Source: geocities.com/inge_y

THE WINSLOW BOY
Adapted by David Mamet, based on the play by Terence Rattigan

Act 1

***THE WINSLOW'S HOUSE
(In front of the house)

ARTHUR
How do you do, sir?

VICAR
Good morning, sir.

ARTHUR
Lovely sermon this morning.

VICAR
How are you, today?

CATHERINE (entering the house)
Come on, Father.

ARTHUR 
Yes, yes. Good man.

GRACE
Sorry, Arthur?

ARTHUR
Good man. Good sermon. Pharaoh's dream. Dream of the King of Egypt. Seven fat years, seven lean years. Good sermon.

DICKIE
Exceptional sermon.

GRACE
I couldn't hear him.

DICKIE
Can one be good if one is inaudible?

CATHERINE
A problem in ethnics for you, Father.

DICKIE
Not everything is a problem in ethnics.

ARTHUR
And the seven fat cows were devoured by the seven lean and hungry cows.

DICKIE
Yes. I feel like those lean and hungry cows.

ARTHUR
My point precisely.

VIOLET
Lunch in about an hour, sir.

ARTHUR
Thank you, Violet.

VIOLET
Yes, sir.

GRACE
My! It's coming to rain.

ARTHUR
I could've told you that. I feel it in my leg.

DICKIE
Would you mind the gramophone?

ARTHUR
The center of a well-regulated home.

DICKIE
It helps me concentrate.

ARTHUR
Concentrate on what, pray? Oh, Catherine!

CATHERINE
It's all right, Father. I just -euh- I just wanted to see about these.

DICKIE
To study, Father. To study.

ARTHUR
What did you say?

DICKIE
I said the gramophone, the music of the gramophone helps me to study, Father.

ARTHUR
Study is not what you appeared to be involved when I came down stairs last night. Your friend and you.

DICKIE
Edwina, Father. Edwina had just stopped by to --- She just stopped by on the way to Graham's dance to fetch her book and-

ARTHUR
And you are involved with her in what? A sort of what? Reading club?

DICKIE
Ehm? No, no, Father. I must say that I believe I have rights to a certain measure of autonomy.

GRACE
I'm sorry. What were we discussing?

DICKIE
Edwina.

GRACE
Ah. Edwina. What a fast and flighty little ... I'm sorry, Dickie. You're rather keen on her, aren't you?

ARTHUR
You would have had ample proof of that fact, Grace, if you had seen them in the attitude I caught them in last night.

DICKIE
We were practising the Bunny Hug.

GRACE
The what, dear?

DICKIE
The Bunny Hug.

ARTHUR
It's that what you call it these days?

DICKIE
It's the new dance.

CATHERINE
Its' like the Turkey Trot, only more dignified.

VIOLET
Good sermon, Miss?

CATHERINE
Joseph interprets the Pharaoh's dreams.

DICKIE
No. More like a Fox Trot, really. Fox Trot or the Kangaroo's Glide.

ARTHUR
Well, whichever animal is responsible for the posture I found you and your friend in last night ... Yes. Yes. Or to make an end: I doubt. I doubt the gramophone aids you in what you call your studies.

DICKIE
Uh-huh. Uh-huh. I see. It all comes clear to me now.

GRACE
Yes, it's raining. May I see it?

DICKIE
We're talking about different subject, aren't we, sir? It's not about the gramophone. It's about Ronnie. You know, sir, I wouldn't have thought it of you. I certainly would not. And at this festive season, at this festive season, Father, to throw it up to me, to bring that up again.

ARTHUR
Nobody's bringing that up.

DICKIE
Yes, they are. Ronnie. Ronnie. Ronnie got into Osbourne as I did not. Why? As he applies himself. And Ronnie...

ARTHUR
Dickie, do you have a coin to give the fellow?

DICKIE
No, sir. I have not. And if I may, I'm going to my room.

ARTHUR
Perhaps I might suggest you take that gramophone with you.

DICKIE
May I ask why?

ARTHUR
Because it's out of place in a civilized home.

GRACE
We'll take up the matter after lunch.

CATHERINE
Oh, yes. I know.

GRACE
I don't think I've ever seen a nicer setting.

CATHERINE
Yes, it was. Isn't it lovely?

ARTHUR
Pelting it down out there?

GRACE
What, dear?

ARTHUR
I say it's raining. What are you reading?

CATHERINE
Len Rogers's Memoirs.

GRACE
Who was Len Rogers?

CATHERINE
He was a trades union leader.

GRACE
Was he a radical?

CATHERINE
Yes. I'd say so.

GRACE
Does John know of your political beliefs?

CATHERINE
Oh, yes.

GRACE
And he still wants to marry you.

CATHERINE
He seems to.

GRACE
I've asked John to come early for lunch.

ARTHUR
What?

CATHERINE
He's coming early for lunch.

ARTHUR
What!

CATHERINE
You won't let me down and forbid the match or anything, will you? Because I warn you, if you do, I shall elope.

ARTHUR
Never fear, my dear. I'm far too delighted at the prospect of getting you off our hands at last. Does Desmond know, by the way?

CATHERINE
I'm not sure I like that 'at last'.

ARTHUR
Have you told Desmond yet?

GRACE
Cate, do you love him?

CATHERINE
John? Yes, I do.

GRACE
Do you? You don't behave as if you were in love.

CATHERINE
How does one behave as if one is in love?

ARTHUR
One doesn't read the Social Evil and Social Good. One reads Lord Byron.

CATHERINE
Ah, is that so? I see.

GRACE
You know, I don't think you modern girls have the feelings our generation did.

CATHERINE
Very well, Mother. I love John in every way that a woman can love a man. Does that satisfy you?

GRACE
My, look at the rain! Hello. I thought I saw someone in the garden.

CATHERINE
Where?

GRACE
Over there. Do you see?

CATHERINE
Well, whoever it is, it's getting terribly wet.

GRACE
Was that John?

CATHERINE
It sounded like it.

GRACE
John. Quick! Into the drawing-room!

CATHERINE
All right.

GRACE
Good. Here we go. You forgot your bag.

ARTHUR
What on earth is going on?

GRACE
We are leaving you alone with John. When you've finished, cough or something.

ARTHUR
What do you mean, or something?

GRACE
I know. Knock on the floor three times with your stick. Then we'll come in.

ARTHUR
You don't think that might look a trifle coincidental?

GRACE
Sh!

VIOLET
Mr. Watherstone.

ARTHUR
John. How are you?

JOHN
Hello, sir.

ARTHUR
Do you have a coin?

JOHN
Here.

ARTHUR
Thank you, Mr. Simms, for delivering on a Sunday, will you?

MR. SIMMS
Thank you very much.

ARTHUR
Yeah. As for you, thank you for coming.

JOHN
I see you have your tree.

ARTHUR
Yes, yes. That fellow just put it up for us.

JOHN
How are you, sir?

ARTHUR
Oh, fine. This arthritis troubles me a bit.

JOHN
I'm sorry to hear that, sir. Catherine told me it was better.

ARTHUR
Yes, it was better. Now it's worse. Well, now. I understand you wish to marry my daughter.

JOHN
Yes, sir. That is today, I've proposed to her and she's done me the honour of accepting me.

ARTHUR
I see. I trust when you corrected yourself, that your second statement wasn't a denial of your first? I mean, you do really wish to marry her?

JOHN 
Yes, of course, sir.

ARTHUR
Why, of course? There are plenty of people about who don't wish to marry her.

JOHN
I mean, of course, because I proposed to her.

ARTHUR
That, too, doesn't necessarily follow. However, we don't need to quibble. We'll take the sentimental side of the project for granted.
As regards to the more practical side, I hope you won't mind if I ask you a few rather personal questions?

JOHN
Naturally not, sir. It's your duty.

ARTHUR
Quite so. Now, your income. Are you able to live on it?

JOHN
No, sir. I'm in the regular army.

ARTHUR
Yes, of course.

JOHN
But my army pay is supplemented by an allowance from my father.

ARTHUR
Yes, I understand. Now your pay would be, I take it, about twenty-four pounds a month?

JOHN
Yes, sir. That's exactly right.

ARTHUR
So your total income, with your subaltern's pay and allowance plus the allowance from your father, would be, I take it, about four hundred and twenty pounds a year?

JOHN
Again, exactly the figure.

ARTHUR
Well, that all seems perfectly satisfactory. I don't think I need delay my congratulations any longer.

JOHN
Thank you, sir.

ARTHUR
Do you smoke?

JOHN
I do.

ARTHUR
Now, I propose to settle my daughter one-sixth of my total capital which worked out to the final fraction is exactly eight hundred and thirty-three pounds six shillings and eight pence. But let's deal in round figures, shall we, and call it eight hundred and fifty pounds.

JOHN
Well, I call that very generous, sir.

ARTHUR
Well, not as generous as I would have liked, but if that arrangement seems agreeable, I don't think we have anything more to discuss.

JOHN
No, sir.

ARTHUR
Splendid.

JOHN
Pretty rotten weather, isn't it, sir?

ARTHUR
Yes. Vile. Do you want a cigarette?

JOHN
No, thank you, sir. I'm still smoking.

GRACE
Well?

ARTHUR
Well what?

GRACE
How did your little chat go?

ARTHUR
I understood you weren't supposed to know we were having a little chat.

GRACE
Oh, you are infuriating! Is everything all right, John? Oh, I'm so glad. I really am.

JOHN
Thank you, Mrs. Winslow.

GRACE
Can I kiss you?

JOHN
Of course.

GRACE
I'm practically your mother now.

ARTHUR
While I, by the same token, am practically your father, but if you will forgive me --- Oh he's gone and left the garden gate open. Ehm- could someone come and close the garden gate for us?

GRACE
I don't suppose you two would mind if we left you alone for a few minutes, would you?

ARTHUR
Grace, I think we might allow ourselves a little modest celebration at lunch. Would you get me the key of the cellar?

GRACE
Yes, dear.

ARTHUR
Violet! Would you have someone see to the gate?

VIOLET
Yes, sir.

CATHERINE
Was it an ordeal?

JOHN
I was scared to death.

CATHERINE
My poor darling.

JOHN
The annoying thing was that I had a whole lot of neatly turned phrases ready for him and he wouldn't let me use them.

CATHERINE
I'm sure they were rather good.

JOHN
I thought they were.

CATHERINE
You want to do your speech for me?

JOHN
I'd love to. What is it?

CATHERINE
Ronnie, what is it?

RONNIE
Where did Father go? Is he gone?

CATHERINE
I'll go and get him. Father!

RONNIE
No! Don't go and get him! No! Cate! Please, don't! No. Don't! Please, Cate, don't!

CATHERINE
What's the trouble, Ronnie? You'd better go and change, hadn't you?

RONNIE
No.

CATHERINE
What's the trouble, darling? You can tell me. Have you run away? What is it then? Oh God!

RONNIE
I didn't do it, Cate. Really. I didn't.

CATHERINE
No, darling. This letter is addressed to Father. Did you open it?

RONNIE
Yes.

CATHERINE
You shouldn't have done that.

