Ingredient X



SIR GEORGE: (bluff and hearty) Afternoon, Wilkinson

WILKINSON: (an over anxious worrying little man) Afternoon, Sir George.

SIR GEORGE: We the first?

WILKINSON: Apparently. Except for Stanton, of course. I've just been having a 
word with him.

SIR GEORGE: Stanton?

WILKINSON: The secretary.

SIR GEORGE: Of course. Couldn't quite connect the name for the moment. That's 
the worst of being on so many boards, you know. Mix 'em all up.

WILKINSON: Very easy thing to do.

SIR GEORGE: Well, what had he got to say?

WILKINSON: Not much. Cautious. But I understand the Chairman is to make this 
whole situation clear this afternoon.


WILKINSON: There's no doubt it's wonderful stuff, this synthetic rubber of 

SIR GEORGE: Is it? I dare say.

WILKINSON: You haven't--?

SIR GEORGE: Do I look like a man that'd wear goloshes?

WILKINSON: (laughing) Good, Sir George, good.

SIR GEORGE: It's selling, though.

WILKINSON: We can't deliver it fast enough, so Stanton says. In fact-- 


WILKINSON: Of course, I don't know anything, but you know what the Chairman is 

SIR GEORGE: I do. What do you mean?

WILKINSON: He's taken on some large orders, so I hear in the city.

SIR GEORGE: All the better.

WILKINSON: (slowly) Ye-es. Better to go slow to start with, I always say.

SIR GEORGE: Rubbish, sir. Strike while the iron's hot.

WILKINSON: That's all very well, Sir George, but you know, this stuff is still 
more or less in the experimental stage, and-- Here's Stanton now.

STANTON: Afternoon, gentlemen.

SIR GEORGE: Afternoon, Stanton. Well, how are things with Synthetic Rubber, 
Limited, this afternoon?

STANTON: Er - satisfactory, I think, Sir George. The Chairman is going to lay 
all the facts before---


BRUCE: (hard, domineering) Boy!

BOY: Yes, B'wana.

BRUCE: Whisky peg.

BOY: Yes, B'wana.

BRUCE: Is B'wana Anderson there?

BOY: Go look see, B'wana.

BRUCE: Say B'wana Bruce want palaver. Savvy?

BOY: Yes, B'wana.

BRUCE: Blast this heat! A hundred and-- (He whistles) The white man's grave!

BOY: Whisky peg, B'wana. B'wana Anderson he come now.

BRUCE: Good. Hallo, Anderson. Boy! Whisky peg for B'wana Anderson.

BOY: Yes, B'wana.

ANDERSON: Good afternoon, sir.

BRUCE: Heard about the Doc?



ANDERSON: I thought as much last night. This blasted country! It never seems 
to get you, sir.

BRUCE: It did, once. I've had it too often. Hardened. Wait till you've been 
here as long as I have.

ANDERSON: God forbid!

BOY: Whisky peg, B'wana.

BRUCE: Here's luck.

ANDERSON: Luck! Yes. I guess that's what we live on. That and whisky.

BRUCE: And a damned good combination too. Look here, I was wanting to see you. 
Hand over that map, will you? Thanks. How much have we got this week?

ANDERSON: About thirty tons.

BRUCE: Not enough. Now look here. This is roughly six miles to the inch. 
Here's the old pit and pit A -- where the river bends round. Now in my opinion 
the vein, or whatever you call it, must follow the course of the river. What 
do you think?

ANDERSON: I should say it's doubtful.

BRUCE: Well, you're a geologist, but you don't know everything, thank God. And 
anyway, we can always go look see.

ANDERSON: What is the idea, sir?

BRUCE: More dirt, my boy. I'm going to follow up this river and tap every bend 
as far as we can get.

ANDERSON: We haven't the labour.

BRUCE: We'll get the labour.

ANDERSON: But -- even if we get it, how'd you get the stuff down to the coast? 
The carriers-- 

BRUCE: Carriers, hell! A damned lot of lazy niggers. I've been father and 
Mother and Aunt Martha combined to this fancy dress parade so far, but now 
there's going to be a change. Drive, my boy. Drive, drive, drive!

ANDERSON: D'you think the natives'll stand for it?

BRUCE: They'll have to stand for it if I say so. Now see here. I want you to 
take little Robinson and half a dozen of these misbegotten exhibits and go up 
as far as-- 


SIR GEORGE: I laid my third within a couple of feet of the pin, and by gad, I 
was down in four after all.

STANTON: Excuse me a moment, Sir George. Here comes Lord Ingleby. Good 
afternoon, my lord.

LORD INGLEBY: (a fussy foolish old man) A'ternoon, Stanton. A'ternoon, George.

SIR GEORGE: Afternoon, Ingleby.

LORD INGLEBY: Just a minute, Stanton. There was something I particularly 
wanted to ask you.

STANTON: Yes, my lord.

LORD INGLEBY: This -- this synthetic rubber, now. What is it made of?

