Scene 4

Rumbold's office

Rumbold is sitting at his desk; Miss Thorpe is sitting off to one side, taking dictation.  Nearby, against the wall, is the new settee.

Rumbold:      (dictating) . . . and send this memo to the Wig Boutique: "Dear Mr. Smythe-Peritsky:
                     Thank you for the recent loan of a wig from your department.  We're sorry to return it
                     covered with soup, but I'm sure you'll be happy to know the takeover bid was defeated."
                     Sign it and file a copy, Miss Thorpe.  Miss Thorpe?

Miss Thorpe has started to nod

Thorpe:         Huh? Oh, sorry, sir.

Rumbold:      Are you alright?

Thorpe:         Oh, yes.  It's just that I'm usually asleep at this hour.

Rumbold:      Asleep?  At seven o'clock in the evening?

Thorpe:         Yes, for the last week, sir.  Ever since my sister had her baby, she can't help in our
                     dad's bakery, so I have to go in for her every morning at three o'clock!  I'm dead
                     knackered by suppertime!

Rumbold:      Oh, dear.  I had no idea.  Are you expected at the bakery again at three o'clock?

Thorpe:         Oh, no, sir.  We're closed for the Jubilee tomorrow.

Rumbold:      I see.  Well, you may go home after we finish my correspondence, but in the meantime,
                     I would appreciate it if you could keep your head up, Miss Thorpe.

Thorpe:         I'll try to, sir.

There is a knock at the door

Rumbold:      Enter!

Mash enters with tea trolley

Mash:           Seven o'clock, Mr. Rumbold.  Time for your rosy lee!

Rumbold:     Oh, thank you, Mr. Mash.  Er, tell me -- how is business on the other floors?

Mash:           Same as yours, sir.  Looks downright deserted, it does. (lays out tea things)

Rumbold:     Oh dear.  This incessant rain is wreaking havoc with my scheme.  Young Mr. Grace
                    will be most displeased!

Mash:           Steady on, Mr. Rumbold. Nice cup o' tea will set you right.

Rumbold:     Yes, I could just do with a cup.  And Miss Thorpe definitely needs a pick-me-up.

Mash:           Well, you've come to the right bloke, ‘aven't you?  It just so ‘appens I ‘ave the very
                     item you need, sir! (pulls a small bottle out of pocket) Dr. Baker's Wakers.

Rumbold:     Dr. Baker's Wakers?

Mash:           (nods) Yes, sir.  Gives a bit of a boost, it does.  Got caffeine in it.  I use ‘em when
                     I'm workin' late.  Can't be noddin' off at the switch -- (leans toward Rumbold) as
                    Mae West said to the engine driver!

Thorpe:         Oh, yes, I'll have one, please.  My sister uses them.

Rumbold:      Oh. At the bakery.

Thorpe:         No, just when Mr. Callaghan comes on the telly.

Mash:           (giving Thorpe a pill) Here you go, luv. One for you, Mr. Rumbold?

Rumbold:      Well, I don't know.  I do have rather a long night ahead of me, what with dinner with
                     Mrs. Rumbold and the sale.  Those aren't, er, habit-forming, are they?

Mash:            Oh, ‘eavens, no, sir! It's like ‘avin' a good strong cup o' tea.

Rumbold:      Heh-heh.  But I have a good strong cup of tea right here, haven't I? (he picks up the
                     cup of tea, sniffs it, looks at it)  Hmmm.  I'll have a pill, Mr. Mash.

Mash gives him a pill, puts bottle back in pocket

Mash:           Right. Well, I'll be back at eight, then.  Young Mr. Grace ‘as arranged for some
                     take-away from Hu Flung's Chinese, and I'll be bringin' it ‘round, sir.

Rumbold:      (washing down pill with tea) Yes, I know that, but don't bother bringing any for us.
                      Miss Thorpe will be leaving soon, and Mrs. Rumbold will be collecting me at eight to
                      go to dinner.

Mash:           Right, sir. (he starts to exit with trolley and bangs into the settee)  Oy!  Sorry about
                     that, Mr. Rumbold.  I forgot your new love seat was there.  Aren't you usin' it, then?

