Free Will

Scene. Husband and Wife, with daughter of thirteen, seated at breakfast.

HUSBAND (casually) Are we going to take Tommie to Lords’ this year, darling?

WIFE Well, someone must take him, I suppose.

HUSBAND (biting thumbnail) Yes.

WIFE I thought you said you were taking him, though.

HUSBAND I? No. I made sure you’d like to go.

WIFE But women don’t understand cricket.

HUSBAND Lots of men don’t either. I don’t see that it matters. Anyway, who is going to take him.

WIFE I don’t know, I’m sure.

DAUGHTER Oh Mummie, aren’t we going then? I did want to go.

HUSBAND Nonsense, child, you don’t want to watch cricket. You don’t understand it, do you?

WIFE Of course not; she is really getting much too tomboyish lately. Write and tell Tommie that we won’t go, Herbert.

HUSBAND (relieved) Very well, dear.

DAUGHTER Oh mummie, I did want to go.

WIFE Nonsense. (Picking up a letter.) Oh, here’s a letter from Tommie. I hadn’t noticed it. (Opens it.) Why, he says he doesn’t want to go to Lords’, and maybe go and stay somewhere else.

HUSBAND Oh, does he?

WIFE But where else is there to go without us, I should like to know?

HUSBAND Besides, I’m not sure that’s the right spirit for a boy of his age. When I was fifteen I’d have been only too glad to go. I don’t approve of these blasé modern boys.

WIFE Yes, Tommie’s much too blasé nowadays. Write and tell him of course he’s to go.

HUSBAND And then who’s to take him?

WIFE Oh, I think we might all go after all.

HUSBAND Yes, perhaps we may as well.

Written July 1920, unpublished