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UNDERSHAFT. So will you, my friend. She will find out that that
drum of yours is hollow.

CUSINS. Father Undershaft: you are mistaken: I am a sincere
Salvationist. You do not understand the Salvation Army. It is the
army of joy, of love, of courage: it has banished the fear and
remorse and despair of the old hellridden evangelical sects: it
marches to fight the devil with trumpet and drum, with music and
dancing, with banner and palm, as becomes a sally from heaven by
its happy garrison. It picks the waster out of the public house
and makes a man of him: it finds a worm wriggling in a back
kitchen, and lo! a woman! Men and women of rank too, sons and
daughters of the Highest. It takes the poor professor of Greek,
the most artificial and self-suppressed of human creatures, from
his meal of roots, and lets loose the rhapsodist in him; reveals
the true worship of Dionysos to him; sends him down the public
street drumming dithyrambs [he plays a thundering flourish on the

UNDERSHAFT. You will alarm the shelter.

CUSINS. Oh, they are accustomed to these sudden ecstasies of
piety. However, if the drum worries you-- [he pockets the
drumsticks; unhooks the drum; and stands it on the ground
opposite the gateway].

UNDERSHAFT. Thank you.

CUSINS. You remember what Euripides says about your money and


CUSINS [declaiming]

One and another
In money and guns may outpass his brother;
And men in their millions float and flow
And seethe with a million hopes as leaven;
And they win their will; or they miss their will;
And their hopes are dead or are pined for still:
But whoe'er can know
As the long days go
That to live is happy, has found his heaven.

My translation: what do you think of it?

UNDERSHAFT. I think, my friend, that if you wish to know,
as the long days go, that to live is happy, you must first
acquire money enough for a decent life, and power enough to be
your own master.

CUSINS. You are damnably discouraging. [He resumes his

Is it so hard a thing to see
That the spirit of God--whate'er it be--
The Law that abides and changes not, ages long,
The Eternal and Nature-born: these things be strong.
What else is Wisdom? What of Man's endeavor,
Or God's high grace so lovely and so great?
To stand from fear set free? to breathe and wait?
To hold a hand uplifted over Fate?
And shall not Barbara be loved for ever?

UNDERSHAFT. Euripides mentions Barbara, does he?

CUSINS. It is a fair translation. The word means Loveliness.

UNDERSHAFT. May I ask--as Barbara's father--how much a year she
is to be loved for ever on?

CUSINS. As Barbara's father, that is more your affair than mine.
I can feed her by teaching Greek: that is about all.

UNDERSHAFT. Do you consider it a good match for her?

CUSINS [with polite obstinacy] Mr Undershaft: I am in many ways a
weak, timid, ineffectual person; and my health is far from
satisfactory. But whenever I feel that I must have anything, I
get it, sooner or later. I feel that way about Barbara. I don't
like marriage: I feel intensely afraid of it; and I don't know
what I shall do with Barbara or what she will do with me. But I
feel that I and nobody else must marry her. Please regard that as
settled.--Not that I wish to be arbitrary; but why should I waste
your time in discussing what is inevitable?

UNDERSHAFT. You mean that you will stick at nothing not even the
conversion of the Salvation Army to the worship of Dionysos.

CUSINS. The business of the Salvation Army is to save, not to
wrangle about the name of the pathfinder. Dionysos or another:
what does it matter?

UNDERSHAFT [rising and approaching him] Professor Cusins you are
a young man after my own heart.

CUSINS. Mr Undershaft: you are, as far as I am able to gather, a
most infernal old rascal; but you appeal very strongly to my
sense of ironic humor.

Undershaft mutely offers his hand. They shake.

UNDERSHAFT [suddenly concentrating himself] And now to business.

CUSINS. Pardon me. We were discussing religion. Why go back to
such an uninteresting and unimportant subject as business?

UNDERSHAFT. Religion is our business at present, because it is
through religion alone that we can win Barbara.

CUSINS. Have you, too, fallen in love with Barbara?

UNDERSHAFT. Yes, with a father's love.

CUSINS. A father's love for a grown-up daughter is the most
dangerous of all infatuations. I apologize for mentioning my own
pale, coy, mistrustful fancy in the same breath with it.

UNDERSHAFT. Keep to the point. We have to win her; and we are
neither of us Methodists.

CUSINS. That doesn't matter. The power Barbara wields here--the
power that wields Barbara herself--is not Calvinism, not
Presbyterianism, not Methodism--

UNDERSHAFT. Not Greek Paganism either, eh?

CUSINS. I admit that. Barbara is quite original in her religion.

UNDERSHAFT [triumphantly] Aha! Barbara Undershaft would be. Her
inspiration comes from within herself.

CUSINS. How do you suppose it got there?

UNDERSHAFT [in towering excitement] It is the Undershaft
inheritance. I shall hand on my torch to my daughter. She shall
make my converts and preach my gospel

CUSINS. What! Money and gunpowder!

UNDERSHAFT. Yes, money and gunpowder; freedom and power; command
of life and command of death.

CUSINS [urbanely: trying to bring him down to earth] This is
extremely interesting, Mr Undershaft. Of course you know that you
are mad.

UNDERSHAFT [with redoubled force] And you?

CUSINS. Oh, mad as a hatter. You are welcome to my secret since I
have discovered yours. But I am astonished. Can a madman make

UNDERSHAFT. Would anyone else than a madman make them? And now
[with surging energy] question for question. Can a sane man
translate Euripides?


UNDERSHAFT [reining him by the shoulder] Can a sane woman make a
man of a waster or a woman of a worm?

CUSINS [reeling before the storm] Father Colossus--Mammoth

UNDERSHAFT [pressing him] Are there two mad people or three in
this Salvation shelter to-day?

CUSINS. You mean Barbara is as mad as we are!

UNDERSHAFT [pushing him lightly off and resuming his equanimity
suddenly and completely] Pooh, Professor! let us call things by
their proper names. I am a millionaire; you are a poet; Barbara
is a savior of souls. What have we three to do with the common
mob of slaves and idolaters? [He sits down again with a shrug of
contempt for the mob].

CUSINS. Take care! Barbara is in love with the common people. So
am I. Have you never felt the romance of that love?

UNDERSHAFT [cold and sardonic] Have you ever been in love with
Poverty, like St Francis? Have you ever been in love with Dirt,
like St Simeon? Have you ever been in love with disease and
suffering, like our nurses and philanthropists? Such passions are
not virtues, but the most unnatural of all the vices. This love
of the common people may please an earl's granddaughter and a
university professor; but I have been a common man and a poor
man; and it has no romance for me. Leave it to the poor to
pretend that poverty is a blessing: leave it to the coward to
make a religion of his cowardice by preaching humility: we know
better than that. We three must stand together above the common
people: how else can we help their children to climb up beside
us? Barbara must belong to us, not to the Salvation Army.

CUSINS. Well, I can only say that if you think you will get her
away from the Salvation Army by talking to her as you have been
talking to me, you don't know Barbara.

UNDERSHAFT. My friend: I never ask for what I can buy.

CUSINS [in a white fury] Do I understand you to imply that you
can buy Barbara?

UNDERSHAFT. No; but I can buy the Salvation Army.

CUSINS. Quite impossible.

UNDERSHAFT. You shall see. All religious organizations exist by
selling themselves to the rich.

CUSINS. Not the Army. That is the Church of the poor.

UNDERSHAFT. All the more reason for buying it.

CUSINS. I don't think you quite know what the Army does for the

UNDERSHAFT. Oh yes I do. It draws their teeth: that is enough for
me--as a man of business--

CUSINS. Nonsense! It makes them sober--

UNDERSHAFT. I prefer sober workmen. The profits are larger.

CUSINS. --honest--

UNDERSHAFT. Honest workmen are the most economical.

CUSINS. --attached to their homes--

UNDERSHAFT. So much the better: they will put up with anything
sooner than change their shop.

CUSINS. --happy--

UNDERSHAFT. An invaluable safeguard against revolution.

CUSINS. --unselfish--

UNDERSHAFT. Indifferent to their own interests, which suits me

CUSINS. --with their thoughts on heavenly things--

UNDERSHAFT [rising] And not on Trade Unionism nor Socialism.

CUSINS [revolted] You really are an infernal old rascal.

UNDERSHAFT [indicating Peter Shirley, who has just came from the
shelter and strolled dejectedly down the yard between them] And
this is an honest man!

SHIRLEY. Yes; and what av I got by it? [he passes on bitterly and
sits on the form, in the corner of the penthouse].

Snobby Price, beaming sanctimoniously, and Jenny Hill, with a
tambourine full of coppers, come from the shelter and go to the
drum, on which Jenny begins to count the money.

UNDERSHAFT [replying to Shirley] Oh, your employers must have got
a good deal by it from first to last. [He sits on the table, with
one foot on the side form. Cusins, overwhelmed, sits down on the
same form nearer the shelter. Barbara comes from the shelter to
the middle of the yard. She is excited and a little overwrought].

