There’s a good deal of silly talk about these days—but—and I speak as a hard-headed business man, who has to take risks and know what he’s about—I say, you can ignore all this silly pessimistic talk. When you marry, you’ll be marrying at a very good time.
I tell you, by that time you’ll be living in a world that’ll have forgotten all these Capital versus Labor agitations and all these silly little war scares. There’ll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere.
A man has to make his own way—has to look after himself—and his family, too, of course, when he has one—and so long as he does that he won’t come to much harm. But the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive.
It’s the way I like to go to work. One person and one line of inquiry at a time. Otherwise, there’s a muddle.
If we are all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?
Birling: It’s a free country, I told them.
Eric: It isn’t if you can’t go and work somewhere else.
I can’t help thinking about this girl—destroying herself so horribly—and I’ve been so happy tonight.
Inspector: There are a lot of young women living that sort of existence, Miss Birling, in every city and big town in this country.
Sheila: But these girls aren’t cheap labor. They’re people.
Gerald: We’re respectable citizens and not dangerous criminals.
Inspector: Sometimes there isn’t as much difference as you think.
Miss Birling has just been made to understand what she did to this girl. She feels responsible. And if she leaves us now, and doesn’t hear any more, then she’ll feel she’s entirely to blame, she’ll be alone with her responsibility.
If there’s nothing else, we’ll have to share our guilt.
You know, of course, that my husband was Lord Mayor only two years ago and that he’s still a magistrate?
I don’t dislike you as I did half an hour ago, Gerald. In fact, in some odd way, I rather respect you more than I’ve ever done before.
We’ve no excuse now for putting on airs.
You’ve had children. You must have known what she was feeling. And you slammed the door in her face.
There’ll be plenty of time, when I’ve gone, for you all to adjust your family relationships.
This girl killed herself—and died a horrible death. But each of you helped to kill her. Remember that. Never forget it. But then I don’t think you ever will.
There are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, with what we think and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.
If all that’s come out tonight is true, then it doesn’t much matter who it was who made us confess.
Whoever that chap was, the fact remains that I did what I did. And Mother did what she did. And the rest of you did what you did to her. It’s still the same rotten story whether it’s been told to a police inspector or to somebody else.