The Winslow Boy

by

Terence Rattigan

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Arthur Winslow Character Analysis

Arthur is the intimidating patriarch of the Winslow family. He is the main driver behind the long and arduous legal process to get Ronnie justice and a fair trial. Though the family is clearly intimidated by him, Arthur also shows moments of tenderness and vulnerability from time to time. Over the two years of the case’s process, the stress takes its toll on Arthur’s health; though only in his sixties, by the end of the play he is required to use a wheelchair (though he stands up symbolically to give a victory statement to the press). Arthur is also in control of the family’s finances, having made a modest fortune working in the banking industry, and is the one who decides to hire the notorious (but expensive) barrister Sir Robert Morton. Arthur’s commitment to the case means he has to make tough financial sacrifices, starting with withdrawing his funding for Dickie’s studies. He goes on to admit to Catherine that his dowry arrangement for her wedding to John will no longer be possible, and also wants to get rid of the housemaid, Violet. The question throughout the play is whether Arthur is fighting for “justice,” as he claims, or because of personal pride and stubbornness. The truth is most likely a combination of the two.

Arthur Winslow Quotes in The Winslow Boy

The The Winslow Boy quotes below are all either spoken by Arthur Winslow or refer to Arthur Winslow. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nick Hern Books edition of The Winslow Boy published in 2000.
Act 1 Quotes

Ronnie’s the good little boy, I’m the bad little boy. You’ve just stuck a couple of labels on us that nothing on earth is ever going to change.

Related Characters: Dickie Winslow (speaker), Ronnie Winslow, Arthur Winslow
Related Symbols: Gramophone
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

GRACE: You’re such a funny girl. You never show your feelings much, do you? You don’t behave as if you were in love.

CATHERINE: How does one behave as if one is in love?

ARTHUR: One doesn’t read Len Rogers. One reads Byron.

CATHERINE: I do both.

ARTHUR: An odd combination.

CATHERINE: A satisfying one.

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Grace Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow (speaker)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

JOHN: The annoying thing was that I had a whole lot of neatly turned phrases ready for him and he wouldn’t let me use them.

CATHERINE: Such as?

JOHN: Oh – how proud and honoured I was by your acceptance of me, and how determined I was to make you a loyal and devoted husband – and to maintain you in the state to which you were accustomed – all that sort of thing. All very sincerely meant.

CATHERINE: Anything about loving me a little?

JOHN: That I thought we could take for granted. So did your father, incidentally.

Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

ARTHUR: Why didn’t you come to me now? Why did you have to go and hide in the garden?

RONNIE: I don’t know, Father.

ARTHUR: Are you so frightened of me?

Related Characters: Ronnie Winslow (speaker), Arthur Winslow (speaker)
Page Number: 27-28
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2  Quotes

My gosh, I could just about murder that little brother of mine. What’s he have to go about pinching postal orders for? And why the hell does he have to get himself nabbed doing it?

Related Characters: Dickie Winslow (speaker), Ronnie Winslow, Arthur Winslow
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3 Quotes

ARTHUR: I know exactly what I’m doing, Grace. I’m going to publish my son’s innocence before the world, and for that end I am not prepared to weigh the cost.

GRACE: But the cost may be out of all proportion –

ARTHUR: It may be. That doesn’t concern me. I hate heroics, Grace. An injustice has been done. I am going to set it right, and there is no sacrifice in the world I am not prepared to make in order to do so.

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Grace Winslow (speaker), Ronnie Winslow, Sir Robert Morton
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

CATHERINE: Not a verbal protest. Something far more spectacular and dramatic. He’d had his feet on the Treasury table and his hat over his eyes during most of the First Lord’s speech – and he suddenly got up very deliberately, glared at the First Lord, threw a whole bundle of notes on the floor, and stalked out of the House. It made a magnificent effect. If I hadn’t known I could have sworn he was genuinely indignant –

ARTHUR: Of course he was genuinely indignant. So would any man of feeling be –

CATHERINE: Sir Robert, Father dear, is not a man of feeling. I don’t think any emotion at all can stir that fishy heart –

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow (speaker), Sir Robert Morton
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

SIR ROBERT: What are my instructions, Miss Winslow?

CATHERINE: (In a flat voice.) Do you need my instructions, Sir Robert? Aren’t they already on the Petition? Doesn’t it say: Let Right be done?