BARBARA. We've just had a splendid experience meeting at the
other gate in Cripps's lane. I've hardly ever seen them so much
moved as they were by your confession, Mr Price.

PRICE. I could almost be glad of my past wickedness if I could
believe that it would elp to keep hathers stright.

BARBARA. So it will, Snobby. How much, Jenny?

JENNY. Four and tenpence, Major.

BARBARA. Oh Snobby, if you had given your poor mother just one
more kick, we should have got the whole five shillings!

PRICE. If she heard you say that, miss, she'd be sorry I didn't.
But I'm glad. Oh what a joy it will be to her when she hears I'm

UNDERSHAFT. Shall I contribute the odd twopence, Barbara? The
millionaire's mite, eh? [He takes a couple of pennies from his

BARBARA. How did you make that twopence?

UNDERSHAFT. As usual. By selling cannons, torpedoes, submarines,
and my new patent Grand Duke hand grenade.

BARBARA. Put it back in your pocket. You can't buy your Salvation
here for twopence: you must work it out.

UNDERSHAFT. Is twopence not enough? I can afford a little more,
if you press me.

BARBARA. Two million millions would not be enough. There is bad
blood on your hands; and nothing but good blood can cleanse them.
Money is no use. Take it away. [She turns to Cusins]. Dolly: you
must write another letter for me to the papers. [He makes a wry
face]. Yes: I know you don't like it; but it must be done. The
starvation this winter is beating us: everybody is unemployed.
The General says we must close this shelter if we cant get more
money. I force the collections at the meetings until I am
ashamed, don't I, Snobby?

PRICE. It's a fair treat to see you work it, miss. The way you
got them up from three-and-six to four-and-ten with that hymn,
penny by penny and verse by verse, was a caution. Not a Cheap
Jack on Mile End Waste could touch you at it.

BARBARA. Yes; but I wish we could do without it. I am getting at
last to think more of the collection than of the people's souls.
And what are those hatfuls of pence and halfpence? We want
thousands! tens of thousands! hundreds of thousands! I want to
convert people, not to be always begging for the Army in a way
I'd die sooner than beg for myself.

UNDERSHAFT [in profound irony] Genuine unselfishness is capable
of anything, my dear.

BARBARA [unsuspectingly, as she turns away to take the money
from the drum and put it in a cash bag she carries] Yes, isn't
it? [Undershaft looks sardonically at Cusins].

CUSINS [aside to Undershaft] Mephistopheles! Machiavelli!

BARBARA [tears coming into her eyes as she ties the bag and
pockets it] How are we to feed them? I can't talk religion to a
man with bodily hunger in his eyes. [Almost breaking down] It's

JENNY [running to her] Major, dear--

BARBARA [rebounding] No: don't comfort me. It will be all right.
We shall get the money.


JENNY. By praying for it, of course. Mrs Baines says she prayed
for it last night; and she has never prayed for it in vain: never
once. [She goes to the gate and looks out into the street].

BARBARA [who has dried her eyes and regained her composure] By
the way, dad, Mrs Baines has come to march with us to our big
meeting this afternoon; and she is very anxious to meet you, for
some reason or other. Perhaps she'll convert you.

UNDERSHAFT. I shall be delighted, my dear.

JENNY [at the gate: excitedly] Major! Major! Here's that man back

BARBARA. What man?

JENNY. The man that hit me. Oh, I hope he's coming back to join

Bill Walker, with frost on his jacket, comes through the gate,
his hands deep in his pockets and his chin sunk between his
shoulders, like a cleaned-out gambler. He halts between Barbara
and the drum.

BARBARA. Hullo, Bill! Back already!

BILL [nagging at her] Bin talkin ever sense, av you?

BARBARA. Pretty nearly. Well, has Todger paid you out for poor
Jenny's jaw?

BILL. NO he ain't.

BARBARA. I thought your jacket looked a bit snowy.

BILL. So it is snowy. You want to know where the snow come from,
don't you?


BILL. Well, it come from off the ground in Parkinses Corner in
Kennintahn. It got rubbed off be my shoulders see?

BARBARA. Pity you didn't rub some off with your knees, Bill! That
would have done you a lot of good.

BILL [with your mirthless humor] I was saving another man's knees
at the time. E was kneelin on my ed, so e was.

JENNY. Who was kneeling on your head?

BILL. Todger was. E was prayin for me: prayin comfortable with me
as a carpet. So was Mog. So was the ole bloomin meetin. Mog she
sez "O Lord break is stubborn spirit; but don't urt is dear art."
That was wot she said. "Don't urt is dear art"! An er bloke--
thirteen stun four!--kneelin wiv all is weight on me. Funny,
ain't it?

JENNY. Oh no. We're so sorry, Mr Walker.

BARBARA [enjoying it frankly] Nonsense! of course it's funny.
Served you right, Bill! You must have done something to him

BILL [doggedly] I did wot I said I'd do. I spit in is eye. E
looks up at the sky and sez, "O that I should be fahnd worthy to
be spit upon for the gospel's sake!" a sez; an Mog sez "Glory
Allelloolier!"; an then a called me Brother, an dahned me as if I
was a kid and a was me mother washin me a Setterda nawt. I adn't
just no show wiv im at all. Arf the street prayed; an the tother
arf larfed fit to split theirselves. [To Barbara] There! are you
settisfawd nah?

BARBARA [her eyes dancing] Wish I'd been there, Bill.

BILL. Yes: you'd a got in a hextra bit o talk on me, wouldn't

JENNY. I'm so sorry, Mr. Walker.

BILL [fiercely] Don't you go bein sorry for me: you've no call.
Listen ere. I broke your jawr.

JENNY. No, it didn't hurt me: indeed it didn't, except for a
moment. It was only that I was frightened.

BILL. I don't want to be forgive be you, or be ennybody. Wot I
did I'll pay for. I tried to get me own jawr broke to settisfaw

JENNY [distressed] Oh no--

BILL [impatiently] Tell y'I did: cawn't you listen to wot's bein
told you? All I got be it was bein made a sight of in the public
street for me pains. Well, if I cawn't settisfaw you one way, I
can another. Listen ere! I ad two quid saved agen the frost; an
I've a pahnd of it left. A mate n mine last week ad words with
the Judy e's goin to marry. E give er wot-for; an e's bin fined
fifteen bob. E ad a right to it er because they was goin to be
marrid; but I adn't no right to it you; so put anather fawv bob
on an call it a pahnd's worth. [He produces a sovereign]. Ere's
the money. Take it; and let's av no more o your forgivin an
prayin and your Major jawrin me. Let wot I done be done and paid
for; and let there be a end of it.

JENNY. Oh, I couldn't take it, Mr. Walker. But if you would give
a shilling or two to poor Rummy Mitchens! you really did hurt
her; and she's old.

BILL [contemptuously] Not likely. I'd give her anather as soon as
look at er. Let her av the lawr o me as she threatened! She ain't
forgiven me: not mach. Wot I done to er is not on me mawnd--wot
she [indicating Barbara] might call on me conscience--no more
than stickin a pig. It's this Christian game o yours that I won't
av played agen me: this bloomin forgivin an noggin an jawrin that
makes a man that sore that iz lawf's a burdn to im. I won't av
it, I tell you; so take your money and stop throwin your silly
bashed face hup agen me.

JENNY. Major: may I take a little of it for the Army?

BARBARA. No: the Army is not to be bought. We want your soul,
Bill; and we'll take nothing less.

BILL [bitterly] I know. It ain't enough. Me an me few shillins is
not good enough for you. You're a earl's grendorter, you are.
Nothin less than a underd pahnd for you.

UNDERSHAFT. Come, Barbara! you could do a great deal of good with
a hundred pounds. If you will set this gentleman's mind at ease
by taking his pound, I will give the other ninety-nine [Bill,
astounded by such opulence, instinctively touches his cap].

BARBARA. Oh, you're too extravagant, papa. Bill offers twenty
pieces of silver. All you need offer is the other ten. That will
make the standard price to buy anybody who's for sale. I'm not;
and the Army's not. [To Bill] You'll never have another quiet
moment, Bill, until you come round to us. You can't stand out
against your salvation.

BILL [sullenly] I cawn't stend aht agen music all wrastlers and
artful tongued women. I've offered to pay. I can do no more. Take
it or leave it. There it is. [He throws the sovereign on the
drum, and sits down on the horse-trough. The coin fascinates
Snobby Price, who takes an early opportunity of dropping his cap
on it].

Mrs Barnes comes from the shelter. She is dressed as a Salvation
Army Commissioner. She is an earnest looking woman of about 40,
with a caressing, urgent voice, and an appealing manner.

BARBARA. This is my father, Mrs Barnes. [Undershaft comes from
the table, taking his hat off with marked civility]. Try what you
can do with him. He won't listen to me, because he remembers what
a fool I was when I was a baby.

[She leaves them together and chats with Jenny].

MRS BRINES. Have you been shown over the shelter, Mr Undershaft?
You know the work we're doing, of course.