RONNIE
I was going to tear it up. We could tell Father term had ended two days sooner.

CATHERINE
No.

RONNIE
I'm back for the Christmas holiday or I-

CATHERINE
No, darling.

RONNIE
Cate, I didn't do it. Really. I didn't.

DICKIE
Hello, Ronnie, old lad. How's everything? Back early?

CATHERINE
You take him upstairs. I'll get Mother.

DICKIE
All right. What's up then, old chap?

RONNIE
Nothing.

DICKIE
Have you been sacked? Bad luck. What for?

RONNIE
I didn't do it.

DICKIE
Of course you didn't. I know that.

RONNIE
Honestly, I didn't.

DICKIE
That's all right, old chap. I believe you. No need to go on about it. I say, you're a bit damp, aren't you?

RONNIE
I've been out in the rain.

DICKIE
You're shivering a bit, too. Oughtn't you to change? I mean, we don't want you catching pneumonia, do we?

RONNIE
I'm all right.

DICKIE
Mother.

GRACE
There, darling! There! It's all right now.

RONNIE
I didn't do it, Mother.

GRACE
No, darling. Of course you didn't. We know you didn't. Let's get out of these nasty wet things.

RONNIE
Don't tell Father.

GRACE
No, darling. Not yet. I promise. Your new uniform, too. What a shame! Oh. All right, Ronnie. All right.

JOHN 
Bad news? Expelled?

CATHERINE
That's right.

JOHN
What's he supposed to have done?

CATHERINE
He's supposed to ---
Just think what that poor creature's been going through these last ten days.

JOHN
It does seem pretty heartless, I admit. You must remember, you must remember he's not really at school. He's in the Services.

CATHERINE
What difference can that make?

JOHN
Their ways of doing things may seem to an outsider brutal, but at least they're always fair. There must have been a full inquiry before they'd take a step of this sort. What's more, if there's been a delay of ten days, it would only have been in order to give the boy a better chance to clear himself. I'm awfully sorry. How will your father take it?

CATHERINE
It might kill him. Oh heavens! We've got Desmond to lunch. I'd forgotten.

JOHN
Desmond?

CATHERINE
Desmond Curry. Our family solicitor. Oh, Lord! Darling, be polite to him, won't you?

JOHN
Am I usually rude to your guests?

CATHERINE
No, but he doesn't know about us yet.

JOHN
Who does?

CATHERINE
Yes, but he's been in love with me for years. It's a family joke.

VIOLET
Mr. Curry.

CATHERINE
Hello, Desmond. I don't think you know John Watherstone.

DESMOND
No, but of course, I've heard a lot about him.

JOHN
How do you do?

DESMOND
Well, well, well. I trust I'm not early.

CATHERINE
No, no. Punctual as always.

DESMOND
Capital. Good.

CATHERINE
How...?

DESMOND
No, I'm sorry. Catherine, please.

CATHERINE
No, no. I was only going to ask how your shoulder was.

DESMOND
Euh - not very well I'm afraid. The damp, you know.

CATHERINE
I'm sorry to hear that.

DESMOND
Old cricket injury. Well, it seems I'm to congratulate you both. Violet told me, just now, at the door. Yes, I must congratulate you both.

JOHN
Thank you.

CATHERINE
Thank you so much, Desmond.

DESMOND
Of course, it's quite expected, I know. Quite expected. Still, it was rather a surprise, hearing it from Violet that way.

CATHERINE
We were going to tell you, Desmond dear. It was only official this morning, you know. In fact, you're the first person to hear it.

DESMOND
Am I? Am I indeed? Well, I see you've got your tree. Hello, Mrs. Winslow.

GRACE
Hello, Desmond dear. I've got him to bed.

ARTHUR
Grace, when did we last have the cellars seen to?

DESMOND
Nobody ill, I hope.

ARTHUR
Well, they're in a shocking condition. Hello, Desmond. How are you? You're not looking well.

DESMOND
The old day. Cricket thing and this.

JOHN
Are you any relation of DWH Curry who used to play for Middlesex?

DESMOND
I am. I am DWH Curry.

JOHN
Curry of Curry's match?

DESMOND
That's right.

JOHN
Hat trick against the Players in -what year was it?

DESMOND
1895 at Lord's.

JOHN
You were a hero of mine.

DESMOND
Was I? Was I indeed?

JOHN
I had a signed photograph of you.

DESMOND
Yes. I used to sign a lot once. For schoolboys.

ARTHUR
Well, I think we might try a little of the Madeira before luncheon. We're celebrating-

CATHERINE
It's all right, Father. Desmond knows.

DESMOND
Yes, indeed. It's wonderful news, isn't it? I'll most gladly drink a toast to the -er- to the-

ARTHUR
Happy pair, I think, is the phrase that is eluding you.

DESMOND
As a matter of fact, I was looking for something new to say.

ARTHUR
Oh. A forlorn quest, my dear Desmond. A forlorn quest.

GRACE
Arthur, really! You mustn't be so rude.

ARTHUR
No, no. I meant, naturally, that nobody - with the possible exception of Voltaire - could find anything new to say about an engaged couple.

DICKIE
Hello.

ARTHUR
Ah, Dickie. A toast to the happy pair.

DICKIE
Is that all finally spliced up now? Cate definitely being entered for the marriage stakes. Good egg!

ARTHUR
Quite so. I should have added - with the possible exception of Voltaire and Dickie Winslow.

CATHERINE
Are we allowed to drink to our own healths?

ARTHUR
Oh, I think it's permissible.

GRACE
No, it's bad luck.

JOHN
We defy augury. Don't we Cate?

GRACE
You mustn't say that, John dear. I know, you can drink each other's healths. That's all right.

ARTHUR
So, our superstitious terrors are allayed, aren't they? Good. Catherine and John. Oh, Violet. We mustn't leave you out. You must join us in this toast.

VIOLET
Nothing for me, sir.

ARTHUR
Your reluctance would be more convincing if I hadn't noticed you'd brought and extra glass.

VIOLET
Oh, I didn't bring it for myself, sir. I brought it for Master Ronnie.

ARTHUR
You brought an extra glass for Master Ronnie?

VIOLET
Well, I thought you might allow him just to taste, sir. Just to drink the toast. He's that grown up these days.

ARTHUR
But Master Ronnie doesn't get back from Osbourne until Tuesday, Violet.

VIOLET
Oh, no, sir. He's back already, the girl said.

ARTHUR
But the Christmas holidays don't start until Tuesday, Violet.

VIOLET
Oh the girl saw him with her own two eyes. Isn't it right, Ma'am?

ARTHUR
Grace, what does this mean?

CATHERINE
All right, Violet. You can go.

VIOLET
Yes, Miss.

ARTHUR
Catherine, did you know Ronnie was back?

CATHERINE
Yes.

ARTHUR
Dickie?

DICKIE
Yes, Father.

GRACE
We thought you shouldn't know for the time being, Arthur. Just for the time being.

ARTHUR
Is the boy very ill? Answer me, someone! Is the boy very ill?

CATHERINE
No, Father. He's not ill.

ARTHUR
Will someone tell me what has happened, please?

GRACE
He... He brought this letter for you, Arthur.

ARTHUR
Will you read it to me, please?

GRACE
Arthur - not in front of-

ARTHUR
Will you read it to me, please?

GRACE
Sir, I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform you that they have received a communication from the Commanding Officer of the Royal Naval College at Osbourne, reporting the theft of a five-shilling postal order at the College on the 7th instant, which was afterwards cashed at the Post Office. Investigation of the circumstances of the case leaves no other conclusion possible than that the postal order was cashed by your son, Cadet Ronald Arthur Winslow. My Lords deeply regret that they must therefore request you to withdraw your son from the College. I am, sir, your obedient servant. It's signed by --- I can't read his name.

ARTHUR
Desmond, would you be kind enough to have Ronnie come down and see me, please?

GRACE
Arthur, he's in bed.

ARTHUR
You told me he wasn't ill.

GRACE
He's not at all well.

ARTHUR
Thank you, Desmond.

DESMOND
Of course.

ARTHUR
Perhaps the rest of you would go in to luncheon? Grace, would you take them in, please?

GRACE
Arthur, don't you think-

ARTHUR
Dickie, will you decant the claret I brought up from the cellar? You'll find it on the sideboard in the dining-room.

DICKIE
Yes, Father.

ARTHUR
Thank you.

GRACE
Arthur?

ARTHUR
Yes, Grace.

GRACE
Please, don't - Please, don't -

ARTHUR
What mustn't I do?

GRACE
Please don't forget he's only a child.

CATHERINE
Come on, Mother. Come on, darling. It's all right.

***
ARTHUR
Come in! Come in and close the door. Come over here. Why aren't you in your uniform?

RONNIE
It got wet.

ARTHUR
How did it get wet?

RONNIE
I was out in the garden in the rain.

ARTHUR
Why?

RONNIE
I was hiding.

ARTHUR
From me? Do you remember once, you promised me that if you got into trouble of any sort you'd come to me first?

RONNIE
Yes, Father.

ARTHUR
Why didn't you come to me now? Why did you have to go and hide in the garden?

RONNIE
I don't know, Father.

ARTHUR
Are you so frightened of me? It says in this letter that you stole a postal order.

RONNIE
But I-

ARTHUR
No. I didn't want you to say a word until you've heard what I have to say first. If you did it, you must tell me. I shan't be angry with you, Ronnie, provided you tell me the truth. But if you tell me a lie, I shall know it, because a lie between you and me cannot be hidden. I shall know it, Ronnie, so remember that before you speak. Did you steal this postal order?

RONNIE
No, Father. I didn't.

ARTHUR
Did you steal this postal order?

RONNIE
No, Father. I didn't.

ARTHUR
Go on back to bed.
***

Act 2

DICKIE
'The efforts of Mr. Arthur Winslow to secure a fair trial for his son have been thwarted it every turn by a soulless oligarchy.' Soulless oligarchy - that's rather good. 'It is high time private and peaceful citizens of this country awoke to the increasing encroachment of their ancient freedoms'.

MARCY
Tell me a piece of news.

DICKIE
I tell you what piece of news. I saw a chap on the train today had on brown boots. Brown boots - I ask you.

MARCY
Did he wear a brown suit?

DICKIE
That isn't an excuse.

MARCY
Can you get this out this afternoon?

CATHERINE
I have to go to the law library.

MARCY
Polly, do you think you can get this out this afternoon?

POLLY
Give it to me, Marcy.

DICKIE
Fighting on many fronts, Cate?

CATHERINE
Yes, that's right, darling.

DICKIE
Cannon to the right and so on? They're paying you yet?

CATHERINE
No. I just do it for the sport of the thing.

DICKIE
The other is from "Perplexed": 'With the present troubles in the Balkans and a further inquiry which the Judge Advocate of the Fleet confirmed the findings that the boy was guilty. Da da da... This correspondence now must cease.' Well, in any case it'll blow over before the wedding. Postponed again?

CATHERINE
His father's out of the country.

DICKIE
Nothing wrong. I mean, I'm not gonna have to quirt him with my riding crop, am I?

CATHERINE
This correspondence now must cease.

