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FRUITS OF TWO SEASONS

by

W.G. STANTON

Produced by Anthony Cornish

REHEARSE/RECORD: Tuesday 3rd October 1972 1830-2130 (S.M.s ONLY)

Wednesday 4th October 1972 1000-1730
Thursday 5th October 1972 1000-1730
STUDIO: Studio 3, Broadcasting Centre. P.O.Box 168.
Pebble Mill Road. Birmingham B5 7SE.
(Tel.: 021-472-5353, extn. 2072)
PROGRAMME NUMBER: TBM 40/MD270H

TRANSMISSION: R4, Afternoon Theatre To be arranged,

CAST

Margaret Ransome......Margaret Ward
Charles Ransome ......Derek Smith
Jennifer Ransome......Penelope Nice
Michael Briggs........Colin Higgins
James Cartwright......Simon Carter

Secretary
Clara Johnson

Studio Managers
Peter Belham
Roger Willcox
Ted Walford
G.I.M. Bailey (on 5th)



(WE OPEN WITH THE SOUND OF WATER RUNNING INTO A WASH-BOWL, BATHROOM CABINET DOOR OPENED AND CLOSED, SOUND OF SHAVING TACKLE ETC. CHARLES RANSOME IS HUMMING TO HIMSELF, PREFERABLY A_ TUNE OF SOME FORTY YEARS AGO, AND IF POSSIBLE ABOUT MORNING.. IT IS NOT THE HUMMING OF A CAREFREE MAN, GLAD TO BE UP AND ABOUT. WATER STOPS. SOUND OF SPLASHING IN . BOWL)

MARGARET (DISTANT) Charles!

CHARLES (VOICE DISTORTED IN THE ACT OF SHAVING) Yes, dear?

MARGARET How long are you going to be?

CHARLES Just shaving!

MARGARET It's almost ready!

CHARLES Righto! Quick as I can! (TO HIMSELF) Doesn't seem five minutes since the last time I shaved. Ah well, middle age, I suppose. Though how fifty-five can be called middle - l'm not likely to see a hundred and ten. (YAWNS) God, I'm tired.

Charles, old boy. do you remember when you used to do the Caruso act in the shower and then eat a breakfast big enough for a navvy

(ALOUD) Meg!

MARGARET (DISTANT) Yes?

CHARLES Just cereal for me. please!

MARGARET Oh. Charles, I've cooked bacon,

CHARLES Save it for Jenny,

MARGARET Do hurry, Charles.You'll be late.

CHARLES Oh, all right. Just a minute'

(SPLASHING AGAIN. FADE OUT, AND CUT IN SOUNDS OF BREAKFAST TABLE)

CHARLES Sorry about that, Meg, No appetite these days. Jenny'll manage it.

MARGARET You must speak to her. Charles.

CHARLES Speak to her?

MARGARET Not now, of course.

CHARLES Speak to her?

MARGARET Charles, this is me. Remember?

CHARLES Oh, Jenny.

MARGARET Yes,

CHARLES What about?

MARGARET As I thought. Charles, you've not been listening.

CHARLES All right, all right.,

MARGARET We don't talk much these days. do we? Will you listen now. please?

CHARLES I said all right.

MARGARET She's taken to coming in rather, late,

CHARLES HMMMM.

MARGARET It was after midnight last night.

CHARLES Yes?

MARGARET She's eighteen.

CHARLES Well?

MARGARET You really must speak to her.

CHARLES Oh, very well.

MARGARET She ought to be in earlier.

CHARLES All right. all right. (TO HIMSELF) But what do you say? Now look here Jenny. This won't do? Start coming in at this time and you know what will happen? First thing you know you'll be coming home pregnant,

MARGARET Charles!

CHARLES (ALOUD) Everybody knows that conception only occurs after midnight.

MARGARET (SOTTO VOCE) Once, anyway.

CHARLES What's that?

MARGARET Nothing. dear. It was - nothing.

CHARLES I wouldn't have thought she was in much danger, In the car. I mean.

MARGARET She didn't take the car.

CHARLES Didn't take the ? Now what's wrong with it?

MARGARET Nothing at all.

CHARLES Why didn't she?

MARGARET It's ridiculous.

CHARLES Ridiculous?

MARGARET It's this boy,

CHARLES Boy? Do I know him?

MARGARET I shouldn't think so. (DRILY) She's only known him six weeks.

CHARLES Oh. Oh, I see. (PAUSE)No, I don't! Where's the connection?

MARGARET Connection?

CHARLES Between this - boy. as you call him, and Jenny not taking the car.

MARGARET It's too silly for words.

CHARLES I'm sure you're right, but I still don't see it.

MARGARET He says he'll take her out in a car when he can provide it,

CHARLES Does he, by Jove?

MARGARET It's too silly for words.

CHARLES Oh, I don't know, (TO HIMSELF) Hmmmm. You know, I like the sound of that. I really do.

Hmmm, Won't take her out in a car unless he provides it, eh? Makes a change. I must say, All I ever get these days is scruffy hairy types cadging lifts and then abusing the dirty polluting motorist. Quite a change. Hmmmm.

I think I'd rather like to meet this one. He sounds refreshing after some of the types she's brought home from time to time,

(ALOUD) Who is he. anyway?

MARGARET Oh. some boy.

CHARLES What's wrong with him?

MARGARET It's not that. He's not like the others.

CHARLES I agree,

MARGARET She thinks of nothing else. She'll get hurt. Women are - vulnerable. She's too young.

CHARLES You weren't exactly ancient yourself.

MARGARET I was her age. She's not much more than a child,

CHARLES Doesn't sound to me as if there's much wrong with him.

MARGARET I don't think we should encourage her. She's getting much too serious about him.

CHARLES Let's leave it there, shall we? For the moment? I'll have a word with her. About the other thing, I mean. But I don't think we should start choosing her friends for her,

MARGARET Friends? (PAUSE) He's too old for her.

CHARLES Oh? I didn't know that.

MARGARET He's twenty-three.

CHARLES Five years? Like us.

MARGARET Yes. (PAUSE) But not like us.

CHARLES Oh?

MARGARET They never see anyone else. Just each other.

CHARLES What does he do?

MARGARET He's a student. I gather.

CHARLES A student? Twenty-three? Bit old for that. surely?

MARGARET He's what they call a mature student.

CHARLES Oh?

MARGARET You'll be able to ask her.

CHARLES Yes. Yes. all right. (PAUSE) I'll do that. (PAUSE) Have to give it some thought.

MARGARET It's time you were off.

CHARLES What's that? Oh, yes. yes.

MARGARET Charles. are you all right?

CHARLES All right?

MARGARET You don't seem to be listening.

