Moore, George. The Strike at Arlingford: A Play in Three Acts. London: Walter Scott, 1893. Web. 9 Sept. 2015. https://archive.org/details/strikeatarlingf00moorgoog
by Nykia Blanks, Sandra Brown, David Castro and Ramata Cisse
The play opens in the home of Lady Anne Travers. A journalist, Fred Hamer, is shown in by the footman. When the footman leaves, Hamer begins taking notes on the appearance of her Ladyship’s drawing-room. After being espied by Baron Steinbach, Hamer explains to him that he has come to the home of Lady Anne in hopes of being granted an interview about the state of the town and the current labor strike. Steinbach informs Hamer that it is doubtful that Lady Anne will grant the journalist an interview as she has recently returned from abroad and is probably still fatigued from the trip. Hamer is not dissuaded by Steinbach and takes a seat.
After a short conversation about the strike, Steinbach reiterates that Lady Anne would more than likely not be interested in an interview. When she enters, her ladyship greets Steinbach, and Hamer introduces himself as a journalist. Steinbach addresses Lady Anne saying that he’d already informed Hamer of her ladyship’s lack of interest in being interviewed. After negotiating a later appointment, Hamer takes his leave and Lady Anne and Steinbach remain. Lady Anne explains to Steinbach that the miners want a twenty percent wage increase, but if such an increase were granted, the mine would see no profit; the most she could offer is a five percent increase. After some discussion about the labor strike, Steinbach notices that Lady Anne has taken a particular interest in a book of poetry. The two discuss Lady Anne’s relationship with the author: an old secretary of her father’s with whom she had a flirtatious relationship. The two briefly discuss Steinbach’s love life.
A party arrives to discuss the matters of the strike. Ellen Sands, the fiancée of the strikers’ foreman, John Reid, and six miners enter the drawing-room of Lady Anne. Speaking on behalf of Lady Anne, Steinbach explains that their demands are not possible. He negotiates with the miners, and just as the miners are accept his offer, John Reid chimes in. Reid convinces the miners to maintain the strike until their demands are met, and he denies Steinbach’s counter-offer. The miners agree to continue the strike. After Ellen departs, Reid and Lady Anne discuss the preceding events. Lady Anne explains that she does not intend to be unfair and that she can prove that she simply does not have the resources to offer a larger wage increase. The two make an appointment to go over Lady Anne’s paperwork the following afternoon. Hamer, who has been present for the entire meeting, remarks on the apparent relationship between Reid and Lady Anne. Steinbach confirms his suspicions by stating that the two are indeed ex-lovers. Hamer remarks that this would be a great story and begins to ask for permission to write about it, but Steinbach refuses. Hamer leaves and the curtain closes on the first act.
The second act continues with Steinbach and Lady Anne in her drawing-room. Steinbach informs Lady Anne that the paperwork indeed supports their stance on the wage increases. This pleases Lady Anne as she is certain that a strike that can only end in ruin for both parties and does not seem like an endeavor the miners would be keen on pursuing. Steinbach is not convinced that it will not be as easily resolved as Lady Anne thinks, considering Ellen’s influence on the group. Steinbach also reveals that he informed Hamer of Lady Anne’s relationship with Reid. Lady Anne expresses her dissatisfaction with his actions, since she believes this will only fuel Ellen’s opposition towards her, making Steinbach’s predictions more likely to become a reality. Steinbach apologizes and brings up the subject of romance again. Their conversation is interrupted when Reid arrives.
Lady Anne dismisses Steinbach so she and Reid can discuss the paperwork and hopefully end their dispute. After examining the facts and figures, Reid is convinced that his party’s demands are impossible. Lady Anne points out that the decision may still be met with some opposition by Ellen. Nevetheless, he tells Lady Anne that he will relay the information to the miners. Lady Anne then shifts the topic to that of their past together, which she believes is more important that the topic of the strike. Reid disagrees and insists that they stay on the topic of business.
Lady Anne and Reid move their conversation to the library after Steinbach reappears in the drawing room. Hamer enters shortly after and questions Steinbach about his views on the Capitalist system. Steinbach is not interested in such a controversial subject but agrees to answer the questions Hamer sets forth. Following the questioning, Hamer exits and Lady Anne and Reid reenter the drawing room. After some discussion about the conclusion they’ve reached, Reid experiences a fainting spell due to lack of nutrition. Lady Anne advises him to take care of himself, and Reid leaves. He returns with a check from an anonymous Socialist supporter, money that would sustain the strike for longer. Lady Anne tells Reid that the only option left is to reach out to Steinbach who will use his millions to stop the strike on his terms leaving the workers in poorer conditions than before, something that both she and Reid oppose. Lady Anne advises him to withhold the check and end the strike. Reid agrees on the condition that the two of them cannot meet again. Lady Anne assents, and the curtain closes on the second act.
The final act commences in Lady Anne’s drawing-room. She and Reid are present, discussing how they each deceived their associates in order to be alone together in that moment. Anne begins to express regret for the position she has caused them to be in because Hamer’s article about their history turned Reid’s people against him. Reid offers a solution: they will run away together. Lady Anne cannot imagine leaving her lavish life behind and instead proposes suicide. As the two argue about Anne’s suggestion, the footman enters to announce Ellen’s arrival and refusal to leave until she has seen Reid. She is shown in and requests to speak to Reid alone. They discuss the subject of the strike and a rumor about the suppressed check. When the conversation proves the rumor true, Ellen informs Reid that she cannot protect him and warns him to stay away from the townspeople if he values his life. Reid leaves regardless, and Ellen follows.
Steinbach enters and calls for Lady Anne, who enters as well. When she inquires about where Ellen and Reid have gone, Steinbach tells her that as he entered he passed Reid on his way out. Anne surmises that he is going to betray her and goes to the window to see him addressing the crowd. The crowd seems to be growing violent and Anne and Steinbach are sure that they intend to kill him. The two can no longer bear to watch and Steinbach informs Lady Anne that they must get away to save themselves. The two are about to escape through a window when a ragged Reid appears to see the two about to flee with together. Anne decides to leave with Steinbach but not before giving Reid an escape plan. When Anne and Steinbach leave, Reid remains sitting in the drawing room, and Ellen walks in, advising Reid to leave at once as the riot has found him. He tells her that the only escape is death—suicide. She urges him to escape but he refuses; he has been deceived and he has lost all honor in his own eyes. Ellen objects at first, but ultimately concedes. He kisses her forehead before leading her away. The curtain falls as he raises his glass of poison to drink.