UNDERSHAFT [very civilly] The whole nation knows it, Mrs Barnes.

MRS BRINES. No, Sir: the whole nation does not know it, or we
should not be crippled as we are for want of money to carry our
work through the length and breadth of the land. Let me tell you
that there would have been rioting this winter in London but for

UNDERSHAFT. You really think so?

MRS BRINES. I know it. I remember 1886, when you rich gentlemen
hardened your hearts against the cry of the poor. They broke the
windows of your clubs in Pall Mall.

UNDERSHAFT [gleaming with approval of their method] And the
Mansion House Fund went up next day from thirty thousand pounds
to seventy-nine thousand! I remember quite well.

MRS BRINES. Well, won't you help me to get at the people? They
won't break windows then. Come here, Price. Let me show you to
this gentleman [Price comes to be inspected]. Do you remember the
window breaking?

PRICE. My ole father thought it was the revolution, ma'am.

MRS BRINES. Would you break windows now?

PRICE. Oh no ma'm. The windows of eaven av bin opened to me. I
know now that the rich man is a sinner like myself.

RUMMY [appearing above at the loft door] Snobby Price!

SNOBBY. Wot is it?

RUMMY. Your mother's askin for you at the other gate in Crippses
Lane. She's heard about your confession [Price turns pale].

MRS BRINES. Go, Mr. Price; and pray with her.

JENNY. You can go through the shelter, Snobby.

PRICE [to Mrs Baines] I couldn't face her now; ma'am, with all
the weight of my sins fresh on me. Tell her she'll find her son
at ome, waitin for her in prayer. [He skulks off through the
gate, incidentally stealing the sovereign on his way out by
picking up his cap from the drum].

MRS BAINES [with swimming eyes] You see how we take the anger and
the bitterness against you out of their hearts, Mr Undershaft.

UNDERSHAFT. It is certainly most convenient and gratifying to all
large employers of labor, Mrs Baines.

MRS BAINES. Barbara: Jenny: I have good news: most wonderful
news. [Jenny runs to her]. My prayers have been answered. I told
you they would, Jenny, didn't I?

JENNY. Yes, yes.

BARBARA [moving nearer to the drum] Have we got money enough to
keep the shelter open?

MRS BAINES. I hope we shall have enough to keep all the shelters
open. Lord Saxmundham has promised us five thousand pounds--

BARBARA. Hooray!

JENNY. Glory!

MRS BAINES. --if--

BARBARA. "If!" If what?

MRS BAINES. If five other gentlemen will give a thousand each to
make it up to ten thousand.

BARBARA. Who is Lord Saxmundham? I never heard of him.

UNDERSHAFT [who has pricked up his ears at the peer's name, and
is now watching Barbara curiously] A new creation, my dear. You
have heard of Sir Horace Bodger?

BARBARA. Bodger! Do you mean the distiller? Bodger's whisky!

UNDERSHAFT. That is the man. He is one of the greatest of our
public benefactors. He restored the cathedral at Hakington. They
made him a baronet for that. He gave half a million to the funds
of his party: they made him a baron for that.

SHIRLEY. What will they give him for the five thousand?

UNDERSHAFT. There is nothing left to give him. So the five
thousand, I should think, is to save his soul.

MRS BAINES. Heaven grant it may! Oh Mr. Undershaft, you have some
very rich friends. Can't you help us towards the other five
thousand? We are going to hold a great meeting this afternoon at
the Assembly Hall in the Mile End Road. If I could only announce
that one gentleman had come forward to support Lord Saxmundham,
others would follow. Don't you know somebody? Couldn't you?
Wouldn't you? [her eyes fill with tears] oh, think of those poor
people, Mr Undershaft: think of how much it means to them, and
how little to a great man like you.

UNDERSHAFT [sardonically gallant] Mrs Baines: you are
irresistible. I can't disappoint you; and I can't deny myself the
satisfaction of making Bodger pay up. You shall have your five
thousand pounds.

MRS BAINES. Thank God!

UNDERSHAFT. You don't thank me?

MRS BAINES. Oh sir, don't try to be cynical: don't be ashamed of
being a good man. The Lord will bless you abundantly; and our
prayers will be like a strong fortification round you all the
days of your life. [With a touch of caution] You will let me have
the cheque to show at the meeting, won't you? Jenny: go in and
fetch a pen and ink. [Jenny runs to the shelter door].

UNDERSHAFT. Do not disturb Miss Hill: I have a fountain pen.
[Jenny halts. He sits at the table and writes the cheque. Cusins
rises to make more room for him. They all watch him silently].

BILL [cynically, aside to Barbara, his voice and accent horribly
debased] Wot prawce Selvytion nah?

BARBARA. Stop. [Undershaft stops writing: they all turn to her in
surprise]. Mrs Baines: are you really going to take this money?

MRS BRINES [astonished] Why not, dear?

BARBARA. Why not! Do you know what my father is? Have you
forgotten that Lord Saxmundham is Bodger the whisky man? Do you
remember how we implored the County Council to stop him from
writing Bodger's Whisky in letters of fire against the sky; so
that the poor drinkruined creatures on the embankment could not
wake up from their snatches of sleep without being reminded of
their deadly thirst by that wicked sky sign? Do you know that the
worst thing I have had to fight here is not the devil, but
Bodger, Bodger, Bodger, with his whisky, his distilleries, and
his tied houses? Are you going to make our shelter another tied
house for him, and ask me to keep it?

BILL. Rotten drunken whisky it is too.

MRS BRINES. Dear Barbara: Lord Saxmundham has a soul to be saved
like any of us. If heaven has found the way to make a good use of
his money, are we to set ourselves up against the answer to our

BARBARA. I know he has a soul to be saved. Let him come down
here; and I'll do my best to help him to his salvation. But he
wants to send his cheque down to buy us, and go on being as
wicked as ever.

UNDERSHAFT [with a reasonableness which Cusins alone perceives to
be ironical] My dear Barbara: alcohol is a very necessary
article. It heals the sick--

BARBARA. It does nothing of the sort.

UNDERSHAFT. Well, it assists the doctor: that is perhaps a less
questionable way of putting it. It makes life bearable to
millions of people who could not endure their existence if they
were quite sober. It enables Parliament to do things at eleven at
night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning. Is
it Bodger's fault that this inestimable gift is deplorably abused
by less than one per cent of the poor? [He turns again to the
table; signs the cheque; and crosses it].

MRS BRINES. Barbara: will there be less drinking or more if all
those poor souls we are saving come to-morrow and find the doors
of our shelters shut in their faces? Lord Saxmundham gives us the
money to stop drinking--to take his own business from him.

CUSINS [impishly] Pure self-sacrifice on Bodger's part, clearly!
Bless dear Bodger! [Barbara almost breaks down as Adolpbus, too,
fails her].

UNDERSHAFT [tearing out the cheque and pocketing the book as be
rises and goes past Cusins to Mrs Baines] I also, Mrs Baines, may
claim a little disinterestedness. Think of my business! think of
the widows and orphans! the men and lads torn to pieces with
shrapnel and poisoned with lyddite [Mrs Baines shrinks; but he
goes on remorselessly]! the oceans of blood, not one drop of
which is shed in a really just cause! the ravaged crops! the
peaceful peasants forced, women and men, to till their fields
under the fire of opposing armies on pain of starvation! the bad
blood of the fierce little cowards at home who egg on others to
fight for the gratification of their national vanity! All this
makes money for me: I am never richer, never busier than when the
papers are full of it. Well, it is your work to preach peace on
earth and goodwill to men. [Mrs Baines's face lights up again].
Every convert you make is a vote against war. [Her lips move in
prayer]. Yet I give you this money to help you to hasten my own
commercial ruin. [He gives her the cheque].

CUSINS [mounting the form in an ecstasy of mischief] The
millennium will be inaugurated by the unselfishness of Undershaft
and Bodger. Oh be joyful! [He takes the drumsticks from his
pockets and flourishes them].

MRS BAINES [taking the cheque] The longer I live the more proof I
see that there is an Infinite Goodness that turns everything to
the work of salvation sooner or later. Who would have thought
that any good could have come out of war and drink? And yet their
profits are brought today to the feet of salvation to do its
blessed work. [She is affected to tears].

JENNY [running to Mrs Baines and throwing her arms round her] Oh
dear! how blessed, how glorious it all is!

CUSINS [in a convulsion of irony] Let us seize this unspeakable
moment. Let us march to the great meeting at once. Excuse me just
an instant. [He rushes into the shelter. Jenny takes her
tambourine from the drum head].

MRS BRINES. Mr Undershaft: have you ever seen a thousand people
fall on their knees with one impulse and pray? Come with us to
the meeting. Barbara shall tell them that the Army is saved, and
saved through you.