DICKIE
Well, I'm late for a meeting with the guv.

ARTHUR
Dickie, what do you suppose one of your book-maker friends would lay in the way of odds against your getting a degree?

DICKIE
Oh, well. Let's think. Say - about events.

ARTHUR
Hm. I doubt whether at that price your friend would find many takers.

DICKIE
Well, perhaps seven to four against.

ARTHUR
I see. And the odds against your eventually become a civil servant?

DICKIE
Well, a bit steeper, I suppose.

ARTHUR
OK! Quite a bit steeper.

DICKIE
You don't want to have a bet, do you?

ARTHUR
No, Dickie. I'm not a gambler. And that is exactly the trouble. Unhappily I'm no longer in a position to gamble two hundred pounds a year on what you yourself admit is an outside chance.

DICKIE
It's the case, I suppose. You want me to leave Oxford. Is that it?

ARTHUR
I'm afraid so.

DICKIE
Oh. Straight away?

ARTHUR
No, no. You can finish your year.

DICKIE
And then what?

ARTHUR
I can get you a job here at the bank.

DICKIE
Oh, Lord.

ARTHUR
It'll be quite a good job. Happily my influence here still counts of something.

DICKIE
Father - if I promised you - I mean, really promised you-

ARTHUR
I'm afraid my mind is finally made up.

DICKIE
Oh, Lord.

ARTHUR
This is rather a shock for you, isn't it?

DICKIE
What? No, no. It isn't, really. I've been rather expecting it, as a matter of fact. Things - Things are tight.

ARTHUR
Yes. Things are tight.

DICKIE
And you are still hoping- still hoping to brief Sir Robert Morton?

ARTHUR
Yes. We're hoping.

DICKIE
That'd take a bit of tin.

ARTHUR
Yes, it will.

DICKIE
Ah. Still- Still I can't say but that it. Isn't it a bit of a slap in the face?

ARTHUR
Well, I must thank you, Dickie, for bearing what must have been a very unpleasant blow with some fortitude.

DICKIE
Oh. Nonsense, Father.

***

MISS BARNES
Miss Barnes from The Beacon to see Mr. Arthur Winslow? I have an appointment. What a lovely house you have.

ARTHUR
Yes, it's showing its age a little bit, but-

MISS BARNES
My paper usually sends me out on stories which have a special interest to women - stories with a little heart, you know, like this one - a father's fight for his little boy's honour.

ARTHUR
But I venture to think the case has rather wider implications than that.

MISS BARNES
Oh, yes, of course. Now, what I'd really like to do is to get a nice picture of you and your little boy together.

ARTHUR
My son is arriving from school in a few minutes. His mother has gone to the station to meet him.

MISS BARNES
From school? How interesting. So you got a school to take him? I mean, they didn't mind the unpleasantness?

ARTHUR
No. Not at all. Not at all. No question of that. I found it extraordinary how fair minded people are.

MISS BARNES
Yes, indeed. And why is he coming back this time?

ARTHUR
He hasn't been expelled again, if that's what your implication. He's in fact doing quite well at school.

MISS BARNES
Oh, good.

ARTHUR
Extraordinary well when you consider the circumstances.

MISS BARNES
And why is he coming back to London?

ARTHUR
He is coming to London to be examined by Sir Robert Morton, whom we are hoping to brief.

MISS BARNES
Oh, Sir Robert Morton! Do you really think he'll take a little case like this?

ARTHUR
Oh, this is not a little case, madam.

MISS BARNES
Oh, of course not. Of course not. Of course it's not a little case. Nothing of the sort. Well, now, perhaps you wouldn't mind giving me a few details. When did it all start?

ARTHUR
Four months ago.

MISS BARNES
Hmm.

ARTHUR
The first I knew of the charge was when my son arrived home with a letter from the Admiralty informing me of his expulsion. I telephoned Osbourne to protest and I was referred by them to the Lords of the Admiralty. My solicitors then took the matter up. We applied to the Admiralty for a Court Martial. They ignored us. We applied for a civil trial. They ignored us again. And after tremendous pressure had been brought to bear - letters to papers, questions in the House, and other means available to private citizens of this country - the Admiralty eventually agreed to what they called an independent inquiry.

MISS BARNES
Oh, good.

ARTHUR
It was not good, madam. At that independent inquiry, conducted by the Judge Advocate of the Fleet - against whom I am saying nothing, mind you; my son, a child of fourteen, was not represented by counsel, solicitors, or friends.

MISS BARNES
And what happened at the inquiry?

ARTHUR
What do you think? Inevitably he was found guilty again and branded for the second time before the world as a thief and a forger.

MISS BARNES
What a shame!

ARTHUR
I need hardly to tell you, madam, I am not prepared to let the matter rest there. I intend to fight this monstrous injustice with every weapon and every power at my disposal. Now, I have a plan. I've approached Sir Robert. I might say I have petitioned Sir Robert Morton.

MISS BARNES
Oh, what a charming curtains! What are they made of?

ARTHUR
Madam, I fear I have no idea.

GRACE
Hello. Is Violet back?

MISS BARNES
Ah. Is that the poor little chap himself?

ARTHUR
Hello, Ronnie.

RONNIE
Hello, Father. I say, Mr. Moore says I needn't come back until Monday if you like. So that gives me three whole days.

ARTHUR
How are you, my boy?

RONNIE
Oh, I'm absolutely tophole, Father. Mother says I've grown an inch.

MISS BARNES 
That's the lad. That's the lad. That's the lad we need to get a picture of.

FRED
You said you wanted to take it outside.

MISS BARNES
Yes, take it outside.

FRED
Yeah. I only mention it as the lights going.

MISS BARNES
Yes. Might we go to the park? Do you know I was thinking might we go to the park? What do you think? You could wear your uniform.

ARTHUR
Well, I don't think that would be a good idea.

MISS BARNES
Something to stress his youth. Do you have any cricket clothes?

ARTHUR
Grace, this lady is from The Beacon. She is extremely interested in your curtains.

GRACE
Oh, really? How nice!

MISS BARNES
Yes, indeed. I was wondering what they were made of.

GRACE
Which?

MISS BARNES
In the drawing-room.

GRACE
Well, they're an entirely new material, you know. I'm afraid I don't know what it's called. I got it in Barkers last year. Apparently it's a mixture of silk and velvet.

FRED
We're losing the light, Miss.

MISS BARNES
Mr. Winslow, if we could, do you see, put him in cricket costume? Something that would says both youth and England.

ARTHUR
Oh, very well.

FRED
I'll set up.

MISS BARNES
Yes. You set up. Goodbye, Mr. Winslow. Very best of a good fortune in your inspiring fight. It's very good of you to talk to me. Our readers will be most interested.

GRACE
I've found the name of the material.

MISS BARNES
Excellent. Excellent. Marvelous. It was very kind of you.

GRACE
Not at all.

MISS BARNES
Ronnie, we'll meet you in the park.

RONNIE
What's she talking about?

ARTHUR
The case, I imagine.

RONNIE
Oh, the case. Father, did you know the train had fourteen coaches?

ARTHUR
Had it really?

RONNIE
Yes. All corridor.

ARTHUR
Remarkable. I had your half-term report, Ronnie.

RONNIE
Oh, yes?

ARTHUR
On the whole it was pretty fair.

RONNIE
Oh, good.

ARTHUR
I'm glad you seem to be settling down so well.

RONNIE
Yes. Thank you, Father. Father, do you know how long the train took? 123 miles in two hours and fifty-two minutes. That's an overage of 46.73 miles an hour. I worked it out.

ARTHUR
Well, you worked it out well. Why don't you get change for the photographer?

RONNIE
Oh, yes. Violet!

ARTHUR
Violet's out.

RONNIE
Will you tell her I'm back?

ARTHUR
Yes, I will. Now you need to go and get change. 

CATHERINE
I found a new citation in the law library.

ARTHUR
Ronnie's back.

CATHERINE
What?

ARTHUR
I said: Ronnie is back.

CATHERINE
Hmm.

ARTHUR
New frock?

CATHERINE
Bless you. I've turned the cuffs.

ARTHUR
Turned the cuffs?

CATHERINE
What?

ARTHUR
No. I said: I like the frock.

CATHERINE
Like it?

ARTHUR
Oh, yes. I do.

CATHERINE
I hope John likes it.

ARTHUR
What are you reading?

CATHERINE
Admiralty Law. New citation. Cadet's right to a first hearing. Did John telephone?

ARTHUR
Things are all right between you two, aren't they?

CATHERINE
Oh, yes, Father. Of course. Everything's perfect.

ARTHUR
Good. Good.

CATHERINE
Couldn't be better.

ARTHUR
Good. Cate, are we both mad, you and I?

CATHERINE
Tell me.

ARTHUR
Should we drop the whole thing?

CATHERINE
I don't consider that a serious question.

ARTHUR
You realize your marriage settlement will have to go, don't you?

CATHERINE
Oh yes. Of course, Father. I gave that up for lost weeks ago.

ARTHUR
It won't make any difference, will it? You and John?

CATHERINE
Good heavens, no.

ARTHUR
Let us pin our faith on the appearance of a champion.

CATHERINE
You know what I think of Sir Robert Morton, Father. Don't let's go into that again now.

ARTHUR
I want the best.

CATHERINE
The best in this case is not Morton.

ARTHUR
Then why does everyone say he is?

CATHERINE
Why does everyone vote for slavery? He is the best if one happens to be a large monopoly attacking a Trade Union. Then he is your lad. Yes, indeed he is. Did Mr. Watherstone telephone, Violet?

VIOLET
Oh, sorry, Miss. I just stepped out. To the best of my knowledge, no one telephoned.

CATHERINE
Thank you.

ARTHUR
Well, I imagine, if his heart isn't in it, he won't accept the brief.

CATHERINE
He might still. It depends what there is in it for him. Luckily there isn't much.

ARTHUR
There is a fairly substantial chèque.

CATHERINE
He doesn't want money. He must be a very rich man.

ARTHUR
What does he want then?

CATHERINE
That would advance his interests.

ARTHUR
I believe you're prejudiced because he spoke against woman's suffrage.

CATHERINE
Is that a prejudice or a position?

VIOLET
Winslow Residence.

ARTHUR
You tell me.

CATHERINE
It's position.

VIOLET
Yes, sir.

CATHERINE
He is always speaking against what is right.

VIOLET
Mr. Curry, Miss.

CATHERINE
Mr. Curry. Hello. Hello Desmond. Yes? What? We- What? Violet, did we receive a letter from Mr. Curry? Yes, I just - Now? Yes, right. Thank you. Yes.

ARTHUR
What is it, my dear?

CATHERINE
Violet, hail us a cab! Where's Ronnie?

ARTHUR
He's in the park.

CATHERINE
We'll have to go without him. Desmond got us an appointment with Sir Robert.

ARTHUR
When?

CATHERINE
Half an hour ago.

***
(In front of Sir Robert Morton's Office)

DESMOND
Hi. We only have just a very few moments.

CATHERINE
I'm so sorry. We didn't get your note.

