PELICANS IN DUBLIN the reunion in 1997
A PERSONAL VIEW by Bernard Melling
Have you ever had the feeling that your destiny was in the hands of someone else; that your prospects for a continued human existence rested entirely in the hands of a stranger? I had precisely that feeling as the plane taxied to the end of the runway of Manchester Airport at 5.30 pm on Friday 3 October 1997.
I pray every day, but Heaven must have wondered what on earth pardon the pun was going on on this particular occasion because I was bombarding heaven with Acts of Contrition and appeals for my safe arrival in Dublin. It had been 35 years since I had first flown and, ironically, that had been from Ireland to my home and subsequent return after the Christmas holidays whilst at St Augustines College, Blacklion.
My fears were groundless and I had a very pleasant flight, finally meeting up with three of the lads at Dublin Airport. Chris Benton, from Liverpool had had the foresight to hire a car so we had a comfortable journey to the White Fathers house at Templeogue.
(Source: Bernard Melling)
What a wonderful welcome awaited us! The White Fathers are noted for their hospitality and the Irish Province lived up to their reputation for kindness and generosity. It was a very nostalgic trip for me because I met Brother Paddy again, who had been both at the Priory and Blacklion whilst I was there. I also met my two Philosophy tutors: Frs Kevin OMahoney and Eugene Lewis Pancho and Screwy respectively and Fr Tom Boyd who was also at Blacklion in 1962/63.
(Source: Bernard Melling)
Front left to right: Frs. Eugene Lewis, Kevin O'Mahoney, Fr. Boyd, Bro. Paddy and Bernard Melling.
(Source: Bernard Melling)
John Morton (left) talking to Fr Eugene Lewis
(Source: Bernard Melling)
Fr Kevin O'Mahoney
(Source: Bernard Melling)
Left to right: Chris Benton, Pat Gibbons, , Eugene MacBride, John Morton but I need help with some more names, please.
The nostalgia continued because on the following day Chris Benton, Chas Robinson and myself took ourselves off to Blacklion. We had heard that the college was now a Prison: it certainly wasnt in my day. Neither Chris nor Chas had made it to senior seminary but both were keen to see where the White Frs had operated in Ireland.
As we approached the area we decided to visit Bud Green first. Bud Bridget had been a surrogate mother for many of us far away from home. The hair may be a little greyer and the hearing is not as sharp as it was but she was just as I remembered her, and it was as if the intervening 35 years had never been. Didnt we have some fun, she kept saying over and over, and yes we did. She fed us extremely well at the time and produced platefuls of goodies again with that wonderful tea made with the water of the area.
(Source: Bernard Melling)
Left to Right : Chris Benton, Bud Greene, Chas Robinson and Caithe Fenelon.
We visited Pete McKenzies grave. Pete lived in the room next to mine and was a great friend before his untimely death by drowning in the Lough 4 days before his 19th birthday. I was on the shore at the time he died and felt so helpless as I watched his struggles to survive.
The day culminated in a visit to the old college itself. We were fortunate enough to be shown round. What a tragedy! To see the once highly polished corridors less than pristine hurt very much. They even allowed me to see my former room, now a prison cell. I cant describe the feelings of disappointment at the relative squalor in comparison with 35 years ago. I have a photograph of the view from my old room all those years ago. The view has disappeared because the small conifers in the photograph are now mature trees and blot out the landscape. In many ways the visit to the college was an anti-climax because of the state it was in. Nevertheless I was grateful for the chance to see it again.
On our return to Dublin we found that the other lads had had a meeting to discuss future strategy vis a vis contributions of money to Packy Harrity and other White Frs and Brothers in similar circumstances. After supper we got together again, this time for a bit of navel gazing. I wont go into detail but it generated a lot of useful discussion, which had a very positive outcome.
Sunday saw five of us shoot off to see Fr Dick Cantwell, now a Parish Priest somewhere South West of Dublin in the Wicklow Hills. He taught me French at The Priory and it was great to see what great work he was continuing to do in his native Ireland. I swear he must have kissed the Blarney Stone several times because he has transformed the Church and Presbytery over the 10 years he has been in the Parish.
