Source: geocities.com/inge_y

GOSFORD PARK
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Julian Fellowes, based on Robert Altman & Bob Balaban's idea


Scene 1. Lady Trentham's Façade 

MERRIMAN (to Mary)
Don't just stand there. Give me a hand with the canopy.

BURKETT
Mary? Merriman? Are you ready?

MERRIMAN
Mary?

MARY
Yes, Mr. Burkett.

BURKETT (to Lady Trentham)
Everything's ready, milady.

Scene 2. On The Way to Gosford Park

MARY
I think she's knocking.

MERRIMAN
Well, see what she wants.

LADY TRENTHAM
I can't open this wretched thing.

MARY
I suppose we better stop.

LADY TRENTHAM
I can't get this top off.

WEISSMAN
Hello. Is everything all right? Are- are you okay?

LADY TRENTHAM
Am I what?

MARY
We're all right, thank you.

NOVELLO
Is that Lady Trentham? Lady Trentham? It's, uh- I'm William McCordle's cousin, Ivor. Ivor Novello.

LADY TRENTHAM
Yes, of course.

NOVELLO
May I introduce a friend of mine from California? Mr. Morris Weissman.

WEISSMAN
Hello. Hi.

NOVELLO
Uh, we were just wondering if we were headed in the same direction.

LADY TRENTHAM
I dare say we might be.

NOVELLO
Well, if- If everything seems to be all right-

WEISSMAN
Bye.

LADY TRENTHAM
Could we get on before I freeze to death?

MARY
Was that really Ivor Novello?

LADY TRENTHAM
Yes. Could we get on?

Scene 3. Welcome To Gosford Park

WEISSMAN
Oh, hello. Nice house. I like it.

SIR WILLIAM
Ah. Hello, Ivor.

JENNINGS (to Sylvia)
Welcome back, Your Ladyship.

NOVELLO (to Sir William)
Hello.

SIR WILLIAM
Constance, welcome.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Sylvia)
Hello, dear. If he has to call me by my Christian name, why can't he make it 'aunt Constance'? I'm not the upstairs maid. He's still got that vile little dog, I see.

SYLVIA
Yes, the ones we hate last forever. Did you have a horrid journey?

LADY TRENTHAM
Yes, fairly horrid.

JENNINGS
(To Merriman) Take the car around the back to unload it. (to Mary) You better follow him. Mrs. Wilson will look after you. (to Louisa) Your Ladyship. (to Lord Stockbridge) Your Lordship.

LORD STOKBRIDGE
Mm-hmm.

SIR WILLIAM
Louisa.

LOUISA
William.

SIR WILLIAM
Raymond.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
William.

SIR WILLIAM
Lots of good shooting coming.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
That's what we're here for.

Scene 4. Servants' Hall

MRS WILSON
Just leave everything in one pile around the corner there. Make sure it's properly labeled. It'll go up in the luggage lift.

BARNES
These are the guns. Where's the gunroom?

MRS WILSON
Down there on the right. Find Mr. Strutt, the keeper. He'll show you what to do.

BARNES
I know what to do.

MRS CROFT
Ellen, what do you think you're doing over there?

LEWIS
Take that rain off those cases before you take them up.

HOUSEMAID
Those are Mr. Novello's bags.

MRS WILSON (to Henry)
Who are you?

HENRY
I'm Mr. Weissman's man.

MERRIMAN (to Mrs. Wilson)
The Countess of Trentham.

MRS WILSON
Yes. Make sure they're properly labeled. Put them down there, all right?

MERRIMAN
Where am I?

MRS WILSON
You're in the stable block with the grooms. Her Ladyship is in the Chinese room. Elsie! Elsie! (to Mary) You'll be sharing with the head housemaid. She'll show you where everything is, all right? Elsie, this is Miss Trentham.

MARY
Mrs. Wilson- Excuse me, ma'am.

MRS WILSON (to Elsie)
Take care of her, will you?

MARY (to Elsie)
My name's Mary. Mary Maceachran.

ELSIE
Not here, it's not. It's Trentham.

ROBERT (to Mrs. Wilson)
Lord Stockbridge. Guns.

MRS WILSON
Down there on the right.

ROBERT
The name's Parks. Robert Parks.

MRS WILSON
Mr. Parks? Uh, Mr. Parks, below stairs you'll be known as Mr. Stockbridge.

HOUSEMAID
There's three more outside.

MRS WILSON
I know a Mr. Parks who was in service in Norwich. Is he any relation of yours?

ROBERT
NO. London born and bred.

Scene 5. Servants' Hall to Safe Room

MARY
What should I do with Her Ladyship's jewels?

ELSIE
It's this way. George is in charge of the safe. He's the first footman and you wanna watch where he puts his hands.

SARAH (to Elsie)
She's new.

ELSIE
Have you got the ones for tonight?

MARY
Oh, sorry.

ELSIE
Always bring a separate box for the first night. It saves bother.

Scene 6. Gallery

MABEL
Freddie, do wait.

FREDDIE
For goodness sakes, Mabel. What is it this time?

MABEL
Does my hair look all right?

FREDDIE
IT looks fine. Where the hell were you?

MABEL
We're not late. Freddie, do please stop going on.

FREDDIE
Isobel? Hello.

MABEL
Hello, Isobel.

ISOBEL
Hello.

FREDDIE
Darling, I'll see you in there. (to Isobel) There's been something I've been meaning to say to you. Have you, uh- Have you spoken to your father?

ISOBEL
NO.

FREDDIE
What do you mean, no? Hey, you promised.

ISOBEL
I never promised. I said I'd do my best.

FREDDIE
You're so beautiful when you resist me.

ISOBEL 
Stop it. I'll ask him tonight.

FREDDIE
Well, you bloody well better.

ISOBEL (to George)
You shouldn't sneak up on people like that.

FREDDY
Don't worry. It's nobody.

GEORGE
Sorry, Miss Isobel.

FREDDY
Do you really think you'll have a chance to speak to him tonight?

ISOBEL
Would you stop going on about it?

FREDDIE
Izzy, that's all very well-

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (To Louisa)
I think it's ridiculous. I'm here to shoot.

LOUISA
Darling, it's a relief to me to sit next to someone who isn't deaf in one ear.

LORD STOCKBRIGE
I'm sorry?

Scene 7. Red Drawing Room

MEREDITH
Darling, what do you mean 'leave it'?

LAVINIA
Well, I just mean let it come naturally. Don't try and steer the conversation. It makes you sound so desperate.

MEREDITH
Well, I am fucking desperate.

SIR WILLIAM
Hello, Raymond. (to Weissman) This is my brother-in-law, Lord Stockbridge.

WEISSMAN
Hello, I'm Morris Weissman.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Who?

WEISSMAN
Morris Weissman.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Weissman, yes.

WEISSMAN
Hello.

Scene 8. Servants' Hall

MRS WILSON
Oh, Elsie? Elsie, this is Lord Stockbridge's valet. He's new to the house, so show him around, will you? (to Robert) You'll be sharing with Mr. Weissman's man. Has His Lordship's luggage gone up?

ROBERT
Supposedly. He's in the Tapestry room, wherever that is. Oh, well. Here we go again.

MARY
That's just it? I've never done a house party before, not properly.

ELSIE
How come you got taken on as a Countess lady's maid if you got no experience?

MARY
She wants to train me. She said she didn't care about experience.

ELSIE
She didn't want to pay for it, you mean.

RENEE
It's cold in here.

LEWIS
You should pack your woolies when you come to this house.

ELSIE
Here we are.

LEWIS
Is everything all right, Elsie?

ELSIE
Fine, Miss Lewis. Thanks. That's your bed there.

Scene 9. Red Drawing Room to Library

SIR WILLIAM
That's good? Yeah, that's tasty.

LOUISA
Very tasty.

SIR WILLIAM
I think I'll - I shall go in the library. Here you are, Pip, Pip.

PROBERT
I beg your pardon, sir. I thought I'd just take the Times up with me in case you'd like to read it when you're dressing.

SIR WILLIAM
Thank you, Probert. Look after Pip for me, will you? (to Pip) Good boy.

PROBERT
Of course, sir.

Scene 10. Red Drawing Room

WEISSMAN
I have to make a telephone call to California in a couple of hours. I can't find a telephone.

SYLVIA
Well, there's a telephone just here on the left.

WEISSMAN
Oh, wonderful. Thank you. You know, of course, I'll reverse the charges.

SYLVIA
Yes.

Scene 11. Library.

LOUISA
So, who's the funny little American?

SIR WILLIAM
Oh. Morris Weissman. He's a friend of Ivor.

LOUISA
Oh.

SIR WILLIAM
He makes films in Hollywood. Ivor asked if he could bring him along. Didn't see why not. I thought he might be interested in guns and shooting.

LOUISA
Oh, well, never mind. He adds to the glamour of the gathering. I didn't expect anything half as exotic. Oh, no, not for me. You know I hate drinking whiskey.

SIR WILLIAM
Go on, drink it. Do you good. Go on.

LOUISA
Oh, really, Bill. You are such a bad influence. Well, don't blame me if I start misbehaving.

SIR WILLIAM
I don't know how impressed your husband is with our Hollywood folk.

LOUISA
Well, you know Raymond. He only feels safe with his own kind. Bill!

Scene 12. Elsie Bedroom

ELSIE
I thought ladies' maids never wore aprons.

MARY
Her Ladyship used to have a French maid who wore a black one like this. She thinks it's got a bit of style.

ELSIE
I bet she does, and I bet she took it out of your wages, too.

MARY
She likes to have everything just so.

ELSIE
Mmm. Don't they all.

MARY
That's him.

ELSIE
Who?

MARY
Ivor Novello. He passed us on the road today oh his way here and he spoke to me. Well, he spoke to Her Ladyship, but I answered.

ELSIE
I only cut it out for Garbo. I prefer the American stars. I think they've got more oomph.

MARY
Go on! Is he really Sir William's cousin?

ELSIE
Yep.

MARY
Imagine having a film star in the family. Lady Sylvia must be thrilled.

ELSIE
No, I don't think.

MARY
Why wouldn't she be?

ELSIE
'Cause she's a snobbish cow. 'Cause she- She looks down on anyone who got to the top with drains and hard work. Just like she looks down on her husband, except when it's time to foot the bills. And then she's got her hand out, all right.

MARY
What was her family, then?

ELSIE
What'd you expect, really? Toffee-nosed and useless. Her father was the Earl of Carton. Sounds good, except he didn't have a pot to piss in.

MARY
What's she like to work for?

ELSIE
She's horrible. But he's- He's okay. Come on. We better get cracking.

Scene 13. Red Drawing Room

NOVELLO
Hello, I'm Ivor.

MABEL
I know who you are. Mabel Nesbitt.

NOVELLO
Hello, Mabel.

MABEL
How are you?

NOVELLO
Very well, thank you.

MABEL
Oh! I don't smoke. Thank you.

Scene 14. Servants' Hall to Ironing Room

ELSIE
Mrs. Nesbitt's only got one dress with her. Says her husband rushed her when she was packing.

MARY
Do you always look after visitors if they haven't got a maid?

ELSIE
Sometimes Dorothy helps, though why Mrs. Wilson makes the still room maid do it beats me. I think she only does it to annoy Mrs. Croft.

MARY
Which one does Dorothy answer to?

ELSIE
Both. That's the problem. She's rushed off her feet as it is. Are you nearly done there?

MARY
Yes.

RENEE
Here she is- Miss Bossy.

Scene 15. Red Drawing Room 

MABEL
Tell me what was Greta Garbo really like? Did you get to know her?

NOVELLO
Yes, I did, actually. She's coming to stay with me next month.

LADY TRENTHAM
Tell me, how much longer are you going to go on making films?

NOVELLO
I suppose that rather depends on how much longer the public want to see me in them.

LADY TRENTHAM
Yes, it must be hard to know when it's time to throw in the towel. What a pity about that last one of yours. What- what was it called? The Dodger.

NOVELLO
The Lodger.

LADY TRENTHAM
The Lodger. And it must be so disappointing when something just, you know, flops like that.

NOVELLO
Yes, it's rather disappointing.

Scene 16. Ironing Room

ELSIE
Look at this. Machine-made lace.

BARNES
Hark at her.

ELSIE Well, I hate cheap clothes. They're twice the work and they never look as good.

PROBERT
I'll murder that dog one day. Look at that. All over his waistcoat.

RENEE
What do you expect from a woman without her own maid?

SARAH
Lady Lavinia says a woman who travels with no maid has lost her self-respect. She calls it 'giving in'.

ELSIE
I don't have a maid. I haven't given in.

SARAH
That's different.

ELSIE
Why?

ROBERT (to Mary)
What's your name?

MARY
I think here I'm called Trentham.

ROBERT
No, I meant your real name.

MARY
Oh, Mary. Mary Maceachran.

ROBERT
Blimey. What does Her Ladyship call you?

MARY
Well, she should call me Maceachran, now I'm a lady's maid, that's what my mother says. But Her Ladyship can't pronounce it, so she calls me Mary.

ROBERT
I don't blame her.

Scene 17. Red Drawing Room

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Sylvia, I'm serious. There mustn't be any more nonsense.