DESMOND
He has an important- a most important dinner engagement, so-  Where is the boy?

ARTHUR
He will be along with my wife in a few moments.

DESMOND
I'm afraid he can only spare us a very few minutes of his time.

CATHERINE
I assure you we're conscious of it.

ARTHUR
Catherine, you'd better go on ahead. Explain why we're late. Make our apologies. Go now.

DESMOND
Catherine! It's straight through that doorway, up the stairs and to your left.

*** SIR ROBERT MORTON'S OFFICE

CATHERINE
Miss Catherine Winslow. The Winslow Case.

MR. MICHAELS
We understood that t-

CATHERINE
They're coming.

MR. MICHAELS
They're coming?

CATHERINE
We didn't hear of the appointment until--- Miss Catherine Winslow.

SIR ROBERT
I beg your pardon.

CATHERINE
I suppose you know the history of this case, do you, Sir Robert?

SIR ROBERT
I believe I've seen most of the relevant documents.

CATHERINE
Yes. Yes, excellent. Do you think we can bring the case into court by a collusive action?

SIR ROBERT
I really have no idea.

CATHERINE
Curry & Curry seem to think that might hold.

SIR ROBERT
Do they? They are a very reliable firm. Robert Morton.

CATHERINE
Catherine Winslow.

SIR ROBERT
Mr. Michaels, I can have re-arrangement for that appointment.

MR. MICHAELS
Yes, Sir.

SIR ROBERT
I hope you mind not.

CATHERINE
What could be more absurd than you asking me permission to smoke in your own establishment.

SIR ROBERT
Well, it's just a custom.

CATHERINE
I indulge myself.

SIR ROBERT
Indeed?

CATHERINE
Some people find that shocking.

SIR ROBERT
Amazing how little it takes to offend the world's sense with

CATHERINE
No, thank you. My father and brother will be here in a moment. What time are you dining?

SIR ROBERT
Eight o'clock.

CATHERINE
Far from here?

SIR ROBERT
Devonshire House.

CATHERINE
Oh, well then of course you mustn't on any account be late.

SIR ROBERT
No.

CATHERINE
I'm rather surprised that a case of this sort should interest you, Sir Robert.

SIR ROBERT
Are you?

CATHERINE
It seems such a very trivial affair compared to most of your great forensic triumphs. I was in Court during your prosecution of Len Rogers in the Trade Union embezzlement case.

SIR ROBERT
Really?

CATHERINE
Magnificently done.

SIR ROBERT
Thank you.

CATHERINE
I suppose you heard that he committed suicide a few months ago?

SIR ROBERT
Yes, I had heard.

CATHERINE
Many people believed him innocent, you know.

SIR ROBERT
So I understand. As it happened, however, he was guilty.

ARTHUR
Sir Robert, I'm so sorry to keep you waiting.

MR. MICHAELS
Arthur Winslow.

ARTHUR
I'm so sorry. We didn't get your note until-

SIR ROBERT
No, it's perfectly all right.

CATHERINE
Sir Robert is dining at Devonshire House.

ARTHUR
Yes, yes, yes. I see. I know you're pressed for time, sir. Ehm... My son will be along in any moment. I assume that you want to examine him.

SIR ROBERT
Just a few questions. I fear that's all I will have time for this evening.

ARTHUR
I'm sorry to hear it. My son has made the journey from school especially for the hope of being interviewed and I hoped by the end of it I shall know definitely yes or no whether you would accept the brief. You of course understand my anxiety.

DESMOND
Well, ah.... perhaps Sir Robert would consent to finish the examination some other time.

SIR ROBERT
It might be arranged.

ARTHUR
Tomorrow?

SIR ROBERT
Tomorrow is impossible. I'm in Court all the morning and in the House of Commons for the rest of the day.

ARTHUR
I see. Curry tells me that you think it might be possible to proceed by the Petition of Right. Would you mind if I sat down?

SIR ROBERT
Please.

ARTHUR
Yes.

CATHERINE
What is it : Petition of Right?

DESMOND
Well, granting the assumption that the admiralty, as the Crown, can do no wrong.

CATHERINE
I thought that was exactly the assumption we refused to grant.

DESMOND
In law, I mean. Now-er- a subject can sue the Crown nevertheless by Petition of Right.

CATHERINE
Petition of Right? Yes?

DESMOND
Redress being granted as a matter of grace and the custom is for the Attorney General on behalf of the Crown to endorse the Petition and allow the case to come to court.

SIR ROBERT
It is interesting to note that the exact words he uses on such occasions are 'Let Right Be Done'.

ARTHUR
Let Right Be Done. I like that phrase, sir.

SIR ROBERT
It has a certain ring about it, has it not? Let Right Be Done.

MR. MICHAELS
This way, please.

ARTHUR
Grace! This is Sir Robert. That's my wife and this is Ronnie. Ronnie, Sir Robert is going to ask you a few questions which you must answer truthfully as you always have done. I expect you'd like us to leave.

SIR ROBERT
No, no. Provided, of course, you don't interrupt. Would you sit down, please? 

GRACE
Sorry, we're late.

CATHERINE
That's all right. Nothing's happened at all.

SIR ROBERT
Will you stand here facing me? That's right. Now, Ronald, how old are you?

RONNIE
Fourteen and two months.

SIR ROBERT
You were, then, thirteen and ten months old when you left Osbourne. Is that right?

RONNIE
Yes, Sir.

SIR ROBERT
I would like you to cast your mind back to December the seventh of last year. Would you tell me in your own words exactly what happened to you on that day?

RONNIE
It was a half-holiday, so we didn't have any work after dinner.

SIR ROBERT
Dinner at one o'clock?

RONNIE
Yes, at least until prep at seven.

SIR ROBERT
Prep at seven. Hmm.

RONNIE
Well, then just before dinner I went along to Chief Petty Officer and asked him to let me have fifteen and six out of what I had in the school bank.

SIR ROBERT
Why did you do that?

RONNIE
I wanted to buy an air pistol.

SIR ROBERT
Which cost fifteen and six?

RONNIE
Yes, Sir.

SIR ROBERT
And how much money did you have in your school bank at the time?

RONNIE
Two pounds three shillings

ARTHUR
So you see, what incentive could he possibly-

SIR ROBERT
I must ask you to be good enough not to interrupt me, sir. After you had withdrawn the fifteen and six, what did you do?

RONNIE
I had dinner.

SIR ROBERT
Then what?

RONNIE
Then I went to the locker-room and put the fifteen and six away in my locker. Then I went to go and get permission to go to the Post Office.

SIR ROBERT
Yes?

RONNIE
Then I went back to the locker-room and again got out my money and went down to the Post Office.

SIR ROBERT
Yes, go on.

RONNIE
Then I bought my postal order.

SIR ROBERT
For fifteen and six?

RONNIE
Yes, sir. Then I went back to college. Then I met Elliot minor and he said "I say, isn't it rot? Someone's broken into my locker and pinched a postal order. I've reported it to the P.O."

SIR ROBERT
And those were Elliot minor's exact words?

RONNIE
He might have used another word for rot.

SIR ROBERT
I see. Continue.

RONNIE
But then just before prep I was told to go along and see Commander Flower. The woman from the Post Office was there and the Commander said, "Is this the boy?" and she said, "It might be. I can't be sure, they all look so much alike."

ARTHUR
You see she couldn't identify him.

SIR ROBERT
Go on.

RONNIE
And then she said, "I only know that the boy who bought a postal order for fifteen and six was the same boy who cashed one for five shillings". So the Commander said, "Did you buy a postal order for fifteen and six?" and I said, "Yes." And then he made me write Elliot's name on an envelope and compared it to the signature on the postal order. Then they sent me to the sanatorium and ten days later I was sacked..... I mean expelled.

SIR ROBERT
I see. Did you cash a postal order belonging to Elliot minor for five shillings?

RONNIE
No, sir.

SIR ROBERT
Did you break into his locker and steal it?

RONNIE
No, sir.

SIR ROBERT
And that is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

RONNIE
Yes, sir.

SIR ROBERT
Right. The files, please.

MR. MICHAELS
This has just come down from Ridgeley-Pearce.

SIR ROBERT
Thank you. When the Commander asked you to write Elliot's name on an envelope, how did you write it: with Christian name or initials?

RONNIE
I wrote: Charles K. Elliot.

SIR ROBERT
Charles K. Elliot. And did you by any chance happen to see the forged postal order in the Commander's office?

RONNIE
Yes, sir. The Commander showed it to me.

SIR ROBERT
Before or after you'd written Elliot's name on the envelope?

RONNIE
After.

SIR ROBERT
After. And did you happen to see how Elliot's name was written on the postal order?

RONNIE
Yes, sir. The same.

SIR ROBERT
The same. Charles K. Elliot.

RONNIE
Yes.

SIR ROBERT
When you wrote on the envelope, what made you choose that particular form?

RONNIE
Well, that was the way he usually signed his name.

SIR ROBERT
How did you know?

RONNIE
Well, he was a great friend of mine.

SIR ROBERT
That is no answer. How did you know?

RONNIE
I'd seen him sign things.

SIR ROBERT
What things?

RONNIE
Oh- ordinary things.

SIR ROBERT
I repeat : what things?

RONNIE
Bits of paper.

SIR ROBERT
Bits of paper. Why did he sign his name on bits of paper?

RONNIE
He was practising his signature.

SIR ROBERT
And you saw him.

RONNIE
Yes.

SIR ROBERT
Did he know you saw him?

RONNIE
Well.... yes.

SIR ROBERT
In other words, he showed you exactly how he wrote his signature.

RONNIE
Yes, I suppose he did.

SIR ROBERT
Did you practise writing it yourself?

RONNIE
I might have done.

SIR ROBERT
What do you mean you might have done? Did you or did you not?

RONNIE
Yes.

ARTHUR
Ronnie! You never told me that.

RONNIE
It was only for a joke.

SIR ROBERT
Never mind it was for a joke or not. The fact is: you practised forging Elliot's signature.

RONNIE
It wasn't forging.

SIR ROBERT
What do you call it then?

RONNIE
Writing.

SIR ROBERT
Whoever stole the postal order and cashed it also 'wrote' Elliot's signature, didn't he?

RONNIE
Yes.

SIR ROBERT
And oddly enough in the exact form in which you had earlier been practising writing his signature.

RONNIE
I say: which side are you on?

MR. MICHAELS
Are you aware.... are you aware that the Admiralty sent up the forged postal order to Mr. Ridgeley-Pearce, the greatest hand-writing expert in England?

RONNIE
Yes.

MR. MICHAELS
You are aware of that. And you know that Mr. Ridgeley-Pearce affirmed that there was no doubt that the signature on the postal order and the signature which you wrote on the envelope were by one and the same hand?

RONNIE
Yes.

MR. MICHAELS
And you still say you didn't forge that signature?

RONNIE
Yes, I do.

MR. MICHAELS
In other words, Mr. Ridgeley-Pearce doesn't know his job.

RONNIE
Well, he's wrong anyway.

ARTHUR
Is he indeed?