CUSINS [returning impetuously from the shelter with a flag and a
trombone, and coming between Mrs Baines and Undershaft] You shall
carry the flag down the first street, Mrs Baines [he gives her
the flag]. Mr Undershaft is a gifted trombonist: he shall intone
an Olympian diapason to the West Ham Salvation March. [Aside to
Undershaft, as he forces the trombone on him] Blow, Machiavelli,

UNDBRSHAFT [aside to him, as he takes the trombone] The trumpet
in Zion! [Cusins rushes to the drum, which he takes up and puts
on. Undershaft continues, aloud] I will do my best. I could vamp
a bass if I knew the tune.

CUSINS. It is a wedding chorus from one of Donizetti's operas;
but we have converted it. We convert everything to good here,
including Bodger. You remember the chorus. "For thee immense
rejoicing--immenso giubilo--immenso giubilo." [With drum
obbligato] Rum tum ti tum tum, tum tum ti ta--

BARBARA. Dolly: you are breaking my heart.

CUSINS. What is a broken heart more or less here? Dionysos
Undershaft has descended. I am possessed.

MRS BRINES. Come, Barbara: I must have my dear Major to carry the
flag with me.

JENNY. Yes, yes, Major darling.

CUSINS [snatches the tambourine out of Jenny's hand and mutely
ofers it to Barbara].

BARBARA [coming forward a little as she puts the offer behind her
with a shudder, whilst Cusins recklessly tosses the tambourine
back to Jenny and goes to the gate] I can't come.

JENNY. Not come!

MRS BRINES [with tears in her eyes] Barbara: do you think
I am wrong to take the money?

BARBARA [impulsively going to her and kissing her] No, no:
God help you, dear, you must: you are saving the Army. Go; and
may you have a great meeting!

JENNY. But arn't you coming?

BARBARA. No. [She begins taking off the silver brooch from her

MRS BRINES. Barbara: what are you doing?

JENNY. Why are you taking your badge off? You can't be going to
leave us, Major.

BARBARA [quietly] Father: come here.

UNDERSHAFT [coming to her] My dear! [Seeing that she is going to
pin the badge on his collar, he retreats to the penthouse in some

BARBARA [following him] Don't be frightened. [She pins the badge
on and steps back towards the table, showing him to the others]
There! It's not much for 5000 pounds is it?

MRS BRINES. Barbara: if you won't come and pray with us, promise
me you will pray for us.

BARBARA. I can't pray now. Perhaps I shall never pray again.

MRS BRINES. Barbara!

JENNY. Major!

BARBARA [almost delirious] I can't bear any more. Quick march!

CUSINS [calling to the procession in the street outside] Off we
go. Play up, there! Immenso giubilo. [He gives the time with his
drum; and the band strikes up the march, which rapidly becomes
more distant as the procession moves briskly away].

MRS BRINES. I must go, dear. You're overworked: you will be all
right tomorrow. We'll never lose you. Now Jenny: step out with
the old flag. Blood and Fire! [She marches out through the gate
with her flag].

JENNY. Glory Hallelujah! [flourishing her tambourine and

UNDERSHAFT [to Cusins, as he marches out past him easing the
slide of his trombone] "My ducats and my daughter"!

CUSINS [following him out] Money and gunpowder!

BARBARA. Drunkenness and Murder! My God: why hast thou forsaken

She sinks on the form with her face buried in her hands. The
march passes away into silence. Bill Walker steals across to her.

BILL [taunting] Wot prawce Selvytion nah?

SHIRLEY. Don't you hit her when she's down.

BILL. She it me wen aw wiz dahn. Waw shouldn't I git a bit o me
own back?

BARBARA [raising her head] I didn't take your money, Bill. [She
crosses the yard to the gate and turns her back on the two men to
hide her face from them].

BILL [sneering after her] Naow, it warn't enough for you.
[Turning to the drum, he misses the money]. Ellow! If you ain't
took it summun else az. Were's it gorn? Blame me if Jenny Ill
didn't take it arter all!

RUMMY [screaming at him from the loft] You lie, you dirty
blackguard! Snobby Price pinched it off the drum wen e took ap iz
cap. I was ap ere all the time an see im do it.

BILL. Wot! Stowl maw money! Waw didn't you call thief on him, you
silly old mucker you?

RUMMY. To serve you aht for ittin me acrost the face. It's cost
y'pahnd, that az. [Raising a paean of squalid triumph] I done
you. I'm even with you. I've ad it aht o y--. [Bill snatches up
Shirley's mug and hurls it at her. She slams the loft door and
vanishes. The mug smashes against the door and falls in

BILL [beginning to chuckle] Tell us, ole man, wot o'clock this
morrun was it wen im as they call Snobby Prawce was sived?

BARBARA [turning to him more composedly, and with unspoiled
sweetness] About half past twelve, Bill. And he pinched your
pound at a quarter to two. I know. Well, you can't afford to lose
it. I'll send it to you.

BILL [his voice and accent suddenly improving] Not if I was to
starve for it. I ain't to be bought.

SHIRLEY. Ain't you? You'd sell yourself to the devil for a pint o
beer; ony there ain't no devil to make the offer.

BILL [unshamed] So I would, mate, and often av, cheerful. But she
cawn't buy me. [Approaching Barbara] You wanted my soul, did you?
Well, you ain't got it.

BARBARA. I nearly got it, Bill. But we've sold it back to you for
ten thousand pounds.

SHIRLEY. And dear at the money!

BARBARA. No, Peter: it was worth more than money.

BILL [salvationproof] It's no good: you cawn't get rahnd me nah.
I don't blieve in it ; and I've seen today that I was
right. [Going] So long, old soupkitchener! Ta, ta, Major Earl's
Grendorter! [Turning at the gate] Wot prawce Selvytion nah?
Snobby Prawce! Ha! ha!

BARBARA [offering her hand] Goodbye, Bill.

BILL [taken aback, half plucks his cap off then shoves it on
again defiantly] Git aht. [Barbara drops her hand, discouraged.
He has a twinge of remorse]. But thet's aw rawt, you
knaow. Nathink pasnl. Naow mellice. So long, Judy. [He

BARBARA. No malice. So long, Bill.

SHIRLEY [shaking his head] You make too much of him, miss, in
your innocence.

BARBARA [going to him] Peter: I'm like you now. Cleaned out, and
lost my job.

SHIRLEY. You've youth an hope. That's two better than me. That's
hope for you.

BARBARA. I'll get you a job, Peter, the youth will have to be
enough for me. [She counts her money]. I have just enough left
for two teas at Lockharts, a Rowton doss for you, and my tram and
bus home. [He frowns and rises with offended pride. She takes his
arm]. Don't be proud, Peter: it's sharing between friends. And
promise me you'll talk to me and not let me cry. [She draws him
towards the gate].

SHIRLEY. Well, I'm not accustomed to talk to the like of you--

BARBARA [urgently] Yes, yes: you must talk to me. Tell me about
Tom Paine's books and Bradlaugh's lectures. Come along.

SHIRLEY. Ah, if you would only read Tom Paine in the proper
spirit, miss! [They go out through the gate together].


Next day after lunch Lady Britomart is writing in the library in
Wilton Crescent. Sarah is reading in the armchair near the
window. Barbara, in ordinary dresss, pale and brooding, is on the
settee. Charley Lomax enters. Coming forward between the settee
and the writing table, he starts on seeing Barbara fashionably
attired and in low spirits.

LOMAX. You've left off your uniform!

Barbara says nothing; but an expression of pain passes over
her face.

LADY BRITOMART [warning him in low tones to be careful] Charles!

LOMAX [much concerned, sitting down sympathetically on the settee
beside Barbara] I'm awfully sorry, Barbara. You know I helped you
all I could with the concertina and so forth. [Momentously]
Still, I have never shut my eyes to the fact that there is a
certain amount of tosh about the Salvation Army. Now the claims
of the Church of England--

LADY BRITOMART. That's enough, Charles. Speak of something suited
to your mental capacity.

LOMAX. But surely the Church of England is suited to all our

BARBARA [pressing his hand] Thank you for your sympathy, Cholly.
Now go and spoon with Sarah.

LOMAX [rising and going to Sarah] How is my ownest today?

SARAH. I wish you wouldn't tell Cholly to do things, Barbara. He
always comes straight and does them. Cholly: we're going to the
works at Perivale St. Andrews this afternoon.

LOMAX. What works?

SARAH. The cannon works.

LOMAX. What! Your governor's shop!


LOMAX. Oh I say!

Cusins enters in poor condition. He also starts visibly when he
sees Barbara without her uniform.

BARBARA. I expected you this morning, Dolly. Didn't you guess

CUSINS [sitting down beside her] I'm sorry. I have only just

SARAH. But we've just finished lunch.

BARBARA. Have you had one of your bad nights?

CUSINS. No: I had rather a good night: in fact, one of the most
remarkable nights I have ever passed.

BARBARA. The meeting?

CUSINS. No: after the meeting.

LADY BRITOMART. You should have gone to bed after the meeting.
What were you doing?

CUSINS. Drinking.

SARAH. {Dolly!
BARBARA. {Dolly!
LOMAX. {Oh I say!

LADY BRITOMART. What were you drinking, may I ask?