CHARLES Eh? Oh, I was thinking. I do have other things to think about,, you know.

(SOUND OF TYPEWRITER, DISTANT. CUT IN VOICE OF CARTWRIGHT)

CARTWRIGHT Ransome?

CHARLES Yes. sir?

CARTWRIGHT I thought you should know. We're putting consultants in.

CHARLES Consultants? Really? Do you think that's ?

CARTWIGHT They'll be taking a hard look at things, Especially sales, of course. Your department, And especially export, You'll give them every assistance. of course.

CHARLES Of course, sir.

CARTWRIGHT No good having consultants in if we tie their hands, eh? Must give them a free hand. To pick holes in the organization. My job as well, you know, And yours.. and the rest.

CHARLES Yes. sir, Of course,

(TYPEWRITER STOPS)

MARGARET Charles!

CHARLES Eh? What's that? What did you say?

MARGARET What is it?

CHARLES What is what?

MARGARET You're worried about something,

CHARLES Not specially,

MARGARET You've been off-hand lately. You don't talk to me,

CHARLES Off-hand?

MARGARET Is everything all right at the firm?

CHARLES Yes, yes. of course. Why shouldn't it be?

MARGARET You're sure?

CHARLES Nothing for you to worry your head about. A few of these jumped-up whizz-kids chucking their weight about. (PAUSE) Good Lord! Is that the time? (GOING) I shall be late. See you this evening,

MARGARET I'll see you. anyway,

CHARLES (DISTANT) What's that?

MARGARET Oh. nothing. You won't forget about Jenny. will you?

CHARLES (COMING BACK) Jenny? What about - ? Oh yes. this boy. (BEGIN FADE) No. I won't forget. (FADE OUT. CUT IN SOUND OF KEY IN DOOR, AND DOOR OPENING)

CHARLES Jenny!

JENNIFER (DISTANT) Yes. Daddy?

CHARLES Have you seen your mother? Her carís not here,

JENNIFER (APPROACHING) No. I think she must have gone out. Daddy. what's wrong?

CHARLES Wrong?

JENNIFER Have you and Mummy had a row?

CHARLES Eh? Row? Of course not.

JENNIFER There's something.

CHARLES What do you mean?

JENNIFER This morning - when I came down

CHARLES What about this morning?

JENNIFER She'd been crying.

CHARLES Oh, nonsense!

JENNIFER It's not you, then?

CHARLES Of course not!

JENNIFER That's all right then. isn't it? Do you want me to get you something?

CHARLES No. thanks. I'm not hungry.

JENNIFER Righto, then. (GOING) See you!

CHARLES Yes. (PAUSE) Hey, just a minute!

JENNIFER (APPROACHING) Yes?

CHARLES I'd like a word with you.

JENNIFER Oh, Daddy! I've got to dash!

CHARLES Jenny!

JENNIFER Yes?

CHARLES It's - important.

JENNIFER Oh. Oh, I see. (PAUSE) Mummy's on the warpath.

CHARLES What do you mean by that?

JENNIFER Nothing - perhaps.

CHARLES Has your mother spoken to you?

JENNIFER What about?

CHARLES Has she said anything about - this boy?

JENNIFER Daddy, I don't know what you're talking about,

CHARLES This boy?

JENNIFER So it is Mummy. (PAUSE) You mean Mike.

CHARLES Is that his name?

JENNIFER Michael. Michael Briggs.

CHARLES. Oh.

JENNIFER Yes?

CHARLES It's - well, your mother said I mean, I gather he's a student.

JENNIFER Yes.

CHARLES A mature student.

JENNIFER Yes.

CHARLES I see.

JENNIFER Is that all. Daddy?

CHARLES Yes. (PAUSE) No. I mean, is he important?

JENNIFER Good grief, no!

CHARLES I meant to you.

JENNIFER Yes.

CHARLES Oh.

JENNIFER Yes, he is. Is that all?

CHARLES All? Yes, I suppose so. (PAUSE). Well no. actually, it's not, It's this business of coming in late. Your mother we don't like it.

JENNIFER Oh, that's it,

CHARLESYes.

JENNIFERI'm eighteen.

CHARLESYes, I know. That's what I

JENNIFER Well, then,

CHARLESI realise that, of course.

JENNIFER Don't you trust me?

CHARLES Trust you?

JENNIFER You think I'll get myself into some sort of trouble, That's it.

CHARLES Of course we trust you.

JENNIFER Then what on earth's all the flap about?

CHARLES I'd rather you weren't - flippant.

JENNIFER Oh. Sorry.

CHARLES We don't know this boy.

JENNIFER (WITH SOME HEAT) I wish you wouldn't keep calling him this boy!

CHARLES (ALSO WITH HEAT) And I wish you'd stop fencing and answer my questions, (WITH MORE CONTROL) What I mean is, we don't know whether we would approve of him.

JENNIFERI approve of him.

CHARLES Yes, of course. But that's not quite the

JENNIFER I think you would, too.

CHARLES We would?

JENNIFER No. you. He's interested in your sort of thing. Management. Business.

CHARLES Really?

JENNIFER And other things. He's a bit old-fashioned. too

CHARLES Oh. Oh., I see. Then what's wrong?

JENNIFER Wrong?

CHARLES Why can't you - talk about him? Why can't you tell us?

JENNIFER I don't know. I don't seem as if - oh, I can't explain it. (PAUSE) I might be able to tell you.

CHARLES Oh. good. (PAUSE) Well, go on then,

JENNIFER No.

CHARLES Why ever not?

JENNIFER No. It's - mummy.

CHARLES Your mother?

JENNIFER She calls him this boy.

CHARLES Well?

JENNIFER Can't you see? You did. too. It's Mummy.

CHARLES I'm sorry. I didn't mean - Anyway, perhaps I can help. If, as you say, I'd approve of him.

JENNIFERI doubt it.

CHARLES At least let me try.

JENNIFER (EXPLODING) She hasn't even met him, and she's been absolutely bloody about him. Asking questions about him. 'What's he like. What does his father do, Where does he live. I suppose it's because he's a student and he's hard up, and he doesn't tear about in a car that Daddy bought.

CHARLES You're not being entirely fair. He does keep you out late.

JENNIFER It's all right. Daddy. Really. I'm safe with Mike.

CHARLES I'd have to be convinced of that,, you know,

JENNIFER Daddy. whose side are you on?

CHARLES That's unfair, too. It's not as simple as that, You can't expect us not to be concerned if we think you're in danger,

JENNIFER There's danger and danger.

CHARLES What do you mean by that?

JENNIFER I know Mummy's sort of danger.

CHARLES Now. Jennifer

JENNIFER I'm not a little girl any more. I know what the score is. If it were Nigel Aston instead of Mike she wouldn't mind if I came in with the milk.

