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TWELVE TUESDAYS TO CHRISTMAS

by

W.G.STANTON

Produced by James Duckett

REHEARSE/
RECORD:
Wednesday 14th October 1970
Thursday 15th October 1970
Friday 16th October 1970

1430-1730 (S.M.s Only)
1030-1730
1030-1730

STUDIO: Studio 2, 282 Broad Street, Birmingham
PROGRAMME NUMBER: TBM 41/MD204H
TRANSMISSION Wednesday 31st March 1971, Radio 4, 1500-1600
CAST
Olive: Janet Whiteside
Phyllis: Patricia Green
Jane: Patricia Green
R.M.O.: Jack Holloway
Caroline/Nurse: Anne Cullen
Harritet/Sister: Eileen Barry
Bert/Moffat: Norman Cockin
Fred/Physician: George Wolley
Secretary
Jenny Brewer
Tel:021 454-4888
extn.363

Studio Managers
John Pierce
Peter Belham
Eric Sabib

(WE OPEN WITH THE SOUND OF A DOOR BEING VIOLENTLY BROKEN IN. CUT IN THE SOUND OF ESCAPING GAS, RUNNING FEET OVER. SOUND OF GAS STOPS. FEET AGAIN. SOUND OF BREAKING WINDOW. FADE UP FAST ON TWO TONE AMBULANCE HORN, AND TAKEN DOWN AS SCENE MOVES TO THE INTERIOR OF THE AMBULANCE. CUT IN ĎCLUNKí OF AUTOMAN EQUIPMENT AND ALTERNATE ASPIRATION OF OXYGEN. VOICES OVER.)

BERT

You O.K. in there, Fred?

FRED

Yeah.

BERT

How is she?

FRED

Not too good. Donít stop to do any shoppiní, mate.

BERT

Better warn casualty at St. Saviourís, you reckon.

FRED

Yeah.

BERT

Right.

(CLICK OF SWITCH. CRACKLE)

BERT

Red Four Four to Control. Are you receiving me? Over.

CONTROL

(DISTORT) Control. Go ahead, Red Four Four. Over.

BERT

Casualty already reported from Number Twelve, One Two, Shelley Court. Patient deeply unconscious. Coal-gas poisoning. Respiration very shallow. Please advise Casualty Department at St. Saviourís to stand by. Over.

CONTROL

Roger, Red Four Four. Understood. Will do. Over and Out.

(CLICK OF SWITCH)

BERT

Right. Wonder who she is?

FRED

Dunno. Landlady back there wanted to tell me all about it.

BERT

Donít they just. Every time.

FRED

Told Ďem to save it for the police.

BERT

When she see Ďer last?

FRED

When she got back lasí night. Night School.

BERT

Back from - ? Who? The landlady?

FRED

No. This one. Seems the landlady goes to the same night school. But not lasí night.

BERT

Oh.

FRED

Said she seemed quiet Ďerself, though. Whoíd Ďave thought it, aní all that.

BERT

This one Ďere a teacher, then? Or a student?

FRED

Didnít say. Could be either from the look of her. No means of telliní. Night school.

BERT

Yeah.

(AMBULANCE HORN UP, DROWNING THE SOUNDS OF THE AUTOMAN EQUIPMENT, AND FADE OUT. CUT IN SOUNDS OF EVENING CENTRE, VOICES OVER)

PHYLLIS

Why, hello there, Miss Morley!

OLIVE

Good evening, Miss Nielson.

PHYLLIS

You? At an evening centre?

OLIVE

Oh? Why not?

PHYLLIS

Weeell -

OLIVE

I would have said I was typical.

PHYLLIS

Typical?

OLIVE

(WITH WRY HUMOUR) Unmarried. Early middle age?

PHYLLIS

There are others.

OLIVE

But more like me, eh?

PHYLLIS

Very few like you, in fact. Youíre not the evening institute type.

OLIVE

(AMUSED) Too - sophisticated? That sort of thing? (LAUGHS) Donít let it fool you! (PAUSE)

PHYLLIS

Er - what subject did you have in mind?

OLIVE

Oh, I donít know. Contemporary Verse, perhaps?

PHYLLIS

Thereís your brotherís class.

OLIVE

I think not. No. Might be embarrassing. For him. I mean.

PHYLLIS

Oh.

OLIVE

I dinít know you knew him, Miss Nielson.

PHYLLIS

(WITH RELIEF) Oh yes! (PAUSE) - little.

OLIVE

But, of course! Youíre both at the same school, arenít you? Ferris Hill?

PHYLLIS

We were. Not now.

OLIVE

(LAUGHS) I expect youíre barmy about him like the rest of the women teachers, eh?

PHYLLIS

Oh, no, no!

OLIVE

Iím sorry! I was merely - well now, what do I do? To register, or whatever you call it?

PHYLLIS

Just fill this in, please. And bring the card back here when youíve got a receipt from the fee clerk.

OLIVE

Do you know, Iím quite looking forward to this?

PHYLLIS

Good.

OLIVE

A new experience.

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

One should welcome new experiences, donít you think?

PHYLLIS

Oh, quite.

OLIVE

After all, one never knows. (NERVOUS LAUGHTER) This could mark the beginning of a whole new life, eh? Iím the right age for it, too!

PHYLLIS

(LAUGHS POLITELY)

OLIVE

Right, then. (GOES, LAUGHING) Forward to the new life, what? Over here, you said?

PHYLLIS

Now, ladies, can I help you?

CAROLINE

We were just looking, thank you!

HARRIET

(SOTTO VOICE) Caroline! Do come away!

CAROLINE

Whatís that, Harriet?

HARRIET

I said come away! Youíre so - obvious!

CAROLINE

So thatís her, is it?

HARRIET

Donít stare so!

CAROLINE

That Miss whatís her name - Nielson?

HARRIET

Yes.

CAROLINE

And thatís the one Andrew Lorleyís playing around with now? I wondered what she looked like.

HARRIET

Caroline, really!

CAROLINE

What do you expect, Harriet? You might say I have a personal interest in Miss Nielson.

HARRIET

I refuse to discuss the private affairs of my tenants.

CAROLINE

Oh ho! Not much!

HARRIET

Not in public.

CAROLINE

(LAUGHS)

HARRIET

My tenants are not my moral responsibility.

CAROLINE

Just as well.

HARRIET

What do you mean?

CAROLINE

If theyíre all like her.

HARRIET

Youíve some room to talk, Caroline!

CAROLINE

Though what he sees in her - ! Iím no raving beauty, but Iíll take her on!

HARRIET

Caroline! Do keep your voice down! Thereís his sister!

CAROLINE

Andrewís? Iíve never met her. Which one?

HARRIET

There!

CAROLINE

Which one?

