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Full text of "Rutherford and son; a play in three acts"

" 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 



RUTHERFORD AND SON: 
A PLAY IN THREE ACTS BY 
GITHA SOWERBY 



LONDON : SIDGWICK fcf JACKSON, LTD. 
3 ADAM STREET, ADELPHI. MCMXII 



Entered at the Library of Congress, 
Washington, U.S.A. 
All rights resened. 



Printed by P.ALLANTYNE, HANSON r> Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 



THIS Play was produced at the Court Theatre, 
under the management of Mr. J. H. Leigh, 
on 31 st January 1912, with the following 
Caste : 



John Rutherford 
John \ t , 
Richard } (h 

Janet (his daughter) . 

Ann (his sister) . 

Mary (young John's wife) 

Martin 

Mrs. Henderson . 



NORMAN 
EDMUND BREON 
FRANK RANDELL 
EDYTH OLIVE 
AGNES THOMAS 
TMYRZA NORMAN 
A. S. HOMEWOOD 
AGNES HILL 



CHARACTERS 

JOHN RUTHERFORD. 

JOHN, ) , . 

\. his sons. 
RICHARD, ) 

JANET, his daughter. 

ANN, his sister. 

MARY, young John's wife. 

MARTIN. 

MRS. HENDERSON. 

SCENK Living room in John Rutherford's house. 

Tim days elapse between Act* I. and 11. 
One night hchrccn Ada II. find III. 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ACT I 

JOHX RUTHERFORD'S house stands on the edge of the 
moor, far enough from the village to serve its 
dignity and near enough to admit of the master 
going to and from the Works in a few minutes 
a process known to the household as " going across." 
The living room, in which the family life has 
centred for generations, is a big square room 
furnished in solid mahogany and papered in 
red, as if to mitigate the bleakness of a climate 
that includes jive months of winter in every year. 
There is a big table in the middle of the room 
covered with a brown cloth at which the family 
take their meals. An air of orderliness pervades 
the room, which perhaps accounts for its being 
extremely uncomfortable. From above the heavy 
polished sideboard the late JOHX RUTHERFORD looks 
down from his frame and sees the settle and 
arm-chair on either side of the far, the marble 
clock on the mantelpiece, the desk with its brass 
inkstand and neatly arranged bundles of papers 
precisely as he saw them in life. 

A 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

On this particular evening 1 in December ANN RUTHERFORD 
is sitting by the fire alternately knitting and dozing. 
She is a faded, querulous woman of about sixty, 
and wears a black dress with a big Jiat brooch 
and a cap with lilac ribbons. MARY RUTHERFORD, 
a gentle delicate-looking woman of twenty-six, is 
seated on the settle opposite to her making a 
baby's cap ; she is bending forward to catch the 
light of the fire on her work, for the lamp has 
not yet been brought in. 

Presently JANET comes in carrying a silver basket and 
a pair of carpet slippers. She is a heavy dark 
woman, some ten years older than MARY, with an 
expressionless tired face and monotonous voice. 
All her movements are slipshod and aimless, and 
she seldom raises her eyes. She is dressed in a 
dark dress of some warm material with white 
collar and cuff's. 

JANET [glancing at the clock]. He's not back yet. 

ANN. No. ... If you mean your father. 

JANET [folding up the brown cloth preparatory to 
laying the table]. Who else should I mean ? 

ANN. You might mean any one. . . . You always 
talk about he and him, as if there was no one else 
in the house. 

JANET. There isn't. 

AXX. Answer me back, that's the way. [JANET 
makes no reply. She puts the silver basket on the 
table and comes to the jire with the slippers.'] There 
put his slippers down to warm. The Committee 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

room's cold as ice,'* and he'll come in like the 
dead. 

MAUY [looking up from her work for a moment]. 
I believe it's going to freeze to-night the chimneys 
are flaring so. 

JANET drops the shoes one by one on to the hearthrug 
without stooping. 

ANN. They'll never warm there ! I never seed sic 
a feckless lass. [Stoops laboriously and sets them up 
against the jender J\ Is the dinner all right ? 

JANET. Susan's let the pie get burnt, but I've 
scraped the top off he won't notice. The girdle cake's 
as tough as leather. She'll have to do a fresh one 
if there's time. 

ANN. You might ha' seen to things a bit. 

JANET. I have. There wouldn't ha' been a pie at 
all if I hadn't. The oven damper's gone wrong. 

ANN. Answer rne answer yer aunt ! You and your 
dampers and there you are a-laying the table and 
ye know weel enough yer father's forbid you to do 
things like a servant. 

JANET. What else is there to do ? I can't sit and 
sew all day. 

ANN. I'm sure I'm never done finding fault from 
morning to night with one thing and another. 

JANET. Don't then. 

ANN. And a nice thing if I didn't ! Nothing ever 
done in the house unless I see to it that's what it 
comes to. 

JANET [spreading the cloth]. You'll drop your 
stitches. 

3 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ANN. You never stir yourself, nor Mary neither, 
for that matter. 

MARY. I can't do much else with Tony to look after, 
Miss Rutherford. 

JANET There's no need for her to do anything. It's 
not her business. 

ANN. Nor anybody's business, it seems to me. [Sub- 
siding.] I don't know what's come to Susan nowa- 
days, she's that daft a head like a sieve, and that 
clumsy-handed. 

JANET. Susan's got a man. 

ANN. Well, I never ! 

JANET. That's what she says. It's one of the men 
at the Works. He hangs about on his way home from 
the night shift when she ought to be doing the rooms. 
. . . Susan's happy . . . that's why she forgot to take 
the milk out of the can. There's no cream for the 
pudding. 

ANN. And he's so particular about his cream. 

JANET. He'll have to do without for once. And 
what with the pie burnt and the girdle cake like 
leather, if he comes in before the other's ready I 
should think we'll have a fair evening. 
She leaves the room. 

ANN. Eh, dearie dearie. Sic doings ! 

MARY [absorbed in her cap]. Never mind, Miss 
Rutherford. 

ANN. Never mind ! It's well for you to talk. 

MARY. Jane I'll see that it's all right. She always 
does, though she talks like that. 

ANN. Her and her sulky ways. There's no doing 
4 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

anything with her of late. She used to be bad enough 
as a lass, that passionate and hard to drive. She's 
ten times worse now she's turned quiet. 

MARY. Perhaps she's tired with the long walks she 
takes. She's been out nearly two hours this afternoon 
in the rain. 

ANN [turning to her knitting]. What should she 
have to put her out except her own tempers. 

MARY [trying to divert her attention]. Miss Ruther- 
ford, look at Tony's cap ; I've nearly finished it. 

ANN [still cross]. It's weel enough. Though what 
he wants wi' a lot o' bows standing up all over his 
head passes me. 

MARY. They're butterfly bows. 

ANN. Butterfly bows ! And what'll butterfly bows 
do for 'n ? They'll no keep his head warm. 

MARY. But he looks such a darling in them. I'll 
put it on to-morrow when I take him out, and 
you'll see. 

ANN. London ways that's what it is. 

MARY. Do north-country babies never have bows 
on their caps ? 

ANN. Not in these parts. And not the Rutherfords 
anyway. Plain and lasting that's the rule in this 
family, and we bide by it, babies and all. But you 
can't be expected to know, and you like a stranger in 
the hoose. 

JANKT comes in carrying a lamp and a loaf on a 
trencher, which she puts on the table. 

MARY. I've been here nearly three months. 

ANN. And this very night you sit wasting your lime 
5 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

making a bit trash fit for a monkey at a fair. A body 
would think you would ha 1 learned better by now. 

JANET [quietly]. What's the matter with Mary now ? 

ANN. We can talk, I suppose, without asking your 
leave ? 

JANET. It was you that was talking. Let her be. 

ANN. And there you've been and put the loaf on as 
if it was the kitchen and you know weel enough that 
gentlefolk have it set round in bits. 

JANET. Gentle folk can do their own ways. 
She goes out to fetch the knives. 

ANN [she gets up laboriously and goes to the table]. 
Til have to do it myself as usual. 

She cuts the bread and sets it round beside the 
plates. 

MARY [who has gone io the window and is looking out 
at the winter twilight}. If I'm a stranger, it's you that 
makes me so. 

ANN. Ye've no cause to speak so, lass. . . . I'm 
not blamin' you. It's no' your fault that you weren't 
born and bred in the north country. 

MARY. No. I can't change that. ... I wonder what 
it's like here when the sun shines ! 

ANN [zvho is busy with the bread]. Sun ? 

MAHY. It doesn't look as if the summer ever came 
here. 

ANN. If ye're looking for the summer in the middle 
o' December ye'll no' get it. Ye'll soon get used to it. 
Ye've happened on a bad autumn for your iirst, that's 
all. 

MARY. My iirst. 

6 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ANN. Ye're a bit saft wi' livin' in the sooth, nae 
doubt. They tell me there's a deal of sunshine and 
wickedness in them parts. 

MARY. The people are happier, I think. 

ANN. Mebbees. Bern 1 happy'll make no porridge. 
She goes bach to far chair. 

MARY. I lived in Devonshire when I was a child, and 
everywhere there were lanes. But here it's all so old 
and stern this great stretch of moor, and the fells 
and the trees all bent one way, crooked and huddled. 

ANN [absorbed in her knitting]. It's the sea-wind 
that does it. 

MARY. The one that's blowing now ? 

ANN. Aye. 

MARY [with a shiver]. Shall I draw the curtains? 

ANN. Aye. 

MARY draws the curtains. After a silence she 
speaks again gently. 

MARY. I wonder if you'll ever get used to me 
enough to like me? 

ANN [with the north-country dislike of anything 
demonstrative'}. Like you ! Sic a question and you a 
kind of a relation. 

MARY. Myself, I mean. 

ANN. You're weel enough. You're a bit slip of a 
thing, but you're John's wife, and the mother of his 
bairn, and there's an end. 

MARY. Yes, that's all I am ! 

She takes up her work again. 

ANN. Now you're talking. 

MARY [sewing]. Don't think I don't understand. 
7 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

John and I have been married five years. All that 
time Mr. Rutherford never once asked to see me ; if I 
had died, he would have been glad. 

ANN. I don't say that. He's a proud man, and he 
looked higher for his son after the eddication he'd 
given him. You mustn't be thinking such things. 

MARY [without bitterness]. Oh, I know all about it. 
If I hadn't been Tony's mother, he would never have 
had me inside his house. And if I hadn't been Tony's 
mother, I wouldn't have come. Not for anything in 
the world. . . . It's wonderful how he's picked up 
since he got out of those stuffy lodgings. 

ANN [winding up her ivool\. Well, Mr. Rutherford's 
in the right after all. 

MARY. Oh yes. He's in the right. 
ANN. It's a bitter thing for him that's worked all 
his life to make a place i' the world to have his son go 
off and marry secret-like. Folk like him loek for a 
return from their bairns. It's weel known that no 
good comes of a marriage such as yours, and it's no 
wonder that it takes him a bit of time to make up 
his mind to bide it. [Getting up to go.] But what's 
clone's done. 

Young JOHN RUTHERFORD comes in while she is 
speaking. He is delicate -looking and boyish 
in speech and manner attractive, in spite of 
the fact that he is the type that has been made 
a gentleman of and stopped half-way in the 
process. 

JOHN [mimicking her tone]. So it is, Aunt Ann. 
Dinner's late, isn't it ? 

8 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ANN. He's not back yet. He's past his time. I'm 
sure I hope nothing's happened. 

JOHN. What should have happened ? 

ANN. Who's to tell that he hasn't had an accident. 
Things d o happen. 

JOHN. They do indeed. He may have jumped into 
a furnace. 

ANN. Ah, you may joke. But you never know. 
You never know. 

She wanders out, with the vague intention of seeing 
to the dinner. 

JOHN. Cheery old soul, Aunt Ann. No one's ever 
five minutes late but she kills and buries them. 
[Pause.] What's she been saying to you ? 

MARY [serving 1 ]. She's been talking about us. 

JOHN. I should have thought that subject was about 
threadbare by now. [Pause.] What's she say ? 

MARY. The usual things. Plow angry your father 
still is, and how a marriage like ours never comes to 
good 

JOHN. Oh, rot. Anyway, we needn't talk about it. 
She looks quick/// up at him and her face changes. 

MAHY. Some one's always talking about it. 

JOHN. Who is ? 

MARY. Miss Rutherford any of them. Your father 
would, if he ever spoke to me at all. He looks it 
instead. 

JOHN. Oh, nonsense ; you imagine things. The 
Guv'nor's like that with us all it's always been so ; 
besides, he doesn't like women never notices them. 
\Trying to make it all right J\ Look here, I know it's 

9 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

rather beastly for you just now, but it'll be all right 
in time. Things are going to change, so don't you 
worry, little woman. 

MARY. What are we going to do ? 

JOHN. Do ? What should we do ? 

MARY. Anything. To get some money of our own. 
To make some sort of life for ourselves, away from 
here. 

JOHX. You wait till I get this invention of mine 
set going. As for getting away, please remember 
it was you who insisted on coming. I never wanted 
you to. 

MARY. I had to come. Tony was always ailing in 
London. 

JOHN. You never left me alone till I'd crawled to 
the Guv'nor and asked to come back. 

MARY. What else was there left to do ? You 
couldn't find work 

JOHN. If you'd had patience and waited, things 
would have been all right. 

MARY. I've waited five years. I couldn't go on 
earning enough when Tony came. 

JOHN \sulkity]. Well, you couldn't expect me to 
ask the Guv'nor to keep us all three. And if I had 
stayed in London with you instead of coming back 
when he gave me the chance, what good would it 
have done? I'd have missed the biggest 'thing of my 
life I know that. . . . Anyway, I do hate this going 
back over it all. Beastly, sordid 

MARY [looking before her]. I couldn't go on. I'd 
done it so long long before you knew me. Dav after 

10 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

day in an office. The crowded train morning and 
night bad light bad food and because I did that 
my boy is small and delicate. It's been nothing else 
all along the bare struggle for life. I sometimes 
think that it's the only reality in the world. 

JOHN [ill-humoured]. Whether it's the only reality or 
not, I call it a pretty deadly way of looking at things. 

MARY. It is deadly. I didn't know how deadly 
till I began to care for you and thought it was going 
to be different. 

JOHN. The old story. 

MARY. No, no, we won't look back. But oh, John, 
I do so dreadfully want things for Tony. [JOHN begins 
to move about the room.] I didn't mind when there 
was only ourselves. But when he was coming I 
began to think, to look at the other children 
children of people in our position in London taught 
to work before they'd had time to learn what work 
means with the manhood ground out of them before 
ever it came. And I thought how that was what 
we had to give our child, you and I. ... When 
your father forgave you for marrying me, and 
said you might come here, it seemed like a chance. 
And there's nothing, nothing except this place you 
call home. 

JOHN. Hang it all 

MARY. Oh, I know it's big there's food and warmth, 
but it's like a prison ! There's not a scrape of love in 
the whole house. Your father ! no one's any right to 
be what he is never questioned, never answered back 
like God ! and the rest of you just living round him 

11 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

neither children, nor men and women hating each 
other. 

JOHN [turning to look at her with a sort of wonder], 
Don't exaggerate. Whatever has set you off talking 
like this ? 

MARY. Because I'm always thinking about it. 

JOHX. You've never had a home of your own, and 
you don't make excuses for family life everybody 
knows it's like that more or less. 

MARY. And you've lived with it always you can't 
see it as I do. 

JOHN. I do see it. And it's jolly unpleasant I'm 
not arguing about that 

MARY. Don't you see that life in this house is in- 
tolerable ? 

JOHN. Well, frankly? no, I don't. That is, I don't 
see why you should find it so. It's all very well to 
abuse my people, and I sympathise with you in a way 
no one dislikes them more than I do. I know Janet's 
got a filthy temper, and Aunt Ann well, she hasn't 
moved on with the rest of us, poor old soul, that's 
the long and the short of it. As for the Guv'nor 
it's no use beginning to apologise for him. 

MARY. Apologise ! 

JOHN. Well, that's about what you seem to expect. 
I've told you I quite see that it isn't over pleasant 
for you, and you might leave it at that, I think. 
You do drive at one so ... and you seem to forget 
how ill I've been. 

MARY. I don't forget. But don't you see we may 
go on like this for twenty years doing nothing ? 

12 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN. Do you suppose I wouldn't have done some- 
thing ? do you suppose I didn't mean to do something, 
if I hadn't been knocked over just at the critical 
moment ? [Injured.] Do you suppose I wouldn't 
rather have been working than lying on my back all 
these weeks ? 

MARY [quietly]. How about all the other weeks ? 

JOHN. Good heavens, what more could I do than 
I have done ? Here have I hit on a thing worth 
thousands a thing that any glass-maker would give 
his ears to have the working of. And you talk to me 
about making money and a life of our own. Good 
Lord ! we're going to be rich r i c h, once it's set 
going. 

MARY [unimpressed]. Have you told Mr. Ruther- 
ford about it ? 

JOHN. Yes. At least, I've told him what it is. ... 
I haven't told him how it's done naturally. . . . He 
won't listen to me it's like talking to a lump of 
granite. He'll find he'll have to listen before long. . . . 
I've set Martin on to him. 

MARY. Why Martin ? 

JOHK. Because he helped me to work it out. And 
because he happens to be the one person in the 
world the Guv'nor ever listens to. 

MARY [looking up]. He trusts Martin, doesn't he ? 
Absolutely. 

JOHN. Oh, Lord ! yes. Martin can do no wrong. 
The Guvnor'll listen to him all right. 

MARY [resuming her work]. When is he going to 
tell him? 

