"Well done, thou good and faithful servant." -- Matthew. 25: 21
"FAITH, n. Reliance, trust, in; belief founded on authority." -- Concise Oxford Dictionary
A long corridor. Closed doors left and right line the corridor. From behind them come sounds of typing. A telephone is heard ringing, faintly. At the end of the corridor, EDITH, and old woman is scrubbing the floor. BUCHANAN, an old man, wearing a commissionaire's uniform, makes his way along the corridor towards EDITH. He stops beside her. Out of breath.
BUCHANAN: Is this the Personnel section?
BUCHANAN: I've found it at last. I've had a long journey.
EDITH: Didn't they provide a map?
BUCHANAN: No. I was offered a guide, but I turned it down.
EDITH: Are you expected?
BUCHANAN: Yes. I'm retiring today. They're making a presentation. I'm the oldest living employee. My photograph will be in the firm's magazine. They've already arranged the particulars. I gave them every assistance, of course.
EDITH wrings water from a cloth into a bucket.
I recall them building this block. My first day coincided with the Foundation ceremony.
EDITH looks up.
EDITH: So did mine. I was crushed up against a wall by a section of the crowd. My mother complained on my behalf. But nothing official ever came of it.
BUCHANAN: How long have you worked here?
EDITH: Fifty years. I have breaks, of course. For pregnancy and the occasional death of a near relative.
BUCHANAN: I've been here for fifty years, too. How strange we've never met.
EDITH: Which gate do you use?
BUCHANAN: Number eight.
EDITH: Ah, well, you see, that explains it. I've always entered by number fifteen.
She moves her bucket and cloth down the corridor.
BUCHANAN: I've a feeling we have met. In the distance, as I came along, there seemed something familiar. Something about your stance. Something that awakened memories.
EDITH begins to scrub the floor.
You've a look about you of the only woman I ever loved. I was a youngster when I met her. She was in difficulties by the roadside. I hesitated long enough to let her know I was a gentleman, and then I spoke. I attended to her problem and she was grateful. She let me see her home. And as luck would have it, our way lay through a meadow and the grass was high.
EDITH stops, looks up, gives a startled cry.
I'm sorry if I've offended you. These highly spiced tales aren't for the ears of the elderly. I apologize.
EDITH: No! Go on! What happened?
BICHANAN: I couldn't tell you. I'm too ashamed. And she's been dead for years, I suppose. I can't bring disgrace upon her name.
EDITH: What was her name?
BUCHANAN: I can't recall. Though it was dear to me once.
EDITH: Was it Edith Anderson?
BUCHANAN: Yes. It was. How did you know?
EDITH stands. Tears glisten in her eyes.
EDITH: It was me!
BUCHANAN (recoils): You!
EDITH tugs off her plastic glove and shows him her hand.
EDITH: You gave me this ring.
BUCHANAN stares at the ring. Pause. Stares into EDITH's face.
BUCHANAN: But… (He shakes his head.) … you were so beautiful.
EDITH: I remained desirable until I was thirty.
BUCHANAN: You lasted so long?
EDITH: Then I had my first illness.
She puts on her glove, kneels, painfully, begins to scrub the floor.
You did me a great wrong.
BUCHANAN: No one knew.
EDITH: Not at the time. Later on it became only too obvious that I'd gone astray. I was turned out by my father. I wandered for a long time until I found somewhere to have the babies.
BUCHANAN: Promiscuity always leads to unwanted children. I should've known. Where are they now?
EDITH: In Heaven, I hope.
EDITH: Killed in Italy.
BUCHANAN: What were they doing so far from home?
EDITH: They wree wounded in a skirmish and taken to a peasant's hut for shelter. The peasant's son offered them water from a poisoned well -- he meant no harm -- it was an accident. The sanitary system of an alien country killed them. The authorities were good. They chose to believe it was war wounds. I've the papers a home.
BUCHANAN takes out a handkerchief, blows his nose, bows his head.
BUCHANAN: Is there nothing left of them? No photographs?
EDITH: Before they died, they produced a son.
BUCHANAN: With whose help?
EDITH: A young girl of impeccable character who worked in a pub.
BUCHANAN: Was it legal?
BUCHANAN: Which one fathered the child?
EDITH: No one knows.
BUCHANAN: Their morals must surely have been below average?
EDITH: It was the conditions. You couldn't blame them. We were so frightened in those days. You lived through iit the same as I did. They panicked, I expect.
BUCHANAN: Is our grandson alive?
EDITH: Yes. I look after him. When he's settled I shall die.
BUCHANAN: What of?
EDITH: Does it matter?
She moves the bucket farther down the corridor, kneels again, painfully.
BUCHANAN: You have philosophy then? (EDITH nods, begins to scrub the floor.) Are you resigned to anything in particular?
EDITH: No. Life in general. Isn't that enough?
BUCHANAN stands beside a door marked "Mrs Vealfoy."
BUCHANAN: Shall I see you again?
EDITH: That would be pleasant.
BUCHANAN: Are you married?
EDITH: I was.
BUCHANAN: What became of your husband?
EDITH: He ran away during the Depression.
BUCHANAN: I'll look you up. Expect me tonight.
He knocks on the door.
MRS VEALFOY (calls): Come in.
He opens the door.
MRS VEALFOY's office. MRS VEALFOY is sitting at her desk. She looks up, smiles.
MRS VEALFOY: Do come in.
BUCHANAN enters. MRS VEALFOY indicates a seat in front of the desk. BUCHANAN sits.
MRS VEALFOY: May we be completely informal and call you "George"?
BUCHANAN: By all means.
MRS VEALFOY: Good, good. (Laughs.) My name is Mrs Vealfoy. I expect you know that, don't you?
BUCHANAN: I've seen you at functions organized by the firm. You're usually in the distance. I've never been close before.
MRS VEALFOY: That's right. I remember you well. (Laughs.) I have to ask you one or tw questions.
She passes a printed form across the desk.
Fill that in, George.
BUCHANAN begins to fill in the form.
Are you excited?
MRS VEALFOY: That's good, isn't it? (Laughs.) Your overalls, boots, gloves and any other equipment or clothing belonging to the firm must be given up by three-thirty. Ask your foreman or head of department for details.
BUCHANAN hands back the form. MRS VEALFOY initials it and puts it into a wire tray.
Have you your clock card with you?
BUCHANAN hands her his clock card. She initials it and puts it into the tray.
Are you a member of a union? Are your dues paid?
BUCHANAN: In full.
MRS VEALFOY: You leave the firm with no unpaid debts, no arrears of credit?
MRS VEALFOY: Have you inyour possession any object belonging to the firm? Any machine parts, tools, plans of the premises? I'm sure you realize we can't be too careful.
BUCHANAN: I've nothing you'd want.
MRS VEALFOY: You're not free to divulge any information about the firm, the administration of the firm, or the firm's products. We should take proceedings, you see. (Pause.) You losta limb in the service of the firm? (She consults a file on her desk.) You conceal your disabilities well.
