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Pillars of Society

(SCENE.--A spacious garden-room in the BERNICKS' house. In the foreground on the
left is a door leading to BERNICK'S business room; farther back in the same wall, a
similar door. In the middle of the opposite wall is a large entrance-door, which leads to
the street. The wall in the background is almost wholly composed of plate-glass; a door in
it opens upon a broad flight of steps which lead down to the garden; a sun-awning is
stretched over the steps.Below the steps a part of the garden is visible,bordered by a fence
with a small gate in it. On the other side of the fence runs a street, the opposite side of
which is occupied by small wooden houses painted in bright colours. It is summer, and
the sun is shining warmly. People are seen, every now and then, passing along the street
and stopping to talk to one another; others going in and out of a shop at the corner, etc.
In the room a gathering of ladies is seated round a table. MRS. BERNICK is presiding;
on her left side are MRS. HOLT and her daughter NETTA, and next to them MRS.
MARTHA BERNICK and DINA DORF. All the ladies are busy working. On the table lie
great piles of linen garments and other articles of clothing, some half finished, and some
merely cut out. Farther back, at a small table on which two pots of flowers and a glass of
sugared water are standing, RORLUND is sitting, reading aloud from a book with gilt
edges, but only loud enough for the spectators to catch a word now and then. Out in the
garden OLAF BERNICK is running about and shooting at a target with a toy crossbow.
After a moment AUNE comes in quietly through the door on the right. There is a slight
interruption in the reading. MRS. BERNICK nods to him and points to the door on the
left. AUNE goes quietly across, knocks softly at the door of BERNICK'S room, and after
a moment's pause, knocks again. KRAP comes out of the room, with his hat in his hand
and some papers under his arm.)
Krap: Oh, it was you knocking?
Aune: Mr. Bernick sent for me.
Krap: He did--but he cannot see you. He has deputed me to tell you--
Aune: Deputed you? All the same, I would much rather--
Krap: --deputed me to tell you what he wanted to say to you. You must give up these
Saturday lectures of yours to the men.
Aune: Indeed? I supposed I might use my own time--
Krap: You must not use your own time in making the men useless in working hours.
Last Saturday you were talking to them of the harm that would be done to the workmen
by our new machines and the new working methods at the yard. What makes you do that?