The weekend was over far too quickly. I am aware that I havent included many names of Old Boys who were there, but then I suspect the readers of this piece wouldnt know whom I was talking about anyway!!! In any event Eugene McBride has already issued a missive to the members of The Pelicans, so they already know the finer details.
It just remains for me to thank the Irish Province for an unforgettable experience. It was so full of action and warmth that, even with my failing memory, I shall treasure the experience for many years to come.
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SPYMEN by John Chapman
We are indebted to Robbie Demspey for the following. He thought that many of you might like to see this extract
from the farcewhich was put on by the Philosophers at Blacklion in 1967/68 and in several venues in the area.
You may recall that the original was one of those 'Whitehall Productions' which starred Brian Rix.
by John Chapman
presented by Rix Theatrical Productions on March 19th, 1958, at the Whitehall Theatre with the following cast :
The Whitehall Cast
The Blacklion Cast
(10 years later)
|CORPORAL FLIGHT||Raymond Cooney||Liam O'Neill|
|LIEUTENANT FOSGROVE||Toby Perkins||Dick Moran|
|COLONEL GRAY-BALDING||Charles Cameron||Donald MacLeod|
|MR. FORSTER STAND||Gerald Anderson||Brendan Gormley|
|GEORGE CHUFFER||Leo Franklyn||Peter Hurrell|
|PERCY PRINGLE||Brian Rix||Phil Mason|
|MRS. BYNG||Joan Sanderson||Quentin Lowe|
|MISS ARCHDALE||Merylin Roberts||Vincent O'Neill|
|MAX||Peter Allenby||John Halloran|
|CRAB||Peter Mercier||Hugh McVey|
|GROBCHICK||Andrew Sachs||Pat Macdermott|
(Source of photo: TonySmyth)
A production of "Simple Spyman" performed at Blacklion in 1968.
From the Back row L - R : Glenn Kiernan (Producer), Brendan Gormley, Philip Mason, Peter Hurrell
John Halloran, Dick Moran, (Fr) Donald MacLeod
, Vince O'Neill, Quentin Lowe.
Front row: Hugh McVey, Pat McDermott.
CAN YOU IDENTIFY any of the MISSING NAMES please and do you have a copy of the programme?
Two street musicians are dragged
into the War Office for causing a disturbance of the peace in Whitehall. Unwittingly
they utter a phrase which is the secret password for the day, and are mistaken
for M15 agents in disguise. They are immediately signed up for a hazardous mission
to intercept an atomic scientist when he arrives in Dover. Thereafter, they
make endless attempts as different characters to gain access to the scientist's
hotel and secure the formula for the British Government. They display courage,
ingenuity, and more than a hint of lunacy.
OF ACT 1
COLONEL : Oh, I see, yes.
FORSTER STAND moves c. in a dark suit. He is about 40 and very business-like.
Good morning. (Rises in front of desk).
STAND : Good morning. Colonel Gray-Balding ?
COLONEL : Yes.
STAND : I'm Forster Stand.
COLONEL : How very unfortunate for you. . . .Oh, I see, yes. Well won't you sit down.
FORSTER STAND shakes his head, looks to door L., then moves to window, looks out, crosses to door R., listens, crosses to COLONEL'S right.
COLONEL (moving to behind desk c). : I'm afraid I've nothing to offer you, the tea isn't up yet.
STAND : Please don't bother. Shall we get straight to business ? (Crosses to right of desk).
COLONEL : Yes, by all means.
STAND crosses below desk to FOSGROVE'S chair, puts down hat and case.
STAND : By now you are of course fully conversant with the matter we are about to discuss.
COLONEL : Theermatter ?
STAND : Come, come, you received a top secret document this morning. (Crosses L).
COLONEL : Oh yes, yes, the junk.
STAND : The what ? (Turns).
COLONEL : Well, you know, the rubbish.
STAND : Colonel, I don't think you realise the urgency of the situation (Crosses to Colonel.