Rumbold:      It is not a "love seat," Mr. Mash.  It is an executive settee.  And anyway, there's been
                      no suitable occasion, really.  It's just been business as usual, as it were, ‘round here.

Mash:           Ha. Right shame to let it sit there, sir, after Mr. Grace spent all that money on ‘em.
                     Well, cheerio! (he exits)

Rumbold:     Hmmm.  It does represent a substantial investment.  Well, I don't suppose it would
                     hurt to finish the correspondence on the new settee, would it?

Thorpe:        Oh, no, sir.  It looks quite comfy!

Rumbold:     Heh-heh.  Oh, very well. After all, rank hath its privelege, does it not, Miss Thorpe?

Thorpe:        Yes, sir.

They move to the settee and sit on it.  As it's small, they are seated quite near each other

Rumbold:     Heh-heh.  Very cosy indeed!

Thorpe:         Much better than that hard wooden chair, sir.

Rumbold:     Yes, much.  Well, er, let's resume.  Read back that last memo, will you?

Thorpe:         (squints at notepad, frowns) Oh dear.

Rumbold:     What is it?

Thorpe:         Something about Mr. Smythe-Peritsky covered with soap, sir.

Rumbold:     Tsk!  That's soup.

Thorpe:         (looks at Rumbold, puzzled ) How did he get covered with soup?

Rumbold:     (sighs) Let's start again, Miss Thorpe.

Scene 5


Ladies' Counter

Brahms:        Blimey!  I can't believe we ‘aven't ‘ad a single customer in two hours.

Slocombe:     Oh, it's just another daft idea from Jug Ears.  We're stood standing ‘ere while he's in
                     there sittin' on his settee with Miss Thorpe, no doubt.  It's aggravatin'!

Brahms:        Yeah, we're not makin' any commission standing about. (looks at watch)  Ooh, an'
                     it's almost time for "Coronation Street."

Slocombe:     Oh, don't bring it up! Mrs. Axelby was beside herself when I told her I couldn't make
                     it tonight.  We haven't missed an episode in years, you know.  Well, after a while, you
                     feel like you know all the characters, like they're friends and neighbours, really.

Brahms:        Yeah, me mum and I was talkin' the other night about some of the characters what's
                    come and gone.

Slocombe:     I know.  Me and Mrs. Axelby always talk about that, as well.

Brahms:        Yeah, like whatever happened to Nellie Harvey?

Slocombe:     That's a good question, Miss Brahms.

Men's Counter

The phone rings.  Humphries walks toward it, but Peacock, who had been hovering nearby, quick-steps to it and picks up the receiver.

Peacock:       Men's Wear . . . (nervously) Oh yes, hello, my dear, heh-heh . . .  (hand over
                    mouthpiece, to Lucas and Humphries)  It's Mrs. Peacock, heh-heh."

Humphries:   (to Lucas) This is the second call from Mrs. Peacock in half an hour.  I hope there's
                     no problem.

Lucas:           Well, I answered the phone the first time, and I can tell you she doesn't sound herself.

Humphries:   No?

Lucas:           No, she sounds like Miss Hurst, actually.

They both look toward Peacock, who has his back turned and is speaking quietly

Peacock:       I told you I'd be there as soon as I could.  It's not wise to keep calling me here . . .
                     I have done.  He told me to come back when he was through with his blasted
                     correspondence.  He said Miss Thorpe would alert me on her way out, but she hasn't
                     come out yet.  It's been almost half an hour . . . No, no.  Listen, I'll see him now.
                    Stay there. I'll meet you as soon--  Hello?  Hello?

Peacock hangs up and looks toward Humphries and Lucas.  They look away

Peacock:       Heh-heh.  A slight, er, domestic crisis.  I may need to get away for a bit.

Lucas:           Problem with the Missus, Cpt. Peacock?

Peacock:       Er, you could say that.  Where is Mr. Grainger?

Humphries:   He's resting in his chair.

Peacock:       Resting?

Lucas:           Yes, the strain of not serving has right worn him out.

Peacock:       Oh, never mind.  Take over, Mr. Humphries.  I'm going in to see Mr. Rumbold again.

Humphries:   As you wish. (steps out from behind counter) Will you take over for me, Mr. Lucas?

Lucas:           I would be happy to take over for you, Mr. Humphries.