MR. MICHAELS
Are you aware that the government is in possession of seventeen separate examples of your handwriting and a board of government expert has identified they're identical with the signature Charles K. Elliot.

SIR ROBERT
When you went into the locker-room after dinner, were you alone?

RONNIE
I don't- I don't remember.

SIR ROBERT
I think you do. Were you alone in the locker-room?

RONNIE
Yes.

SIR ROBERT
And you knew which was Elliot's locker?

RONNIE
Yes, of course.

SIR ROBERT
Why did you go in there at all?

RONNIE
I've told you: to put my fifteen and six away.

SIR ROBERT
Why?

RONNIE
I thought it would be safer.

SIR ROBERT
Why safer than your pocket?

RONNIE
I don't know.

SIR ROBERT
What time did Elliot put his postal order in his locker?

RONNIE
I don't know. I didn't even know he had a postal order at all.

SIR ROBERT
What time did you get into the locker-room?

RONNIE
I don't remember.

SIR ROBERT
Was it directly after dinner?

RONNIE
Yes, I think so.

SIR ROBERT
What did you do after leaving the locker-room?

RONNIE
I've told you: I went to get permission to go down to the post office.

SIR ROBERT
What time was that?

RONNIE
About a quarter past two.

SIR ROBERT
The dinner was over at a quarter to two, which means you were in the locker-room for half an hour.

RONNIE
I wasn't in there all that time.

SIR ROBERT
How long were you there?

RONNIE
About five minutes.

SIR ROBERT
What were you doing for the other twenty-five?

RONNIE
I don't remember. Perhaps I was outside the C.O.'s office.

SIR ROBERT
And no one saw you there either.

RONNIE
I remember. I remember someone did see me outside the C.O.'s office. A chap called Casey. I spoke to him.

SIR ROBERT
What did you say?

RONNIE
I said," Come down to the Post Office with me. I'm going to cash a postal order."

SIR ROBERT
'Cash' a postal order.

RONNIE
I mean 'get'.

SIR ROBERT
You said 'cash'. Why did you say 'cash' if you meant 'get'?

RONNIE
I don't know.

SIR ROBERT
I suggest 'cash' was the truth.

RONNIE
No, no. It wasn't, really. You're muddling me.

SIR ROBERT
You seem easily muddled. How many other lies have you told?

RONNIE
None. Really, I haven't.

SIR ROBERT
I suggest your whole testimony is a lie.

RONNIE
No, it's the truth.

SIR ROBERT
I suggest there is barely one single word of truth in anything you've said either to me or to the Judge Advocate or to the Commander. I suggest that you broke into Elliot's locker, that you stole the postal order for five shillings belonging to Elliot, that you cashed it by means of forging his name.

RONNIE
I didn't. I didn't.

SIR ROBERT
I suggest that you did it for a joke, meaning to give him the five shillings back, but when you met him and he said he'd reported the matter you got frightened and decided to keep quite.

RONNIE
No, no. It isn't true. It isn't true. None of it is true.

SIR ROBERT
I suggest that by continuing to deny your guilt you're causing great hardship to your own family and considerable annoyance to high and important persons in this country.

CATHERINE
That is a disgraceful thing to say.

SIR ROBERT
I suggest that the time has at last come for you to undo some of the misery you have caused by confessing to us all now that you are a forger, a liar, and a thief!

CATHERINE
How dare you!

RONNIE
I'm not. I'm not. I didn't do it.

ARTHUR
This is outrageous, sir.

RONNIE
I didn't do any of it.

GRACE
It's all right, darling. It's all right.

SIR ROBERT
Curry, can I drop you anywhere?

DESMOND
No, I-

SIR ROBERT
Send all his files here by tomorrow morning.

DESMOND
But will you need them now?

SIR ROBERT
Oh, yes. The boy is plainly innocent. I accept the brief.

Act 3

***THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

SIR ROBERT
Get this to the First Lord, will you?

FIRST LORD
The chief point of criticism against the Admiralty appears to centre in the purely legal question of The Petition of Right brought by a member. A citizen seeking redress of The Petition of Right and the demurrer thereto.(Thus) this member has made great play of this boy with his eloquence and address. And I was moved as any honourable Member opposite by his resonant use of the words 'Let Right Be Done'-- the time-honoured phrase with which in his opinion the Attorney General should without question have supported Mr. Winslow's Petition of Right.

TONY
Alright, alright. Let's break it down into its essentials. Do we have enough votes to put the question? How important is it to you, Bobby?

SIR ROBERT
How important is it? I'm aware it's only important to win.

TONY
Shouldn't you be in the house?

SIR ROBERT
Looks like he's repeating himself forever. Give me a piece of paper. Am I missing something here? The thing is: the votes.

RICHARD
Well, yes. Well, what do you say to that, Tony? Do we have the votes?

TONY
Say? Do we have the votes? But as do we have the money -- the answer is perhaps. The point is: do you really want to spend it on this?

PORTER
Let me just have a quick look, miss.

SIR ROBERT
Could you bring it to vote?

RICHARD
Can you bring it to vote, Tony?

TONY
Perhaps I can. End of the day. He's a twelve year old boy.

RICHARD
Are you sure you want to fight it?

SIR ROBERT
Who asks you about that?

RICHARD
I'm saying before we start calling in markers.

TONY
Dick's saying to choose your ground, Bob.

RICHARD
Because there is no honourable retreat. You pick this up, you're gonna have to carry it.

TONY
Because this is your best interest, Bobby. That's the thing.

SIR ROBERT
I understand.

*** THE HOUSE OF COMMONS (LADIES GALLERY)

CATHERINE
Excuse me. Excuse me. What did I miss?

SUFFRAGETTE
You didn't miss anything

CATHERINE
What's going on?

SUFFRAGETTE
He was just saying all the great crimes are committed in the name of public tranquility.

***THE WINSLOW'S HOUSE

(Ronnie's bedroom)

GRACE
Close the book now.

RONNIE
Is everything all right?

GRACE
Everything's fine. Go to sleep now.

RONNIE
Good night, Mother.

GRACE
Good night.

ARTHUR
Good night, Ronnie. Sleep well.

RONNIE
Good night.

(Outside Ronnie's bedroom)

ARTHUR
I fancy this might be a good opportunity of talking to Violet.

GRACE
I'll do it one day, Arthur. Tomorrow perhaps. Not now.

ARTHUR
I think you'd do better to grasp the nettle. Delay only adds to your worries.

GRACE
My worries? What do you know about my worries?

ARTHUR
A good deal, Grace. But I think they would be a lot lessened if you faced the situation squarely.

GRACE
It won't be easy for her to find another place.

ARTHUR
The facts, at this moment, are that we have a half of the income we had a year ago and we're living at nearly the same rate. Whichever you look at it that's bad economics.

GRACE
I'm not talking about economics, Arthur. I'm talking about our live - things we took for granted a year ago and which now don't seem to matter any more.

ARTHUR
Such as?

GRACE
Such as a happy home and anonymity and an ordinary respectable life. There's your return for it, I suppose. I only pray to God you know what you're doing.

ARTHUR
I know exactly what I'm doing, Grace.

GRACE
Do you, Arthur? He's perfectly happy. He's at a good school, he's doing very well. No one need ever have known about Osbourne, if you hadn't shouted it out to the whole world. As it is, whatever happens now, he'll be known as the boy who stole that postal order.

ARTHUR
He didn't steal that, Grace.

GRACE
You talk about sacrificing everything for him, when he's grown up he won't thank you for it, Arthur. Even though you've given your life to - publish his innocence- as you call it. Yes, Arthur, your life. You talk gaily about arthritis and a touch of gout. You know better than any of the doctors what is the matter with you. You're destroying yourself, Arthur, and me and your family besides. For what, I'd like to know? For what?

ARTHUR
For justice, Grace.

GRACE
Are you sure that's true? Are you sure it isn't pride and self-importance?

ARTHUR
No, I don't think so. I really don't think so.

GRACE
No. I'm not going to cry and say I'm sorry and make things up again. I can stand anything if there is a reason for it. But for no reason at all, it's unfair to ask so much of me. It's unfair!

RONNIE
What's the matter, Father?

ARTHUR
Mother is a little upset, that's all.

RONNIE
Why? Aren't things going very well?

ARTHUR
Yes, Ronnie. Everything's going very well. You go on back to bed. That's all. Good night.

***THE WINSLOW'S HOUSE

VIOLET (To a postboy)
Thank you very much. Here you are. Off you go.

ARTHUR
Thank you, Violet. How long have you been with us, Violet?

VIOLET
Twenty-four years come April, sir.

ARTHUR
Is it as long as that?

VIOLET
Yes, sir. Miss Cate was that high when I first came in. Mr. Dickie hadn't even been thought of.

ARTHUR
What do you think of this case, Violet?

VIOLET
A fine old rumpus that is, sir, and no mistake.

ARTHUR
Yes. It is indeed. A fine old rumpus.

VIOLET
There was a bit in the Evening News. Did you read it, sir?

ARTHUR
No, I didn't. What did it say?

VIOLET
Oh, it was a fuss about nothing and a shocking waste of the Government's time, but it was a good thing all the same because it could only happen in England.

ARTHUR
Seems to be a certain lack of logic in that argument

VIOLET
Well, but they put it a bit different, sir. Still that's what it said all right. When you think it's all because of our Master Ronnie, I have to laugh about it sometimes. I really do. Wasting the government's time at his age. I never did. Wonders will never cease.

ARTHUR
No. Wonders will never cease.

VIOLET
Well, would that be all, sir?

ARTHUR
Yes, Violet. That'll be all.

CATHERINE
Good evening, Violet.

ARTHUR
Catherine!

CATHERINE
Hello, Father.

ARTHUR
How are you?

CATHERINE
Slinking down alleyways.

ARTHUR
Are they still camping out in the street?

CATHERINE
Oh, yes.

ARTHUR
So how'd you get on this evening?

CATHERINE
Are those for me?

ARTHUR
Yes.

CATHERINE
Thank you.

ARTHUR
But what's happened? Is the debate over?

CATHERINE
As good as. The First Lord gave an assurance that in the future there would be no inquiry at Osbourne or Dartmouth without informing the parents first. That seemed to satisfy most members.

ARTHUR
But what about our case? Is he going to allow us a fair trial?

CATHERINE
Apparently not.

ARTHUR
But that's iniquitous. I thought he would be forced to.

CATHERINE
I thought so, too. The House evidently thought otherwise.

ARTHUR
So we're back where we started.

CATHERINE
I'm sorry, Father.

ARTHUR
I said: so we're back where we started, then. Is that it, you mean?

CATHERINE
Yes, it looks like it.

ARTHUR
But didn't Sir Robert protest when the First Lord refused a trial?

CATHERINE
Oh, something far more spectacular. He'd had his feet on the Treasury table and his hat over his eyes during most of The First Lord's speech. And he suddenly got up, glared at the First Lord, threw a bundle of notes on the floor and stalked out of the House. Magnificent effect.

ARTHUR
Or perhaps a display of feeling?

CATHERINE
Sir Robert, Father dear, is not a man of feeling. I doubt any emotion at all can stir in that dead heart.

