Gibson Upright


2. Act II

The yard beside Gibson's house. Upon our left is seen the porch or sun-room wing of a good "colonial" house of the present type. A hedge runs across at the back, about five feet high, with a gateway and rustic gate. Beyond is seen a residential suburban quarter, well wooded and with ample shrubberies. A gravelled path leads from the gate to the porch, or sun-room, where are broad steps. Upon the lawn are a white garden bench, a table, and a great green-and-white-striped sun umbrella, with several white garden chairs.

Autumn has come, and the foliage is beginning to turn; but the scene is warm and sunlit.

After a moment a young housemaid brings out a tray with a chocolate pot, wafers, and one cup and saucer and a lace-edged napkin. She places the tray on the table, moves a chair to it, looks at the tray thoughtfully, turns, starts toward the house—when Gibson comes out. He wears a travelling suit and is bareheaded.

Ella: The cook thought you might like a cup of chocolate after a long trip like that—just getting off the train and all, Mr. Gibson.

Gibson: Thank you, Ella, I should.

Ella: I'll bring your mail right out.

[She goes into the house and returns with a packet of letters.]

Gibson: Thanks, Ella!

Ella: Everything is there that's come since you sent the telegram not to forward any more.

Gibson: It's pleasant to find the house and everything just as I left it.

Ella: My, Mr. Gibson, we pretty near thought you wasn't never coming back. Those June roses in that bed round yonder lasted pretty near up into August this year, Mr. Gibson. For that matter it's such mild weather even yet some say we won't have any fall till Thanksgiving.

Gibson: Yes, it's extraordinary.

Ella: Shall I leave the tray?

Gibson: No; you can take it. [She moves to do so.] Wait a minute. Here's a letter from John Riley, up at the factory. Don't I remember his son Tom coming here to see you quite a good deal?

Ella: Yes, sir; Tom's one of the factory truckmen like his father. He still comes to see me quite a good deal, sir. There isn't anything about that in the letter, is there, sir? [She knows there isn't.]

Gibson [absently]: No, no! [With faint irony.] He only wants to know about where to get a stock of truck parts that had been ordered before I broke connections with the factory. He thinks four months is a long time for them to be on the way and doesn't know where to write.

Ella: He's a terrible active man, Mr. Riley. Always pushing.

Gibson: So Tom comes round more than ever, does he?

Ella [coyly]: He does, sir!

Gibson: I'm not going to lose you, am I, Ella?

Ella: Well, sir, up to the time of that change in the factory we hadn't expected we could get married for maybe two years yet, but the way things are now—not that I want to leave here, sir—but it does look like going right ahead with the wedding!

Gibson: Tom feels that prosperous, does he?

Ella: I guess he is prosperous, sir!

Gibson [gravely digesting this]: Well, I suppose I'm glad to hear it.

Ella: Yes, sir; everybody's glad these days up at the factory, sir. I don't mean about just Tom and me, they're glad.

Gibson: You mean they're all in a glad condition?

Ella: Oh, are they, sir! Even the Commiskeys got an automobile last month!

Gibson: Well, I suppose that's splendid.

Ella: Didn't you know about it, sir?

Gibson: No, not a word. I've been pretty deep up in the Maine woods this summer. Have you been over to the factory at all yourself, Ella?

Ella: Yes, sir; visitors can go round just as they like to. They're glad to have you.

Gibson: When you've been over there, Ella—you know which one is Miss Gorodna, don't you?

Ella: Oh, yes, sir! She's one of the best in managing, Miss Gorodna.

Gibson: You—did you—have you happened to see her?

Ella: Yes, sir, once or twice.

Gibson: Did she—ah—did she look overworked?

Ella: Oh, I shouldn't say so, sir.

Gibson: She looked well, then?

Ella: Yes, indeed, sir! Everybody's so happy up there; I don't suppose none of 'em could look happier than she is, sir!

Gibson: They are all happy, then?

Ella [laughing joyfully]: You never see such times in your life, sir! [A bell rings in the house.] I'll answer the bell.

Gibson: I've finished this, Ella.

Ella: Yes, sir. [She takes the tray and goes into the house. Gibson opens another letter, reads it. Ella returns.]