13 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN. Oh, directly he gets a chance. He may have 
done it already. 

MARY [putting down her sew'mg\. To-day? Then 
Martin really believes there's something in it? 

JOHN [indignantly}. Something in it ! My dear 
Mary, I know you don't mean to be, but you are 
most fearfully irritating. Here have I told you over 
and over again that I'm going to make my fortune, 
and because some one else agrees with me you're kind 
enough to believe what I say. One would think you 
had no faith in me. 

MARY [giving it up as hopeless], I'm sorry. We 
won't talk of it any more. I've said it all so often- 
said it till you're sick of hearing it, and it's no good. 

JOHN. Molly, don't be cross. ... I don't mean to 
be a brute, but it is a bit disappointing, isn't it? 
when I really have found the right thing at last, to 
find you so lukewarm about it. Because it really 
is this time. It'll change everything; and you shall 
do what you like and enjoy yourself as much as you 
want to and forget all about those filthy years in 
Walton Street. [He conies to her and puts his arm 
round her.] There, don't be a little fool. What are 
you making? 

MARY. A cap for Tony. 

JOHN. Dear little beggar, isn't he ? 

MARY. Yes. . . . Don't say things to please me, 
John. 

JOHN. I'm not. I do think he's a dear little beggar. 
[Pleased with himself.] We'll be as happy as kings by 
and by. 

14 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARY. As happy as we were at first ? 

JOHN. Happier we'll have money. 

MAEY. We couldn't be happier. [She sits with her 
hands in her lap, her mouth wistful.] What a pair of 
babies we were, weren't we ? 

JOHN. Oh, I don't know. 

MARY. What blunderers ! I thought it was so 
different and I dare say you did, too, though you 
never said so. I suppose it's really true what they 
think here that we'd no business to marry and have 
a child when we'd nothing to give him when he came. 

JOHN. What a little worrit you are. 

MARY. I do worry, John you don't know how much. 

JOHN. But what about ? 

MARY. Tony. 

JOHN. You funny little thing. Surely there's time 
enough to think about Tony; he's just four months old. 

MARY. Yes, but to me I suppose every woman 
thinks about her baby like that till he's a boy and 
a man and a child all in one only he never grows 
old. [In a practical tone.] How long will it take ? 

JOHN. How long will what take ? 

MAUY. Your invention. [Looks up quickly.] I mean 
don't be cross will it be months or years before 
it p a y s ? 

JOHN [moving away~\. I really can't say it de- 
pends. If the guv'nor has the sense to see things my 
way it depends. 

He takes a cigarette. 

MARY. I see. You will work at it, won't you ? 
M a k e it go ? 

15 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN [striking a light]. There's no work to be 
done. All I've got to do is to sit down and let some 
one pay for it. 

MAUY. Sit down ? It seems so much to us, doesn't 
it? Everythin g 

JOHN [who has burnt his Jinger]. It means my 
getting the whip-hand of the Guv'nor for once in my 
life. [Irritably.] And it means my getting away 
from your incessant nagging at me about the kid 
and money. 

MARY. John ! 

JOHN [sharply]. After all, it isn't very pleasant for 
me having you dependent on the Guv'nor and being 
reminded of it every other day. I don't choose this 
kind of life, I can tell you. If you're sick of it, God 
knows I am. 
While he is speaking ANN drifts into the room again. 

ANN. There you are smoking again ; and you 
know what the doctor said. Mary, tell him he's 
not to. 

MARY. John must do as he likes. 

JOHN. I must have something; my nerves are all on 
edge. 

ANN. Weel, ye can't expect to be right all of a 
sudden. When I think o' the Sunday night ye was 
so bad, I never thought to see ye standin' there now. 

JOHN [injured]. I shouldn't worry about that. I 
don't suppose any one would have been much the 
worse if I had pegged out. 

ANN. Whatever makes you say a thing like that ? 

JOHN. Mary. Yes, you do, Mary. To hear you 
16 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

talk one would think I was no good. How do you 
suppose I've made an invention if I were the rotter 
you think me? 

MARY. I didn't say that I didn't say that. 

ANN. An invention's weel enough if you're not mis- 
taken. 

JOHN. Mistaken ! 

ANN. Ah, but older people nor you make mistakes. 
There was old Green I mind him fiddlin' on wi 1 a 
lot of old cogs and screws half his time, trying to find 
oot the way to prevent a railway train going off the 
line. And when he did find it and took it to show 
it to some one as knawed aboot such things, it was 
so sartin sure not to go off the line that the wheels 
wouldn't turn roond at all. A poor, half-baked body 
he was, and his wife without a decent black to show 
herself in o' Sundays. 

JOHN. I'll undertake that my wheels will go round. 

ANN. If it's such a wonderful thing, why hasn't 
some one thought of it afore ? Answer me that. 

JOHN. You might say that of any new idea that 
ever came into the world. 

ANN. Of course, if you set up to know more about 
glass-making than your father that's been at it ever 
since he was a bairn . . . 

JOHN. It isn't a case of knowing. I've a much better 
chance because I don't know. It's the duffers who get 
hold of the best things stumble over them in the 
dark, as I did. It makes my blood run cold to think 
how easily I could have missed it, of all the people 
who must have looked straight at it time after 

17 u 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

time, and never seen it. [Contemptuously]. Hullo, 
Dick! 

[RICHARD RUTHERFORD has come in from the hall. 
He wears the regulation clergyman's clothes 
and looks older than JOHN, though he is in 
reality the younger by a couple of years. He 
Is habitually overworked, and his face has the 
rather pathetic look of an overweighted youth 
that finds life too much for its strength. His 
manner is extremely simple and sincere, which 
enables him to use priggish phrases without 
offence. He comes to the table while JOHN is 
speaking, looks from him to ANN, then at the 
butter, sugar, and bread in turn.] 
DICK [very tired]. Dinner ? 
JOHN [mimicking him]. Not imminent. 
DICK. Will it be long? 

ANN [crossly], Ye'll just have to bide quiet till it 
comes. 

DICK [gently]. Ah ! ... In that case I think I'll 
just- 

He takes a piece of bread and moves towards the door. 
ANN. You look fair done. 

DICK. I've had a tiring day. [To MARY.] Where is 
Janet ? 

MARY. In the kitchen. [She loohs at him intently.] 
Why did you ask ? Do you want her? 

DICK [uncertainly]. No, no. I thought she might 
have gone out. It's best for her not to go out after 
dark. 

AXX. You can't sit in your room i' this cold. 
18 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

DICK. I'll put on a coat. It's quiet there. 

JOHN. You'll have time to write your sermon before 
he comes in, I dare say. 

DICK [simply]. Oh, I've done that, such as it is. 
He leaves the room, eating- his bread as he goes. 

JOHN [irritably}. This is a damned uncomfortable 
house. I'm starving. 

ANN. It's Committee day. 

JOHN. He'll be having the whole Board on his toes 
as usual, I suppose. 

ANN. That Board '11 be the death of him. When I 
think of the old days when he'd no one to please but 
himself! 

JOHN. He's stood it for five years. I wouldn't 
being badgered by a lot of directors who know as 
much about glass-making as you do. 

ANN. That's all very well. But when you borrow 
money you've got to be respectful one way and 
another. If he hadn't gone to the Bank how would 
Rutherford's ha' gone on ? 

JOHN [who has taken up the newspaper and is 
huff reading- it as lie talks]. Why should it go 
on ? 

ANN [sharply]. What's that ? 

JOHN. Why didn't he sell the place when he could 
have made a decent profit. 

ANN [scandalised]. Sell Rutherford's? Just 
you let your father hear you. 

JOHN. I don't care if he does. I never can imagine 
why he hangs on working his soul out year after 
year. 

19 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ANN [conclusively]. It's his duty! 
She resumes her knitting. 

JOHN. Duty rot ! He likes it. He's gone on too 
long. He couldn't stop and rest if he tried. When I 
make a few thousands out of this little idea of mine 
I'm going to have everything I want, and forget all 
about the dirt and the ugliness, the clatter and bang 
of the machinery, the sickening hot smell of the fur- 
naces all the things I've hated from my soul. 

ANN [who has become absorbed in a dropped stitch]. 
Aye weel . . . there's another strike at Rayner's, they 
tell me. 

JOHN. Yes. Eight hundred men. That's the 
second this year. 

ANN. You don't think it'll happen here, do you ? 

JOHN. I can't say. They're smashing things at 
llayner's. 

ANN. It'll no' come here. The men think too much 
of your father for that. 

JOHN. I'm not so sure. 

ANN. There was the beginnings of a strike once, 
years ago, and he stopped it then. The men at 
the furnaces struck work said it was too hard for 'n. 
And your father he went doon into the caves and took 
his coat off afore them all, and pitched joost half as 
much coal again as the best of 'em now ! 

JOHN. Yes, that's the sort of argument they can see 
it catches hold of the brute in them. If the Guv'nor 
had sat quietly in his office and sent his ultimatum 
through the usual channels, he would have been the 
owner of Rutherford's, and the strike would have run 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

its course. Shovelling coal in his shirt with his 
muscles straining, and the sweat pouring off' him, he 
was " wor John " and there's three cheers for his 
fourteen stone of beef and muscle. That was all very 
well thirty years ago. 

ANN. And what's to hinder it now ? 

JOHN. Oh, the Guv'nor was a bit of a hero then an 
athlete, a runner. The men who worked for him all the 
week crowded to see him run on Saturday afternoons, 
Martin's told me. But when all's said and done, 
Rutherford's is a money-making machine. And the 
Guv'nor's the only man who doesn't know it. He's 
getting old. 

ANN [crossly]. To hear you talk a body would 
think we were all going to die to-morrow. Your 
father's a year younger nor me now ! And a fine 
up-standing man forbye. 

JOHN [who is looking at himself in the glass above the 
mantelpiece]. Oh, he know how to manage a pack of 
savages. 

ANN. There's not one of 'em to-day or thirty years 
ago but'll listen to him. 

JOHN. He'd knock any one down who didn't. 

JANET comes in with a trai) and begins to set cups 
and saucers on the table. 

ANN. They all stood by him when the trouble came, 
every one of 'em. And he's climbed up steady ever 
since, and never looked ahint him. And now you've 
got your invention it'll no be long now if it's all you 
think it. Ah, it 'ud be grand to see Rutherford's 
like old times again. 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN. Rutherford's. . . . [He speaks half seriously, 
half to tease ANN]. Aunt Ann, have you ever in 
your life just for a moment at the back of your 
mind wished Rutherford's at the bottom of the 
Tyne ? 

ANN gazes at him in silence. When she speaks 
again it is as to a foolish child. 

ANN. Are you taking your medicine reg'lar ? 

JOHN. Yes. But have you ever heard of Moloch ? 
No. Well, Moloch was a sort of a god some time 
ago, you know, before Dick and his kind came along. 
They built his image with an ugly head ten times 
the size of a real head, with great wheels instead of 
legs, and set him up in the middle of a great dirty 
town. [JANET, busy at the table, stops to listen, raising 
her eyes almost for the first time.] And they thought 
him a very important person indeed, and made 
sacrifices to him human sacrifices to keep him going, 
you know. Out of every family they set aside one 
child to be an offering to him when it was big enough, 
and at last it became a sort of honour to be dedicated 
in this \vay, so much so, that the victims gave them- 
selves gladly to be crushed out of life under the great 
wheels. That was Moloch. 

There is a silence. JANET speaks eagerly. 

JANET. Where did you get that ? 

JOHN. Get what ? 

JANET. What you've been saying. 

JOHN. Everybody knows it. 

JANET. Dedicated we're dedicated all of us to 
Rutherford's. And being respected in Grantley. 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ANN. Talk, talk chatter, chatter. Words never 
mended nothing that I knows on. 

JOHN [zvho w tired of the subject]. Talk if I hadn't 
you to talk to, Aunt Ann, or Mary, I think I'd talk to 
the door-post. 

JANET [zcho has slipped back into her dull listkssness], 
And just as much good would come of it, I dare say. 

ANN. And who are you to say it? You got no 
book-learning like him and no invention neither. 

JANET [mho is laying forks round the table]. How do 
you know he's got an invention ? 

ANN. Because he says so, o' course how else ? It's 
a secret. 

JANET. John always had a secret. He used to sell 
them to me when we were little. And when I'd given 
him whatever it was he'd taken a fancy to, there was 
no secret. Nothing worth paying for, anyway. 

JOHN. Oh, shut up. 

ANN [as if they were children]. Now, now. Don't 
quarrel. 

JANET. We're not quarrelling. 

JOHN. Yes, we are. And you began it. 

JANET. I didn't. I only said what any one can see. 
[Scornfully]. You make an invention. Likely. 

JOHN. A lot you know about it. 

JANET. If you did, you'd muck it somehow, just as 
you do everything. 

ANN [querulously]. Bairns ! Bairns ! One would 
think you'd never growed up. 

JOHN [angrily to JANET]. I wish you'd keep quiet if 
you can't say anything decent. You never open your 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

mouth except to say something disagreeable. First 
there's Mary throwing cold water, then you come in. 

JANET. I'm not any more disagreeable than any one 
else. We're all disagreeable if it comes to that. All 
except Susan. 

ANN. Susan's not one of the family ! A common 
servant lass. 

JANET. Like me. 

ANN [using the family threap. Just you let your 
father hear you. 

JANET. We do the same things. 

ANN. Susan's paid for it. Whoever gave you a 
farthing ? 

JANET [bitterly]. Aye ! 

ANN. Has she made another girdle cake ? 

JANET. I didn't notice. She's probably talking to 
her young man at the gate. 

JOHN. Susan with a young man ! 

ANN. Yes, indeed a nice thing, and her turned 
forty. 

JOHX. Ugliest woman I ever saw bar none. Who 
is it ? Not Martin surely ! [JANET stops suddenly 
and looks at him.'] I've noticed he's been making 
excuses to come about lately, and he's taken the 
cottage at the Tarn. 

JANET [with a sudden stillness]. It isn't Martin. 

JOHN. Well, if it is, the Guv'nor would soon put a 
stop to it. 

JANET. Put a stop to what ? 

JOHN. Martin getting married if it's that he's 
after. 

24 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET. What right's he to interfere ? 

JOHN. Right nonsense. Martin practically lives at 
the Works as it is. If he had a wife he'd get to be 
just like the other men hankering after going home 
at the proper time, and all that. 

ANN [preparing to leave the room]. You and your 
gossip and the dinner spoiling every minute. [With 
a parting shot at JANET.] It's a good thing nobody's 
married y o u a nice hoose you'd make without me to 
look to everything. 

Site fusses out. 

JOHN. Married ! Cheer up, Janet ! Thirty-h' ve last 
birthday, isn't it ? 

MARY. John ! 

JANET [her voice hard]. No, it isn't. It's thirty-six. 

JOHN. You'll make a happy home for some one yet. 
No one's asked you so far, I suppose ? 

JANET. Who's there been to ask me ? 

JOHN. Oh, I don't know. I suppose you have been 
kept pretty close. Other girls manage it, don't they ? 

JANET. I don't know other girls. 

JOHN. Mary caught me. 

JANET. I don't know anybody you know that. No 
one in Grantley's good enough for us, and we're not 
good enough for the other kind. 

JOHN. Speak for yourself. 

JANET. Oh, we're all alike ; don't you fret. Why 
hasn't young Squire Earnshaw invited you to shoot 
with him again ? He did once when none of his 
grand friends were there. 

JOHN pretends not to hear. 
25 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET. I know why. 
JOHN. Oh, you know a lot, don't you ? 
JANET. It was because you pretended pretended 
you knew the folk he talked about, because you'd shown 
them over the Works once when father was away. 
Pretended you said " parss " for pass every day. I 
heard you. And I saw the difference. Gentlemen are 
natural. Being in company doesn't put them about. 
They don't say " thank you " to servants neither, not 
like you do to Susan. 

JOHN. Oh, shut up, will you ? 

JANET. I wouldn't pretend, whatever I did mincing 
round like a monkey. 

ANN [coming in from the kitchen]. Now, now. That's 
the door, isn't it ? 

They all listen. A voice is heard outside, then the 

outer door opens. 
JOHN. Father. 
JANET. Martin. 

There is the sound of a stick being put into the 
umbrella stand ; then JOHN RUTHERFORD comes 
in, followed by MARTIN. He is a heavily built 
man of s'hrty, with a heavy lined face and 
tremendous shoulders a typical north country- 
man. There is a distinct change in the 
manner of the whole family as he comes in 
and walks straight to his desk as if the door 
had scarcely interrupted his walk. MARTIN is 
a good-looking man of the best type of working 
man. Very simple in manner and beanng 
about forty years of age. He touches hisfore- 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

lock to the family and stands beside the door 
with nothing servile in either action. 

RUTHERFORD [talking as he comes in.] . . . and it's 
got to be managed somehow. Lads are wanted 
and lads 1 !! have to be found. Only six out of 
the seventeen shops started the first shift o' 
Monday. 

MARTIN. Grey couldn't start at all last week for 
want o' lads. 

RUTHERFORD. What's got them ? Ten years ago 
you could have had fifty for the asking, and taken 
your pick. And now here's the work waiting to 
be done, and half the hands we want to do it 
lounging about Grantley with their hands in their 
breeches pockets, the beggars. What do they think 
they're bred for ? 

MARTIX. There's too many of 'em making for the 
towns, that's it. It's lighter work. 

' O 

RUTHERFORD. Just remind me to give the men a 
word o' wages time o' Saturday. They got to keep 
their lads at home as long as they're wanted at 
Rutherford's. [Turning papers and a bunch of keys 
out of his pocket on to the desk.] The new lear man's 
shaping all right then. 