COLONEL : Oh. (Sits at des).
STAND : I can appreciate that a man in your position has no doubt faced great danger in his lifetime.
COLONEL : Oh, yes, I have.
STAND : But those who have not led the life of a soldier would feel very uneasy at the prospect of death.
COLONEL : Yes (doubletakes). What ? (knocks the telephone receiver off. In his agitation he picks it up and answers it.
Hallo . . . hallo . . . (Speaks into earpiece)
FORSTER STAND breaks L. slightly.
. . . I've gone stone deaf. Oh, good-bye. (Puts back receiver).
STAND : You understand me ?
COLONEL : Oh, yes, quite. (Crosses R. to in front of desk).
STAND : Good. (Crosses to him). Now listen carefully. Grobchick arrives from Turkey this afternoon. While he is in
this country he must be guarded against a possible attempt on his life.
COLONEL : He's got enemies ?
STAND : He's got a formula. Apparently he's made a miraculous discovery. (Crosses L).
An Atomic Pile Restorer. It's a magnificent invention. (Crosses to Colonel). As you know, the cost of making atomic piles runs into millions.
COLONEL : Yes.
STAND : And they don't last for ever.
COLONEL : No.
STAND : The nuclear forces released inside the piles wears them out . . .
COLONEL : Yes.
STAND : . . . thus causing complete disintegration of the nutronic field.
COLONEL (in a minor trance) : Yes.
STAND : But! (Bangs his hand on desk, hitting COLONEL'S fingers).
COLONEL startled. Ow! (Settles back again, sucking his finger).
STAND : With this new invention the piles can be restored at a very low cost and as a result atomic weapons can be produced faster and cheaper. (Crosses to L.)
COLONEL : Oh, splendid.
STAND : Now this is the point. If we can get to Grobchick before anyone else and offer him a fair price, we know he will sell to the Government.
COLONEL : Excellent. Excellent.
STAND : But he can't do that if he's dead.
COLONEL : No, it would be a bit tricky.
STAND : Now, although we know very little about Grobchick, we do know that there are foreign agents in this country waiting for a chance to get him and his secret.
COLONEL : Foreign agents, eh ? Which group, any idea ?
STAND : Yes, Max and his gang.
COLONEL : Max ! That's nasty.
STAND : So, it is up to us to see that no harm befalls Grobchick when he arrives today. (Crosses L.)
COLONEL : What can I do ?
STAND : Find me two of your best and toughest Secret Service men who can act as bodyguards, and if necessary, disguise themselves as Grobchick's double if his life is in danger.
COLONEL : That's a stiff assignment.
STAND : Find me the men and I will interview them here.
COLONEL : Right, I'll look through the files.
STAND : Splendid, and thank you for your co-operation, Colonel. I knew I could rely on you.
COLONEL : Oh, it was nothing.
STAND crossing to chair for case : Thank you. In the meantime I must contact the Home Office.
COLONEL :Fosgrove. Goes L. round desk. Fosgrove.
FOSGROVE entering : Yes, sir ?
COLONEL : What have you been doing ?
FOSGROVE rather scared : Nothing, sir. R. edge of desk.
COLONEL : Oh, good show. Now listen. We've just been assigned an extremely vital job by M.I.5 and the Home Office.
Fade in Street Musicians' Music.
FOSGROVE : Really, sir.
COLONEL : Yes. So go and get the Secret Agent files from the other room.
FOSGROVE : But I'm decoding this order, sir.
COLONEL : Very well, I'll go myself. . . (moves front of desk) and for heaven's sake get a move on with that thing it may
Checks locks and exits door right. FOSGROVE sits down engrossed
in his work. The music gets louder. (Off Fosgrove).
FOSGROVE not looking up from his work at all : Yes, sir?
COLONEL : There are some musicians outside.
FOSGROVE busily writing : Yes, sir.
COLONEL : Tell them to shut up.
FOSGROVE : Yes, sir (without taking his eyes up for a second). Corporal Flight!
CORPORAL opens the door : Sir?