Mash enters from the direction of the goods lift

Lucas:           Here's your big chance, then.

Humphries:   (sternly) Mr. Mash, what are you doing on the sales floor?

Mash:           (defiantly) Blimey, when did you become floorwalker?

Humphries:   ( meekly ) Actually, just a few moments ago.

Peacock:       What do you want, Mash?

Mash:           You want to be nice to me, you know.  When your supper arrives I could, by some
                     'orrible snafu, misdirect the delivery bloke to Packin'and Maintainance!

Humphries:   We're sorry, Mr. Mash.

Mash:           That's better.  I come to find out where you lot wants to dine, now the Canteen is shut
                     up for the night.

Peacock:       Oh, we'll deal with all that later, Mr. Mash.

Lucas:           There won't be any tea break, then?

Mash:           Sorry, only for the executives.

Humphries:   I could just do with a cup.

Lucas:           So could Mr. Grainger.  He's havin'a problem staying alert, you might say.

Mash:           Now, that's a coincidence, innit?  Mr. Rumbold's secretary had the same problem.
                    I gave her a Dr. Baker's Waker, I did.  Mr. Rumbold had one, and all.

Peacock:       Dr. Baker's Waker?

Humphries:   It's a stimulant you get from the chemist, Cpt. Peacock.

Lucas:           Yeah, my mother takes them.

Peacock:       Oh.  When she's, er, feeling fatigued?

Lucas:           No, just when Mr. Callaghan comes on.

Mash takes out bottle

Mash:           Hah!  That's what Miss Thorpe -- ‘ang on a minute! (looks at bottle)

Humphries:   What is it, Mr. Mash?

Mash:           Blimey, I've brought the wrong bottle!  Dr. Baker's Wakers are blue, and these pills
                     is pink, ain't they?

Peacock:       Well, what are they?

Mash:           Oh, right!  Heh-heh!  I grabbed my wife's sleeping pills by mistake.  I snore, Captain.
                     Right window-rattler, I am.

Peacock:       Indeed!  Well, thank goodness none of us-- Wait a minute!

They all look at each other in horror

All:               Mr. Rumbold!

They race toward Rumbold's office

Rumbold's Office

Rumbold and Miss Thorpe are out cold, slumped against each other on the settee.  There are frantic knocks on the door.  It opens and Peacock leads the others in.

Peacock:       Good heavens!  They're unconscious!

Slocombe:     I certainly ‘ope so!

Lucas:           Look at them cuddled together!  Isn't that a sight?

Humphries:   Hmmm.  Thank goodness they're not awake to see it.

Mash:           Right!  It was an accident, it was!  I'll try to wake ‘em up.

Peacock:       Er, hold on a minute.  How long will those pills last?

Mash:           Blimey, it knocks the missus out all night!

Peacock:       Er, perhaps it would be unwise to awaken them in this state.  Yes, it may be better to
                     let them sleep, and then, er, when they, er, come around naturally, we'll send them
                    home in a taxi.

Lucas:           Yes, let them sleep.  That way Mr. Rumbold won't have to be bothered with his
                      usual duties.

Humphries:   (looks sideways at Peacock) Yes, like watchin' who's comin' and goin'.

Peacock:       Er, yes, I think it would be best.  We'll sort this out later.   Back to your counters,

They file back onto the sales floor

Peacock:       By the way, I have a slight problem to deal with.  I'll be off the floor for a short while.

Slocombe:     What?

Peacock:        I can't discuss it now, Mrs. Slocombe.  Mr. Humphries, awaken Mr. Grainger.

Humphries:   Certainly, Cpt. Peacock. (leans down)  Mr. Grainger, are you free?

Grainger:      (waking with a start) Huh?  Er, er, I'm free, yes. (rises from chair, with help from

Peacock:       I have to leave the floor for a short while, Mr. Grainger.  Mr. Rumbold is, er,
                     incapacitated, so I'm putting you in charge in my absence.

Grainger:      Incapacitated?

Peacock:       (grabbing his coat, hat and umbrella) Mr. Humphries will explain.  Carry on, everyone.
                     (he exits)

Grainger:      What was that all about?

Humphries:   He said you were in charge, Mr. Grainger.

Grainger:      In charge?