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4 Quotes

ARTHUR: I’m tired of being gazed at from the street while eating my mutton, as though I were an animal from the Zoo.

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker)
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

CATHERINE: You don’t think the work I’m doing at the W.S.A. is useful?

ARTHUR is silent.

You may be right. But it’s the only work I’m fitted for, all the same. (Pause.) No, Father. The choice is quite simple. Either I marry Desmond and settle down into quite a comfortable and not really useless existence – or I go on for the rest of my life earning two pounds a week in the service of a hopeless cause.

Related Characters: Catherine Winslow (speaker), Arthur Winslow, Desmond Curry
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

ARTHUR: It would appear, then, that we’ve won.

CATHERINE: Yes, Father, it would appear that we’ve won.

Related Characters: Arthur Winslow (speaker), Catherine Winslow (speaker), Ronnie Winslow, Violet
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Winslow Boy LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Winslow Boy PDF

Arthur Winslow Character Timeline in The Winslow Boy

The timeline below shows where the character Arthur Winslow appears in The Winslow Boy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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...church service. Grace, Ronnie’s mother whose prettiness is beginning to fade, says he was “inaudible.” Arthur, a sixty-something man and clearly the imposing head of the family, defends the priest. Dickie,... (full context)
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Dickie claims to have been working hard on his studies, but Grace and Arthur suspect him of listening to his gramophone and shirking his duties. Arthur warns that he... (full context)
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Grace thinks Catherine “doesn’t behave as if she were in love.” Arthur puts forward the idea that if you’re in love, you read Byron—not Len Rogers. Catherine... (full context)
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John’s due to arrive imminently to discuss his potential marriage to Catherine with Arthur (the meeting has been arranged by Grace). Catherine and Grace go to hide in the... (full context)
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...shown into the room by Violet. He’s a well-dressed man of about thirty. He and Arthur have a very formal exchange about the marriage, mostly focused on the finances. John outlines... (full context)
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...and Grace emerge from the dining room. Grace offers her congratulations to Catherine and John; Arthur goes down to the cellar to get a celebratory bottle of wine. After Grace leaves... (full context)
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...a colonel, and asks Catherine if the rest of her family is as scared of Arthur as he is. By and large, they are, she says; but Ronnie needn’t be scared... (full context)
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...enters the room, soaked to the bone, and pleads with his sister not to fetch Arthur. Sensing a difficult conversation coming, John excuses himself to the dining room.  (full context)
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Ronnie shows Catherine the letter; she’s shocked by its contents. Furthermore, it’s addressed to Arthur; Catherine tells Ronnie he shouldn’t have opened it. Ronnie desperately professes his innocence to Catherine... (full context)
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...rushes into the room and embraces Ronnie, who starts crying. She agrees not to tell Arthur anything yet, and Dickie goes upstairs to stop his father from coming down. As he... (full context)
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Grace enters again and tells Catherine that Ronnie is now upstairs in bed. Arthur comes in, complaining about the state of the cellars. He, too, asks Desmond about his... (full context)
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Arthur calls Violet and asks her to bring glasses so they can toast the engagement. He... (full context)
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Arthur tells Violet that Ronnie isn’t due back for another couple of days, but she says... (full context)
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At first, Arthur thinks that Ronnie is ill, but it quickly dawns on him that there must be... (full context)
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Arthur tells Violet to fetch Ronnie from upstairs. Grace protests that he is in bed, but... (full context)
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Ronnie appears in his dressing gown, clearly fearful. Arthur asks why he isn’t in uniform; Ronnie tells him that it got wet in the... (full context)
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Arthur instructs Ronnie to tell him the truth about the stealing accusation; he says he’ll know... (full context)
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Arthur sends Ronnie back to bed, insisting that in the future “any son of mine will... (full context)
Act 2 
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...back downstairs again, is playing some early ragtime. Dickie asks his sister if she thinks Arthur can hear it upstairs, but she reckons not. (full context)
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...Cadet”—Ronnie—in light of his “high-handed treatment by the Admiralty.” The letter goes on to praise Arthur for his defense of Ronnie against the “soulless oligarchy.” (full context)
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Arthur enters, walking with difficulty. Dickie hastily switches off the gramophone. Dickie asks Arthur what the... (full context)
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Reading the letter page, Arthur wonders if he could sue “Perplexed.” Catherine asks him if Sir Robert Morton is coming... (full context)
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Catherine leaves the room, and Arthur goes over to Dickie, staring at him intently. Arthur asks Dickie to answer a question... (full context)
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Arthur tells Dickie that he’s no longer able to pay for “such a gamble.” Dickie will... (full context)