SYLVIA
I don't know what you're talking about. Done much shooting this year/

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Quite a lot.

MEREDITH (to Pip)
Hello.

SYLVIA
Does Louisa always go out with you?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Usually.

SYLVIA
It's very good of her.

MEREDITH (to Sir William)
Do you have a minute?

SIR WILLIAM
Don't do that! That's bad for him! Put him down!

SYLVIA
Yeah. Bores me stiff.

SIR WILLIAM
All right, Pip.

MEREDITH
I just wondered-

SYLVIA
William's such a rotten shot. I usually try and duck out of it, particularly in Scotland.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
I'm rather fond of Scotland.

Scene 18. Kitchen

MRS CROFT
All right, get on with your work. Yes?

MRS WILSON
Ah, Mr. Weissman. There you are.

MRS CROFT.
I'm dealing with this. What is it, Mr. Weissman?

HENRY
Well, to start with, my name is Denton. Henry Denton.

MRS WILSON
You're here as valet to Mr. Weissman. That means you'll be known as Mr. Weissman below stairs for the duration of your stay. We stick to the old customs here. It saves confusion.

HENRY (to Mrs. Croft)
It's about Mr. Weissman's diet?

MRS CROFT & MRS WILSON
Yes?

HENRY (to Mrs. Wilson) 
He's a vegetarian.

MRS CROFT
A what?

HENRY
A vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat. He eats fish, but not meat.

MRS CROFT
Well, I never! Doesn't eat meat? He's coming for a shooting party and he doesn't eat meat!

HENRY
Mr. Weissman doesn't intend to shoot. I think he just want to walk out with them, get a bit of air.

MRS CROFT
Get a bit of air?

MRS WILSON
Yes, thank you. We'll make the necessary arrangements. Now I suggest you get one of the servants to take you upstairs. Mr. Weissman is in the Green bedroom, and you'll be sharing with Lord Stockbridge's valet, Robert Parks.

MRS CROFT
He's very full of himself, I must say. 'Doesn't eat meat.'

MRS WILSON
Now, now, Mrs. Croft. We don't want to be thought unsophisticated, do we? Mr. Weissman's an American. They do things differently there.

Scene 19. Red Drawing Room

SIR WILLIAM (to Pip)
Good boy, now. Give Louisa a kiss from me.

NOVELLO (to Sylvia)
Darling, I'm sorry about that. I should have made it clear that Morris just doesn't shoot.

SYLVIA
Don't worry. William's just making a fuss. He has this ridiculous idea that Americans all sleep with guns under their pillow.

NOVELLO
They do, but they're more for each other than for killing birds.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Remind me. How are you related to William exactly? 

NOVELLO
Our mothers were first cousins.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Don't believe I ever met William's mother. Didn't she do something rather original?

NOVELLO
Well, she was a teacher. And so was mine.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Oh, that's marvelous, isn't it?

NOVELLO
Yes.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Mabel)
Sylvia is so clever. She always finds such wonderful servants. I don't know how she manages. Now, I'm breaking in a new maid. I'm simply worn out with it. And actually, there's nothing more exhausting, is there?

MABEL
I don't have a lady's maid.

LADY TRENTHAM 
Oh. (to Sylvia) Hello. I was just telling dear Mabel here about my new maid. Honestly the amount I have to do for her, she should be paying me.

SYLVIA
She does seem rather young.

LADY TRENTHAM
Well, of course, what she is, my dear, is wonderfully cheap.

Scene 20. Outside the Red Drawing Room

MABEL 
You've no right to pull me away in mid-conversation.

FREDDIE
Mabel, where are you going? The room's this way. Why the hell did you have to mention you don't have a maid? Why would you mention you didn't have a maid, for God's sake?

Scene 21. Shoes Room

ARTHUR
You'd find it a lot easier to clean them if you put the trees in first.

HENRY
I was just about to do that.

ARTHUR
Are these Mr. Novello's shoes?

HENRY
Yes.

ARTHUR
Do you really live in Hollywood?

HENRY
I do.

ARTHUR
Hmm. How did you get there? I mean, where did you start from?

HENRY
What else do you think? Scotland.

ARTHUR
Were you always in service? Did you ever think of trying to get into films while you were there? Hmm? I want to be an actor once when I was little.

Scene 22. Ironing Room

SARAH
I suppose old mother Trentham will have her begging bowl out while she's here.

RENEE
She won't be bothering your employers, that's certain.

MARY
Why not?

ELSIE
Because Lady Lavinia Meredith hasn't got a penny to bless herself with.

BARNES
And whose fault is that?

SARAH
There's nothing wrong with the commander. He's just been a bit of unfortunate.

BARNES
I'll say. I think he's pathetic.

SARAH
Then why don't you hand in your notice?

RENEE
Well, the other two sisters fell on their feet. Of course, it helps that they're both good-looking.

MARY
Lady Sylvia's lovely.

ELSIE
You think so?

SARAH
She might have done a bit better for herself, really.

ELSIE
I beg your pardon? Lord carton was determined to have Sir William for either of the two eldest. I was told he could have had his pick.

MARY
Why was Lord Carton so keen?

BARNES
Why do you think? Who do you suppose pays for him to swan around Biarritz for six months of the year? Come to that, who keeps Ma Trentham in stockings and gin? Old money bags, that's who.

ELSIE
I think it's disgusting the way they all use him. None of the rest of them have got the brains to make the price of a packet of tea.

MRS WILSON
Are you finished, Elsie?

ELSIE
Yes, Mrs. Wilson. I've just got this hem to do.

MARY (to Robert)
What's Lord Stockbridge like?

ROBERT
He thinks he's God almighty. They all do.

Scene 23. Dining Room

HENRY
Why does this fork go on the right?

ARTHUR
Because they eat the fish with two of them. One in each hand.

HENRY
Why is that, then?

ARTHUR
Search me.

GEORGE
What are you doing here?

HENRY
Just looking around.

GEORGE
Mr. Jennings will be up in a minute. If I were you, I'd go and look around somewhere else.

HENRY
Is that what you'd do?

GEORGE
That's exactly what I would do.

HENRY
Then that's what I'll do.

GEORGE
Something funny about that bloke.

ARTHUR
His accent for a start.

GEORGE
What do you think his game is?

ARTHUR
I don't know.

JENNINGS
Are you finished? What about Lord Rupert Standish and Mr. Blond?

GEORGE
Her Ladyship said not to wait for them. The stuff's all ready if they turn up on time. We can stick on two extra places in a jiffy.

JENNINGS
When they arrive, you'll be dressing Mr. Blond, Arthur.

ARTHUR
Mr. Blond?

JENNINGS
Yes, Mr. Blond. George, you'll have Lord Rupert. If they're very late, they can change by themselves, and you can tidy up when they're downstairs. Is Mr. Nesbitt settled?

GEORGE
I'll go and finish him off now, sir.

ARTHUR
And Mr. Novello?

JENNINGS
Mr. Weissman's man will attend to him. Right. After you're finished, join me in the drawing room with the drinks.

GEORGE (to Arthur)
What's the matter with you?

ARTHUR
Nothing. Only thought I'd be doing Mr. Novello, that's all.

GEORGE
Now you won't get to see him in his underdrawers. Never mind. Better luck next time.

Scene 23. Chinese Room

LADY TRENTHAM
They're rather a mixed bunch. That Mr. Weissman's very odd. Apparently, he produces motion pictures. The Charlie Chan mysteries. Or does he direct them? I never know the difference.

MARY
Really? I enjoy those, milady.

LADY TRENTHAM
Ye- Mary. I suppose it's fun having a film star staying. There's always so little to talk about after the first flush of recognition. And why has Freddie Nesbitt brought that awful, common little wife of his? I mean, Isobel only asked him because a gun dropped out, that's no excuse to inflict her on us all. Mary! So what's the gossip in the servants' hall? Hmm?

MARY
Um, nothing, milady.

LADY TRENTHAM
Nonsense. Come on. Out with it.

MARY
Well, is it true that Sir William could have married Lady Stockbridge if he'd wanted to?

LADY TRENTHAM
Is that what they're saying?

MARY
Only that Lord Carton was after Sir William for one of them, but he didn't care which.

LADY TRENTHAM
What would you say if I told you they cut cards for him?

Scene 25. Sir William Bedroom

SYLVIA
William, Lewis said you wanted me.

SIR WILLIAM
Who's next to me at dinner?

SYLVIA
Oh, you know. Aunt Constance and Lavinia.

SIR WILLIAM
Oh, why do I have to have that bloody old trout all the time? I want Louisa.

SYLVIA
Do I have to explain the table of precedence again?

SIR WILLIAM
I don't give a shit about precedence.

SYLVIA
Well, you always complain that people look down on you and then you behave like a peasant.

Scene 26. Chinese Room

LADY TRENTHAM
Now, tomorrow morning I'll- I'll breakfast in bed, and then get straight up into the tweeds. What shirt have you brought?

MARY
Mmm, the green with the pink stripe.

LADY TRENTHAM
Oh, no, dear. No.  That's quite wrong. No. Always something very plain for country sports. The one I had on today will do.

MARY
But it's soiled.

LADY TRENTHAM
Yeah, well, you can wash it, can't you? God. I have shooting. Why does one have to do these things?

Scene 27. Sir William Bedroom to Corridor

SIR WILLIAM
Has Constance asked for money yet?

SYLVIA
No.

SIR WILLIAM
Raymond tells me she's been complaining that her allowance isn't big enough. Good mind to stop it completely.

SYLVIA
I thought it was for her lifetime.

SIR WILLIAM
Ha ha! No, no.

SYLVIA
Will that be all, sir?

SIR WILLIAM
Mmm. I do wish that Anthony wasn't here. Make sure I'm not left alone with him, will you?

SYLVIA
Why?

SIR WILLIAM
I'm pulling out of his scheme.

SYLVIA
Oh. Have you told him?

SIR WILLIAM
No. And I'm not going to either. Louisa said I should leave it till next week. Let him sob in private. (to Pip) Go. Say hello to your mommy. Go on.

SYLVIA
Far be it for me to contradict Louisa.

PROBERT
Will there be anything else, sir?

SIR WILLIAM
Just get Pip. He might fall down the stairs.

PROBERT
Oh, where is he gone? Hey, hey, come here. Come here. Thank you, Elsie. You keep hold of him. Is everything all right?

ELSIE
Cheap dress, wrong shoes. I'm making bricks without straw, Mr. Probert, really. (to Mary) You don't have any spare hairpins, do you?

MARY
Yeah. I'm trying to get back to the room for a second and I can't find it.

ELSIE 
It's the staircase at the end of the corridor.

MARY
Oh, thank you.

SIR WILLIAM
Ah. Oh, Pip. Oh, thank you, Elsie. Thank you. Oh! You've got some hair on your dress.

ELSIE
Thank you, sir.

SIR WILLIAM
Yes.

Scene 28. Nesbitt Bedroom

FREDDIE
Shut up, Mabel! There is nothing going on between me and Isobel.

MABEL
Can't you just tell me the truth? You're a liar, Freddie.

FREDDIE
There is nothing-

MABEL
You are a liar!

FREDDIE
Don't you call me a liar!

ELSIE
I found some pins, madam, from Lady Trentham's maid.

MABEL
Right.

FREDDIE
We're supposed to be downstairs already.

MABEL
Well, you go on. I'll be down on a minute.

FREDDIE (to Elsie)
Try and make her look respectable.

MABEL (to Elsie)
Oh, thank you. Well, there's no harm in trying.

Scene 29. Drawing Room

WEISSMAN
Well, thank you very much, Mr. Jennings.

JENNINGS
Just Jennings, sir.

WEISSMAN
All right. Just Jennings. Oh, by the way, I've booked a telephone call to California and I'd appreciate it if you would get me as soon as it comes through.

JENNINGS
Very good, sir.

WEISSMAN
Thank you, Jennings. (to Novello) You're not gonna provide entertainment?

NOVELLO
That's how you got your invitation.

LADY SYLVIA
Oh, no, don't get up. Please go on. Please.

FREDDIE (to Isobel)
You look lovely in that dress, if I may say so.

ISOBEL
Thank you.

SYLVIA (to Novello)
What is it? I don't recognize it.

NOVELLO
Just something I'm working on.

SYLVIA
I can't imagine how one ever goes about inventing a tune. Where do you start?

NOVELLO
It's rather difficult to say.

SYLVIA
Well, I think you're too clever for words.

MABEL (to Sylvia)
Good evening.

SYLVIA
Hello.

MABEL
Lovely dress.

SYLVIA
Thank you.

WEISSMAN (to Mabel)
Hi.

MABEL 
Hi.

WEISSMAN (to Novello)
How do you manage to put up with these people?

NOVELLO
Well, you forget that I earn my living by impersonating them.

JENNINGS (to Henry)
Can I help you?

HENRY
You know, I really enjoy the way you do things, Mr. Jennings.

JENNINGS
I beg your pardon?

WEISSMAN
What is it, Henry?

HENRY
Nothing. I just wanted to be sure you had everything you need, sir.

WEISSMAN
Yes, I do. Thank you. (to Jennings) It's wonderful to find a servant these days who really shows an interest, don't you think?

