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Feather's Miscellany: Edward - Act 2, Scene 2

Time: 1935
Place: The servants’ quarters at Fort Belvedere . Smith and James are
chatting over a tea-break.

Smith: Quite a while since we last ‘ad a natter, James. Hardly ‘ad a minute to
meself driving the Prince ‘ere an’ drivin’ im there. Some days I don’t
know whether I’m on me head or me arse.

James: Smith, I do wish you’d moderate your language when there are
junior members of staff about. You and I are meant to set them example
and vulgarity is the last thing we want in the royal household.

Smith: Sorry. It sort of slipped out, but which ever way you puts it, I don’t
know whether I’m on me head or the other place some days.. Anyway,
what’s new, James, apart from the country going to the dogs? What with all these
protest marches an’ such yer don’t know what’ll ‘appen next.

James: Indeed. Things go from bad to worse. His Royal Highness is doing
his best by visiting the worst hit areas of unemployment and he’s very popular
with the people. [Lowers his voice] But then they don’t know what we know
and they haven’t heard about Mrs Simpson yet, have they?

Smith: I hear the King ain’t very pleased about her.

James: Nor the Prime Minister. Still, what I say is it’s none of our business, and
what people do in private is their own affair.

Smith: ‘Ere, ‘ere. I wouldn’t like folk to know what I got up to when I was younger
– specially my missus. But the Prince ‘as taken a right old shiner to Mrs
Simpson, ain’t he? She’s got ‘er hooks into ‘im good an’ proper and he’s all
over ‘er..

James: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, Smith. The Prince is his own man.

Smith: An’ don’t he know it. He’s sending his dad up the wall. You should have seen
the old man’s face yesterday when the Prince left ‘im. It were like thunder,
an’ the Prince were livid. They don’t get on at all well those two.

James: [Hurriedly] I’ve told you before, Smith, not to speak about the royal family so.
The press have their plants here and if they gets wind of what you say, it’ll
be splashed all across the papers before you know where you are – and you’ll
be out on the street, and me with you.

Smith: There were two photographers waiting out side when I came in an’ they asked
if Mrs Simpson was ‘ere.

James: I hope you kept your mouth shut.

Smith: Didn’t breathe a word, James. Honest – even when one of ‘em offered me a quid.

James: You did right. Keep well away from them. The Prince trusts us and the least
we can do is keep buttoned up.

Smith: [Sipping his tea] I had to drive the new German ambassador here yesterday.

James: Von Ribbentrop?

Smith: That’s the one. He’s a right creep he is. All over the Prince like a bleeding
lap dog. [Lowers his voice] An’ I’ll tell you something, James, he fancies Mrs
Simpson an’ the way she flirted with him, I’d say she fancies ‘im. You should
have seen how she gave ‘im the glad eye.

James: You read too much into things, Smith. The high-ups are all like that. It doesn’t
mean anything.

Smith: So you say.

James: You’re as bad as the press, Smith.

Smith: I can’t ‘elp seeing what I sees. I know when a woman knows what’s what an’ believe me Mrs Simpson is a woman who knows what’s what. She’s been married twice already so she oughter know ‘ow to handle men. She’s like a mare on heat an’ they’re round her like randy stallions.. Yer can see a mile off she’s got ‘er ‘ooks in His Royal Highness.

James: I keep telling you, Smith. That’s their business. Not ours. As far as
we’re concerned we don’t see or hear anything. Understand?

Smith: The aristocracy ‘ave always been at it, but the difference between us an’ them
is they get away with it an’ we catch it in the neck. There’s one law for them
and another for us. An’ look at all them film-stars. They’ve ‘ardly
got themselves married before they’re divorced an’ living in sin with somebody
else. An’ that’s the Prince’s trouble.

James: What?

Smith: He’s so good-looking, an’ dresses so well that he’s like a film-star. He can
pull any bird he likes. – an’ he does.

James: He’ll settle one day. We all need to sow our wild oats.

Smith: But not as many as ‘im. He’s still at it an’ he’s over forty when he oughter
be married an’settled. D’yer think he’ll ever marry?

James: It’s not for me to say, but he does seem very attached to Mrs Simpson.

Smith: But she’s divorced – twice.

James: That won’t put him off, but I don’t like to think what’ll happen if he decides
he’s going to marry her.

Smith: I can’t see ‘er as Queen. She ain’t the Queenly sort. I meantersay, she’s common.

James: Exactly. We can only hope that this infatuation will blow over as it has
done before. Anyhow, His Royal Highness is adding some colour to life. All
the papers do is pile on the misery; what with unemployment and
marches, and the Blackshirts and Commies having a go at each
other – ding, dong, ding, dong, left right, left, right. You begin to wonder
when it’ll all end.

Smith: There’s only one end, James, the way things are going, an’ you an me knows
it – war!

James: God help us if it comes that! I had my bellyful the last time.

Smith: Me, too. We was both lucky to come through that in one piece; but
the way this Hitler bloke’s going an’ Mussolini we’ll be into another war before
we knows it. All them rallies an’ goose-stepping an’ stiff-arm saluting – yer
can see a mile what the Krautz are up to. My new neighbours are Jews who’ve
left Germany an’ yer oughter hear what they say about the Nazis an’
their bleedin’ concentration camps.

James: Best not to think about it, Smith. There’s nothing we can do.

Smith: I s’ppose yer right, James, but. when anything goes wrong, it’s the likes of
us what carries the can for the high-ups an’ we always ‘ave done.

James: Best just to keep our heads down and get on with our work, Smith, and above
all keep your mouth shut!

Curtain

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