CUSINS. A most devilish kind of Spanish burgundy, warranted free
from added alcohol: a Temperance burgundy in fact. Its richness
in natural alcohol made any addition superfluous.

BARBARA. Are you joking, Dolly?

CUSINS [patiently] No. I have been making a night of it with the
nominal head of this household: that is all.

LADY BRITOMART. Andrew made you drunk!

CUSINS. No: he only provided the wine. I think it was Dionysos
who made me drunk. [To Barbara] I told you I was possessed.

LADY BRITOMART. Your'e not sober yet. Go home to bed at once.

CUSINS. I have never before ventured to reproach you, Lady Brit;
but how could you marry the Prince of Darkness?

LADY BRITOMART. It was much more excusable to marry him than to
get drunk with him. That is a new accomplishment of Andrew's, by
the way. He usen't to drink.

CUSINS. He doesn't now. He only sat there and completed the wreck
of my moral basis, the rout of my convictions, the purchase of my
soul. He cares for you, Barbara. That is what makes him so
dangerous to me.

BARBARA. That has nothing to do with it, Dolly. There are larger
loves and diviner dreams than the fireside ones. You know that,
don't you?

CUSINS. Yes: that is our understanding. I know it. I hold to it.
Unless he can win me on that holier ground he may amuse me for a
while; but he can get no deeper hold, strong as he is.

BARBARA. Keep to that; and the end will be right. Now tell me
what happened at the meeting?

CUSINS. It was an amazing meeting. Mrs Baines almost died of
emotion. Jenny Hill went stark mad with hysteria. The Prince of
Darkness played his trombone like a madman: its brazen roarings
were like the laughter of the damned. 117 conversions took place
then and there. They prayed with the most touching sincerity and
gratitude for Bodger, and for the anonymous donor of the 5000
pounds. Your father would not let his name be given.

LOMAX. That was rather fine of the old man, you know. Most chaps
would have wanted the advertisement.

CUSINS. He said all the charitable institutions would be down on
him like kites on a battle field if he gave his name.

LADY BRITOMART. That's Andrew all over. He never does a proper
thing without giving an improper reason for it.

CUSINS. He convinced me that I have all my life been doing
improper things for proper reasons.

LADY BRITOMART. Adolphus: now that Barbara has left the Salvation
Army, you had better leave it too. I will not have you playing
that drum in the streets.

CUSINS. Your orders are already obeyed, Lady Brit.

BARBARA. Dolly: were you ever really in earnest about it? Would
you have joined if you had never seen me?

CUSINS [disingenuously] Well--er--well, possibly, as a collector
of religions--

LOMAX [cunningly] Not as a drummer, though, you know. You are a
very clearheaded brainy chap, Cholly; and it must have been
apparent to you that there is a certain amount of tosh about--

LADY BRITOMART. Charles: if you must drivel, drivel like a
grown-up man and not like a schoolboy.

LOMAX [out of countenance] Well, drivel is drivel, don't you
know, whatever a man's age.

LADY BRITOMART. In good society in England, Charles, men drivel
at all ages by repeating silly formulas with an air of wisdom.
Schoolboys make their own formulas out of slang, like you. When
they reach your age, and get political private secretaryships and
things of that sort, they drop slang and get their formulas out
of The Spectator or The Times. You had better confine yourself to
The Times. You will find that there is a certain amount of tosh
about The Times; but at least its language is reputable.

LOMAX [overwhelmed] You are so awfully strong-minded, Lady Brit--

LADY BRITOMART. Rubbish! [Morrison comes in]. What is it?

MORRISON. If you please, my lady, Mr Undershaft has just drove up
to the door.

LADY BRITOMART. Well, let him in. [Morrison hesitates]. What's
the matter with you?

MORRISON. Shall I announce him, my lady; or is he at home here,
so to speak, my lady?

LADY BRITOMART. Announce him.

MORRISON. Thank you, my lady. You won't mind my asking, I hope.
The occasion is in a manner of speaking new to me.

LADY BRITOMART. Quite right. Go and let him in.

MORRISON. Thank you, my lady. [He withdraws].

LADY BRITOMART. Children: go and get ready. [Sarah and Barbara go
upstairs for their out-of-door wrap]]. Charles: go and tell
Stephen to come down here in five minutes: you will find him in
the drawing room. [Charles goes]. Adolphus: tell them to send
round the carriage in about fifteen minutes. [Adolphus goes].

MORRISON [at the door] Mr Undershaft.

Undershaft comes in. Morrison goes out.

UNDERSHAFT. Alone! How fortunate!

LADY BRITOMART [rising] Don't be sentimental, Andrew. Sit down.
[She sits on the settee: he sits beside her, on her left. She
comes to the point before he has time to breathe]. Sarah must
have 800 pounds a year until Charles Lomax comes into his
property. Barbara will need more, and need it permanently,
because Adolphus hasn't any property.

UNDERSAAFT [resignedly] Yes, my dear: I will see to it. Anything
else? for yourself, for instance?

LADY BRITOMART. I want to talk to you about Stephen.

UNDERSHAFT [rather wearily] Don't, my dear. Stephen doesn't
interest me.

LADY BRITOMART. He does interest me. He is our son.

UNDERSHAFT. Do you really think so? He has induced us to bring
him into the world; but he chose his parents very incongruously,
I think. I see nothing of myself in him, and less of you.

LADY BRITOMART. Andrew: Stephen is an excellent son, and a most
steady, capable, highminded young man. YOU are simply trying to
find an excuse for disinheriting him.

UNDERSHAFT. My dear Biddy: the Undershaft tradition disinherits
him. It would be dishonest of me to leave the cannon foundry to
my son.

LADY BRITOMART. It would be most unnatural and improper of you to
leave it to anyone else, Andrew. Do you suppose this wicked and
immoral tradition can be kept up for ever? Do you pretend that
Stephen could not carry on the foundry just as well as all the
other sons of the big business houses?

UNDERSHAFT. Yes: he could learn the office routine without
understanding the business, like all the other sons; and the firm
would go on by its own momentum until the real Undershaft--
probably an Italian or a German--would invent a new method and
cut him out.

LADY BRITOMART. There is nothing that any Italian or German could
do that Stephen could not do. And Stephen at least has breeding.

UNDERSHAFT. The son of a foundling! nonsense!

LADY BRITOMART. My son, Andrew! And even you may have good blood
in your veins for all you know.

UNDERSHAFT. True. Probably I have. That is another argument in
favor of a foundling.

LADY BRITOMART. Andrew: don't be aggravating. And don't be
wicked. At present you are both.

UNDERSHAFT. This conversation is part of the Undershaft
tradition, Biddy. Every Undershaft's wife has treated him to it
ever since the house was founded. It is mere waste of breath. If
the tradition be ever broken it will be for an abler man than

LADY BRITOMART [pouting] Then go away.

UNDERSHAFT [deprecatory] Go away!

LADY BRITOMART. Yes: go away. If you will do nothing for Stephen,
you are not wanted here. Go to your foundling, whoever he is; and
look after him.

UNDERSHAFT. The fact is, Biddy--

LADY BRITOMART. Don't call me Biddy. I don't call you Andy.

UNDERSHAFT. I will not call my wife Britomart: it is not good
sense. Seriously, my love, the Undershaft tradition has landed me
in a difficulty. I am getting on in years; and my partner Lazarus
has at last made a stand and insisted that the succession must be
settled one way or the other; and of course he is quite right.
You see, I haven't found a fit successor yet.

LADY BRITOMART [obstinately] There is Stephen.

UNDERSHAFT. That's just it: all the foundlings I can find are
exactly like Stephen.


UNDERSHAFT. I want a man with no relations and no schooling: that
is, a man who would be out of the running altogether if he were
not a strong man. And I can't find him. Every blessed foundling
nowadays is snapped up in his infancy by Barnardo homes, or
School Board officers, or Boards of Guardians; and if he shows
the least ability, he is fastened on by schoolmasters; trained to
win scholarships like a racehorse; crammed with secondhand ideas;
drilled and disciplined in docility and what they call good
taste; and lamed for life so that he is fit for nothing but
teaching. If you want to keep the foundry in the family, you had
better find an eligible foundling and marry him to Barbara.

LADY BRITOMART. Ah! Barbara! Your pet! You would sacrifice
Stephen to Barbara.

UNDERSHAFT. Cheerfully. And you, my dear, would boil Barbara to
make soup for Stephen.

LADY BRITOMART. Andrew: this is not a question of our likings and
dislikings: it is a question of duty. It is your duty to make
Stephen your successor.

UNDERSHAFT. Just as much as it is your duty to submit to your
husband. Come, Biddy! these tricks of the governing class are of
no use with me. I am one of the governing class myself; and it is
waste of time giving tracts to a missionary. I have the power in
this matter; and I am not to be humbugged into using it for your

LADY BRITOMART. Andrew: you can talk my head off; but you can't
change wrong into right. And your tie is all on one side. Put it

UNDERSHAFT [disconcerted] It won't stay unless it's pinned [he
fumbles at it with childish grimaces]--

Stephen comes in.

