Evans. [Fiercely.] Kick a man that’s down? Down?
Henry Rous. Stop his jaw there!
[Evans throws up
his arm at a threat from Bulgin. The bargeman,
who has lighted the lantern, holds it high above his head.]
Rous. [Springing on to the platform.] What brought him down then, but ‘is own black obstinacy? Are ye goin’ to follow a man that can’t see better than that where he’s goin’?
Evans. He’s lost ’is wife.
Rous. An’ who’s fault’s that but his own. ’Ave done with ’im, I say, before he’s killed your own wives and mothers.
Davies. Down ’im!
Henry Rous. He’s finished!
Brown. We’ve had enough of ’im!
Blacksmith. Too much!
[The crowd takes up
these cries, excepting only Evans, Jago,
green, who is seen to argue mildly with the blacksmith.]
Rous. [Above the hubbub.] We’ll make terms with the Union, lads.
Evans. [Fiercely.] Ye blacklegs!
Bulgin. [Savagely-squaring up to him.] Who are ye callin’ blacklegs, Rat?
[Evans throws up his fists, parries the blow, and returns it. They fight. The bargemen are seen holding up the lantern and enjoying the sight. Old Thomas steps forward and holds out his hands.]
Thomas. Shame on your strife!
brown, Lewis, and the red-haired
Evans and Bulgin apart. The stage is almost dark.]
The curtain falls.
It is five o’clock. In the Underwoods’ drawing-room, which is artistically furnished, Enid is sitting on the sofa working at a baby’s frock. Edgar, by a little spindle-legged table in the centre of the room, is fingering a china-box. His eyes are fixed on the double-doors that lead into the dining-room.
Edgar. [Putting down the china-box, and glancing at his watch.] Just on five, they’re all in there waiting, except Frank. Where’s he?
Enid. He’s had to go down to Gasgoyne’s about a contract. Will you want him?
Edgar. He can’t help us. This is a director’s job. [Motioning towards a single door half hidden by a curtain.] Father in his room?
Edgar. I wish he’d stay there, Enid.
[Enid looks up at him. This is a beastly business, old girl?]
[He takes up the little box again and turns it over and over.]
Enid. I went to the Roberts’s this afternoon, Ted.
Edgar. That was n’t very wise.