FOSGROVE : There are some musicians outside, tell them to come up.
CORPORAL : Yes, sir.
CORPORAL FLIGHT exits. COLONEL returns with some papers. FOSGROVE rises.
COLONEL : Now then
Music stops. Blows dust off papers. let's see what we have here.
FOSGROVE : Dust, sir.
COLONEL : Don't be flippant. Now then to work.
COLONEL sits. FOSGROVE takes chair and sits next to colonel.
Alarm bell rings. The COLONEL and FOSGRAVE both leap up together and say in unison :
COLONEL : Fosgrove. Ah, tea. !!
The COLONEL rises, crosses to hat-stand takes FOSGROVE'S hat.
FOSGROVE replaces chair. Then takes COLONEL'S hat off the stand.
FOSGROVE : My hat, sir.
COLONEL : What?
FOSGROVE : My hat, sir.
COLONEL : Stop expostulating and get on with it.
FOSGROVE : You've got my hat, sir.
COLONEL : You ought to have your eyes seen to. (Puts his hand to his head).
I'm not even wearing one.
Exits D.R. FOSGROVE checks the wardrobe and safe then puts on the COLONEL'S hat and exits. CORPORAL speaks off.
CORPORAL not very impressed with his charge : Get in there you dozy idle lot. Come on. Double! Double! Double!
Two street musicians enter L., scared stiff. The leader of the two is GEORGE CHUFFER, he wears an old suit, and a bowler
hat and carries a trumpet.
GEORGE comes flying in. CORPORAL chases PERCY in with his rifle. GEORGE is a ripe cockney and PERCY is a nervous lad from up North.
PERCY wears an old raincoat and cap and carries a banjo.
GEORGE wears three rows of medal ribbons and PERCY has a large card slung round his neck which reads: "EX-SERVICE."
CORPORAL : Sit down. (They shuffle towards the chairs. GEORGE sits chair L. of desk enjoying his power.
Sit down !! (PERCY sits on GEORGE'S knee).
GEORGE : Cor strike a light.
CORPORAL (stung by the password) : Strike a light ! ! ! !
GEORGE and PERCY leap up again. CORPORAL, thinking they must be something rather special, slopes arms, salutes, goes to the door
slaps his butt again. GEORGE and PERCY slap their instruments CORPORAL exits.
GEORGE : S'truth.
PERCY : 'Ere, George, what 'ave we done ?
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extract from Act 2
The lounge of the Haven Hotel, Dover
Mrs. Byng returns to her chair. Smogs enters U.R.C. followed by George and Percy
SMOGS : This way, Inspector. The Drorin' room.
GEORGE : Thank you.
PERCY : Ink you.
GEORGE and PERCY enter without their beards and moustaches, looking just like private detectives in their identical macs and trilby
hats. They both walk down slowly, giving each other cryptic little beckoning nods in true detective fashion, and sit very selfconsciously.
GEORGE sits in chair, PERCY on the table R. of GEORGE : They disguise their voices by assuming posh accents.
MRS. BYNG : Good afternoon to you.
GEORGE (trying to capture her accent) : Good afternoon to you too.
MRS. BYNG : Just arrived ?
GEORGE : Yes.
MRS. BYNG : How long are you staying ?
GEORGE : A day or so.
MRS. BYNG : I do hope you will be here tomorrow. My daughter will be arriving.
GEORGE : Oh, how toppin'.
MRS. BYNG : Actually, you know, she has just left Rodean.
GEORGE (blankly) : Oh, well (looking at his watch). She should be here any time now.
MRS. BYNG : She's an awfully nice girl though I do say it myself. She'll be company for your son, won't she ?
GEORGE and PERCY stare at each other then at her.
GEORGE : Well, 'e'sernot strictly speaking my son.
MRS. BYNG : Oh.
GEORGE : No, more like as you might say a cousin.
MRS. BYNG : Oh, I see, yes. I thought I could distinguish a likeness somewhere.
GEORGE and PERCY look at each other.
By the way, I think perhaps I should introduce myself. (Rises and crosses to George)
GEORGE : But do. (Rises).