ARTHUR
Well, he took the brief.

CATHERINE
What have we done for him? First-rate publicity 'The staunch defender of the little man'. Lucky for him.

ARTHUR
And lucky for us, too.

CATHERINE
No, don't fool yourself. He's an avaricious, a conniving and unfeeling man. We've bought his services for the moment. We've bought him like a cheap three-penny whore-

VIOLET
Sir Robert Morton.

SIR ROBERT
Good evening.

CATHERINE
Good evening.

SIR ROBERT
Something gone down the wrong way?

CATHERINE
Yes.

SIR ROBERT
May I assist?

CATHERINE
Most kind.

SIR ROBERT
Good evening, sir.

ARTHUR
Sir Robert.

SIR ROBERT
I thought I would call and give you an account of the day's proceedings, but perhaps your daughter has forestalled me.

ARTHUR
Sir Robert, would you forgive me for a moment. Cathe, I wonder if you'd be kind enough to entertain Sir Robert in my absence.

CATHERINE
Did you know I was in the Gallery?

SIR ROBERT
How could I have missed you with such a charming brown hat?

CATHERINE
Oh, thank you. Will you betray a technical secret, Sir Robert? What happened during the first examination to make you so sure if he is innocent.

SIR ROBERT
Three things. First of all, he made far too many damaging admissions. A guilty person would have been much more careful and on his guard. Secondly I laid him a trap and thirdly left him a loophole. Anyone who was guilty would have fallen into the one and darted through the other. He did neither.

CATHERINE
The trap was when you asked him suddenly what time Elliot put the postal order in his locker, wasn't it?

SIR ROBERT
Yes.

CATHERINE
And the loophole?

SIR ROBERT
I then suggested to him that he'd stolen the postal order for a joke which had he been guilty I'm quite sure he would have admitted to as being the lesser of two evils.

CATHERINE
I see. It was very cleverly thought out.

SIR ROBERT
Thank you.

CATHERINE
And what of the twenty-five minutes?

SIR ROBERT
Twenty-five minutes?

CATHERINE
Ronnie went back to the locker room and there were twenty-five minutes there which he could not account for, what was he doing?

SIR ROBERT
Hmm... But I thought you should know.

CATHERINE
Why on earth me?

SIR ROBERT
It is a crime you indulge in.

CATHERINE
What can you mean?

SIR ROBERT
He was smoking a cigarette.

ARTHUR
Sir Robert, may we offer you some refreshment? Whiskey and soda perhaps?

SIR ROBERT
Whiskey, thank you.

ARTHUR
My daughter told me of your demonstration during the First Lord's speech which she described as magnificent.

SIR ROBERT
Did she? That was good of her, sir. It's a very old trick, you know. I've done it many times in the courts. It's nearly always surprisingly effective. Was the First Lord at all put out by it, did you notice?

CATHERINE
How could he have failed to be? I wish you could have seen it, Father.

VIOLET
I forgot to give you this letter.

CATHERINE
Thank you, Violet. When did this come?

VIOLET
Oh, a few minutes ago, Miss.

CATHERINE
Thank you.

ARTHUR
Do you know the writing?

CATHERINE
I shouldn't bother to read it if I were you.

ARTHUR
Ehm... would you forgive me, Sir Robert?

SIR ROBERT
Of course.

CATHERINE
Well, and what do you think the next step should be?

SIR ROBERT
In the abstract or the particular?

CATHERINE
The particular, please.

SIR ROBERT
I believe that perhaps the best plan would be to renew our efforts to force the Director of Public Prosecution to act.

CATHERINE
Don't you think that would be rather unorthodox?

SIR ROBERT
I certainly hope so.

CATHERINE
Do you think we have a chance to success?

SIR ROBERT
Of course or I would not suggest it.

CATHERINE
Father, Sir Robert thinks we might get the Director of Public Prosecution to act.

ARTHUR
What? What did you say?

SIR ROBERT
We were discussing how to proceed with the case.

ARTHUR
I'm afraid I don't think all things considered that much purpose would be served by going on. Nay, I don't think any purpose would be served by going on.

SIR ROBERT
That's absurd. Of course we must go on. How could you say otherwise?

ARTHUR
I've made sacrifices with this case. Some of them I had no right to make, but I made them none the less. But there's a limit and I've reached it. Sorry, Sir Robert. The Winslow case is now closed.

CATHERINE
Perhaps I should explain this letter.

SIR ROBERT
There is no need.

CATHERINE
This letter is from a certain Colonel Watherstone who is the father of the man I'm engaged to. He writes that our efforts to discredit the Admiralty in the House of Commons today have resulted merely in our making the name of Winslow a nation-wide laughing-stock.

SIR ROBERT
I don't care for his English.

CATHERINE
It's not very good, is it? He goes on to say that unless my father would give him a firm undertaking to drop this whining and reckless agitation-- I suppose he means the case -- he will exert every bit of influence he has over his son to prevent him marrying me.

SIR ROBERT
I see. May I take a cigarette?

CATHERINE
Yes, of course. It's a vile habit, isn't it?

SIR ROBERT
Which of us is perfect? That really was a most charming hat, Miss Winslow.

CATHERINE
I'm glad you liked it.

SIR ROBERT
It seems decidedly wrong to me that a lady of your political persuasion should be allowed to adorn herself with such a very feminine allurement. It really looks so awfully like trying to have the best of both worlds.

CATHERINE
Does it indeed?

SIR ROBERT
It does.

CATHERINE
And is that particularly female trait? I am not a militant, you know, Sir Robert. I don't go about shattering glass or pouring acid down pillar boxes.

SIR ROBERT
I'm very glad to hear it. Both those activities would be highly unsuitable in that hat. I have never yet fully grasped, what active steps you take to propagate your course, Miss Winslow?

CATHERINE
I'm an organizing secretary at the West London Branch of the Woman's Suffrage Association.

SIR ROBERT
Indeed. Is the work hard?

CATHERINE
Very.

SIR ROBERT
But not, I should imagine, particularly lucrative.

CATHERINE
The work is voluntary and unpaid.

SIR ROBERT
Dear me. What sacrifices you young ladies seem prepared to make for your convictions. Forgive me, sir, if I spoke out of turn just now.

ARTHUR
Oh, that's quite all right.

SIR ROBERT
Of course you must act as you think fit. But may I suggest that you delay your decision until you've thought of them awhile.

ARTHUR
I'll give you my answer presently.

***JOHN'S OFFICE

JOHN
Well, my father wrote your father a letter.


CATHERINE
Yes.

JOHN
You read it?

CATHERINE
Yes. Did you?

JOHN
He showed it to me. Yes. What's his answer?

CATHERINE
My father? I don't suppose he'll send one.

JOHN
He'll ignore it?

CATHERINE
Isn't that the best respond to blackmail?

JOHN
Yes. It was rather high-handed of the old man.

CATHERINE
High-handed?

JOHN
The trouble is he's serious.

CATHERINE
I never thought he wasn't.

JOHN
He's as serious as can be. If your father carries on with the case, he'll do everything he threatened.

CATHERINE
Your father will forbid the match?

JOHN
That's right.

CATHERINE
An empty threat then isn't it?

JOHN
Well, there is always the allowance.

CATHERINE
Yes, I see. There's always the allowance.

JOHN
And without the settlement, you know I can't live on my pay. And with the two of us-

CATHERINE
I've heard it said that two can live as cheaply as one.

JOHN
Don't you believe it.

CATHERINE
Yes, I see.

JOHN
You're off to the House of Commons again?

CATHERINE
Oh, yes. It's hard on you, John, isn't it?

JOHN
A fellow thought I'd like to see this. He cut it out to show me. Here is poor old John Bull. He can't get his work done because of the Winslow situation. What do you think about that?

CATHERINE
Do you want to marry me, John?

JOHN
Yes. Yes, I do.

CATHERINE
But isn't it already too late? Even if we throw up the case, would you still marry the Winslow girl?

JOHN
All that would blow over in no time.

CATHERINE
And we'd still have the allowance.

JOHN
It is important, darling. You can't shame me into saying that it isn't.

CATHERINE
I didn't mean to shame you.

JOHN
Oh, but you did.

CATHERINE
I'm sorry.

JOHN
The case is lost, Catherine. The case is lost. Give it up. What's your answer?

CATHERINE
I love you, John, and the answer is I want to be your wife.

JOHN
Well, then you'll drop the case?

CATHERINE
Yes, I will. I must tell Sir Robert.

***THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

FIRST LORD
-the right honourable and learn gentlemaan opposite to calumniate the Admiralty for a child, gentlemen. For a child. A guilty child. O can we not, I do beseech you, make an end. One can not sue the Crown. Justice has been done to the tenth decimal point. And it is time to lay aside nursery gossip and to proceed with the business of the government. The business of government....

RICHARD
You're all in, Bobby. I say you're all in. Go home.

TONY
We're finished, Bob.

RICHARD
You've fought the good fight. You've fought the good fight but we ain't got the votes. It's over. 

SIR ROBERT'S SUPPORTER
Well, we did what we could.

RICHARD
Thanks for your support. Don't break your heart.

TONY
Everybody looses one and no shame in it.

RICHARD
Listen to Tony.

TONY
You can't hold back the tide.

RICHARD
You could not have fought harder. The House is against you. Let's let it go.

FIRST LORD
And I believe I can state with certainty that the mood of this house is sure, correct and supportive of the Admiralty. On behalf of which and on behalf of those it is sworn to die. I thank you for your patience and I thank you for your time.

SIR ROBERT
What's this?

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT 
Mr. Speaker, put the question.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Hear, hear. Put the question.

SIR ROBERT
They're calling the question.

RICHARD
Let them call the question. We are done. There's no shame in it, Bob.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
The motion is-

SIR ROBERT
Point of order, Mr. Speaker. Point of order.

FIRST LORD
I am on my feet.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Does this escape you?

SIR ROBERT
Point of order I said.

FIRST LORD
I am on my feet.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Gentlemen, there is a motion on the floor.

SIR ROBERT
Point of order I must insist.

FIRST LORD
Upon what grounds?

SIR ROBERT
Sit down and I'll tell you.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
That's right, sit down!

FIRST LORD
Very well. Make your old speech.

SIR ROBERT
Thank you. I have a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to read into the record two items. Two items. First item: popular song of the day. How Still We See Thee Lie or The Naughty Cadet. How dare you sully Nelson's name who for this land did die, oh naughty cadet. For shame, for shame; how still we see thee lie. They suggest, they suggest our concern for the boy may perhaps tarnish the reputation of Lord Nelson.

FIRST LORD
You said two items.

SIR ROBERT
The other one is this. It's from a slightly older source. It is this: you shall not side with the great against the powerless.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Mr. Speaker, point of order.

SIR ROBERT
I am on my feet.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Will you yield?

SIR ROBERT
I will not yield, Mr. Speaker. You shall not side with the great against the powerless.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Yeah.

SIR ROBERT
Have you heard those words, gentlemen? Do you recognize their source? From that same source I add this injunction. It is this: what you do to the least of them you do to me. Now, now gentlemen....

