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Feather's Miscellany: Edward - Act 3, Scene 1

Here is the first scene of Act 3 of John Waddington-Feather's play about a time of crisis for the English monarchy.

Time: January 1936
Place: The servants’ quarters at Fort Belvedere. James and Smith
are discussing King George V’s death.

Smith: I always said the old King wouldn’t last the year out, an’ I were nearly right.

James: Quite frankly, I was surprised he made it to the New Year. He looked very ill
these past few months.

Smith: An’ the Prince didn’t ‘elp either, did he? They were barely speaking to
each other when his dad died. Falling out every time they met.

James: [Looking round] And that’s something else you’ve got to keep under your
hat, Smith. It isn’t generally known that the Prince and his father were
at loggerheads.

Smith: Well it’s true. They were daggers drawn. [Pause] Sad though ‘cos the old
King was well liked. He were a good monarch.

James: God rest his soul.

Smith: But what we’re in for now, I don’t like to think.

James: There’ll be another war for certain the way things are going.
Germany’s building up its army and navy again.

Smith: And its air-force. Thank God we got the Spitfire for they say the
Germans ‘ave a thousand warplanes now. If the balloon goes up,
we’ll need all the fighters we’ve got – an’ more to keep them buggers out.

James: This new Spitfire’s certainly different from the fighters I flew in the last war.

Smith: You flew in the last war, James? Well I’m blowed! We’ve worked together all these years an’ I never knew you was a flyer.

James: Only in the last few months of the war when they formed the Royal
Air Force. They needed more pilots and as I’d turned eighteen
they trained me to fly.

Smith: I always knew you was eddicated, James an’ you ‘ave to be clever to
fly. Not like us in the bleedin’ infantry. So what made you take a job as
a butler after the war? I would have thought you could have picked
up something better.

James: You know how it was. No work, so I had to take what I could and the
Prince took a liking to me and this job is safe
as long as I keep my mouth shut and go about my own business.
You can’t be choosy these days, Smith. You take what’s on
offer and hang on to it. I’m not married like you so I’ve only myself to
look after and I’m in clover here with the Prince.

Smith: You’re right, James. No jobs waiting for us after the war, in fact bugger all if
you’ll pardon my French. What was it they said? England would be
a country fit for heroes to return to? What a load o’ codswallop! Things
were just as they’d always been before the war. The rich got richer an’
the poor got poorer.

James: You sound like a Commie, Smith.

Smith: No, I ain’t. I’m as blue as they come, but you can’t ‘elp wonderin’ what
that bloody war was all about – any war come to that. It did for half me pals
I grew up with. For what? They’re dead an’ we’re worse off now in England than we was before. The only ones what come out good was the generals an’ their lot.. They made ‘em bloody earls an’ gave ‘em a bloody fortune when they should ‘ave hanged ‘em. Us poor buggers what survived, we just carry on scratching a living’ where we can.

James: I should keep your ideas to yourself, Smith. It doesn’t do to talk like
that round here. Folk might get the wrong impression about you.
Smith: I’m not like you, James. You’re the butler an’ have to keep quiet,
‘cos you’re looked up to, but I’m only the driver an’ I gotta sound off
at times ‘cos it’s no use bottling it up an’ you’re the
only one I can talk to ‘ere. [Sips his tea] Now we gotta think about
the old King’s funeral ‘cos we’ll both be working our socks off..

James: I'll have to have the Prince looking his best for that.

Smith: Will his lady friend, Mrs Simpson, be there?

James: She’s keeping a low profile, Smith. She’s not popular with the
Royal Family but anything could happen now the Prince
has become King.

Smith: D’yer rally think he’ll marry ‘er?

James: She’s got a bad reputation, I gather – and she’s divorced;. but whatever
transpires, Smith, keep your mouth shut.

Smith: She ‘as ‘im under her thumb. He’s crazy about ‘er, anyone can see that..
James: Let’s just say His Royal Highness is very fond of her. [Sips his tea]

Smith: [Brightly] Anyhow, it ain’t all doom an’ gloom, James. We beat
New Zealand at rugby – thanks to a Russian. Obl…Obl..What’s his name?

James: Prince Obolensky.

Smith: That’s it. And he ain’t a Commie!

Curtain

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