STANTON: Well, my lord, I'm afraid I--

LORD INGLEBY: Is the Chairman going to tell us? In my opinion the Chairman 
ought to tell us. Lady Ingleby was asking me only the other day what it was 
made of, and, 'pon my word, I didn't know.

STANTON: You remember, my lord, we agreed to leave the secret of the formula 
with the--

LORD INGLEBY: Yes, yes, yes. I know. But I think the Chairman ought to tell 
us. This Ingredient X now. We're getting that from Africa now, aren't we?

STANTON: (nervously) Yes, my lord, but of course we don't want anybody to--

LORD INGLEBY: No, no, no. Of course not. I'm as secret as the grave, but at 
the same time, I think the Chairman ought to--



(The sound of wind and waves should accompany all the sea scenes. The ship's 
bell sounds eight bells.)

FARRAR: (a cheerful young 2nd Officer) Give her a couple of points.

SAILOR: Two points it is, sir.

(A whistle sounds, very high and shrill)

2nd SAILOR: Yes, sir?

FARRAR: Tell the steward if my soup isn't damned hot, I'll wring his neck.

2nd SAILOR: Yes, sir.

DEAN: (3rd officer) Hallo. Anything doing?

FARRAR: Not much.

DEAN: Been coming over a bit green, hasn't it?

FARRAR: She's dam' badly loaded, that's what it is. If I were the First, I'd 
be dam' well ashamed to send a dingy full of trippers across the Serpentine 
with a list like this, let alone a ruddy four thousand ton tramp.

DEAN: Has it shifted?

FARRAR: No, but it will, you mark my words. When you've been at sea as long as 
I have, me lad-- 

DEAN: I shall have been by next week.

FARRAR: Less of it. I'm turning in. It'll be all hands before tonight or I'm a 
Dutchman. Come and cock your eye at the chart, and then I'm off.

DEAN: Seen anything?

FARRAR: A floating palace about half an hour ago. P. and O. Gosh, some people 
don't know they're born. Look out!

(A crash as a sea comes aboard)

DEAN: Getting up, isn't it?

FARRAR: It would! This'll just do in any chances we ever had of getting home 
for Christmas.

DEAN: Cheerful devil, aren't you? Has the old man been up?

FARRAR: No. Come along and I'll show you where-- 



JONES: (a financier) So I told him I'd stand in ten thousand.

HARRIS: (another financier) You think it's as safe as all that?

JONES: Nothing's safe, my boy, but at the price it's worth risking.

HARRIS: What about Synthetic Rubber, Limited? Are you doing anything in that?

JONES: I took a few of the original shares. They're holding their first Annual 
Meeting today, I hear.

HARRIS: Going?

JONES: I may look in.

HARRIS: What do you think of it?

JONES: The rubber or the company?

HARRIS: Either.

JONES: It's early days yet. But there's a lot of money in it if the stuff's 
all right.

HARRIS: You bet there is.

JONES: I took a few hundreds. Neither here nor there, you know. If it turns 
out a winner, of course--



ANDERSON: Hallo, Doc. How's the fever?

DOCTOR: Rotten. I say. How many mosquitoes are there in this infernal room? 
I've counted four millions.

ANDERSON: You've missed one, haven't you?

DOCTOR: I dare say. What's the news?

ANDERSON: Never is any in this God-forgotten hole. I say, Doc, it'll be about 
half-past two in the afternoon at home now, won't it?

DOCTOR: About that. Why?

ANDERSON: Think of Piccadilly Circus at this moment! All the people and the 
cars and--

DOCTOR: I'd rather think about a gallon of iced lager at the Café Royal.

ANDERSON: Gosh, yes. It seems like a million miles away.
DOCTOR: It is! Pass me that quinine, there's a good fellow, thanks.

ANDERSON: Oh, by the way, there is some news. I'm off up the river.

ANDERSON: The Chief wants to open up some more pits, and I'm off to look for 
the dirt higher up.
DOCTOR: Not what I should call healthy.

ANDERSON: What do you mean?
DOCTOR: Malaria. Niggers. Personally, I should say we've reached the limit of 
safety, and then some, where we are. They got a couple of the Swahili carriers 
this morning.

DOCTOR: No. Niggers. Poisoned arrows out of the bush. They hadn't a chance.

ANDERSON: The swine! I've a good mind to--
DOCTOR: Take it easy, my boy. There's only one thing you can do.

ANDERSON: What's that?
DOCTOR: Sit down and wait until your own turn comes.

ANDERSON: Cheerful, aren't you!
DOCTOR: What's the thermometer?
ANDERSON: A hundred and ten.
DOCTOR: Is that all? I'm shivering. Blast this fever. I shall be light-headed 
before night. When are you off?

ANDERSON: I'm going out to tell off the boys for the trip now.
DOCTOR: Well, good luck.

ANDERSON: Thanks. Anything I can do before I go?

DOCTOR: You might leave the rest of the quinine where I can reach it. Thanks. 
And if you could kill off a few of the mosquitos-- Oh well, never mind.