HARRIET

In the suit. At the table there. Writing. The one who was talking to Miss Nielson.

CAROLINE

My! Elegant!

HARRIET

Caroline! Donít be so - obvious!

CAROLINE

My goodness, sheís a bit different from the Nielson woman.

HARRIET

Different?

CAROLINE

Well, look at her!

HARRIET

Oh, really!

CAROLINE

Well, look! Miss Morley - groomed, thatís the word. Then look at that Nielson. What do you suppose Andrew sees in that? She must have hidden charms. Well hidden. Where is he, anyway?

HARRIET

Heís not here. At least, Iíve not seen him. I canít understand you, Caroline. Still hankering after him - a married man.

CAROLINE

Hasnít stopped the Nielson woman, has it? When I think -

HARRIET

Yes, I know. He was all set to get interested in you, wasnít he?

CAROLINE

All set? He was interested!

HARRIET

Youíd like to think so, no doubt.

CAROLINE

He took me out. Twice. He was interested.

HARRIET

Yes, he said so.

CAROLINE

Then she comes along - Nielson. Throws herself at him. Fills his head with scandal about me -

HARRIET

Now what could she possible say, Caroline?

CAROLINE

Never mind that! She meant having him. And sheís got him - the bitch! What do you expect me to say? Good luck, Miss Nielson? Thatís how it goes? May better woman win?

HARRIET

Caroline? You must control yourself. Youíre well out of it. After all, he is a married man.

CAROLINE

The way you go on about that! Does she know?

HARRIET

She?

CAROLINE

His sister. Miss Morley. Whatís her name?

HARRIET

Miss Morley? Oh. Olive.

CAROLINE

Olive, eh? Olive Morley. Olive. Suits her.

HARRIET

Suits her.

CAROLINE

Glossy. Smooth, Hard centre, too, I shouldnít wonder. Well, does she?

HARRIET

Does she what?

CAROLINE

Know. About Andrew and the Nielson woman.

HARRIET

I shouldnít think so. Letís change the subject, shall we?

CAROLINE

All right. (PAUSE) What makes you think she doesnít.

HARRIET

Miss Morley has standards. Not like - well, some people. That sort fo thing would - upset her.

(FADE UP HEART BEATS . VOICE OVER)

Sheís not used to that sort of thing, you knowÖ. You knowÖ you knowÖ

(ĎYOU KNOWí BLENDS INTO HEART-BEATS UNTIL ONLY THE HEART BEATS ARE HEARD. TAKE DOWN AND VOICES OVER. SUSTAIN THE HEART BEATS THROUGH THE SCENE.)

SISTER

Just move her over here, will you. On to the emergency trolley.

(SOUNDS OF EFFORT)

R.M.O.

Righ sister. You carry on. Iíll talk to these chaps.

(SOUNDS OF TROLLEY GOING)

FRED

Touch aní go, yíask me.

R.M.O.

Yes. How did you find her?

BERT

Fireman smashed the door in.

R.M.O.

And where is she?

FRED

On the floor. Near the gas oven.

R.M.O.

Near the gas oven? Not inside?

FRED

No. Definitely.

BERT

Looked as if she meant to. But her head was outside.

R.M.O.

Youíre sure.

FRED BERT

Yes.

R.M.O.

Hmmmm. Fallen out, I imagine. Tablets?

BERT

Yes. We got the bottle. Empty. Here.

R.M.O

Oh, good. Thanks. Was this the lot? Did you check?

BERT

Well, no.

FRED

Hadnít time, really. Thought weíd better get her here.

R.M.O.

Quite right. Anyone with her?

FRED

No.

BERT

Lives on her own. Landlady wanted to come. Fait bustiní, she was. But we thought not.

R.M.O.

No, perhaps not. Time enough for that. Right, thanks, you chapsÖ.

(CLAND OF DOORS. FADE UP SOUNDS OF EVENING CENTRE CANTEEN. TAKE DOWN AND VOICES OVER.)

CAROLINE

Harritet! You get the coffee. Iíll bag a couple of seats.

HARRIET

(LONG SUFFERING) Very well.

CAROLINE

(SOTTO VOICE) I say! Look whoís here! (ALOUD) Good evening, Miss Morley!

OLIVE

Iím sorry! Have - we met?

HARRIET

(APPROACHING) Hello, Miss Morley! May I introduce a friend of mine - Caroline Smeaton?

CAROLINE

So nice to meet you!

OLIVE

How do you do?

CAROLINE

Iím just going to get a table. Will you join us? Harrietís getting the coffee. It is coffee, is it, Miss Morley?

OLIVE

Thank you.

CAROLINE

(GOING) Come along then. We have to be quick, or the 8.15 lot will be in. Look thereís a table.

(WE GO WITH THEM)

CAROLINE

Here we are! Itís a dreadful crush early in the term. Still, only twelve more Tuesdays to Christmas, I always say.

OLIVE

Really? Iíd no idea these places were so popular.

CAROLINE

Well, you wouldnít, would you?

OLIVE

Why ever not?

CAROLINE

Youíre not the type.

OLIVE

(AMUSED) I canít think what you mean.

CAROLINE

Well, look aroundÖ..

OLIVE

Iím sorry, I - still donít see.

CAROLINE

Do forgive me. Iím always doing it. Iím like that. Straightforward. I say what I think. Without thinking, you know.

OLIVE

Not at all.

CAROLINE

I was saying to Harriet - last week. Elegant, I said. Thatís the word. Elegant.

OLIVE

Well, thank you. (QUICKLY) What subject are you taking.

CAROLINE

When you were talking to Miss Nielson.

OLIVE

Oh yes?

CAROLINE

I think it is so nice you can talk to her. So - adult.

OLIVE

Adult?

CAROLINE

I mean, considering Ö.

OLIVE

Iím sorry, I - donít follow.

CAROLINE

Oh dear! There! Iíve done it again! I thought you knew all about it.

OLIVE

About it?

CAROLINE

Oh, my goodness!

OLIVE

Excuse me - is there something - I should know?

CAROLINE

Oh no, no! Itís - nothing. Nothing at all. Oh look, hereís Harriet. (CALLS) Harriet! Over here!

HARRIET

(APPROACHING) Sorry, Iíve been so long!

OLIVE

Itís very kind of you.

HARRIET

My pleasure. (POINTEDLY) I usually get the coffee, donít I, Caroline?

(SOUND OF CHAIRS, CUPS, ETC)

OLIVE

(AMUSED) Miss- Smeaton, is it? - was hinting at some dark secret.

HARRIET

Secret?

OLIVE

We were talking about Miss Nielson,actually.

HARRIET

Caroline! How could you? Discussing Miss Morleyís brother! You really are the end!

