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Feather's Miscellany: Edward - Act 1, Scene 1

Smith: [Winking] He always did like the lower orders – specially the ladies. I know ‘cos I drives ‘im to his rendez-vous, an’ he keeps me waiting hours in the cold outside sometimes while he makes ‘imself cosy inside.

James: [Looking over his shoulder] For God’s sake keep your voice down, Smith. You open your mouth too much at times. You’ll land us both in trouble one of these day. If ever anyone overhears you and it gets back to the Prince that we discuss his personal affairs, we’ll be out on the street before we know it.

Smith: [Lowering his voice] But it’s true. He’s knocking off this rich American woman now at the same time as he’s got two others on tow, an’ they’re all married. He’s a right ladies’ man, I can tell yer, an’ he likes his loaf sliced and well buttered

Today we begin the serialisation of a play by John Waddington-Feather. Edward is a dramatic reconstruction of an epochal time in British monarchy. We will present the five-act drama scene by scene, week by week.

Act 1 Scene 1.
Time: Late 1920s.

Place: The servants’ quarters in the household of the Prince of Wales, Edward. His butler, James, is chatting to his chauffeur, Smith, a younger man.

Smith: ‘Ow long you been wiv his Royal Highness now, James?

James: Almost nine years. He took me on after he’d heard I’d been in the last show. He was in the army himself, y, know.

Smith: Oh! I didn’t know he’d been in it for real at the Front. He’s never struck me as the military sort and anyhow I thought he looks too young for the last war. I just scraped in after I cooked me age when I was fifteen but told ‘em I was seventeen. No questions asked an’ I was in the trenches in France before I knew it. Lucky to get back alive.

James: His Royal Highness was in the Grenadier Guards. He never actually saw action but he did visit the Front several times for Lord Kitchener wouldn’t allow him to go into action. If he’d been killed or, worse still, captured it could have led to all kinds of complications.

Smith: But they give ‘im the Military Cross, didn’t they? An’ just for visiting the Front! They always did chuck medals at the high-ups, didn’t they? Hang ‘em on their chests like fairy lights at Christmas.

James: As a matter of fact, Smith, he raised morale by visiting the Front and the men there thought highly of him. He’s made himself very popular with the lower orders, if you see what I mean.

Smith: [Winking] He always did like the lower orders – specially the ladies. I know ‘cos I drives ‘im to his rendez-vous, an’ he keeps me waiting hours in the cold outside sometimes while he makes ‘imself cosy inside.

James: [Looking over his shoulder] For God’s sake keep your voice down, Smith. You open your mouth too much at times. You’ll land us both in trouble one of these day. If ever anyone overhears you and it gets back to the Prince that we discuss his personal affairs, we’ll be out on the street before we know it.

Smith: [Lowering his voice] But it’s true. He’s knocking off this rich American woman now at the same time as he’s got two others on tow, an’ they’re all married. He’s a right ladies’ man, I can tell yer, an’ he likes his loaf sliced and well buttered.

James: [Whispering] Lady Furness, for example?

Smith: Among others. Don’t their ‘usbands satisfy ‘em or something?

James: Too much stiff upper-lip with some of the high-ups. No feelings. Frigid, y’know.

Smith: When it’s a bit o’ stiff upper dick what’s needed in marriage, ain’t it? And His Royal Highness certainly ‘as plenty o’ that like his grandfather, old King Edward. He left his mark all over the place when he played out.

James: Very different from the present King, God bless him. He’s straight as a die and more serious. He worries a lot about the Prince, him being heir to the throne and all that. So does Queen Mary.

Smith: Y’know what I think, James?

James: Go on.

Smith: he Prince has never growed up. He still thinks he’s one o’ the lads. There's always been one in the Royal Family a bit do-lally and in this generation it’s him; but he treats us well enough so we mustn’t grumble.

Smith: You’re right there, James. We’re lucky to ’ave ’im as our boss; lucky to ‘ave a boss at all these days.

James: But in confidence I can tell you he’s driving the King to despair, with all his love-affairs; always wanting to be different and trying to bring in new ideas.

Smith: He’ll come a cropper if he ain’t careful. He’ll land himself right in it one of these days – then you and me will be out of a job.

James: Then don’t say too much about him down here and keep your voice down. Why do you always have to speak so loudly when you never know who’s listening?


Curtain.

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