ANDERSON: I say, Doc.


ANDERSON: Why do we come here, anyway?

DOCTOR: God knows. Good-bye.

ANDERSON: Cheerio.



MORRIS: (a business man) Well, how's the analysis going on?

FEWIN: (a chemist) All right -- up to a point.

MORRIS: What do you mean, up to a point? Is it rubber or isn't it?

FEWIN: Oh, it isn't rubber -- not natural rubber, that is. But as far as I can 
see it possesses all the usual properties of rubber.

MORRIS: (brusquely) We know that. Then the question is, what is it made of?

FEWIN: I don't know.

MORRIS: You don't know! Look here, you're an analytical chemist, and it's your 
job to know. What do you think I'm paying you for?

FEWIN: (coolly) Because you hope to make a million out of the formula for 
synthetic rubber -- if I can get it for you.

MORRIS: All right, all right. There's no need to get huffed. What's the result 
of the new tests?

FEWIN: The same as before. Every time I come up against this -- this stuff -- 
this new ingredient -- whatever it is. I can give you the whole formula, but 
for that -- weights, proportions, everything.

MORRIS: But what is this ingredient -- this new stuff?

FEWIN: I tell you I don't know. It's -- well, it's new, that's all there is to 

MORRIS: Rubbish. There isn't anything new. Try again. Take more time.

FEWIN: It's not a question of time. If there's an analytical chemist in London 
can tell you what that stuff is, I'll eat all the rubber, real or synthetic, 
within ten miles. As far as I can see, it's a new element. It simply doesn't 
respond to any known tests.

MORRIS: But -- where do they get it from?

FEWIN: That's their secret.

MORRIS: Look here, Fewin, we must get it. I don't care how much I spend, we've 
simply got to-- 



(The sound of wind and waves. The whistle sounds from the bridge.)

SAILOR: Yessir?

DEAN: Send the bos'n to me.

SAILOR: Yessir.

DEAN: (speaking down to the engine room) Hallo! Hallo! Is that you, Mac?

MAC.: (a Scotsman) It is.

DEAN: I say, Mac, can you give her some more steam? There's a hell of a head 
sea meeting her.

MAC.: D'ye think we don't know that, down in the engine room? Man, we're fair 
standin' on oor heids.

DEAN: I know. It's pretty fierce up here, but I must keep her into it. Whack 
her up a bit, Mac, there's a good fellow.

MAC.: If there's a man between here an' Glasgow can get mair oot o' this heap 
o' man-killing scrap-iron than me an' my laddies, then he's welcome to try!

DEAN: All right, Mac. Don't overheat your bearings. How about a tot in my 
cabin when you come off?

MAC.: Man, I've a triple expansion thirst this meenute.

BOS'N: Bos'n, sir.

DEAN: Oh. Take a couple of men and go and tighten up those wedges on number 
one hatch. It looks to me as though-- 


WILKINSON: --and I told him, of course, that the prospects were excellent. Er 
-- do you think the prospects are -- er -- excellent? Because-- 

JUDSON: (a fat voice) Can't say until we've heard the Chairman. I heard a 
queer bit of talk in the City last Tuesday.

WILKINSON: Oh. What was that?

JUDSON: I didn't like it, I can tell you.

WILKINSON: But what was it? Anything to do with us?

JUDSON: I should say it was!

WILKINSON: Not serious?

JUDSON: Only that Carrington has been booking more orders against time than he 
can cover.


JUDSON: That's what I heard. Of course there may be nothing in it, but all the 
same, I don't-- 



ANDERSON: How's it going, Robby?

ROBINSON: (A cheery youth) O.K. We've smashed up one of the wheel-barrows, 


ROBINSON: Owen Nares there dropped it over the cliff. He looked pretty sick 
when I told him I'd stop it out of his wages.

ANDERSON: Serve him right. Does he think we bring wheel-barrows six hundred 
miles from the coast for him to smash? Clumsy devil!

ROBINSON: You sound cheerful. Anything doing?

ANDERSON: Yes, there is. I've got a little picnic party for you.

ROBINSON: Too hot. I say, I wish it would rain.

ANDERSON: You know dam' well it won't rain for six months yet. What do you say 
to a trip up the river?

ROBINSON: What river?

ANDERSON: The Thames, of course. Maidenhead. Dinner at Skindles. This river, 
you fathead.


ANDERSON: The Chief is going to open up-- LOOK OUT! (There are two or three 
revolver shots.) By gad! They've got him!

ROBINSON: What was it?

ANDERSON: Didn't you see? He missed you by inches. It's got that chap through 
the neck, anyway. That arrow's poisoned. I shouldn't watch him die, if I were 
you. It isn't pretty. Makes you think.

ROBINSON: Did you get him?

ANDERSON: Don't think so. I'm a rotten shot with a revolver. But I expect I 
put the wind up him pretty thoroughly.

ROBINSON: Did you see him?

