MRS. G : No it’s really the most extraordinary community here if only you knew about them.
MARIA : Really?
MRS. G : Oh, yes. Now, of course, I don’t want to say anything bad about anyone but
MARIA : But what?
MRS. G : Well you know Major Slade?
MARIA : Yes. That tall man with a limp?
MRS. G : Yes, that’s right. Well, d’you know, they do say he’s not a major at all. That he came out of prisons before he settled down here.
MARIA : Really, what did he do?
MRS. G : Well, of course, it’s just hearsay and you mustn’t pass it on. But apparently, he robbed a bank.
MARIA : No!
MRS. G : Yes. And before they caught him he settled all his money on his wife. So they couldn’t get it back. And then while he was in prison she died and left it all to him. So now he’s a very rich man.
MARIA : But surely they could do something.
MRS. G : Well, apparently not. And now there are all sorts of the goings-on at his house.
MARIA : What sort of goings-on?
MRS. G : Oh, terrible. Drunken parties. Windows being broken in the middle of the night. Girls. You
know. Well, I say it’s not right. What it comes to is that we may have a nest of criminals right here in the middle of our village.
MARIA : Oh, I hope not.
MRS. G : Well, it keeps me awake at night thinking about it. Of course, it may not be true. You know what gossip’s like in a small village. But supposing it were –
MARIA : I’ve never met him.
MRS. G : Oh, he’s really sinister. With that limp and a very long nose. Like a bird. Doesn’t look you in the face, if you know what I mean. Although in a way, he’s not bad looking.
MARIA : I must keep my eyes open.
MRS. G : Oh, yes, it’s quite a village when you come to think of it. It’s nice on the whole. Although as with all small places, there’s too much gossip. I mean, I always say that talking about people’s all right. But I don’t like gossip. Do you?
MARIA : No no. No, of course not.