MARTIX. Dale ? Knows as much aboot a pot- arch 
as I knows aboot a flying-machine. 

RUTHERFORD. Why didn't you tell me before? 

MAR'rix. I thought I'd wait to give him a trial. I 
took a look at the flues myself to make sure it wasn't 
them at fault. He can't get the heat up properly, 
and the pots are put into the furnaces afore they're 

27 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

furnace heat. They 1 !! all be broke one o 1 these 
days. 

RUTHERFORD. We'd better take on Ford. 

MARTIN. He finishes at Cardiff' Saturday. 

RUTHERFORD. He'll do, I suppose ? 

MARTIN [feeling in his pocket and pulling out a leather 
purse or bag]. You couldn't get a better man for 
the job in all Tyneside. There's the ten pound young 
Henderson had out o' the cash-box. 

He counts it out on the desk. 

RUTHERFORD. What ! He's given it up ? 

MARTIN. Aye. Leastways, I took it off him. 

RUTHERFORD. Has he owned to it ? 

MARTIN. Sure enough. Said he hadn't gone for 
to do it. Cried like a bairn, he did. 

JOHN [from his arm-chair by the fire], Henderson ? 
Has he been stealing ? 

MARTIN. Aye, Mr. John. I caught him at it i' the 
office at dinner-time when there's nobody much aboot 
wi 1 his hands i' the box. 

JOHN. Dirty little sweep ! Have you kicked him out ? 

RUTHERFORD [pausing ic'ith his hand on his cash-box], 
I suppose there's no doubt he's a bad 'un ? 

MARTIN. Bred and born. 

RUTHERFORD. No use giving him another chance. 

MARTIN. Throvved away on the likes o' him. 

RUTHERFORD [locking the box and putting it in a 
drawer]. Ah. . . . Well, if he conies back, turn him 
away. Everything ready for the pot-setting in the 
morning ? 

MARTIN. Aye, sir. The night shiffll set four when 
28 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

they stop, and the other shift 1 !! set the others a bit 
later. 

RUTHERFORD. You'll be there to see them do it ? 

MARTIN. Surely. 

RUTHERFORD [with a ctirious softening in his voice]. 
When 1 !! you get your rest ? 

MARTIN. Plenty o 1 time for that, sir. 

RUTHERFORD [crossing to the fire}. We 1 !! have you 
on strike one o 1 these clays, Martin. 

MAimN [turning to go]. Not me, sir. When you 
begin to spare yourself you can begin to think about 
sparing me. And next week things 1 !! go easier. . . . 
Is that all for the night, sir ? 

RUTHERFORD [wearily]. Aye. Good-night to ye. 
[He has taken his pipe from the rack above the mantel- 
piece and is filling it.] You've further to go now 
ye're in the Tarn Cottage. 

There is a slight pause before MARTIN replies. 

MARTIN. Aye. A bit, mebbee. 

RUTHERFORD [lighting his pipe]. I should ha 1 
thought you'd had done better to stick to your old 
one near at hand ; but you know your own business 
best. 

MARTIN. It's weel enough. 

ANN. Now Martin's here, can he no take a look at 
the range ? Susan canna get the oven to go. 

JANET [to ANN]. The oven's all right. 

RUTHERFORD \_u'ith a complete change of voice and 
manner]. Now what's that got to do with Martin ? 

A\\ [subsiding]. He could tell Baines to send up a 
man i' the morniif. 

29 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. That's not Martin's business you 
must send word to Baines himself. 

MARTIN. I could easy take a look at it while I'm 
here, sir. It 'ud save you sending. 

RUTHERFORD [weaiily]. Oh, all right. If you want 
a job. 

ANN. Janet, go and show Martin. 

MARTIN turns at the door and looks for her to pass 

out before him. 
JANET [standing' motionless], Susan can show him. 

MARTIN goes, dosing the door. 
RUTHERFORD. Any letters ? 

ANN [flurried]. Yes. They're somewheres. Janet 

RUTHERFORD [icHh the sudden irritation of a tired 
mail]. Bless me, can't I have a simple thing like that 
done for me ? How often have I said to put them in 
one place and stick to it ? [JANET discovers the fetters 
on the small table by the door and brings them to him. 
He sits on the settle and stretches out his legs.] Here, 
take them off for me. I'm dead beat. 

After a moment's silent revolt she kneels and be- 
gins to unlace his boots. He looks at her bent 
sullen face. 
Ah ! sulky, are ye? 

She makes no answer. 

'Ud like to tell me to take them off' myself, I 
dare say. And I been working the day long for you. 
[Getting irritated at her touch]. Spoilt that's what 
you are, my lass. [Opening a letter.] What's this ? 
A polite letter from the vicar, eh ? Damn polite a 
new organ that's his trouble thinks I'd like to help 

30 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

pay for it. [He throws it across the hearthrug to 
JOHN.] There's a job for you you're idle enough. 
Write and tell His Reverence to go to the devil and 
ask him for an organ. Or mebbee Richard 1 !! like 
to do it, as he's his curate. [To JANET.] Let be, 
let be. 

He takes his boots off painfully one with the other. 
ANN [plaintively], I'm sure the vicar came in 
pleasant enough not a week gone, and asked for 



RUTHERFORD. Asked for my money, you mean. 
They're civil enough when they want anything, the 
lot of them. [To JANET sarcastically, as she cairies 
the boots awayJ} Thank 'ee kindly. 

He gets up and puts hu slippers on. ANN speaks 
in a flurried whisper to JOHN. 

ANN. John, you've got your father's chair. 

JOHN [gets up]. Sorry. 

RUTHERFORD [drags the chair up to the table, and sits 
down as if he were tired out. He looks at JOHN with a 
curiously interested exjyression as he lounges across}. 
Feeling better? 

JOHN [uneasy and consequently rather swaggering}. 
Oh, I'm still a bit shaky about the knees. 

RUTHERFORD. You'll be coming back to work, I 
suppose. There's plenty to be done. How's the little 
lad? 

JOHN. I don't know all right, I suppose. Isn't he, 
Mary ? 

MARY. Mr. Rutherford asked you. 

JOHN. But I don't know. 
31 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD looks at MARY, she at him ; there is a 

pause. 

RUTHERFORD [busy "with his letters]. I thought Gibson 
had forbidden you to smoke? 

JOHN rebels for a moment, then throws his cigarette 
into the Jire, with an action like a petted 
child. 

JOHN. I must do something. 

RUTHERFORD. What have you been busy with to- 
day ? . . . This metal o' yours ? Eh ? 

JOHN [evasively]. Aunt Ann's been talking about it. 
ANN [meaning well}. We've joost been saying how 
it'll all come right now all the bother. John'll do 
it Rutherford's '11 be itself again. 

RUTHERFORD. Martin tells me you've hit on a good 
thing a big thing. . . . I've got to hear more about 
it, eh ? 

JOHN. If you like. 
RUTHERFORD. What's that ? 

He looks up slowly under his eyebrows a long 
curious look, as if he saw the first possibility 
of opposition. 

JOHN [going over to the fire-place]. Can't we have 
dinner? 

ANN. You're getting back your appetite. That's a 
good sign. 

RUTHERFORD. Dinner can wait. [He sweeps a space 
clear on the table and puts his letters down. JANET 
presently sits down resigned to a family row. MARY 
listens throughout intently, her eyes constantly fixed on 
JOHN.] I'm a business man, and I like to know how I 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

stand. [Launching at JOHN.] Now what d'ye 
mean ? 

JOHN. I don't understand you, sir. 

RUTHERFORD. What's there to understand ? 

JOHN [his manner gradually slipping into that of a 
child afraid of its father']. Well, I've been away from 
the Works for two months. Before we begin to talk 
about the other thing, I'd like to know what's doing. 

RUTHERFORD. What's that got to do with it ? You 
never have known what's doing. 

JOHN. I think I ought to be told now. 

RUTHERFORD. Now ! That's it, is it ? You want a 
bone flung to your dignity ! Well, here it is. Things 
are bad. 

JOHN. Really bad ? 

RUTHERFORD. For the present. These colliery strikes 
one on top of another, for one thing. Rayner's drew 
the ponies out of the pit this afternoon. 

JOHN. It'll about smash them, won't it ? 

RUTHERFORD. Mebbee. The question is how it 
affects us. 

JOHN. Oh ! We get coal from them ? 

RUTHERFORD. I should have thought you'd ha' picked 
up that much in five years. 

JOHN. Stoking isn't my business. 

RUTHERFORD. You might have noticed the name on 
the trucks you see it every clay of your life. Well, 
yes we get our coal from them. . . . What then ? 

JOHN. Well what's going to happen ? II o w bad 
is it ? 

RUTHERFORD. I said bad for the present. The 
33 ' c 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

balance-sheet for the year's just been drawn up and 
shows a loss of four thousand on last year's working. 
It's not a big loss, considering what's been against us 
those Americans dumping all that stuff in the spring 
we had to stop that little game, and it cost us some- 
thing to do it. Then the price of materials has gone 
up, there's a difference there. [Imitably, answering his 
own thoughts.] It's not ruin, bless us it's simply a 
question of work and sticking together ; but the Bank's 
rather more difficult to manage than usual. There's 
not one of 'em would sacrifice a shilling of their own 
to keep the old place going they want their fees 
reg'lar. That's their idea of the commercial enterprise 
they're always talking about. It's the pulse they keep 
their finger on when it misses a beat, they come 
crowding round with their hands up like a lot of 
damned old women. . . . Well, well ! Something's 
wanted to pull things together. . . . Now this idea 
of yours. Martin tells me it's worth something. 

JOHN [nettled]. Worth something ? It's worth thou- 
sands a year to any one who works it properly. 

RUTHERFORD [zvith his half smile]. Thousands ! 
That's a fair margin. [Drily.] What's your calcula- 
tion in figures ? 

JOHN*. That depends on the scale it's worked on. 

RUTHERFORD [_as to a child]. Yes so I supposed. 
What's your preliminary cost ? 

JOH\ [getting itervoiis]. Nothing as far as I know. 
I can't say for certain something like that. 

RUTHERFORD. Something like nothing ; and on some- 
thing like nothing you're going to show a profit of 

34 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

thousands a year on a single metal. [Drily.] Sounds 
like a beautiful dream, doesn't it ? About your cost 
of working now that should run you into something ? 

JOHN [who is getting annoyed]. Thirty per cent, less 
than what you're working at now. 

RUTHERFORD. Indeed. . . . May I ask where and 
how you've carried out your experiments ? 

JOHN [uneasily], I didn't mention it to you. A 
year ago I got a muffle furnace. I've worked with it 
from time to time, in the old pot-loft. 

RUTHERFORD. Paid for it by any chance ? 

JOHN. Not yet. 

RUTHERFORD. How did you manage for coals now ? 

JOHN. I took what I wanted from the heap. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah, and your materials I suppose 
you took what you wanted of those too ? Well, I've 
no objection, if you can make it good. [Suddenly.] 
What's your receipt ? 

JOHN. I haven't I'm not prepared to say. 

There is a silence. ANN lowers her knitting Kith an 
alarmed look. 

RUTHERFORD [lieavily], A week or two ago in this 
room you told me it was perfected ready for working 
to-morrow. 

JOHN. Yes I told you so. 

RUTHERFORD [suppressed]. What d'ye mean ? . . . 
Come, come, sir I'm your father, I want an answer 
to my question a plain answer, if you can give one. 

JOHN [in a high-pitched, nervous voice]. I I'm a 
business man, and I want to know where I stand. 
RUTHERFORD breaks into a laugh. 
35 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

Oh, you turn me into an impudent school-boy, but I'm 
not. I'm a man, with a thing in my mind worth a 
fortune. 

ANN. John ! [Asserting her authority.'] You must 
tell your father. 

JOHN [very excited]. I shan't tell him till I've 
taken out my patent, so there ! 

There is a pause RUTHERFORD stares at his son. 

RUTHERFORD \heavily}. What d'ye mean ? 

JOHN. I mean what I say. I want my price. 

RUTHERFORD. Your price y our price ? [Bringing 
hisjist down on tlie table.'] Damn your impudence, 
sir. A whippersnapper like you to talk about your 
price. 

JOHN [losing his temper]. I'm not a whippersnapper. 
I've got something to sell and you want to buy it, and 
there's an end. 

RUTHERFORD. To buy ? To sell ? And this to your 
father ? 

JOHN. To any man who wants what Fve made. 
There is a dead silence on this, broken only by an 
in-voluntary nervous movement from the rest of 
the family. Then RUTHERFORD speaks without 
moving. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah ! So that's your line, is it ? ... 
This is what I get for all Fve done for you. . . . This 
is the result of the schooling I give you. 

JOHN [with an attempt at a swagger]. I suppose 
you mean Harrow. 

RUTHERFORD. It was two hundred pound that's 
what I mean. 

36 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN. And you gave me a year of it ! 

RUTHERFORD. And a lot of good you've got of it. 
. . . What ha" you done with it ? Idled your time 
away wi' your books o' poetry when you should ha' 
been working. Married a wife who bears you a bairn 
you can't keep. [At a movement j^rom MARY.] Aye 
hard words mebbee. What will you do for your son 
when the time comes? I've toiled and sweated to 
give you a name you'd be proud to own worked early 
and late, toiled like a dog when other men were taking 
their ease plotted and planned to get my chance, 
taken it and held it when it come till I could ha' burst 
with the struggle. Sell ! You talk o' selling to me, 
when everything you'll ever make couldn't pay back 
the life I've given to you ! 

JOHX. Oh, I know, I know. 

ANN. You mustn't answer your father, John. 

JOHN. Well, after all, I didn't ask to be born. 

RUTHERFORD. Nor did the little lad, God help him. 

JOHX [rapidly]. Look here, father why did you 
send me to Harrow ? 

RUTHERFORD. Why ? To make a gentleman of you, 
and because I thought they'd teach you better than 
the Grammar School. I was mistaken. 

JOHN. They don't turn out good clerks and office 
boys. 

RUTHERFORD. What's that ? 

JOHX. I've been both for five years. Only I've had 
no salary. 

RUTHERFORD. You've been put to learn your business 
like any other young fellow. I began at the bottom 

37 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

you've got to do the same. There'll not be two 
masters at Rutherford's while I'm on my legs. 

JOHN. That's it, that's it. You make a servant 
of me. 

RUTHERFOUD. What do you suppose your work's 
worth to Rutherford's ? Tell me that. 

JOHN. What's that matter now ? I've done with it. 
I've found a way out. 

RUTHERFOUD. A way out of what ? 

JOHN, [rather taken aback]. Well you don't sup- 
pose I'd choose to live here all my life ? 

ANN. [taking it personally]. And why not, pray ? 

RUTHERFORD. Your father has lived here, and your 
grandfather before you. It's your inheritance can't 
you realise that ? what you've got to come to when I'm 
under ground. We've made it for you, stone by stone, 
penny by penny, lighting through thick and thin for 
close on a hundred years. 

JOHN. Well, after all, I can't help what you and 
grandfather chose to do. 

RUTHERFORD. Chose to do ! There's no chose to 
do. The thing's there. You're my son my son 
that's got to come after me. 

JOHN. Oh, it's useless. Our ideas of life are utterly 
different. 

RUTHERFOUD. Ideas of life ! What do you know 
about life ? 

JOHN. Oh, nothing, of course. 

RUTHERFORD. If you did, you'd soon stop having 
ideas about it. Life ! I've had nigh on sixty years 
of it, and 111 tell you. Life's w o r k keeping your 

38 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

head up and your heels down. Sleep, and begetting 
children, rearing them up to work when you're gone 
that's life. And when you know better than the God 
who made you, you can begin to ask what you're going 
to get by it. And you'll get more work and six foot 
of earth at the end of it. 

JOHN. And that's what you mean me to do, is it ? 

RUTHERFORD. It's what you've got to do or starve. 
You're my son you've got to come after me. 

JOHX. Look here, father. You tell me all this. 
Just try and see things my way for once. Take the 
Works. I know you've done it all, built it up, and 
all that and you're quite right to be proud of it. 
But I I don't like the place, that's the long and 
the short of it. It's not worth my while. After all, 
I've got myself to think of my own life. If I'd done 
that sooner, by Jove! I'd have been a jolly sight 
better off. I'd not have married, for one thing. 
[With a glance at MARY.] Not that I regret that. 
You talk about what you did when you were young. 
You've told me the sort of time you've had nothing 
but grind, grind, since the time you could do anything. 
And what have you got by it ? What have you got ? 
I have myself to think of. I want a run for my 
money your money, I suppose it is other fellows do. 
And I've made this thing myself, off my own bat and 
and [ending lamely] I don't see why I shouldn't 
have a look in. ... On my own account. . . . 
There is an uncomfortable silence. 

RUTHERFORD [in a new tone]. You're going to take 
out a patent, you say ? 

39 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN [taking this as friendly}. Yes. 

RUTHERFORD. Know anything about Patent Law ? 

JOHN. Well, no not yet. 

RUTHERFORD. It's very simple, and wonderfully cheap 
three pound for three years. At the end of three 
years, you can always extend the time if you want 
to no difficulty about that. 

JOHN. Oh, no. 

RUTHERFORD. But you can't patent a metal. 

JOHN. I don't see why not. 

RUTHERFORD. What's the use if you do ? 

JOHN. It's the same as anything else. I take out 
a patent for a certain receipt, and I can come down 
on any one who uses it. 

RUTHERFORD. And prove that they've used it ? 

JOHN. They have to find out what it is first. It's 
not likely I'm going to give the show away. [Pause.] 

RUTHERFORD. But you want to sell, you say. 

JOHN. Yes. 