ANDERSON: Only a glimpse. Up country bush-nigger. I say, it looks healthy for 
our trip up the river, what?

ROBINSON: What trip?

ANDERSON: I was telling you. We're off for a couple of days prospecting, my 
lad. "Spend your week-ends in the country!" I suppose we shall have to take a 
chance on it. Fall in your gang, Robby, and we'll pick our men. Might as well 


SYLVIA: (gushing) Yes, my dear, I think it's all just too exciting, I do 
really. The romance of commerce, you know. Synthetic rubber, whatever that may 
mean. Anyway, I know Harry has put quite masses of money into it. 

LADY ANNE: But what is it?

SYLVIA: Harry says he hasn't the faintest idea. It's quite a mystery. 
Ingredient X he calls it.
LADY ANNE: Ingredient X?

SYLVIA: Isn't it too thrilling?  They get it from Africa and places and make 
this synthetic rubber out of it. Quite Edgar Wallace, don't you think? It's 
going to pay simply unthinkable dividends, so Harry says, and he's promised me 
faithfully that I shall have those adorable pearls. And when I think of all 
those darling black people getting this Ingredient X out there in Africa and 
places, really, my dear, I could hug them, if you understand what I--

(There is the sound of applause.)
CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen, we have met here, as you know, to pass the report which I 
propose to submit to the General Meeting of the Shareholders of Synthetic 
Rubber, Limited, to-night. 

THE OTHERS: Hear, hear.

CHAIRMAN: With the general terms of that report you are most of you quite 
familiar. The financial details have been circulated and I think I may say 
that they are satisfactory. We are, of course, a young--a very young 
undertaking. This is our first Annual Meeting, and we have not yet perhaps 
quite established ourselves upon the footing which will no doubt later be 
OTHERS: Hear, hear.
CHAIRMAN: I propose therefore that before going into matters arising out of 
the report -- and I may say that I have myself some important considerations 
to lay before this Board -- we should pass the report for consideration by--



(The sound of the ship's engines is heard--a rhythmical throbbing.)
MAC.: It was the Third, sir, askin' for steam. 

CHIEF: (also a Scotsman) Steam! What the hell does he think the ship's runnin' 
on? Buttermilk, mebbe?
MAC.: There's a gey sea runnin'.
CHIEF: There is that. Put a man to that throttle to hold her when she races.

MAC.: Aye, aye, sir.
CHIEF: How's the bearin's? 

MAC.: No that bad.
CHIEF: That's a maircy. I don't mind tellin' ye that I've as much confidence 
in they bearin's as I hae i' a man frae Aberdeen wi' change for saxpence o' a 
Saterday necht. 

MAC.: Is that so, sir?
CHIEF: It is. An' if that wee Third Officer wants more steam, ye can tell him 
frae me--


TONGA: (a native foreman) No can do, B'wana. 

ANDERSON: What's that?

TONGA: No can do, B'wana. Plenty bad man up him river, shoot plenty arrow, 
black boy him die too much quick all right.
ANDERSON: Rubbish. Him white B'wana shoot bad man dead.

TONGA: White B'wana no see bad man. Black boy no see bad man. Plenty soon him 
all die too much one time.

ANDERSON: But look here, Tonga. White B'wana protect black boy.

TONGA: White B'wana no protect Bosoko. Him die all right.

ANDERSON: That was an accident. 

ROBINSON: It's no use, Andy. They've got wind up. You'll not budge them. 

ANDERSON: Rot. What the hell do they think they're here for, anyway? By Jove! 
That's what I asked the Doc, ten minutes ago. 

ROBINSON: And what did the Doc say? 

ANDERSON: He said "God knows." 

ROBINSON: He's right.

ANDERSON: See here, Tonga. You tell him black boy him get plenty pay, plenty 
blanket, plenty tobacco go along up river. 

TONGA: No can do, B'wana

ANDERSON: Bad man him all gone away. 

TONGA: Plenty bad man in bushes. Him watch all time plenty too much.

ROBINSON: I told you how it would be. 

ANDERSON: This is a job for the Chief, I guess. Turn 'em to again, Robby, 
while I go up and tell the--

CHAIRMAN: Carried unanimously. (Applause.)

JUDSON: Well, that seems all right. 

WILKINSON: Yes. So far.
JUDSON: Oh, the report's the main thing. I promised my wife a rope of pearls 
if this thing came off all right.
WILKINSON: My wife's past pearls, it's food she likes.
JUDSON: Well, it's cheaper.
LORD INGLEBY: Before we go further, I should like to ask the Chairman whether 
he can give the Board some information as to the precise nature of this 
Ingredient X? In my opinion the Board ought to know. 

WILKINSON: Hear, hear.
CHAIRMAN: I am going to deal with the question of Ingredient X immediately, my 

LORD INGLEBY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In my opinion it is important that we 
STOKER: An' I ses to the Chief. I ses, if ye want any more coal on the 
blinkin' fires, ye can chuck it on yourself, I ses, I'm through, I ses. 

