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a scene from

by John Galsworthy

ENID: [Shutting the doors.] I do hope it's settled, Father!


ENID: [Very disappointed.] Oh! Haven't you done anything! [ANTHONY shakes his head.] Frank says they all want to come to a compromise, really, except that man Roberts.

ANTHONY: I don't.

ENID: It's such a horrid position for us. If you were the wife of the manager, and lived down here, and saw it all. You can't realise, Dad!

ANTHONY: Indeed?

ENID: We see all the distress. You remember my maid Annie, who married Roberts? [ANTHONY nods.] It's so wretched, her heart's weak; since the strike began, she hasn't even been getting proper food. I know it for a fact, Father.

ANTHONY: Give her what she wants, poor woman!

ENID: Roberts won't let her take anything from us.

ANTHONY: [Staring before him.] I can't be answerable for the men's obstinacy.

ENID: They're all suffering. Father! Do stop it, for my sake!

ANTHONY: [With a keen look at her.] You don't understand, my dear.

ENID: If I were on the Board, I'd do something.

ANTHONY: What would you do?

ENID: It's because you can't bear to give way. It's so—


ENID: So unnecessary.

ANTHONY: What do you know about necessity? Read your novels, play your music, talk your talk, but don't try and tell me what's at the bottom of a struggle like this.

ENID: I live down here, and see it.

ANTHONY: What d' you imagine stands between you and your class and these men that you're so sorry for?

ENID: [Coldly.] I don't know what you mean, Father.

ANTHONY: In a few years you and your children would be down in the condition they're in, but for those who have the eyes to see things as they are and the backbone to stand up for themselves.

ENID: You don't know the state the men are in.

ANTHONY: I know it well enough.

ENID: You don't, Father; if you did, you wouldn't—

ANTHONY: It's you who don't know the simple facts of the position. What sort of mercy do you suppose you'd get if no one stood between you and the continual demands of labour? This sort of mercy— [He puts his hand up to his throat and squeezes it.] First would go your sentiments, my dear; then your culture, and your comforts would be going all the time!

ENID: I don't believe in barriers between classes.

ANTHONY: You—don't—believe—in—barriers—between the classes?

ENID: [Coldly.] And I don't know what that has to do with this question.

ANTHONY: It will take a generation or two for you to understand.

ENID: It's only you and Roberts, Father, and you know it! [ANTHONY thrusts out his lower lip.] It'll ruin the Company.

ANTHONY: Allow me to judge of that.

ENID: [Resentfully.] I won't stand by and let poor Annie Roberts suffer like this! And think of the children, Father! I warn you.

ANTHONY: [With a grim smile.] What do you propose to do?

ENID: That's my affair. [ANTHONY only looks at her. She continues in a changed voice, stroking his sleeve.] Father, you know you oughtn't to have this strain on you—you know what Dr. Fisher said!

ANTHONY: No old man can afford to listen to old women.

ENID: But you have done enough, even if it really is such a matter of principle with you.

ANTHONY: You think so?

ENID: Don't Dad! [Her face works.] You—you might think of us!


ENID: It'll break you down.

ANTHONY: [Slowly.] My dear, I am not going to funk; on that you may rely.

* * *

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