Ella: It's Mr. Mifflin, sir.

Gibson: All right.

[Mifflin, beaming and bubbling, more radiant than in Act 1, but dressed as then except for a change of tie, comes from the house. He carries his umbrella and hat and the same old magazines and a newspaper.]

Mifflin: Ah, Mr. Gibson, you couldn't stay away any longer!

Gibson: How de do! Sit down!

Mifflin [effervescing, as they sit]: It's glorious! I heard from your household you were expected back this Sunday. Now confess! You couldn't stay away! You had to come and watch it!

Gibson: Well, I've not had to come and watch it for four months. I don't expect to watch it much, now.

Mifflin: You don't mean to sit there and tell me you don't know anything about it!

Gibson: No; I don't know anything about it.

Mifflin: Mr. Gibson, you're an extraordinary man!

Gibson: No, I'm not. What I did was extraordinary, but I was only an ordinary man pushed into a hole.

Mifflin: Oh, no; surrendering the factory was merely normal. What's remarkable is your staying away from watching the glorious work these former hireling workmen of your factory are doing, now they've won their industrial freedom. Myself, I've taken rooms near by: I started to do one article; now I have a series. And oh, the glory of watching these comrades with their economic shackles off! Haven't you heard anything of our success?

Gibson: Only a word from my housemaid.

Mifflin [delightedly, pinning him]: Aha! There! What did she say? "Only a word"; but what was IT?

Gibson: It indicated—prosperity.

Mifflin: Ah! Immense prosperity, didn't it?

Gibson: I suppose so. Success, at any rate.

Mifflin: Success? It's so magnificent that now it's inevitable for every factory of every kind all over this country.

Gibson: All over the country?

Mifflin: Not only all over this country! The world must do it. Ah, they've done it in a country larger than this already! And these comrades right here are showing our country what it means. I don't begrudge you some credit for having begun it, Mr. Gibson. But you only anticipated what all owners everywhere are going to have to do before the workmen simply take the factories. They're going to take them because they have the inherent right; and they're going to take them now, either by direct action or by the technical owners, like yourself, seeing the handwriting on the wall.

Gibson: What do you mean by direct action?

Mifflin: Why, just taking them!

Gibson: By force?

Mifflin [deprecatingly but affably]: Oh, we hope the theoretical owners won't reduce them to such extremes. There might be a few cases that law-abiding citizens would regret; but that isn't the big thing. Our work here is so far perhaps on the small scale, but it shows—it shows—that everything must be on a coöperative basis!

Gibson: Everything? My house, too?

Mifflin [beaming]: Your house, too.

Gibson [amiably]: How about your gold eyeglasses?

Mifflin [laughing]: Those will be given me by the state. But seriously, aren't you coming to pay us a visit at the factory?

Gibson: Since you ask me—what's the best time? I suppose the whistle doesn't blow as early as it used to.

Mifflin [laughing pityingly]: Whistle! Oh, my dear sir! This only confirms me in my old idea that the technical owners didn't have practical minds. You don't suppose we abolished you, and then didn't abolish the whistle? That whistle hurt self-respect. Really I'm sorry it's Sunday and I can't take you over there this minute to see the great changes. Talk about collectivism! That factory is the most interesting place in the world to-day. When the men were working eight long hours a day under a master it was all repression, reserve; their individualities were stifled. Now they expand!

Gibson: You mean they talk a good deal?

Mifflin: I never have been in a place where there was so much talk in my life. They talk all the time; it shows they are thinking.

Gibson: Isn't it noisy?

Mifflin [delighted]: It is! Every man has his own ideas and he expresses them. It means a freshness and originality in the work that never got into it before.

Gibson [worried]: Originality? You don't mean to say they've changed any of the features of The Gibson Upright.

Mifflin: Oh, no; it's the same piano—and yet different! I almost feel I could tell the difference by looking at one. There's no change; yet now it has character. And those men—those men, Mr. Gibson—it's brought out their character so! They're thinking all the time.

Gibson: They're working, too, of course?

Mifflin: Working! You never saw men work under the old capitalistic régime, Mr. Gibson! Don't think that this work is the driven, dogged thing it was when they had to. This is work with dignity, with enthusiasm, with spontaneity!