2ND STOKER: Yus, I don't fink!
STOKER: Fer two pins I would uv. 'E's a ruddy slyve driver, that's wot 'e is. 

2ND STOKER: 'Ear, 'ear, myte.
STOKER: An' wot's more, 'e don't know 'is own job, neiver. Them engines is a 
disgryce. They fair eats steam. An' 'oo was it got Nobby scalded so's 'e can't 
get out of 'is blinkin' bunk? The Chief. Leavin' us short 'anded. 'Ow'd 'e 
like to do Nobby's shift, instead o' sittin' in 'is cabin swiggin' whisky? 
Blast 'im! 

2ND STOKER: That there number two furnace is fair 'ell, that's a fact.
STOKER: Number two furnace! The 'ole blinkin' ship's 'ell. An' if you ask me 
wot I think, there's goin' to be--

LADY ANNE: Well, good-bye, darling. So sweet of you to come.
SYLVIA: Good-bye. And you won't forget you've promised to help me with my 
society on behalf of the natives, will you?

LADY ANNE: Of course not.
SYLVIA: Harry says if it wasn't for the natives we simply shouldn't get any of 
this intriguing Ingredient X at all, and he says they are perfect gentlemen, 
my dear.
LADY ANNE: I do hope you get your pearls, darling.
SYLVIA: Oh, so do I. I wrote to my cousin--Jimmy Anderson, he's out there you 
know, on the commission or whatever they call it--
LADY ANNE: Concession, darling, isn't it?
SYLVIA: Something like that. I wrote to him to ask the natives to get just 
masses of Ingredient X, because of course the more Ingredient X they get, the 
more pearls I get. Of course, I'm not mercenary, darling, but I always say to 
Harry, it's an awful pity not to--

BRUCE: Well? Got your boys together? You'd better march inside half an hour, 
then you'll have the cool of the evening. 

ANDERSON: As a matter of fact, sir--

BRUCE: What's the matter?

ANDERSON: The boys won't go. 

BRUCE: What?
ANDERSON: It's wind up. Those swine got another while I was down with Robby's 
gang. They nearly got him.
BRUCE: Blast! Poison? 

ANDERSON: Yes. Poisoned arrow. The poor devil was dead in three minutes.  
That's three to-day, and the boys are getting nervy. 

BRUCE: Didn't you bag the fellow? 

ANDERSON: I had a pot at where I thought he was, but might as well let fly at 
a shadow. 

BRUCE: And the boys refuse to go?
ANDERSON: So Tonga says. He's a good nigger, but he's frightened. I don't 
want to interfere, sir, but--

BRUCE: Go on.
ANDERSON: Wouldn't it be better to work double shifts on the pits here for a 
bit, and leave the river until things have settled down?

BRUCE: If I didn't know you, Andy, that would sound as though you'd got wind 
up, too. 

ANDERSON: Oh, I'll go, sir.
BRUCE: I know you will, laddie. What about Robinson?

ANDERSON: Of course, he's a bit new to it, but he's all right.
BRUCE: It wouldn't do to back out now. Tonga's a good nigger, but if you cave 
in before the best nigger in the world, he'll take advantage of it. It's a  
question of prestige. Besides, things won't settle down. Those bush-niggers 
are out to get us, and we've got to make the best of it and try to get them 
first, that's all. As for your double shifts, we can't do it. It'd kill even 
the natives to work in the heat of the day, and we'd go over like nine-pins.  
We must have more dirt. I've just got urgent cables from home. Here you are. 
"Use all possible means treble supplies next month." That's an order, and 
we're here to carry it out. See?

ANDERSON: But if the boys refuse to--

BRUCE: Drive! I'll come. There's only one way to deal with a frightened 
nigger, and that is to make him more frightened of something else. If Tonga 
thinks he can----


CHAIRMAN: --with regard to the question of Ingredient X, raised by Lord 
Ingleby, I am afraid that I can add very little to what is already known to 
the Board. The manufacture of our product, synthetic rubber, depends 
absolutely upon this ingredient. I am not a chemist, and I cannot explain the 
matter scientifically, but it was the accidental discovery of Ingredient X, as 
we call it, which put our scientific staff upon the track of synthetic rubber. 
This ingredient, which is, I understand, a hitherto unknown element, we obtain 
from a district some six hundred miles from the west coast of Africa, and we 
have concession rights from the Government concerned. As a matter of fact, 
gentlemen, the concession rights are purely a matter of form, because the 
Government which granted them exercises no sort of control upon the natives in 
the interior, and can afford no protection to our representatives on the spot. 
The country is difficult and the inhabitants are an extremely mixed lot. We 
have given to our representative, Mr. Bruce, the fullest powers, with 
instructions to preserve the friendliest relationship with the natives. The 
very life of our company depends upon the continued supply of Ingredient X, 
and it is therefore vital that we should avoid friction of any kind with the 
local tribes. This should not be difficult. The native mind is simple and 
naturally kindly, like that of a child, and readily responds to acts of 
kindness and--

BRUCE: Now, Tonga, what palaver?
TONGA: B'wana Anderson say go alonga him up river, B'wana. No can do, B'wana.  
Plenty bad man him kill black boy one time. 