Humphries:   That's right.  Have you any instructions?

Grainger:      Yes.  I'm putting you in charge, Mr. Humphries.  I shall be in my chair. (sits, nods off)

Lucas:           Well, what's your orders then, Mr. Humphries?

Humphries:   Actually, I'm putting you in charge, Mr. Lucas.

Lucas:           Me?!  Where will you be?

Humphries:   With Mrs. Slocombe. (to Slocombe) Let's go, dear, it's almost seven-thirty.

Slocombe:     Where are we goin'?

Humphries:   Well, if Mr. Rumbold is out cold, he won't mind us watchin' "Coronation Street" on
                     his telly.  Come along!

Slocombe:     Take over for me, Miss Brahms!  I'll fill you in during the adverts.

Humphries and Slocombe dash offstage. Lucas and Brahms look at each other.

Scene 6

The Savoy Grill

Miss Hurst is sitting at a table, annoyed, looking at her watch.  There is a champagne bottle and a half-filled glass on the table.  Peacock enters the restaurant but stops in the foyer when he sees Young Mr. Grace and Miss Bakewell walking by Miss Hurst's table.

Hurst:          Why, hello, Mr. Grace. (stands)

YMG:          Good evening, my dear.  Aren't you, er--

Bakewell:     This is Miss Hurst from Novelty Candles, sir.

YMG:           I know, I know, don't prompt me!  Didn't I see you in the store today, Miss Hurst?

Hurst:           Oh, yes, sir.  I was in Ladies' Intimate Apparel.

YMG:           Oh?  Oh! (his knees buckle and he clutches his chest.  Miss Bakewell steadies him)

Hurst:           Are you all right, sir?

YMG:           Er, yes, I think so.

Hurst:           I rather enjoyed the change, Mr. Grace.

YMG:           Oh, good.  I know it was slow today.  I hope you made some commission.

Hurst:           I did, sir.  I sold two alligator handbags.

YMG:           Handbags?

Hurst:           Yes, sir.

YMG:           I see.  Well, are you dining alone this evening?

Hurst:           I've been waiting for someone, sir.

YMG:           We've just finished dinner, Miss Hurst, and we're on our way to the  lounge to have
                     a cocktail with one of our stockholders, Lord, er--

Bakewell:      Lord Hirly, sir.

YMG:           Lord Hirly, yes.  I'd ask you to join us if you were free.

Hurst:           Oh, I'm free, Mr. Grace.  Thank you.  I'll be along directly.

Mr. Grace and Miss Bakewell exit. Peacock hurries over to Miss Hurst, who is touching up her makeup

Peacock:       Good grief!  I had no idea Young Mr. Grace was coming here tonight!  Let's go before
                     he comes out of the lounge again!

Hurst:           I'm sorry, Stephen.  I've just accepted another offer.

Peacock:       What?!

Hurst:           After I'd been sitting here for three-quarters of an hour, Young Mr. Grace invited me
                     for cocktails with Lord Hirly, and I accepted.

Peacock:       Lord Hirly?

Hurst:           Yes.  Perhaps you've seen him at the store.  He's ever so handsome.

Peacock:       You mean ever so rich.

Hurst:           (snaps compact shut) I don't believe in holding that against a gentleman.  I'm off, then.
                    (she turns)

Peacock:       Now wait a minute!  I've gone through a lot of trouble to keep our date.  I'm absent
                    without leave.  Why, if Mr. Grace saw me here, I could be discharged!

Hurst:           You'd better go, then.

Peacock:       Wait, please!  I -- I've got a surprise.  I was saving it for you. (he reaches into pocket
                     and takes out a hotel room key) Look, I've booked a room here for us.  The
                    Honeymoon Suite, heh-heh!  It's got a waterbed and a heart-shaped bath, and, and there's
                     a box of  chocolates waiting for you--

Hurst:           Chocolates?

Peacock:       Yes, the finest!

Hurst:           Splendid!  I should bring them down here, then, and have them with what's left of
                     this bottle of champagne.  Here's the bill. (she hands it to him) Good night, Stephen.

Peacock:       But -- but --

She exits, leaving Peacock standing at table, looking at the key in one hand, the bill in the other, wondering what hit him

Go to Part 4 of  "Night Watch"