RUTHERFORD. How are you going to do that without 
giving it away ? . . . Suppose you go to one of the 
big chaps Miles of Cardiff, for example. " Here you 
are," you say. " I've got an idea worth a fortune. 
Give me a fortune and I'll tell you what it is." He's 
not going to buy a pig in a poke any more than I 
am. People have a way of thinking they're going 
to make their fortunes, d'ye see ? but those people 
aren't generally the sort you let loose in your glass- 
house. 

JOHN. Of course, I shall make inquiries about all 
that. I can't say till I know. 

40 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. Do you remember a little thing of 
mine an invention you would call it. Did ye ever 
happen to see it ? 

JOHN. Yes. Martin showed it to me once. 

RUTHERFORD. What's your opinion of that now 
as a business man ? 

JOHN. Of course, it had the makings of a good 
thing any one could see that. 

RUTHERFORD. Nobody did. I was nineteen at the 
time a lad. Like you, I hadn't the money to run 
it myself. Clinton, the American people, got hold 
of it, and sold seven hundred thousand the first six 
months in New York alone. [He gets up and ad- 
dresses the room, generally]. Dinner in ten minutes. 

JOHN. Surely you could have got some one to take it 
up an obvious thing like that ? 

RUTHERFORD [drily]. That's how it worked out in 
my case. [He moves slowly to the door.] 

JOHN. You don't believe I can do what I say. 

RUTHERFORD. I can't tell nor can you. 

JOHN [high-handed]. Oh, very well then. What are 
we talking about ? 

RUTHERFORD. You undertake to produce ordinary 
white metal at a third of the usual cost that's it, 
isn't it ? You've worked this out in a muffle furnace. 
My experience of muffle furnaces is that they're ex- 
cellent for experimenting in a very small way. A 
child can hit on an idea for a metal provided he's 
materials at his command, and knows a bit about 
chemistry. But no man living can estimate the cost 
of that idea until it's worked out on a big scale. 

41 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

Your receipt, as it stands, isn't worth the paper it's 
written on. 

As RUTHERFORD moves again towards the door 
JOHN makes a movement to stop him. 

JOHN. Father, look here. Here's an offer. 

RUTHERFORD. Thank you kindly. 

JOHN. If you'll let me have a pot in one of the big 
furnaces for a trial I swear to you, on my honour, 
I'll let you see the result without touching it, after 
I've put in the materials. You can clay the pots up 
seal them, if you like. Let me do it to-morrow; I 
can't stand hanging on like this. 

RUTHERFORD. To-morrow ! Impossible. 

JOHN. Why not ? 

RUTHERFORD. You can't come down to the Works in 
this weather. You'd catch cold, and be laid up again. 

JOHN. The day after then next week or, why not? 
let Martin do it. 

RUTHERFORD. Martin? [He turns to look at JOHN, 
struck by a new thought.] 

JOHN. Why not? He can do it as well as I can. 

RUTHERFORD. Martin ? . . . He knows then ? 

JOHN [surprised]. Why, he talked to you about it, 
didn't he? 

RUTHERFORD. Yes, yes. But he's got the receipt ? 

JOHN. Yes there's no difficulty at all. Let him 
mix the metal and clay her up, and you can open her 
yourself. Then you'll see. You'll take Martin's word 
for it, I suppose ? Only, for Heaven's sake, give me a 
fair chance. 

RUTHERFORD [moving suddenly]. Fair chance be 
42 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

damned, sir. You've said your say, and I've said 
mine. Think it over ! 
He goes out, leaving' JOHN standing- staring after him. 

JOHN [under his breath as the door closes]. Oh, go 
to the devil ! 

ANN. For shame to speak so. Just let him hear 
you. And there, dinner 1 !! be as dry as a bone, and 
I've waited so long I don't feel as if I could touch a 
morsel. You might keep your business till we'd had 
something to eat, I think. [She hurries out.] 

JANET, [with a sort of admiration]. Now you've 
done it. 

JOHN. Done it ! I've jolly well let him know what 
I think and high time, too. [Brokenly.] It isn't fair 
it isn't fair. Old bully. What am I going to do ? 

JANET [dropping into her usual tone]. What you've 
always done, I suppose. 

JOHN. What's that ? 

JANET. Say you're sorry. It's the soonest way back. 

JOHN. I'm not going back. Sooner than give in, 
I'll starve. I don't care. I'll go to London, Canada, 
anywhere. He shan't have me, to grind the life out of 
me by inches and he shan't have my metal. If he 
thinks he's going to pick my brains and give me 
nothing for it, he'll find himself jolly well mistaken. 
I don't care. Once and for all, I'm going to make a 
stand. And he can jolly well go to the devil. 

MARY speaks for the first time, in a low voice. 

MARY. What are you making a stand for ? 

JOHN [stopping to look at her]. Good Lord, Mary, 
haven't you been listening? 

43 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARY. Yes, I've been listening. You said you 
wanted your price. What is your price ? 

JANET. All the profits and none of the work that's 
John's style. [She sits on settle, her chin on her hands.] 

JOHN. A lot you know about it. 

MARY speaks again. 

MARY. If you get your price, what will you do 
with it? 

JANET. He won't get it. 

JOHN [to JANET]. Do you suppose Fm going to sit 
down under his bullying ? 

JANET. You've done it all your life. 

JOHN. Well, here's an end of it then. 

JANET. No one ever stands out against father for 
long you know that or else they get so knocked 
about they don't matter any more. [She looks at 
MARY, who has made an involuntary movement.] Oh, 
I don't mean he hits them that's not his way. 

JOHN. Oh, don't exaggerate. 

JANET. Exaggerate look at mother ! You were too 
young I remember [To MARY.] You've been here 
nigh on three months. If you think you're going to 
change this house with your soft ways, you're mistaken. 
Nothing 1 !! change us now nothing. We're made that 
way set and we've got to live that way. [Slowly.] 
You think you can make John do something. If ever 
he does it'll be for fear of father, not for love of you. 

JOHN. What do you mean ? [In a high voice.] If 
you think I'm going to give in 

JANET. You've said that three times. I know 
you're going to give in. 

44 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN. Well, I'm not so there. 

JANET. What will you do then ? 

JOHN. That's my business. Curse Rutherford's! 
Curse it ! 

JANET [to MARY]. That's what he'll do. That's 
what he's been doing these five years. And what's 
come of it? He's dragged you into the life here 
and Tony that's all. ... I knew all the time you'd 
have to come in the end, to go under, like the rest 
of us. 

MARY [quickly]. No, no 

JANET. Who's going to get you out of it? . . . 
John ? . . . You're all getting excited about this metal. 
I don't know whether it's good or bad, but anyway it 
doesn't count. In a few days John'll make another 
row for us to sit round and listen to. In a few days 
more he'll threaten father to run away. He can't, 
because he's nothing separate from father. When he 
gives up his receipt, or whatever it is, it'll go to help 
Rutherford's not you or me or any one, just Ruther- 
ford's. And after a bit he'll forget about it let it 
slide like the rest of us. We've all wanted things, one 
way and another, and we've let them slide. It's no 
good standing up against father. 

JOHN. Oh, who listens to you ? Come along, Mary 
[moving to the door]. Disagreeable old maid ! 

He goes out. 
MARY stand* in the same place looking at 

JANET. 

MARY. Oh, Janet, no one's any right to be what he 
is no one's any right. 

45 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN [calling from the hall]. Mollie ! I want you. 
[Irritably.'] Mollie ! 

MARY. Coming ! [She follows him.] 

JANET remains in the same attitude her chin on her 
hands, staring sullenly before her. Suddenly 
she. bows her face in her arms and begins to 
cry. 

MARTIN comes in from the kitchen on his way out. 
As he reaches the door leading to the hall, he 
sees her and stops. 
MARTIN [in a whisper]. My lass ! 

She starts and gets up quickly. 
JANET. Martin ! Martin ! 

He blunders over to her and takes her in his arms 
with a rough movement, holding her to him 
kisses her with passion and zcithout tenderness, 
and releases her suddenly. She goes to the 
fireplace, and leans her arms on the mantel- 
piece, her head on them he turns away with 
his head bent. They stand so. 

MARTIN [as if the words were dragged from him]. 
Saturday night he's away to Wickham at the Tarn. 
. . . Will ye come ? 
JANET. Yes. 

MARTIN goes to the door at back. As he reaches it 
JOHN RUTHERFORD comes into tlie room with 
some papers in his hand. In crossing between 
the two, he stops suddenly as if some thought 
had struck him. 
MARTIN. Good night, sir. 

RUTHERFORD. Good night. [He stands looking at 
46 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET till ttte outer door shuts.] Why don't you say 
good night to Martin ? It 'ud be more civil 
wouldn't it ? 

JANET. I have said it. 

Their eyes meet for a moment she moves quickly 

to the door. 
I'll tell Susan you're ready. 

RUTHERFORD is left alone. He stands in the middle 
of the room with his papers in his hand 
motionless, save that he turns his head slowly 
to look at the door by which MARTIN has gone 
out. 



ACT II. 

It is about nine (f clock in the evening. The lamp 
is burning on the large table. Bedroom 
candlesticks are on the small table between the 
window and door. 

JOHN RUTHERFORD is sitting at his desk. He has 
been writing, and now sits staring in front of 
him with a heavy brooding face. He does not 
hear DICK a.? he comes in quietly and goes to 

L *J O 

the table to light his candle then changes his 
mind, looks at his father, and comes to the fire 
to warm his hands. He looks, as usual, pale 
and tired. RUTHERFORD becomes suddenly 
aware of his presence, upon which DICK speaks 
in a gentle, nervous* tone. 

DICK. I should rather like to speak to you, if you 
could spare me a minute. 

RUTHERFORD. What's the matter with you? 

DICK. The matter ? 

RUTHERFORD. YouVe all wanting to speak to me 
nowadays what's wrong with things ? . . . [Taking up 
his pen.] What's the bee in y o u r bonnet ? 

DICK [announcing his news'], I have been offered 
the senior curacy at St. Jude's, Southport. 

RUTHERFORD. Well have you taken it ? 
48 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

DICK [disappointed']. I could not do so without 
your consent. That's what I want to speak to you 
about if you could spare me a minute. 

RUTHERFORD [realising]. Ah ! that means you're 
giving up your job here ? 

DICK. Exactly. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah. . . . Just as well, I dare say. 

DICK. You will naturally want to know my reasons 
for such a step. [He waits for a reply and gets none.} 
In the first place, I have to consider my future. From 
that point of view there seems to be a chance of- 
of more success. And lately I have had it in my 
mind for some time past somehow my work among 
the people here hasn't met with the response I once 
hoped for. ... I have done my best and it would 
be ungrateful to say that I had failed utterly when 
there are always the few who are pleased when I drop 
in. ... But the men are not encouraging. 

RUTHERFORD. I dare say not. 

DICK. I have done my best. Looking back on my 
three years here, I honestly cannot blame myself; 
and yet failure is not the less bitter on that 
account. 

RUTHERFORD [almost k'mdly~\. Well perhaps a year 
or two at a Theological College wasn't the best of 
trainings for a raw hell like Grantley. It always beats 
me whenever a man thinks it's his particular line 
to deal with humanity in the rough, he always goes 
to school like a bit of a lad to find out how to 
do it. 

DICK. Ah ! you don't understand. 

49 D 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. You mean I don't see things your 
way well, that's not worth discussing. [He goes back 
to Iris writing.] 

DICK. I have sometimes wondered if your not seeing 
things my way has had anything to do with my lack 
of success among your people. For they are your 
people. 

RUTHERFORD. What d'ye mean ? 

DICK [sincerely]. Not only the lack of religious 
example on your part even some kind of Sunday 
observance would have helped to be more in touch 
but all through my ministry I have been conscious 
of your silent antagonism. Even in my active work 
in talking to the men, in visiting their wives, in 
everything I have always felt that dead weight against 
me, dragging me down, taking the heart out of all 
I do and say, even when I am most certain that I am 
right to do and say it. [He ends rather breathlessly.] 

UUTHKRFORD [tcst'ilij]. What the devil have you 
got hold of now ? 

DICK. Perhaps I haven't made it clear what I 
mean. 

RUTHERFORD [deliberately], I've never said a word 
against you or for you. And I've never heard a word 
against you or for you. Now ! ... As for what 
you call your work, I don't know any more about it 
than a bairn, and I haven't time to learn. I should 
say that if you could keep the men out of the public- 
houses and hammer a little decency into the women 
it might be a good thing. But I'm not an expert 
in your line. 

50 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

DICK [bold in his conviction]. Father excuse me, 
but sometimes I think your point of view is perfectly 
deplorable. 

RUTHERFORD. Indeed ! Frankly, I don't realise the 
importance of my point of view or of yours either. 
I got my work to do in the world for the sake o' 
the argument, so have you we do it or we don't 
do it. But what we think about it either way, doesn't 
matter. 

DICK \vei~y earnestly]. It matters to God. 

RUTHERFORD. Does it. Now run along I'm busy. 

DICK. This is all part of your resentment your 
natural resentment at my having taken up a different 
line to the one you intended for me. 

RUTHERFORD. Resentment not a bit. Wear your 
collar-stud at the back if you like, it's all one to me. 
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear you 
were no good for my purpose, and there's an end. 
For the matter o' that, you might just as well never 
ha' been born except that you give no trouble either 
way. . . . Where's John ? 

DICK. I don't know. His candle is here. ... I 
am still absolutely convinced that I chose the better 
part. 

RUTHERFORD. Probably. There are more ways than 
one of shirking life, and religion's one of them. If 
you want my blessing, here it is. As long as you 
respect my name and remember that I made a gentle- 
man of ye, ye can go to the devil in your own way. 

DICK. Then I have your consent to accept St. 
Jude's ? 

51 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD [writing]. Aye. Just ring the bell 
before you go. I want my lamp. 

DICK does so, depressed and disappointed. On his 
way to his candle he hesitates. 

DICK. By the way I'm forgetting Mrs. Henderson 
wants to see you. 

RUTHERFORD. And who's Mrs. Henderson ? 

DICK. William's mother. 

RUTHERFORD. William ? . . . The chap who's been 
pilfering my money ? Oh, that matter's settled. 

DICK. Oh ! . . . Yes. 

RUTHERFORD. Good night. Did you ring ? 

DICK. Yes. I rang. Good night. [There is a 
silence, broken by the scratching of RUTHERFORD'S pen. 
DICK summons up his courage and speaks again.] I'm 
afraid I told Mrs. Henderson she might call to-night. 

RUTHERFORD. Did } T 6 HOW ? 

DICK. Yes. 

RUTHERFORD. And what the devil did ye do that 
for, if one may inquire ? 

DICK. She is one of my parishioners in my district. 
She came to me asked my help. 

RUTHERFORD. Told you the usual yarn, I suppose. 
More fool you, to be taken in by it. I can't see her. 

DICK. We don't know that it isn't true. The boy 
has been led astray by bad companions to bet and 
gamble. It's a regular gang George Hammond's one, 
Fade's another. 

RUTHERFORD. I know them. Two of the worst 
characters and the best workers we've got. 

DICK. However that may be, the mother's in great 
52 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

grief, and I promised to intercede with you to give 
her son another chance. 

RUTHERFORD. Then you'd no business to promise 
anything of the kind. The lad's a young blackguard. 
Bless my soul look at the head he's got on him ! 
As bad an egg as you'll find in all your parish, and 
that's saying a good deal. 

DICK. I'm afraid it is God help them. But 

A series of slow heavy knocks on the outer door are 

heard, ending with a belated single one. 
I'm afraid that i s Mrs. Henderson. 

RUTHERFORD [going on with his wit ing]. Aye, it 
sounds like her hand. Been drowning her trouble, 
mebbee. 

DTCK [after another knock]. Well. She's here. 

RUTHERFORD. You'd better go and tell her to go 
away again. 

DICK. Yes. [He makes an undecided more towards 
the door; stop. 1 ).] The woman ought to have a fail- 
hearing. 

RUTHERFORD [losing patience]. 1 'air hearing! She's 
badgered Martin till he's had to turn her out, and on 
the top of it all you come blundering in with your 
talk of a fair hearing [he gets up and swings to the 
door, pushing DICK aside]. Here let be. 

DICK [speaking with such earnestness that RUTHERFORD 
stops to look at him]. Father one moment. . . . Don't 
you think don't you think it might be better to be 
friendly with her. To avoid unpleasantness? And 
gossip afterwards 

RUTHERFORD. What? God help you for a fool, 
53 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

Richard. One would think I'd nothing to do but fash 
myself about this young blackguard and speak soft to 
his mother [he goes out into the hall and is heard 
opening the door\. Now, Mrs. Henderson you've come 
about your lad. YouVe had my answer. 

MRS. HENDERSON is heard speaking apparently on 

the mat. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Oh, if you please, sir if you could 

just see your way to sparin' me a minute I'd take it 

kindlv, that I would. And I come all the way from 

home on me two feet and me a poor widder woman. 

She drifts imperceptibly just inside the room. 

She is a large and powerful woman with a 

draggled skirt and a shawl over her head, and 

she is slightly drunk. RUTHERFORD follows her 

in and stands by the open door, holding the 

handle. 

RUTHERFORD. Well, then, out with it. What ha' ye 
got to say ? 

MRS. HENDERSON. It's my lad Bill as has been accused 
o' takin' your money 

RUTHERFORD. Ten pounds. 

MRS. HENDERSON. By Mr. Martin, sir. 

RUTHERFORD. What then ? 

MRS. HENDERSON. And not another living soul near 
to say the truth of it. 