MRS. BYNG : It's Byng. Mrs Byng. With a " y " not an " i ". No relation to the Orpington Byngs.
Offers her hand. GEORGE takes her hand.
GEORGE : Oh, well, Chuffer is my name. George Chuffer. No relation to the King's Cross Chuffers.
Turns to PERCY, laughing at his own joke. PERCY looks dumb, but eventually sees the joke. Then came the dawn.
MRS. BYNG : How do you do.
GEORGE : And this is Percy Pringle.
PERCY : With a" y" and an" i ".
MRS. BYNG : How do you do.
PERCY (very posh) : How do you do.
PERCY nods and sits. There is a pause, she looks at their macs and says:
MRS. BYNG : Is it raining out ?
PERCY : No. Puts his hand out. It must be the overflow. (GEORGE slaps his hand).
MRS. BYNG : I think I'll go for a short stroll before supper. Don't get up. (Crosses behind them to R.)
PERCY (mimicking her) : We wasn't goin' to.
MRS. BYNG : I'm so looking forward to tomorrow. I'm sure it's going to be a jolly day.
(By PERCY'S ear). My daughter came out last summer.
PERCY (mimicking again) : What was she inside for ?
MRS. BYNG exits French windows.
GEORGE : Why can't you keep your mouth shut, why must you always put your foot in it ?
PERCY : I'm sorry.
GEORGE : We was doin' all right as the French waiters till you went off your nut.
PERCY( twisting his hat in his hand)s : I've said I'm sorry.
GEORGE : Remember you're a secret agent. Now we've got to do it the 'ard way. ' Aven't you ever been in posh places like church?
PERCY : Aye.
GEORGE : Well, take your hat off.
PERCY does so, and GEORGE puts his own on.
O.K. Now let's 'ave a look at them instructions. See what they say.
PERCY reading from his tiny pad : "Go to Dover. Proceed to Haven Hotel. If necessary, Putoo."
GEORGE : What ?
PERCY : Putoo.
GEORGE : Putoo ? (Percy shows him pad). P.T.O.
PERCY (collapses with laughter) : Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
GEORGE : I suppose you're just as happy with no brains.
PERCY : George (He turns the page over). I've putood. (Laughs). Sometimes I kill myself.
GEORGE : Sometimes I wish you would. Now destroy that.
PERCY : Oh, aye. (Tears it in hal)f.
GEORGE : No, you gotter be more thorough than that.
PERCY : I'll tear it again.
GEORGE : That's no good. Someone might piece it together.
PERCY : What shall I do with it then ?
GEORGE (laughs) : You eat it.
PERCY : Yewhat ?
GEORGE : You eat it.
PERCY : Oh.
GEORGE : Go on, eat it.
PERCY chews it with disgust and looks for somewhere to spit it out.
Uh uh !-swaller it. PERCY does so. Good boy, now let's 'ear some more.
PERCY : No, it'll spoil me supper.
GEORGE : Give it 'ere. (He takes it).
Now it appears that Max is in this hotel waiting to take the goods off Grobchick.
He's a foreign agent, and we gotter find out who he is.
PERCY : Maybe it's Mrs. Byng with a" y" dressed up.
GEORGE (rises, moves away) : I doubt it. Anyway, she's not the only person stoppin' 'ere.
PERCY : Well, when Grobchick gets 'ere we'll see, won't we
GEORGE : Of course we will. But forewarned is forearmed. (Crosses to PERCY and leans over his shoulder).
PERCY : Well, we should spot him with four arms.
GEORGE : Percy, I think the time has come to have you destroyed. Use yer loaf. If we can produce Grobchick before he arrives we'll know who's after him.
PERCY : Will we ?
GEORGE : Of course we will.
PERCY : How ? (GEORGE walks PERCY to the door D.L.)
GEORGE : You nip off and disguise yourself, then come back and pretend you're Grobchick. Then whoever comes up to you must be Max.
PERCY : Must it ?
GEORGE : Don't you get it boy ? You're a sort of decoy duck.