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The doorbell rings, and Arthur knows that it is a journalist who has come to see him. He asks Dickie... (full context)
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...a journalist from the Daily News. She says she wants to take a picture of Arthur and Ronnie; her paper specializes in “stories with a little heart … a father’s fight... (full context)
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Miss Barnes quizzes Arthur about the case but doesn’t seem especially interested. Arthur outlines the long process they’ve already... (full context)
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 Ronnie and Grace enter, clearly in high spirits. Ronnie excitedly tells Arthur that he has grown an inch taller. He notices Miss Barnes and asks who she... (full context)
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 Posing with Ronnie, Arthur explains to Grace about Miss Barnes. Grace and Miss Barnes discuss the curtains. Ronnie is... (full context)
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 Arthur tells Ronnie that his half term report was pretty fair, but Ronnie is more interested... (full context)
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 The doctor left ointment for Arthur’s back, instructing him to have four massages a day. Grace says he should have one... (full context)
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Grace goes upstairs to attend to Ronnie and prepare Arthur’s ointment. Arthur turns wearily to Catherine, saying he feels “suicidally inclined.” He asks her if... (full context)
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Arthur asks Catherine if he should drop the case, which she steadfastly refuses. He admits that... (full context)
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Relieved at Catherine’s attitude, Arthur says that they have to “pin all their faith” on Sir Robert Morton. After an... (full context)
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Arthur leaves the room as Dickie comes in. Dickie vents his frustration to Catherine at having... (full context)
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...short Sir Robert is on time, so Catherine instructs Desmond to go upstairs and get Arthur. She offers Sir Robert a drink or a smoke, but he declines both. (full context)
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Arthur and Grace come down. Arthur introduces himself to Sir Robert and tells him that Ronnie... (full context)
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...representative has to agree using the words “let Right be done.” Both Sir Robert and Arthur agree that they like the phrase. (full context)
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Ronnie comes in. Arthur explains that Sir Robert will ask Ronnie a few questions, and Sir Robert insists that... (full context)
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Arthur tells Sir Robert that he is being “outrageous.” John enters, clearly taken aback by the... (full context)
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...morning. Desmond is surprised—but Sir Robert says, “the boy is plainly innocent,” before bowing to Arthur and Catherine and leaving the house. Ronnie sobs hysterically. (full context)
Act 3
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It’s nine months later. At 10:30 p.m., Arthur is sitting in his favorite armchair, reading about the case—it’s headline news. Ronnie and Grace... (full context)
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...First Lord defends the position of the Admiralty to jeers and interruptions from the opposition. Arthur says happily, “it looks as if the First Lord’s having rather a rough passage.” Ronnie... (full context)
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Grace thinks her “poor sleepy little lamb,” Ronnie, should go to bed. But Arthur says that Ronnie is the subject of “violent and heated debate” and that he ought... (full context)
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Arthur shouts at Ronnie again. Ronnie says he was listening, just with his eyes closed. Arthur... (full context)
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Violet comes in, informing Arthur that there are three reporters waiting in the hall. He instructs her to dismiss them... (full context)
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Grace puts a rug over Ronnie. Arthur says to her that he thinks this is a good time for her to talk... (full context)
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Arthur says it’s best they let Violet go and explain that it’s too expensive to keep... (full context)
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In reference to the financial figures, Arthur says “facts are brutal things.” Grace says, a little hysterically, that she doesn’t know what... (full context)
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Arthur says he is going to publish Ronnie’s innocence before the world, and for that he... (full context)
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...boy” who stole the postal order. “The boy who didn’t steal that postal order,” interjects Arthur. Grace says it makes no difference when millions of people are talking and gossiping about... (full context)
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Grace continues her attack on Arthur. She says that Ronnie won’t thank him for the case when he’s older, and that... (full context)
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Grace breaks down, and Arthur puts his arm around her. Ronnie wakes up a little, asking what the matter is.... (full context)
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Violet comes in with sandwiches and a new letter for Arthur. He asks her how long she’s been with the family (twenty-four years). She tells him... (full context)
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...leaves, greeting Catherine who has just come back from watching the parliamentary debate. She updates Arthur on the proceedings, saying it still looks unlikely that they will allow a fair trial... (full context)
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Arthur asks Catherine if Sir Robert protested when the First Lord refused them their trial. She... (full context)
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Sir Robert has come to update Arthur on the day’s events. Catherine asks if he had noticed she was there; he says... (full context)