STEPHEN [at the door] I beg your pardon [about to retire].

LADY BRITOMART. No: come in, Stephen. [Stephen comes forward to
his mother's writing table.

UNDERSHAFT [not very cordially] Good afternoon.

STEPHEN [coldly] Good afternoon.

UNDERSHAFT [to Lady Britomart] He knows all about the tradition,
I suppose?

LADY BRITOMART. Yes. [To Stephen] It is what I told you last
night, Stephen.

UNDERSHAFT [sulkily] I understand you want to come into the
cannon business.

STEPHEN. _I_ go into trade! Certainly not.

UNDERSHAFT [opening his eyes, greatly eased in mind and manner]
Oh! in that case--!

LADY BRITOMART. Cannons are not trade, Stephen. They are

STEPHEN. I have no intention of becoming a man of business in any
sense. I have no capacity for business and no taste for it. I
intend to devote myself to politics.

UNDERSHAFT [rising] My dear boy: this is an immense relief to me.
And I trust it may prove an equally good thing for the country. I
was afraid you would consider yourself disparaged and slighted.
[He moves towards Stephen as if to shake hands with him].

LADY BRITOMART [rising and interposing] Stephen: I cannot allow
you to throw away an enormous property like this.

STEPHEN [stiffly] Mother: there must be an end of treating me as
a child, if you please. [Lady Britomart recoils, deeply wounded
by his tone]. Until last night I did not take your attitude
seriously, because I did not think you meant it seriously. But I
find now that you left me in the dark as to matters which you
should have explained to me years ago. I am extremely hurt and
offended. Any further discussion of my intentions had better take
place with my father, as between one man and another.

LADY BRITOMART. Stephen! [She sits down again; and her eyes fill
with tears].

UNDERSHAFT [with grave compassion] You see, my dear, it is only
the big men who can be treated as children.

STEPHEN. I am sorry, mother, that you have forced me--

UNDERSHAFT [stopping him] Yes, yes, yes, yes: that's all right,
Stephen. She wont interfere with you any more: your independence
is achieved: you have won your latchkey. Don't rub it in; and
above all, don't apologize. [He resumes his seat]. Now what about
your future, as between one man and another--I beg your pardon,
Biddy: as between two men and a woman.

LADY BRITOMART [who has pulled herself together strongly] I quite
understand, Stephen. By all means go your own way if you feel
strong enough. [Stephen sits down magisterially in the chair at
the writing table with an air of affirming his majority].

UNDERSHAFT. It is settled that you do not ask for the succession
to the cannon business.

STEPHEN. I hope it is settled that I repudiate the cannon

UNDERSHAFT. Come, come! Don't be so devilishly sulky: it's
boyish. Freedom should be generous. Besides, I owe you a fair
start in life in exchange for disinheriting you. You can't become
prime minister all at once. Haven't you a turn for something?
What about literature, art and so forth?

STEPHEN. I have nothing of the artist about me, either in faculty
or character, thank Heaven!

UNDERSHAFT. A philosopher, perhaps? Eh?

STEPHEN. I make no such ridiculous pretension.

UNDERSHAFT. Just so. Well, there is the army, the navy, the
Church, the Bar. The Bar requires some ability. What
about the Bar?

STEPHEN. I have not studied law. And I am afraid I have not the
necessary push--I believe that is the name barristers give to
their vulgarity--for success in pleading.

UNDERSHAFT. Rather a difficult case, Stephen. Hardly anything
left but the stage, is there? [Stephen makes an impatient
movement]. Well, come! is there anything you know or care for?

STEPHEN [rising and looking at him steadily] I know the
difference between right and wrong.

UNDERSHAFT [hugely tickled] You don't say so! What! no capacity
for business, no knowledge of law, no sympathy with art, no
pretension to philosophy; only a simple knowledge of the secret
that has puzzled all the philosophers, baffled all the lawyers,
muddled all the men of business, and ruined most of the artists:
the secret of right and wrong. Why, man, you're a genius, master
of masters, a god! At twenty-four, too!

STEPHEN [keeping his temper with difficulty] You are pleased to
be facetious. I pretend to nothing more than any honorable
English gentleman claims as his birthright [he sits down

UNDERSHAFT. Oh, that's everybody's birthright. Look at poor
little Jenny Hill, the Salvation lassie! she would think you were
laughing at her if you asked her to stand up in the street and
teach grammar or geography or mathematics or even drawingroom
dancing; but it never occurs to her to doubt that she can teach
morals and religion. You are all alike, you respectable people.
You can't tell me the bursting strain of a ten-inch gun, which is
a very simple matter; but you all think you can tell me the
bursting strain of a man under temptation. You daren't handle
high explosives; but you're all ready to handle honesty and
truth and justice and the whole duty of man, and kill one another
at that game. What a country! what a world!

LADY HRITOMART [uneasily] What do you think he had better do,

UNDERSHAFT. Oh, just what he wants to do. He knows nothing; and
he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political
career. Get him a private secretaryship to someone who can get
him an Under Secretaryship; and then leave him alone. He will
find his natural and proper place in the end on the Treasury

STEPHEN [springing up again] I am sorry, sir, that you force
me to forget the respect due to you as my father. I am an
Englishman; and I will not hear the Government of my country
insulted. [He thrusts his hands in his pockets, and walks angrily
across to the window].

UNDERSHAFT [with a touch of brutality] The government of your
country! _I_ am the government of your country: I, and Lazarus.
Do you suppose that you and half a dozen amateurs like you,
sitting in a row in that foolish gabble shop, can govern
Undershaft and Lazarus? No, my friend: you will do what pays US.
You will make war when it suits us, and keep peace when it
doesn't. You will find out that trade requires certain measures
when we have decided on those measures. When I want anything to
keep my dividends up, you will discover that my want is a
national need. When other people want something to keep my
dividends down, you will call out the police and military. And in
return you shall have the support and applause of my newspapers,
and the delight of imagining that you are a great statesman.
Government of your country! Be off with you, my boy, and play
with your caucuses and leading articles and historic parties and
great leaders and burning questions and the rest of your toys.
_I_ am going back to my counting house to pay the piper and call
the tune.

STEPHEN [actually smiling, and putting his hand on his father's
shoulder with indulgent patronage] Really, my dear father, it is
impossible to be angry with you. You don't know how absurd all
this sounds to ME. You are very properly proud of having been
industrious enough to make money; and it is greatly to your
credit that you have made so much of it. But it has kept you in
circles where you are valued for your money and deferred to for
it, instead of in the doubtless very oldfashioned and
behind-the-times public school and university where I formed my
habits of mind. It is natural for you to think that money governs
England; but you must allow me to think I know better.

UNDERSHAFT. And what does govern England, pray?

STEPHEN. Character, father, character.

UNDERSHAFT. Whose character? Yours or mine?

STEPHEN. Neither yours nor mine, father, but the best elements in
the English national character.

UNDERSHAFT. Stephen: I've found your profession for you. You're a
born journalist. I'll start you with a hightoned weekly review.

Stephen goes to the smaller writing table and busies himself with
his letters.

Sarah, Barbara, Lomax, and Cusins come in ready for walking.
Barbara crosses the room to the window and looks out. Cusins
drifts amiably to the armchair, and Lomax remains near the door,
whilst Sarah comes to her mother.

SARAH. Go and get ready, mamma: the carriage is waiting. [Lady
Britomart leaves the room.

UNDERSHAFT [to Sarah] Good day, my dear. Good afternoon, Mr.

LOMAX [vaguely] Ahdedoo.

UNDERSHAFT [to Cusins] quite well after last night, Euripides,

CUSINS. As well as can be expected.

UNDERSHAFT. That's right. [To Barbara] So you are coming to see
my death and devastation factory, Barbara?

BARBARA [at the window] You came yesterday to see my salvation
factory. I promised you a return visit.

LOMAX [coming forward between Sarah and Undershaft] You'll find
it awfully interesting. I've been through the Woolwich Arsenal;
and it gives you a ripping feeling of security, you know, to
think of the lot of beggars we could kill if it came to fighting.
[To Undershaft, with sudden solemnity] Still, it must be rather
an awful reflection for you, from the religious point of view as
it were. You're getting on, you know, and all that.

SARAH. You don't mind Cholly's imbecility, papa, do you?

LOMAX [much taken aback] Oh I say!

UNDERSHAFT. Mr Lomax looks at the matter in a very proper spirit,
my dear.

LOMAX. Just so. That's all I meant, I assure you.

SARAH. Are you coming, Stephen?

STEPHEN. Well, I am rather busy--er-- [Magnanimously] Oh well,
yes: I'll come. That is, if there is room for me.

UNDERSHAFT. I can take two with me in a little motor I am
experimenting with for field use. You won't mind its being rather
unfashionable. It's not painted yet; but it's bullet proof.