CAROLINE

I never mentioned - Miss Morleyís brother.

OLIVE

My brother? But I thought you - said Miss NielsonÖ.

HARRIET

Nothing but silly gossip, Miss Morley.

OLIVE

Oh. I see.

HARRIET

Letís change the subject, Caroline!

CAROLINE

All right, but donít blame me!

HARRIET

Blame you?

CAROLINE

If you hadnít butted in, Miss Morley wouldnít have known that her brother -

HARRIET

Caroline!

CAROLINE

- was having an affair with Miss Nielson.

HARRIET

Stop it! Stop it!

OLIVE

Iíd rather not hear any more. (GOING)Thank you for the coffe, Miss Topham.

HARRIET

Really, Caroline, youíre too bad!

CAROLINE

Rubbish! Why should people like her be sheilded from the facts of life? Do her good!

HARRIET

You shouldnít interfere!

CAROLINE

Did you see her face?

HARRIET

Yes, I did!

CAROLINE

That sort - the smooth sort - they always take things hard. Sheíll be after that precious brother of hers like a shot. You mark my words.

(RECEIVER LIFTED. BELL RINGS DISTANT. DISTANT RECEIVER LIFTED)

OLIVE

Andrew! Is that you? (QUICKLY) Listen! I heard - or -something tonight. A most upsetting piece of gossip - scandal, that is. About you and - another teacher. Of course, I donít believe it for a moment, but in view of the headship youíre up for, donít you think - ?

(SLAM OF DISTANT RECEIVER. RECEIVER REST JIGGLED)

OLIVE

Andrew! Andrew! Oh damn! Andrew!

(ĎANDREWí REPEATS CONTINUOUSLY AND BLENDS INTO THE HEART-BEATS, GRADUALLY BECOMING FAINTER AND MORE RAPID. VOICES OVER)

SISTER

Sheís ready, doctor.

R.M.O.

Right. Letís have a cylinder of 5% CO2 in oxygen, eh? And an ambu bag!

SISTER

Right. Nurse Adams!

R.M.O.

Bleep the anaesthetist on call, will you? Weíre going top need him!

SISTER

Yes. Nurse Willis, find out whoís on call, will you?

R.M.O.

Ask him to step on it!

SISTER

Off you go, Nurse! Sharp, now!

R.M.O

Sister, you breathe her with the ambu bag. And Iíll have a look at her. What was her blood pressure?

SISTER

Eighty over fifty.

R.M.O.

Hmm. Better put a call out for the Houseman. Weíre going to have trouble with this one, I guess. Sheís pretty far goneÖÖ

(HEART-BEATS RISE TO PEAK AND FADE AS VOICES ARE HEARD OVER)

OLIVE

Very well! Since you wonít listen to me, Andrew, Iíll talk to her.

(CUT TO PHYLLIS)

PHYLLIS

I really canít see that itís any concern of yours, Miss Morley.

OLIVE

Andrew is my brother.

PHYLLIS

Heís not a child. Heís old enough to look after his own affairs.

OLIVE

An unfortunate choice of words.

PHYLLIS

Anyway, what do you expect me to do about it?

OLIVE

I should have thought that was obvious.

PHYLLIS

Not to me.

OLIVE

I canít think why you ever allowed such a situation to come about.

PHYLLIS

It wasnít entirely my doing, you know.

OLIVE

No?

PHYLLIS

I have tried. I even got a transfer from Ferris Hill.

OLIVE

Then you must try again. You must give him up.

PHYLLIS

Give him up? What are you talking about? Heís not some hobby Iíve taken up to pass the long dark nights!

OLIVE

I wonít comment on that.

PHYLLIS

(EXPLODING) Oh, for Godís sake! What do you know about such matters?

OLIVE

Men, you mean?

PHYLLIS

A man, I mean.

OLIVE

We are not discussing any man Miss Nielson. (PAUSE) Heís up for an important promotion.

PHYLLIS

Iím well aware of that.

OLIVE

And youíre not prepared to help him?

PHYLLIS

Help him?

OLIVE

This sort of thing could ruin his chances.

PHYLLIS

Iím not about to tell anyone.

OLIVE

People have already heard. A perfect stranger told me. Itís - horrible.

PHYLLIS

Your opinion. Anyway, weíve already made up our minds.

OLIVE

You mean not to see each other?

PHYLLIS

Not to see - ? No, I mean not to do anything about the divorce.

OLIVE

(AGHAST) Divorce?

PHYLLIS

Until this headship thing is over.

OLIVE

Thereís no possibility of that! Divorce? Andrew?

PHYLLIS

Heís free, white and twenty-one, you know.

OLIVE

Heís not! Heís not! There are - others to consider.

PHYLLIS

Others? You mean his wife?

OLIVE

Well, yes. Jane. So thereíll be no divorce.

PHYLLIS

That has absolutely nothing to do with you.

OLIVE

Youíre wrong, Iíve talked to June.

(FADE IN SQUELING PUPPIES AND BARKING DOGS. EXTERIOR SCENE. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

Jane! Arenít they sweet? May I pick them up?

JANE

Not yet, please. Bit early.

OLIVE

Oh, you darling! Arenít you just adorable!

JANE

I wouldnít have thought dogs were much in your line.

OLIVE

Dogs? I love puppies. Theyíre like all young things. Beautiful. And - helpless.

JANE

Would you like one? Later?

OLIVE

Donít tempt me, Jane! No, no, I couldnít. Left alone in a flat all day? No, I couldnít do that.

JANE

(MOVED) Good for you. (HER TONE BECOMES MORE FRIENDLY) Come into the house, and have some coffee!

OLIVE

Thank you. I - I want to talk to you, as it happensÖ.

JANE

Oh? You go ahead, then whilst I put these away.

(YELPING INCREASES, AND SUBSIDES AS DOOR LATCH IS HEARD. FOOTSTEPS GOING AWAY. SOUND OF INTERIOR DOOR CLOSING)

JANE

There we are. Smoke, if you want to. Thereís an ash-tray somewhere, I think.

OLIVE

Thanks. I smoke too much. Nerves, I suppose.

JANE

Nerves? You?

OLIVE

Jane, I - this isnít going to be pleasant.

JANE

Oh?

OLIVE

Itís - Andrew.

JANE

Yes?

OLIVE

A woman - horrible type - last nightÖ.

JANE

Go on.

OLIVE

At evening centre - my God this is difficultÖ..

JANE

Well?

OLIVE

She hinted that Andrew was-well, having an affair.

JANE

Yes?

OLIVE

Itís not true, of course, but - itís most unpleasantÖ.

JANE

I donít know. Why?

OLIVE

This headship - that sort of talkÖ.

JANE

Itís up to Andrew then. Isnít it?

