember how he used to fall down when he was little—he would go about with his head in the air. But he always picked himself up like a little man.
They all listen.
The distant sounds of a concertina being played
with fury drift in through the open door.
Cook. Don’t it sound ’eavenly!
The concertina utters a long wail.
The March’s dining-room on the same evening at the end of a perfunctory dinner. Mrs march sits at the dining-table with her back to the windows, Mary opposite the hearth, and Mr march with his back to it. Johnny is not present. Silence and gloom.
Mr march. We always seem to be eating.
Mrs march. You’ve eaten nothing.
Mr march. [Pouring himself out a liqueur glass of brandy but not drinking it] It’s humiliating to think we can’t exist without. [Relapses into gloom.]
Mrs march. Mary, pass him the walnuts.
Mary. I was thinking of taking them up to Johnny.
Mr march. [Looking at his watch] He’s been there six hours; even he can’t live on faith.
Mrs march. If Johnny wants to make a martyr of himself, I can’t help it.
Mary. How many days are you going to let him sit up there, Mother?
Mr march. [Glancing at Mrs march] I never in my life knew anything so ridiculous.
Mrs march. Give me a little glass of brandy, Geof.