RUTHERFORD. Martin's my man, Mrs. Henderson. 
What he does, he does under my orders. Besides, 
Martin and your son both say he took it. They've 
agreed about it. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Aye, when he was scared out of his 
54 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

life he owned to it. Fm not denying he owned 
to it 

RUTHERFORD. Oh, that's it, is it ? He wants to go 
back on it ? Why did he give up the money ? 

MRS. HENDERSON. He was that scared, sir, o' being 
sent to the gaol and losing his place and all, what wi' 
Mr. Martin speaking that harsh to him, and all, and 
him a bit of a lad 

RUTHERFORD. I see. In that case I owe him ten 
pounds ? 

MRS. HENDERSON. Eh ? 

RUTHERFORD. I've took ten pounds off him, poor 
lad, all his honest savings mebbee. Good night, Mrs. 
Henderson. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Ah, Mr. Rutherford, sir, don't 
'ee be hard on us don't 'ee now. We all got summat 
to be overlooked every one on us when ye get down to 
it and there's not a family harder working nor more re- 
spected in Grantley. Mr. Richard here'll speak for us. 

RUTHERFORD. Speak for them, Richard. 

DICK. I ... I do believe they are sincerely trying 
to do better. 

RUTHERFORD. Just so better not rake up bygones. 
My time's short, Mrs. Henderson, and you've no busi- 
ness to come up to the house at this time o' night, as 
you know well enough. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Aye, sir, begging your pardon. Fm 
sure Fd be the last to intrude on you and the family if 
it warn 1 1 for 

RUTHERFORD. I dare say. What did Martin say to 
you when you intruded into the glass-house ? 

55 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MRS. HENDERSON. What did he say to me ? 

RUTHERFORD [impatiently']. Aye. 

MRS HENDERSON [fervently}. Far be it from me to 
repeat what he did say. God forbid that I should 
dirty my mouth wi' the words that man turned on me ! 
before the men too, and half of "em wi' their shirts 
off and me a decent woman. [Violently.'} " Hawd 
yer whist," I says to 'n. " Hawd yer whist for a 
shameless " 

RUTHERFORD. That'll do, that'll do that's enough. 
You can take what Martin said from me. The 
matter's ended. 

DICK makes an appealing movement. 
Five years ago your son was caught stealing coppers 
out o' the men's coats men poorer than himself. 
Don't forget that. I knew about it well enough. I 
gave him another chance because he was a young 'un, 
and because you ought to ha' taught him better. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Me ? Taught him better ! That 
I should ever hear the like ! 

RUTHERFORD. I gave him another chance. He made 
the most of it by robbing me the first time he thought 
he was safe not to be caught. Every man's got a 
right to go to the devil in his own way, as I've just 
been telling Mr. Richard here, and your son Bill's old 
enough to choose his. I don't quarrel with him for 
that. But lads that get their fingers in my till are 
no use to me. And there's an end ! 

DICK. Father ! If you talk to her like this 

RUTHERFORD. It's you that's brought her to hear 
me you must take the consequences. 

56 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

DICK. No one is wholly bad we have no right to 
say the lad is past hope, to condemn him utterly. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Thank'ee kindly, Mr. Richard, sir 
it's gospel truth every word of it. My son's as good 
a son as ever a lone woman had, but he's the spittm' 
image of his father, that easily led. And now to 
have him go wrong and all through keeping bad 
company and betting on the racing just as he might 
ha 1 laid a bit on you, sir, in your young days and won 
his money too, sir, along o' your being sartain sure 
to win. 

RUTHERFORD. Well, I would have done my best to 
get him his money. But if Fd lost he'd ha 1 had to 
take his beating and pay up like a man and no whining 
about it. You take an interest in running ? 

MRS. HENDERSON [fervently]. Aye, sir, and always 
has done ever since I was a bit lass. And many's 
the Saturday me and my old man's gone down to the 
ground to see you run. 

RUTHERFORD. You don't happen to have heard who's 
won the quarter-of-a-mile at Broughton, do you ? 

DICK. Father ! 

MRS. HENDERSON. I did hear as it was Dawson, sir, 
as I was passing. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah. Shepherd was overtrained. What 
time did he do Dawson ? 

MRS. HENDERSON. I don't know, sir. 

RUTHERFORD. I made him a shade worse than six under 
at his trial. Shepherd should have been that. 

DICK. Father, please ! Do let us talk this matter 
out seriously. 

57 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. Seriously ? What more ? 

DICK. You see, it is as I said. I am sure Mrs. 
Henderson will answer for her son's good conduct if 
you will consent to take him back won't you, Mrs. 
Henderson ? Just this once. Your kindness may make 
all the difference, reform him altogether, who knows ? 
He's had his lesson and I hate to preach, but there is 
such a thing as repentance. 

RUTHERFORD [drily]. That's all right. You say 
what you think ! And don't misunderstand me. I've 
no objection to Bill Henderson repenting, but I won't 
have him doing it in my Works, d'ye see? There's 
nothing spreads so quick as a nice soft feeling like 
that, and who knows we might have half-a-dozen 
other young blacklegs at the same game ? Now, Mrs. 
Henderson, go home like a sensible woman and send 
your lad away from Grantley. He'll soon find his 
feet if he's a mind to go straight. Keep him clear 
o' the pit towns put him on a farm somewhere, 
where there aren't so many drinks going. And if 
I were you [looking at her], why not go with him 
yourself? 

MRS. HENDERSON [after a pause, suddenly truculent], 
Me ? Me leave Grantley ? Me go to a place where 
I'm not respected and not a friend to speak for me ? 
In Grantley I was born and in Grantley I'll live, like 
yourself. And beggin' your pardon, though you are 
the master, I'll joostBtake the liberty o' choosin' my 
own way. 

RUTHERFORD. Quite right quite right. When you've 
lived and had your bairns and got drunk in a place 

58 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

you're apt to get attached to it. Fm that way myself. 
But it's just as well to change your drinks once in a 
while. It's only a friendly word of advice I'm giving 
you. Take it or leave it. 

MRS. HENDERSON [bridling']. And so I will take it 
or leave it. Much obliged to 'ee. 

RUTHERFORD. And now go home, like a good woman. 

MRS. HENDERSON [tossing her head with an unsteady 
curtsey]. And so I will, and a lot I got for my 
trouble thank 'ee for nothing. 

RUTHERFORD. Thank me for not prosecuting your 
son, as I might ha' done. 

MRS. HENDERSON [working herself up]. Prosecute ! 
Prosecute my son! And why didn't ye doit? Ye 
darena' that's why. You're feared o' folks talkin' 
o' things said i' the court. And ye took and hided 
him and him a bit of a lad, and not a decent woman 
in Grantley but's crying shame on ye ! 

RUTHERFORD [good-humouredly]. Now, Richard, this 
is where you come in. You brought her here. 

MRS. HENDERSON [zrr// shrilf]. You let him off easy, 
did you? You give him another chance, did you? 
My lad could ha' had you up for assault that's what 
he'd ha' done if he'd had a mind, and quite right too. 
It's him that's let you off', mind that. And you may 
thank your devil's luck you're not up afore the magis- 
trate this next Assizes that ever is, and printed in the 
paper for all the countryside to mock at. 

RUTHERFORD. Go on, Richard. She's your parish- 
ioner. Turn her out. 

MRS. HENDERSON. Him turn me out ? A bit of a 
59 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

preaching bairn no stronger nor a linty him with 
his good noos and his sojers-o'-Christ-arise ! Whee 
was it up and ran away from old Lizzie Winter like a 
dawg wi' a kettle tied to his tail ? 

RUTHERFORD \jjuietly without turning]. We'll have 
all your secrets in a minute. Are you going, Mrs. 
Henderson ? 

MRS. HENDERSON. Fll go when it pleases me, and not 
afore ! 

RUTHERFOKD. Are you going 

He gets up and moves towards her in a threatening 
manner. 

MRS. HENDERSON [retreating]. Lay hands on me ! 
Lay hands on a helpless woman ! Ill larn ye ! Til 
larn ye to come on me wi' yer high ways. Folks 
shall hear tell on it, that they shall, and a bit more 
besides. Ill larn ye, sure as Fin a living creature. . . . 
Fll set the police on ye, as sure as Fm a living 
woman. . . . 

RUTHERFORD [to DICK, contemptuousty~\. Hark to that 
hark to it. 

MRS. HENDERSON. You think yourself so grand wi' 
your big hoose, and your high ways. And your grand- 
father a potman like my own. You wi' your son that's 
the laughing-stock o' the parish, and your daughter 
that goes wi' a working man ahint your back ! And 
so good night to 'ee. 

The onter door bangs violently. There is a pause. 
DICK speaks in a voice scarcely audible. 

DICK. What was that ? . . . She said something 
about Janet. 

60 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD [impatiently]. Good God, man don't 
stand staring there as if the house had fallen. 

DICK [shaking]. I told you to be careful I warned 
you I knew how it would be. 

RUTHERFORD. Warned me ! You're fool enough to 
listen to what a drunken drab like that says ! 

DICK. She's not the only one 

RUTHERFORD [looking at him]. What d'ye mean ? 
What's that ? 

DICK. People are talking. I've heard things. . . . 
It isn't true it can't be it's too dreadful. 

RUTHERFORD. Heard things what ha' ye heard ? 

DICK. It isn't true. 

RUTHERFORD. Out With it. 

DICK. Lizzie Winter that time called out some- 
thing. I took no notice, of course. . . . Three nights 
ago as I was coming home past a public-house the 
men were talking. I heard something then. 

RUTHERFORD. What was it you heard ? 

DICK. There was his name, and Janet's. Then one 
of them George Hammond, I think it was said 
something about having seen him on the road to the 
Tarn late one evening wit h a woman with a shawl over 
her head Martin ! 

RUTHERFORD. Martin ! 

DICK [trying to reassure himself]. It's extremely un- 
likely that there is any truth in it at all. Why, he's 
been about ever since we were children. A servant, 
really. No one's ever thought of the possibility of such 
a thing. They will gossip, and one thing leads to 
another. It's easy to put two and two together and 

61 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

make five of them. That's all it is, we'll find. Why, 
even I can recall things I barely noticed at the time 
things that might point to its being true if it weren't 
so utterly impossible. 

RUTHERFORD [hoarsely]. Three nights gone. In this 
very room 

DICK. What? \rwnnvng on again]. They've seen 
some one like Janet, and started the talk. It would 
be enough. 

RUTHERFORD [speaking to himself]. Under my 
roof 

DICK. After dark on the road with a shawl all 
women would look exactly alike. . . . It's a pity he's 
taken the Tarn Cottage. 

RUTHERFORD [listening again]. Eh? 

DICK. I mean it's a pity it's happened just now. 

RUTHERFORD. A good mile from the Works. 

DICK. You can't see it from the village. 

RUTHERFORD. A good mile to walk, morn and night. 

DICK. No one goes there. 

RUTHERFORD. A lone place a secret, he says to 
himself. Martin . . . 

He- stands by the table, his shoulders stooped, his 
face suddenly old- DICK makes an involuntary 
movement towards him. 

DICK. Father! Don't take it like that, for heaven's 
sake don't look so broken. 

RUTHERFORD. Who's broken . . . [he makes a sign to 
DICK not to come near]. Him to go against me. 
You're only a lad you don't know. You don't 
know. 

62 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN comes into the room, evidently on his way to 
bed. 

JOHN [idly]. Hullo ! [Stops short, looking from one to 
the other.] What's the matter ? 

RUTHERFORD [turning on him]. And what the 
devil do y o u want ? 

JOHN. Want ? nothing ... I thought you were 
talking about me, that's all. 

RUTHERFORD. About you, damn you go to bed, the 
pair o' ye. 

DICK. Father 

RUTHERFORD. Go to bed. There's men's work to be 
done here you're best out o' the way [he goes to his 
desk and speaks down the tube}. Hulloh there 
Hulloh ! 

DICK. Wouldn't it be better to wait to talk things 
over ? Here's John you may be able to settle some- 
thing come to some arrangement. 

RUTHERFORD. Who's that? Gray has Martin gone 
home ? Martin! Tell him to come across at once 
I want him. Aye to the house where else ? Have 
you got it ? Tell him at once. 

JOHN, [suspicious]. I rather want a word with 
Martin myself. I think I'll stay. 

RUTHERFORD. You'll do as you're bid. 

JOHN What do you want Martin for at this time of 
night ? 

RUTHERFORD. That's my business. 

JOHN. About my metal 

RUTHERFORD. Your metal ! What the devil's your 
metal got to do with it ? [breaks ojf.] 

63 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN [excited]. Martin's got it. You know that. 
You're sending for him. Martin's honest he won't 
tell you. 

DICK. Here's Janet. 

JANET has come in in answer to the bell and stands 
by the door sidlen and indifferent, waiting for 
orders. 

JANET. Susan's gone to bed. [As the silence continues 
she looks round.] The bell rang. 

DICK [looking at RUTHERFORD]. Some time ago. 
The lamp father wanted his lamp. 
She goes out. 

JOHN [rapidly]. It's no use going on like this, 
settling nothing either way. Sooner or later we've 
got to come to an understanding. . . . [DICK makes a 
movement to stop him.] Oh, shut up, Dick ! 

He breaks off at a look from RUTHERFORD. 

RUTHERFORD. I want to have it clear. You heard 
what I said, three days past? 

JOHN. Yes, of course. 

RUTHERFORD. You still ask your price? 

JOHN. I told you the thing's mine I made it. 

RUTHERFORD [to JOHN]. You've looked at it fair 
and honest. 

DICK. Oh, what is the use of talking like this now ? 
Father ! you surely must see under the circumstances 
it isn't right it isn't decent. 

JOHX. It's perfectly fair and just, what I ask. It 
benefits us both, the way I want it. You've made 
your bit. Rutherford's has served its purpose and 
it's coming to an end only you don't see it, Guv'nor. 

64 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

Oh, I know you're fond of the old place and all that 
it's only natural but you can't live for ever and 
I'm all right if I get my price. . . . 

RUTHERFORD. So much down for yourself and the 
devil take Rutherford's. 

JOHN. You put it that way 

RUTHERFORD. Yes Ol' 11O ? 

JOHN. Well yes. 

A knock is heard at the outer door. 

DICK. That's Martin, father 

JOHN. I'll stay and see him I may as well. 
RUTHERFORD. To-morrow to-morrow I'll settle wi' ye. 
JOHN looks at him in amazement ; DICK makes a 
sign to him to come away after a moment he 
does so. 

JOHN [turning- as he reaches the door~\. Thanks, 
Guv'nor I thought you'd come to see things my way. 

They go out. 
RUTHERFORD. Come in. 

MARTIN comes in, cleaning his boots carefully on the 
mat shuts the door after him and stands cap 
in hand. RUTHERFORD sits sunk in his chair, 
his hands gripping the arms. 
MARTIN. I came up as soon as I could get away. 

Pause. 

RUTHERFORD [as if his lips iccre stiff]. You've stayed 
late. 

MARTIN. One o' the pots in Number Three Furnace 
ran down, and I had to stay and see her under 
way. 

RUTHERFORD. Sit down. . . . Help yourself. 
G5 E 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARTIN. Thank 'ee, sir. [He comes to the table and 
pours out some whisky, then sits with his glass resting 
on his knee.] Winter's setting in early. 

RUTHERFORD. Ay 

MARTIN. There's a heavy frost. The ground was 
hardening as I came along. . . . They do say as 
Rayner's '11 be working again afore the week's out. 

RUTHERFORD. Given in the men ? 

MARTIN. Ay the bad weather '11 have helped it. 
Given a fine spell the men 'ud ha' hung on a while 
longer but the cold makes 'em think o' the winter 
turns the women and bairns agin them. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah ! 

MARTIN. I thought you'd like to hear the coal 'ud be 
coming in all right, so I just went over to have a word 
wi' White the Agent this forenoon. [He drinks, then 
as the silence continues, looks intently at RUTHERFORD.] 
You sent for me ? 

JANET comes in carrying a reading-lamp. She 
halts for a moment on seeing MARTIN. He gets 
up awkwardly. 

MARTIN [touching his forelock]. Evenin'. 
JANET. Good evening. 

She sets the lamp on the desk. RUTHERFORD remains 
in the same position till she goes out, closing 
the door. 
There is a momcnfs silence, then MARTIN straightens 

himself, and they look at each other. 
MARTIN [hoarsely]. You're wanting summat wi' me ? 
RUTHERFORD. I want the receipt of Mr. John's 
metal. 

66 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARTIN [between amazement and relief}. Eh ? 

RUTHERFORD. You've got it. 
MARTIN. Ay 

RUTHERFORD. Then give it me. 
MARTIN. I cannot do that, sir. 
RUTHERFORD. What cT ye mean ? 
MARTIN. It's Mr. John's own what belongs to him 
I canna do it. 

RUTHERFORD. On your high horse, eh, Martin ? 
You can't do a dirty trick y o u can't, eh ? 

MARTIN. A dirty trick. Ye'll never be asking it 
of me you never will 

RUTHERFORD. I am asking it of ye. We've worked 
together five and twenty years, master and man. 
You know me. You know what there is '11 stop me 
when I once make up my mind. I'm going to have 
this rnetal, d' ye understand. Whether Mr. John gives 
it me or I take it, I'm going to have it. 

MARTIN. It's Mr. John's own ; if it's ever yourn, he 
must give it to ye himself. It's not for me to do it. 
He's found it, and it's his to do what he likes wi'. 
For me to go behind his back I canna do it. 

They look at each other; then RUTHERFORD gets 
out of his chair and begins to pace up and 
down with his hands behind him. He speaks 
deliberately^ icitli. chansij gestures and an air 
of driving straight to a goal. 