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Arthur reads the letter brought in by Violet, while Catherine and Sir Robert continue chatting. When... (full context)
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Arthur reiterates that they should end the case, but Sir Robert says that Catherine is clearly... (full context)
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...comes to the door, saying that John has arrived asking to speak privately with Catherine. Arthur and Sir Robert go to the dining room to let the other two speak. John... (full context)
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...letter from his father. Catherine says she’s read it, but John wants to know what Arthur’s response will be. She says he’ll most likely ignore it—“isn’t that the best answer to... (full context)
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Arthur appears in the doorway, wanting to know what the phone call was about. Sir Robert... (full context)
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Sir Robert asks whether in light of the new information Arthur still wants to cease action. Arthur says it’s up to Catherine. Without hesitation she says... (full context)
Act 4
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Grace calls Arthur in from the garden for lunch. Dickie asks if there will be room for him... (full context)
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Arthur comes in through the garden door, walking badly. Grace tells him off for coming up... (full context)
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Arthur has also heard that Dickie has joined the volunteer reserve force of the British Army.... (full context)
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The telephone rings again. Arthur picks it up and immediately puts it down. Grace says that he shouldn’t do that... (full context)
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Arthur asks Grace if his lunch is ready. She’s made him salad as the cook and... (full context)
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Arthur goes into the dining room; Dickie closes the door after him. With concern, Dickie asks... (full context)
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Dickie offers his sympathies to Grace. She says Arthur doesn’t care what she thinks and never has, but that she’s given up worrying—it’s her... (full context)
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Arthur appears at the dining-room door, still in his chair. He tells Catherine she is late.... (full context)
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Catherine informs Arthur that Sir Robert did a great job examining the witness who identified Ronnie as the... (full context)
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...him. But John had wished Catherine good luck, which Grace thinks is outrageous and “cold-blooded.” Arthur warns Grace she will be late for the resumption of court. She makes him promise... (full context)
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Grace and Dickie leave for court. Arthur asks Catherine if they are going to lose—they both know it’s their last chance. He... (full context)
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Arthur read in the papers that proceedings began earlier with Sir Robert telling the judge he... (full context)
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...there were too many people out front. He wants to speak with Catherine alone, so Arthur goes to finish his lunch. (full context)
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Arthur opens the dining-room door and asks Catherine if he can now come in. As he... (full context)
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Catherine says she has been a fool; Arthur waits for her to say why, but she doesn’t. Then he asks what Desmond wanted.... (full context)
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Catherine asks if it would be such “folly” to marry Desmond. Arthur thinks it would be lunacy. She says that he’s “nice” and that she is approaching... (full context)
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Arthur tells Catherine that he is bequeathing everything to her and Grace. There’s still a “little... (full context)
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Catherine asks if Arthur thinks the work she does for Suffrage is useful. He remains silent. She says he... (full context)
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...her he’s getting married to someone else next month. Apparently he was very apologetic, which Arthur thinks is ridiculous. He asks if John is in love with the new woman. Catherine... (full context)
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Arthur slowly takes Catherine’s hand in his. He asks her if he’s messed up her life.... (full context)
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Arthur says that maybe they’ve just been stubborn—that’s what Grace thinks. Catherine agrees that it’s a... (full context)
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Arthur and Catherine can hear the shout of a newsboy outside. He’s calling out “Winslow Case... (full context)
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Violet says to Arthur that he must be pleased—she’d always said it would work out. He is pleased, he... (full context)
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Violet exits the room. Arthur says to Catherine that it appears they’ve won. She breaks down in tears and cries... (full context)
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...of Sir Robert. He walks into the room “calmly and methodically,” and says he thought Arthur might like to hear the Attorney-General’s conceding statement which he’s written down on a scrap... (full context)
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Arthur thanks Sir Robert, saying it is hard for him to find the right words. Sir... (full context)
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...discredited and that that had won them the case. Violet comes back in and tells Arthur that the reporters at the front door would like a statement from him. (full context)
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Catherine begins to wheel Arthur to the door, but he protests that he wants his stick—he refuses to meet the... (full context)