CHARLES Jenny!

JENNIFER Well! Just because he's filthy rich and county. Or rather his people are. He has people.

CHARLES Stop that at once!

JENNIFER It's true! You know it is!

CHARLES I know nothing of the kind. We want you to be happy.

JENNIFER Happy? Oh, you don't know! When I'm with Mike, it's - well. we just talk. That's all. Hours.

CHARLES Sounds nice, darling.

JENNIFER Yes.

CHARLES I think I'd rather like to meet him-,

JENNIFER I'd like you to,

CHARLES Well, then. Why not bring him up to the club one evening? Might be less embarrassing than a formal tea party for everyone.

JENNIFER (BEGINS TO LAUGH)

CHARLES What's to funny about that?

JENNIFER (STILL AMUSED) I don't think that's a very good idea, Daddy.

CHARLES Why ever not?

JENNIFER Just think of their faces, The members. Captain Ponsonby. Mr. Willetts. Mike's a student, Daddy. It would be like waving a red rag in a field full of bulls. He's got long hair, and he's rather shabby. and (LAUGHS AGAIN) no, I think not.

CHARLES He is important.

JENNIFER (VERY QUIETLY) Yes, he is. (PAUSE) I'll try to get in a bit earlier.

CHARLES Just bring him when you feel like it. I rather want to meet him.

JENNIFER Yes. (BEGIN FADE) All right, Daddy, I will, (FADE OUT),

( CUT IN MARGARET'S VOICE OVER SOUND OF TV PROGRAMME)

MARGARET Charles!

(NO ANSWER)

CHARLES!

CHARLES Yes?

MARGARET Did you speak to Jennifer?

CHARLES What's that?

MARGARET Oh really, Charles. Can't you tear yourself away from that thing for a moment?

CHARLES Why?

MARGARET I'm sorry. I know you want to rest. Who better? Just lately you're too tired for anything.

(TV VOLUME TURNED DOWN)

CHARLES All right, all right, What is it?

MARGARET I asked if you'd spoken to Jennifer.

CHARLES Yes, I did. Is that all?

MARGARET All?

CHARLES She promised to get in a bit earlier.

MARGARET Oh.

CHARLES That was the idea, wasn't it?

MARGARET What about this boy?

CHARLES Meg. I do wish you'd stop calling him this boy. His name's Michael. Michael Briggs.

MARGARET I know.

CHARLES Jenny calls him Mike, I gather,

MARGARET I know that, too.

CHARLES He's a student.

MARGARET Yes.

CHARLES Now do you mind if I watch the programme?

MARGARET Don't you care what sort of person she's associating with?

CHARLES I don't know what sort of person she's associating with. Do you?

MARGARET I do know what sort of person she's not associating with just now. Since she met this - this Michael.

CHARLES Nigel Aston you mean.

MARGARET Nigel Aston? I don't know that I'd care for that. What in the world brought that up?

CHARLES I thought you had.

MARGARET You don't see much of her these days,Charles. (QUIETLY) Or me.

CHARLES Whose fault is that?

MARGARET I'm not blaming you. I'm stating a fact.

CHARLES Good.

MARGARET I don't think you realise how much you've - (PAUSE) I think we ought to know who she's meeting.

CHARLES I don't know that we ought, It would be nice to, I admit. Actually. I did suggest it

MARGARET You suggested it? Suggested what?

CHARLES That we ought to meet him.

MARGARET Do you think that's wise?

CHARLES Yes, I do.

MARGARET I'm not sure that I

CHARLES I said why not bring him up to the club one evening,

MARGARET You did what?

CHARLES It seemed like a good idea.

MARGARET Oh, Charles. really! Whatever would your friends - ?

CHARLES You're too late with that objection,

MARGARET Too late?

CHARLES Jenny wouldn't hear of it.

MARGARET Good.

CHARLES A matter of opinion. He sounds interesting.

(TELEPHONE BELL, DISTANT)

All right, I'll get it.

(WE GO WITH HIM TO THE TELEPHONE IN THE HALL* RECEIVER LIFTED AND BELL STOPS)

Barrowsfield 3I06I

JENNIFER (DISTORT) Hello?

CHARLES Who's that? Oh. Jenny!

JENNIFER Yes. Is Mummy in?

CHARLES Yes?

JENNIFER Oh.

CHARLES Do you want to speak to her?

JENNIFER Oh. no. no, I just wanted to know if she was in.

CHARLES Yes, she's in. Why?

JENNIFER Oh. nothing. nothing.

CHARLES Anything wrong?

JENNIFER No, no, It was just that oh, never mind. Forget it,

CHARLES (AMUSED) Come on! Come on! What is it? Money? Got yourself stranded somewhere?

JENNIFER No. it's not that.

CHARLES Go on, then.

JENNIFER It was just - well. I was thinking of bringing Mike round for coffee.

CHARLES I think that's a splendid idea. What time shall we expect you?

JENNIFER Never mind, Daddy. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea. after all,

CHARLES Nonsense! Of course it's a good idea. We'll see you later, then. Come when you like, We shan't be going out.

JENNIFER We'll think about it. I won't promise, though. Bye!

(RECEIVER REPLACED, DISTANT, THEN NEAR)

MARGARET (DISTANT) Charles? Who is it?

CHARLES (GOING) It was Jenny,

MARGARET APPROACHING) Jenny? What did she want?

(WE, GO WITH THE, BACK TO THE SITTING-ROOM)

CHARLES Oh, nothing much.

MARGARET Really? Then why the amusement?

CHARLES She just wanted to know if it would be all right for her to bring Michael in for a coffee later.

MARGARET Michael? This evening?

CHARLES This boy.

MARGARET Oh, You put her off. of course?

CHARLES I did no such thing.

MARGARET What!

CHARLES I told her to come when they felt like it.

MARGARET Oh, Charles. really! The house is a perfect mess. I've absolutely nothing prepared,

CHARLES The house is never a mess. Good Heavens, Meg she's bringing him round for a coffee. not a seven-course meal!

MARGARET I'd better go and change.

CHARLES Whatever for?

MARGARET You hadn't noticed.

CHARLES Noticed what?

MARGARET I'm not dressed for visitors.

CHARLES Oh?

MARGARET It's called a leisure outfit. But not for visitors.

CHARLES Just as you like. But listen - we don't know this boy. A lot of fuss might embarrass him.

MARGARET You're not suggesting that I don't know how to behave towards Jenny's friends?

CHARLES No. of course not.

MARGARET Good heavens, my hair! (BEGIN FADE) I must go and do something with it. (FADE OUT. CUT IN SOUND OF KEY IN DOOR AND DOOR OPENING, DISTANT)

JENNIFER (DISTANT) Come in. Mike!