JENNINGS
Sir.

Scene 30. Servants Dining Room

MRS CROFT
Come on, girls. Sit down. Tuck in. We've got twenty minutes.

GEORGE
Shuffle along. Here he comes.

DOROTHY
Everything satisfactory, Mr. Jennings?

JENNINGS
Yes, thank you, Dorothy. They have their drinks. I think we can all take our leisure for half an hour or so. What's this?

RENEE
I believe this is my place, Mr. Jennings.

GEORGE
Oh.

JENNINGS
And since when did a baroness outrank a countess? Miss Trentham, would you take the place of honour, please? Miss Trentham?

MARY
I'm all right here, Mr. Jennings. Thank you.

DOROTHY
Go on. Don't keep him waiting.

JENNINGS
Ah, Miss Meredith. Would you come and sit on my left?

SARAH
Naturally, I'm nothing when there are visitors in the house. Never mind. I'm used to it.

PROBERT
Good evening, Mrs. Wilson.

MRS WILSON
Good evening.

JENNINGS & ALL
Foe what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly grateful.

JENNINGS
Right. Start when you get it. No time for loitering.

ELSIE
I'm not serving tonight, Mr. Jennings, am I?

JENNINGS
Not tonight, Elsie, but probably tomorrow.

MARY (to George)
Where is Mrs. Croft?

GEORGE
Always eats with her own staff.

MARY
Does she take her pudding to Mrs. Wilson's room? Our cook does that.

GEORGE
Fat chance. They hate each other.

HENRY
Can I ask a question?

JENNINGS
Certainly, Mr. Weissman. How can we help you?

HENRY
I just wondered, how many people have had parents in service? And was that why they chose to go into it?

JENNINGS
What an interesting question, and one to which, I'm afraid, I cannot provide the answer. All of you whose parents were in service, raised your hand.

GEORGE
My father was.

LEWIS
Both- nanny and groom.

JENNINGS
Not you, Dorothy?

DOROTHY
My father was a farmer, Mr. Jennings. A tenant of Lord Carton's.

JENNINGS
Mr. Meredith?

BARNES
Factory hands, both of them. And if you ask me, they were better off.

HENRY
What about you, Mr. Stockbridge?

GEORGE
What's the matter? Don't you know?

ROBERT
Yeah. I know what they did. But it didn't have any effect on me or my choice of work.

MRS WILSON
And why's that?

ROBERT
Because I grew up in an orphanage.

JENNINGS
Thank you, Mr. Weissman, for giving us all a little something to think about.

Scene 31. Servants Dining Room

JENNINGS
Oh, Her Ladyship.

SYLVIA
Oh, I'm so sorry to disturb you. Please, do sit down and finish your supper. Mrs. Wilson, a major crisis has arisen. I have just found that Mr. Weissman won't eat meat and I don't know what to do. I can't tell Mrs. Croft. I simply don't dare.

MRS WILSON
Everything's under control, Your Ladyship. Mr. Weissman's valet informed us as soon as he arrived, so we've prepared a special version of the soup. He can eat the fish and the hors d'oeuvres, and we'll have a Welsh rarebit for the game course. I don't know what we're going to do about the entrée, but we'll think of something.

SYLVIA
Thank you, Mrs. Wilson. Ten steps ahead as usual. Which one of you is Mr. Weissman's valet?

HENRY
I am, Your Ladyship.

SYLVIA
Are you, indeed? Yes, heavens. Um, thank you for your efficiency.

GEORGE (to Henry)
You're all set, then.

JENNINGS
Yes, George?

GEORGE
Nothing, sir.

JENNINGS
I should hope not. I'm very hungry.

Scene 32. Dining Room

LADY TRENTHAM
I was, uh, wondering, William, if I could have a word with you alone after dinner?

SIR WILLIAM
I can't leave my guests, can I?

LADY TRENTHAM
You'll make that dog sick.

MEREDITH
Isobel, did you know that William and I are going into business together in the Sudan?

ISOBEL
No, I didn't know that.

MEREDITH
It's quite exiting. Um, what's happened is apparently, there are hundreds and hundreds of Sudanese native soldiers, entire regiments wandering around the desert, willy-nilly, without anything on their feet, which causes some hardship, I imagine.

MABEL (to Novello)
No, I grew up in Leicester. My father had a glove factory.

NOVELLO
Really?

MABEL
One thing I do know is how a glove should fit.

FREDDIE
Really, darling. You're boring poor Mr. Novello to death.

NOVELLO
No!

WEISSMAN (to Louisa)
I think he's going to explain everything to me and kind of show me how it all works. There's gonna be a pheasant hunt in my picture.

MEREDITH (to Isobel)
There's a large market in modernizing the armies in the Sudan and, um, providing them with boots.

Scene 32. Outside The Garage

BERTHA
And then the old bag just served it to all the servants, I couldn't believe it.

MARY
Aren't you cold?

BERTHA
It's better than that kitchen.

MARY (to Merriman)
Here. I thought you could do with this.

MERRIMAN
Oh, that's kind, love.

RUPERT
Elsie, hello.

ELSIE
Good evening, Your Lordship.

RUPERT
We've got bags and guns and everything and no man. If I give you the keys, will you sort it out for me?

ELSIE
Of course, Your Lordship.

RUPERT
Thank you.

MALE SERVANT
We'll get your bags, sir.

JEREMY
Thank you. That's very kind of you. Good evening. (to Bertha) Sorry, can I trouble you for a light, please? 

MALE SERVANT#2
You got that bag?

MALE SERVANT
Yeah.

JEREMY (to Bertha) 
Thank you. Good evening.

Scene 34. Dining Room

MEREDITH
You mean you think he's losing interest in that sort of thing?

ISOBEL
Well, not just that. The whole Empire. I think he said the steam's gone out of it.

MEREDITH
William? That's not true, is it? That you think the Empire's finished?

SIR WILLIAM
I've been what?

FREDDIE
Well, the Empire was finished after the war. Well, because of the war. It changed everything.

SIR WILLIAM
Empire Leicester Square?

LAVINIA
Well, I don't care what's changed or not changed. As long as our sons spared what you all went through.

SYLVIA
Oh, not all. You didn't fight, did you, William?

SIR WILLIAM
I did my bit.

SYLVIA
Well, you made a lot of money, but it's not quite the same thing as charging into the cannon's mouth, is it? Thank God for Raymond. At least the family had one representative in the front line. Raymond, tell them how many times you were mentioned in the despatches.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
I forget.

SYLVIA
No, you don't. Come on.

FREDDIE
Is he being modest?

SYLVIA
Yes, he's being very modest.

JENNINGS (to Elsie)
What do you think you're doing here?

ELSIE
Mrs. Wilson asked me to tell you that the others have arrived.

JENNINGS
Good. (to Sylvia) Lord Rupert Standish and Mr. Blond are here, milady.

SYLVIA
No, they're too late. They can have a tray in the billiard room. They can join us later.

JENNINGS
Very good, milady.

ISOBEL (to Sylvia)
IS Rupert here?

SYLVIA
Yes.

ISOBEL
Shall I go and say hello?

SYLVIA
No, I don't think so.

Scene 35. Billiards Room

JEREMY
Face it. You're a younger son with the taste of a marquees and the income of a vicar. Her mother likes you. She does, too. Now, I know she's not exactly a show-stopper.

RUPERT
Her father's not keen on the idea.

JEREMY
He'll come around. "Have you met my daughter, Lady Rupert Standish?"

RUPERT
He thinks I'm in it for the money.

JEREMY
Of course he does. But you can't let that put you off.

RUPERT
He's much more of an obstacle than you think.

JEREMY
Then you must overcome that, mustn't you?

ARTHUR
Her Ladyship asked if you would join her in the drawing room when you've finished.

Scene 36. Dining Room

SIR WILLIAM
All right, ladies, off you go. Gentlemen. Gents, move down. Louisa, look after Pip for me, will you?

LADY TRENTHAM
I wonder if we could have a word or two later on, William.

SIR WILLIAM
Ah. Good. Good.

MEREDITH
Jennings, could I?

JENNINGS
Certainly, sir.

Scene 37. Kitchen

BERTHA
There's more in here. I'm just getting them. I need all the knives there. All the knives.

ETHEL
Come on, Maude. Let's go and get the fish kettle.

MAUDE
Yeah.

BERTHA
Fred? Albert? Ready? (to Mrs. Croft) There he is.

MRS CROFT
Who?

BERTHA
Lord Stockbridge's valet. Apparently, he grew up in an orphanage. Arthur said they made him shout it down the table. Makes you feel sorry for him, really.

MRS CROFT
It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's not his fault.

Scene 38. Drawing Room

JENNINGS
Would you like me to ask Lord Rupert and Mr. Blond to join you, sir?

SIR WILLIAM
No, leave them be. They can entertain the ladies. Give Mr. Novello a rest.

FREDDIE
Anthony, did I overhear you at dinner saying you were going into business with Sir William?

SIR WILLIAM
I beg your pardon?

WEISSMAN
Is it very old?

MEREDITH (to Freddie)
Possibly, possibly.

FREDDIE
If you need an expert in changing money, especially Africa, I'm your man - expert. Yes, the expert.

Scene 39. Kitchen

BERTHA
No, it's not here. And Mr. Jennings is certain he hasn't got it?

MRS CROFT
Oh, so he says.

BERTHA
But if it's a silver carving knife, he must have it. It's just gone in the wrong drawer in the silver pantry. It wouldn't have been put in here.

MRS CROFT
Well, that's what I told him. How old would you say that Mr. Stockbridge was?

BERTHA
I don't know. About 31, 32. Why?

MRS CROFT
Oh, no reason. Well, I think I'll turn in. We got an early start. You can tell Mr. Jennings we haven't got that knife.

Scene 40. Lady Sylvia Bedroom to Corridor

LEWIS
Pleasant evening, milady?

SYLVIA
Not really, no. Had Lord Stockbridge on one side boring for Britain and Freddie Nesbitt on the other sucking up. Oh, I'm worn out. Is there any more chocolate in that pot?

LEWIS
I'll go down and make some more, milady.

SYLVIA
Lewis? Lewis? (to Henry) I was looking for my maid.

HENRY
She's just gone downstairs. Can I help?

SYLVIA
She's going to fetch me some chocolate, but now I wonder whether I wouldn't prefer milk.

HENRY
Would that be hot milk or cold?

SYLVIA
You decide.

HENRY
I couldn't say, milady.

SYLVIA
Hot then, with something to make it sweet. You have your hands in your pockets. Otherwise, I'll never sleep.

HENRY
Why? Do you have trouble sleeping, milady?

SYLVIA
I have a feeling I might have trouble tonight. I'll be wide awake at 1:00 a.m., bored to sobs.

HENRY
Then we must try and think of something to amuse you.

MEREDITH
Barnes, it's all right.

BARNES
Oh, I'm so sorry, sir.

FREDDIE
No, I knew it. I knew William would try something like this. Well, of course he would. Fuck him!

BARNES (to himself)
Short arse.

FREDDIE
And fuck this room!

Scene 41. Weissman Bedroom

WEISSMAN
I think you should come with me tomorrow. I'll just say I need you. Oh, I got through to the coast tonight. Finally. Is that clock right? We got turned down by Una Merkel, so- Sheehan's pushing for a rewrite. He thinks the part's too small. It's a fucking Charlie Chan picture, not a movie about a socialite. So, will I see you later?

HENRY
I don't think I should risk it. Do you? Good night, sir.

WEISSMAN
Henry. Don't forget those. They'll think you don't care.

Scene 42. Parks & Denton Bedroom

MARY
Oh, I must've taken the wrong stairs.

HENRY
You better not be seen up here.

MARY
I'd better go down.

HENRY
Why? There's no rush. Since you're here now, what about a drink?

MARY
Oh! What are you doing? No! Get off me! Get off me! Get off-

HENRY
What?

ROBERT
What's this? (to Mary) What are you doing here?

MARY
I came up the wrong staircase. I was just waiting till the coast was clear.

ROBERT
Well, you better go down again before anyone catches you. Just a minute.

HENRY
What?

ROBERT
Nothing.

HENRY
Do you want a drink?

ROBERT 
Sure.

HENRY
So what do you make of the place? Is this s well-run house, would you say? Do you think Sir William would be good to work for?

ROBERT
No.

HENRY
How long you've been doing this?

ROBERT
What?

HENRY
Valeting.

ROBERT
About seven years. I was a footman before that.

HENRY
And working for Lord Stokbridge- is that a promotion?

ROBERT
No. I used to be with the Earl of Flintshire.

HENRY
Then why did you move?

ROBERT
'Cause I felt like it.

HENRY
Who's that?

ROBERT
That's my mother.

HENRY
Where's she live?

ROBERT
She doesn't. That's why they put me in an orphanage.

HENRY
That's right. Sorry. What happened to her?

ROBERT
What do you mean?

HENRY
I mean, why did she die? Was she young? Was it in childbirth?

ROBERT
You're not very curious, are you? Yeah, she was young. She worked in a factory. She had me. A little while later, she died. End of story.