RUTHERFORD. Sit down. . . . Look how we stand. 
We've seven years' losing behind us, slow and sure. 
We've got the Bank that's poking its nose into this 
and that, putting a stop to everything that might put 

67 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

us on our legs again because o' the risk. . . . Ruther- 
fords' is going down down I got to pull her up 
somehow. There's one way out. If I can show the 
directors in plain working that I can cover the losses 
on the first year and make a profit on the second, 
IVe got "em for good and all. 

MARTIN. That's so and Mr. John '11 see it, and yell 
come to terms 

RUTHERFORD. Mr. John's a fool. My son's a fool 
I don't say it in anger. He's a fool because his mother 
made him one, bringing him up secret wi' books o' 
poetry and such-like trash and when he'd grown a 
man and the time was come for me to take notice of 
him, he's turned agin me 



MARTIN. He'll come roond he's but a bit lad yet- 



RUTHERFORD. Turned agin me agin me and all I 
done for him all I worked to build up. He thinks 
it mighty clever to go working behind my back the 
minute he gets the chance he's up on the hearthrug 
dictating his terms to me. He knows well enough I've 
counted on his coming after me. He's all I got since 
Richard went his ways he's got me there. . . . He 
wants his price, he says his price for mucking around 
with a bit of a muffle furnace in his play-hours that's 
what it comes to. 

MARTIN. Ay but he's happened on a thing worth 
a bit. 

RUTHERFORD. Luck ! Luck ! What's he done for 
it? How long has he worked for it tell me that 
an hour here and a bit there and he's got it ! I've 
slaved my life long, and what have I got for it ? Toil 

68 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

and weariness. That's what I got bad luck on bad 
luck battering on me seven years of it. And the 
worst bit Fve had yet is that when it turns it's put 
into my son's hands to give me or not, if you please, 
as if he was a lord. 

MARTIN. He'll come roond lads has their notions 
we all want to have things for ourselves when we're 
young, all on us 

RUTHERFORD. Want want lad's talk ! What 
business has he to want when there's Rutherfords' 
going to the dogs ? 

MARTIN. That canna be, it canna he'll have to see 
different. 

RUTHERFORD. He won't see different. 

MARTIN. He'll learn. 

RUTHERFORD. When it's too late. Look here, Martin, 
we can't go on you know that as well as I do least- 
ways you've suspected it. Ten years more as things 
are '11 see us out. Done with ! Mr. John's made this 
metal a thing, I take your word for it, that's worth 
a fortune. And we're going to sit by and watch him 
fooling it away selling it for a song to Miles or 
Jarvis, that we could break to-morrow if we had half 
a chance. And they'll make on it, make on it while 
Rutherfords '11 grub on as we've been grubbing- for the 
last seven years. I'm speaking plain now I'm saying 
what I wouldn't say to another living man. We can't 
go on. You've been with me through it all. You've 
seen me do it. You've seen the drag and the struggle 
of it the days when I've nigh thrown up the sponge 
for very weariness the bit o' brightness that made me 

69 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

go on the times when I've stood up to the Board, 
sick in the heart of me, with nothing but my will to 
turn 'em this way or that. And at the end of it 
I come up against this a bit o' foolishness just 
foolishness and all that I done 11 break on that 
just that. 

MARTIN. Nay nay 

RUTHERFORD. Fin getting old, they say old there's 
new ways in the trade, they say. And in their hearts 
they see me out of it out o' the place I built afore 
they learnt their letters, many of 'em 

MARTIN. That 11 never be. 

RUTHERFORD. Why not when youVe got but to put 
your hand in your pocket to save the place and you 
don't do it. You're with them you're with the money- 
grubbing little souls that can't see beyond the next 
shilling they put in their pockets, that's content to 
wring the old place dry, then leave it to the rats 
you're with a half-broke puppy like Mr. John that 
wants to grab his bit for himself and clear out. 
Twenty-five years . . . and you go snivelling about 
what Mr. John thinks of ye what's right for you 
to do. Everybody for himself his pocket or his 
soul, it's all one. And Rutherfords loses her chance 
through the lot o' ye. Blind fools ! 

MARTIN. You blame me you put me i' the wrong. 
It's like as if I'd have to watch the old place going 
down year by year, and have it on my mind that I 
might ha' saved her. But Mr. John's got his rights. 

RUTHERFORD. You think I'm getting this metal for 
myself against Mr. John ? 

70 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 



MARTIN. I'm loth to say it. 
RUTHERFORD. Answer me 



MARTIN. Mr. John '11 see it that way. 

RUTHERFORD. Stealing like, out o' his pocket into 
mine. When men steal, Martin, they do it to gain 
something. If I steal this, what 11 I gain by it ? If I 
make money, what '11 1 buy with it ? Pleasure mebbee ? 
Children to come after me glad o' what I done ? 
Tell me anything in the wide world that'd bring me 
joy, and I'll swear to you never to touch it. 

MARTIN. If you think what you're saying it's a weary 
life you got to face. 

RUTHERFORD. If you give it to me, what'll you gain 
by it ? Not a farthing shall you ever have from me 
no more than I get myself. 

MARTIN. And what'll Mr. John get for it ? 

RUTHERFORD. Rutherford's when I'm gone. [After 
a silence.] He'll thank you in ten years he'll come to 
laugh at himself him and his price. He'll see the Big 
Thing one day mebbee, like what I've done. He'll see 
that it was no more his to keep than 'twas yours to 
give nor mine to take. . . . It's Rutherford's. . . . 
Will you give it me ? 

MARTIN [facing him]. If I thought that we'd make 
a farthing out of it, either on us 

RUTHERFORD. Will ye give it me 

MARTIN stands looking at him, then slowly begins 
to feel in his pockets. 

RUTHERFORD. Got it On }'OU ? 

MARTIN [taking out a pocket-book]. He'll never 
forgi' me, Mr. John won't never i' this world. . . . 

71 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

It should be somewheres. Hell turn agin me it'll 
he as if I stole it. 

RUTHERFORD. Got it ? 

MARTIN. Nay, I mun 1 ha"" left it up hame. Ay, I 
call to mind now I locked it away to keep it safe. 

RUTHERFORD. Can ye ii o 1 rememher it? Think, 
man t h i n k ! 

MARTIN. Nay, I canna be sure. I canna call the 
quantities to mind. 

RUTHERFORD [violently]. Think think you must 
know ! 

MARTIN \wonderingly\. I can give it 'ee first thing 
i 1 the morning. 

RUTHERFORD. I want it to-night. . . . No, no 
leave it you might get it wrong better make sure 
bring it up in the morning. Good night to 'ee 
good night. And remember I take your word to 
bring it no going back, mind ye 

MARTIN. Nay, nay. [Turning to go], I doubt if Mr. 
John 11 ever see it in the way you do. If you could 
mebbee explain a bit when he hears tell of it put in 
a word for me, belike 

RUTHERFORD. Till to bed. 

MARTIN. I take shame to be doing it now. 

RUTHERFORD. Oft' \vi' ye off wf ye wf your con- 
science so delicate and tender. Keep your hands 
clean, or don't let any one see them dirty it'll do 
as well. 

MARTIN. He worked it out along o 1 me. Every 
time it changed he come running to show me like a 
bairn wi 1 a new toy. 

72 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. It's for Rutherfords'. . . . 
MARTIN. Ay, for Rutherfords' Good night, sir. 

He goes out. 

After a pause, JANET comes in to put things straight 
for the night. She goes into the hall and w 
heard putting the chain on the outer door 
comes back, locking the inner door then takes 
the whisky decanter from the tray and locks 
it in the sideboard, laying the key on the desk. 
RUTHERFORD stands on the hearthrug. As 
she takes up the tray he speaks. 

RUTHERFORD. How long has this been going on 
atween you and Martin ? 

She puts the tray down and stands staring at him 

with a white face. 
JANET. How long ? 
RUTHERFORD. Answer me. 

JANET. September about when Mary and Tony came. 
There is a long silence. When it becomes un- 
bearable she speaks again. 

What are you going to do ? [He makes no answer.] 
You must tell me what you're going to do ? 
RUTHERFORD. Keep my hands off ye. 
JANET. You've had him here. 
RUTHERFORD. That's my business. 
JANET [speaking 1 in a low voice as if she were repeat- 
ing a lesson]. It wasn't his fault. It was me. He 
didn't come after me. I went after him. 
RUTHERFORD. Feel proud o" yourself ? 
JANET. You can't punish him for what isn't his 
fault. If you've got to punish any one, it's me. ... 

73 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. How far's it gone ? 

JANET [after a pause]. Right at first. I made 
up my mind that if you ever found out, I'd go right 
away, to put things straight. [She goes on presently 
in the same toneless voice.] He wanted to tell you 
at the first. But I knew it would be no use. 
And once we'd spoken every time was just a 
little more. So we let it slide. ... It was I said 
not to tell you. 

RUTHERFORD. Martin . . . that I trusted as I trust 
myself. 

JANET. Til give him up. 

RUTHERFORD. You can't give him back to me. He 
was a straight man. What's the good of him now ? 
You've dragged the man's heart out of him with your 
damned woman's ways. 

She looks at him. 

JANET. You haven't turned him away you couldn't 
do that ! 

RUTHERFORD. That's my business. 

JANET. You couldn't do that not Martin. . . . 

RUTHERFORD. Leave it leave it. ... Martin's my 
servant, that I pay wages to. I made a name for my 
children a name respected in all the countryside 
and you go with a working-man. To-morrow 
you leave my house. D' ye understand. I'll have 
no light ways under my roof. No one shall say 
I winked at it. You can bide the night. To- 
morrow when I come in I'm to find ye gone. . . . 
Your name shan't be spoke in my house . . . never 
again. 

74 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET. Yes. [She stands looking down at the table, 
then slowly moves to go, her feet dragging stops for 
a moment and says in a final tone, almost with a sigh 
of relief.] Then there '11 be no need for anybody to 
know it was Martin 

RUTHERFORD. No need to know. Lord, you drive 
me crazy ! With all Grantley telling the story my 
name in every public-house. 

JANET. When I'm gone. [Looking up.] What did 
you say ? 

RUTHERFORD. It's all over the place by now. Richard's 
heard it your own brother. . . . YouVe been running 
out o' night, I suppose. Somebody's seen. 

JANET. What's Dick heard ? 

RUTHERFORD. What men say about women like you. 
They got a word. 

JANET. The men. . . . O God ! 

RUTHERFORD. Ay you say that now the thing's 
done you'll whine and cry out now you done your 
worst agin me. 

JANET. Let me be. 

RUTHERFORD. You're going to put things straight, 
are ye you're going to walk out comfortable wi' your 
head up and your fine talk. 

JANET. I'm ready to stand by it. 

RUTHERFORD. It's not you that's got to stand by it 
it's me ! What ha' you got to lose ? Yourself, if 
you've a mind to. That's all. It's me that's to be 
the laughing-stock the Master whose daughter goes 
wi' a working-man like any Jenny i' the place 

JANET. Oh! You stand there ! To drive me mad 
75 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. That'll do that'll do. I've heard 
enough. You've confessed, and there's an end. 

JANET. Confessed ? As if Fd stolen something. 
[Brokenly.'] You put it all on to me, every bit o' the 
wrong. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah, you'll set to and throw the blame 
on Martin now. I thought we'd come to it. 

JANET. No, no. I've taken that. But . . . you 
make no excuse. . . . You think of this that I've done 
separate from all the rest from all the years I done as 
you bid me, lived as you bid me. 

RUTHERFORD. What's that to do wi' it? I'm your 
father ! I work for 'ee. ... I give 'ee food and clothes 
for your back ! I got a right to be obeyed I got a 
right to have my children live respectable in the 
station where I put them. You gone wrong. That's 
what you done. And you try to bring it up against 
me because I set you up i' the world. Go to bed ! 

JANET. Oh, you've no pity. . . . [She make a move- 
ment to go, then turns again as if for a moment. ,] I 
was thirty-six. Gone sour. Nobody 'd ever come after 
me. Not even when I was young. You took care o' 
that. Half of my life was gone, well-nigh all of it 
that mattered. . . . What have I had of it, afore I go 
back to the dark ? What have I had of it ? Tell me 
that. Tell me ! 

RUTHERFORD. Where's the man as 'ud want you wi' 
your sulky ways ? 

JANET. I've sat and sewed gone for a walk seen 
to the meals everyday everyday. . . . That's what 
you've given me to be my life just that ! 

76 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. Talk, talk, talk ! Fine words to cover 
up the shame and disgrace you brought on me 

JANET. On you ? 

RUTHERFORD. Where 'd you ha 1 been if I hadn't set 
you up ? 

JANET. Down in the village in amongst it, with the 
other women in a cottage happy mebbee. 

RUTHERFORD [angrily], I brought you up for a 
lady as idle as you please you might ha 1 sat wi' 
your hands afore you from morn till night if ye'd had 
a mind to. 

JANET. Me a lady ? What do ladies think about, 
sitting the day long with their hands before them ? 
What have they in their idle hearts ? 

RUTHERFORD. What more did you want, in God's 
name ? 

JANET. Oh, what more ! The women down there 
know what I wanted . . . with their bairns wrapped in 
their shawls and their men to come home at night 
time. Fve envied them envied them their pain, 
their poorness the very times they hadn't bread. 
Theirs isn't the dead empty house, the blank o' 
the moors; they got something to fight, something 
to be feared of. They got life, those women we 
send cans o' soup to out o' pity when their bairns 
are born. Me a lady ! with work for a man in my 
hands, passion for a man in my heart ! Fin common 
common. 

RUTHERFORD. It's a lie ! Fve risen up. You can't 
go back on it my children can't go back. 
JANET. Who's risen which of us ? 
77 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. You say that because you've shamed 
yourself, and you're jealous o 1 them that keep decent 
like gentlefolk 

JANET. Dick that every one laughs at ? John 
with his manners ? 

RUTHERFORD. Whisht wi' your wicked tongue ! 

JANET. Who's Mary ? A little common work -girl 
no real gentleman would ha' looked at. ... You 
think you've made us different by keeping from 
the people here. We're just the same as they are ! 
Ask the men that work for you ask their wives that 
curtsey to us in the road. Do you think they don't 
know the difference ? We're just the same as they 
are common, every one of us. It's in our blood, in 
our hands and faces; and when we marry, we marry 
common 

RUTHERFORD. Marry ! Common or not, nobody's 
married you that I can see 

JANET. Leave that don't you say it ! 

RUTHERFORD. It's the truth, more shame to 'ee. 

JANET [passionately.] Martin loves me honest. Don't 
you come near ! Don't you touch that ! . . . You 
think I'm sorry you've found out you think you've 
done for me when you use shameful words on me and 
turn me out o' vour house. You've let me out o' gaol ! 

* o 

Whatever happens to me now, I shan't go on living as 
I lived here. Whatever Martin's done, he's taken me 
from you. You've ruined my life, you with your 
getting on. I've loved in wretchedness, all the joy I 
ever had made wicked by the fear o' you. . . . [Wildly.] 
Who are you ? Who are vou ? A man a man that's 

78 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

taken power to himself, power to gather people to him 
and use them as he wills a man that 'd take the blood 
of life itself and put it into the Works into Ruther- 
ford's. And what ha"* you got by it what ? You've 
got Dick, that you've bullied till he's a fool John, 
that's waiting for the time when he can sell what you've 
done and you got me me to take your boots off' at 
night to well-nigh wish you dead when I had to touch 
you. . . . Now ! . . . Now you know ! 



79 



ACT III 

It is about eleven o'clock on the following moj-ning. 
JANET is sitting at the table with a shawl about 
her shoulders talking in low tones to MARY, who 
is opposite. 

JANET [after a pause]. You mean that you guessed ? 

MARY. Yes. 

JANET. You knew all the time, and you didn't tell ? 
Not even John ? 

MARY. Why should I tell him ? 

JANET. I would ha" 1 told Martin if it had been you. 

MARY. Not John. 

JANET. It was good of you. You've always been 
better to me than I've been to you. 

MARY. What are you going to do ? 

JANET. He says Fm to go. He's to come in and find 
me gone, and no one's to speak of me any more. Not 
John, nor Dick, nor Aunt Ann Fin never to set foot in 
this room again. Never to lock up and give him the keys 
last thing. Never to sit the long afternoon through 
in the window, till the chimneys are bright in the dark. 
Fve done what women are shamed for doing and all 
the night Fve barely slept for the hope in my heart. 

MARY. Hope ? 

80 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET. Of things coming. I had a dream a dream 
that I was in a place wi' flowers, in the summer-time, 
white and thick like they never grow on the moor 
but it was the moor a place near Martin's cottage. 
And I dreamt that he came to me with the look he had 
vrhen I was a little lass, with his head up and the lie 
gone out of his eyes. All the time I knew I was on my 
bed in my room here but it was like as if sweetness 
poured into me, spreading and covering me like the 
water in the tarn when the rains are heavy in the fells. 

MARY. Is Mr. Rutherford very angry ? 

JANET. He won't never hear my name again. Oh, 
last night I said things to him, when he blamed me 
so things he can't never forget. I was wild mad 
with the bitterness of it. He made it all ugly with 
the things he said. I told him what I never looked 
to tell him, though I'd had it in my heart all these 
years. All the time I was speaking I was dead with 
shame that he should know, and I had to go on. 
But afterwards it was as if I'd slipped a burden, 
and I was glad he knew, glad that Dick heard it in 
the street, glad that he sneaked of me behind my 
back glad ! For, when I'd got over the terror of it, 
it came to me that this was what we'd been making 
for ever since you came without knowing it, that we 
were to win through to happiness after all, Martin and 
I, and everything come right. Because I've doubted. 
Me 's lives are different to ours. And sometimes, 
when we've stolen together, and afterwards I've seen his 
face and the sadness of it, I've wondered what I had 
to give him that could count against what he'd lost. 