***
PORTER
Good afternoon, Miss.

CATHERINE
Hello.

REPORTER
I'll be damned if that's not the-- Get on the camera! Will you get on the camera?

CATHERINE
What happened?

REPORTER
Let me through, please.

REPORTER
What happened? What happened?

REPORTER
First Lord thought he was safe, thought he was home free. Sir Robert spoke, now he is under attack.

CATHERINE
From whom?

REPORTER
From whom? From everybody. When he comes out, here's what I want.

MR. MICHAELS
Excuse me, sir.

CATHERINE
Mr. Michaels, what happened?

MR. MICHAELS
It seems, Miss, it seems that rather than risk a division. The first order has given to an undertaking to endorse the Petition of Right which means the case of Winslow versus Rex can therefore come to court. Ah, Sir Robert.

SIR ROBERT
Well, Miss Winslow, what are my instructions?

CATHERINE
Do you need my instructions, Sir Robert? Aren't they already on the Petition? 
Doesn't it say: Let Right Be Done?

SIR ROBERT
Then we must endeavour to see that it is.

Act 4

***A STREET IN LONDON

BOY
The Winslow Case! I've got The Beacon! I've got the news! Read the latest about The Winslow Boy right here in these pages! Read it here!

BUYER
Yes, please.

BOY
Here it is. Thank you very much.

BUYER
Thank you.

BOY
Latest on the Winslow Boy! 

***THE WINSLOW'S HOUSE

GRACE
You're thinner. I like your new suit.

DICKIE
Off the peg at three and a half guineas. I say- does that go on all the time outside?

GRACE
We are waiting for the verdict.

DICKIE
Where's Cate?

GRACE
Cate takes the morning session, I go in the afternoon.

DICKIE
How's it all going?

GRACE
I don't know. I've been there all four days now and I've hardly understood a word.

DICKIE
Will there be room for me?

GRACE
Oh, yes. They reserve places for the family.

DICKIE
How did Ronnie get on in the witness box?

GRACE
Two days he was cross-examined. Two whole days. Imagine it, the poor little pet. I must say he didn't seem to mind much. He said two days with the Attorney- General wasn't nearly as bad as two minutes with Sir Robert. Cate says he made a very good impression with the jury.

DICKIE
How is Cate, Mother?

GRACE
All right. You heard about John, I suppose.

DICKIE
Yes. That's what I meant. How's she taken it?

GRACE
You can never tell with Cate. She never lets you know what she's feeling. We all think he's behaved very badly. Your father's on the terrace.

ARTHUR
How are you, Dickie?

DICKIE
Very well. Thank you, Father.

ARTHUR
Mr. Lamb tells me you've joined the Territorials.

DICKIE
I'm sorry, Father. What?

ARTHUR
Mr. Lamb tells me that you've enlisted in the Territorials.

DICKIE
Yes, Father.

ARTHUR
Why have you done that?

DICKIE
Well, from all accounts there's a fair chance of a scrap soon. If there is I don't want to get in on it.

ARTHUR
If there is a scrap as you call it, you'll do far better to say at the bank.

DICKIE
No, no. Too much conflict at the bank.

ARTHUR
Is that how it seems to you?

DICKIE
Oh, yes. Makes the blood run cold. How's Catherine?

ARTHUR
She's late. She was in at half-past yesterday.

GRACE
Perhaps they're taking the lunch interval late this day.

ARTHUR
Which interval? This isn't a cricket match, Grace. Nor, may I say, it's the matinée at the Gaiety. Why are you wearing that highly unsuitable get up?

GRACE
Don't you like it, dear? It's Mme Dupont's best.

ARTHUR
Grace, your son is facing a charge of theft and forgery.

GRACE
Oh, dear. It's so difficult! I can't wear the same old dress day after day. It's repetitious and depressing. I tell you what, Arthur. I'll wear my black coat and skirt tomorrow for the verdict. Yes, that's what I'll do. I'll wear it for the verdict.

ARTHUR
Did you say my lunch was ready?

GRACE
Yes, dear. It's only cold. I made the salad myself. Violet is at the trial.

DICKIE
Is Violet still with you? She was under sentence the last time I saw you.

GRACE
Neither your father nor I have the courage to tell her.

ARTHUR
I have the courage to tell her.

GRACE
Funny that you don't, then, dear.

ARTHUR
You see, Dickie? How these taunts of courage are daily flung at my head, but should I take them up I'm forbidden to move in any matter. Such is the logic of women.

DICKIE
Will you take him away after the verdict?

GRACE
He's promised to go into a nursing home.

DICKIE
Will he?

GRACE
How should I know?

DICKIE
Surely, if he loses this time, he's lost for good.

GRACE
I can only hope that it's true.

CATHERINE
Lord, the heat! Mother, can't you get rid of those reporters? Hello, Dickie.

DICKIE
Hello, Cate.

CATHERINE
Come to be in at the death?

DICKIE
Is that what it's going to be?

CATHERINE
Looks like it.

ARTHUR
You're late, Catherine.

CATHERINE
I know. I'm sorry, Father. There was such a huge crowd. I have to go and change.

GRACE
Is there a bigger crowd than yesterday?

CATHERINE
Oh, yes, Mother. Far bigger.

GRACE
So how did it go this morning?

CATHERINE
Sir Robert finished his cross-examination of the post-mistress. I thought he'd demolished her completely. She admitted she couldn't identify Ronnie in the Commander's office. She admitted she couldn't be sure of the time he came in. She admitted she was called away to the telephone while he was buying his fifteen-and-six postal order, and that all Osbourne cadets looked alike to her in their uniforms, so that it might quite easily have been another cadet who cashed the five shillings. It was a brilliant cross-examination. He didn't frighten her or bully her. He simply coaxed her into tying herself into knots. Then, when he'd finished the Attorney-General asked her again whether she was absolutely positive that the same boy that bought the fifteen-and-six postal order also cashed the five-shilling one. She said yes. She was quite, quite sure because Ronnie was such a good-looking little boy that she specially noticed him. She hadn't said that in her examination-in-chief.

DICKIE
Ronnie good-looking! What utter rot!

GRACE
Well, if she thought him so especially good-looking, why couldn't she identify him the same evening?

CATHERINE
Don't ask me. Ask the Attorney-General. I'm sure he has a beautifully reasonable answer.

DICKIE
Who else gave evidence for the other side?

CATHERINE
The Commander, the chief Petty Officer, and one of the boys at the College.

DICKIE
Anything very damaging?

CATHERINE
Nothing that we didn't expect.

GRACE
Did you see anyone interesting in Court, dear?

CATHERINE
Yes, Mother. John Watherstone.

GRACE
John? You didn't speak to him, I hope.

CATHERINE
Yes. Of course I did.

GRACE
Cate, you didn't! What did he say?

CATHERINE
He wished us luck.

GRACE
What impertinence!

CATHERINE
Is that what it is?

GRACE
I wonder if Violet will remember to get those onions. I better get them myself on the way back from the Court.

CATHERINE
Yes. Get them on the way back.

GRACE
I'm so sorry, dear.

CATHERINE
What for, Mother?

GRACE
John, being such a bad hat. I never did like him very much, you know.

CATHERINE
No. I know.

ARTHUR
You're looking well, Dickie. A trifle thinner, perhaps.

DICKIE
Hard work, Father.

ARTHUR
Or late hours?

DICKIE
You can't keep late hours in Reading.

ARTHUR
You could keep late hours anywhere. I've had quite a good report about you from Mr. Lamb at the bank.

DICKIE
Good old Mr. Lamb. I took him racing last Saturday. Had the time of his life and lost his shirt.

ARTHUR
Did he? Did he indeed?

GRACE
Now, Dickie, when we get to the front-door, put your head down, like me, and charge through them all.

ARTHUR
Why don't you just go through the garden?

GRACE
I can't risk this hat going through the roses. I always say 'I'm the maid and I don't know nothing.' So don't be surprised.

DICKIE
Right-oh, Mother.

ARTHUR
Are we going to lose this case, Cate? How's Sir Robert? Papers said that he began today by telling the judge he felt ill and might have to ask for an adjournment. I trust he won't collapse.

CATHERINE
He won't. It was just another of those brilliant tricks of his that he's always boasting about. It got him the sympathy of the Court and possibly- No, I won't say that.

ARTHUR
Say it.

CATHERINE
Possibly provided him with an excuse if he's beaten.

ARTHUR
I see. Desmond! Come in, Desmond.

DESMOND
I trust you do not object to me employing this furtive entry, but the crowds at the front door are most alarming. Most alarming.

ARTHUR
Why have you left the Court?

DESMOND
My partner will be holding the fort. He is perfectly competent, I promise you.

ARTHUR
I'm glad to hear it.

DESMOND
I wonder if I might see Catherine alone. I have a matter of some urgency to communicate to her.

ARTHUR
Ah. Do you wish to hear this urgent matter, Cate?

CATHERINE
Yes, Father.

DESMOND
I have to be back in Court. Perhaps you would give me a moment of your time.

CATHERINE
Yes, of course, Desmond.

DESMOND
It occurred to me during the lunch recess that I had far better see you today.

CATHERINE
Yes?

DESMOND
I have a question to put to you, Cate, which if I had postpone putting until after the verdict, you might- who knows- have thought had been prompted by pity- if we'd lost or if we'd won, your reply might- again who knows- have been influenced by gratitude. And that, of course, wouldn't do. Do you follow me, Cate?

CATHERINE
Yes, Desmond. I think I do.

DESMOND
Ah. Then perhaps you have some inkling of what the question is I have to put to you?

CATHERINE
Yes. I think I have.

DESMOND
Oh.

CATHERINE
I'm sorry, Desmond. I might, I know, to have followed the usual practice in such cases, and told you I had no inkling whatever.

DESMOND
No, no. Your directness and honesty are two of the qualities I so much admire in you. I am glad you have guessed. It makes my task the easier. The facts are these: that you don't love me, and never can. And that I love you, always have and always will. It is a situation which, after most careful consideration, I am fully prepared to accept. I, I reached this decision some months ago, but I thought at first it might be better to wait until this case, which is so much on all our minds, should be over. Then at lunch today I determined to anticipate the verdict tomorrow.

CATHERINE
I see. Thank you so much, Desmond. That makes everything much clearer.

DESMOND
There is much more that I had meant to say, but I shall put it in a letter.

CATHERINE
Yes, Desmond. Do. Will you give me a few days to think it over?

DESMOND
Of course. Of course.

CATHERINE
I need hardly tell you how grateful I am.

DESMOND
There is no need, Cate. No need at all.

CATHERINE
You mustn't keep your taxi waiting.

DESMOND
Yes. Ah. Then I may expect your answer in a few days?

CATHERINE
Yes, Desmond.

DESMOND
I must get back to Court. Well. How did you think it went this morning?

CATHERINE
I thought the post-mistress restored the Admiralty's case with that point about Ronnie's looks.

DESMOND
Oh, no. No, no. Not at all. There is still the overwhelming fact that she couldn't identify him. What a brilliant cross-examination, was it not?

CATHERINE
Brilliant.