BRUCE: You're under orders, Tonga. 

TONGA: No can do, B'wana.

BRUCE: If you don't, I shoot, pronto! Savvy? 

TONGA: (stubbornly) No can do, B'wana. 

(There is a shot, followed by yells from the natives and a couple more shots.) 

BRUCE: (shouting) Cover them! Stand still! Palaver. (The cries of the natives 
die away.) Now. You go alonga B'wana Anderson, savvy? You no go, I shoot kill. 
Bush plenty free from bad man. 

(The sound of tom-toms is heard, faintly, a rhythmical drumming.) 

ANDERSON: What's that?

ROBINSON: Sounds like drums.

BRUCE: Tom-toms! Hell! That means trouble.
(The natives begin to murmur.)
NATIVE: Bad men, B'wana. Plenty tom-toms. Plenty shoot kill.

BRUCE: Quiet, you! Anderson, get the boys to the huts and serve out 
Winchesters. Robinson, fall in your gang and-- 
ROBINSON: Look out! (A couple of yells from the natives, followed by revolver 
shots.)  Oh, my God! They've got me!

BRUCE: Quick! Up to the huts. Take his head! You, boy! Quick, damn you! (A 
couple more shots.) Hurry! I'll cover you! (The boys yell excitedly.)
ANDERSON: They're off!

BRUCE: Blast the swine! Up to the huts. You! You! I'll teach you cut and run! 

(He continues to shout, to the accompaniment of yells from the boys and 
revolver shots.)
CHAIRMAN: --the goodwill and co-operation of the natives.
LORD INGLEBY: There is one question I should like to ask the Chair. The 
natives who are working the concession come, I believe, from the coast.
STANTON: That is so, my lord.
LORD INGLEBY: I am, as you know, interested in various movements for the 
betterment of the conditions of the native.

JUDSON: Hear, hear. My wife has a society for the---

LORD INGLEBY: Quite. Now I think the Board would like the assurance of the 
Chairman that the natives in our employ are treated with consideration. One 
hears extremely unpleasant stories of -- er -- atrocities, and so on -- er -- 
brutal -- er -- and so forth.
CHAIRMAN: I can assure you, my lord, that our native employees are treated 
with every consideration.
LORD INGLEBY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

CHAIRMAN: In fact, I can go further. We feel that it is imperative--

BRUCE: (panting) That was a near thing. Here! Barricade that door! The chests, 

(The sounds of heavy chests being moved.) 

ANDERSON: They've got Robby all right. He's gone.

BRUCE: Blast them!

DOCTOR: What's the matter?

BRUCE: Shake up, Doc. It's hell let loose, that's what's the matter. 

DOCTOR: Eh, what?

ANDERSON: They've done in Robinson. 

DOCTOR: The boys?

BRUCE: No. Bush-niggers. Can you hold a rifle?

BRUCE: Then take that window and shoot anything black at sight.
DOCTOR: What about the boys?

BRUCE: They've gone -- broken -- deserted like smoke, curse them. 


BRUCE: We're in a hole, Doc, but we'll get out of it somehow.

(The sound of native tom-toms is heard, growing gradually louder.)
ANDERSON: What's that?
BRUCE: Bush-niggers. That means they're out for blood.

ANDERSON: Will they join forces with the boys?

BRUCE: Probably not. It doesn't matter. Most of the boys will be streaking for 
the coast by this.

DOCTOR: What are our chances?

BRUCE: Damned small! We'll hold this place until dark and then try to slip 

ANDERSON: Six hundred miles to the coast! 

DOCTOR: I can't travel.

BRUCE: (grimly) You'll have to, Doc. 

ANDERSON: Can we trust the house boys?

BRUCE: No. Trust nobody. You take the south side, Doc. Andy, the east. I'll 
look after the north and west.

DOCTOR: How did they get Robinson?

ANDERSON: The usual thing. Sniped out of the bush.

BRUCE: Ah! (There are a couple of shots, followed by distant yells.) That's 
one less!  

(The sound of the tom-toms swells up.)

CHAIRMAN: Now that we have definitely secured the goodwill of the natives, it 
is time, I think, to enlarge our activities. And in this connection, 
gentlemen, I am not without a certain anxiety -- a passing anxiety, it is 
true, but for the moment sufficiently serious. I need not hide from you that 
there are certain firms, very large firms, who view our activities with 
mistrust, and who would welcome the -- er -- extinction of Synthetic Rubber, 
Limited. I have reason to believe that our products are being largely bought  
up by these firms, and Mr. Carrington, our manager, has some extremely large 
orders to meet. We expect the steamship Yuanda to reach port by Christmas at 
the latest, with a large consignment of Ingredient X, and I have cabled to Mr. 
Bruce to treble the output at his end. In the meantime, gentlemen, I do not 
wish to disguise from you that the non-arrival of the Yuanda would place us in 
a very awkward position with regard to our contracts, a position which--

(The sound of the wind and waves is louder than ever. The whistle sounds from 
the bridge.)
SAILOR: Yessir?