HENRY
Then why didn't you say she was a factory worker at dinner?

ROBERT
'Cause I didn't fancy discussing my private life with a table full of strangers.

HENRY
I'm sorry if I spoke out of turn, mate. Didn't mean to offend you.

ROBERT
I'm not offended. And don't call me 'mate'.

HENRY
Well, I'll see you later. I've got a date with a hot glass of milk.

Scene 43. Elsie Bedroom

I shouldn't worry about it. It goes with the territory. Oh, look. It's Mr. Novello.

MARY
Just think of him sleeping downstairs.

ELSIE
I'm gonna have to watch you, my girl. I can see that.

MARY
Her Ladyship says Mr. Weissman's a Hollywood producer. He does the Charlie Chan films.

ELSIE
Yeah, I like those. I like a bit of a fright in the cinema.

MARY
You could go with his valet. He'd give you a fright. You'd better keep your eye on him. I think he's a queer one. He's not from Scotland, for a start. At least not any part of it that I know. What's Mrs. Nesbitt like?

ELSIE
She's all right. I feel a bit sorry for her, really. Of course, it never works.

MARY
What never works?

ELSIE
Well, when a man like that marries beneath him, he hasn't got the brains to carry it off.

MARY
I think it's romantic to marry for love.

ELSIE
Love? Not him. He's a nasty piece of work. The Honourable Freddie Nesbitt. That's a laugh. No, it was her father's money he was after. It was less than he thought, and now it's all spent, all he's got to show for it is a wife he's ashamed of. And he's lost his job. He wants Miss Isobel to put in a word with Sir William. What's the matter?

MARY
I never washed that shirt! Oh, she's gonna kill me. Do you think I could do it now?

ELSIE
Do you want me to go with you?

MARY
No. I'll be all right.

Scene 44. Servants' Hall

MRS CROFT
What are you doing down here?

MARY
I'm supposed to wash Lady Trentham's shirt for tomorrow.

MRS CROFT
There's a sink in the ironing room.

Scene 45. Ironing Room

MARY
Is someone in there?

BERTHA
What are you doing here?

MARY
I just had to rinse this shirt out.

BERTHA
Should've knocked, shouldn't you?

Scene 46. Outside Mrs. Wilson Bedroom

MRS WILSON
Miss Trentham?

MARY
Um, I was just washing a shirt of Her Ladyship's.

MRS WILSON
I hope you found everything you required. Does she have to have marmalade? Only Dorothy made too little of it last January and we've run out of the homemade. I don't suppose she'd care for strawberry jam instead? No, I thought not.

SIR WILLIAM
Oh, I was rather hoping for a word with Mrs. Wilson. Mrs. Wilson, will you tell Jennings that we'll have to soup after the fourth drive tomorrow. And- And tell Mrs. Croft to make it sure it's hot. It's been cold the last few weeks. And more pepper in it.

Scene 47. Lady Sylvia Bedroom

SYLVIA
Is that you?

HENRY
Were you expecting someone else?

Scene 48. Façade 

MAN
Seven hundred day today?

LOADER
Well, lads, don't coach your guns, even if they can't hit a barn door. Don't tell them where they're missing unless they ask.

SIR WILLIAM
Lovely day. Jennings.

JENNINGS
I hope it holds for you, sir. Enjoy the shoot.

WEISSMAN (to Lord Stockbridge)
Can a pheasant ever be dangerous?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Dangerous?

WEISSMAN
Do I have to worry about it attacking?

LOADER (to Sir William)
Good morning, sir.

SIR WILLIAM
Right. Draw your pegs.

WEISSMAN (to Lord Stockbridge)
I'm gonna be cheering him on.

SIR WILLIAM (to his Loader)
Draw your pegs. Here we are.

NOVELLO
Morning, Jennings.

JENNINGS
Are you shooting today, sir?

NOVELLO
I never shoot.

JENNINGS
Oh.

Scene 29. Chinese Room

LADY TRENTHAM
You see, I'm- I'm starving. Where have you been?

MARY
Sorry.

LADY TRENTHAM
Oh, they always send up a good breakfast here. I'll say that for Sylvia. She's not at all mean in that way. Oh, dear. Bought marmalade. Dear me, I call that very feeble. Well, I suppose one can't have everything. Mary, I don't think I'll wear that shirt after all. The other one's warmer. That's all I care about. Ooh, yummy. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Scene 30. Servants' Dining Room

BARNES
What do you mean, you're going shooting?

HENRY
Mr. Weissman wants me to accompany him. Nothing wrong in that.

ARTHUR
But what for? You're not loading. He hasn't got a gun.

HENRY
He might need something.

GEORGE
What could he need?

PROBERT
Yeah, we know the very idea of service is offensive to you, George. But there's no need to take it out on the rest of us. (to Henry) Please forgive our ill manners, Mr. Weissman.

BARNES
I think he's got something to hide, that one.

PROBERT
We all have something to hide, Mr. Meredith.

Scene 51. Isobel Bedroom

ELSIE
Would you like to get changed now, Miss?

ISOBEL
He won't do it.

ELSIE
Who won't do what?

ISOBEL
My father. He won't give Freddie a job. I spoke to him last night and he said he'd think about it. But this morning, he says it isn't up to him, when, of course, it is.

ELSIE
Why not?

ISOBEL 
I don't know. Something to do with why Freddie was sacked. But I can't get a straight answer out of either of them.

ELSIE
Well, you've done your best. Mr. Nesbitt can't ask for more than that now, can he?

ISOBEL
But he can, much more! He says he's going to tell him.

ELSIE
Do you think he will?

ISOBEL 
I don't know. He says Daddy will give him a job to keep him quiet. Will you say something?

ELSIE
To Mr. Nesbitt?

ISOBEL
To Daddy.

ELSIE
Really, Miss, why do you think I can make a difference?

ISOBEL 
Will you?

ELSIE
I think you should wear your warm underwear today.

Scene 52. The Hunt

WEISSMAN
Oh, God! It's on its way.

SIR WILLIAM
Damn! Bloody gun's no good. I told  you not to bring this one. Blast. I think I pricked that one. I- I'm pretty sure I pricked it. Oh, damn!

LOADER
Are you all right, sir?

SIR WILLIAM
No, I'm not! God, where the bloody hell did that come from?

LOADER
It's nicked you, sir.

SIR WILLIAM
It's nicked me. What cretin did that?

LOADER
I don't know, sir.

SIR WILLIAM
Find Strutt. Ask him if he knows who's responsible. And if he knows, tell him to send the gun back to the bloody house.

Scene 53. Chinese Room

LAVINIA (to Sylvia)
Everybody knows the desperate situation we're in, but nobody seems to care.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Mary)
Oh, there you are. Did you find one?

LAVINIA (to Sylvia)
Well?

SYLVIA
Don't look at me. If I so much as open my mouth on the subject, it'll make things worse.

LOUISA
I've already tried.

ISOBEL 
Jennings says the car's ready.

LADY TRENTHAM
Oh, goody. I'm starving. I do love-

SYLVIA (to Isobel) 
What are you wearing?

ISOBEL 
Why? Don't you like it? You bought it.

SYLVIA
Did I? Oh, how extraordinary of me. Come on. Better get going. Where's that wretched Mabel?

LADY TRENTHAM
Has anyone checked her outfit? She's probably in black velvet with a feather in her hair.

LAVINIA
She's in the morning room looking perfectly normal. Don't be such a snob, Aunt Constance.

LADY TRENTHAM
Me? I haven't a snobbish bone in my body.

Scene 54. Parks Bedroom

MRS WILSON
Oh, Mr. Meredith. Is Mr. Stockbridge in?

BARNES
Search me.

MRS WILSON
Oh, Mr. Stockbridge. I'm sorry to disturb you. I was just making my routine inspection. So, uh, how are you settling in with Lord Stockbridge?

ROBERT
I'm sorry?

MRS WILSON
How are you settling in with Lord Stockbridge? I know that you haven['t been with him for long.

ROBERT
Not long, no.

MRS WILSON
I'm afraid smoking isn't allowed up here. Well, I hope you're finding everything to make His Lordship's stay more comfortable. I hope we haven't forgotten anything.

ROBERT
I can't believe you forget much, Mrs. Wilson.

MRS WILSON
No, Not much. Well, I'll leave you to your book.

Scene 55. The Shelter

SIR WILLIAM
You know- Bang! Whoof.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE 
You should be more selective about the people you invite.

WEISSMAN (to the ladies0
It's very muddy, so watch where you step.

SYLVIA
Terrible muddy here. Do watch. Do you see what I'm saying? I've been noticing it. Doesn't this look lovely? They really have done well. Now, do go in and have a drink.

SIR WILLIAM
I can tell you, Raymond, it's a bloody awful thing to have happened. Oh, God, Louisa.

LADY TRENTHAM
Oh! Oh, I say.

SIR WILLIAM
Two inches to my right I'd have been dead. I've just been shot.

LOUISA
What?

SIR WILLIAM
Yes, that's right.

LADY TRENTHAM
What happened to your ear?

SIR WILLIAM
Some idiot shot me.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (to Sylvia)
I was a terrible shot.

LAVINIA (to Meredith)
Do you have fun?

MEREDITH
I don't think you realize how serious this is.

LAVINIA
Of course I do.

MEREDITH
Why can't you get your sisters to help?

LAVINIA
Darling, do you think I haven't tried? You know what they're like.

MEREDITH
Well, I know they couldn't care less if we go under. Why should they care, as long as their dressmakers are busy and their dinners are on time?

Scene 56. Female Servants' Bathroom

DOROTHY
Wait a minute. There's a queue here.

ELSIE
Shh. Shh.

MARY
Ohh! Shut the door, for heaven's sake.

ELSIE
Don't worry. It's only Lewis and Dorothy. If any of the men get found up here, they get sacked on the spot. Worse luck. So don't tell me you're a convent girl. Or is that Presbyterian modesty? Is the water hot?

MARY
Not really.

ELSIE
No, it won't be till the guns get back. I'd better get in yours.

MARY
Her Ladyship says that Sir William loves his shooting.

ELSIE
Yes, he does. Can't hit a barn door, but he does love it. It's quite sweet, really.

MARY
Elsie.

ELSIE
Yeah?

MARY
Last night-

ELSIE
What?

MARY
No, I shouldn't say.

ELSIE
Yes, you should. What?

MARY
Well, when I went down to wash that shirt, I think I saw him in the ironing room. He was with one of the kitchen maids.

ELSIE
No, that wouldn't have been him.

MARY
I think it was. He came down the passage a minute later and I don't see how-

ELSIE
No, it wasn't him.

Scene 57. The Shelter

MEREDITH
You weren't serious last night, were you?

SIR WILLIAM
I'm afraid I was, old boy. I was going to tell you next week, but since you mentioned it-

MEREDITH
I don't think you've grasped quite what it'll do to the whole project, and in particular what it'll do to me.

SIR WILLIAM
It can't be as black as all that, can it?

MEREDITH
Yes, it bloody well is.

SIR WILLIAM
Well, I'm sorry to hear that, but business is business. I'm not a charity commissioner, you know.

MEREDITH
William, I'm begging you.

SIR WILLIAM
Damn it!

LADY TRENTHAM
Oh, dear.

JENNINGS
I'll clear that up.

MEREDITH
I'm sorry.

JENNINGS
Arthur, go and get a bucket.

MEREDITH
Do you have a cloth?

JENNINGS
Under the table. We'll have that cleaned for you at the house.

NOVELLO (on recording)
I do like gathering nuts in May-

SIR WILLIAM
Terrified the life out of me.

SYLVIA (to Novello)
I borrowed it from Lewis.

SIR WILLIAM
Shot, frightened to death. I think it's left me deaf.

Scene 58. Female Servants' Bathroom

MARY
You know how you said Sir William could've had his pick between Lady Sylvia and Lady Stockbridge?

ELSIE
Aye.

MARY
Well, I asked Her Ladyship about it. And she said they cut cards for him.

ELSIE
No!

MARY
I know. I can't believe it either. Do you suppose it was a joke?

ELSIE
Well, I wouldn't be too sure. You know what I heard? Oh, just listen to me.

MARY
What?

ELSIE
Why do we spend our lives living through them? I mean, look at poor old Lewis. If her own mother had a heart attack, she'd think it was less important than one of Lady Sylvia's farts.

Scene 59. Chinese Room

LADY TRENTHAM
You must know, you can't fool me. If there's one thing I don't look for in a maid, it's discretion. Except with my own secrets, of course.

MARY
Well, I don't know much, milady, but apparently he was counting on Sir William for an investment and had guaranteed his interest, whatever that means. Anyway, Mr. Barnes -the Commander's valet, he said he wanted to leave at once, but lady Lavinia's persuaded him to stay until tomorrow to make less of a thing of it.

SYLVIA (to Lady Trentham)
Oh, thanks heavens. Lewis told me you were wearing white.

LADY TRENTHAM
White? She must be mad. I never wear white.

SYLVIA
I thought it was a little odd. By the way, for God's sake, don't rub him up tonight.

LADY TRENTHAM
I don't know what you mean.

SYLVIA
You know exactly what I mean. He's in a filthy mood with everyone. He's talking about stopping your allowance.