DESMOND
Strange man, Sir Robert. At times so cold and distant and-

CATHERINE
Passionless.

DESMOND
And yet he has a real passion about this case.

CATHERINE
Does he?

DESMOND
Yes. I happen to know, of course this must on no account go any further, but I happen to know that he has made a very, very great personal sacrifice in order to bring it to Court.

CATHERINE
Sacrifice? What? Of another brief?

DESMOND
No, no, no. That is no sacrifice to him. No. He was offered-  You-  You really promise to keep this to yourself?

CATHERINE
My dear Desmond, whatever the government offered him can't be as startling as all that. He's in the opposition.

DESMOND
Indeed? Therefore a most- a most gracious compliment.

CATHERINE
And what position was he offered?

DESMOND
[...] Yes, that's right. That's right. And he turned it down simply in order to carry on with the case of Winslow versus Rex. Strange are the ways of men, are they not? Goodbye, my dear.

***

CATHERINE
Father, I've been a fool.

ARTHUR
Have you, my dear?

CATHERINE
An utter fool.

ARTHUR
In default of further information, I can only repeat: Have you, my dear?

CATHERINE
There can be no further information. I'm under a pledge of secrecy.

ARTHUR
What did Desmond what?

CATHERINE
To marry me.

ARTHUR
I trust that the folly you were referring to wasn't your acceptance of him?

CATHERINE
Would it be such folly, though?

ARTHUR
Lunacy.

CATHERINE
I'm nearly thirty, you know.

ARTHUR
Thirty isn't the end of life.

CATHERINE
Is that so?

ARTHUR
Better far to live and die an old maid than to be married to Desmond.

CATHERINE
Even an old maid must eat.

ARTHUR
Did you take my suggestion with regard to your Suffrage Association?

CATHERINE
Yes, Father.

ARTHUR
You demanded a salary?

CATHERINE
I asked for one.

ARTHUR
They're going to give it to you, I trust.

CATHERINE
Two pounds a week. No, Father. The choice is quite simple. Either I marry Desmond and settle down into quite a comfortable and not really useless existence or I go on for the rest of my life in the service of a hopeless cause.

ARTHUR
A hopeless cause? I've never heard you say that before.

CATHERINE
I've never felt it before. John's getting married next month.

ARTHUR
Yes, I see. I see. Did he tell you?

CATHERINE
Yes. He was very apologetic.

ARTHUR
Apologetic!

CATHERINE
It's a girl I know slightly. She'll make him a good wife.

ARTHUR
Is he in love with her?

CATHERINE
No more than he was with me. Perhaps, even, a little less.

ARTHUR
Why is he marrying her so soon-

CATHERINE
--after jilting me? Because he thinks thhere's going to be a war soon and if there is his regiment will be among the first to go overseas. She's a general daughter. Very, very suitable.

ARTHUR
Poor Cate. I'm so sorry.

CATHERINE
If you could go back, Father, and choose again- would your choice be different?

ARTHUR
Perhaps.

CATHERINE
I don't think so.

ARTHUR
I don't think so, either.

CATHERINE
I still say we both knew what we were doing and we were right to do it.

ARTHUR
You are not going to marry Desmond, are you?

CATHERINE
In the words of Prime Minister, Father: Wait and see.

ARTHUR
What's that boy shouting?

CATHERINE
Only 'Winslow Case Latest'.

ARTHUR
It didn't sound to me like 'latest'.

BOY
Did they win or they lose? I've got the Winslow Case Result! In these pages! Winslow Case Result!

ARTHUR
Result?

CATHERINE
No. There must be some mistake.

VIOLET
Oh, sir! Oh, sir!

ARTHUR
Yes, Violet. What is it?

VIOLET
Miss Cate- Miss Cate- I don't know how to tell you. Just after they came back from lunch, Mrs. Winslow she wasn't there neither, nor Master Ronnie. Shouting, the carrying-on-- you never heard anything like it in all your life and Sir Robert standing there at the table with his wig on crooked and tears running down his face- running down his face they were. Cook and me, we did a bit of crying, too. Everyone was cheering, the judge kept on shouting. It wasn't any good. Even the jury joined in. Some of them climbed out of the box to shake hands with Sir Robert. Outside in the street it was just the same. Couldn't move for the crowd. You'd think they'd all gone mad the way they were carrying on. Some shouting 'Good old Winslow!'. Some singing 'For he's a jolly good fellow'. Cook had her hat knocked off again. She did. Sure as I am standing here to tell you. Oh, sir, you must be feeling nice and pleased, now it's all over.

ARTHUR
Yes, Violet. I am.

VIOLET
I always said it would come all right in the end, didn't I?

ARTHUR
Yes, yes. You did.

VIOLET
Yes, I did. Well, I don't mind telling you, sir. I wondered sometimes if you and Miss Cate weren't just wasting your time carrying on the way you have been. Still- you couldn't have felt that if you've been in the Court today. Oh, sir, Mrs. Winslow asked me to remember most particular to pick up some onions from the greengrocer, but-

CATHERINE
That's all right, Violet. I believe Mrs. Winslow is picking them up herself.

VIOLET
Jolly good, Miss. Poor Madam! What a sell for her when she gets to the Court and finds it's all over. Well, congratulations, I'm sure, sir.

ARTHUR
Thank you, Violet. It would appear, then, that we've won.

CATHERINE
Yes, Father. It would appear that we've won.

ARTHUR
I would have liked to have been there.

VIOLET
Sir Robert Morton.

SIR ROBERT
Good afternoon. I thought you might like to hear the actual terms of the Attorney-General's statement, so I jotted them down for you. On behalf of the Admiralty etc etc-- The cadet Ronald Arthur Winslow did not write the name on the postal order, he did not take it, he did not cash it, that he is consequently innocent of the charge, that this is a full unreserved and complete acceptance of his statement.

ARTHUR
Sir Robert, it's hard for me to find the words which to thank you.

SIR ROBERT
Pray do not trouble yourself to search for them, sir. Let us take these rather conventional expressions of gratitude for granted, shall we? Pity you were not in Court, Miss Winslow. The verdict appeared to cause quite a stir.

CATHERINE
So I heard. Why did the Admiralty resign the case?

SIR ROBERT
Oh, it was a foregone conclusion.

CATHERINE
Oh?

SIR ROBERT
Once the hand-writing expert has been discredited, not for the first time in legal history, I knew we had a sporting chance.

CATHERINE
But this morning you seemed so depressed.

SIR ROBERT
Did I? Perhaps the heat in the court room.

VIOLET
Sir, the gentlemen at the front door say, "Please will you make a statement?". They say they won't go away unless you do.

ARTHUR
Very well, Violet. Thank you.

VIOLET
Sir.

ARTHUR
Hmm. What shall I say to them?

SIR ROBERT
I hardly think it matters, sir. Whatever you say will have little bearing on what they write.

ARTHUR
I could say: This victory isn't mine, it belongs to the people. How does that strike you, sir? A trifle pretentious, perhaps.

SIR ROBERT
Perhaps, sir. I should say it, none the less. It will be very popular.

ARTHUR
Perhaps I should just say: Thank God we beat 'em.

SIR ROBERT
Miss Winslow, might I be rude enough to ask you for a glass of your excellent whiskey?

CATHERINE
Yes, of course.

SIR ROBERT
Very kind.

CATHERINE
I beg your pardon. How remiss of me, not to offer you any hospitality. I correct that straight away. What must you think of me?

SIR ROBERT
Perhaps you would forgive me not getting up. The heat in that court room was really so infernal.

CATHERINE
Are you all right, Sir Robert?

SIR ROBERT
Oh, it's just a slight nervous reaction, that's all. Besides, I've not been feeling myself all day. I told the judge so this morning if you remember, but I doubt if he believed me. He thought it was a trick. What suspicious minds people have, have they not?

CATHERINE
Yes.

SIR ROBERT
Thank you.

CATHERINE
I'm afraid I have a confession and an apology to make to you, Sir Robert.

SIR ROBERT
Dear lady, I'm sure the one is rash and the other is superfluous. I would far rather hear neither.

CATHERINE
I'm afraid you must. This is probably the last time I shall see you and it's a better penance for me to say this than to write it. I have entirely misjudged your attitude to this case and if in doing so I've ever seemed to you either rude or ungrateful, I'm sincerely and humbly sorry.

SIR ROBERT
My dear Miss Winslow, you've never seemed to me either rude or ungrateful and my attitude in this case has been the same as yours: a determination to win at all costs. Only, when you talk of gratitude, you must remember that those costs were not mine but yours.

CATHERINE
Weren't they also yours, Sir Robert?

SIR ROBERT
I beg your pardon?

CATHERINE
Haven't you too made a certain sacrifice for the case?

SIR ROBERT
The robes of that office would not have suited me.

CATHERINE
Wouldn't they?

SIR ROBERT
And what is more I fully intend to have Curry censured for revealing a confidence. I must ask you never to divulge it to another living soul. And I'd like you to forget it yourself.

CATHERINE
I shall never divulge it. I'm afraid I cannot promise to forget it myself.

SIR ROBERT
Very well if you choose to endow an unimportant incident with a romantic significance, you are perfectly at liberty to do so. Would you show me out another way, please? Thank you.

VIOLET
There you are.

RONNIE
I say, Sir Robert, I'm most awfully sorry I didn't know anything was going to happen.

SIR ROBERT
Where were you?

RONNIE
At the pictures.

SIR ROBERT
Pictures?

CATHERINE
Cinematograph.

SIR ROBERT
Ah.

RONNIE
I say, we won, didn't we?

SIR ROBERT
Yes, we won.

RONNIE
How about that! We won.

***

CATHERINE
One thing puzzles me, why are you always at such pains to prevent people knowing the truth about you, Sir Robert?

SIR ROBERT
Am I, indeed?

CATHERINE
You know that you are. Why?

SIR ROBERT
Which of us knows the truth about himself?

CATHERINE
That is no answer.

SIR ROBERT
My dear Miss Winslow, are you cross-examining me?

CATHERINE
On this point. Why are you ashamed of your emotions?

SIR ROBERT
To fight a case on emotional grounds is the surest way to lose it.

CATHERINE
Is it?

SIR ROBERT
Emotions cloud the issue. Cold, clear logic wins the day.

CATHERINE
Was it cold, clear logic that made you weep today at the verdict?

SIR ROBERT
I wept today because right had been done.

CATHERINE
Not justice.

SIR ROBERT
No, not justice. Right. Easy to do justice, very hard to do right. Well, now I must leave the witness box. Miss Winslow, I hope I shall see you again. One day perhaps in the House of Commons, up in the Gallery?

CATHERINE
Yes, Sir Robert. In the House of Commons one day, but not up in the Gallery. Across the floor, one day.

SIR ROBERT
You still pursue your feminist activities?

CATHERINE
Oh yes.

SIR ROBERT
Pity. It's a lost cause.

CATHERINE
Oh, do you really think so, Sir Robert? How little you know about women. Goodbye. I doubt that we shall meet again.

SIR ROBERT
Oh, do you really think so, Miss Winslow? How little you know about men. 


=THE END=