CHARLES There's Jenny now, I'll go,

MARGARET No. Charles, please. You'll embarrass them.

(DOOR OPENS)

JENNIFER Mummy! Daddy! This is Mike!

CHARLES Come in, come in!

JENNIFER Mike, this is Mummy! And Daddy!

MARGARET How do you do.

CHARLES Hello! Do come in and sit down.

MICHAEL How do you do.

MARGARET Charles! The television. please!

CHARLES Oh yes. of course.

(TV SWITCHED OFF)

MARGARET Look after Michael, will you, Charles? Jenny. come and help me with the coffee. will you, dear?

JENNIFER Oh, Mummy, please! (GOING) Oh, all right. I'm coming. (THEY GO OUT AND DOOR CLOSES)

CHARLES Well, this is nice. Sure you're comfortable there?

MICHAEL Oh - well, yes. thanks! (PAUSE) I say, I haven't got your chair, have I?

CHARLES Good Lord. no.

MICHAEL Oh. good.

CHARLES Haven't got to the pipe and slippers stage yet, you know.

MICHAEL I didn't mean -

CHARLES (LAUGHS, NOT ALTOGETHER EASILY) Oh. that's all right. No offence. (PAUSE) Jenny's mother's doing the tactful thing, you know.

MICHAEL Yes?

CHARLES Leaving the menfolk to their smoking and their stories.

MICHAEL Oh.

CHARLES Cigarette?

MICHAEL I don't. thanks.

CHARLES Very sensible. I smoke too much.

MICHAEL Oh, I wasn't implying

CHARLES Not at all. I wish I had your strength of will.

MICHAEL Oh. it's not that.

CHARLES No?

MICHAEL can't afford them. Bit too expensive these days.

CHARLES I suppose it is rather like smoking money.

MICHAEL It doesn't bother me, though.

CHARLES I'd got the impression students were a bit better off these days,

MICHAEL Yes, that is the impression,

CHARLES I'm glad.

MICHAEL It doesn't really run to cigarettes, to be honest,

CHARLES Really? But surely doesn't one see students with cars nowadays?

MICHAEL Not on a grant. The ones with cars can usually afford to smoke as well.

CHARLES I'm not sure I

MICHAEL They're the ones on fifty a year.

CHARLES Fifty pounds a year?

MICHAEL Yes, that's the minimum. You get that even if your old man's a millionnaire,

CHARLES I didn't know that.

MICHAEL That's right.

CHARLES Good Lord! That doesn't seem fair.

MICHAEL We don't think is is, either.

CHARLES I should say not.

MICHAEL We think they should get the same as the rest of us.

CHARLES I agree,

MICHAEL And see if they can manage on it.

CHARLES Eh? Oh well, I didn't quite

MICHAEL (LAUGHS EASILY) Might broaden their education,

(CHARLES LAUGHS. BUT NOT LIKE MICHAEL)

CHARLES Well. it's a point of view. (PAUSE) They're taking a long time over that coffee. I mean

MICHAEL That's all right.

CHARLES (AGAIN LAUGHS UNEASILY) Makes you wonder what they get up to in there that takes them so long. eh? (BEGIN FADE) Can't understand it! Never could.

(FADE OUT. CUT IN SOUND OF WHISTLING KETTLE, WHICH FADES AS MARGARET SPEAKS)

MARGARET Put the coffee in the percolator. dear.

JENNIFER Oh. Mummy, must we? Mike will be just as happy with instant.

MARGARET Nonsense, dear. The tin's on the third shelf there.

(SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS ON TILES FLOOR AND TIN BEING OPENED)

MARGARET And do stop fretting about Michael. You're like an ill-sitting hen. Your father won't eat him.

JENNIFER Well, you know what Daddy's like. He sort of sweeps people along.

MARGARET Yes, he does that.

JENNIFER mummy?

MARGARET Yes. dear?

JENNIFER You don't go much on Mike. do you?

MARGARET Whatever makes you say that? I'm sure I never -

JENNIFER The way you rushed out as soon as -

MARGARET You mustn't jump to conclusions. Jenny. He seems a nice boy.

JENNIFER My God!

MARGARET Jennifer!

JENNIFER You don't have to say it.

MARGARET You're being unfair. I'm never at my best when I first meet people.

JENNIFER Oh, Mummy!

MARGARET It's true, One has to try not to show it, of course. Or they're embarrassed, too,

JENNIFER I don't believe it!

MARGARET Perhaps you should try. You must give me time. When I was your age - I've often envied you this - I was horribly shy. To walk into a room full of people - I suffered agonies, I hide it better now,

JENNIFER (LAUGHS, NOT TOO EASILY) Mummy. you're putting me on.

MARGARET Your father's different. He gets on with people right away. He always did. I have to grow on them.

JENNIFER You do surprise me, Mummy. I always thought you were so - cool.

MARGARET Cool? No. Frigid - rigid. I mean. With fear. Embarrassment.

JENNIFER (MISSING THE SLIP) I thought it was only me that felt like that. Mike's the same as Daddy. I envy them.

MARGARET Yes. I know.

JENNIFER It's so easy for them.

(CUT TO SOUND OF CHARLES COUGHING UNEASILY)

CHARLES Er - would you care to see the programme. Michael?

MICHAEL I'm easy.

CHARLES Ought to be Match of the Day or Sportsview or something about now,

MICHAEL Not unless you particularly want it, Mr. Ransome.

CHARLES

Oh, no, no, no.

(PAUSE. CHARLES COUGHS AGAIN)

Er - what are you, er, reading, is it? Michael?

MICHAEL

Reading?

CHARLES

Yes.

MICHAEL

Oh, my subjects. Economics and philosophy.

CHARLES

Oh? They sound (UNEASY LAUGH) uncomfortable bedfellows.

MICHAEL

(LAUGHS EASILY) Well, yes, they are. Sometimes.

CHARLES

Tell me. I'm interested. What sort of ground does it cover?

MICHAEL

It's a fairly wide field these days.

CHARLES

'And where does it lead? Job-wise?

MICHAEL

Teaching, perhaps. Industry - you know, management. Especially consultancy.

CHARLES

I wondered where they came from. (PAUSE)

What particular aspect of management are you interested in?

MICHAEL

Well, the myths, really.

CHARLES

Myths? In management?

MICHAEL

You know, the beliefs people cling to. Long after they've ceased to have much validity.

CHARLES

I'm not sure I'm with you.

MICHAEL

Well. for instance, we say that growth- expansion - and all that, is a good thing.

CHARLES

Of course.

MICHAEL

That's just what I mean.

CHARLES

I'm afraid I -

MICHAEL

We don't question it. Bigger is better, so we get bigger.