Gibson [rising, very thoughtful]: Well, I ought to hope that it is, of course!

[He walks to and fro a moment, then comes and rests his hands on the back of a chair, looking at Mifflin.]

Mr. Mifflin, I went into this with open eyes. I was angry at the time, but I had thought of it often. And when I went out I went out! Now I've kept away and I don't intend to do any prying—as a matter of fact, I'm only back here for two or three days—but I have some natural curiosity, especially about certain particulars.

Mifflin: Everything is as open as the sunlight—no capitalistic secret machinations. Ask anything you like!

Gibson: Well, then, do you happen to know what are the profits for these four months?

Mifflin: Frankly, that's a detail I don't know. But I do know that everyone is delighted and that the profits have been large.

Gibson: And no friction among the men?

Mifflin: No—I—no, none at all; no friction; nothing that could be called friction at all.

Gibson: Then it's a complete success?

Mifflin: Absolutely! Why, just let me picture it to you, Mr. Gibson. Don't you understand, these men are not hirelings now; they're comrades, a brotherhood! You should see them as they come from the factory in the warm afternoon sunshine. They stop in groups and continue discussions of matters of interest that have come up during the day. You hear the most eager discussion, such spirited repartee; and in the factory itself these groups gather at any time. When there may be some tiny bit of friction it is disposed of amicably, comrade to comrade. And some of the wives of the workmen have taken the greatest interest! Imagine under the capitalistic régime a wife coming and sitting at her husband's side and taking up little matters of importance with him, as a wife should, while he worked! Oh, the wives have caught the idea, too! They're proprietresses just as much as their husbands are proprietors. And you can see how keenly they feel the responsibility and want to share in settling all questions that come up. Then they walk home with their husbands, talking it all over. Mr. Gibson, I tell you, sometimes it has moved me. More than once I have found my eyes moistening as I watched it.

Gibson: And do you happen to know—well, haven't the men felt the need for a certain kind of general management of the institution's affairs?

Mifflin: Oh, that's all met—all met by meetings of the governing board, the committee.

Gibson: No; I meant, hasn't any need been felt for a man with a certain specialized knowledge? Say, for instance, to deal with the purchasing of raw materials?

Mifflin [somewhat vague and puzzled]: I think they did do this through an individual for a time. I think the head bookkeeper was given charge of such matters; at least I think so. But probably they found that the creation of such an office was unnecessary. Purely clerical work. At least I haven't seen him about for several weeks.

Gibson: Was he there on just one share of the profits?

Mifflin: Why, of course! That is the sine qua non.

Gibson [thoughtfully]: I see. [Paces up and down and halts again.] So you say everybody is happy?

Mifflin: Radiant!

Gibson: Everybody?

Mifflin [beaming]: Come and see!

Gibson: Ah—Miss Gorodna seems to like it all, does she?

Mifflin: Does she!

Gibson [a little falsely]: None of them are happier than she is, I suppose?

Mifflin: Miss Gorodna is the radiant, joyous sunshine of the whole place!

Gibson [somewhat ruefully]: Well, that's pleasant news.

[Ella appears from the house.]

Ella: It's that old Ed Carter from the factory, Mr. Gibson. He heard from Tom Riley you was expected back and he's come to call on you.

Gibson: Tell him to come right out. [Sees Carter beyond Ella.] Come out here, Carter! Glad to see you!

[They shake hands. Carter is unchanged as to head and whiskers, but wears a square-cut black frock coat, or "Prince Albert," with trousers and waistcoat of the same material; old brown shoes, a derby hat, a blue satin four-in-hand tie.]

Carter: How do you do, Mr. Gibson! I just thought I'd pay my respects, as Tom Riley passed the word round the factory you was coming back.

Gibson: Sit down, sit down!

Mifflin [exuberantly]: How do you do, Carter, how do you do! [They shake hands and Mifflin pats Carter on the shoulder.] Look at him, Mr. Gibson! Look at him! Don't you see what the New Freedom has done for him? It's in his eye! That pride of liberty! It's in his step, in every gesture he makes. [Carter strokes his whiskers.] You're old friends—equal now, equal at last. I won't disturb you! [Picks up his hat, magazines, and umbrella.] He can give you more than I can, Mr. Gibson. Good afternoon! Good afternoon!