81 F 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARY. But that's done with now. 

JANET. Yes ! That's why I dreamt of him so last 
night. It was as if all that was best in me was in 
that dream what I was as a bairn, and what Fm 
going to be. He couldn't help but love me. It was 
a message I couldn't have thought of it by myself. 
It's something that's come to me, here. [Putting her 
hands on her breast.] Part of me. 

MARY looks at her with a new understanding. 
After a pause she speaks again, very gently. 

MARY. Where are you going when Martin comes 
for you ? 

JANET. I don't know yet. He'll say what to do. 

MARY. Have you got your things ready ? 

JANET [as if she scarcely heard]. Yes. 

MARY. I could see to them for you. 

JANET. They're all ready. I put them together early 
in the box mother had. [She breaks off', listening.] 

MARY. Janet, if ever the time should be when you 
want help and it does happen sometimes even to 
people who are very happy remember that I'll come 
when you ask me always. 

JANET. He's coming now ! [She sits listening, her 
cues bright. MARY goes out quietly, closing the door.] 
MARTIN comes in from the hall. 

JANET [very tenderly]. Martin ! [He stands in the 
doorway, his cap in his hands, his head bent. He looks 
spent, broken, and at the sight of him, the hope dies 
slowly out of her face.] 

MARTIN. Is Mr. John about? 

JANET. I don't know. 

82 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARTIN. I mun see 'n. I got summat to say to 'n. 

JANET. He's down at the Works mebbee 

MARTIN. I canna seek him there I got summat to 
say to 'n. 

JANET. You could give a message. 

MARTIN. Nay. It's summat that's got to be said 
to his face like a man. 

JANET. Have you nothing to say to me, Martin 
to my face like a man ? 

MARTIN. What should there be to say betwixt you 
and me ? It's all said long since. 

JANET. He's turned you away ? [He raises his eyes 
and looks at her for the first time.} 

MARTIN. Ay. You've said it. What I've been 
trying to tell myself these three months past. Turned 
away I am, sure enough. Twenty-five year. And in 
a minute it's broke. Wi' two words. 

JANET. He'll call you back. He can't do without 
you, Martin. He's done it in anger like he was 
last night. He'll call you back. 

MARTIN. He never calls no one back. He's a just 
man, and he's in the right of it. Anger there's 
no anger in a face that's twisting like a bairn's 

cj O 

white as if it was drained o' the blood. There's no 
anger in a man that stands still where he is, when he 
might ha' struck and killed and still been i' the right. 

JANET gvy up slowly and goes to the fire. 
JANET. Come and get warm by the fire. It's a 
bitter cold morning. Come and get warm. 

He moves slowly across and sits on the settle. She 
kneels beside him, takes his hands and begins to 
rub them. 

83 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET [as if he were a child]. Your hands are 
as cold, as cold like frozen. It's all fresh and new 
to you now, my dear, the surprise of it. It'll pass 
and by-and-by you'll forget it be glad, mebbee. 
Did you get your breakfast ? 

MARTIN. Ay. 

JANET. What have you been doing since ? 

MARTIN. Walking walking. Up on the fell I 
been trying to get it clear 

JANET. On the fell, in such weather ! That's why 
you're so white and weary. You should have come 
to me, my honey you should ha' come straight to 
me. I would ha' helped you, my dear out of my 
love for 'ee. 

MARTIN. There's no help. 

JANET. You say that now because your heart's cold 
with the trouble. But it'll warm again it'll warm 
again. I'll warm it out of my own heart, Martin 
my heart that can't be made cold, not if he killed 
me. Why, last night he was just the same with me 
as he's been with you. I know it all there's nothing 
you feel that I don't know. We'll face it together, 
you and me, equal and by-and-by it'll be different. 
What we done was for love people give up every- 
thing for love, Martin ; every day they say there's 
some one in the world that does it. Don't 'ee take 
on so don't 'ee. 

MARTIN. Twenty-five year 

JANET. Don't 'ee, my dear. 

MARTIN [brokenly]. I'd rather ha' died than he turn 
me away. I'd ha' lost everything in the world lo 

84" 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

know that I was true to 'n, like I was till you looked 
at me wi' the love in your face. 

JANET. Everything in the world. ... I gave you joy 
joy for the toil he gave you, softness for his hardness. 

MARTIN [without bitterness]. Ay, you were ready. 
And you gave the bitter with the sweet. Every time 
there was him to face, wi' a heart like lead. 

JANET. It was a power a power that came, stronger 
than us both. 

MARTIN. You give me the word. 

JANET. You took away my strength. [There is a 
silence. He sits looking dully at the Jire.] Any one 
might think me light. It isn't true. I never had 
any one but you, never. All my life I've been alone. 
When I was a little lass I wasn't allowed to play 
with the other bairns, and I used to make signs 
to tell them I wanted to. You'd never have known 
I loved you if I hadn't given you the word and all 
our happiness, all that's been between us, we'd never 
have had it gone through our lives seeing each 
other, speaking words that didn't matter, and grown 
old and never known what was sleeping in our hearts 
under the dulness. I wasn't light. It was only 
that I couldn't be shamed for you. 

MARTIN. Nay, nay, it was a great love ye gave 
me you in your grand hoose wi' your delicate ways. 
But it's broke me. 

JANET. But it's just the same with us. Just the 
same as ever it was. 

MARTIN. Ay. But there's no mending, wi' the 
likes o' him. 

85 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET. What's there to mend ? What's there to 
mend except what's bound you like a slave all the 
years? You're free free for the first time since 
you were a lad mebbee to make a fresh start. 

MARTIN. A fresh start ? Wi' treachery and a lyin 1 
tongue behind me ? 

JANET. With our love that nothing can break. Oh, 
my dear, I'll help 'ee. Morning, noon, and night 
I'll work for 'ee, comfort 'ee. We'll go away from 
it all, you and me together. We'll go to the south, 
where no one's heard tell of Rutherford's or any of 
us. I'll love 'ee so. I'll blind your eyes wi' love 
so that you can't look back. 

MARTIN [looking up]. Ay. There's that. 

JANET. We'll begin again. We'll be happy happy. 
You and me, free in the world ! All the time that's 
been '11 be just like a dream that's past, a waiting time 
afore we found each other the long winter afore 
the flowers come out white and thick on the moors 

MARTIN. He'll be look in' to me to right ye. He'll 
be lookin' for that. 

JANET. To right me ? 

MARTIX. Whatever's been, they munna say his 
daughter wasn't made an honest woman of. He'll be 
lookin' for that. 

There Is a silence. She draws back slowly, drop- 
ping her hands. 

JANET. What's he to do with it ? 

He looks at her, not understanding. 
Father what's he to do with it ? 

MARTIN. It's for him to say the Master. 
86 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET. Master ! 

MARTIN. What's come to ye, lass ? 

JANET. It's time you left off doing things because of 
him. You're a free man. He's not your master any 
more. 

MARTIN. What's wrong wi' ye ? 

JANET. You'll right me because of him. You'll 
make an honest woman of me because he's looking for 
it. He can't make you do as he bids you now. He's 
turned you away. He's not your master any more. 
He's turned you away. 

MARTIN. Whisht whisht. [He sinks his head in his 
hands.] Nay, but it's true. I'll never do his work 
again. But I done it too long to change too long. 

JANET. He's done with you that's how much he 
cares. I wouldn't ha' let you go, not if you'd wronged 
me. 

MARTIN. Twenty-five years ago he took me from 
nothing. Set me where I could work my way up 
woke the lad's love in me till I would ha* died for him 
willing. It's too long to change. 

JANET [passionately]. No no. 

MARTIN. I'll never do his work no more ; but it's 
like as if he'd be my master just the same till I 
die 

JANET. No, no, not that ! You mustn't think like 
that ! You think he's great because you've seen him at 
the Works with the men everybody doing as he bids 
them. He isn't great he's hard and cruel cruel as 
death. 

MARTIN. What's took you to talk so wild ? 
87 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET [holding him]. Listen, Martin. Listen to 
me. You've worked all your life for him, ever since 
you were a little lad. Early and late youVe been at 
the Works working working for him. 

MARTIN. Gladly ! 

JANET. Now and then he gie you a kind word 
when you were wearied out mebbee and your 
thoughts might ha' turned to what other men's lives 
were, wi' time for rest and pleasure. You didn't see 
through him, you wi' your big heart, Martin. You 
were too near to see, like I was till Mary came. You 
worked gladly, mebbee but all the time your life was 
going into Rutherford's your manhood into the place 
he's built. He's had you, Martin like he's had me, 
and all of us. We used to say he was hard and ill- 
tempered. Bad to do with in the house we fell silent 
when he came in we couldn't see for the little things 
we couldn't see the years passing because of the 
days. And all the time it was our lives he was taking 
bit by bit our lives that we'll never get back. 

MARTIN. What's got ye to talk so wild ? 
He moves from her as she talks and clings to him. 

JANET. Now's our chance at last ! He's turned us 
both away, me as well as you. We two he's sent out 
into the world together. Free. He's done it himself, 
of his own will. It's ours to take, Martin our happi- 
ness. We'll get it in spite of him. He'd kill it if he 
could. 

MARTIN. Whisht, whisht ! You talk wild ! 

JANET. Kill it, kill it ! He's gone nigh to it as it is. 
[As he makes a movement to rise.] Martin, Martin, I 

88 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

love 'ee. I'm old with the lines on my face but it's 
him that's made me so. I'm bitter-tongued and sharp 
it's him that's killed the sweetness in me, starved it 
till it died. He's taken what should have been yours 
to have your joy of. Stolen it remember that and 
say he's in the right ! Say it when you wish me young 
and bonny. Say it as I shall when I look in your face 
for the love that can't wake for me. 

MARTIN. Bide still, bide still ! 

JANET. I wouldn't ha' turned against you, not if you'd 
nigh killed me and you set his love up against 
mine ! Martin ! 

He gets up, not roughly, but very wearily, and 
moves away from her. 

MARTIN. It hain't the time, it bain't the time. I 
been a bad servant. Faithless. We can twist words 
like we done all along to make it seem different, but 
there it stands. Leave him, when you talk to me. 
Leave him. . . Mebbee he's had his mind full of a big 
work when you've took a spite at him. 

JANET. Ah ! 

MARTIN. Womenfolk has their fancies, and mebbee 
they don't know the harshness that's in the heart of 
every man that fights his way i' the world when he 
comes into the four walls of his bit hoose of a night 
and sees the littleness of it. [Standing' by the 
table.] I'm a plain man with no book laming, and 
mebbee I don't see far. But I've watched the 
Master year in year out, and I never seed him do a 
thing, nor say a thing, that he warn't in the right 
of. And there's not a man among them that can 

89 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

say different. [ Taking up his cap.] I'll be seekin' Mr. 
John. 

JANET [speaks in a dull, toneless voice, kneeling 
where he left her]. He says I have to be gone by the 
time he come in. Where am I to go to ? 

He turns to look at her with a puzzled face. 

MARTIN. Ay. There's that. 

JANET. Where am I to go to ? 

MARTIN. It would be best to go a bit away where 
ye wouldna' be seen for a while. 

JANET. Where's a place far enough ? 

MARTIN. There's Horkesley up the line. Or Hill- 
garth yonder. He's not likely to be knawed there- 
aboots. 

JANET. I haven't any money. 

MARTIN slowly counts out some coins on the table. 

MARTIN. It'll be a hard life for you, and you not 
used to it. Work early and late wi' a bairn mebbee. 
Bitter cold i' the winter mornings wi' the fire to light 
and the breakfast to get, and you not used to it ; we 
mun just bide it, the pair on us. Make the best of it. 
I've saved two hundred pounds. There'll be summat 
to get along on whilst I look for a job. Afterwards 
we mun just bide it. 

There is a silence. 

JANET [without bitterness]. Take up your money. 

MARTIN [puzzled]. It's for you, lass. 

JANET. Take up your money. I'll have no need 
of it. 

After a moment he picks it up and returns it to his 
pocket. 

90 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JANET [still 'kneeling']. After all, you'd give the world 
to ha 1 been true to him you'd give me, that you said 
was the world. He'd have you back if it wasn't for 
me. He needs you for the Works. If I was out of it 
there'd be no more reason you'd go back, and people 
would think it all a mistake about you and me. 
Gossip. After a bit he'd forget and be the same. 
Because he needs you for the Works. Men forgive 
men easy where it's a woman, they say, and you could 
blame me, the pair of you. Me that gave you the 
word. 

MARY comes in hurriedly. 

MARY. John's coming. He's coming across from 
the works. 

MARTIN turns to face the door. JANET does not 
move. JOHN comes in excited and nervous. 

JOHN [awkwardly] . Hullo! [He looks at JANET 
and speaks to MARTIN.] What are you here for ? 

MARTIN. Mr. John I summat to say to you 
summat I must say afore I go. 

JOHN. You'd better keep quiet, I should think. 
Oh, I know ! I've been with the Guv'nor, and he's 
told me plain enough. You'd better keep quiet. 

MARY. John, you must listen. 

JOHN. I tell you I know ! The less we talk about 
it the better ; I should think you would see that the 
whole beastly, disreputable business. I can't stay I 
can't talk calmly, if you can I'm better out of it. 
[He makes for the door. MARTIN stops him.] 

MARTIN. Mr. John. . . . You been wi' the Master. 
What was it he told you plain enough ? 

91 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

JOHN [significantly]. What was it! 

L O r/ */ J 

MARTIN. Did he tell you he'd got your metal ? 
JOHN looks at him. 

JOHN. Are you mad ? 

MARTIN. Fve give it him I took it him this 
morning, and when he got it safe he turned me away. 
That's what I got to say. 

JOHN [sharply]. I don't believe it ! You can't 
have ! You haven't got the quantities ! 

MARTIN. The paper I took the last trial we made 

JOHN [his voice high-pitched with excitement]. Don't 
don't play the fool. 

MARTIN. I'm speaking God's truth, and you'd best 
take it. Yesterday night he sent for me and I give 
it him, because he asked me for it. He was i' the 
right, yesterday night I don't call to mind how. 
And just now I give it him. That's what I got 
to say. 

JOHN stands staring at him speechless. MARTIN, 
having said what he came to say, turns to go. 
MARY, suddenly realising- what it all means, 
makes an involuntary movement to stop him. 

MARY. Martin ! You've given the receipt to Mr. 
Rutherford ! He's got it he'll take the money from 
it ! ... You're sure of what you say, Martin ? You 
haven't made a mistake ? 

MARTIN. Mistake ? 

MARY. You may have got it wrong the quantities, 
or whatever it is. It all depends on that, doesn't it? 
The least slip would put it all wrong, wouldn't it? 

MARTIN [tired out and dull]. There's no mistake. 
92 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARY [with' a despairing movement]. Oh ! you don't 
know what you've done ! 

JOHN [almost in tears]. He knows well enough 
you knew well enough. You're a * thief you're as bad 
as he is you two behind my back. It was mine the 
only chance I had. Damn him ! damn him ! You've 
done for yourself, that's one thing you're done for ! 
You'll not get anything out of it now, not a farthing. 
He's twisted you round his finger, making you think 
you'd have the pickings, has he ? And then thrown 
you out into the street for a fool and worse. You're 
done for ! . . . You've worked with me, seen it grow. I 
never thought but to trust you as I trusted myself 
and you give it away thinking to make a bit 
behind my back ! You'll not get a farthing now 
not a farthing you're done for. 

MARTIN. Hard words, Mr. John, from you to me. 
But I done it, and I mun bide by it. 

JOHN. Oh, clear out don't talk to me. By Heaven ! 
I'll be even with him yet. 

MARTIN. I done it but it hain't true what you 
think, that I looked to make a bit. I give it to him, 
but I had no thought o' gain by what I done. . . . It's 
past rne it's all past me I canna call it to mind, 
nor see it plain. But I know one thing, that I never 
thought to make a penny. [Suddenly remembering.] 
It was for Rutherford's that's what he said I mind 
it now. He said, for Rutherford's and I seed it yester- 
day night. It was as clear as day yesterday night. 
No one answers. After a moment he goes out. 
AH the outer (low closes JOHN suddenly goes to 
93 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD'S desk and begins pulling out 
drawers as if searching for something. 

MARY [watching hint]. What are you doing ? 

JOHN. Where's the key, curse it ! 

MARY [sharply]. You can't do that ! 

JOHN. Do what ? Fm going to get even. 

MARY. Not money ! You can't take his money ! 

JOHN [unlocking the cash box]. Just be quiet, will 
you ? He's taken all I have. [He empties the money 
out on to the desk, his hands shaking.] Fifteen twenty 
twenty-three. And it's twenty-three thousand he 
owes me more like, that he's stolen. Is there any 
more a sixpence Fve missed, that'll help to put us 
even ? Twenty-three quid curse him ! And he stood 
and talked to me not an hour ago, and all the time he 
knew! He's mean, that's what he is mean and 
petty-minded. No one else could have done it to go 
and get at Martin behind my back because he knew I 
was going to be one too many for him. 

MARY [imploringly]. Put it back ! Oh, put it back ! 

JOHN. Oh, shut up, Mollie. 

MARY. Don't take it, John. 

JOHN. I tell you it's mine, by right you don't 
understand. . . . How am I to get along if I don't ? 

MARY. You've not got to do this, John for Tony's 
sake. I don't care what he's done to you you've not 
got to do it. 