CHARLES

(GROWING SUSPICIOUS) One can't stand still in business, you know. You either go forward. or you slip back.

MICHAEL

So you get bigger.

CHARLES

Exactly.

MICHAEL

So you have more and more mergers, national companies become international, more and more people are made redundant, unemployment rises. And we say it will all take care of itself in time, because after all, growth is a good thing.

CHARLES

And of course it will.

MICHAEL

Will it? Some of us are beginning to wonder.

CHARLES

You're still young, of course.

MICHAEL

(ALMOST ANGRY) It's just an academic question? For us, I mean?

CHARLES

Well, yes. It's different when you're in daily contact with it.

MICHAEL

Three of my friends left university last year. With fairly good degrees, too. (PAUSE) They're still out of work. (PAUSE) They feel bit sore.

CHARLES

That's natural.

MICHAEL

It's not an academic question for them.

CHARLES

When great changes are taking place, one has to take the rough with the smooth.

MICHAEL

Sure. But they'd like it to be shared out a bit. As I said, some of us are beginning to wonder. (KNOCK ON DOOR)

JENNIFER

(BEYOND DOOR) Mike! Open the door, please! I've got the tray. (MICHAEL RISES AND GOES TO THE DOOR)

MICHAEL

Coming!

(DOOR OPENS)

JENNIFER

Pull out the small table there, will you, darling?

MICHAEL

Sure. (SOTTO VOCE) Darling, is it?

JENNIFER

Just here. (SOTTO VOCE) I can't call you by the other name here, stupid. (SOUND OF TRAY BEING PUT DOWN)

JENNIFER

There! Now, you two been getting on?

MICHAEL

Sure, sure.

CHARLES

Oh yes, fine.

JENNIFER

What did I tell you, Daddy?

MARGARET

(APPROACHING) I'll pour the coffee, Jenny. BEGIN FADE) Charles, pass Michael the biscuits, please. (FADE OUT. BRING UP SOFT BACKGROUND MUSIC SUITABLE FOR BEDROOM ACOUSTIC)

CHARLES

Meg, please! Do we have to have that row in the bedroom?

MARGARETOh, sorry!

(MUSIC SWITCHED OFF)

CHARLES

(YAWNS) God, I'm tired,

MARGARET

(GOING) Yes. So am I. It's been a worse Monday than usual.

CHARLES

(CALLS) Meg!

MARGARET

(DISTANT) Yes?

CHARLES

You seen my sleeping tablets?

MARGARET

(APPROACHING) They're where they always are, I imagine.

CHARLES

(SAVAGELY) And where's that, for God's sake?

MARGARET

In the bathroom, cabinet. Why?

CHARLES

Because I want a couple, that's why.

MARGARET

What's wrong.

CHARLES

Wrong?

MARGARET

What are you so edgy about?

CHARLES

Edgy? Who says I'm edgy? I'm tired that's all. (GOING) And I want a couple of sleeping pills.

(DISTANT SOUND OF RUNNING BRIEFLY)

(APPROACHING) Do we have to hold an inquest now, every time I want a sleeping pill?

MARGARET

You snapped at me several times tonight. And you almost bit Jenny's head off when she came in.

CHARLES

She's coming in at a respectable time, anyway. Perhaps I should do some more snapping. Perhaps you should try it on Michael.

(CHARLES GRUNTS)

MARGARET

What did you think of him?

CHARLES

Who?

MARGARET

Oh, Charles, really! You must have given it some thought. You had a long chat the other night.

CHARLES

I've more important things to think about.

(BEGIN FADE) lot's happened since the other night.

(FADE OUT)

(CUT IN SOUND OF TYPEWRITER CARTWRIGHT'S VOICE OVER)

CARTWRIGHT

(DISTORT) Ransome?

CHARLES

Yes, sir?

CARTWRIGHT

(DISTORT) Can you come up to my office?

CHARLES

Of course. Do you mind if I clear the post first?

CARTWRIGHT

(DISTORT) I'd rather you made it right away.

CHARLES

Oh. Oh, very well. (BEGIN FADE) I'll come straight up. (CUT IN SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS, CHARLES'S INTERIOR AS HE SPEAKS FOOTSTEPS STAIRS VOICE OVER 2 SWINGING DOORS, ORCHESTRATE HIS WORDS) Wonder what the old man wants? Not like him to cut a chap off short like that. Expect he's as worried about blasted consultants as the rest of us. Come to think of it, he's been a bit subdued lately. I expected to get a bending over the export figures last month. Thought held really blow up when he saw them. But no, all quiet on the export front. Rum, though. Never known the old man carry on like this. Must be all these whizz-kids. Getting him down, too. Ah well, here we are. (ALOUD) Morning, Miss Hansom. No, no. No need to buzz him. He's expecting me. I'll go right in, (TAP ON DOOR)

CARTWRIGHT

(WITHIN) Come in!

(DOOR OPENS)

CARTWRIGHT

Ah, Ransome! Sit down! (DOOR CLOSES)

CHARLES

(APPROACHING) Thanks

CARTWRIGHT

This isn't going to be easy, I'm afraid. Not a job I like at all.

CHARLES

I'm sorry, I - I'm sure you're aware that things haven't been going too well, Ransome. Bad enough passing the dividend last time, but this half year - well, there's been no improvement to speak of.

CHARLES

That's true. But trade is depressed.

CARTWRIGHT

We're going to have to do some pretty severe retrenching.

CHARLES

Of course, if we must. If there's anything I could do, you know -

CARTWRIGHT

It means cutting down on staff.

CHARLES

Yes, I suppose so. Still, if that's the only way' -

CARTWRIGHT

I'm sorry, Ransome. I'm talking about you.

CHARLES

Me? You're sacking me?

CARTWRIGHT

Sacking you? Good Heavens, no, man.

CHARLES

Oh, then you want me to -

CARTWRIGHT

Not the sack- Good Lord no. We're -not that kind of outfit. No. We're going to have to make your post redundant, though.

CHARLES

Oh. Oh, I see. You're moving me.

CARTWRIGHT

(COUGHS)No, no. We're going to have to let you go.

CHARLES

Go?

CARTWRIGHT

You're entitled to three months notice, of course, but we shall be happy to waive it if that's what you wish. You'll get maximum redundancy, and over and above that - well. I don't think you'll find us ungenerous. And naturally we'll do all we can in the way of assistance in finding another post.

CHARLES

But the consultants -

CARTWRIGHT

Things are very tight, Ransome. The board wasn't prepared to wait for the consultants' report before they took steps.