BUCHANAN: I had therapy treatment in the medical wing of the firm's Benevolent Home.
MRS VEALFOY: And the pension paid to you by the firm for the loss of your arm plus the cash was legally binding. We are in no way responsible for your other limbs. If any deteriorate in any way the firm cannot be held responsible. You understand this?
MRS VEALFOY hands him his National Insurance card.
MRS VEALFOY: Your "cards," George.
They both laugh.
I think that's everything. Did we take your photograph?
BUCHANAN: Yes. (Pause.) Something was said about taking another -- as I was leaving the firm. I don't want any fuss made.
MRS VEALFOY: We have no intention of taking any more photographs. So you won't be bothered.
BUCHANAN (with a laugh): It's no bother to me.
MRS VEALFOY: It's no bother to you, I'm sure. (Laughs.) But we mustn't put upon you.
She takes her hat from the hatstand and puts it on.
BUCHANAN (pause): You aren't putting upon me. Whatever gave you that idea? Let them take as many photos as they like.
MRS VEALFOY (at the mirror): You hold the record for long service? Is that correct?
BUCHANAN: Quite correct. I'm hoping my grandson will come here. To carry on the tradition.
MRS VEALFOY turns from the mirror. She goes to the desk. She consults the file. She stares at BUCHANAN sharply.
MRS VEALFOY: Pay attention to me! What grandson!=? You've no descendants living. I have the information from our records.
BUCHANAN: I've just learned of a descendant of whom I had no knowledge.
MRS VEALFOY: Who told you?
BUCHANAN: A woman I met in the corridor.
MRS VEALFOY: Had she any right to inform you of an addition to your family?
BUCHANAN: She was the boy's grandmother.
MRS VEALFOY: Your wife is dead! Have you been feeding false information into our computers?
BUCHANAN: The woman wasn't my wife. I was young and foolish. It happened a long time ago.
MRS VEALFOY: I shall inform your section manager. He must straighten this out with Records.
BUCHANAN: It's a personal matter. My private life is involved.
MRS VEALFOY: Should your private life be involved, we shall be the first to inform you of the fact.
She opens the door.
Let my secretary have your grandson's address. I'll send him some of our literature.
The works canteen. On a table at the end of the room are two parcels. Several MEN and WOMEN are sitting in front of the table. BUCHANAN and MRS VEALFOY enter. Applause. MRS VEALFOY holds up her hand for silence. She smiles.
MRS VEALFOY: we all know why we're here. George Buchanan is retiring today after fifty years with the firm. Now, I want to tell you a little bit about him.
She smiles and looks at BUCHANAN. Applause from the crowd.
George left school at fourteen and joined the firm one year later, receiving the princely sum of seven shillings a week -- which he will tell you went a long way in those far off times. He quickly became known for his speed and intolerance of any work which was in the least "ship-shod."
She looks around her and at BUCHANAN.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, George was called upon to supervise his department, and to take on a lot of extra responsibilities. He didn't complain, though. He shouldered his share of the burden which we all had in those days.
She pauses. She looks around the room. Her voice takes on a quieter, more meaningful note.
George has had his share of life's tragedies. We all remember reading that he was on the danger list some years ago. He soon returned to us, however, and his cheery laugh echoedonce aagain through the canteen. He is now fit and still rides a bicycle. Nothing could quell George, I'm sure.
I think, looking at him, we can hardly believe he will be sixty-five on Sunday. He is looking forward, I know, to an active retirement. And it is with retirement in mind that the men of your department, George, have pleasure in presenting you with this very lovely electric toaster. Which, I believe, is what you wanted.
She unwraps the first parcel and hands the toaster to BUCHANAN. Applause.
And, as a parting present from the firm, I have great delight in giving you this electric clock.
She unwraps the second parcel and hands the clock to BUCHANAN. Applause.
When you look at it, you'll think of us, I'm sure.
Applause. BUCHANAN clears his throat. Silence.
BUCHANAN: As I stand on the eve of a well-earned rest I have no hesitation in saying that I've worked hard for it. (Pause.) Over the years I've witnessed changes both inside and outside the firm. The most remarkable is the complete overhaul of equipment which has taken pace during the last year. I am truly sorry to leave without seeing much of it in operation. But -- there it is -- what will be, will be.
Pause. He nods his head.
As I say, retirement is a big step. It's going to mean a break. But I can say I've earned my rest. I hope to see you at the annual "get together" in a month's time. So it is'nt by any means "Good-bye."
MRS VEALFOY looks at the clock. It is twelve-thirty.
Well, I had better come to the end now, as I think the canteen ladies are impatient to begin serving dinner. So once again, thank you. God bless. And -- thank you -- thank you.
Cheers. The clatter of dishes. The clock says just after twelve-thirty. The AUDIENCE push past BUCHANAN and MRS VEALFOY. BUCHANAN and MRS VEALFOY are alone beside the table.
MRS VEALFOY: Make sure you hand in your uniform. After lunch, you're free. We've no further need of you.
She smiles, and goes out. BUCHANAN is alone. He picks up the parcels, joins the lunch queue. No one speaks to him, or is aware of his presence. The queue moves forward.
MRS VEALFOY's office. MRS VEALFOY at her desk. A knock on the door. DEBBIE enters.
DEBBIE: Are you the lady that gives personal hints as well as for the firm?
MRS VEALFOY (with a bright smile): My advice covers all fields of endeavor. Won't you come in?
She indicates a seat. DEBBIE closes the door and enters the room.
MRS VEALFOY: What is your department?
She turns to the filing cabinet.
DEBBIE: I'm a typist. I've recently been transferred from the pool to the special services section. I'm highly recommended.
MRS VEALFOY: What is your name?
DEBBIE: Debbie Fieldman. (Pause, with a nervous cough.) I'm filed under Deborah.
MRS VEALFOY takes a file from the cabinet and sits at her desk. She smiles at DEBBIE.
MRS VEALFOY: How can I help you?
DEBBIE: I was more or less bludgeoned into coming to you by a friend of mine. You may recall helping her out of a sticky spot when she up before the council about the rateable value of her flat?
MRS VEALFOY: Yes. I remember the girl well.
DEBBIE: She left the firm under a cloud, but she certainly profited by your advice. (Pause, she bites her lip.) I don't know where to begin. I'm neary at my wit's end.
MRS VEALFOY: Take your time. Speak slowly and distinctly. I'll be listening to every word.
DEBBIE twists her fingers together. Her lip trembles.
DEBBIE: Well, you see, Mrs Vealfoy, I've become intimately attached to a boy who means all the world to me. Against my better judgment, I allowed him to persuade me to do something which I knew to be wrong. Oh, you'll never know what I've been through these last few weeks… (She blows her nose on her handkerchief.)
MRS VEALFOY (quietly and with compassion): Are you having a baby, my dear?
MRS VEALFOYL: Have you seen a doctor?
