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The play starts in the spring of 1912 and the Birlings and Gerald have got together for the engagement of Sheila and Gerald, it was a festive moment in the household, Mr. Birling was making comments like “Just because the Kaiser makes a speech or two, or a few German officers have too much to drink and begin talking nonsense, you’ll hear some people say that war is inevitable, And I say to that fiddlesticks!
” and ” the titanic- she sails next week – forty-six thousand eight hundred tons – forty-six thousand eight hundred tons – New York in five days – and every luxury – and unsinkable- absolutely unsinkable” , but none of it is true, other talks where taking place, Sheila says to Gerald “(half serious, half playful) Yes – Except for all last summer, when you never came near me, and I wondered what had happened to you.
” Gerald quickly replied “And I’ve told you – I was awfully busy at the works all that time”, to which Sheila replies, “(same tone as before) yes, that’s what you say”. Sheila also made a comment on Eric saying “Your Squiffy” meaning he drinks too much The Birlings think of marriage as climbing up the social ladder, and Gerald’s Father (Sir Croft) is Birlings Social superior, Mr.Birling says “Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now – though Crofts limited are both older and bigger than Birling and Company – and now you’ve brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together – for lower costs and higher prices”.
Whilst the talking is going on, Gerald goes on produces a ring case, Sheila “(excited) Oh – Gerald you’ve got it – is it the one you wanted me to have? ” Gerald says, “Yes – the very one” Mrs. Birling liking what Gerald