CHARLES

I'm sorry, I -

CARTWRIGHT

You're able. -,nd experienced. Still young enough to make a change. I wish we could offer you a future here, but you know as well as anyone what the situation is. (FORCED LAUGH) No need to draw a diagram, eh?

CHARLES

No, no,

CARTWRIGHT

That's all just now, Ransome. But keep in touch, eh? We're anxious to do all we can to help, you know.

CHARLES

(BEGIN FADE) Yes, yes, of course.

(FADE OUT. CUT IN MARGARETS VOICE)

What did you think of him, anyway?

CHARLES

Eh? What's that you say? Think of who?

MARGARET

Oh, Charles. Michael, of course.

(CUT, FADE IN JENNIFER'S VOICE)

JENNIFER

So you see, lover, it wasn't so bad, was it?

MICHAEL

What?

JENNIFER

Meeting Mummy and Daddy.

MICHAEL

Oh, that.

JENNIFER

I was sure you and Daddy would get on.

MICHAEL

You reckon?

JENNIFER

What do you mean?

MICHAEL

Father doesn't dig the hairy Michael.

JENNIFER

You're ever so much alike.

MICHAEL

You're putting me on.

JENNIFER

I don't get you.

MICHAEL

Yeah, that's the message I got. You don't get me, I don't get you. (CUT. FADE IN MARGARET'S VOICE)

MARGARET

You don't sound very enthusiastic.

CHARLES

If you ask me, he's a bit on the Bolshie side. No standards any more. Like a lot of young men in business today. No time for tradition. Everything has to be turned upside down,

MARGARET

And you learnt all that in fifteen minutes?

CHARLES

You'd think nobody else had ever run a business.

MARGARET

So that's it.

CHARLES

That's what?

MARGARET

It is the firm.

CHARLES

I - I never said so. I was simply saying there's no - stability any more.

MARGARET

No, there isn't.

CHARLES

Kids fresh out of university and so-called business schools. Still wet behind the ears.

MARGARET

Like Michael.

(CUT. FADE IN MICHAEL'S VOICE)

MICHAEL

We don't talk the same language, that's for sure,

JENNIFER

Oh, Mike, really!

MICHAEL

It's right. He tried not to look at me. He was wishing I had a short back and sides and talked about growth potential and profits to earnings - ratio,

JENNIFER Be fair, lover.

MICHAEL What's unfair about that?

JENNIFER That's his world. He's done well in it. too. So has the firm.

MICHAEL That's not the way I hear it.

JENNIFER What!

MICHAEL Look, girl. we study local industry. It's all part of the course. The way we see it they're likely to be taken over.

JENNIFER Is that all?

MICHAEL Not because they're making profits. though.

JENNIFER I don't get it.

MICHAEL They're dinosaurs.

JENNIFER Dinosaurs?

MICHAEL They're like a lot more nowadays. So obsessed with getting bigger and bigger it never strikes them to ask whether it's the right thing to do, They'll wind up not being able to support their own weight, One little fall will kill them! Just like dinosaurs.

JENNIFER You must be joking,

MICHAEL You reckon. I'd say - sitting where he is - your Dad's vulnerable. Like everybody else that works there, Mind you., It might be the best thing if they stopped him now. I'm told there have been redundancies already_.

JENNIFER Mike! dinosaurs weren't lovable. But

MICHAEL I didn't say you wouldn't want to be under one when its legs packed up, would you?

JENNIFER (LAUGHS)

(FADE OUT ON JENNIFER'S LAUGH. CUT IN MARGARET I S VOICE I

MARGARET So you don't approve?

CHARLES Approve? Oh, him. I didn't say that,-

MARGARET You mean you've not made your mind up.

CHARLES I mean I've more to do with my mind just now.

(SOUND OF CHARLES GETTING INTO BED) You going to read?

MARGARET He's not all what I expected.

CHARLES Because I'm about all in.

MARGARET It's odd. In a way. he reminds me of you. When you were his age. I mean,

CHARLES What's that? Me? Good God in Heaven. I never looked like that!

MARGARET I didn't mean looks.

CHARLES (BEGIN FADE) Good God above!

(FADE OUT. CUT IN JENNIFER'S VOICE)

JENNIFER All I can say is, if you don't dig Daddy there's not much hope for Mummy.

MICHAEL Oh, I don't know.

JENNIFER What!

MICHAEL I kinda dig your Mum.

JENNIFERYou hardly spoke to her.

MICHAEL You don't have to speak,

(CUT. FADE IN MARGARET'S VOICE)

MARGARET He came out to the kitchen, When I took. the cups out.Wanted to know if there was anything he could do,

CHARLES Good Lord! A bit embarrassing.

MARGARET No. no. it wasn't like that at all. He wasn't - awkward., or it might have been. Just - easy, Friendly. Not familiar, though. (CHARLES GRUNTS) Jennifer tells me he does his own cooking and mending. And his own laundry.

CHARLES Good grief! Long hair, flowered shirts - and now cookery. Mi,RGARET He seemed to think it was quite normal that he should wash up,

CHARLES Oh, that's an old ploy! Get round Mamma and the old man's a push-over.

MARGARET (QUIETLY)Is that what you did?

CHARLES I didn't say that.

MARGARET No. (PAUSE) I don't think I will read. after all,

CHARLES What's that? Oh, all right. (PAUSE) It probably won't come to anything, anyway.

(PAUSE) At her age. (BEGIN FADE) She's only eighteen.

(FADE OUT. CUT IN JENNIFER'S VOICE)

JENNIFER Mike!

MICHAEL (SLEEPILY) Yeah?

JENNIFER How long will it be?

MICHAEL How long will what be?

JENNIFER Till you can make an honest- woman of me.

MICHAEL Hey! I don't dig that kinda talk,

JENNIFER (LAUGHS) Sorry!

MICHAEL You look like your Mum.

JENNIFER Me?

MICHAEL I don't mean looks. No. beautiful. But you've got better lines.

JENNIFER Lines?

MICHAEL In your face. Marriage lines.

JENNIFER Thanks to you. sir.

MICHAEL Hers are the wrong sort,

JENNIFER You're an authority, of course,

MICHAEL It's a shame, though,

JENNIFER But you have the cure for it?

MICHAEL Not for her, Just the prevention for you.

JENNIFER Three cheers for prevention. then.

MICHAEL I wish you'd be serious.

JENNIFER I wish you wouldn't be pompous.

MICHAEL Right. How's this, then? (NOT TOO STEADILY) Let's get married.

JENNIFER Now?

MICHAEL The other way. For keeps.

JENNIFER Ha! Ha!

MICHAEL That's funny? You think that's funny?

JENNIFER Funny? (PAUSE, THEN MORE QUIETLY) No. No, of course not.

MICHAEL Don't laugh, then.