DEBBIE: Yes. I went to the hospital and said I was married. I had to make up many of the details. I regret having to deceive the Health Service in this way, but I daren't go to our doctor. My secret wouldn't be safe for a second with him. We're on the telephone at home, you see. And the doctor is always ringing us up at inconvenient hours, and coming round… so I went to the Out Patients. (She bursts into tears.)
MRS VEALFOY comes round the desk and puts an arm round DEBBIE's shoulder.
MRS VEALFOY: Is the young man willing to marry you?
DEBBIE: I haven't asked.
MRS VEALFOY: You must.
DEBBIE: I can't.
MRS VEALFOY: Why not?
DEBBIE: I hardly know him.
MRS VEALFOY: Well, you must get to know him. Try to win his confidence. Has he any hobbies to which he is particularly attached?
MRS VEALFOY: Where does he work?
DEBBIE: He's unemployed.
MRS VEAFOY: Where did you meet him?
DEBBIE: He's never asked me to meet him. I usually do it by accident.
MRS VEALFOY shaes her head: the unusualness of the case has her baffled for a moment.
MRS VEALFOY: This is a shocking state of affairs. Do you know the young man's name?
DEBBIE: He asked me to call him Ray. What gus motive was in asking me to do such a thing, I can't say. I was half asleep at the time. I'm not trying to excuse his behavior. Or mine. I've always taken it for granted that he knew what he was up to.
MRS VEALFOY: He's got you into trouble, and he may have done it under an assumed name. That fact has to be faced. (Pause.) Have you told your parents yet?
MRS VEALFOY: Would they object to your having a baby?
DEBBIE: Mum would die. She couldn't put it in the paper, see. See'd feel she'd been cheated.
MRS VEALFOY: What about your father?
DEBBBIE: He's always had a horror of anything unnatural. It'll come as a blow to him. He's only just got over the shock of my brother.
MRS VEALFOY: You'd better not say anything for the moment. You must arrange a definite time and place of meeting with the young man. Pin him down. Get him to come clean over the matter of his name. That is most important. And then contact me.
She scribbles a note and hands it to DEBBIE.
That is my telephone number.
DEBBIE puts the note into her handbag. MRS VEALFOY glances at her watch. She opens the desk and takes out a brochure. She hands it to DEBBIE.
MRS VEALFOY: Here is a plan of the firm's nurseries. You may wish to book a place for the child now. I can do it for you.
DEBBIE: But I'm not married.
MRS VEALFOY: You will be, my dear. Leave everything to me.
MRS VEALFOY smiles. DEBBIE puts the brochure into her handbag.
The firm's clothing store. A curtained cubicle, outside the cubicle, a tailor's dummy dressed in the trousers, shirt, tie, shoes, and hat belonging to BUCHANAN's uniform. A MAN in a brown overall takes the uniform coat which BUCHANAN hands through the curtains. He puts it on the dummy. Wheels it slowly away. BUCHANAN enters from behind the curtain, dressed in his own clothes. He appears smaller, shrunken, and insignificant. He watches the MAN in the brown overall pull a dustsheet over the tailor's dummy. BUCHANAN shuffles from the store.
EDITH's living room. She enters, followed by BUCHANAN. He is carrying two parcels. He places them o the table. EDITH stares in amazement.
BUCHANAN: What is it?
EDITH: Your arms! Where has the extra one come from?
BUCHANAN: It's false.
EDITH: Thank God for that. I like to know where I stand in relation to the number of limbs a man has.
She opens the first parcel.
An electric clock. (She lifts it from its wrapping.) They gave you the wire as well. Shows how much they think of you.
She opens the second parcel.
A toaster. It's a good make too. We must have toast for tea to try it out.
She puts the parcels to one side and looks at BUCHANAN fondly.
What a day. You'll re-live it many times in the future.
BUCHANAN takes the toaster, begins to strip the wores, attaches plug to flex.
EDITH: I've several souvenirs of our children dotted around this room. I'll point them out later. When you've settled in. (Pause.) This tablecloth belonged to the mother of our grandson. She left it me in her will.
BUCHANAN: Is she dead?
EDITH: She took her own life, poor dear. When the boys were killed. She couldn't face the idea of living on, so she gassed herself. She was illegitimate as well. That was the bond between them.
BUCHANAN: Is there no respect for marriage in this district?
EDITH: Very little, you'll find.
EDITH: Very little, you'll find.
BUCHANAN pauses in his work. Looks up.
BUCHANAN: What are we going to tell Raymond?
EDITH: Do we have to say anything?
BUCHANAN: Oh, yes. It wouldn't be fair to keep it a secret.
EDITH: It will be a shock to him to learn that the older generation behaved in such a disgraceful way.
BUCHANAN: We must explain the circumstances. Ask him to be tolerant. We are going to get married after all.
EDITH (pause): Isn't it too late?
BUCHANAN: It's never too late for marriage. I'm surprised at you, I am. Talking like the worst elements in society. We must put things to right. We'll do it quietly and without fuss.
EDITH: This is Ray. He always makes a noise when he enters. It's a tradition with him.
RAY enters. EDITH smooths her dress and smiles.
EDITH: Ray, I want you to meet someone. Mr. George Buchanan.
RAY shakes hands with BUCHANAN.
RAY: Good evening.
BUCHANAN: I'm pleased to meet you, Raymond. Your grandmother has said a lot in your favor.
He sits. EDITH looks at BUCHANAN. Looks at RAY, a worried frown on her face.
EDITH: Sit down, Ray. I've something to say to you which may come as a surprise.
RAY: Won't it wait?
EDITH: No. We must have it out now.
RAY sits. Pause. EDITH and BUCHANAN exchange glances.
EDITH: Mr Buchanan is your grandfather. The man who appears with me on my wedding photograph had nothing to do with you. Not even indirectly. I was very silly, and Mr Buchanan behaved badly. We would've gotten married, only we lost touch with one another. We were too young to know what we were doing. (Pause.) Don't blame us too much, Raymond. Try to imagine what it's like to be young.
BUCHANAN: I'm going to marry her. Do the right thing.
RAY: Well, understandably I'm shocked by your revelations. The country's moral values far from changing, seem to remain unnaturally constant.
EDITH: I should've told you, I suppose. It would've been easier if your fathers were alive.
RAY frowns. He turns to EDITH, puzzled.
RAY: My fathers?
RAY: I had more than one?
EDITH clasps her hands in her lap and turns to BUCHANAN.
EDITH: Just where to stop telling the truth has always been a problem.
RAY: How could I have two fathers?
EDITH: Your mother was a generous woman. And your fathers -- though one of them must surely have been your uncle -- loved her deeply. You were the result.
RAY: And my mother?
EDITH: Her predigree couldn't be subjected to scrutiny either.
Silence. RAY shakes his head.
RAY: Bastardy for two generations on both sides of the family!
BUCHANAN: Had you no idea? No suspicion?
RAY: How could I have?
BUCHANAN: Your birth certificate.
RAY: I've never seen it.
BUCHANAN: When you applied to join in the pension scheme?
RAY: What pension scheme?
BUCHANAN: At your firm. Where you work.