OLIVE

But itís not true! Donít look like that?

JANE

I expect so.

OLIVE

What! You - you - what did you say?

JANE

I expect so.

OLIVE

Jane! What are you saying?

JANE

I expect itís true. Thereís no call to get worked up about it.

OLIVE

Worked up? Donít you care?

JANE

Not much.

OLIVE

Not - ?

JANE

And I canít see why you should. Heís a big boy now, you know.

OLIVE

But itís not like him! Thatís not Andrew!

JANE

Oh come, old girl! You canít seriously think that!

OLIVE

Heís not like that! Heís not! (PAUSE) Oh, L know at school he always had girls setting their caps at him. They used to make friends with me - just to get to know him. Then theyíd drop me. (LAUGHS UNEASILY) I remember I used to be jealous of them.

JANE

Of them?

OLIVE

I mean, of him, of course.

(AN AWKWARD PAUSE)

JANE

No harm in that, of course. I mean, setting their caps at him.

OLIVE

No, no, of course not.

JANE

Trouble is it never stops there.

OLIVE

Jane! You talk as if it happened all the time!

JANE

Thatís right.

OLIVE

What!

JANE

Andrewís a - tom-cat. Didnít you know?

OLIVE

Oh, no! No!

JANE

Yes.

OLIVE

I donít believe it! I canít believe it!

JANE

No, you wouldnít. (PAUSE) Iím sorry for the girl, though.

OLIVE

Sorry for her?

JANE

It wonít end well. I mean for herÖ.

(CUT TO OLIVE)

OLIVE

Miss Nielson, Andrewís wife has no intention of releasing him.

PHYLLIS

Well, she wouldnít, would she?

OLIVE

So thereís really no point in continuing the association.

PHYLLIS

Thereís just one thing I just donít understand.

OLIVE

Yes?

PHYLLIS

What the devil itís got to do with you.

OLIVE

Heís my brother.

PHYLLIS

Your brother? It wouldnít be any of your business if you were his mother! Itís his affair.

OLIVE

Quite.

PHYLLIS

Oh, donít be so damned self-righteous! If he wanted her, would he come to me? What sort of a wife is she anyway? All sheís got time for is those damn dogs! Why didnít she give him some kids, eh?

(CUT TO OLIVE AND JANE)

OLIVE

Jane! Donít you think - ? Forgive meÖ.

JANE

Go on.

OLIVE

If youíd had - well, childrenÖÖ

JANE

Maybe. We tried.

OLIVE

Iím sorry.

JANE

Donít be.

OLIVE

You both wanted them?

JANE

I did.

OLIVE

You did?

JANE

Andrew wouldnít.

OLIVE

Wouldnít?

JANE

Wouldnít go for the test. I think perhaps he was scared it might be him. Heís so - masculine.

OLIVE

Iím sorry.

JANE

Nobodyís fault.

OLIVE

It doesnít make any difference. Itís got to stop!

JANE

Oh, quite!

OLIVE

Howís he ever going to get on if he - does this sort of thing?

JANE

Oh, I donít know, old girl. Most selection committees for headships and things have women on them nowadays. Heíll get by, I expect.

OLIVE

Itís got to stop!

JANE

Thereís nothing I can do about it, Olive. Or you. Heís not your little brother any more.

OLIVE

Itís disgusting. Women like thatÖ..

JANE

Heís not - vicious, you know. Itís just that when they fell for him he - well, sort of goes through the motions. Almost as if he thought it was expected of him. And wham! Thereís another happily fallen woman.

OLIVE

(REGISTERS DISGUST)

JANE

Only as heís sterile thereís no great harm done. If you can see it that way.

OLIVE

See it that way?

(DISGUST AGAIN)

JANE

(RATHER TENSE) Itís easier with practice. (PAUSE) Thereís always the dogs. (PAUSE, THEN WITH SUDDEN FEELING) For all I care he can lay Ďem from here to the moon!

OLIVE

Jane!

JANE

Weell!

OLIVE

And you wont do anything?

JANE

You mean divorce?

OLIVE

Well -

JANE

Donít think I havenít offered. But for some reason he doesnít seem to want it. I canít explain it. I suppose he feels the need for a base for his - excursions. Like any other tom-cat.

OLIVE

Itís - horrible!

JANE

Give yourself time, old girl. Youíll get used to it!

OLIVE

Get used to - ! I shanít! Iím going to talk to that woman! Itís got to stop!

(CUT TO PHYLLIS AND OLIVE)

OLIVE

You see, Miss Nielson, children donít come into it.

PHYLLIS

Really?

OLIVE

No.

PHYLLIS

And why hasnít she given him any?

OLIVE

I suppose for the same reason she hasnít given him a divorce.

PHYLLIS

And why is that?

OLIVE

He doesnít want it.

PHYLLIS

She told you that?

OLIVE

Yes.

PHYLLIS

That Andrew doesnít want children?

OLIVE

Not exactly.

PHYLLIS

Ah!

OLIVE

He canít have children, Miss Nielson.

PHYLLIS

What!

OLIVE

He canít have children!

(PHYLLIS BEGINS TO LAUGH)

OLIVE

I really donít see anything at all humorous in such a situation. Itís - tragic!

PHYLLIS

(LAUGHING EVEN LOUDER) Tragic?

OLIVE

Yes. Andrew loves children. He always has. Thatís why he chose teaching.

PHYLLIS

Iím very glad to hear it. That he loves children, I mean.

OLIVE

Why?

PHYLLIS

(QUIETLY) Iím going to have his child.

OLIVE

Youíre - ? Itís impossible!

PHYLLIS

I assure you itís not. Andrew really is mine - now!

OLIVE

(HER GUARD QUITE DOWN) You bitch! You cunning bitch! (PAUSE, THEN WITH MORE CONTROL) I donít believe a word of it!

PHYLLIS

You must believe what you like, of course.

OLIVE

(BEGINNING TO LOSE CONTROL AGAIN) You - you conniving little -

PHYLLIS

Miss Morley! This talk was your idea, not mine. But youíre in my flat. If thatís all you have to offer - abuse, I think youíd better go.

OLIVE

(BREAKING DOWN) Go? Yes! Yes! (GOING) Andrew! Andrew! Why did you do it? Why? Why?

(THE DOOR SLAMS AND BEGINS THE HEART-BEATS AGAIN. VOICES OVER)

R.M.O.

Keep that ambu bag going, sister. (PAUSE) Iím going to take some blood. We need to know what those tablets were. Nurse!

NURSE

Yes!

R.M.O.

A twenty-nil syringe, a needle and a swab!

NURSE

Right!

R.M.O.

Oh, and Nurse - !

NURSE

Yes?

R.M.O.

Better get me the special for the blood gases. Got that?