JENNIFER Mike, don't be - (WHISPERS) You mean it.

MICHAEL Yes,

JENNIFER Oh.

MICHAEL Don't tell me you hadn't thought about it.

JENNIFER No. (PAUSE) No, that's not true. I have. A lot.

MICHAEL Well, then?

JENNIFER Yes, well, we'll have to tell them. won't we?

MICHAEL Yeah. And then stand clear, Jennifer, stand clear!

MICHAEL Yeah. If you ask me, that's when the dinosaur's legs'll finally pack up,

(THEY BOTH LAUGH, PARTLY FROM RELIEF. FADE OUT ON THEIR LAUGHTER. CUT IN VOICE OF JENNIFER)

JENNIFER Daddy!

CHARLES Yes? You're up early this morning.

JENNIFER I wanted to speak to you before you went,

CHARLES Oh?

JENNIFER Yes. Will you be in this evening?

CHARLES I suppose so. Why?

JENNIFER I was going to ask Mike to come round.

CHARLES Oh. Well, is my presence necessary for that?

JENNIFER Daddy, you don't like him, do you?

CHARLES I don't really think I've given it that much thought. Jenny, Why?

JENNIFER I just had the idea, that's all.

CHARLES He's intelligent, I suppose. And heIs not without manners. It's not altogether common these days.

JENNIFER Don't say any more. Daddy,

CHARLES I do have other things to think about. you know, Important things.

JENNIFER More important things,

CHARLES Does all this really matter. Jenny? You're eighteen. You'll meet lots of boys.

JENNIFER Oh. Oh, I see. Well. will you be in this evening?

CHARLES I imagine so.

JENNIFER That's all I wanted to know. (BEGIN FADE) I'd better let Mummy know, too.

(FADE OUT. CUT IN MARGARET'S VOICE)

MARGARET Of course. dear. Bring him by all means. I have a meeting, but you can look after him. I'm sure.

JENNIFER Oh.

MARGARET Is there something wrong?

JENNIFER I - we rather hoped you'd be in,

MARGARET Well. of course. if it's that important. blow the meeting, (PAUSE, THEN WITH ALARM) There's nothing - wrong. is there?

JENNIFER (LAUGHS) Good Lord, Mummy, no. It's not that.

MARGARET Oh.

JENNIFER Mummy, did you like him?

MARGARET I didn't see much of him, you know.

JENNIFER What's with everybody this morning? I ask Daddy a simple question and he fences. Now You!

MARGARET It rather depends. you know.

JENNIFER Depends?

MARGARET On how things stand between you and Michael.

JENNIFER Things?

MARGARET Are you - serious, I mean?

JENNIFER Oh, Mummy! Just because I ask you a simple question!

MARGARET Who's fencing now. darling? (PAUSE) It wasn't a simple question. was it?

JENNIFER (QUIETLY) No. No., it wasn't.

MARGARET I'm glad. (PAUSE) I liked him very much*

JENNIFER Mummy darling! Did you? Did you really?

MARGARET Yes. I did,

JENNIFER Hair and all?

MARGARET Hair and all,

JENNIFER But you hardly spoke to him.,

MARGARET You don't have to speak necessarily.

JENNIFER Why, that's just what Mike Mummy, you are a dark horse,

MARGARET What time is he coming, dear?

JENNIFER About eight, he said. (BEGIN FADE) Will that be all right? (FADE OUT. CUT IN MICHAEL'S VOICE)

MICHAEL Jenny!

JENNIFER Hey! You never call me that. (PAUSE) Oh. What is it?

MICHAEL Are you sure this is a good idea?

JENNIFER Don't tell me you're getting cold feet, lover.

MICHAEL I mean just now.

JENNIFER Oh. Oh, I see, You think we should wait.

MICHAEL I'm not sure what to think.

JENNIFER Mike. what's wrong? What is it?

MICHAEL It might be nothing at all.

JENNIFER Go on.

MICHAEL I don't know absolutely for certain.

JENNIFER Will you please tell me?

MICHAEL One of our post-grads is doing research part-time at your Dad's place.

JENNIFER Yea?

MICHAEL There's a lot of redundancy. it was announced toddy,

JENNIFER Well. I knew they were having to lay men off.

MICHAEL This is new. It's got to board-room level almost,

JENNIFER Oh.

MICHAEL We don't know for sure that your Dad's affected,

JENNIFER I think he probably is.

MICHAEL Why?

JENNIFER Never mind. I ought to have known,

MICHAEL So what do we do?

JENNIFER You won't be marrying a fortune, lover.

MICHAEL I never was. Just getting a prize.

JENNIFER (QUIETLY) I'll remember that,

MICHAEL Well?

JENNIFER I say we go ahead.

MICHAEL You're sure about that?

JENNIFER I'm sure.

MICHAEL You know them.

JENNIFER I don't know why they keep things from me.

MICHAEL No.

JENNIFER Anyway, now it's happened they won't object because I want a quiet wedding,

MICHAEL You reckon? They'll object, anyway.

JENNIFER What say we do it and then tell them?

MICHAEL I don't dig that.

JENNIFER I didn't think you would. But we don't have to ask them you know.

MICHAEL I know that, We have to tell them though.

JENNIFER Yes, you're right, of course.

MICHAEL Only I don't think your Dad's going to see it our way. (BEGIN FADE) Right. Let's go then.

(FADE OUT. CUT IN CHARLES'S VOICE) what

CHARLES You've no job. Michael. And from what you've already said. no certain prospects of one.

MICHAEL Nobody has these days, Mr. Ransome.

CHARLES I'm well aware of that.

MICHAEL You want us to wait until there's plenty of job-security about?

CHARLES I think it would be wise,

MICHAEL We think it would be unreasonable.

CHARLES Oh?

MICHAEL Yes. We've talked it over, of course. If we wait until we're one hundred per cent secure we'll wait a long time.

CHARLES I don't see any alternative.

MICHAEL We do,

CHARLES Really?

MICHAEL Mr. Ransome, Jenny wants to marry me. At least, she says she does.

JENNIFER You know I do.

MICHAEL And I want to marry Jenny.

CHARLES But that's surely not the point.

MICHAEL That's the entire point. And we don't have to ask. but we're doing it.

CHARLES I beg your pardon?

MICHAEL We don't have to ask. Jenny's eighteen.

CHARLES She's still dependent on me. (DOOR OPENS)

MARGARET Oh. there you are!

CHARLES Meg, would you excuse us a moment? I rather want to talk to Jenny and Michael alone.

MICHAEL Mr. Ransome, I don't dig that.

CHARLES I beg your pardon?

MICHAEL I'd like Mrs. Ransome to be here. No doubt. (DOOR CLOSES)

MICHAEL She's involved. I think she should know now - that Jenny and I are going to be married.