[He goes out through the gate.]

Gibson: Sit down, Carter. Sit down! [They sit.] Well, is everything fine?

Carter [heartily]: Yes, sir! It is, Mr. Gibson! Indeed it is! [Glances with some little pride at his clothes.] I couldn't of expected no finer. Fact is, I never could of asked for anything like this, even if I'd been a praying man.

Gibson: Well, I'm glad to hear it, Carter!

Carter: I knowed you would be, Mr. Gibson. It's all just wonderful the way things are working out!

Gibson: Everything is working out just right, is it?

Carter: Oh, I don't say everything! They's bound to be some little mites here and there. You know that yourself.

Gibson [grimly]: Yes, I do! What are your little mites, Carter?

Carter: Well, what mostly gits my goat is this here Simpson's wife, Mrs. Simpson.

Gibson: What bothers you about Simpson's wife?

Carter: Well, what I says, woman's place is the home, and this here Mrs. Simpson—I—I never could stand no loud, gabby woman!

Gibson: You're not neighbours, are you?

Carter: No! She spends all her days at the factory; you might think she was running the whole place! What's worse'n that, you know they elected me chairman o' the governing committee, and she's all the time trying to 'lectioneer me out. What she wants is to git Simpson in for chairman; that'd be jest same's her bein' chairman herself, the way she runs Simpson! That's the only thing that worries me. Everything else is just splendid, splendid!

Gibson: I understand you don't blow the whistle any more. What hours are you working now?

Carter: Well, first we thought we ought to work about six; but we got on such a good basis a good many of them are talkin' how they think that's too much. It'd suit me either way. That ain't the trouble over at that factory, Mr. Gibson.

Gibson: What is the trouble over at that factory?

Carter [with feeling]: Mr. Gibson, it's the inequality. Look at me now, and look at Simpson. Simpson and his wife haven't got a child, and I got seven, every one of 'em to support, and my married daughter lost her husband and got a shock, and I got her and her three little ones pretty much on my hands. And Simpson draws down every cent as much as what I do; just exactly the same. And if the truth was told he don't work as much as what I do. Then, look at them bachelors; they ain't got nobody to support! Well, that's got to be settled!

Gibson: How are you going to settle it?

Carter [cheerfully]: Oh, the committee meetin' settles everything by vote. I'd of put a motion about these matters at some o' the meetings long ago except I'm chairman and they worked a rule on me the chairman can't put motions. But some of us got it fixed up to git it put over at the meeting to-morrow. That's the big meeting to-morrow—the monthly one. Don't misunderstand me, Mr. Gibson; I ain't makin' no complaint about these here details, because everything else is so splendid and prosperous it seems like this here New Dawn Mr. Mifflin called it in his article.

Gibson: Nothing else worries you then, Carter?

Carter: Nothing else in the world, Mr. Gibson. Except there might be some of 'em don't take their responsibilities the way I could wish. Fact is, there's so much talkin' gits to goin' over there sometimes you can't hear yourself work. Me? I'm an honest worker, if I work for you or work for myself. But I can't claim they're all that way. Some that used to loaf, you can't claim they don't loaf more than they did; yes, sir!

Gibson: They get just the same as you do, though, don't they?

Carter: Oh, yes! That's the sinee que none; it's the brotherhood between comrades. I don't mean to complain, but they's one thing that don't look to me just fair. It took me four years to learn my trade and I'm a skilled workman, and now some Hunnyacks that just sends strips along through a chute—and it's all they do know how to do—they used to git two and a half a day to my six, but this way we both git just the same. I says something about it didn't seem right to me, and one them Hunnyacks called me a boor-jaw. Well, then I talked to Miss Gorodna about it.

Gibson: What did Miss Gorodna say?

Carter: Miss Gorodna says: "But you both get enough, don't you?"

Gibson: Well, don't you?

Carter [scratching his head]: Yes, plenty; and it sounds all right, them and me gittin' the same; but I can't just seem to work it out in my mind how it is right. [Cheering up.] Mr. Mifflin says himself, though, it's just wonderful! And we certainly are makin' great money!