NURSE

Yes.

R.M.O.

And some heparin! (BEGIN FADE OF VOICE HOLDING HEART-BEATS) Iíll get the carbon monoxide level at the same timeÖ.

(FADE OUT HEART-BEATS. VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

Youíll have to let him go, Jane.

JANE

Give him up? Why?

OLIVE

Think of it! Sheís having his child!

JANE

So?

OLIVE

Donít you see? The talk! It will ruin his chances!

JANE

His chances?

OLIVE

The headship.

JANE

Oh, that!

OLIVE

A divorce is bad enough -

JANE

Nothing doing, old girl!

OLIVE

Nothing - ? What do you mean?

JANE

I wonít divorce him.

OLIVE

But, Jane, you must! Donít you see? You must!

JANE

Last time you brought up this subject, you were all for her giving him up. Remember?

OLIVE

Yes.

JANE

I agree. She must.

OLIVE

But itís different now!

JANE

Yes.

OLIVE

You mean you will?

JANE

No. I mean I wonít.

OLIVE

But - why?

JANE

Because itís different now.

OLIVE

I - I donít understand.

JANE

Sheís going to have his child, is she?

OLIVE

If sheís telling the truth.

JANE

She convinced you.

OLIVE

I - Iím not sureÖ

JANE

Oh, youíre sure, all right, or you wouldnít have come to see me. (PAUSE) Sheís not having him!

OLIVE

But you said - !

JANE

There are ways and means nowadaysÖ..

OLIVE

Ways and means?

JANE

If he can give her one, he can give me one!

OLIVE

Jane! Oh - thatís horrible!

JANE

Horrible? No. Might even be like old times. (PAUSE) Look here, old girl, donít you think youíve done enough meddling? If I want Andrewís child, whatís it to you? You ought to be pleased, Aunt Olive!

OLIVE

But what about - ?

JANE

Her? Phooey!

OLIVE

But, Jane, you canít - !

JANE

Did she care about me? Well, did she?

OLIVE

But, Jane -

JANE

I was ready to stick to him before. No matter what he did. So Iíll stick to him now! (WITH EXPLOSIVE FEELING) I canít stop her having his brat! But sheís not having him! Heís mine! Mine!

OLIVE

But itís Andrewís - !

JANE

Iíll even adopt it, if he wants me to.

OLIVE

But suppose heíd rather - go tk her?

JANE

Go to her? Andrew? Ask him!

OLIVE

What!

JANE

Díyou think I donít know him? After all this time? Sheíll make demandsÖ..

OLIVE

Demands?

JANE

She wonít be able to help herself. They never can.

OLIVE

I donít understand.

JANE

How do you suppose Iíve kept him all this time?

OLIVE

Oh, no, no.

JANE

Youíll see. The moment he knows sheís preggers.

OLIVE

Oh, no. I donít - I canít understand you.

JANE

You donít understand him. Mark my words. The moment he knows.

(PAUSE. TAP ON DOOR. PAUSE. DOOR OPENS)

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

Miss Nielson - please! May I come in?

PHYLLIS

Must you?

OLIVE

Iíve come to apologise -

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

I really am sorry! Canít we - talk?

PHYLLIS

Talk? Iím not at all sure I want to.

OLIVE

Not out here, please.

PHYLLIS

Very well. Youíd better come in.

(DOOR CLOSES)

PHYLLIS

Now what is it?

OLIVE

Miss Nielson, I owe you an apology. Iím deeply sorry. I shouldnít have spoken as I did.

PHYLLIS

No.

OLIVE

Iím not trying to excuse myself, but do - please - try to understand! I was terribly upsetÖ.

PHYLLIS

I canít think why.

OLIVE

Miss Nielson, heís my brother. He - heís all I have in the world.

PHYLLIS

I didnít know that.

OLIVE

I really am most sorry. Please forgive me. For his sake. Andrew means - a lot to me.

PHYLLIS

And me.

OLIVE

I know. I know. Iíve been telling myself all night. Thatís why I wanted to talk to you.

PHYLLIS

Iím sorry, I donít - understand.

OLIVE

Weíre both - fond of himÖ.

PHYLLIS

Fond?

OLIVE

Ö. So we wouldnít do anything that might - hurt him. Would we?

PHYLLIS

Noo. But I donít see where - this is getting us.

OLIVE

Miss Nielson, Iím asking for your help. For Andrew.

PHYLLIS

My help?

OLIVE

To see this thing through. Without anyone getting hurt. We can do it. Together. Iím sure we can.

PHYLLIS

Iím sorry, I - donít uderstand.

OLIVE

Iíve seen his wife.

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

She wonít divorce him.

PHYLLIS

He asked her?

OLIVE

No. I did.

PHYLLIS

You did?

OLIVE

I thought - divorceÖ.

PHYLLIS

You thought it would be the lesser of two evils?

OLIVE

No. Yes. Well - But she wonít let him go.

PHYLLIS

Does she know about - ?

OLIVE

Itís because of thatÖ The - the baby.

PHYLLIS

Oh.

OLIVE

Miss Nielson, Iíve - Iíve had an idea. No, donít stop me, please! Let me - hear me out first!

PHYLLIS

Go onÖ.

OLIVE

Iím not without means. Let me help you. Through - through this business. I mean, if you want to go away for a while, until -

PHYLLIS

Miss Morley!

OLIVE

No, listen, please! Just until this headship is over! Youíll be so proud of him then. And then he can get his divorce perhaps.

PHYLLIS

Perhaps?

OLIVE

And even if the worst came to the worst, Iíd still help you gladly. With the baby, I mean. Financially. So that you could keep him if you wanted toÖÖ.

PHYLLIS

Itís out of the question. (PAUSE) Andrew and I are going to be married.

OLIVE

Yes, yes, I know. But, please, wait till this other business is over -

PHYLLIS

This other business?

OLIVE

The headship.

PHYLLIS

I canít think why your so concerned about it.

OLIVE

I promise Iíll do everything I can to persuade Jane. But please donít spoil his chances now!

PHYLLIS

And suppose Andrew doesnít agree.

OLIVE

You mean to wait?

PHYLLIS

Yes.

OLIVE

He wonít, I know. Heíll want to do the - the right thing. I know he will. But, if we let him - just now - heíll lose this chance. And it will never come again. Please! You must persuade him!

PHYLLIS

Me?

OLIVE

For his sake.

PHYLLIS

His sake?

OLIVE

The baby. (QUICKLY) I mean Andrew, of course.

PHYLLIS

Heíll never agree. Not for a moment.

OLIVE

We must persuade him then. Both of us. Please! Think of him!

PHYLLIS

Weell -

OLIVE

And another thingÖ..

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

The baby. You know, heíll be my nephew, wonít he?

