A Family Man
practicable! You'll make us the laughing- stock of the whole town. A man in my
position, and can't keep his own family; it's preposterous!
MRS BUILDER. Your own family have lives and thoughts and feelings of their
BUILDER. Oh! This damned Woman's business! I knew how it would be when
we gave you the vote. You and I are married, and our daughters are our
daughters. Come, Julia. Where's your commonsense? After twenty-three years!
You know I can't do without you!
MRS BUILDER. You could--quite easily. You can tell people what you like.
BUILDER. My God! I never heard anything so immoral in all my life from the
mother of two grownup girls. No wonder they've turned out as they have! What is
it you want, for goodness sake?
MRS BUILDER. We just want to be away from you, that's all. I assure you it's
best. When you've shown some consideration for our feelings and some real sign
that we exist apart from you--we could be friends again-- perhaps--I don't know.
BUILDER. Friends! Good heavens! With one's own wife and daughters! [With
great earnestness] Now, look here, Julia, you haven't lived with me all this time
without knowing that I'm a man of strong passions; I've been a faithful husband to
you--yes, I have. And that means resisting all sorts of temptations you know
nothing of. If you withdraw from my society I won't answer for the consequences.
In fact, I can't have you withdrawing. I'm not going to see myself going to the
devil and losing the good opinion of everybody round me. A bargain's a bargain.
And until I've broken my side of it, and I tell you I haven't--you've no business to
break yours. That's flat. So now, put all that out of your head.
MRS BUILDER. No.
BUILDER. [Intently] D'you realise that I've supported you in luxury and comfort?
MRS BUILDER. I think I've earned it.
BUILDER. And how do you propose to live? I shan't give you a penny. Come,
Julia, don't be such an idiot! Fancy letting a kiss which no man could have
helped, upset you like this!
MRS BUILDER. The Camille, and the last straw!
BUILDER. [Sharply] I won't have it. So now you know.
But MRS BUILDER has very swiftly gone.