RAY: I don't work.
BUCHANAN: Not work!? (He stares, open-mouthed.) What do you do, then?
RAY: I enjoy myself.
BUCHANAN: That's a terrible thing to do. I'm bowled over by this, I can tell you. It's my turn to be shocked now. You ought to have a steady job.
EDITH: Two perhaps.
BUCHANAN: In what direction do your talents lie?
RAY: I mended the bathroom tap once.
BUCHANAN: Technically minded, are you?
EDITH: He had nearly thirteen stamps on his card last year. He found himself a lovely situation.
RAY: Yes. Only they insisted that I curtail my freedom of speech. These firms make some impossible demands.
BUCHANAN: Is there any particular work you feel you're suited to?
RAY: I took a liftman's job once. For kicks.
BUCHANAN: Kicks? They're very much in the news at the moment, aren't they?
BUCHANAN: Are they doing you any good?
RAY: They're not on prescription, you know.
BUCHANAN: You'll find a good steady job more rewarding in the long run, than purple hearts. I speak from experience. I'm going to talk to Mrs Vealfoy, our personnel lady She'll advise you what to do with your life.
EDITH (pause): Is the toaster ready for trial?
EDITH: That hand of yours is almost human. The things you contrive to do with it are miraculous.
BUCHANAN plugs in the toaster. A loud bang and a flash.
He cowers away; covers his face with his hands. He begins to shake. Sniffs. Pause.
I've never done a thing like that before. I'm quite capable of minor electrical jobs.
EDITH leads him to the chair. He sits down. He hunches his shoulders; coughs a little.
EDITH: You are in a state. We'll have to abandon my original plan of toast for tea.
RAY pulls out the plug. He examines the toaster.
RAY: Where did you get this load of old rubbish?
EDITH: Shhh! (She nods to BUCHANAN, in a quiet voice to RAY.) It was presented to Mr Buchanan by his firm. As a reward for fifty years' service.
MRS VEALFOY's office. DEBBIE enters. MRS VEALFOY smiles.
MRS VEALFOY: Have you further news, Debbie?
DEBBIE: Yes, Mrs Vealfoy. I saw Raymond last night.
MRS VEALFOY: Did you speak to him?
DEBBIE: I waved, though.
MRS VEALFOY: Did he appear t resent your friendly action?
MRS VEALFOY: Good. Your relationship with the young man is progressing. Were you able to arrange a place of meeting?
DEBBIE: Yes. He sent a message by his friend. He wants to meet me at the skating rink.
AMRS VEALFOY: A skating rink? That doesn't seem advisable in your condition, Debbie.
DEBBIE: I thought the same. I said I'd meet him after the rink closed down. Outside.
MRS VEALFOY: And you'll broach the subject f your pregnancy whilst he's physically exhausted from an evening's skating?
MRS VEALFOY: Admirable. We're making real headway with the problem.
MRS VEALFOY pushes several printed forms, typewritten sheets and carbon cpies of documents across the desk to DEBBIE.
Would you read these carefully? I've marked down where you are to sign.
DEBBIE begins to sign the forms.
I've made a reservation for a cot at the firm's nurseries. There's a query beside the sex of the child. I hope it won't stay that way.
As DEBBIE signs the forms she hands them across the desk to MRS VEALFOY.
A telegram of congratulation will be sent to coincide with the baby's birth. My secretary has all the details of the case. Have no fears. She's most discreet. (Smiling,) It won't be long now, my dear, before we place a definite order for your wedding bouquet. As, through no fault of your own, the ceremony looks like being delayed, we'd better make it of some large and showy bloom. Lilies won't be appropriate under the circumstances.
DEBBIE pushes the last of the forms across the desk.
Chrysanthemums would do. Even peonies.
She puts the forms into a wire tray.
If we leave it much longer it will have to be sunflowers, I'm afraid.
RAY's bedroom. The room in darkness. The door opens. RAY enters, guiding DEBBIE into the room.
RAY (in a whisper): Don't make a sound.
He close the door carefully and switches on the light.
(In a whisper.) You can open your eyes now.
DEBBIE opens her eyes.
DEBBIE (looking round horrified): What's this?
RAY: Shhh! (He locks the door.)
DEBBIE (in a panic-stricken whisper): This is a man's bedroom! I can't stay here. It's two o'clock in the morning. What kind of girl do you take me for?
She goes to the door and tries to open it.
(Hissing.) Gibe me the key!
A struggle, both trying not to make any sound. RAY almost drags DEBBIE to the bed. They sit.
RAY (breathes): You said you'd got something to say to me.
DEBBIE: In your study, you said. This isn't a study. It's a bedroom.
RAY: What's your news?
DEBBIE stands, shrugs him away.
DEBBIE (coldly, after a pause): I'm having a baby. You're the father. (She stands by the door.) Give me the key. I can't be found in a man's bedroom at two in the morning. It's not decent.
BUCHANAN's bedroom, morning. On a table, an artificial arm, a pair of glasses, a hearing aid. EDITH enters.
EDITH (drawing the curtains): Another day! What has it in store? Sunshine or showers?
She helps BUCHANAN to sit up and gives him his glasses.
Now you can see the world.
She gives him his hearing aid.
Now you can hear. (She places several leaflets on the the table.) The post brought some literature for you. I had a quick glance. Nice machines they have, don't they?
BUCHANAN picks up a leaflet, glances at it with interest.
BUCHANAN: They were recently installed.
EDITH: I particularly liked the photos of the canteen. I swept it out once. When one of the kitchen staff was away they sent for me.
BUCHANAN: They recognized your worth?
BUCHANAN: They're good like that. (Pause.) I got these pamphlets for Ray. See if he can't find an interest in life. (Pause.) He made a lot of noise last night.
EDITH: These floors are very thin.
BUCHANAN: Sounded like he was dancing.
EDITH: Go and ask him when you've had your breakfast.
Outside RAY's room. BUCHANAN knocks on the door. RAY opens the door. He is dressed in pyjamas.
BUCHANAN: I'd like a few words with you, Raymond.
RAY: With me?
BUCHANAN: If it's convenient.
RAY: Just a minute.
He closes the door. Pauses. He re-opens it and allows BUCHANAN into the room.
RAY's bedroom. BUCHANAN enters.
RAY (with a laugh): I've just got up. Quite a surprise you gave me.
BUCHANAN: Did I inconvenience you?
RAY: No, I'd just finished.
BUCHANAN: Finished what?
RAY: Well -- (laughs) getting up.
BUCHANAN: I want a serious talk with you. (Pause.) You can't go on like this, you know.
RAY doesn't answer.
Something's missing from your life. Do you know what it is?
RAY frowns, pause.
RAY: Is It God?
BUCHANAN: (pause, suspicious): Who told you about Him?
RAY: I read a bit in the paper once.
BUCHANAN: It's a deep subject, but in my own mind I'm certain God has nothing to do with you. It's work you want.
BUCHANAN places several of the firm's pamphlets heavily on the table.