LOMAX [appalled at the prospect of confronting Wilton Crescent in
an unpainted motor] Oh I say!

SARAH. The carriage for me, thank you. Barbara doesn't mind what
she's seen in.

LOMAX. I say, Dolly old chap: do you really mind the car being a
guy? Because of course if you do I'll go in it. Still--

CUSINS. I prefer it.

LOMAX. Thanks awfully, old man. Come, Sarah. [He hurries out to
secure his seat in the carriage. Sarah follows him].

CUSINS. [moodily walking across to Lady Britomart's writing table
Why are we two coming to this Works Department of Hell? that is
what I ask myself.

BARBARA. I have always thought of it as a sort of pit where lost
creatures with blackened faces stirred up smoky fires and were
driven and tormented by my father? Is it like that, dad?

UNDERSHAFT [scandalized] My dear! It is a spotlessly clean and
beautiful hillside town.

CUSINS. With a Methodist chapel? Oh do say there's a Methodist

UNDERSHAFT. There are two: a primitive one and a sophisticated
one. There is even an Ethical Society; but it is not much
patronized, as my men are all strongly religious. In the High
Explosives Sheds they object to the presence of Agnostics as

CUSINS. And yet they don't object to you!

BARBARA. Do they obey all your orders?

UNDERSHAFT. I never give them any orders. When I speak to one of
them it is "Well, Jones, is the baby doing well? and has Mrs
Jones made a good recovery?" "Nicely, thank you, sir." And that's

CUSINS. But Jones has to be kept in order. How do you maintain
discipline among your men?

UNDERSHAFT. I don't. They do. You see, the one thing Jones won't
stand is any rebellion from the man under him, or any assertion
of social equality between the wife of the man with 4 shillings a
week less than himself and Mrs Jones! Of course they all rebel
against me, theoretically. Practically, every man of them keeps
the man just below him in his place. I never meddle with them. I
never bully them. I don't even bully Lazarus. I say that certain
things are to be done; but I don't order anybody to do them. I
don't say, mind you, that there is no ordering about and snubbing
and even bullying. The men snub the boys and order them about;
the carmen snub the sweepers; the artisans snub the unskilled
laborers; the foremen drive and bully both the laborers and
artisans; the assistant engineers find fault with the foremen;
the chief engineers drop on the assistants; the departmental
managers worry the chiefs; and the clerks have tall hats and
hymnbooks and keep up the social tone by refusing to associate on
equal terms with anybody. The result is a colossal profit, which
comes to me.

CUSINS [revolted] You really are a--well, what I was saying

BARBARA. What was he saying yesterday?

UNDERSHAFT. Never mind, my dear. He thinks I have made you
unhappy. Have I?

BARBARA. Do you think I can be happy in this vulgar silly dress?
I! who have worn the uniform. Do you understand what you have
done to me? Yesterday I had a man's soul in my hand. I set him in
the way of life with his face to salvation. But when we took your
money he turned back to drunkenness and derision. [With intense
conviction] I will never forgive you that. If I had a child, and
you destroyed its body with your explosives--if you murdered
Dolly with your horrible guns--I could forgive you if my
forgiveness would open the gates of heaven to you. But to take a
human soul from me, and turn it into the soul of a wolf! that is
worse than any murder.

UNDERSHAFT. Does my daughter despair so easily? Can you strike a
man to the heart and leave no mark on him?

BARBARA [her face lighting up] Oh, you are right: he can never be
lost now: where was my faith?

CUSINS. Oh, clever clever devil!

BARBARA. You may be a devil; but God speaks through you
sometimes. [She takes her father's hands and kisses them]. You
have given me back my happiness: I feel it deep down now, though
my spirit is troubled.

UNDERSHAFT. You have learnt something. That always feels at first
as if you had lost something.

BARBARA. Well, take me to the factory of death, and let me learn
something more. There must be some truth or other behind all this
frightful irony. Come, Dolly. [She goes out].

CUSINS. My guardian angel! [To Undershaft] Avaunt! [He follows

STEPHEN [quietly, at the writing table] You must not mind Cusins,
father. He is a very amiable good fellow; but he is a Greek
scholar and naturally a little eccentric.

UNDERSHAFT. Ah, quite so. Thank you, Stephen. Thank you. [He goes

Stephen smiles patronizingly; buttons his coat responsibly; and
crosses the room to the door. Lady Britomart, dressed for
out-of-doors, opens it before he reaches it. She looks round far
the others; looks at Stephen; and turns to go without a word.

STEPHEN [embarrassed] Mother--

LADY BRITOMART. Don't be apologetic, Stephen. And don't forget
that you have outgrown your mother. [She goes out].

Perivale St Andrews lies between two Middlesex hills, half
climbing the northern one. It is an almost smokeless town of
white walls, roofs of narrow green slates or red tiles, tall
trees, domes, campaniles, and slender chimney shafts, beautifully
situated and beautiful in itself. The best view of it is obtained
from the crest of a slope about half a mile to the east, where
the high explosives are dealt with. The foundry lies hidden in
the depths between, the tops of its chimneys sprouting like huge
skittles into the middle distance. Across the crest runs a
platform of concrete, with a parapet which suggests a
fortification, because there is a huge cannon of the obsolete
Woolwich Infant pattern peering across it at the town. The cannon
is mounted on an experimental gun carriage: possibly the original
model of the Undershaft disappearing rampart gun alluded to by
Stephen. The parapet has a high step inside which serves as a

Barbara is leaning over the parapet, looking towards the town. On
her right is the cannon; on her left the end of a shed raised on
piles, with a ladder of three or four steps up to the door, which
opens outwards and has a little wooden landing at the threshold,
with a fire bucket in the corner of the landing. The parapet
stops short of the shed, leaving a gap which is the beginning of
the path down the hill through the foundry to the town. Behind
the cannon is a trolley carrying a huge conical bombshell, with a
red band painted on it. Further from the parapet, on the same
side, is a deck chair, near the door of an office, which, like
the sheds, is of the lightest possible construction.

Cusins arrives by the path from the town.


CUSINS. Not a ray of hope. Everything perfect, wonderful, real.
It only needs a cathedral to be a heavenly city instead of a
hellish one.

BARBARA. Have you found out whether they have done anything for
old Peter Shirley.

CUSINS. They have found him a job as gatekeeper and timekeeper.
He's frightfully miserable. He calls the timekeeping brainwork,
and says he isn't used to it; and his gate lodge is so splendid
that he's ashamed to use the rooms, and skulks in the scullery.

BARBARA. Poor Peter!

Stephen arrives from the town. He carries a fieldglass.

STEPHEN [enthusiastically] Have you two seen the place? Why did
you leave us?

CUSINS. I wanted to see everything I was not intended to see; and
Barbara wanted to make the men talk.

STEPHEN. Have you found anything discreditable?

CUSINS. No. They call him Dandy Andy and are proud of his being a
cunning old rascal; but it's all horribly, frightfully,
immorally, unanswerably perfect.

Sarah arrives.

SARAH. Heavens! what a place! [She crosses to the trolley]. Did
you see the nursing home!? [She sits down on the shell].

STEPHEN. Did you see the libraries and schools!?

SARAH. Did you see the ballroom and the banqueting chamber in the
Town Hall!?

STEPHEN. Have you gone into the insurance fund, the pension fund,
the building society, the various applications of co-operation!?

Undershaft comes from the office, with a sheaf of telegrams in
his hands.

UNDERSHAFT. Well, have you seen everything? I'm sorry I was
called away. [Indicating the telegrams] News from Manchuria.

STEPHEN. Good news, I hope.


STEPHEN. Another Japanese victory?

UNDERSHAFT. Oh, I don't know. Which side wins does not concern us
here. No: the good news is that the aerial battleship is a
tremendous success. At the first trial it has wiped out a fort
with three hundred soldiers in it.

CUSINS [from the platform] Dummy soldiers?

UNDERSHAFT. No: the real thing. [Cusins and Barbara exchange
glances. Then Cusins sits on the step and buries his face in his
hands. Barbara gravely lays her hand on his shoulder, and he
looks up at her in a sort of whimsical desperation]. Well,
Stephen, what do you think of the place?

STEPHEN. Oh, magnificent. A perfect triumph of organization.
Frankly, my dear father, I have been a fool: I had no idea of
what it all meant--of the wonderful forethought, the power of
organization, the administrative capacity, the financial genius,
the colossal capital it represents. I have been repeating to
myself as I came through your streets "Peace hath her victories
no less renowned than War." I have only one misgiving about it

UNDERSHAFT. Out with it.

STEPHEN. Well, I cannot help thinking that all this provision for
every want of your workmen may sap their independence and weaken
their sense of responsibility. And greatly as we enjoyed our tea
at that splendid restaurant--how they gave us all that luxury and
cake and jam and cream for threepence I really cannot imagine!--
still you must remember that restaurants break up home life. Look
at the continent, for instance! Are you sure so much pampering is
really good for the men's characters?