PHYLLIS

(AMUSED) Or niece.

OLIVE

Yes, of course. So, in a way, Iíve got a stake in him, havenít I?

PHYLLIS

Mmmmmm.

OLIVE

So you will let me help, wonít you? Please?

PHYLLIS

Miss MorleyÖÖIím sorry - perhaps I was wrong about you -

OLIVE

We were both wrong. But thatís over. Donít you think, now, you might begin to call me Olive? Please? After all, we are going to be related arenít we?

(ĎARENíT WE?í BECOMES THE HEART-BEATS. VOICES OVER)

R.M.O.

Oh. You the anaesthetist?

MOFFATT

Yes. Moffatt.

R.M.O.

Good

MOFFATT

How is she?

R.M.O.

Not very clever. Would you intubate her? And then we can aspirate her stomach aswell?

MOFFATT

Iíll have a looksee. (PAUSE) She certainly looks flat enough to tolerate a tube. Sheís pretty far gone. Nurse, get me the things, will you? I want to put a tube down. (PAUSE) Whatís her B.P.?

R.M.O.

Eighty over fifty.

MOFFATT

Hmmm. Thank you, Staff!

(SOUND OF TEARING PAPER BAG)

MOFFATT

Laryngoscope, please! And pass me the sucker.

(CLICK AS HE TURNS ON THE MACHINE. REPEATED SUCKING SOUND BEGINS. TAKE IT DOWN, BRING IT UP HEART-BEATS, DOWN AND CUT IN SOUND OF DISHES, VOICES OVER.)

OLIVE

Phyllis!

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

Let me do those!

PHYLLIS

Goodness, itís only a few tea things!

OLIVE

But you must rest more! You must!

PHYLLIS

Olive, itís months yet! Thereís plenty of time for that sort of thing.

OLIVE

Itís what Andrew would want, you know. (PAUSE) Phyllis!

PHYLLIS

Yes?

OLIVE

What does it feel like?

PHYLLIS

Feel like?

OLIVE

Yes. To be - having his childÖ.

PHYLLIS

(LAUGHS) Pretty ghastly. First thing in the morning, anyway.

OLIVE

Oh. (PAUSE) Does he know yet?

PHYLLIS

Know?

OLIVE

About the baby.

PHYLLIS

Not unless Janeís told him.

OLIVE

Oh no. Jane wouldnít, oh no.

PHYLLIS

Then he doesnít.

OLIVE

When are you going to tell him?

PHYLLIS

(STRAINED) I donít know.

OLIVE

Have you seen him?

PHYLLIS

(BREAKING DOWN) No. No. (REGAINS CONTROL) What are you doing?

OLIVE

Itís a - well, itís a matinee coat.

PHYLLIS

Let me see. Oh, itís for -

OLIVE

Yes, it is. Isnít that what aunts are for?

PHYLLIS

Olive - !

OLIVE

Yes?

PHYLLIS

Thanks. Perhaps Iíve been - well, thanks.

OLIVE

I donít understand.

PHYLLIS

Youíve been - well, I know how you felt.. the babyÖ.. AndrewÖ.

OLIVE

Oh, rubbish. It was just - well, it took a little time. (PAUSE) Now - well. (LAUGHS UNEASILY) Iím getting quite impatient.

PHYLLIS

I know.

OLIVE

Silly of me.

PHYLLIS

I wouldnít say that. (PAUSE) Olive, what should I do?

OLIVE

Do?

PHYLLIS

About telling him.

OLIVE

Oh goodness, Phyllis, Iím sure I should have told him by nowÖ.. I meanÖ.

PHYLLIS

(LOSING CONTROL AGAIN) You - you havenít said anything to him?

OLIVE

I havenít seen him.

PHYLLIS

(QUIETLY) No. Neither have I.

(PAUSE)

OLIVE

Iíll just finish this now. Then I must - why, Phyllis, whateverís wrong? Youíre crying!

PHYLLIS

Nothing. Itís nothing. Iím being silly now.

OLIVE

Itís your condition, dear.

PHYLLIS

Itís not! Itís not! (PAUSE) Itís him! Why the hell doesnít he come?

OLIVE

Look, you mustnít upset yourself like this. Remember the baby.

PHYLLIS

The baby? The baby? What about me? Itís him I want Andrew! Why doesnít he come?

OLIVE

All right, all right, dear. Leave it to me. Iíll ask him to come over.

PHYLLIS

But - wonít he think itís strange? You asking?

OLIVE

Iíll think of something. Besides, when he comes, you can tell him. I mean, that I know about it. The baby. Iíd love to see his face. (QUICKLY) Anyway, heís got to know sooner or laterÖ..

(CUT TO RECEIVER LIFTED, SOUND OF DIALLING. BELL RINGS DISTANT, GOES ON RINGING. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

Oh, damn!

(RINGIN GOES ON. DISTANT RECEIVER LIFTED)

JANE

Ferris Hill 2364!

OLIVE

Jane? Olive! Is Andrew there?

JANE

Oh, itís you, old girl! Sorry I was so long! I was seeing to the dogs. Andrew? No, heís not!

OLIVE

Oh. Will he be long?

JANE

Canít say. Heís gone to a rugger meeting or some such thing. I didnít pay much attention. Why?

OLIVE

Oh, I see.

JANE

You know what those meetings are, old girl. Or perhaps you donít. Long sessions of beer and bawdy.

OLIVE

Youíve no idea, then?

JANE

No. Well, yes, if it runs true to form, itíll be hours. I can promise you that. Is it important. Anything I can do?

OLIVE

Ask him to give me a ring, will you?

JANE

Oh. Oh, very well. That all?

OLIVE

Well, yes. Itís rather urgent though.

JANE

Oh. Iíll leave a note for him, then. I shall probably be sound asleep when he gets back. I usually am.

OLIVE

Thank you, Jane.

JANE

Cheerio, old girl. I wonít forgetÖ.

(ĎFORGETí REPEATS AND BECOMES THE HEART-BEATS, MIXED WITH SOUND OF RESPIRATOR AND SUCKER. VOICES OVER)

R.M.O.

Oh, youíre back, John! Any joy?

PHYSICIAN

Iíve got things moving. Theyíll let us know.

R.M.O.

Right. Weíd better put a drip up. John?

PHYSICIAN

Yes?

R.M.O.

Time we were hearing from the lab. Would you mind? We must have the salicylate and barbiturate levels - sharp!

PHYSICIAN

Right. Iíll give them a ring.

R.M.O.

How is she, Mr. Moffatt?

MOFFATT

Sheís not breathing herself. B.P. ninety over sixty.

R.M.O.

Oh. Better get her to the intensive care unit, donít you think?