DEAN: Call the Captain.

SAILOR: Yessir.
DEAN: Take her up a couple of points. Easy now. Steady. What is it, bos'n? 

BOS'N: Forward port boat stove in, sir. 

DEAN: Put lashings on the other boats.

BOS'N: Yes, sir. 

DEAN: And, bos'n.
BOS'N: Sir.
DEAN: What do you think of her list?

BOS'N: I think she's gone over a degree or two since the sea got up, sir.
DEAN: You do? So do I. 

CAPTAIN: Well? What is it?
DEAN: I think the cargo's shifting, sir.
CAPTAIN: The hell it is! Steady her, there. Steady! You're right, Mr. Dean.  
Call Mr. Farrer.  

(The whistle sounds.) 

SAILOR: Yessir?

DEAN: Call Mr. Farrer. 

SAILOR: Yessir.
CAPTAIN: Filthy stuff, that in the hold, Mr. Dean. There's nothing gives a 
ship's master so much trouble as a loose cargo. 

DEAN: What is it, sir?
CAPTAIN: God knows! Looks like ordinary dirt to me. Consigned to Synthetic 
Rubber, Limited, of London, so I suppose it's useful. Oh, Mr. Farrer, call out 
your watch and see if you can--
SIR GEORGE: Can the Chairman give us any indication as to where the Yuanda is 
at present?

CHAIRMAN: Mr. Stanton?

STANTON: She spoke the Cape Verde islands last Tuesday, Sir George. 

SIR GEORGE: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: That would bring her home by-- er--
STANTON: Before Christmas.

SIR GEORGE: Thank you. 


(The sound of the tom-toms is continuous.)
BRUCE: Any change?
BRUCE: Blast those drums! (The sound of a shot.) Get him, Doc?
DOCTOR: Don't think so. He jumped though.
BRUCE: It'll be dark in a few minutes. 

ANDERSON: I think they're gathering over beyond the far dump.
BRUCE: Half a minute. Don't shoot. Let's have a look. Yes. That looks like a 
rush. Are those blasting charges detonated?
BRUCE: Short fuses, and heave 'em out as fast as you can when they come on. 

ANDERSON: Right-o. 

DOCTOR: They're moving.
BRUCE: Let 'em get to the fence. 

(The yells of the natives grow louder. There is a short pause.) 


(The yells, now very loud, are punctuated by a series of explosions.)
ANDERSON: That's the stuff to give 'em! 

BRUCE: Brown 'em as they go back. 

(There is a rapid succession of rifle shots as the yells die away.)

JUDSON: I'm glad to hear that about the natives, you know. Ugly customers, I 
dare say, if they turned nasty. 

WILKINSON: No chance of that, I should think, from what the Chairman says.
JUDSON: Oh no. All that sort of thing is always very much exaggerated.
WILKINSON: Quite. Natives are always ready to live and let live.
JUDSON: I've had some thoughts of taking a trip out there one of these days, 
just by way of a holiday.
WILKINSON: Very interesting, I should think. 

JUDSON: Yes. I've been wanting a rest cure, and there's nothing like a good 
long trip for---


(Storm sounds as before.) 

FARRER: The fore hatch is flooding, sir.

CAPTAIN: Rig a tarpaulin cover.
FARRER: They're trying now, sir, but there's no purchase.
CAPTAIN: I'll come. Keep her head into it, Mr. Dean. Stop the rolling as much 
as possible. 

DEAN: Very good, sir.
(The sound of the tom-toms is still continuous, but much fainter.) 

BRUCE: How do you feel, Doc? Up to travelling? 

DOCTOR: No, but I'll have to, I guess. 

BRUCE: Come on, then. Remember, straight across to the pay shed and over the 
clearing to the forest. Revolvers, no rifles. Got the grub, Anderson? 

BRUCE: I've laid a fifteen minutes' fuse to the magazine. That may make them 
think we've gone up with it. Ready? Out you go, Doc. I'll come last. And no 
firing if you can help it. Straight across to--


(She sound of the engines is heard.)
STOKER: Wot the 'ell's the matter wiv this blinkin' ship? She's been forty-
five down to port for the last-- Stand up blast ye!

2ND STOKER: Some 'opes! The blasted cargo's shifted, that's what it is. 

STOKER: I'm off out o' this. Fat lot o' chance we've got, if she turns 
CHIEF: Where the hell are ye goin', there? Turn to, damn ye!
STOKER: The ship's turnin' over, sir. 