UNDERSHAFT. Well you see, my dear boy, when you are organizing
civilization you have to make up your mind whether trouble and
anxiety are good things or not. If you decide that they are,
then, I take it, you simply don't organize civilization; and
there you are, with trouble and anxiety enough to make us all
angels! But if you decide the other way, you may as well go
through with it. However, Stephen, our characters are safe here.
A sufficient dose of anxiety is always provided by the fact that
we may be blown to smithereens at any moment.

SARAH. By the way, papa, where do you make the explosives?

UNDERSHAFT. In separate little sheds, like that one. When one of
them blows up, it costs very little; and only the people quite
close to it are killed.

Stephen, who is quite close to it, looks at it rather scaredly,
and moves away quickly to the cannon. At the same moment the door
of the shed is thrown abruptly open; and a foreman in overalls
and list slippers comes out on the little landing and holds the
door open for Lomax, who appears in the doorway.

LOMAX [with studied coolness] My good fellow: you needn't get
into a state of nerves. Nothing's going to happen to you; and I
suppose it wouldn't be the end of the world if anything did. A
little bit of British pluck is what you want, old chap. [He
descends and strolls across to Sarah].

UNDERSHAFT [to the foreman] Anything wrong, Bilton?

BILTON [with ironic calm] Gentleman walked into the high
explosives shed and lit a cigaret, sir: that's all.

UNDERSHAFT. Ah, quite so. [To Lomax] Do you happen to remember
what you did with the match?

LOMAX. Oh come! I'm not a fool. I took jolly good care to blow it
out before I chucked it away.

BILTON. The top of it was red hot inside, sir.

LOMAX. Well, suppose it was! I didn't chuck it into any of your

UNDERSHAFT. Think no more of it, Mr Lomax. By the way, would you
mind lending me your matches?

LOMAX [offering his box] Certainly.

UNDERSHAFT. Thanks. [He pockets the matches].

LOMAX [lecturing to the company generally] You know, these high
explosives don't go off like gunpowder, except when they're in a
gun. When they're spread loose, you can put a match to them
without the least risk: they just burn quietly like a bit of
paper. [Warming to the scientific interest of the subject] Did
you know that Undershaft? Have you ever tried?

UNDERSHAFT. Not on a large scale, Mr Lomax. Bilton will give you
a sample of gun cotton when you are leaving if you ask him. You
can experiment with it at home. [Bilton looks puzzled].

SARAH. Bilton will do nothing of the sort, papa. I suppose it's
your business to blow up the Russians and Japs; but you might
really stop short of blowing up poor Cholly. [Bilton gives it up
and retires into the shed].

LOMAX. My ownest, there is no danger. [He sits beside her on the

Lady Britomart arrives from the town with a bouquet.

LADY BRITOMART [coming impetuously between Undershaft and the
deck chair] Andrew: you shouldn't have let me see this place.

UNDERSHAFT. Why, my dear?

LADY BRITOMART. Never mind why: you shouldn't have: that's all.
To think of all that [indicating the town] being yours! and that
you have kept it to yourself all these years!

UNDERSHAFT. It does not belong to me. I belong to it. It is the
Undershaft inheritance.

LADY BRITOMART. It is not. Your ridiculous cannons and that noisy
banging foundry may be the Undershaft inheritance; but all that
plate and linen, all that furniture and those houses and orchards
and gardens belong to us. They belong to me: they are not a man's
business. I won't give them up. You must be out of your senses to
throw them all away; and if you persist in such folly, I will
call in a doctor.

UNDERSHAFT [stooping to smell the bouquet] Where did you get the
flowers, my dear?

LADY BRITOMART. Your men presented them to me in your William
Morris Labor Church.

CUSINS [springing up] Oh! It needed only that. A Labor Church!

LADY BRITOMART. Yes, with Morris's words in mosaic letters ten
feet high round the dome. NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH TO BE ANOTHER
MAN'S MASTER. The cynicism of it!

UNDERSHAFT. It shocked the men at first, I am afraid. But now
they take no more notice of it than of the ten commandments in

LADY BRITOMART. Andrew: you are trying to put me off the subject
of the inheritance by profane jokes. Well, you shan't. I don't
ask it any longer for Stephen: he has inherited far too much of
your perversity to be fit for it. But Barbara has rights as well
as Stephen. Why should not Adolphus succeed to the inheritance? I
could manage the town for him; and he can look after the cannons,
if they are really necessary.

UNDERSHAFT. I should ask nothing better if Adolphus were a
foundling. He is exactly the sort of new blood that is wanted in
English business. But he's not a foundling; and there's an end of

CUSINS [diplomatically] Not quite. [They all turn and stare at
him. He comes from the platform past the shed to Undershaft]. I
think--Mind! I am not committing myself in any way as to my
future course--but I think the foundling difficulty can be got

UNDERSHAFT. What do you mean?

CUSINS. Well, I have something to say which is in the nature of a

LADY BRITOMART. { Confession!

LOMAX. Oh I say!

CUSINS. Yes, a confession. Listen, all. Until I met Barbara I
thought myself in the main an honorable, truthful man, because I
wanted the approval of my conscience more than I wanted anything
else. But the moment I saw Barbara, I wanted her far more than
the approval of my conscience.


CUSINS. It is true. You accused me yourself, Lady Brit, of
joining the Army to worship Barbara; and so I did. She bought my
soul like a flower at a street corner; but she bought it for

UNDERSHAFT. What! Not for Dionysos or another?

CUSINS. Dionysos and all the others are in herself. I adored what
was divine in her, and was therefore a true worshipper. But I was
romantic about her too. I thought she was a woman of the people,
and that a marriage with a professor of Greek would be far beyond
the wildest social ambitions of her rank.


LOMAX. Oh I say!!!

CUSINS. When I learnt the horrible truth--

LADY BRITOMART. What do you mean by the horrible truth, pray?

CUSINS. That she was enormously rich; that her grandfather was an
earl; that her father was the Prince of Darkness--


CUSINS.--and that I was only an adventurer trying to catch a rich
wife, then I stooped to deceive about my birth.

LADY BRITOMART. Your birth! Now Adolphus, don't dare to make up a
wicked story for the sake of these wretched cannons. Remember: I
have seen photographs of your parents; and the Agent General for
South Western Australia knows them personally and has assured me
that they are most respectable married people.

CUSINS. So they are in Australia; but here they are outcasts.
Their marriage is legal in Australia, but not in England. My
mother is my father's deceased wife's sister; and in this island
I am consequently a foundling. [Sensation]. Is the subterfuge
good enough, Machiavelli?

UNDERSHAFT [thoughtfully] Biddy: this may be a way out of the

LADY BRITOMART. Stuff! A man can't make cannons any the better
for being his own cousin instead of his proper self [she sits
down in the deck chair with a bounce that expresses her downright
contempt for their casuistry.

UNDERSHAFT [to Cusins] You are an educated man. That is against
the tradition.

CUSINS. Once in ten thousand times it happens that the schoolboy
is a born master of what they try to teach him. Greek has not
destroyed my mind: it has nourished it. Besides, I did not learn
it at an English public school.

UNDERSHAFT. Hm! Well, I cannot afford to be too particular: you
have cornered the foundling market. Let it pass. You are
eligible, Euripides: you are eligible.

BARBARA [coming from the platform and interposing between Cusins
and Undershaft] Dolly: yesterday morning, when Stephen told us
all about the tradition, you became very silent; and you have
been strange and excited ever since. Were you thinking of your
birth then?

CUSINS. When the finger of Destiny suddenly points at a man in
the middle of his breakfast, it makes him thoughtful. [Barbara
turns away sadly and stands near her mother, listening

UNDERSHAFT. Aha! You have had your eye on the business, my young
friend, have you?

CUSINS. Take care! There is an abyss of moral horror between me
and your accursed aerial battleships.

UNDERSHAFT. Never mind the abyss for the present. Let us settle
the practical details and leave your final decision open. You
know that you will have to change your name. Do you object to

CUSINS. Would any man named Adolphus--any man called Dolly!--
object to be called something else?

UNDERSHAFT. Good. Now, as to money! I propose to treat you
handsomely from the beginning. You shall start at a thousand a

CUSINS. [with sudden heat, his spectacles twinkling with
mischief] A thousand! You dare offer a miserable thousand to
the son-in-law of a millionaire! No, by Heavens, Machiavelli! you
shall not cheat me. You cannot do without me; and I can do
without you. I must have two thousand five hundred a year for two
years. At the end of that time, if I am a failure, I go. But if I
am a success, and stay on, you must give me the other five

UNDERSHAFT. What other five thousand?

CUSINS. To make the two years up to five thousand a year. The two
thousand five hundred is only half pay in case I should turn out
a failure. The third year I must have ten per cent on the

UNDERSHAFT [taken aback] Ten per cent! Why, man, do you know what
my profits are?

CUSINS. Enormous, I hope: otherwise I shall require twenty-five
per cent.

UNDERSHAFT. But, Mr Cusins, this is a serious matter of business.
You are not bringing any capital into the concern.

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