Director. By all means! He takes off his coat. I’ll sit here at the table like a clerk … look, here are some big owlish eyeglasses, I put them on, so. And I put on old Uncle Skultéti’s shabby coat, so. Puts on a shabby József Ferenc coat, which fits him badly. And his arm protectors as well. So! And I sit here, I remain next to you. I am that old Uncle Skultéti, half clerk, half servant. He gestures at the writing table. And you are the managing director. To the servant. Well, János, what do you say to this?
Servant. It’s an immoral business.
Director. János does not like it. Nevertheless I’m curious about your method. Now you can demonstrate it!
Composer with fire and ambition. I will demonstrate it. Just as a clever women can keep indiscretion far from herself, merely by her conduct, so can a clever gentleman …
Director. No more philosophizing, let us see the practice. Kindly sit there. I stipulate one condition: if a woman starts to perch on your shoulder, you throw her out at once. Since I can’t bear to watch.
Composer. Naturally. That’s the art: to prevent this!
Director. Just so. Now you shall see how it is. But just in case you’re softened after it happens …
Composer. God save me. Is it your notion that I’m afraid of my wife? But if they don’t make love to me, then I may sign them to a contract.
Director. By all means.
Three pages tonight, bringing me up to the halfway point: thirty-eight pages out of seventy-five. As you can see, we’ve reached the point in the story where the train is about to plunge off the tracks.