LADY TRENTHAM
But it's for life. That was settled. He can't do that.

SYLVIA
Just you watch him. He's absolutely spoiling for a fight. So if you'll take my advice, you won't give him one.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Mary)
Now, that you can be discreet about.

Scene 60. Dining Room

JEREMY 
Thank you.

LAVINIA
Goodness, isn't it pretty here? The house has such lovely position.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
The best view's from the old water tower. You might well walk up there tomorrow. (to Meredith) Do you really have to go back to London?

MEREDITH
I'm afraid so, Raymond. When you've ruined, there's so much to do.

SIR WILLIAM
Yes, there is, isn't there? Moan, moan, moan.

LADY TRENTHAM
Would anyone care for a game of bridge after dinner?

FREDDIE
Oh, yes, I wouldn't mind.

LADY TRENTHAM
Who else? Louisa, how about you?

LOUISA
Oh, I don't think so. I've rather gone off cards. I've never been very lucky with them.

SIR WILLIAM
Me, too.

SYLVIA
Mr. Weissman, tell us about the film you're going to make.

WEISSMAN
Oh, sure. It's called Charlie Chan in London. It's a detective story.

MABEL 
Set in London?

WEISSMAN
Well, not really. Um, most of it takes place at a shooting party in a country house, sort of this one, actually. A murder in the middle of night. A lot of guests for the weekend. Everyone's a suspect. You know, that sort of thing.

LADY TRENTHAM
How horrid. And who turns out to have done it?

WEISSMAN
Oh, I couldn't tell you that. It would spoil it for you.

LADY TRENTHAM
Oh, but none of us will see it.

RUPERT
Are you thinking of making it here, Mr. Weissman?

WEISSMAN
Uh, no. We're going to shoot it in Hollywood, on the back lot. But since I was in England, I thought I would do a little research on country living and, uh, Ivor was kind enough to arrange it for me.

NOVELLO
Mmm, no. William arranged it for you.

WEISSMAN (to Sir William)
Are you interested in films, sir?

SYLVIA
Not likely.

SIR WILLIAM
Why shouldn't I be interested in films? You don't know what I'm interested in.

SYLVIA
Well, I know you're interested in money and fiddling with your guns, but I admit it when it comes to anything else, I'm stumped.

ELSIE
I say, that is not fair. Bill is-

Scene 61. Corridor at Female Servants' Rooms

MARY
Elsie. Elsie, what's-

Scene 62. Drawing Room

SYLVIA
It's not as if I didn't know.

LADY TRENTHAM
So we can all play bridge. All playing?

SYLVIA
Who's going to play bridge? Are they going to play?

LADY TRENTHAM
Where's Rupert? Rupert!

RUPERT 
Coming.

Scene 63. Dining Room

PROBERT
I heard Lady Sylvia spoke out of turn.

DOROTHY
You didn't actually see?

SARAH
So what's going to happen to Elsie?

LEWIS
She'll be lucky if they don't boot her out before the morning.

GEORGE
You should've seen it.

SARAH
She has been here a long time.

BARNES
Shall I tell you what that means to them? Bugger all.

PROBERT
Please, Mr. Meredith. There are ladies present.

BARNES
Where, exactly, is Sir William now?

GEORGE
He's still in the library. He won't be out again tonight.

LEWIS
Oh, Dorothy.

JENNINGS
Mr. Meredith. May I ask what is going on?

PROBERT
Uh, we were just-

JENNINGS
George, will you please join me in the drawing room as soon as possible. Mr. Probert, kindly take everybody downstairs.

PROBERT
Certainly. Ladies-

JENNINGS
Dorothy, I'm especially surprised at you.

PROBERT
Come along, ladies. Come along.

MARY (to Robert)
Is it true then? Has Elsie really been sacked?

Scene 64. Drawing Room

FREDDIE
Lady Trentham.

JEREMY
Well, luck of the draw.

MABEL 
Freddie, I'd like to-

FREDDIE
Darling, we've just cut-

SYLVIA
Ivor, darling.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Jeremy)
Oh, thank you so much.

SYLVIA (to Novello)
Would it be awful of me to ask you to play something to cheer us all up a bit?

NOVELLO
Of course not.

SYLVIA
Thank you. (to Meredith) So sweet.

WEISSMAN (to Novello)
I've booked the first passage home. I'll be living on the phone till I set sail. I have to be in London tomorrow. So if you prefer to stay, I can take a train.

NOVELLO
I'll give you a lift in my car.

WEISSMAN
Oh. Thank you. You're providing a lot of entertainment for nothing.

NOVELLO
Morris, I'm used to it. Excuse me.

FREDDIE
Music moves on.

SYLVIA (to Meredith)
Funny old evening, hmm?

NOVELLO (singing)
Somewhere there's another land-

MABEL 
Oh!

FREDDIE
You're not going to stand over my shoulder and watch me, please. You'll put me off.

LADY TRENTHAM
He's rather a big success, isn't he?

FREDDIE
Huge. It's absolutely ridiculous.

LADY TRENTHAM
Do you think he'll be as long as he usually is?

FREDDIE
I think he's rather wonderful.

LADY TRENTHAM
Well, I have only seen one.

SYLVIA (to Lavinia)
I thought we weren't drinking anymore.

Scene 65. Outside Drawing Room

PROBERT
I don't think we should be doing this.

LEWIS
Oh, come on.

Scene 66. Billiards Room

ROBERT
I don't know. It's just- I mean, how could she let him touch her?

MARY
You sound as if you don't like him.

ROBERT
You'd be surprised.

MARY
All right, surprise me.

ROBERT
Maybe I will.

RENEE
I saw him in The Lodger. But I've never heard him sing in person.

Scene 67. Drawing Room

FREDDIE
Will you, um, excuse me for a minute? (to Lady Trentham) You don't need my help.

LADY TRENTHAM
No, we're fine.

Scene 68. Outside the Drawing Room

PROBERT
Oh, my Lord.

Scene 69. Drawing Room

LADY TRENTHAM
It seems to be much more than just background music. Somehow or other.

SYLVIA
Ivor, darling, it was lovely. Thank you.

NOVELLO (singing)
I seem to be the victim of a cruel jest.
It dogs my footsteps with the girl I love the best.-

LAVINIA
Anthony.

Scene 70. Outside the Drawing Room

FEMALE SERVANT#1
Shh. It's the commander.

MEREDITH
Oh.

ARTHUR
Good evening, sir.

MEREDITH
Excuse me.

FEMALE SERVANT#2
Sir.

MEREDITH
Uh, carry on.

Scene 71. Library

SIR WILLIAM
What do you want?

MRS WILSON
I brought you some coffee.

SIR WILLIAM
If I wanted coffee, I'd have rung for it. Leave that. Give me some whiskey.

Scene 72. Elsie Bedroom's Door

HENRY
I thought you might need a drink and some company.

ELSIE
Well, that's really very kind of you. Give me just a sec.

Scene 73. Drawing Room

LADY TRENTHAM
Awfully long repertoire.

NOVELLO (singing)
I can give you the starlight, love unchanging and true.
I can give you the ocean-

GEORGE
We've run of milk, Mr. Jennings. Won't be a moment. (outside- to Arthur) Desperate for a fag.

Scene 74. Bottom of the Main Stairs

SARAH
Where's Mr. Weissman's man? He's missing the music.

BARNES
Shh.

Scene 75. Servants' Hall

MRS WILSON
What are you doing? Dorothy, get back to work.

MRS CROFT
Excuse me, but Dorothy's under my jurisdiction as well, you know. And I say she can listen to a spot of music if she likes.

Scene 76. Main Hall

WEISSMAN
Excuse me. Where's the telephone?

SERVANT
Oh, I'm sorry, sir. Uh, it's just over there, sir.

Scene 77. Drawing Room

LADY TRENTHAM
Don't. Don't. Don't. Please don't encourage him. He'll just go on and on.

NOVELLO (singing)
In B.C. 33; ah, me! That's a dash long time ago.
There lived a Roman hero who had shaken hands with Nero.
And the history you shall know-

Scene 78. Elsie Bedroom's Door

ELSIE
Oh, you're still here.

HENRY
I thought that-

ELSIE
Yeah, well, appearances can be deceptive, can't they?

HENRY
Elsie.

ELSIE
Good night.

Scene 79. Drawing Room

LOUISA
So he gave you that for your birthday, did he?

SYLVIA
Hmm?

LOUISA
He gave you that for your birthday, William did?

Scene 80. Main Hall

WEISSMAN
Yeah, I've got a call booked for California. California.

Scene 81. Drawing Room

LADY TRENTHAM
The music- It's never going to stop. Oh, Freddie, we gave up on you. We waited as long as we could.

LOUISA (to Sylvia)
Do you think William's still in the library?

MABEL (to Freddie)
Where have you been?

FREDDIE
Hmm?

SYLVIA (to Louisa)
I suppose.

MABEL (to Freddie) 
Where have you been?

FREDDIE 
That's none of your bloody business.

SYLVIA (to Louisa)
What are we going to do?

LADY TRENTHAM
Who played the nine?

LOUISA (to Sylvia)
Oh, I could try and fetch him.

SYLVIA
Oh, would you? He's always preferred you to me.

LOUISA
Yes, I'd be delighted.

RUPERT
Today is not my day.

JENNINGS (to George)
Is that's what you call a moment, I'd like to see what happens when you take a real break.

Scene 82. Billiards Room

ROBERT
Here. Did yours as well. Before the rush starts.

MARY
Thank you.

Scene 83. Drawing Room

LAVINIA
Where have you been?

MEREDITH
It's fine. It's fine.

Scene 84. Library

LOUISA
William? Oh, God. Bill. Come here, you horrid little dirty thing. Bill. [screaming].

Scene 85. To Library

SYLVIA
Louisa!

RUPERT
Isobel? Isobel?

JENNINGS
George. Excuse me, sir.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Jennings.

MEREDITH
Darling? Darling? (to Sarah) Could you ask Jennings about the salts? Could somebody get a glass of water, please?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (to Jennings)
Keep everybody out of this room.

JENNINGS
Yes, sir, certainly.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Over here, Louisa. 

LOUISA
Bill.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Louisa, just sit and be quite.

LOUISA
But-

ISOBEL (to Sylvia)
Mummy? Mummy?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (To Meredith)
Is she all right?

MEREDITH
Everything's fine.

LADY TRENTHAM
Sylvia.

WEISSMAN 
Well, tell Mr. Warner-

LORD STOCKBRIDGE 
Excuse me. I need that telephone.

WEISSMAN
Excuse me. I'm on the telephone. I'm on a call to California.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Hello? Yes, would you connect me with the police station?

Scene 86. Main Hall to Red Drawing Room

WEISSMAN
I'm looking for a kind of realistic Charlie Chan movie. This isn't out of the question. I mean, we should try to do this. It has to be better. We can't do the same old shit over and over again. Alan Mowbray, I like that. I mean, that's a butler. These people here look like Alan Mowbray. I mean, they're sort of tall, and they don't- they don't say too much. And they have fucking British accents, right? They talk like they're from England.

JENNINGS (to Inspector)
Good evening. We've been expecting you. 

WEISSMAN
Is Ray Milland British?

INSPECTOR (to Jennings)
Yes, good evening. This is Constable Dexter-

SYLVIA
You must be the police.

INSPECTOR
Yes. How do you do, ma'am? I'm Inspector Thom-

SYLVIA
I'm Lady Sylvia McCordle. Uh, we haven't moved him. I've gathered anyone and wait for you. Would you mind coming straight through?

INSPECTOR
Certainly, ma'am, yes.

SYLVIA
Oh, don't worry about him. He's just an American staying with us. Now, I'll tell you who we all are and then we can all go to bed and leave you with poor William. Does that sound like a very good plan?

INSPECTOR
Yes, indeed. Shall I introduce myself? I'm Inspector Thom-

SYLVIA
This is my aunt, Lady Trentham.

INSPECTOR
Ah, yes, the Countess of Trentham. Yes, I served with your husband on a-

SYLVIA
My brother-in-law Lord Stockbridge. Lady Stockbridge. Jennings, please, would you remove that vile animal?

JENNINGS
Certainly, milady.

SYLVIA
Uh, Mrs. Nesbitt. Uh- Mr. Nesbitt. Ivor Novello, who I'm sure needs no introduction.

INSPECTOR
Of course. Mr. Novello, a-

SYLVIA
No, wait, wait. Would you like to speak to the servants tonight, Inspector?

INSPECTOR
Inspector Thom-

SYLVIA 
(to Jennings) He ought to speak to Probert, my husband's valet. Would you tell him to come up? (to Inspector) Now, where was I? Um, Isobel McCordle, my daughter.

WEISSMAN
Charlie Chan is in London. He's not in California. Well, they're talking to me about rewrites about the part of the Cockney maid, and she's running in and saying all these things. Look, I'm here. They don't talk. The butlers and the maids. They stand. They watch. I mean, you know, they serve. They do things. What about Claudette Colbert? She's British, isn't she? She sounds British. Is she, like, affected, or is she British?

Scene 87. Servants' Dining Room

JENNINGS
Oh, Dorothy. Would you take- Um, well, I-

MRS CROFT
Go on, spit it out.

