Pinter's "Betrayal" (1978) recounts, in reverse chronological order, the story of a romantic triangle involving a husband and wife, Robert and Emma, and Robert's oldest friend, Jerry. In Scene 2 -- early in the play, late in the story -- Jerry invites Robert to his house, commencing a subtle test of who knows what about whom.

Jerry sitting. Robert standing, with glass.

Jerry: I must speak to you. It's important.

Robert: Speak.

Jerry: Yes.


Robert: You look quite rough.


What's the trouble?


It's not about you and Emma, is it?


I know all about that.

Jerry: Yes. So I've . . . been told.

Robert: Ah.


Well, it's not very important, is it? Been over for years, hasn't it?

Jerry: It is important.

Robert: Really? Why?

(Jerry stands, walks about.)

Jerry: I thought I was going to go mad.

Robert: When?

Jerry: This evening. Just now. Wondering whether to phone you. I had to phone you. It took me . . . two hours to phone you. And then you were with the kids. . . . I thought I wasn't going to be able to see you. . . . I thought I'd go mad. I'm very grateful to you . . . for coming.

Robert: Oh, for God's sake! Look, what exactly do you want to say?

(Pause. Jerry sits.)

Jerry: I don't know why she told you. I don't know how she could tell you. I just don't understand. Listen, I know you've got . . . look, I saw her today . . . we had a drink . . . I haven't seen her for . . . she told me, you know, that you're in trouble, both of you . . . and so on. I know that. I mean I'm sorry.

Robert: Don't be sorry.

Jerry: Why not?