MOFFATT

Yes. Sister, would you ask them to make sure theyíve got a spare respirator?

R.M.O.

Come on, then!

(SOUND OF DOORS)

R.M.O.

(GOING) No time to hang around for porters. Weíll push the trolley there ourselves!

(HEART-BEATS NOW MUCH QUICKER AND WEAKER. SOUND OF KEY IN DOOR. DOOR OPENS)

OLIVE

Phyllis! Hereís your key! Iíll leave it on the window-sill.

(DOOR CLOSES)

OLIVE

Phyllis! Iíve brought the shopping!

(PAUSE. DISTANT SOUND OF WEEPING MAKES ITSELF HEARD)

OLIVE

Phyllis!

(SOUND OF INTERIOR DOOR OPENING)

OLIVE

Why, whateverís the matter?

(WE GO WITH HER)

OLIVE

Whatís wrong, Phyllis?

PHYLLIS

(MUFFLED) Nothing.

OLIVE

What is it? Didnít he come?

PHYLLIS

Oh, yes. He came.

OLIVE

Well, then -

PHYLLIS

I wish I were dead.

OLIVE

What was that?

PHYLLIS

I said - oh, never mind!

OLIVE

Look, do try to be - come along, tell me about it. Tell me all about it.

PHYLLIS

All? There isnít much to tell.

OLIVE

Iím sorry, I - I donít understand.

PHYLLIS

Itís all over. Finished.

OLIVE

Oh, no!

PHYLLIS

Itís all right. Iíve done all my crying.

OLIVE

Finished?

PHYLLIS

He wonít divorce her.

OLIVE

Wonít?

PHYLLIS

He wonít marry me, anyway.

OLIVE

But the baby - !

PHYLLIS

Ha! Thatís good! The baby! Heís not even sure itís his!

OLIVE

He said that.

PHYLLIS

Yes.

OLIVE

Andrew said that?

PHYLLIS

Yes.

OLIVE

Itís not true! Itís not true!

(ĎNOT TRUEí BECOMES THE HEART-BEATS. VOICES OVER)

SISTER (TWO)

This the overdose?

MOFFATT

Yes. Where do you want her?

SISTER (TWO)

Over here, please. On the bed.

(SOUNDS OF EFFORT)

SISTER (TWO)

Put the monitoring electrodes on, Nurse.

(TELEPHONE RINGS)

MOFFATT

Whereís the spare respirator? Oh, thanks.

NURSE

That was the lab, Sister.

R.M.O.

Whatís the report?

NURSE

No salicylates. Serum barbiturates present. The level of barbiturates will follow.

(SOUND OF RESPIRATOR BEGINS, AND MIXES WITH THE HEART-BEATS. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

I donít believe it! Not Andrew!

PHYLLIS

Neither did I. But thatís what he said. Iím not likely to forget it.

OLIVE

Oh, no, no!

PHYLLIS

I was wrong about him. Thatís all. I - I thought he - ! It serves me right - for being so bloody stupid!

OLIVE

He - heís not like that!

PHYLLIS

I donít think you know him all that well. I donít blame you. Neither did i.

OLIVE

Iím sorry. I canít believe it! Heíll change his mind. I know he will.

PHYLLIS

Heíll be too late, then!

OLIVE

What do you mean?

PHYLLIS

(SAVAGELY) Do you think Iím going to have his bastard? After that?

OLIVE

But- but thereís no way out!

PHYLLIS

Isnít there? Isnít there?

OLIVE

What do you mean? Oh no, no!

PHYLLIS

Iím going to get rid of it!

OLIVE

Oh, no, no!

(ĎNO, NOí BECOMES THE HEART-BEATS MIXED WITH RESPIRATOR AND SUCKER)

R.M.O.

Thatís all for the moment, Sister. We should have the barbiturate level any time now. How does she look, Mr. Moffatt?

MOFFATT

So, so. Sheís still rather flat.

R.M.O.

No worse?

MOFFATT

Nooo. Sheís no better, eitherÖ..

(SOUNDS UP AND FADE. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

No, no, you canít! You canít!

PHYLLIS

Iím not going through with it now. The brat might take after itís father!

OLIVE

But you canít - you mustnít do such a wicked thing!

PHYLLIS

Canít I? My God, if I could Iíd tear it out now! With my bare hands! I would!

OLIVE

Oh, no, no. Oh, poor little thing! Poor little thing!

PHYLLIS

Thereís nothing you can do about it!

OLIVE

No! No!

PHYLLIS

Thereís nothing anybody can do!

OLIVE

Oh, no, please! Please! Please donít do it! Dear God, help me! Please! My baby! My baby!

(HER SOBS BECOMES THE HEART-BEATS. SOUNDS AS BEFORE. VOICES OVER AND SOUND OF TELEPHONE)

R.M.O.

Thatíll be the lab. I hope.

SISTER

Nurse!

R.M.O.

Letís hope she wasnít greedy.

(SOUND OF RECEIVER LIFTED, AND VOICE OF NURSE DISTANT, MUFFLED)

R.M.O.

How is she, Mr. Moffatt?

MOFFATT

Sheís fighting the respirator. Good sign.

NURSE

The lab, Sister. They say the barbiturate level is low.

R.M.O.

Well, thank the Lord for that! Ah, she moved her arm. Thatís encouraging.

(HEARTBEATS AND OTHER SOUNDS UP AND FADE. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

Ferris Hill 2364Ö.. 2364Ö.. 2364.

(SHE IS WEEPING THROUGHOUT THIS SCENE. SOUND OF RECEIVER. DIALLING. BELL RINGS CONTINUOUSLY, GROWING LOUDER. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER)

OLIVE

Andrew! Please! Please answer! Please! Andrew! Andrew!

(ĎANDREWí BECOMES THE HEART-BEATS. OLIVEíS VOICE OVER IN AN UNBALANCED GABBLE)

OLIVE

She must be stopped Iíve got to stop her stop her itís cruel itís wicked those little things like shrimps itís murder murder murder nothing else nothing else nothing else oh God what am I to do itís Andrewís Andrewís as well as - and mine mine mine mine they shanít have him heís mine Andrew Andrew AndrewÖÖÖÖ

(CROSS FADE, RETAINING HEART-BEATS TO WARD SOUNDS)

MOFFATT

Thatís it! Sheíll make it now. I guess.

R.M.O.

Yes. (YAWNS) Coffee, eh?

MOFFATT

Iíd say weíve earned it.

R.M.O.

Sister!

SISTER

Yes?

R.M.O.

Looks as if you briught another back, Miss Nightingale.

SISTER

(LAUGHS)

R.M.O.

We can all start uncrossing our fingers.

(THE OTHERS LAUGH.)

R.M.O.