PERCY : Am I, love ?
MISS ARCHDALE and MRS. BYNG are heard off by French window.
GEORGE : Scarper. Someone's coming.
GEORGE pushes PERCY off D.L. as MRS. BYNG and MISS ARCHDALE enter from French windows. They come R.C. MISS ARCHDALE has a potted plant which she puts on table beside chair D.R.
MRS. BYNG : Ah, Mr. Chuffer !
GEORGE (covering up) : Erput it on the waiter will you bill ? (Sees MISS ARCHDALE). How do you do ?
MRS. BYNG : This is Miss Archdale who is looking after the hotel.
GEORGE : How do you frightfully do ?
MIss A : How do you do ?
GEORGE : I'm terribly well, thank you.
MISS A : Will you be staying long ?
GEORGE : No. Actually I'm crossing over tomorrow.
MRS. BYNG : Where to ? France ?
GEORGE : No. Paris. (Crosses L.)
MRS. BYNG : Oh, yes. In my youth I lived for two years on the Left Bank.
GEORGE : Did you ? I'm getting a bit too old for camping out.
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from the middle of Act 2
The hotel lounge has a painting that can be opened like a hatch and it hangs directly over the fireplace.
MRS. BYNG enters from the garden with MISS ARCHDALE.
MRS. BYNG : Oh, good evening.
COLONEL : Good evening.
MRR. BYNG (ecstatically) : Cyril !
COLONEL : Yes. (Sees Mrs Byng) Charlotte ! (Crosses to her)
MRS. BYNG : Can it be - after all these years ?
COLONEL : Gad, Charlotte, you don't look a day older.
MRS. BYNG : Nor do you.
COLONEL : Well, you know, we've put on a little here (touches his waist) and taken off a little here (touches his hair),
but (slaps his behind) basically we're much the same. (Hastily). If you see what I mean.
FOSGROVE : Yes, sir.
COLONEL : Shut up,Fosgrove!
MRS. BYNG : Oh, Miss Archdale, this is Corporal Gray-Balding.
COLONEL : No, no, no, Colonel, Charlotte, Colonel.
FOSGROVE eases to c.
MRS. BYNG : Oh, then you got your rise after all.
COLONEL (cough)s : Naturally. (Crosses to MISS ARCHDALE)
MRS. BYNG : And do I gather that (looking at FOSGROVE) you married ?
COLONEL : Me, no. Why ?
MRS. BYNG : I thought perhaps he was your son.
COLONEL : Oh, God forbid, no !
MRS. BYNG (laughs nervously)
To FOSGROVE: Just call me "Bloomer girl."
FOSGROVE : How do you do, Miss Bloomer ? (Crosses to her)
SMOGS enters with whisky and soda and places tray on stool.
COLONEL : Fosgrove!
FOSGROVE : Sorry, sir. Sits armchair.
MRS. BYNG : It's getting very chilly, Miss Archdale.
MISS A : Oh, I'll light the fire, shall I ? (Moves up to door U.R.)
MRS. BYNG : Do please, I'd be so grateful.
MISS A : Would you mind, Smogs ? Just put a match to it.
SMOGS : Yes. Miss.
Moves MRS. BYNG'S chair to above fire-place.
MISS ARCHDALE exits U.R.C.
This dialogue that follows is merely put in to cover PERCY'S business.
MRS. BYNG : Oh, Cyril, why did you never get in touch with me again after India ?
COLONEL : I heard you had married, Charlotte.
SMOGS has lit a match. PERCY opens the picture and blows it out quickly then shuts the picture. SMOGS puts the match to the fire,
sees it has gone out, so lights another one.
MRS. BYNG : You silly boy, you could always have visited us, you could always have been a family friend.
The match business repeated.
COLONEL : No, no, Charlotte, with me it was all or nothing.
MRS. BYNG : But Thomas died years ago.
SMOGS : There's an 'eck of a draught round 'ere.