JOHN. Don't make a tragedy out of nothing. It's 
plain common sense ! [Angrily.] And don't look at 
me as if I were stealing. It's mine, I tell you. I only 
wish there were a few thousands I'd take them ! 

94 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MARY. John, listen to me. I've never seriously 
asked you to do anything for me in my life. Just this 
once I ask you to put that money back. 

JOHN. My dear girl, don't be so foolish 

MARY [compelling him to listen to her~\. Listen! 
You're Tony's father! I can't help it if you 
think I'm making a tragedy out of what seems to you 
a simple thing. One day he'll know some one '11 tell 
him that you stole money well then, that you took 
money that wasn't yours, because you thought you 
had the right to it. What will it be like for him ? 
Try and realise we've no right to live as we like 
we've had our day together, you and I but it's 
past, and we know it. He's what matters now 
and we've got to live decently for him keep straight 

for him 

JOHN {answering her like an angry child]. Then d o 
it ! I've had enough I'm sick of it. 

JANKT, who all this time has been kneeling where 
MARTIN left her, gets up suddenly, stumbling 
forward as if she were blind. The other two 
stop involuntarily and watch her as she makes 
for the door, dragging her shawl over her head. 
As the outer door shuts on her, MARY with a 
half-cry makes a movement to follow her. 
MARY. Janet ! 
JOHN. Oh, let her be ! 

MARY [facing the door\. Where's she going to ? 
JOHN. I'm not going to argue I've done that too 
long listening to first one and then another of you. 
What's come of it ? You wouldn't let me go out and 

95 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

sell the thing while it was still mine to sell. I might 
have been a rich man if Fd been let to go my own way ! 
You were always dragging me back, everything I did 
with your talk. Tony you're perpetually cramming 
him down my throat, till I'm sick of the very name of 
the poor little beggar. How much better off* is he for 
your interfering ? Give up this and give up that I've 
lost everything I ever had by doing as you said. Any- 
body would have bought it, anybody ! and made a fortune 
out of it and there it is, lost ! gone into Rutherford's, 
like everything else. Damn the place ! damn it ! Oh, 
let him wait ! I'll be even with him. I came back once 
because I was a soft fool this time Fll starve sooner. 

MARY. You're going away ? 

JOHN. Yes, Fin going for good and all. 
She stands looking at him. 

MAKY. Where are you going to ? 

JOHN. London anywhere. Canada probably 
that's the place to strike out on your own 

MARY. You mean to work then ? 

JOHN [impatiently]. Of course. We can't live for 
ever on twenty-three quid. 

MARY. What are you going to work at ? 

JOHN. Anything as long as I show him 

MARY. But what what ? 

JOHN. Oh, there'll be something. Damn it, Mary, 
what right have you to catechise ? 

MARY. Don't, please. I'm not catechising ; I want 
to know. It's a question of living. What are you 
going to do when you've spent what you've got ? 

JOHN [trying not to look shamefaced as he makes the 
96 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

suggestion"]. You could go back to Mason's for a bit 
they'd be glad enough to have you. 

MARY. Go back ? 

JOHN [resentfully]. Well, I suppose you won't mind 
helping for a bit till I see my way. What was the 
screw you got ? 

MARY. Twenty-five. 

JOHN. That would help if the worst came to the worst. 

MARY. We lived on it before. 

JOHN. We could put up at the same lodgings for a 
bit. They're cheap. 

MARY. Walton Street. 

JOHN [loudly]. Anyway, I'm going to be even with 
him I'll see him damned before I submit. I've put 
up with it long enough for your sake I'm going to 
get a bit of my own back for once. After all, I'm his 
son you can't count Dick ; when I'm gone he'll begin 
to see what he's lost. Why, he may as well sell 
Rutherford's outright with no one to come after him. 
He's worked for that all his life ! Lord ! I'd give some- 
thing to see his face when he comes in and asks for me! 
MARY makes no answer, as indeed there 'is none to 
make. She speaks again, not bitterly, bttt as 
one stating a fact. 

MARY. So that's your plan. [There is a silence, in 
which he cannot meet her eyes. She repeats, without 
hope.] John, once more from my soul I ask you to do 
what I \\ish. 

JOHN [impatiently]. What about ? 

MARY. The money. To put it back. [He makes a 
movement of desperate irritation.] No, don't answer 

97 c; 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

just for a moment. You don't know how much 
depends on this for us both. Our future life 
perhaps our last chance of happiness together you 
don't know what it may decide. 

JOHN. I tell you you don't understand. [There is a 
blank silence. He moves uncomfortably.] You can't 
see. What's twenty-three quid ! 

She makes a despairing movement. 

MARY [in a changed voice]. I'm afraid you'll find it 
rather a burden having me and Tony while you're 
seeing your way, I mean. 

JOHN. A burden? You? Why, you've just said 
you could help at Mason's 

MARY. I can't go out all day and leave Tony. 

JOHN. Old Mrs. WhatVer-name would keep an eye 
on him. 

MARY. It would free you a good deal if we weren't 
with you. 

JOHN. Of course if you won't do anything to 
help 

MARY [after a pause]. How would it be if you went 
alone? Then when you've seen your way when 
you've made enough just to live decently you could 
write and we could come to you. Somewhere that 
would do for Tony wherever it may be. 

JOHN. In a month or two. 

MARY. In a month or two. 

JOHN [awkwardly]. Well, perhaps it would be better 
as you suggest it. I really don't exactly see how 
I'm going to manage the two of you. . . . You mean 
stay on here in the meantime. 

98 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

MABY. Yes stay on here. 

JOHN. But the Guv'nor I'm afraid it'll be pretty 
rotten for you without me. 

MARY. That's all right. 

JOHN [Irritably]. All these stupid little details wo 
lose sight of the real issue. That's settled, then. 

MARY. Yes settled. [She moves, passing her hand 
over her eyes.] How are you going ? 

JOHN [relieved]. What's the time now ? Close on 
twelve ! 

MARY. You're not thinking of going now at once ! 

JOHX. There's the one o'clock train. I'll get old 
Smith to drive me to the Junction it doesn't stop. 

MARY. There won't be time to pack your things. 

JOHN. Send them after me. 

MARY. You've no food to take with you. 

JOHN. That doesn't matter ; I'll get some on the way. 

MARY [suddenly]. You can't go like this ! We 
must talk we can't end it all like this. 

JOHN. I must I didn't know it was so late he'll 
be in to dinner. Cheer up, dear, it's only for a little 
\\hile. I hate it too, but it wouldn't do for him to 
find me here. It would look weak. 

MARY. No, no you're right you mustn't meet 
it would do no good. [She stands undecided for a 
moment, then goes quickly into the hall and brings his 
overcoat.] It's bitter cold. And it's an open trap, 
isn't it ? 

JOHN. I shall be all right. [She helps him on icith 
the coat.] It won't be long the time '11 pass before 
vou know where you are; it alwavs does I haven't 

99 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

time to see the kid it's the only thing to be done 
other fellows make their fortunes every day, why 
shouldn't I ? 

MAIIY [as if he were a child]. Yes, yes, why shouldn't 
you? 

JOHN. Something '11 turn up and I've got the devil's 
own luck at times you'll see. I've never had a chance 
up to now. Some day you'll believe in me. [He sees 

her face and stops short.] Mollie ! [ Takes her in his 

arms. She breaks down, (Tinging to him.] 

MARY. Oh, my dear if I could ! 

JOHN [moved]. I will do it, Mollie I swear I will. 
Something '11 turn up, and it'll all come right we'll 
be as happy as kings, you see if we aren't. Don't, dear, 
it's only for a little while. . . . Well then will you 
come with me now ? 

MARY. No, no, that can't be. Go, go he'll be in 
directly- Go now. 

She goes with him to the outer door. 

AXX RUTHKuroKU comes in on her way through (he 

room. 

AXN*. Who is it's got the door open on such a day ? 
And the wind fit to freeze a body's bones ! [The outer 
door is heard closing. MARY comes in slowly, very pale.] 
Come in, come in, for the Lord's .sake. [Looking at 
her.] What be ye doing out there? 

MARY. He's gone. 

AXX [cross with the cold]. Gone, gone, this one and 
that John? And what '11 he be gone for? I never 
seed such doings, never ! 

JIART. Shall I make up the fire? 
100 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

ANN. And you all been and let it down. Nay, nay, 
Til do it myself. It'll not be up for ten minutes or 
more. Such doings. What '11 he be gone for ? 

MARY. He's had a quarrel with his father. 

ANN [putting logs on half-whimpering]. A fine 
reason for making folks talk bringing disgrace on 
the house, and all Grantley talking, and to-morrow 
Sunday I never seed the like, never ! 

MARY. It's no use crying. 

ANN. It's weel enough for you to talk you bain't 
one of the family, a stranger like you. You don't 
know. When you've come up i' the world and are 
respected there's nothing pleases folk better than to 
find something agin you. What am I to say when 
I'm asked after my nevvy ? Tell me that. And him 
gone off without so much as a change to his back 
it aren't respectable. And there's Janet not ten 
minutes since gone along the road wi' her shawl 
over her head like a common working lass. Where 
it's to end, I'm sure I can't tell. 

MARY. Perhaps it is ended. 

ANN. Perhaps half the work's left and the house 
upset. Susan '11 be giving notice just now her and 
her goings on. As if lasses weren't hard enough to 
get and there's dinner and all 

MARY. Do you want the table laid ? 

ANN. It 'd help though you've no call to do it 
you got your own troubles the little lad '11 be wanting 
you mebbe. 

MARY. He's still asleep. I'll leave the door open 
and then I shall hear him. [She open ft the door, 

101 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

listening for a moment before she comes back into the 
room.] 

ANN. Janet '11 be back mebbee afore you've finished. 
Such doings everything put wrong. Ill go and fetch 
the bread. [She wanders out, talking as she goes.] 

MARY takes the red cloth off the table, folds it, take,? 
the white one from the drawer in the sideboard, 
and spreads it. As she is doing so JOHN 
RUTHERFORD comes in. He stands looking at 
her for a moment, then comes to the jire. 
RUTHERFORD [,9 he passes her]. Dinner's late. 
MARY [going on with her work]. It'll be ready in 
a few minutes. 

RUTHERFORD. It's gone twelve. 

She makes no answer. He takes his pipe iyff the 

chimney-piece and begins to Jill it. As he is 

putting his tobacco-pouch back into his pocket 

his eyes fall on the table ; he stops short. 

RUTHERFORD. You've laid a place short. [Raising 

his voice.] D' ye hear me, you've laid a 

She looks at him. 

MARY. No. 

She goes to the sideboard and spreads a cloth there. 

He stands motionless staring at the table. 
RUTHERFORD. Gone. Trying to frighten me, is he ? 
Trying a bit o' bluff he'll show me, eh ? And all 
I got to do is to sit quiet and wait for him to 
come back that's all I got to do. 
MARY [quietly]. He won't come back. 
RUTHERFORD. Won't he ! He'll come back right 
enough when he feels the pinch he'll come slinking 

102 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

back like a whipped puppy at nightfall, like he did 
afore. I know him light light-minded like his 
mother afore him. [He comes to his desk and Jinds 
the open cash box.] Who's been here? Who's been 
here? [He stands staring at the box till the lid 
falls from Ms hand.] Nay he'll not come back, by 
God! 

MARY [hopelessly]. He thought he had the right 
he believed he had the right after you'd taken 
what was his. 

RUTHERFORD. I'd sooner have seen him in his grave. 

MARY. He couldn't see. 

RUTHERFORD. Bill Henderson did that because he 
knowed no better. And my son knowed no better, 
though I made a gentleman of him. Set him up. 
I done with him done with him. ; 

He drops heavily into the arm-chair beside the 
table and sits staring before him. After a 
long silence he speaks again. 

RUTHERFORD. Why haven't you gone too, and made 
an empty house of it ? 

MARY. I'm not going. 

RUTHERFORD. Not going, aren't you ? Not till it 
pleases you, I take it till he sends for you ? 

MARY. He won't send for me. 

RUTHERFORD [quickly], Where's the little lad ? 

MARY. Asleep upstairs. [After a pause she speaks 
again in level tones.] I've lived in your house for 
nearly three months. [He turns to look at her] 
Until you came in just now you haven't spoken 
to me half-a-dozen times. Every slight that can 

103 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

be done without words you've put upon me. There's 
never a day passed but you've made me feel that 
IM no right here, no place. 

RUTHERFORD. You'll not die for a soft word from 
the likes o' me. 

MARY. Now that Fve got to speak to you, I want 
to say that first in case you should think Fm 
going to appeal to you, and in case I should be 
tempted to do it. 

RUTHERFORD. What ha' ye got to ask of me ? 

MARY. To ask nothing. Fve a bargain to make 
with you. 

RUTHERFORD [half trucule tit]. Wi' me? 

MARY. You can listen then you can take it or 
leave it. 

RUTHERFORD. Thank ye kindly. And what's your 
idea of a bargain ? 

MARY. A bargain is where one person has something 
to sell that another wants to buy. There's no love 
in it only money money that pays for life. Fve 
got something to sell that you want to buy. 

RUTHERFORD. What's that ? 

MAKY. My son. [ Their eyes meet in a long steady look. 
She goes on deliberately.] You've lost everything you 
have in the world. John's gone and Richard and 
Janet. They won't come back. You're alone now 
and getting old, with no one to come after you. 
When you die Rutherford's will be sold somebody 
'11 buy it and give it a new name perhaps, and no 
one will even remember that you made it. That'll 
be the end of all your work. Just nothing. You've 

104 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

thought of that. I've seen you thinking of it as I've 
sat by and watched you. And now it's come. . . . 
Will you listen ? 

RUTHERFORD. Ay. 

She sits dmvn at the other end of the table, facing him. 

MARY. It's for my boy. I want a chance of life 
for him his place in the world. John can't give 
him that, because he's made so. If I went to London 
and worked my hardest I'd get twenty-five shillings 
a week. We've failed. From you I can get what 
I want for my boy. I want all the good common 
things : a good house, good food, warmth. He's a 
delicate little thing now, but he'll grow strong like 
other children. I want to undo the wrong we've 
done him, John and I. If I can. Later on there'll 
be his schooling I could never save enough for that. 
You can give me all this you've got the power. 
Right or wrong, you've got the power. . . . That's 
the bargain. Give me what I ask, and in return I'll 
give you him. On one condition. I'm to stay on 
here. I won't trouble you you needn't speak to me 
or see me unless you want to. For ten years he's 
to be absolutely mine, to do what I like with. You 
mustn't interfere you mustn't tell him to do things 
or frighten him. He's mine. For ten years more. 

RUTHERFORD. And after that ? 

MARY. He'll be yours. 

RUTHERFORD. To train up. For Rutherford's ? You'd 
trust your son to me ? 

MARY. Yes. 

RUTHERFORD. After all ? After Dick, that I've 
105 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

bullied till he's a fool? John, that's wished me 
dead ? 

MARY. In ten years you'll be an old man ; you 
won't be able to make people afraid of you any 
more. 

RUTHERFORD. Ah ! Because o' that ? And because 
I have the power ? 

.MARY. Yes. And there'll be money for his clothes 
and you'll leave the Works to him when you 
die. 

There is a silence. He sits motionless^ looking at 
her. 

RUTHERFORD. You've got a fair notion of business 
for a woman. 

MARY. I've earned my living. I know .all that that 
teaches a woman. 

RUTHERFORD. It's taught you one thing to have 
an eye to the main chance. 

MARY. You think I'm bargaining for myself? 

RUTHERFORD. You get a bit out of it, don't you ? 

MARY. What? 

RUTHERFORD. A roof over your head the shelter of 
a good name your keep things not so easy to come 
by, my son's wife, wi' a husband that goes off and 
leaves you to live on his father's charity. [There is 
a pause. .] 

MARY [slowly}. There'll be a woman living in the 
house year after year, with the fells closed round 
her. She'll sit and sew at the window and see the 
furnace flare in the dark ; lock up, and give you the 

keys at night 

106 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

RUTHERFORD. You've got your bairn. 

MARY. Yes, I've got him ! For ten years. 
fit silent.] Is it a bargain ? 

RUTHERFORD. Ay. [She gets up with a movement 
of relief. As he sneaks again she turns, facing him.] 
You think me a hard man. So I am. But Fm 
wondering if I could ha' stood up as you're standing 
and done what you've done. 

MARY. I love my child. That makes me hard. 

RUTHERFORD. I used to hope for my son once, like 
you do for yours now. When he was a bit of a lad 
I used to think o' the day when I'd take him round 
and show him what I had to hand on. I thought 
he'd come after me glad o' what I'd done. I set 
my heart on that. And the end of it's just this 
an empty house we two strangers, driving our bargain 
here across the table. 

MARY. There's nothing else. 

RUTHERFORD. You think I've used him badly ? You 
think I've done a dirty thing about this metal ? 

MARY. It was his. 

RUTHERFORD. I've stolen it behind his back and 
I'm going to make money out of it ? 

MARY. I don't know I don't know. 

RUTHERFORD. It'll COIlie to }'OUr SOU. 

MARY. Yes. 

RUTHERFORD. Because I done that he'll have his 
chance, his place i' the world. What would ha' gone 
to the winds, scattered and useless, '11 be his. He'll 
come on, young and strong, when my work's done, and 
Rutherford's '11 stand up firm and safe out o' the 

107 



RUTHERFORD AND SON 

fight and the bitterness Rutherford's that his grand- 
father gave his life to build up. 

MARY [stopping him zvith a gesture]. Hush ! 
RUTHERFORD. What is it ? [They both listen.] The 
little lad. He's waking ! 

MARY runs oitt. The room is very silent as 
RUTHERFORD sits (ntnk in In s chair, thinking. 



THE END 



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