(With emphasis.) My old firm would be delighted to employ you for a small remuneration.
RAY: What about my outside interests?
BUCHANAN: The firm has a recreation center. They cater for most tastes. You'd have to do it after working hours naturally.
RAY: Do what?
BUCHANAN: Whatever you were inclined to. (Pause.) Give it a trial.
RAY: I’d like to. Only my plans are in the air at the moment. This bird I've been knocking about with is turning moody. I can't see my way clear to promising anything definite Either to her or to you. I put something into operation a few months ago which looks like having far-reaching consequences.
BUCHANAN: Is your private life sound?
RAY: As a bell.
BUCHANAN: What would really please your grandmother and me was if you'd find a decent girl and settle down. Do you know any women of the right caliber?
RAY: For what?
BUCHANAN: The altar. You'll have to think about getting married soon.
RAY: That is a distinct possibility.
BUCHANAN: Is she good? This girl you know?
RAY: Blonde with blue eyes. An angelic expression. She has strict views about… what we're talking about. I agree with her, of course. Because you should save it up, shouldn't you? Make it go further? Thrift, thrift.
BUCHANAN: Yes. You're not a bad lad at heart, Raymond. (He indicates the pamphlets.) Have a glance at these, won't you?
BUCHANAN stands. As he does so a coin drops from his pocket and rolls under the bed.
BUCHANAN: It's under the bed. Can you get it?
RAY: It's only a penny.
BUCHANAN: No, it's half a crown. Move the bed a bit.
RAY: I'll bring it down later.
BUCHANAN: It won't take a minute.
RAY: What's the matter? You think I'm robbing you or something?
BUCHANAN stares hard at RAY. He glances around the room. Sees DEBBIE's handbag on the windowsill. He suddenly bends to ook under the bed. DEBBIE crouching under the bed, partly clothed. BUCHANAN straightens up.
BUCHANAN: You wicked little devil!
This is striking out into new frontiers all right. Eleven o'clock of a Wednesday morning. Women under the bed!
RAY: You should've told me you were coming up.
BUCHANAN: I can hardly credit the degree to which our family has sunk.
RAY: D'you mind going? She's getting covered in dust under there.
BUCHANAN goes out. RAY lies on the bed. DEBBIE emerges.
DEBBIE: Who was that old man?
RAY: My grandad.
DEBBIE (opening the wardrobe and taking out her dress): Why didn't you introduce me properly?
The living room. BUCHANAN at the table. EDITH brings him a cup of tea and a slice of toast.
EDITH: What an inconsiderate boy, though, keeping her under the bed. I don't know where he gets his ideas from.
BUCHANAN: I'm outraged by it, I am. Carrying on above ur heads. I would never have slept easy if I'd known. Eleven o'clock on a weekday morning! How many of us did that kind of thing?
EDITH: Not many without a priest had sanctioned the act.
BUCHANAN: And not often then.
EDITH: It's something of a miracle we had a succeeding generation we were so unconscious of that side of things.
BUCHANAN: When I met you it was at least in the afternoon.
EDITH: And it was a hot afternoon. Almost evening.
BUCHANAN: I believe it's the lack of proper playing fields.
EDITH: And yet, I'd imagine more open spaces would increase the risk. Does the Duke of Edinburgh realize what he's letting us in for?
RAY enters. Silence. BUCHANAN breaks the silence at last.
BUCHANAN: Well, what have you to say for yourself?
RAY: Let's be fair about it, Grandad. You were upset and so was I. Draw a veil over the whole proceedings.
BUCHANAN: I can't do that.
RAY: Why not?
BUCHANAN: It might happen again.
RAY: Not if you give me warning.
BUCHANAN: We can have it stopped, you know. You're under age. Aren't you? (Appealing to EDITH.) Is it legal?
EDITH: He can't vote. I know that.
BUCHANAN: I'm trying to show you a different life from the one you're leading at present. A useful and constructive life such as I've led and --
He begins to cough. EDITH pats him on the back.
Oh, Christ! My lungs'll be on the rug in a minute.
They wait until he recovers.
Who is this girl?
RAY: She lives with her Mum and Dad.
BUCHANAN: What does she do for a living? She doesn't get paid for her activities this morning, does she?
RAY: I wouldn't pay for that.
BUCHANAN: I'm glad you've got a little decency.
RAY: I couldn't afford to.
BUCHANAN: Get a job. You'll have plenty of money then.
RAY: I'd have no time.
BUCHANAN: You'd have the week-ends.
RAY: I'd be too tired.
BUCHANAN: Not if you kept your health.
RAY: How much would I earn?
BUCHANAN: Fifteen pounds a week.
RAY: Where does fifteen quid go with a woman?
BUCHANAN: If you're determined to persevere with women I can see no future for you. There are other group activities, you know.
RAY: Yes, but the rules are in French.
BUCHANAN: Learn the language. Acquire a fluency in something else. Ludo would be less of a strain in the long run.
DEBBIE enters. She stands uneasily at the door. Her lip trembles.
DEBBIE: I'm sorry to barge in on you, but I'll have to be going. I'm late for work.
RAY (pause, embarrassed): This is Miss Fieldman. Debbie -- my grandfather and grandmother.
Silence. DEBBIE shuffles her feet, ill at ease.
BUCHANAN: What explanation have you got for being under a man's bed at this time in the day?
DEBBIE: I'm sorry. It must seem awful to you. I had important news to communicate to Ray last night. And he persuaded me to stay.
EDITH: Were you under the bed all night.
DEBBIE: No. (Pause, she becomes tearful.) I'm really not like that at all. (Crying.) I'm having a baby! (Defiant.) I'm seeing someone this morning from the Welfare. (To RAY) You'll have to settle it with them. They'll want details. I can't manage on my own.
BUCHANAN (shocked, to EDITH): He's put her in the family way. This is an act of indecency I will not tolerate. He must go.
EDITH: It's the sex education. They think of nothing else.
RAY: We didn't receive any sex-education.
BUCHANAN: How did you learn?
RAY: From other boys.
BUCHANAN: What kind of other boys are these that teach each other about the family way? Get away from me, Raymond. I'm disappointed in you.
RAY: But you did the same.
BUCHANAN: I had every excuse. Conditions were bad. You want for nothing today.
DEBBIE dries her eyes.
DEBBIE (to RAY): I can't stay any longer. I'm late as it is. (She dabs her nose.) My Mum and Dad want to meet you. They don't know what's happened. Mum's arranging an outing next week and I thought that'd be a good opportunity of telling them.
She takes a turn.
See me to the door.
\RAY and DEBBIE go out. BUCHANAN picks up a piece of toast. He puts it down in disgust.
BUCHANAN (wearily): Something's wrong with the toast.
EDITH: It's your toaster. It carries on in a most eccentric fashion. And the clock is about as useful. Tells whatever time it fancies.
BUCHANAN goes to the shelf and picks up the clock.
BUCHANAN: It's going backwards! Something's wrong with the works. (He turns the clock over and drops it.) Oh!
EDITH: What is it?