SMOGS lights third match successfully and puts it to the fire holds matches up. PERCY takes them, shuts the panel. SMOGS looks at
his empty hand, looks at fire and puts his hand on mantel. PERCY opens the panel, puts matches in SMOGS' hand, shuts panel again.
SMOGS doubletakes and exits U.R. quickly.
COLONEL : I didn't want to intrude on Thomas's memory.
MRS. BYNG : I know he would have understood. Are you on leave, Cyril?
COLONEL : Heavens, no. We happen to be down here on extremely vital business.
MRS. BYNG : Oh, do tell me about it.
COLONEL : Thanks to Fosgrove, two raving lunatics are at large, posing as secret agents.
MRS. BYNG : Is it very serious ?
COLONEL : If we don't catch them before our mistake is discovered by M.I.5 we shall be court-martialled.
PERCY opens panel, sneezes and shuts it.
COLONEL : Bless you, Fosgrove.
FOSGROVE : Bless you too, sir. But I honestly thought, sir, you said tell them to come up.
Rises and moves to them.
COLONEL : Now don't start that again.
GEORGE enters C. dressed as a clergyman, with a toothbrush moustache, pince-nez glasses and MAX'S broad-brimmed hat
with the crown punched out. He still wears his black suit, but has put on a parson's collar and black frontpiece.
To help his disguise he walks with slightly bent knees and sticks his behind out. He sees the fire is alight and dashes to it.
GEORGE : Holy smoke! (Drops on his knees and grabs the poker).
MRS. BYNG : Well, really!
GEORGE turns and sees the others and pretends he is praying : Amen. Good evening, my children.
MRS. BYNG : Good evening, Vicar.
GEORGE : Heaven bless this house but to Hell with the drink.
Grabs the whisky bottle and pours it on the fire. There is a big flash. PERCY yells.
GEORGE : Santa Claus is early this year. Temperance, my children, Temperance.
(Grabs the soda and squirts it on). Beware the foul fiend drink.
MRS. BYNG : It's so wonderful to have the Church on one's doorstep.
GEORGE : Yes. (Stops squirting). Well, actually I am 'olding a series of open-air services by the corner. I was wondering if you
would care to join them.
MRS. BYNG : When are they ?
GEORGE : There'll be one in a minute.
MRS. BYNG : It's very enterprising of you.
GEORGE : Yes, I thought so too. (Squirts again)
MRS. BYNG : How long will it last ?
GEORGE : Not long. Just a few prayers and a short talk.
MRS. BYNG : Any hymns ?
GEORGE : Hymns ? Yes, I should think we might have a couple of verses of 'Oly, 'Oly, 'Oly, and then all push off 'ome.
MRS. BYNG : Splendid.
GEORGE (trying to get them out) : I should go now. It will be packed.
MRS. BYNG : Yes, come along, Cyril.
COLONEL : No, really we must get this job done.
GEORGE : Nothing like a prayer to start your venture.
MRS. BYNG : Quite, right, Vicar. Come along.
COLONEL : Well, it'll give us a chance to have a recce. Mrs Byng, Mr. Fosgrove ?
FOSGROVE : After you, Miss Bloomer.
GEORGE pushes them out then dashes back to the fire. PERCY is now in view coming down the chimney.
GEORGE : You there, Perce ?
PERCY : Take me out. I'm done.
GEORGE : O.K. Percy. Come on, boy. Poor Percy.
PERCY is now standing in the hearth facing downstage. GEORGE drags him forward. PERCY keeps his behind hidden from
the audience; his face is black.
Look, what do you say we change sides, eh ?
PERCY : I'm done on both sides.
GEORGE : Come on.
They move as COLONEL enters followed by Mrs Byng.
COLONEL : Now, look here, Vicar Who the devil's that ?
GEORGE : An African missionary. He doesn't speak a word of English, do you ?
PERCY : No.
They turn to walk upstage and the seat of PERCY'S trousers has burnt off and he displays his underpants. GEORGE holds his hat over
PERCY'S behind as they walk off, and the CURTAIN FALLS
End OF ACT II
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Percy is spretending
to be GROBCHICK :