In the back room of the Grand Central, E.B. delivers the greatest line of all time: "Could you have been born, Richardson," E.B. asks his doting nursemaid, "and not egg-hatched as I've always assumed?" Richardson applies more balm to E.B.'s wounds as his mean old boss goes on. "Did your mother hover over you, snaggle-toothed and doting," he asks, "as you now hover over me?" Sweetly and stupidly, Richardson answers: "I loved my mother." E.B. gets his mean on. William Sanderson is so brilliant in this scene. "Puberty may bring you to understand," he snarks, "that what we take for mother love is really murderous hatred and a desire for revenge." My mother would probably agree. Nobody is better at those things than she is, which is why I love her so very much.
Richardson asks if E.B. will be giving his mayoral speech that night and E.B. takes a swig of whiskey. His injuries at the hands of Bullock have inspired him to a rewrite. "Whatever night I give it, count on me not to mince words," he says, trotting out his new paragraphs: "'Electors of the camp, as to who should serve as mayor, reasonable men may differ. But as to who should be Sheriff, we all ought to speak with one voice. And our words should be, "turn out the maniac Bullock, who set upon the Mayor unprovoked, who beat him with merciless protraction. Bullock should be murdered! We should rise up and murder Bullock! Thank you very much.'" From the haze of dumbness clouding his brain, Richardson understands it all: "My father didn't liked me," he says, with deep sympathy. E.B. has revealed too much. "I'd like to use your ointment," he says to the only person in the world who cares whether he lives or dies, "to suffocate you."