BUCHANAN: Gave me a shock it did. Right up my arm.
He puts the clock beside the toaster on the table.
They seem more like murder weapons than gifts from a grateful employer.
MRS VEALFOY's office. MRS VEALFOY speaking to a recording machine.
MRS VEALFOY: Anyone found using the staff lifts without permission will be liable to instant dismissal. (Pause.) Circulate copies to all departments.
Another notice. To all heads of departments. Capitals. LONELY PEOPLE. (Pause.) If you know anyone who would be interested in joining the firm's recently formed "Bright Hours" club would you kindly contact Mrs Vealfoy or any member of her staff. The person or persons of either sex must be old, lonely, and ex-members of the firm. No other qualifications needed.
She speaks on the intercom to her secretary.
Send Miss Fieldman in.
She turns to the mirror, and puts on her hat. DEBBIE enters.
MRS VEALFOY: Have you seen the young man?
DEBBIE: Yes, Mrs Vealfoy.
MRS VEALFOY: Have you told him the facts of the case?
MRS VEALFOY: Has he given you his address?
She takes a postcard from her handbag, and gives it to MRS VEALFOY.
MRS VEALFOY (taking the postcard): You may go. I'll contact your supervisor immediately I've any news.
DEBBIE goes out. MRS VEALFOY speaks to her secretary over the intercom.
I'll be away for about an hour.
EDITH's living room. EDITH enters followed by MRS VEALFOY.
MRS VEALFOY: Are you sure your grandson isn't at home?
EDITH: Yes. He's away for the day.
MRS VEALFOY: Is he seeking employment?
EDITH: I couldn't say. We've grown apart lately. We hardly exchange two words together.
MRS VEALFOY: Why?
EDITH: I didn't like to ask. They're so touchy these days.
MRS VEALFOY takes out a card.
MRS VEALFOY: See that he gets this. I want to see him. Tell him that. Tell him that Mrs Vealfoy is anxious to have a word with him.
EDITH puts the card on the shelf.
Is Mr Buchanan in?
EDITH: Well, he's in. Whether I consider he;s in a fit state to receive visitors is a different matter.
MRS VEALFOY (with a smile): we must do something about that.
EDITH: He's been upset.
MRS VEALFOY: Has he had a check-up? Give me the name of his medical practitioner.
EDITH: He's depressed.
MRS VEALFOY: Is that the truth? I think I can clear things up.
EDITH: He broods, see.
MRS VEALFOY: Question him why he does that. Worm it out of him.
EDITH: Our grandson has misbehaved himself. The clock and the toaster have proved a disappointment. And to cap it all he's old. So what with one thing and another his attitude is of despair.
MRS VEALFOY (sharply): What did you say?
EDITH: He despairs.
MRS VEALFOY: Has he used that word in your presence?
MRS VEALFOY: He should forget about it. And to take his mind off things why not busy himself? A part-time job. Join a club. Make himself so busy he hasn't time to despair.
EDITH: He'll exhaust himself, poor darling.
MRS VEALFOY: What hobbies has he?
EDITH: None, if you can believe him. And personally I do. We have that sort of relationship, see?
MRS VEALFOY: Where is he now?
EDITH: In bed.
MRS VEALFOY (laughing): In bed? That isn't doing him any good, is it? He must take this matter seriously.
EDITH: We're going to be married on Saturday.
MRS VEALFOY: Are you? That's a good idea. Are you having a cake?
EDITH: No. We're not having anything. It's only for show. It's a waste getting married when you're my age. I'm only doing it for his sake. He's very much on his dignity about it. He's been like that all his life so he tells me. I can't vouch for it, of course, as I only met him briefly at the beginning and at the end.
MRS VEALFOY: Mr Buchanan must come to the "Bright Hours" club. He'll meet old friends. I'll expect him. (She opens her handbag, and takes out a circular.) See that he's there. He'll forget his troubles, you'll see.
MRS VEALFOY's office. MRS VEALFOY at her desk. RAY enters. MRS VEALFOY indicats a chair.
MRS VEALFOY: Come along in, Raymond. Sit down.
RAY sits, MRS VEALFOY smiles.
MRS VVEALFOY: I can't tell you how glad I am to meet you. I'm taking a great interest in you at the moment. (Laughs.) I hope that doesn't alarm you?
MRS VEALFOY: Good. (Laughs.) Good. You know, Raymond, we're all pretty worried about you. How do you feel? Are you worried?
MRS VEALFOY: I'm glad to hear it. There's nothing so impressive as disquiet in the young. It shows an awareness of the problems of life which is most encouraging.
She studies RAY for a moment with a quizzical expression.
One of the things that has caused me great concern is the apparent lack of any real directionin your life. And I think this has caused you trouble. Don't youa/
RAY (not wishing to disagree): Yes.
MRS VEALFOY: Ah, I'm glad you used that particular word. An affirmation of anything is cheering nowadays. Say "Yes" as often as possible, Raymond. I always do. (Laughs.) Always. (Smiles.) Now, you must count me as a friend. A friend who will do all in her power to help you. Do you understand me?
MRS VEALFOY: That's the spirit. (Laughs.) My goodness, we are getting on well, aren't we? (She laughs and then, suddenly, serious.) Do you love Debbie?
MRS VEALFOY: And do you agree that what you have done is wrong?
RAY attempts to speak. MRS VEALFOY holds up her hand, smiles.
I'm not passing judgment. I merely want to ask if you agree with me. Do you think it wrong? (Smiles.) You don't have to say "Yes" if you disagree with me. (Pause.) Do you think what you've done is wrong?
MRS VEALFOY: I see. (She smiles with no trace of disapproval.) And why don't you think it is wrong?
RAY: If two people love each other why shouldn't they make love?
MRS VEALFOY (simply and with candour): Raymond, you mustn't imagine for one moment that I'm against two people expressing their love for each other. I'm most certainly not. Love-making is a beautiful thing. And we must treat it with the respect it deserves. Physical love is one of the finest ways a man can express his feelings for a woman. Therefore he must be very sure indeed he really loves the woman to whom he gives his love. (Pause.) Do you really love Debbie?
MRS VEALFOY: You want her to be happy?
RAY: I'm going to marry her.
MRS VEALFOY: That isn't quite the same thing. A baby on the way is no excuse for marriage nowadays. No one would suggest it was.
RAY: I want to marry her.
MRS VEALFOY: Good. (Smiles.) I always like the end achieved to coincide with established practice, though the means to the end may vary with custom. (Pause.) You see, Raymond, I think what you have done IS wrong. Not for any religious reason (I'm an agnostic myself), but simply because love-making should be kept for one's marriage partner alone. Outside marriage the act may seem the same, but I have my doubts whether anyone derives any real and lasting satisfaction form it. There is no finer sight than two people making love.
She looks at RAY seriously.
This thoughtless and selfish act may lead you to a much more worthwhile view of life. (Pause.) When you're married and have a wife and child you'll have to accept responsibility for them.