Gibson: Then all you poor are getting rich?

Carter: Yes; looks like we will be.

[During these speeches Nora has appeared, or rather her head and shoulders have, above the hedge. She has come along the hedge and now stands halting at the gate. She wears a becoming autumn dress and hat, in excellent taste; carries a slim umbrella. She has a beautifully bound book in her hand.]

Nora [opening the gate]: Do you mind my coming in the side gate, Mr. Gibson?

[Gibson, startled by her voice, turns abruptly from Carter

to stare at her, speaks after a pause, slowly.]

Gibson: No, I don't mind what gate you come in.

Nora [coming down to join them]: How do you do! [Gives him her hand.]

Gibson: How do you do!

Carter [on the other side of her]: How do you do, Miss Gorodna!

Nora [for a brief moment confused that she has not noticed Carter]: Oh—oh, how do you do, Mr. Carter! [Turns and shakes hands with him. She turns again, facing Gibson.] I just heard you were here. I wanted to bring you this copy of Montaigne—if you'll forgive me for keeping it a year.

Gibson: I gave it to you. Don't you—remember?

Nora: Yes, I—remember. But things were different then. Please. I think I oughtn't to keep it now. [He takes it, places it gently upon the table; they sit facing each other; she speaks more cheerfully and briskly.] I came to see you on a matter of business, too.

Carter: Well, then, I'll just be—

Nora: Oh, no! Please stay, Mr. Carter! It's a factory matter. [Carter coughs and sits. Nora continues, not pausing for that.] It was about that great stock of wire you had your purchasing agent buy just before the—before you went away, Mr. Gibson.

Gibson: I'm glad to see you looking so well, Miss Gorodna.

Nora: Thank you! If you remember, you must have ordered him to buy all the wire of our grade that was in the market at that time. At any rate, we found ourselves in possession of an enormous stock that would have lasted us about three years.

Gibson: Yes. That's what I wanted.

Nora: As it happened it turned out to be a very good investment, Mr. Gibson, because in less than a month it had gained about nine per cent. in value, and three weeks ago a man came to us and offered to take it off our hands at a price giving us a twenty-two per cent. profit!

Gibson: Yes; I should think he would.

Nora: So of course we sold it.

Gibson [checks an exclamation, merely saying]: Did you?

Nora: Naturally we did! Twenty-two per cent. profit in that short time! Now it just happens that we've got to buy some more ourselves, and we can't get hold of any, even at the price that we sold it, because it seems to have kept going up. I thought perhaps you might know where to get some at the price you bought the other, and you mightn't mind telling us.

Gibson: No; I wouldn't mind telling you. I'd like to tell you.

Nora: You think there isn't any?

Gibson: I'm sure there isn't any.

Nora: Then I'm afraid we'll have to get some back from the people we sold to. Of course I'm anxious to show the great financial improvement as well as other improvements. That's partly my province and Mr. Carter's, our committee chairman, besides our regular work.

Gibson: Mr. Mifflin tells me that you had a sort of general manager for a while at first.

Carter: Oh, that was Hill, the head bookkeeper. He left. He was a traitor to the comrades.

Gibson: Hill? He knew quite a little about the business. Why did he leave?

Carter: Why, that Coles-Hibbard factory went and offered him a big salary to come over there; more than he thought he could get coöperatin' with us.

Nora: Hill was always a capitalist at heart. We certainly haven't needed him!

Carter: Oh, everybody was glad to get rid of Hill! Better off without him—better off without him!

Gibson: I suppose it was really an economy, his going?

Nora [smiling]: It resulted in economy.

Gibson: Have you made many economies?

Nora: Oh, a great many!

Carter: Oh, my! Yes!

Nora: Economies! [Her manner now is indulgent, amused, friendly, almost pitying.] Mr. Gibson, have you any realization of what you threw away at that place? Don't be afraid, I'll never bring you the figures. I wouldn't do such a thing to anybody!

Gibson: Do you think I was too lavish?

Nora: We couldn't believe it at first. Just what was being thrown away on advertising, for instance. The bill you paid for the last month you were there was five thousand dollars!

