Rupert Godwin’s Home.
House Piece L.2.E. Hall Piece at back with door. Cloth at back with trees and tons of houses. Table and two chairs L.x.
Music as Curtain rises, and sounds of Vehicles at back.
Joe Bird discovered on steps waving with leather and duster.
Joe Hurrah! Hurrah! Go it you nippers, don’t I wish I was along with you. There’s a four horse affair. Hurrah! (Cheer outside) and there’s a costermonger’s barrow. Hurrah! (Cheer off) Hurrah! also and likewise. Baronite and Coster, Lord and Scavenger, mix ’em all up, going to the Derby, Hurrah!
(Polly enters from house.)
Polly Now where’s that lazy fellow? He’s never cleaned these windows and the steps gone-
Joe There they go (Cheer off) Hurrah!
Polly Oh there he is, now what’s he up to there I’d like to know?
Joe Pleasant day my dear, hope you’ll back the winner. (Kisses head)
Polly Well I never did. (Shakes steps)
Joe Oh don’t do that, Polly.
Polly Well come down at once and get on with your work or I’ll tell Missus. (Joe comes down) I should like to know what you were doing up there?
Joe I was only watching them go down. (Carrying steps)
Polly Down where?
Joe To the Derby.
Polly And what are they going to Derby for?
Joe The Derby, Polly, don’t forget the ‘THE.’ It makes all the difference in the world, one’s about as slow a place as – while the other,
Polly Well what are they going to ‘THE’ Derby for?
Joe To see the horses run of course.
Polly And can’t they see horses run without going to the Derby?
Joe You can see ’em crawl, but at the Derby they fly.
Polly Oh they fly do they? Well now you take my advice and fly and do these windows or you’ll get into trouble.
Joe Of course I’ll do them, Polly, but don’t you wish you was a going down in a nice little trap to the race alongside of your devoted admirer? (Bus-driving)
Polly No I don’t. And if you’re wise you’ll keep quiet about races in this house; Master don’t like ’em or Missus either.
Joe Then what do they come and live on the high road to the course for? (Cheers off.) Ugh! I call it a tempting of providence.
Polly Hush. Here’s Missus.
(Joe breathes on windows and rubs.)
(Nellie Godwin enters from house.)
Nellie (Arranging some flowers on table) Has your Master not returned yet, Polly?
Polly Not unless he’s in the house, Missus.
Nellie No. I thought perhaps he had come in by the gate.
Polly Not he, Missus, he won’t come in that road, (Cheers off) he wouldn’t care to mix himself up with that crew.
Joe (On top of steps excited) Crew? Let me tell you – there goes the Duke of Bayswater. (Cheer.)
Nellie What’s the matter, Joe? You look excited.
Joe Oh nothing, Mum.
Polly It’s the races as has upset him, Missus.
Nellie The noise I suppose. Derby Day quite demoralizes this quiet neighbourhood, now be quiet there’s a good lad and finish those windows before your Master returns, he won’t stay long at business today.
Joe Has Master got a holiday, Mum?
Nellie Well the office is closed.
Joe Is Master going to the races, Mum?
Nellie How can you ask such a thing? You know quite well he never goes to such places.
Joe I didn’t mean to be rude, Missus, but when you said Master had got a holiday I naturally thought he was a going to the Derby. A man would be a fool who could go and didn’t.
Nellie Then I fear your Master is foolish.
Joe I didn’t mean that, Missus – I…
Polly Be quiet, Joe and get on with your work.
Voice (At back). Whoa. Steady.
Polly Hello. Who’s that?
Joe Oh my. Here’s a swell turn out – and pulled up here too, Missus.
(Music. Knock at gate)
Nellie Who can it be?
Joe Shall I see, Missus?
Polly No, you stop where you are. I’ll see.
Joe Chestnut pony, plated harness, all slap up.
(Polly opens door.)
(Ferdinand St. Everton is seen.)
Ferd Ah my good girl, is your Master at home?
Polly No, Sir.
Polly Yes, Sir.
Ferd Ah she’ll do as well, (Off) I won’t be a minute my dear.
(Enters at gate.)
Nellie Very “horsey” get up.
Ferd What a pleasure. How d’ye do, Mrs. Godwin? Just driving down. Thought I’d call as we were passing. Where’s the Governer? Not at business today I hope. If he is – confounded shame – Ought to be Act of Parliament to stop all business on a day like this. General holiday. All nature smiles. That sort of thing you know. Well really you’re looking well. Marriage seems to agree with you if I may be allowed the remark. I’m going to try it shortly. What a pleasure.
Nellie Try it, Mr. Everton? Do you regard it as an experiment? I thought it was a life-long matter.
Ferd Ah yes never thought of that. How stupid. Withdraw ‘try it’ and say I’m going in for it.
Nellie Indeed and who is the lady you have selected?
Ferd You shall see. Charming little filly. Just over 12 hands and scales 9 stone, outside in the trap. Two to one you’ll like her. I’ll bring her in.
Nellie Oh please don’t trouble, Mr. Everton.
Ferd No trouble at all. What a pleasure. By the way may your man hold the gee?
Nellie Hold the gee?
Ferd Beg pardon. Withdraw the Gee and say hold the animal. Hi my man, will you –
Joe Yes, Sir. (Comes off steps) Going to the Derby, sir?
Joe Wish I was.
Ferd Why? Got anything on?
Joe Not yet. D’ye know anything?
Ferd No more than all the world knows that the favourite wins. They do talk about an outsider Rabagas, but it’s all rubbish, though I must say he’s come down to a smart price. Come in my dear. Mrs. Godwin’s longing to be introduced.
(Evelina Mowbray enters)
Evel How do you do, Mrs. Godwin? We’ve just called being a lovely day to see if you and Mr. Godwin would accompany us to the Derby.
Ferd What a pleasure.
Nellie It would be useless asking him for he has never been to a race in his life.
Evel Oh poor fellow.
Ferd Fancy that, Evvie, never been to a race and you go to one nearly every week.
Joe Oh jem.
Ferd And I see one every day.
Evel No not every day, Ferdy.
Ferd Yes, Evvie every day.
Evel Don’t tell stories, did you see a race yesterday?
Ferd Yes, Evvie.
Evel Now I’ll lay you twenty to one you didn’t.