MRS VEALFOY: You'll want a regular wage packet each week. (With a smile, coup de grace.) And so, you must have a steady job. It's high time you consider a career.
She takes a form from her desk and pushes it across to RAY.
Just fill that in, Raymond. (Laughs.) And afterwards I'll take you down to our various departments. Show you round. See what vacancies we have.
A room in the firm's recreation center. A number of old ex-employees are grouped around an upright piano singing: "We'll All Go Riding on a Rainbow to a New Land Far Away." Weary, apathetic voices. MRS VEALFOY enters with BUCHANAN. She takes him to the group.
MRS VEALFOY: Stop one moment everybody. (The music dies away.) This is George. Do any of us remember him? (Pause.) George retired recently after -- how long, George?
BUCHANAN: Fifty years.
MRS VEALFOY: Fifty years. Yes, I believe I remember you. We gave you an electric clock. Is that correct?
MRS VEALFOY: And an electric shaver --
MRS VEALFOY: Toaster. Does anybody remember George?
Everybody stares at BUCHANAN. No one says anything.
Nobody? Are we sure? He has a distinctive face. Are we quite sure we none of us are acquainted with our new member?
An OLD MAN puts up his hand.
OLD MAN: I remember him.
MRS VEALFOY smiles.
MRS VEALFOY: Isn't that nice. An old workmate of yours, George. So you won't feel out of it.
The group around the piano drift away. MRS VEALFOY takes BUCHANAN around the room.
Over here we have dominoes, cards and darts and all the pastimes.
She points out a group of OLD MEN and WOMEN. Two of them are in wheelchairs, one is blind, a couple are simple-minded. They stare at BUCHANAN without interest. MRS VEALFOY smiles and takes BUCHANAN across the room.
And over here we have conversations.
Two or three VERY OLD WOMEN are knotting.
Would you like to talk over old times?
MRS VEALFOY: Tea at three o'clock. Go and talk with your friend.
BUCHANAN goes over to the OLD MAN.
OLD MAN: Hallo, George.
BUCHANAN: I've never been in this room before.
OLD MAN: It's private.
BUCHANAN says nothing. A WOMAN at the end of the room falls over. A flutter of excitement. MRS VEALFOY hurries to help her up. It is seen distantly.
BICHANAN: You remember me, then?
OLD MAN: I retired a bit before you.
BUCHANAN: Did you see my photo in the magazine?
OLD MA: No.
BUCHANAN: I was a long-service employee. A credit to canteen food, they said I was. (Pause.) That's their words. I had dinner there since it opened. Can’t be much wrong with the food, can there?
OLD MAN: I never used the canteen. I never liked that big woman as ran it.
BUCHANAN: She lost her husband recently.
OLD MAN: Is she left then?
Two OLD MEN in wheelchairs [ass across the room in the distance. A group has formed about the woman who fell over, MRS VEALFOY at the center.
Who was her husband? Did he work for us?
BUCHANAN: He was on the maintenance staff.
OLD MAN: I'm not up in that side of the firm. It never interested me.
MRS VEALFOY is seen shooing people away from the fallen woman. Two stretcher bearers have entered the room. The woman is put on the stretcher and hurried away. MRS VEALFOY's voice is heard faintly from the distance.
MRS VEALFFOY: Go back to what you were doing. It's quite all right. Off you go.
The group breaks off, wanders away.
OLD MAN: She's dead.
OLD MAN: The old girl as fell over. Didn't you see her?
OLD MAN: Yes. She'll be dead.
BUCHANAN: I looked forward to my retirement so's I could play skittles full time. I used to be a fan. I was in line for the cup. I just missed it. The mysterious thing is that I never came in line for it again.
OLD MAN: Bowls is my sport.
BUCHANAN: That's a nice game.
OLD MAN: I was almost mentioned in a well-known sporting periodical once.
BUCHANAN: I never got as far as that.
OLD MAN: I regard that as the high-spot of my life.
BUCHANAN: Yes. You would. (Pause.) The high-spot of my own career was when my photo appeared in the magazine. I didn't ask them to put it in. Some of them go round canvassing for support in their claims to be included. But I stood aside. And one day they came to my department and insisted I pose for them. I was unwilling at first. But I realized it was for my own good.
MRS VEALFOY: Just one moment everybody. Listen to me please. Are you attending to what I say? (Pause.) Good.
She holds up a painting.
Isn't this delightful? Do you know who painted it?
OLD MAN (calling): You, miss!
MRS VEALFOY (laughing): What a flattering suggestion. No, I'm sure you didn't really think I could have done such a charming work of art. (Pause.) Well, since you pretend you can't tell me -- Mrs Florence Thompson painted this splendid example of creative activity. Isn't she talented? Forty years on the shop floor hasn't dimmed her appreciation of the beautiful. Let's show our delight by a round of applause. Come along.
A patter of applause.
(Putting the picture down.) Everybody get on with what they were doing.
OLD MAN (to BUCHANAN): Where did you work?
BUCHANAN: I was almost staff.
OLD MAN (impressed): Were you?
BUCHANAN: I was in charge of the Main Entrance. I saw the Chairman of the Board several times. I've even opened the door for him once. My immediate superior was off with 'flu.
OLD MAN: You were on the doors?
BUCHANAN: It's a type of service I approve of.
The local press sent somebody round last week.
OLD MAN: We don't take the local press.
BUCHANAN: You're like us then. Like us. I spoke a few words about my thoughts. I'm against the local paper because of the things they say about the Memorial of the Fallen. "Isn't it a disgusting eyesore" and all that.
Silence. BUCHANAN stares blankly ahead.
(At last.) Who are these people who have no respect for the dead of two world wars? I'm bitter about it, I am. We fought for that Memorial. Men died for it.
OLD MAN: What edition were you in?
BUCHANAN: Ah, they didn't print it. Too controversial, I expect.
MRS VEALFOY comes over.
MRS VEALFOY: What are you saying? Is it interesting> Can I hear? Are you talking over old times as I told you?
MRS VEALFOY: Why not? What were you talking about? Both of you have a lot to look back on. (Pause, sharply.) Answer my question! What were you talking about?
BUCHANAN: The war.
MRS VEALFOY: Were you in the war? (Laughs.)
BUCHANAN: I helped out as best I could. Three nights a week I was required to firewatch.
MRS VEALFOY: Who required you to do that?
BUCHANAN: Why -- (puzzled) we all did it.
MRS VEALFOY: Good for you! Did you enjoy yourself? Were you on the roof?
MRS VEALFOY: Splendid! I'm going to tell that to my friends. You see, I'll draw you out. You don't talk enough. (Laughs.) What happened before the war?
BUCHANAN: I can't recollect.
MRS VEALFOY: What a short memory you have. (Laughs.) Still, you've had a very full life without a long memory, haven't you? You must tell me some time how you managed. (Pause, she smiles at him benevolently.) And after the war? What did you do after the war?
BUCHANAN is silent.
Like that is it? You don't wish to talk? Keeping the fascinating details to yourself. (Laughs.) Well, you must tell me some day. Is that a promise?