JENNINGS
The police would like to see you for a moment.

MRS CROFT
Me?

JENNINGS
No, Mrs. Croft. Mr. Probert.

PROBERT
Me? Why? Oh, well, I- I- I don't know what I can tell them.

JENNINGS
George, would you go and see if anything more is required in the red drawing room?

GEORGE
Yes, sir.

JENNINGS
I don't see the point in the rest of you waiting up.

ELSIE
What about me, Mr. Jennings?

JENNINGS
You can go as soon as the police release you. I don't see that'll be sometime tomorrow.

MRS WILSON (to Elsie)
Until then, you can stay in your room.

ELSIE
I'm not contagious, you know.

JENNINGS
Nobody's going anywhere. Those of you with remaining duties, see to them as quickly as you can. Otherwise, good night everyone.

HENRY
Mr. Jennings.

JENNINGS
Yes, Mr. Weissman.

HENRY
I have a confession to make.

Scene 88. Main Hall

WEISSMAN
Right, but I think it's clear it's the valet who did it. No, because the valet has access to everybody. No, the valet isn't the butler. No, there's one butler and there's lots of valets running all over the place. He takes care of people. He's in their rooms at night. I mean, he could do it. I mean, the valet easily could have done it.

Scene 89. Library

INSPECTOR
Pull yourself together, Mr. Probert. Try and be a bit patient. They'll be along in a minute.

PROBERT
Couldn't I just make him a little comfortable, sir? Please?

NOVELLO
Have a heart, Inspector.

DEXTER
Ah, no, it wouldn't be wise, sir. We shouldn't have to wait too much longer now.

INSPECTOR
Oh, I don't think it'd do any harm. Go on.

PROBERT
Ohh!

INSPECTOR
Well, you see, this is why we have rules and regulations, isn't it? What is it, Dexter?

DEXTER
Well, only that there doesn't seem to be much blood, sir.

Scene 90. Tapestry Room

ROBERT
Is that everything, milord?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Yes, thank you, Parks. I think perhaps you should try and get some sleep.

LOUISA
It's so unfair! Nobody liked him. It's terrible.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Oh, do stop sniveling. Anyone would think you were Italian. Christ.

Scene 91. Lady Sylvia Bedroom

LEWIS
Will you not let me help you with your frock, milady?

SYLVIA
No, I can manage.

LEWIS
Then I'll say goodnight, milady.

SYLVIA
Oh, wait, wait, wait.

LEWIS
Thank you milady.

SYLVIA
What is it? (to Henry) Please tell me you haven't come with condolences.

HENRY
No. I was just wondering if you wanted some com-

SYLVIA
What?

HENRY
I said, I was just wondering if you wanted some company.

SYLVIA
Well, I suppose life must go on. Unhook me. No, there's another one. You'll never get it off like that.

Scene 92. Elsie Bedroom

MARY
I'm really sorry about everything.

ELSIE
Don't feel sorry for me. Pity that poor Dorothy. She's got all the morning teas to do and the breakfast trays. And she's got to get Miss Isobel down to the dining room and see if she can find anything in black. She's the one who needs your sympathy. I'm well out of it.

MARY
I would think Miss Isobel might stay in bed tomorrow.

ELSIE
Unmarried girl don't have breakfast trays. Not in this house.

MARY
I wish I could help.

ELSIE
You can't.

Scene 93. Kitchen

BERTHA
George says Mr. Novello was in on it. And Sir William. The point is, that Henry Denton, he's an actor.

KITCHEN MAID
An actor?

BERTHA
He's playing a butler in the next Charlie Chan. Just wanted to make it authentic.

MRS CROFT
I'd say the joke was on Lady Sylvia.

KITCHEN MAID
Well, I hope he don't model his performance on Mr. Jennings or he'll be too squiffy to remember his lines.

INSPECTOR
Ah, Mrs. Croft, isn't it? I wonder if I could- Ah, yes, have a few words with you, Mrs. Croft. I'm Inspector Thom-

MRS CROFT
Oh, I haven't got time for this now. I'm doing the breakfast.

INSPECTOR
Well, it wouldn't take much time. I mean, perhaps you have a room somewhere where we could speak undisturbed.

MRS CROFT
Oh. I suppose you'd better come to my room. Bertha, I'm leaving you in charge. Dorothy, make sure those menus go up on Her Ladyship's tray. And get that filthy dog out of here.

Scene 94. Chinese Room

LADY TRENTHAM
Honestly, these days the countryside's getting more dangerous than Piccadilly.

MARY
But why one of the knives from the silver pantry? It doesn't make sense. 

LADY TRENTHAM
He must have forgotten to bring one. When you think of what they have to carry about- All those jemmies and torches and skeleton keys. It's a miracle anyone ever gets burgled at all. Oh, it's glacial in here. Get my fur, will you? Oh. Anyway, it wasn't in the silver pantry. It's been missing since yesterday. Obviously William had it. And when the fellow surprised him, there it was, on the table as handy as you like. By the way, are any of the others getting up for breakfast? The women, I mean.

MARY
I think Lady Lavinia may be.

LADY TRENTHAM
Well, that settles it. Come back at half past 8:00. I'll get dressed. It's the greatest bore, of course, but I don't want to miss anything.

Scene 95. Isobel Bedroom

ISOBEL
When I came back last night, I found this on my dressing table.

ELSIE
What is it? 'This is your final warning. If I've not received an offer--' Freddie. What a stupid idiot. Well, at least he's off your back now. There's no one to tell. At least no one's who's gonna give him a job to shut him up.

Scene 96. Mrs. Croft Bedroom

INSPECTOR
Oh, now, he's quite the bonny lad, isn't he? What's he up to these days, this one, eh?

MRS CROFT
He's dead. I don't know what I can tell you. Shouldn't you be looking for signs of a break-in?

INSPECTOR
Well, Mrs. Croft, I understand no one has served Sir William longer than you have, is that true?

Scene 97. Isobel Bedroom

ELSIE
I'd better be off. I might not see you again. I'm only staying till the police give the nod.

ISOBEL
But, Elsie, you're not in any difficulty, are you?

ELSIE
What, apart from having no home and no job? Nah, there's no worries there.

ISOBEL
Yes, I was forgetting. You were much cleverer than I was.

ELSIE
You'll be fine.

Scene 98. Ironing Room

MARY
I wonder what Lady Sylvia will do now.

RENEE
If I were her, I'd set up in London as a glamorous widow will all the gentlemen chasin' me for my money.

ROBERT
I wouldn't. I grew up in London.

MARY
Is that where the orphanage was?

ROBERT
On the edge. Isleworth.

MARY
And you don't get homesick?

ROBERT
I don't think you get homesick if you've never had a home. You heard about Mr. Weissman's valet?

RENEE
What about him?

ROBERT
Turns out he's a fraud. He isn't Scottish at all.

RENEE
No!

MARY
I could've told you that. Who is he, then?

RENEE
Do you think he's the murderer?

ROBERT
It's worse than that. He's an actor.

Scene 98. Main Hall

WEISSMAN
Yes, I want you to wake him up. How else do you suggest I talk to him? Yes. Right. Well, what'd he say? What? He's talking about Clara Bow again? Listen, you tell Sheehan that I think Clara Bow is a really nice person and she's not coming within' ten miles of my picture. I don't want her in the fucking movie.

Scene 99. Gallery

MEREDITH
There is one thing. The bastard's death may have saved my bacon.

LAVINIA
For God's sake, be quiet. What's the matter with you?

Scene 100. Breakfast

JENNINGS
Arthur.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Arthur)
Oh, are these tomatoes?

ARTHUR
Yes, milady.

LADY TRENTHAM
That's exactly what I want.

LAVINIA
Good morning.

LADY TRENTHAM
Good morning, dear. Have you heard? It's too tiresome. That frightful inspector won't let anyone leave. So we're to be treated to another day of Mr. Weissman shouting down the telephone.

NOVELLO
Well, he has some problems with his work in Los Angeles, I'm afraid.

LADY TRENTHAM
Well, I must say, he conducts his affairs very oddly. Coming downstairs just now, I thought I'd been transported to a bar in Marseilles.

WEISSMAN
Jennings? Excuse me. I'm sorry. I'm expecting a really important phone call. So, will you get me the second it comes through?

JENNINGS
Very good, sir.

WEISSMAN
Thanks. And I'd like, uh, oh, tomato and eggs. Thank you.

JENNINGS
Of course, sir, but perhaps you would prefer to choose for yourself, sir?

WEISSMAN
What do you mean, like cafeteria style?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
The Englishman is never waited on at breakfast.

WEISSMAN
Really? Well, that's interesting. Because an American is. Wow. I'm going to make a note of that.

HENRY
Good morning.

NOVELLO
Good morning.

HENRY
I'd like some coffee, Jennings.

JENNINGS
There it is.

WEISSMAN (to Henry)
You haven't made a lot of friends.

INSPECTOR
Ah. Good. Good morning, ladies, gents. Um, I wonder- Excuse me. Uh, will Lady Sylvia be coming down soon?

LADY TRENTHAM
I shouldn't think so. She has breakfast in her room. Then she usually goes for a ride.

INSPECTOR
Yes, but she won't be doing that this morning, will she? Ah, well, I see. Well, uh, in that case, I wonder, Lady Trentham, if you would be kind enough to join us for some questions.

LADY TRENTHAM
If you wish, Inspector. I'm afraid I won't be much help, but I suppose on a day like this we all have to pull our weight.

Scene 101. Backyard

ELLEN
You know that Mr. Denton made a right chump out of Mr. Jennings.

BERTHA
Never mind that. Did you hear about Sir William? Apparently he wasn't stabbed after all. Well, I mean, he was, but that's not why he died. He was poisoned. That's what killed him. The inspector told Mrs. Croft. They don't know why the killer stabbed him as well, but he must've been dead already. That's why there was no blood. Dead bodies don't bleed, you know. Trust Sir William to be murdered twice.

Scene 102. Silver Pantry

JENNINGS
Of course he wasn't murdered. Not that sort of murder. Some ruffian broke in, thinking the library was empty. Sir William surprised him and paid the price for it. But very tragic it is, too.

GEORGE
I can't see that, Mr. Jennings. I don't think ruffians go about poisoning people and then stabbing the corpses. Apart from anything else, they're usually in a hurry to get away, aren't they?

JENNINGS
What are you suggesting?

GEORGE
I'm not suggesting anything. It's just-

JENNINGS
Just what?

GEORGE
Well, it looks to me like Sir William was killed deliberately, that's all. No wonder, they're not letting any of us go. Tough luck on whoever's got any secrets to hide.

Scene 103. Kitchen

MRS CROFT
Now they've cancelled the shooting, muggings here has got to pull a dining-room luncheon for God knows how many out of the hat. Is Her Ladyship back yet?

BERTHA
No.

MRS CROFT
Then she'll have to take what she gets.

ETHEL
Why would anyone want to kill Sir William?

MRS CROFT
Well, he wasn't exactly Father Christmas. Get on with your work. (to Robert) And take that filthy dog out of here. (resuming her story)He made a few enemies in his time, that's all.

KITCHEN MAID
What do you mean enemies? When?

BERTHA
Is this before the war, Mrs. Croft, when you were a factory worker?

MRS CROFT
Excuse me, I was not a factory worker. I was never a factory worker. I was a cook in one of his factories. He had two in Isleworth and two in Twickenham, and all full of girls. So you can imagine.

ELLEN
Wasn't that risky with factory girls? Suppose they complained?

MRS CROFT
Who to, exactly?

BERTHA
But what if they got, you know, in trouble?

KITCHEN MAID
What sort of trouble?

MRS CROFT
Here, take these. Whites only, all right? Didn't happen very often. When it did, he arranged to have it adopted.

BERTHA
But what if you didn't want it adopted? Say you wanted to keep it.

MRS CROFT
Then you got kicked out, lost your job. You can take my word for it. He was a hard-hearted, randy old sod.

Scene 104. Library

INSPECTOR
Ah, come in, Miss Maceach- I'm Inspector Thom-

LADY TRENTHAM
This is all too tiresome and absurd. He's making the most dreadful fuss.

INSPECTOR
IF you don't mind, I would like to ask the young lady some questions.

LADY TRENTHAM
Well, I'm not leaving if that's what you think.

INSPECTOR (to Mary)
Well, does it bother you if Lady Trentham stays?

MARY
Why should it?

DEXTER
Sir, someone's traipsed a lot of mud in down here.

INSPECTOR
Not now, Dexter, please. I understood there was some difficulty between the late Sir William McCordle and your employer.

LADY TRENTHAM
This is too vulgar to be believed.

MARY
I wasn't aware of that, sir. They got on well as far as I could see.

INSPECTOR
You were not conscious-

DEXTER
Inspector, there's a broken coffee cup down here.

INSPECTOR
Dexter, they have people to clear these things up. You get on with your own job. All right? (to Mary) So you were not aware of any trouble over the matter of an allowance? An allowance, I might add, that Sir William's death has now made secure.

MARY
What sort of an allowance would that be, sir?