CHIEF: What the hell's that got to do wi' you? If she turns, ye'll turn wi' 
her. Fire up, now. You in the bunkers there, keep that coal--

CHAIRMAN: What -- what? Oh, yes. Yes. Certainly, my lord. Er -- gentlemen. 
Lord Ingleby has raised the question of increasing our output by securing the 
co-operation of the local tribes. You understand the chief difficulty is the 
supply of labour, and by recruiting the well-disposed natives in the immediate 
vicinity, we should----


(Storm sounds as before.)
DEAN: Tumble up, Sparks!
WIRELESS OPERATOR: I say, are we really--? 

DEAN: Yes. S.O.S. Anything within reach to stand by. Thirty twenty-one sixteen 
North, twenty-five ten West. Got that?
WIRELESS OPERATOR: Thirty twenty-one sixteen North, twenty-five--what was it? 

DEAN: Twenty-five ten West. 

DEAN: Got a cigarette?

WIRELESS OPERATOR: In the rack. Don't pinch them all.



(The tom-toms are louder and occasional yells are heard.) 

BRUCE: (in a guarded voice) You there, Doc?

BRUCE: Anderson?
BRUCE: You lead, the Doc, second. Keep in touch. Are we right?

BRUCE: Lead on, then, and for God's sake don't make a mistake.

CHAIRMAN: --and I propose to suggest to the General Meeting that we commission 
two more ships, of approximately four to five thousand tons, in the New Year, 
in addition to the Yuanda. 

SIR GEORGE: Suppose anything happens to the Yuanda? 

CHAIRMAN: That is a contingency which I think we need not anticipate, Sir 
George. Ships--er--except in the more sensational fiction--do not--er--fail to 
make port, especially when they are so urgently needed.

WILKINSON: But I presume the insurance--

CHAIRMAN: I am afraid, since you press the matter, that the insurance would be 
of very little use to us. As you are aware, a very small proportion of 
Ingredient X is required per ton of synthetic rubber, and we are already 
committed to the full capacity of the Yuanda. Without her, our factory would 
be at a standstill inside a week. But these are unnecessarily gloomy 
forebodings, gentlemen, and I am sure--



(The storm sounds are now very loud. All dialogue must be shouted.)

CAPTAIN: Clear the port boats! 

DEAN: Number one's stove in, sir. 

CAPTAIN: Stand by two and three. 

FARRER: Starboard boats all jammed by the list, sir. 

CAPTAIN: Very good, Mr. Farrer. All hands to the port side. Are your men up on 
deck, Chief? 

CHIEF: The Second's blowing off steam now. 

CAPTAIN: Get all hands up at once. See everything clear forrard, Mr. Farrer, 



(The tom-toms are fainter.)

BRUCE: What's that? 

ANDERSON: Nothing. 

BRUCE: I thought I heard something in the bush. 

DOCTOR: So did I. 

BRUCE: Imagination. Push on. You all right, Doc? 

DOCTOR: I can manage. 



CHAIRMAN: --and now gentlemen, with regard to the proposed issue of fresh 
debentures. I think we may safely advise the General Meeting to-- 



BRUCE: Can you push on faster, Doc? 


BRUCE: They're trailing us. I can hear them.

DOCTOR: I'll try. (sharply) What's the matter?

BRUCE: What is it?

DOCTOR: Anderson's stopped.

ANDERSON: There's something ahead.

BRUCE: Push on.

(Suddenly, there is a yell, followed by a wild pandemonium of yells and 

BRUCE: (shouting) Back to back!

(The shots become more rapid.)



(Storm sounds at maximum.)

DEAN: (shouting) She's going!

FARRER: Clear that raffle. Quick!

DEAN: Where's the Captain?

FARRER: Jump! Jump, you fool!

(Shouts and confused cries mingle with the storm.)

DEAN: Hell! The boat's stove! Look out! She's-- Where's the Captain?

FARRER: On the bridge. He won't leave her.

DEAN: I'll have him down.

FARRER: You haven't time! Jump! Come on!

DEAN: Look out! My God, she's-- 

FARRER: Jump, you blazing lunatic!

(The storm sounds swell up.) 



CHAIRMAN: (calmly) --then I take it, gentlemen, that the motion proposed by 
the Earl of Ingleby and seconded by Mr. Wilkinson, is carried unanimously. 
That concludes our business for-- 



(The wild yells of the natives and the loud drumming of the tom-toms swell up.

After a moment the sound of the storm is heard. It mingles with the sound of 
wild triumph in the forest, and then both fade away.)



JUDSON: A very satisfactory meeting, I think. Shall you take up any of the new 
issue, Wilkinson?

WILKINSON: What about waiting until the Yuanda comes in?

JUDSON: I shan't wait. Sure to be a rush. They'll go up, you know.

WILKINSON: Yes. You're probably right.

JUDSON: My wife'll be glad to get her pearls, anyway.

(Their voices fade away.)

LORD INGLEBY: Ingredient X. Something symbolic in that, you know. The 
mysterious ingredient, eh? Like Fate.

SIR GEORGE: Yes. Like Fate. In the end there's always -- Ingredient X to be 
reckoned with.


Originally broadcast: 1 August 1929