MRS VEALFOY: Good for you. Are you getting on well with your friend? Is he showing you the ropes? Are you having a good time?
BUCHANAN (without conviction): Yes.
MRS VEALFOY: That's the main thing. What about your depression? Have you forgotten about it?
MRS VEALFOY: Why not?
BUCHANAN: I can't forget it. (Pause.) You wouldn't understand.
MRS VEALFOY (laughs): Don't say that to me. I understand everything. (Laughs.) Bring your problems to me. I'll unravel any difficulties. So don't let e catch yu being depressed. (Pause.) Were you in the war? Is that why you're depressed? Did you have a terrible time? (Pausee.) What did you do?
BUCHANAN: I was required to firewatch.
MRS VEALFOY: Who required you to do that? (Pause.) You don’t like talking about it. Such a terrible time. (Laughs brightly.) We’re going to sing in a moment. That will cure your depression, won't it? Will you join in? A jolly sing-song. All the old favorites. Don’t be a spoil-sport. You'll join in, won't you?
BUCHANAN: Is it hymns?
MRS VEALFOY (suddenly her face becomes set and serious): We're stricty non-denominational. We can't have hymns. I'm sorry but you know how it is.
She goes to the center of the room.
Stop whatever you're doing! (Pause.) Now, before the singing, who is coming to the annual get-together? All of you, I'm sure. I want to make sure you all have tickets. Two tickets for each former employee. Only one visitor is allowed. (Laughs.) Come along now!
The ex-employees move toward MRS VEALFOY, she hands out the tickets.
OLD MAN (to BUCHANAN, with curiosity): Is your name Hyams?
OLD MAN: Isn't it? (Pause.) Surely, you’re Georgie Hyams?
BUCHANAN: No, that's never been my mane. My name is Buchanan.
OLD MAN (getting up from his seat): I'm afraid I don't know you then.
BUCHANAN: But-- (shocked) you said you did.
OLD MAN (moving toward the group around MRS VEALFOY): I made a mistake. I thought you were an old mate of mine. His name was Hyams.
BUCHANAN (catching hold of the OLD MAN's sleeve): You don't know me then?
OLD MAN: No.
BUCHANAN: But I worked here, I was on the main entrance. Are you sure you don't remember me?
OLD MAN: I'm sorry.
He shrugs BUCHANAN off and moves to the group around MRS VEALFOY.
BUCHANAN: Nobody knows me. They've never seen me before.
MRS VEALFOY claps her hands together.
MRS VEALFOY: We're going to run through all the songs with "Happy" in them. Let's bang out the words. Never mind the tune. We'll muddle through somehow.
The pianist strikes up "Here We Are Again, Happy As Can Be." The ex-employees crowd round the piano, MRS VEALFOY in the center. BUCHANAN's face is glimpsed. He begins to sing. Stops. Sings again. Several old, tired and depressed faces are seen. MRS VEALFOY's laughing face is seen as the music abruptly chages to "Happy Days Are Here Again." BUCHANAN stops singing and moves away from the group. MRS VEALFOY is beside him instantly.
MRS VEALFOY (raising her voice slightly above the singing): Why aren't you joingin in?
BUCHANAN: I don't know the words.
MRS VEALFOY: Follow me then. Repeat everything I say. Is that clear? What were you thinking just now?
MRS VEALFOY: I don't allow thoughts like that. So come on, cheer up, and if you don't know the words just hum the tune.
She leads him back to the center of the group, between two old men in wheelchairs. BUCHANAN joins in the singing.
(Her voice soaring above the rest as the music changes.)
"I want to be Happy,
But I can't be Happy,
'Till I make you Happy too."
EDITH's living-room. BUCHANAN stands beside the table. On the table the clock and the toaster. He lifts a hammer and smashes them to pieces.
BUCHANAN's bedroom. BUCHANAN in bed. EDITH enters.
EDITH: Another day has dawned. Bright and clear. Let us be thankful for it.
She plumps BUCHANAN's pillow, hands him his glasses and hearing-aid.
Look at the sun streaming through the window. A few weeks ago you'd have been at work. Now you can enjoy the good weather when it comes and you fall sick. That's no way to carry on.
She smiles at him.
The photos are here!
She shows him a series of wedding photographs. They show, in succession: DEBBIE arriving at the church, DEBBIE and RAY at the altar, DEBBIE and RAY signing the registry after the ceremony, DEBBIE and RAY walking down the aisle of the church, DEBBIE and RAY ini front of the church doors.
As the photographs are shown, the opening bars of Mendelssohn's wedding march are heard. This is abruptly cut off as the sixth photograph is shown -- DEBBIE fainting among a group of bridesmaids -- and a wailing cry of a newborn child is heard.
Her dress was quite ruined.
She puts the photographs to one side.
Aren't you interested, dear? (Pause.) The holiday season will soon be upon us. Everybody is talking of nothing else. There's a twitter in the air. A woman at work is taking her car abroad this year. She's on top of the world thinking about it. She's a dedicated holiday maker.
BUCHANAN lies back, stares at the ceiling.
Why, you're crying. (She kisses him.) Tears running down your cheeks. (She hugs him.) The tickets have arrived for the "get together." It's to be held at the Bell Hotel. They’ve hired a name band. It's to be gayer than ever this year. So much laughter, so much joy in people's hearts, so many happy faces all around. Raymond will qualify for a ticket. So will Debbie. And Debbie's parents are going because they qualify. So we shall be a big arty. I'm buying a new dress for the occasion. And I shall smile a lot, more than usual, because we have so much to be thankful for.
BUCHANAN closes his eyes and dies.
Raymond has quite reformed. Sees the error of his ways now. That's Debbie's influence. So you see even doing wrong as he did has its uses.
A clipping from a newspaper's "Births, Marriages, and Deaths" column is shown.
"DEATHS: At his home in Swinton Street, George Buchanan. Sadly missed by his wife, Edith, grandson, Raymond, and workmates. No flowers by request."
EDITH (continuing the previous speech over the newspaper clipping): It got him married. Settled. With a future before him.
The Bell Hotel. Dance band playing. Dancers. Music comes to an end. MRS VEALFOY steps on to the platform. Speaks into the microphone.
MRS VEALFOY: In the next dance the Gentlemen employees are at liberty to ask the Directors' wives for a dance. And I think we can invent a new little rule here -- just a tiny little rule -- the Lady employees can ask the Directors for a dance. (Laughter.) Now, don't be shy. They're just the same as you are.
The band begins to play softly.
Before we carry on with our fun I have to announce a sad death. George Buchanan passed away last week. His wife wishes me to express thanks to all in the firm who sent beautiful floral tributes in her sad bereavement. And now, on with the dance and let us pray for good weather during the holiday season.
The band plays "On the Sunny Side of the Street." At the side of the dance-floor EDITH is seen with DEBBIE's family. The non-dancing employees begin to sing the words of the song. Everybody is singing, MRS VEALFOY is seen in company with the Board of Directors,they are also singing.