Carter: That was the figger! It's certainly a good one on you, Mr. Gibson.

Nora: We cut that five thousand dollars down to three hundred! That was one item of forty-seven hundred dollars a month saved. Just one item!

Carter [hilariously]: Quite some item!

Nora [seriously and gently]: Five thousand dollars a month to advertise a piano that sells for only a hundred and eighty-eight dollars!

Carter: That's the facts!

Nora: Mr. Gibson, did you really ever have any idea what you were paying in commissions to agents?

Gibson: Yes, I did.

Nora: Why, I can't believe it! Did you know that you paid them twenty per cent. on each piano? Over thirty-seven dollars!

Gibson: Yes.

Nora: But wasn't it thrown away? I can't understand how you kept the factory going so long as you did, with such losses. Why, don't you know it amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year? When we found it out we couldn't see how you made both ends meet, and we thought there must have been some mistake, and you'd never realized what advantage these agents were taking of you.

Gibson: Yes, I knew what they got.

Nora [triumphantly]: We cut those commissions from thirty-seven dollars—to twelve! And that's just one more item among our economies. Now do you wonder at the success we're making?

Gibson: And your profits have been—satisfactory?

Nora: The very first month our profits were four thousand dollars more than the last month you were there!

Gibson: That's the month you say you cut out four thousand seven hundred dollars' worth of advertising.

Nora: And the next month we cut down the commissions, and the profits were five thousand more!

Gibson: But those were returns under the old commissions.

Nora: But last month, with new economies, we showed a larger profit than you had!

Gibson: And this month?

Nora: We shan't know that until the report's read at the meeting to-morrow. I think it will be the largest profit of all.

Carter: That bookkeeper's workin' on it to-day. Talked like he was going to cut us down two or three thousand, mebbe. [Laughing.] That's the way he always talks.

Nora: He isn't a good influence.

Carter: No—too gloomy, too gloomy to suit me!

Gibson: What about the two other bookkeepers?

Carter: The committee voted them into the packing department; and they ain't much good even there. It's a crime!

Nora: They weren't needed. Our bookkeeping is so simplified since you left!

Gibson: It all seems to be simplified, Miss Gorodna.

Nora: Yes; and whatever problems come up, they're all settled at our meetings.

[A sound of squabbling is heard upon the street, growing louder as the people engaging in it approach along the sidewalk.]

Carter: There's one we got to bring up and do something about at the meetin' to-morrow.

Gibson: What is it? [Carter goes up to the gate.]

Nora: It's that Mrs. Simpson; she's a great nuisance.

Carter: Yes, it's her and Simpson and Frankel. The Simpsons moved into a flat right up in this neighbourhood. Quite some of the comrades live up round here now.

[Frankel and Mrs. Simpson are heard disputing as they approach: "Well, what you goin' to do about it!" "I'll show you what we're goin' to do about it!" "You can't do nothing!" "You wait till to-morrow and see." "I got my rights, ain't I?" and so on.]

Simpson [heard remonstrating]: Now, Mamie, Mamie! Frankel, you oughtn't to talk to Mamie that way.

[Gibson, interested and amused, goes part way up to the hedge. Nora is somewhat mortified as the disputants reach the gate. Gibson speaks to them.]

Gibson: How do you do, Simpson! How do you do, Mrs. Simpson! How do you do, Frankel! Won't you come in and argue here?

Mrs Simpson: Wha'd you say, Mr. Gibson?

Gibson: I said come in; come in!

Simpson [uncertainly]: Well, I don't know.

Gibson: Come in! Nobody here but friends of yours. Sit down. I'd like to hear what the argument was about.

[Mrs. Simpson is a large woman, domineering and noisy, dressed somewhat expensively. She is proud of some new furs and a pair of quite fancy shoes. Simpson has a new suit of clothes and a gold-headed cane.

Frankel wears a cheap cutaway suit and is smoking a cigar.]

Mrs Simpson: I don't care who hears the argument! Right's right and wrong's wrong!

Frankel: You bet right's right, and so's my rights right!

Mrs Simpson: You ain't got any rights.

Frankel [hotly to everybody]: Do you hear she says I ain't got no rights at all?

