A Family Man : in three acts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 89 pages of information about A Family Man .


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.

Project Gutenberg
A Family Man : in three acts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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