Show Type
  • : 0
  • : 2
Age Ranges
  • Young Adult
  • Adult
  • Mature Adult
England, 1890s
Act 1

Scene Context

Sir Francis is Jack's father and he surprises his son by showing up in his university rooms. He has

Scene Text

(Enter SIR FRANCIS CHESNEY L.I.E. COLONEL SIR FRANCIS CHESNEY, BART., late Indian Service. Tall, good-looking, smart in appearance and manner, wears small military moustache, actually fifty-one, but looking nearer forty, very smart, cheery and young in manner. Wears brown lounge suit, bowler hat and carries gloves and Malacca walking-stick. He has just arrived from London)


JACK (turning, surprised, and delighted). Dad! (Going C.)

SIR FRANCIS. My dear boy!

(They shake hands C.)

JACK. Dear old dad! What brings you here? Wherever have you come from?

SIR FRANCIS. From town, my lad. To have a chat with you and to bring you your cheque. (Puts hat, stick and gloves on sideboard.)

JACK. Thanks, dad; you're a brick!

SIR FRANCIS (smiling). A bit over-baked, my boy; after all my years in India. (Coming c. below table.)

JACK. A bit crisped, dad, but a humbug pictorially.

SIR FRANCIS. Am I? How do you make that out?

JACK. How old are you?

SIR FRANCIS. What do you say to fifty-

JACK. Fifty?


JACK. Who'd believe it?

SIR FRANCIS. And you, Jack, seem much older than I was at your age- I suppose it's the times- even the old College shows it; new ivy, new paint. (Looking towards window c. Below c. table.)

(Both c., backs to audience, looking at college through window.)

JACK. Alma mater's an old beauty still, dad.

(They turn, facing audience again.)

SIR FRANCIS. I suppose she is, by aid of the gentle artifices of the toilet. (Cheerfully and unconcernedly.) Well, we all grow old. (Sits on c. table.)

(SIR FRANCIS takes out pocket-book containing cheque already made out to JACK, and _bundle of bills pinned together, with one very long one among them.)

JACK. And as presentably as possible. Why, dear old dad, even you at fifty


JACK. Fifty years ago would have been a stout, white-haired- or bald- top-booted, domineering old boy! And instead, here you are, a smart, bang up-to-date sort of chap one can talk to like a chum! Now how have you done it?

SIR FRANCIS. Don't know.

JACK. Do you drink?

SIR FRANCIS. All I want.

JACK. Eat well?

SIR FRANCIS. Never noticed.

JACK. There you are! Consequently health good, temper perfect-we're going to be great pals, dad.

SIR FRANCIS (handing cheque). Here you are, my boy. There's your cheque to go on with. (Gives cheque. Looking at bills.)

JACK. Thanks, dad! (Sees amount of cheque- smiles to SIR. FRANCIS.) I haven't seen half enough of you.

SIR FRANCIS (holding up bills). I see your hospitality

JACK. I hope, dad-

SIR FRANCIS. Never mind; same when I was a lad.

JACK (looking at long bill). I've been done over that wine monstrously.

SIR FRANCIS. Were you? Never mind, so was I.

(They laugh. SIR FRANCIS rises; they both move towards table R.) Done over everything monstrously at college, but settle up, settle up-

(JACK back of table. SIR FRANCIS L. of it.)

I'm very satisfied with you. It's something to go down from college with a record like yours. (Picks up cigar box and opens it.) I say, my boy, where the deuce did you get these cigars?

JACK (casually). Those, dad?

SIR FRANCIS (putting box down, sits L. by writing-table). Ah! That accounts for the bills. And now, my lad, we must begin to think.

JACK (sits at writing-table). Think?

SIR FRANCIS. Now that I have come into the family title, as you know, I have also- which you don't know- come into the family debts and difficulties.

JACK. Debts!

SIR FRANCIS. Which are far more than I expected, with the result that all the money I've been saving for you in India goes to pay them. And in short, Jack, you and I, for the next few years- will be, comparatively speaking, poor men.

JACK (rises and crosses behind desk to c.). Poor men! (Aside.) This settles me with old Spettigue!

SIR FRANCIS (rising). However, I'm in hopes of a small appointment for you- (JACK turns hopefully.)- in Bengal. (Goes to fireplace.)

(Re-enter BRASSETT, L.I.E.)

JACK. Bengal What a horrible place!