Mrs Simpson: You ain't got the rights you claim you got.

Frankel: She comes down there and tries to run the whole factory. Ask any of 'em if she don't. Ask Carter!

Mrs Simpson: I own that factory just as much as anybody does.

Simpson: Now, Frankel, you be careful what you say to Mamie!

Frankel: I got shares in that factory and by rights ought to have as many votes at the meetin' as I got shares—let alone your talking about trying to root me out of my profits!

Gibson: What's this about Frankel having shares?

Frankel [violently]: You bet your life I got shares! And I'm going to have my shares of the money at that meetin' to-morrow!

Mrs Simpson: You bet your life you ain't!

Simpson: You think we're goin' to vote all our profits away to you?

Carter: Wait a minute! Ain't I the chairman of that—

Mrs Simpson: You may be chairman yet—but not long!

Frankel [sharply to Carter]: You just try to rule me out once!

Gibson: What's it all about?

Mrs Simpson: I'll soon enough tell anybody what it's about!

Frankel: You couldn't tell nothing straight!

Carter [deprecatingly]: Now, now, this here's just one of our little side difficulties, you might say. What's the use to git huffy over it, we're gittin' along so well and all? The trouble is, some o' the men and their families ain't been used to so much prosperity and money in the house that way, all of a sudden. Of course some of 'em got to living too high and run into some debt and everything.

Frankel: Well, what business is that of yours? The factory ain't a Home, is it? And you ain't the Matron, are you?

Carter: I don't claim such!

Frankel: It's my business, ain't it, if I take and live on the cheaps and put by for a rainy day, and happen to have money when other people need it from me?

Simpson: That much may be your business, but I reckon it was our business when you come blowin' round the factory, first that you owned seven shares besides your own; then, a week after, you says seventeen; then—

Gibson: Well, how many shares has he got?

Simpson: He was claimin' twenty-four yesterday.

Mrs. Simpson [violently]: He's bought two more since last night. Now he claims twenty-six!

Frankel: Yes; and I own twenty-six!

Carter: That ain't never goin' to do! I don't say it's a condition as you might say we exactly see how to handle right now, but the way it is, you certainly got us all disturbed up and hard to git at the rights of it. You claimin' all them shares—

Frankel: Well, my goodness, you git the work fer them shares, don't you? What you yelpin' about?

Carter: I don't say we don't git the same amount o' work, but—

Frankel: Well, how you git it, that's my lookout, ain't it, so it's done?

Carter: But you claim you got a right to draw out twenty-six profits!

Frankel: Sure I do when I furnish the labour for twenty-six. Am I crazy?

Carter: But that way you're makin' more than any ten men put together in the whole factory!

Frankel: Ain't it just? What you goin' to do about it?

[During this speech Shomberg has come along the street and stands looking over the gate.]

Carter: Well, so fur, we ain't been able to see how to argue with you. It don't look right, and yet it's hard to find jest what to say to you.

Frankel: You bet it is!

Carter: 'Course, that's one of the points that's got to be settled at the meeting to-morrow.

Frankel: You bet it'll be settled!

Mrs Simpson: If we had another kind of a chairman it'd been settled long ago, and settled right!

Carter: Now look here, Mrs. Simpson—

Frankel [passionately]: I got twenty-six shares, and I earned 'em, too! [To Gibson.] Look at the trouble they make me—to git my legal rights, let alone the rest the trouble I got! [Fiercely to Carter and to Simpson]: Yes, I had twenty-four shares yesterday and I got twenty-six to-day! and I might have another by to-night. Don't think I'm the only one that's got sense enough not to go smearin' his money all round on cheap limousines and Queen Anne dinin'-room sets at eighty-nine dollars per! [Dramatically pointing at Shomberg]: There's a man worth four shares right now! He had three and he bought Mitchell's out last night at Steinwitz's pool room. Ask him whether he thinks I got a right to my twenty-six profits or not!

Shomberg: You bet your life!

Mrs Simpson: I guess that Dutchman hasn't got the say-so, has he?

Frankel: No. You run the factory now, Mrs. Simpson!

Carter: Now look here; this ain't very much like comrades, is it, all this arguin'? Sunday, too!

