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A Family Man

ACT I
SCENE I
The study of JOHN BUILDER in the provincial town of Breconridge. A panelled
room wherein nothing is ever studied, except perhaps BUILDER'S face in the
mirror over the fireplace. It is, however, comfortable, and has large leather chairs
and a writing table in the centre, on which is a typewriter, and many papers. At
the back is a large window with French outside shutters, overlooking the street,
for the house is an old one, built in an age when the homes of doctors, lawyers
and so forth were part of a provincial town, and not yet suburban. There are two
or three fine old prints on the walls, Right and Left; and a fine, old fireplace, Left,
with a fender on which one can sit. A door, Left back, leads into the dining-room,
and a door, Right forward, into the hall.
JOHN BUILDER is sitting in his after-breakfast chair before the fire with The
Times in his hands. He has breakfasted well, and is in that condition of first-pipe
serenity in which the affairs of the. nation seem almost bearable. He is a tallish,
square, personable man of forty-seven, with a well-coloured, jowly, fullish face,
marked under the eyes, which have very small pupils and a good deal of light in
them. His bearing has force and importance, as of a man accustomed to rising
and ownerships, sure in his opinions, and not lacking in geniality when things go
his way. Essentially a Midlander. His wife, a woman of forty-one, of ivory tint, with
a thin, trim figure and a face so strangely composed as to be almost like a mask
(essentially from Jersey) is putting a nib into a pen- holder, and filling an inkpot at
the writing-table.
As the curtain rises CAMILLE enters with a rather broken-down cardboard box
containing flowers. She is a young woman with a good figure, a pale face, the
warm brown eyes and complete poise of a Frenchwoman. She takes the box to
MRS BUILDER.
MRS BUILDER. The blue vase, please, Camille.
[CAMILLE fetches a vase. MRS BUILDER puts the flowers into the vase.
CAMILLE gathers up the debris; and with a glance at BUILDER goes out.]
BUILDER. Glorious October! I ought to have a damned good day's shooting with
Chantrey tomorrow.
 
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