CHARLES If I agree,

MICHAEL Whether you agree or not. (PAUSE) Weld like you to agree.

CHARLES Jenny has what I give her.

JENNIFER I've got a job, remember?

MICHAEL We don't want what you give her. We knew you wouldn't like it,

CHARLES Oh. you did?

MICHAEL But we reckoned you were entitled to this. I, proper approach.

CHARLES I know what I'm entitled to.

MARGARETCharles!

CHARLESMeg, please!

MICHAEL I'd like to hear what Mrs. Ransome has to say about it.

CHARLES Jenny's mother will agree with me. of course,

MICHAEL Well. Mrs. Ransome?

CHARLES How dare you?

MICHAEL I don't think you've got the situation. Mr. Ransome. I came here tonight to ask you to agree to Jenny and me getting married. But I'll say it again - we don't have to ask. If we'd wanted to go ahead without your agreement we could have done it already,

CHARLES Using what for money?

MICHAEL Yes. there is that. (PAUSE) Jenny's got a job. I've got my grant. We'll manage till I've got my degree.

MARGARET Michael, can you really manage on that?

MICHAEL Lots of students manage on less. They have to.. The State doesn't like students to get married, I guess. - They pay them more for living in sin, as they call it, (PAUSE, THEN MORE QUIETLY) I know you'll worry about it. but you needn't. Money's not so important these days.

CHARLES That's easily said,

MICHAEL Lots of people are learning it. Some because they have to. Some because they want to. We don't want the same things. perhaps. Cars. Swimming pools. That kind of thing,

CHARLES That's just trendy talk.

MARGARET Charles. please!

MICHAEL I'm not getting at your values. Mr. Ransome. You've been raised on them.

CHARLES They've served me well. And Jenny and her mother,

MICHAEL That's a matter of opinion,

CHARLES They've paid the bills, anyway,,, How will you do that? Are you telling us you'd let your wife do that? Live on a pittance she earned?

MICHAEL That's not my choice, It's Jenny's.

CHARLES Well, I'll make the choice for her.

MARGARET Charles!

CHARLES Stay out of this. Meg, please!

MARGARET No. (PAUSE) Michael. would you take Jenny into the dining room? Just for a few minutes.

MICHAEL If you say so,

(GOING) Come on. Jenny!

(DOOR OPENS ,,ND CLOSES AGAIN)

CHARLES What in God's name has got into you, Meg?

MARGARET No. that's my question.

CHARLES What exactly do you mean by that?

MARGARET I know we might have been closer at times, Charles. I don't think it's been my fault on the whole. But lately you've - excluded me more than usual.

CHARLES What are you talking about?

MARGARET I think you know. Sometimes it's almost as if you didn't belong here. There's something. I know there is. I've tried not to - pry.

CHARLES There's nothing,

MARGARET Why can't you talk about it?

CHARLES There's nothing to talk about,

MARGARET I can't make you - trust me.

CHARLES What nonsense! Of course I trust you!

MARGARET It's just words. Charles. Nothing behind.

CHARLES There's nothing you need worry about.

MARGARET Ah, (PAUSE) I don't think Michael will do this to Jennifer. -

CHARLES Michael will find the world's a lot different from his idea of it.

MARGARET Most of us do.

CHARLES Things aren't that simple.

MARGARET I don't think they want things simple, Just simpler. He won't shut Jenny out.

CHARLES I'm doing no such thing,

MARGARET You are! You are! I'm just a - a kept woman,

CHARLES Meg!

MARGARET What else? A hostess, perhaps! To run your house and provide entertainment for your friends! Jenny will be spared that. They'll not be able to afford it.

CHARLESAfford it? That's rich. that is.

MARGARET What is it, Charles?

CHARLES I don't want to talk about it.

MARGARET At last,

CHARLES There's nothing. Nothing at all.

MARGARET Nothing, Only silences, And estrangement, And sleeping pills and bad dreams and turning in your bed at night. (ALMOST WEEPING) And no - no love from you in, oh, do you know how long?

CHARLES Meg! For God's sake!

MARGARET If that's nothing, then there's nothing.

CHARLESA man shoulders his responsibilities. A marriage has a broader back.

(TAP ON DOOR. DOOR OPENS)

JENNIFER May we come in? We want to talk to you.

MARGARET Very well. dear.

MICHAEL Mr. Ransome!

JENNIFER No, Mike, let me.

MICHAEL All right, doll! I didn't know what to say. anyway.

JENNIFER Daddy! When Mike came tonight he told me something, He didn't want-to go ahead and talk to you because of What he'd heard. I mean. knowing - what he knew. I made him,

CHARLES Jenny, please!

MARGARET No, no, Jenny! Go on. Go on, please!

MICHAEL No! Don't!

JENNIFER Mike! What is all this?

MICHAEL Mr. Ransome, we know what Jenny's talking about, don't we?

CHARLESPerhaps!

MICHAEL I don't think Mrs. Ransome does!

MARGARETNo!

MICHAEL That settles it,

CHARLESWhat's that supposed to mean?

MICHAELJenny and I are going to get married. As soon as we can.

MARGARETMike. are you quite sure?

MICHAELSure? I've never been so sure. I don't mean just the way I feel about Jenny, I mean about this whole marriage kick.

JENNIFERWhat do you mean. Mike?

MICHAELI - well, listen girl. I don't guarantee not to get in a mess-after we're married, about money, and jobs. things like that, If you ask me. we've got the sort of set-up where you can't insure against it,

JENNIFER What are you getting at. Mike?

MICHAELI'm just saying that all I'll guarantee is to tell you. And you'll do the same, or I'll see why,

JENNIFEROf course.

MICHAEL That's all. then, We've done all we've got to do here, Come on!

JENNIFER Righto, lover!

(DOOR OPENS)

MARGARET Mike!

MICHAEL Yes. Mrs. Ransome?

MARGARET Oh. Mike, we really must do something about that name!

MICHAELYeah, sure, What was it?

MARGARETJust - thank you! And every possible happiness to you both!

MICHAEL Thanks! Thanks a lot!

JENNIFEROh, Mummy!

(SHE RUNS ACROSS TO MARGARET, THERE IS THE SOUND OF A KISS)

JENNIFER You too, Daddy!(ANOTHER KISS) Cheer up! We won't be too proud to borrow. If you can spare it. See you! Come on, Mike! (DOOR CLOSES)

MARGARET Now, Charles Ransome

CHARLES Yes?

MARGARET Come along now! Let's have it!

CHARLES It's nothing

MARGARET We won't start that again.

CHARLES Really, it's

MARGARET Charles!

CHARLES All right! All right! You'll have to know some time, I suppose,