Frankel: Oh, I'm tryin' to be friendly!

Carter [to Gibson]: This buyin' of shares and all has kind of introduced a sort of an undesirable element into the factory, you might say. That's kind of the bothersome side of it, and it can't be denied we would have quite a good deal of bothersomeness if it wasn't for our meeting.

Nora [to everybody except Gibson]: Don't you all think that these arguments are pretty foolish when you know that nothing can be settled except at the governing committee's meeting?

Simpson: That's so, Miss Gorodna. What's more, it don't look like as good comrades as it ought to. I don't want to have no trouble with Frankel. He might have the rights of it for all I know. Anyways, if he hasn't I ain't got the brains to make out the case against him, and anyways, as you say, the meetin' settles all them things.

Nora: Don't you think you and Frankel might shake hands now, like good comrades?

Frankel [with hostility]: Sure, I'll shake hands with him!

Simpson: Well, I just as soon.

Mrs Simpson: Don't you do it, Henry!

Simpson: Well, but he's a comrade.

Mrs Simpson: Well, you can't help that! You don't have to shake hands with him.

Simpson: Well, consider it done, Frankel. Consider it done!

Carter: That's right, that's right! We can leave it to the meeting.

Shomberg: You bet you can! You goin' my way, Frankel?

[Frankel, joining him, speaks to Mrs. Simpson.]

Frankel: I s'pose you're going to come to the meetin', Mrs. Simpson?

Mrs Simpson: Ain't my place where my husband is?

Frankel: Well, you don't git no vote!

Mrs Simpson: There's goin' to be a motion introduced for the wives to vote.

Frankel: Watch it pass! Good-bye, Mr. Gibson!

[Gibson nods. Frankel goes away with Shomberg.]

Simpson: Good-bye, Mr. Gibson! All this don't amount to much. It'll all be settled to-morrow.

Mrs Simpson: Good-bye, Mr. Gibson! [And as they go out the gate]: You bet your life it'll be settled! If that wall-eyed runt thinks he can walk over me

Carter [looking after them, laughing]: Well, she's an awful interfering woman! And she ain't the only one. If they'd all stay home like my wife things would be smoother, I guess. Still, they're smooth enough. [Going]: If you want to see that, Mr. Gibson, we'll be glad to have you look in at the meeting. You're always welcome at the factory and it'd be a treat to you to see how things work out. It's at eleven o'clock if you'd like to come.

Gibson: Thanks, Carter.

Carter: Well, good afternoon, Mr. Gibson and Miss Gorodna. Good evening,

I should say, I reckon.

Gibson: Good evening, Carter.

[The light has grown to be of sunset. Carter goes.]

Nora [going toward the gate]: I'm glad to see you looking so well. Good evening!

Gibson: Oh, just a minute more.

Nora: Well?

Gibson: It looks as if that might be a lively meeting to-morrow.

Nora: Is that the old capitalistic sneer?

Gibson: Indeed it's not! It only seemed to me from what we've just heard here—

Nora [bitterly]: Oh, I suppose all business men's meetings and arguments, when their interests happen to clash, are angelically sweet and amiable! Because you see that my comrades are human and have their human differences—

Gibson: Nora, don't be angry.

Nora: I'll try not. Of course it isn't all a bed of roses! Of course things don't run like oiled machinery!

Gibson: But they do run?

Nora: It's magnificent!

Gibson: Do you want me to come to that meeting to-morrow?

Nora: Yes; I'd like you to see how reasonable people settle their differences when they have an absolutely equal and common interest.

Gibson [in a low voice]: Aren't you ever tired?

[For a moment she has looked weary. She instantly braces up and answers with spirit.]

Nora: Tired of living out my ideals?

Gibson: No; I just mean tired of working. Wouldn't you rather stop and come here and live in this quiet house?

Nora [incredulously]: I?

Gibson: Couldn't there even be a chance of it, Nora? That you'd marry me?

Nora [amazed and indignant]: A chance that I would—

Gibson: Well, then, wouldn't you even be willing to leave it to the meeting to-morrow?

[Already in motion she gives him a look of terror and intense negation.]

Nora: Oh! [She runs from the gateway.]