Scene 105. Sewing Room

JENNINGS
Ah, there you are. How you got enough light? Black on black? We don't want you going blind on top of everything else.

DOROTHY
They've got to be done, Mr. Jennings; but the outside staff need them for the funeral, you know.

JENNINGS
I'm sorry that this business with Elsie has landed you with so much work. Well, that's what comes of being so reliable.

DOROTHY
Oh, never mind me.

JENNINGS
Hmm.

DOROTHY
Mr. Jennings, have you- Have you- Have you spoken to the police again?

JENNINGS
Not yet. No.

DOROTHY
I- I suppose they have to ask their questions, don't they have to?

JENNINGS
Oh, well, yes.

DOROTHY
Will they be talking to all of us?

JENNINGS
I shouldn't think so. No. Well, I'll leave you to it, then.

DOROTHY
Mr. Jennings. You know- You know I'd say anything you want me to.

JENNINGS
What?

DOROTHY
Anything at all. I don't care what I tell them, if it'll help you. Y- Y- You know that, don't you? You've only to ask.

Scene 106. Library

INSPECTOR
So let me, uh- Let me pour you a cup of tea, eh?

SYLVIA
Yes, thank you. Would you mind putting the milk in afterwards?

INSPECTOR
Of course. Of course. Don't know what came over me. I usually put the milk in after, but on that occasion-

DEXTER
Sir.

INSPECTOR
Not now, thank you. So sorry. Um, now, Mrs. Inspector Thompson prefers the milk in first, so I get used to pouring it for her. You know, I don't know why. Some nonsense about bacteria. You know what women are like- well, what wives are like. No, she's a funny old- Sugar?

SYLVIA
No, thank you.

Scene 107. Servants' Hall

ROBERT
Of course, they'll give her a good reference. Otherwise they'd have to explain why they're giving her a bad one.

MARY
Mr. Parks.

ROBERT
Robert.

MARY
Robert, then. It's just- Last night when you said you'd surprise me, you didn't mean anything by it, did you?

ROBERT
Why? Don't you like surprises?

JENNINGS
Where shall we begin? Yes, now- Oh, Mr. Stockbridge. And by now I assume you are all aware that, uh, Mr. Denton has been playing a trick on us by posing as a valet. Since, uh, Sir William was aware of the plan, it is not for me or anyone else to criticize it. However, it does leave us with some adjustments to make for this evening. Um, Arthur, you will take over dressing Mr. Weissman. That leaves us the problem of Mr. Novello, and I really don't want to ask you, Mr. Probert.

ARTHUR
I don't mind, Mr. Jennings.

JENNINGS
Oh, no, no. You've got enough on your plate.

ROBERT
I'll do him if you like.

JENNINGS
Oh, that's very generous of you, Mr. Stockbridge. I suppose I could always do it myself, of course.

ROBERT
No, no. It's no trouble. It's only for a night or two.

JENNINGS
Good. Splendid. That's settled, then. And I think we can leave Mr. Denton to dress himself.

Scene 108. Library.

INSPECTOR
'The bastard's death may have saved my bacon.' What do you think he meant by that? Hmm?

BARNES
Isn't it obvious?

INSPECTOR
Is it?

DEXTER
Well, perhaps he meant that the investment that Sir William had agreed would probably have to be paid now, sir.

INSPECTOR
What about that low shot that nearly killed him that morning they were out?

DEXTER
Sir.

INSPECTOR
What is it?

DEXTER
We haven't dusted those things for fingerprints yet.

INSPECTOR
Good. Do you think that shot might have been intended for Sir William?

BARNES
Well, it nearly took his ear off.

INSPECTOR
Hmm. Mm-hmm. Well, thank you, Mr. Barnes. You've been most helpful. Perhaps you'd be good enough to ask Commander Meredith to join us just now.

BARNES
Ah. You- You won't tell him what I said, will you, Inspector Thomas?

INSPECTOR
Thompson. It's Inspector Thom- Never mind. Just go and fetch him up, please.

DEXTER
Sir.

Scene 109. Servants' Hall

RENEE
We've only got this.

SARAH
I don't think mine's bothered. She hasn't got any black here.

GEORGE (to Arthur)
We've got some new ones.

ARTHUR
You're a lech. You know that?

ELSIE
George.

GEORGE
They're coming in a minute. The dressing bell's just gone.

ELSIE
I'm going out of my mind up there. I've read all my magazines twice. You couldn't pinch something out of the library for me? I don't care if it's Horse and Hound as long as I haven't read it.

BARNES (to Henry)
Well, we are all honoured. In case you've forgotten, this is the servants area, sir. Yours is at the top of the stairs behind that door there, sir.

HENRY
Barnes, it was just a- I wanted to explain.

GEORGE
No explanation necessary, Mr. Denton. If you'll excuse us, some of us have got real work to do. Come on, Arthur.

ARTHUR
The accent was a dead giveaway, you know. We all knew.

HENRY
Robert, I was just having fun.

ROBERT
Well, then perhaps you'd better enjoy your fun in the drawing room, sir.

ELSIE
They're afraid you'll repeat things, be indiscreet.

HENRY
But I'm very discreet. In Hollywood, that's what I'm known for: my discretion.

Scene 110. Upstairs Gallery

ISOBEL
Tell Rupert if you like. He won't give you any money.

FREDDIE
No. You're completely misunderstanding me.

ISOBEL
And Mummy wouldn't pay five pounds to save me.

FREDDIE
Oh, my poor darling. Come here. Come on. Look, please. Don't- Don't think that I'm enjoying this. All I wanted was a job.

ISOBEL
My checkbook's downstairs. I'll give you a cheque after dinner.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (to Meredith)
I'm trying to find my man Parks. Have you seen him?

MEREDITH 
Uh, no. I've been with the police.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
You look as if you've had rather a pasting.

MEREDITH
Well, they kept on and on about that low shot yesterday. And, uh, they wouldn't let it go. I told them it was nothing to do with me.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE 
I'm sure you did. But another time, Anthony, try to be less greedy. Parks!

MEREDITH
What?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (to Robert)
You attend to Mr. Novello first. I want a word with Her Ladyship.

ROBERT
Very well, milord.

MEREDITH 
What?

LORD STOCKBRIDGE 
I saw you. Of course it was an accident. When a man is as short as you, I know it must be very difficult to gauge the height of the birds.

Scene 111. Servants' Hall

JENNINGS
Mr. Meredith.

BARNES
Hmm?

JENNINGS
You haven't seen Commander Meredith anywhere, have you?

BARNES
No.

JENNINGS
He never came downstairs and he's not in his room.

BARNES
Mr. Jennings, I've washed him and dressed him. If he can't find his way to the drawing room, it isn't my fault.

Scene 112. Jam Pantry

MAN
If you've finished with that, go and see Mr. Croft.

DOROTHY
Oh, I- I'm so sorry, sir. I didn't mean to disturb you.

MEREDITH
No, no, no. Please. Well, I'm just trying some of your jam. I must be in your way.

DOROTHY
No, no. No, no. No bother. What one is that, sir?

MEREDITH
Um, it's raspberry. October 31.

DOROTHY
You might like to try the, um, strawberry one.

MEREDITH
Oh, is that strawberry? Let's see. Ah, yes.

DOROTHY
You're all right, sir?

MEREDITH
Just been with the inspector and I feel a little bruised. Mmm. Why is it, would you say, that some people seem to get whatever they want in life? Everything they touch turns to gold. Whereas others can strive and strive and have nothing. I wonder, do you believe in luck? Do you think some men are lucky and some men just aren't and nothing they can do about it?

DOROTHY
I believe in love. Not just getting it. Giving it. I think as long as you can love somebody, whether or not they love you, then it's worth it and-

MEREDITH
That's a good answer. Uh, I think I've got to go. Must have finished dinner by now. Thank you.

Scene 113. Drawing Room

LADY TRENTHAM
I thought the wine was frightful tonight. Vile.

HENRY
Jennings, old boy, I'll have a bourbon.

JENNINGS
We don't have bourbon. We have ordinary Scotch or single malt.

HENRY
Ordinary for me. I'm just an American.

LADY TRENTHAM
Who cares? We know you here.

RUPERT (to Isobel)
Look, I understand that this is not an ideal time, but I would like to see you again.

LADY TRENTHAM
Mabel is so clever to travel light. Why should one wear a different frock every evening? We're not in a fashion parade.

MABEL
No, and I wouldn't want to be. Excuse me.

LADY TRENTHAM
Difficult colour, green.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
What did she say?

LADY TRENTHAM
Mmm. Very tricky.

RUPERT
Isobel.

ISOBEL
Excuse me.

LADY TRENTHAM
It sort of draws you. I'll have another look at it.

MABEL (to Novello)
Oh, how this tune used to make me cry.

JENNINGS (to Weissman)
Certainly, sir.

FREDDIE (to Isobel)
I promise you I can pay back every penny.

ISOBEL
Just take it.

LADY TRENTHAM
You bid.

HENRY (to Sylvia)
I must say, your guests sleep in much more comfortable beds than your servants.

MABEL 
(to Rupert) Excuse me. (to Freddie) What did Isobel give to you? What did Isobel give to you?

FREDDIE
Don't make a scene here.

MABEL
Tell me.

LOUISA
Ivor, dear.

MABEL
No more lies, Freddie.

LOUISA (to Novello)
Would it be possible to play something more cheerful? We're all quite emotional enough as it is.

MABEL
Give it to me.

FREDDIE
What?

MEREDITH 
Excuse me.

MABEL
Freddie, stop all your lies. If you don't give it to me, I will scream this house down. You don't believe me, try me.

LOUISA
Anthony, there you are. Where have you been?

MEREDITH
I-

LOUISA
You know, you've missed dinner. We can organize a tray for you.

MEREDITH
I don't want anything.

FREDDIE (to Mabel)
Try buying yourself a new frock with that.

LADY TRENTHAM
We gave up, Louisa dear.

LOUISA
Oh. Right.

MEREDITH (to Lavinia)
I'm so sorry.

HENRY
Mmm, no coffee, George, but I'll have a- Aah!

GEORGE
I do apologize, sir. Can't imagine how that happened.

HENRY
You son of a bitch! You did that on purpose!

GEORGE
Shall I fetch you a towel, sir?

JENNINGS
Arthur! Clean this up, will you?

Scene 114. Servants' Dining Room

DEXTER
They were fishin' parts of her body out the Thames from Richmond to Rotherhithe.

BERTHA
Some more tea, Constable?

SARAH
I'll take that. Thank you, Bertha.

DEXTER
No head. No hands. Unfortunately, the body had no distinguishing marks.

BERTHA
What's the point in that, Mr. Probert? Won't it all be chucked out?

PROBERT
I'll know I've left everything in good order. That's all I can do for him now.

BERTHA
Yeah, but he won't-

ROBERT
Hey, leave him alone.

ARTHUR
George has had his revenge on Mr. Denton: hot coffee in the lap.

RENEE
Oh!

SARAH
Poor Mr. Denton.

MRS WILSON
Constable, I'm glad I caught you. I assume the inspector won't keep everyone beyond tomorrow, but I thought I'd better check with you.

DEXTER
Well, we haven't spoke to all the servants yet, so-

INSPECTOR
Ah, there you are, Dexter. Come on, we're going home.

MRS WILSON
I was just asking the Constable how long our guests will be staying and Mrs. Croft has meals to arrange and I know one of the housemaids is anxious to get away.

INSPECTOR
I don't think there's any need to worry about that. I'm not interested in the servants. Only people with a real connection with the dead man.

MRS WILSON
I see. Thank you.

ARTHUR
Do you have a light, Inspector?

INSPECTOR
Yes. Yes, I think we can let them all go home, to be honest. I've got their addresses, after all. Constable Dexter will be here tomorrow morning to confirm that. Don't you worry. It doesn't end here. Oh, no. Whoever he is, I'll find him. I always do.

ARTHUR
Inspector, your matches.

INSPECTOR
Yes, thank you.

DEXTER
Uh, sir, I think you'll find it's this way.

INSPECTOR
Well, yes, we could use this one. There is, I think, a way out that way, but, yeah, we'll take your way.

Scene 115. Shoes Room

GEORGE
Ohh! Beg your pardon, sir. Just collecting Mr. Nesbitt's shoes, sir. I think you'll find these stairs are the easiest way up, sir.

JEREMY
Thank you, uh-

GEORGE
George, sir.

JEREMY 
George.

GEORGE (To Bertha)
You naughty, naughty girl.

BERTHA
Poor bloke. We were in the ironing room the other night and one of the visiting maids walked in. Must think I did it on purpose. You won't tell, will ya?

GEORGE
I won't tell. But you're lucky you're in the kitchen and not under Mrs. Wilson. She'd have sniffed you out without any help from me.

Scene 116. Elsie Bedroom

MARY
Do you think Sir William was in love with you?

ELSIE
Nah. I was a bit of fun, that's all.

MARY
And you?

ELSIE
Nah, I didn't love him. I didn't mind him, but I liked the way he'd talk. He'd only talk to me because he was sick of her, but I liked it. He used to say to me I could be anything I wanted as long as I wanted it enough.

MARY
You're not sorry, then? Even after the way things have turned out?