Right, then. Sheís all yours. (YAWNS) Iíll look in and see her later on. (YAWNS) When Iíve had some shut-eye. (BEGIN FADE) Coming, Moffatt?

(FADE OUT. PAUSE)

R.M.O.

Now - Miss Morley, isnít it?

OLIVE

(MUMBLES)

R.M.O.

How are you feeling?

OLIVE

(BEGINS TO WEEP)

R.M.O.

Miss Morley! Come along now!

OLIVE

(MUFFLED) Iím sorry.

R.M.O.

Thatís all right. (PAUSE) You were - lucky, you know.

OLIVE

Lucky. Yes.

R.M.O.

Do you want to talk about it?

OLIVE

No, no. Well - later. Perhaps.

R.M.O.

Good. Youíve got a visitor, Sister tells me.

OLIVE

Andrew? I mean - my brother?

R.M.O.

No. A lady.

OLIVE

Lady?

R.M.O.

Your sister-in-law, I believe.

OLIVE

Oh.

R.M.O.

You donít have to, you know.

OLIVE

No.

R.M.O.

Your choice. Shall we ask her to come back? Later?

OLIVE

No, no. I mean - I would rather like to see her, I think.

R.M.O.

Youíre sure?

OLIVE

Yes. Yes, Iím sure.

R.M.O.

Very well. Iíll see you again this evening. Sister! Iím through here. Miss Morley can see her visitor now.

(PAUSE)

JANE

Hallo, Olive, old girl.

OLIVE

Hallo.

JANE

How are you?

OLIVE

Oh, Iím all right.

JANE

When I heard -

OLIVE

Yes.

JANE

I thought - someone ought to.

OLIVE

Yes.

JANE

I do hope youíre feeling better.

OLIVE

Look, Jane, itís all right, really.

(BOTH LAUGH NERVOUSLY)

OLIVE

When they told me - about a visitor - I thought it might be Andrew.

JANE

No.

OLIVE

Oh.

JANE

Heís not coming.

OLIVE

Oh. Oh, I see.

JANE

No, no, you donít. You donít see. I asked him to.

OLIVE

Yes?

JANE

He wouldnít come.

OLIVE

Oh. (PAUSE) Poor Andrew, he doesnít like scenes.

JANE

Look, old girl, letís not talk about it.

OLIVE

No.

JANE

Thatís right.

OLIVE

I mean letís talk about it. Does he know?

JANE

Know?

OLIVE

About - this.

JANE

Yes.

OLIVE

Youíre sure?

JANE

You think heís not here because I havenít told him?

OLIVE

Well -

JANE

Wake up, old girl. Heís not coming.

OLIVE

What have you told him?

JANE

Whatís the difference? As much as I know. That it was his fault.

OLIVE

What do you mean?

JANE

Itís no good. You canít cover up for him this time. Iíve seen her.

OLIVE

Seen her?

JANE

Yes. Phyllis Nielson.

OLIVE

Oh.

JANE

Itís true! You know it is! Heís to blame!

OLIVE

Heís not! Heís not!

JANE

Olive, you donít have to do this. You can go away. Leave.

OLIVE

So can you.

JANE

I canít. (QUIETLY) Sometimes I wish I could.

OLIVE

But you can!

JANE

No. Heís no good. Heís beautiful, but heís no good. Heís unfaithful. Heís an unprincipled bastard. Bu I - I canít leave him.

OLIVE

I canít either.

JANE

You can! You can! I choose to stay.

OLIVE

I tried to leave.

JANE

You tried to - ? Oh, yes.

OLIVE

It didnít work.

JANE

What are you going to do?

OLIVE

Yes, Iíve been thinking about that.

JANE

Yes?

OLIVE

I donít know. Just - carry on. Do what I was doing.

JANE

You ought to break away. Do something else.

OLIVE

No. Iím stuck with myself. If I could have done it, Iíd have done it before. So I shall jut - go on. (BEGINS TO BREAK DOWN) I canít think of anything else. (WEEPING) Itís the evenings - and the nights. Theyíre so long.

SISTER

I think youíd perhaps better go, Mrs. Morley.

JANE

Yes, yes. I will/ Iíll come again, old girl, I promise.

(SOUND OF JANEíS FOOTSTEPS GOING AWAY, WEEPING OVER. FADE OUT. CUT IN SOUNDS OF EVENING CENTRE)

CAROLINE

Thereís one thing about the Spring term, Harriet. None of that tiresome enrolment.

HARRIET

No. Not so crowded as September, either. They tell me quite a few classes have been closed.

CAROLINE

I havenít seen the Nielson woman. I wonder if theyíve closed her class?

HARRIET

I donít think so.

CAROLINE

Well, she wonít be able to go on very long, will she?

HARRIET

Oh, rubbish.

CAROLINE

Or perhaps she hasnít got the nerve.

HARRIET

Nerve?

CAROLINE

To turn up. Now the great romance is over.

HARRIET

I donít know what youíre talking about.

CAROLINE

Oh yes, you do.

HARRIET

Caroline, you really must control your imagination. Last term. According to you, Miss Nielson was - wellÖ. but, you se, it was all imagination. Just because you saw her coming out of the doctorís!

CAROLINE

Oh, stuff!

HARRIET

Sheer imagination.

CAROLINE

Oh, is it? And I suppose itís sheer imagination that Olive Morley put her head in the gas oven?

HARRIET

I donít want to talk about it!

CAROLINE

Thatís just like you, Harriet. Youíre nothing but an ostrich.

HARRIET

Do keep your voice down, Caroline! Thereís Miss Morley now.

CAROLINE

What! Do you mean to say sheís actually had the gall to - Ho! Ho! Do you see what I see?

HARRIET

What?

CAROLINE

Thereís the gorgeous Andrew! Over there! Look, sheís seen him. Would you believe it? I do believe heís trying to avoid her.

HARRIET

What nonsense!

CAROLINE

See for yourself. (PAUSE) Sheís not letting him get away with it, though.

HARRIET

What do you mean?

CAROLINE

Turn round, and youíll see. Sheíll catch him before he gets to the door. There! She did it! (BEGIN FADE) What did I tell you?

(FADE OUT CAROLINE. FADE IN OLIVEíS VOICE)

OLIVE

Andrew! Andrew! I - Iím so glad I caught you. I havenít - I mean, there hasnít been any opportunity before, you know. I just wanted to sayÖ. (SHE BEGINS TO LOSE CONTROL OF HER VOICE, BUT STEADIES IT WITH AN EFFORT) Congratulations! Congratulations on the headship! Youíve earned it, Andrew! You really have!

(FADE IN THE SOUND OF A HEART-BEAT, WHICH RISES TO A THUNDEROUS PEAK, AND FADES AGAIN