THE SILVER BOX JOY STRIFE
A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS
John Barthwick, M.P., a wealthy Liberal
Mrs. Barthwick, his wife
Jack Barthwick, their son
Roper, their solicitor
Mrs. Jones, their charwoman
Marlow, their manservant
Wheeler, their maidservant
Jones, the stranger within their gates
Mrs. Seddon, a landlady
snow, a detective
A police magistrate
an unknown lady, from beyond
two little girls, homeless
Livens, their father
A relieving officer
A magistrate’s clerk
policemen, clerks, and others
Time: The present. The action of the
first two Acts takes place on
Easter Tuesday; the action of the third on Easter Wednesday week.
Scene I. Rockingham Gate. John Barthwick’s dining-room.
Scene II. The same.
Scene III. The same.
Scene I. The Jones’s lodgings, Merthyr Street.
Scene II. John Barthwick’s dining-room.
Act III. A London police court.
The curtain rises on the Barthwick’s dining-room, large, modern, and well furnished; the window curtains drawn. Electric light is burning. On the large round dining-table is set out a tray with whisky, a syphon, and a silver cigarette-box. It is past midnight.
A fumbling is heard outside the door. It is opened suddenly; Jack Barthwick seems to fall into the room. He stands holding by the door knob, staring before him, with a beatific smile. He is in evening dress and opera hat, and carries in his hand a sky-blue velvet lady’s reticule. His boyish face is freshly coloured and clean-shaven. An overcoat is hanging on his arm.
Jack. Hello! I’ve got home all ri——[Defiantly.] Who says I sh’d never ‘ve opened th’ door without ’sistance. [He staggers in, fumbling with the reticule. A lady’s handkerchief and purse of crimson silk fall out.] Serve her joll’ well right—everything droppin’ out. Th’ cat. I ’ve scored her off—I ’ve got her bag. [He swings the reticule.] Serves her joly’ well right. [He takes a cigarette out of the silver box and puts it in his mouth.] Never gave tha’ fellow anything! [He hunts through all his pockets and pulls a shilling out; it drops and rolls away. He looks for it.] Beastly shilling! [He looks again.] Base ingratitude! Absolutely nothing. [He laughs.] Mus’ tell him I’ve got absolutely nothing.