ELSIE
Nah. I'm not sorry. It's time for a change. Who knows? Could be the makin' of me. What did he used to say? Carpe diem. Seize the day. What's up? What did I say? Where are you going?

Scene 117. Parks Bedroom

ROBERT
Who is it? What are you doing? You'd better get back to your room. You don't want to get caught in here.

MARY
You didn't really dislike him, did you? Not really. At least not enough to kill him. You can't have. You didn't know him. You'd have to hate him. And why would you?

ROBERT
Can't a man hate his own father? Sir William McCordle was my father. He didn't know it, but he was.

MARY
You said you were an orphan.

ROBERT
No, I didn't. I said I grew up in an orphanage. Not long before I left, a group of us broke in to the warden's office one night and took out our files. I found my birth certificate. Mother's name, father unknown. Found this photograph. And they had my admission form. I was two days old. Guess who brought me to the door.

MARY
Robert, that doesn't mean that he-

ROBERT
Yes, it does. After that, I found out she worked in one of his factories. She wasn't the only one, apparently. Either the authorities didn't know or they didn't want to know. They took his babies and they took his money.

MARY
What happened to your mother?

ROBERT
She died.

MARY
Is that why you took the job with Lord Stockbridge? To get to Sir William? To poison him?

ROBERT
I didn't poison him.

MARY
What?

ROBERT
I didn't poison him.

MARY
But then you didn't kill him. Did you stab him? Even if you did, he was already dead. And whoever did it must have known that. No one could stab a corpse and not know it.

ROBERT
Really? When was the last time you stabbed a corpse?

MARY
You really murdered him, then.

ROBERT
I don't know. I don't care. Ooh. I've been wanting to do that ever since I first set eyes on you.

Scene 118. Servants' Dining Room to Jennings Bedroom

MRS WILSON
Mr. Jennings?

JENNINGS
Wilson! Mrs. Wilson. Mrs-

MRS WILSON
Dorothy. I need your help.

DOROTHY
Of course, Mrs. Wilson. Are you all right?

MRS WILSON
No one must see him like this. Help me. Mr. Jennings?

DOROTHY
Come on, Mr. Jennings.

MRS WILSON
Come on. Bedtime. All right, bedtime.

DOROTHY
No, this way. Come on, Mr. Jennings.

MRS WILSON
Bedtime now, Mr. Jennings. Bedtime now. Come on.

JENNINGS
Where is r- Where is my reference?

MRS WILSON
You'll get your reference. Come on. Just into bed now. Into bed. (to Dorothy) Watch him. Watch him. Take his trousers off, Dorothy.

DOROTHY
I couldn't do that, Mrs. Wilson. I couldn't do that.

MRS WILSON
Take his trousers off. Come on. Come on.

Scene 119. Denton Bedroom

HENRY
Who is it?

HOUSEMAID
Oh, I'm ever so sorry, sir.

HENRY
Sorry for what?

HOUSEMAID
I'm supposed to get the fire lit without waking you.

HENRY
Why does everyone treat me as if I were one of these stupid snobs? I spent half the week downstairs with all of you.

HOUSEMAID
You can't be on both teams at once, sir.

Scene 120. Mrs. Croft Bedroom

BERTHA
It's official. They're off after breakfast.

MRS CROFT
Thank God for that. What about him?

BERTHA
He's going, too, as soon as he's seen Mr. Jennings. Are you all right, Mrs. Croft? You sound a bit funny.

MRS CROFT
Oh, just too many fags, that's all. They'll be the death of me. Here, you finished it.

BERTHA
Did you tell the police any of that stuff in the end?

MRS CROFT
I did not. I'm sorry if I shock you, but the plain fact is: he only got what he deserved. There. I've said it.

BERTHA
I can't stop thinking' about those girls. The ones that got- you know.

MRS CROFT
Well, I'm not surprised, the way you carry on. Just see it never happens to you, that's all.

BERTHA
Don't worry. And even if it did, I know I couldn't part with my baby, not just to hang on to a job.

MRS CROFT
Well, I'm very glad to hear it.

Scene 121. Jennings Bedroom

JENNINGS
Who is it?

DEXTER
No, don't mind me, Mr. Jennings. Inspector Thompson's just asked me to take one last look around.

JENNINGS
Is the Inspector with you?

DEXTER
Oh, no. We're working from the station from now on. See if we can't manage things better from there.

JENNINGS
What about the poison? Have you traced that at least?

DEXTER
Hardly. This house is a poisoner's paradise. We found the stuff in practically ev- every room. Unfortunately, no one's got a police record. Well, except you, of course. Perhaps the butler did it. I had a brother who was a conscientious objector. He did a bit of time, too. Did they know upstairs you refused to fight and were sent to prison? Hmm? I'd forget about it if I were you. Not everyone's cut out to be a soldier.

Scene 122. Upstairs Gallery

LAVINIA
Did you remember the other boxes?

SARAH
Yes. Everything's in the car, milady.

LAVINIA
Wonderful. Good.

MEREDITH
Darling, here I come.

LAVINIA
Do you know, I can't wait to leave this place.

MEREDITH
Let's go.

FREDDIE (to Mabel)
Christ, what are we supposed to do now?

MABEL
Freddie, do try to stop being so frightened all the time.

MEREDITH (to Lavinia)
Darling, have I made the worst terrible fool of myself?

LAVINIA
Maybe.

SARAH (to Arthur)
Bye.

FREDDIE (to Meredith)
Anthony. Um, Anthony. I wanted to remind you of the conversation we had at dinner the other night. Um, perhaps this is not the most appropriate moment, but when you get to the Sudan you're going to need an expert and I'm your man.

Scene 123. Upstairs Gallery

RUPERT
Well, I want to know.

JEREMY
Did you ask her?

RUPERT
No, I didn't.

JEREMY
I think, on reflection, that's a good thing. According to the servants' hall gossip, she won't get any of her estate till her mother dies.

RUPERT
Oh, honestly, Jeremy.

JEREMY
If that's the case, it's too long for you to wait. You can do better.

ISOBEL (to Rupert)
H- Have you checked your room? You mustn't leave anything behind. I'm sure Mummy's going to sell the house.

RUPERT
Isobel. Isobel. Isobel!

Scene 124. Façade 

WEISSMAN (to Henry)
Sidney Kent's taking over the studio. He loves Charlie Chan and he hates Winfield Sheehan.

JENNINGS (to Novello)
Sir.

WEISSMAN (to Henry)
No more rewrites and I can cast whoever I like.

JEREMY (to Rupert)
Well, that was painless, wasn't it?

RUPERT
No, it wasn't. Not for me, anyway.

WEISSMAN (to Henry)
Careful. Careful. Watch yourself.

HENRY
Whoa!

Scene 125. Façade 

MARY
Do they know?

ELSIE
No.

MARY
Don't you think they might notice?

ELSIE
I don't care.

WEISSMAN 
Hey, you there. Where're you going?

ELSIE
To the station.

WEISSMAN
Hey, do you want a ride to London?

ELSIE
Sure, why not?

WEISSMAN
Hop in.

ELSIE
Thank you.

MARY
There you go. Well, good luck. Don't do anything I wouldn't do.

ELSIE
At least I know that gives me room for maneuver. (to Henry) No, keep your hands to yourself.

HENRY
You Brits really don't have a sense of humour, do you?

ELSIE
We do if something's funny, sir.

MARY 
Mr. Jennings, can-

JENNINGS
Be quick about it.

Scene 126. Chinese Room

LADY TRENTHAM
Honestly, it's getting so expensive, by the time one does Jennings and leave something for the housemaids, one might as well have taken a suite at the Ritz. Tell me, what happened to William's little maid? I never saw her again after that dinner.

MARY
Elsie?

LADY TRENTHAM
Hmm.

MARY
She's gone.

LADY TRENTHAM
Ohh. That's a pity, really. Thought it was a good idea to have someone in the house who's actually sorry he's dead. (to Sylvia) Oh, there you are, dear. Did you have a nice ride?

SYLVIA
I'm feeling rather guilty. Apparently everyone's gone, apart from you and Louisa. Why don't you stay for lunch?

LADY TRENTHAM
No, I must be off. Leave you in peace. Now, you will- You will telephone about the funeral plan, mmm?

SYLVIA
You don't have to come if it's a bore.

LADY TRENTHAM
Nonsense. Of course I'm coming. Have you decided what you're going to do about this place?

SYLVIA
Oh, I don't know.

LADY TRENTHAM
Will you keep it?

SYLVIA
It's so difficult. I mean, does one really want the bother nowadays?

LADY TRENTHAM
Mmm.

SYLVIA
I suppose I could shut it up and make a decision when my head stops spinning.

LADY TRENTHAM
Mrs. Wilson could manage till you're ready.

SYLVIA
Oh, yes, she could manage, all right. Let's not worry about that. No doubt she'll seize the opportunity to get rid of the wretched Mrs. Croft.

LADY TRENTHAM
Why are those two such enemies?

SYLVIA
Oh, I don't know. Something to do with when they were both workers in one of William's sweatshops. Mrs. Croft was the senior then. She was the cook. And Mrs. Wilson a lowly factory worker. Now that she's got up in the world, poor old Croftie can't abide it. The usual rubbish.

LADY TRENTHAM
Was there ever a Mr. Wilson? I can't imagine it.

SYLVIA
Nor could I. Although, funnily enough, I think there must have been.

LADY TRENTHAM
Really? You amaze me.

SYLVIA
She might have changed her name, but when she was working with William, she was called something quite different. Parks or Parker or Parkinson or something like that.

Scene 127. Mrs. Wilson Bedroom

MRS WILSON
Come in.

MARY 
You're busy.

MRS WILSON
No, no. I was just checking the linen rotation. If I'd had left it to the maids, the same twenty sheets would be used till they fell into rags.

MARY
Why did you do it? How did you know it was him? Was it the name, or did you see the photograph in his room?

MRS WILSON
Ah, yes, the photograph. It's a miracle that survived. I remember his mother putting it into his blanket. I suppose she wanted him to have something of hers. Does he know what happened to her?

MARY
They said she died just after he was born.

MRS WILSON
Well, she didn't die. She gave him away. He promised the boy would be adopted. He said he knew the family. Turns out we all clung to that dream, all us girls. A better start in life for our children. And all the time he was dumping them, his own children, in some godforsaken place. And I believed him. I suppose it was easier that way. My sister certainly never forgave me for it.

MARY
Your sister?

MRS WILSON
Yes, Mrs. Croft. She's my sister. Didn't you know? She kept hers, you see. It was very hard for her. She lost her job and then the baby died anyway. Scarlet fever. I made him take her back. She never forgave me for that either.

MARY
But even if Robert is your son, how did you know that he meant to harm his father?

MRS WILSON
What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It's the gift of anticipation. And I'm a good servant. I'm better than good. I'm the best. I'm the perfect servant. I know when they'll be hungry and the food is ready. I know when they'll be tired and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.

MARY
Are you going to tell him?

MRS WILSON
Why? What purpose would it possibly serve?

MARY
What if they find out what happened?

MRS WILSON
Not much of a crime to stab a dead man, is it? They can never touch him. That's what's important: his life.

MARY
And your life?

MRS WILSON
Didn't you hear me? I'm the perfect servant. I have no life.

GEORGE (to Mary)
Her Ladyship's leaving now, miss.

MRS WILSON
Thank you, George. (to Mary) Well, you should go now, Miss Trentham.

Scene 128. Front door

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Here you are, Jennings.

LOUISA
Well, good-bye, Sylvia.

SYLVIA
Good-bye.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE (to Jennings)
For you.

JENNINGS
Thank you.

LOUISA (to Sylvia)
Do let us know if there's anything- anything that we can do to help.

SYLVIA
Are you going to go away at all?

LOUISA
No, not once the shooting's finished.

Scene 129. Servants' Hall to Mrs. Wilson Bedroom

MRS WILSON
Thank you for your help last night.

DOROTHY
You don't have to thank me. You know I'd kill for Mr. Jennings if I had to.

MRS CROFT 
Don't cry, Jane. They'll hear you. Come on. You did what you felt was best for him at the time. I see that now.

MRS WILSON
Lizzie. I've lost him. I've lost him. He'll never know me now. My boy. Oh, my boy.

MRS CROFT
Well, at least your boy is alive. He's alive. That's what matters.

Scene 130. Façade 

ROBERT
So, you're leaving.

MARY
Yes.

ROBERT
Good-bye, then.

MARY
Good-bye.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Parks.

LADY TRENTHAM (to Sylvia)
Good-bye, my dear.

LORD STOCKBRIDGE
Get in, Bennett.

LADY TRENTHAM
Chin up. Chin up. Heavens, what a relief to be going.

SYLVIA
What time is it, Jennings? 

LADY TRENTHAM
It'll take me a month to recover. Oh, Mary-

JENNINGS (to Sylvia)
12:35, milady.

LADY TRENTHAM
Do you think if there's a trial I might have to testify in court? Or you? I can't think of anything worse. Imagine a person being hanged because of something one said in court.

MARY
I know. And what purpose could it possibly serve anyway?

SYLVIA
Good-bye.


=The End=