|JL – I had to sell my hair to get those sovereigns!|
JS – Very well, then I’ll take this thirteen
sovereigns – your secret is safe with me as long as the money keeps coming
in; they don’t call me Clive for nothing!
JL – But I haven’t any more money!
JS – Then you’d better find some – ha ha!
JL – How can you be so cruel?! I appeal to your good nature, kind…
JS – No you don’t! Not even close. More money! Keep finding it or your secret’s out. Goodbye!
LS – And so he left her.
Meanwhile, in another part of
PD – Oh, if only I had a real profession, a noble
profession, one that people admired me for.
splash, Big Ben begins to chime)
LS – He looked up at Big Ben.
PD – Oh look.. (laughs slightly at the obviousness). Big Ben.
LS – And as he was looking up a gentleman came along, a round-faced, red-faced sort of gentleman with whiskers upon him, a kindly look in his eye, and he could see that the young man was troubled.
PM – (hoarse old man voice) Hello young man.
PD – Hello! I’ve
PM – Yes, there’s always plenty of work for a female
fun at PD’s stint as Emily,
PD – Well, er, it wasn’t quite the sort of work I had in mind, but I’m willing to try anything!
PM – Then you must come with me, but not now.
PM – I’ll come back in about an hour, and then we’ll go somewhere.
PD – Very well…
LS – But the young man…
PD – I’ll wait here, by Big Ben.
PM – Alright. I’ll see you in an hour.
LS – Meanwhile, somewhere else, while that hour was elapsing, is a young, keen medical man in his laboratory. He is experimenting on several things, he wants to push forward the boundaries of science but, it is so difficult with so few subjects on which to experiment.
LS – His young assistant is in fact his young wife, Alice, and she helps him in his tasks but does not always agree with his methods.
JS (earnest young
middle-class man) –
CQ (“common as
muck” cockney) – Oh it’s “
JS – Thank you dearest. (straining) Now if I can just get this rabbit’s head off, uh, stick it on the cat’s head here…
CQ – Oh no don’t, that’s yucky!
JS – Don’t you understand, I’m trying to make leaps and bounds (he pronounces it very posh – “bainds”) through the world of science – improve things for mankind.
CQ – Wot, putting the head of a rabbit on a cat is gonna be better for mankind? Do me a favour!
JS (laughing) Where did we meet, Alice?! And was I sober?
CQ – We met… you were stoned out of your ‘ead, we met in that opium den, don’t you remember?
JS – Don’t talk to me about the opium den!
CQ – Oooh, you gone all funny!
LS – He went to ******…
JS – Oh I hope so!
LS - …because he could not forget the opium den, yes, Doctor Henry Woodcourt…
LS - …was addicted to opium. It was a substance he had first tasted at medical school, and suddenly he had a flashback to that opium den.
JS – The opium den, the opium den…
LS – Beside…
CQ – Allo darlin’, fancy a puff on this?
JS – My word, thank you very much!
and straw-sucking noises)
JS – What is this place?
JL – (decadent) This is the opium den. This is where all your troubles will go far away…
PM – (also decadent) They will disappear into a cloud of yellow smoke.
JL – Can you feel it working on your brain, young man?
JS – Why yes I can! Wow, this stuff’s good!
PM – Can you look over into that corner and see a giraffe on a pair of roller skates, balancing a milk crate on its head?
JS – My God, yes I can!
PM – He’s another customer.
JL – Enjoy it, young man.
PM – Yes, enjoy.
JL – You’ll be enjoying it for the rest of your
life… a ahahhaaaa!
(PM joins in the manic laughing)
JS – Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it, oh, oh GOD!
CQ – That’s right, now you remember, it’s all coming back innit?
JS – Yes.
CQ – Mmm.
JS – Those wind chimes helped. It’s because I’ve got nothing decent to work on, I need bodies, I need… cadavers.
CQ – I beg your pardon?
JS – Just chancing my arm that was the right word.
CQ – Yes, I suppose it’s “
JS – If it’s not too much to ask. Go and get me a stiffy.
LS – And so we leave this happy couple and go to a swisher
JL – Helloooo!
LS – Yes, it is
CQ (doddery old lady) – Hello?
JL – Ah, madam.
CQ – Yes?
JL – Could you help me?
CQ – I don’t know, what d’you want? If it’s bananas I can’t, no.
JL – Well, could you measure me please? I’m about to put on a lot of weight, I believe, and, and…
CQ – Oh, really?
JL - …and I don’t want the weight to show, you know how vain women can be! Aaaah…
CQ – Oh yes, of course. So you want something… nice and tight round your middle, to hold in an ensuing bulge.
JL – An ensuing bulge, yes.
CQ – Oh there, there, dear. Don’t cry! Tell me your problem.
LS – And it was there that
of cups and saucers)
LS - …and the predicament that she was in.
mid-conversation, as if she has already explained a great deal of what
JL – And I said “I’ve got four queens too.”.
JL – (getting more upset) And he said “Oh, then you have to pay a forfeit!”.
CQ – Really, yes?
JL – “Lift up your petticoats and pay a f…forfeit”
CQ – Oh no!
JL – And then…
CQ – No…
JL – Then it all went sort of black and clammy, and… sort of wet and squelchy.
CQ – Ghastly. Did you win?
JL – I don’t know. All I know is, that I am with child.
CQ – Oh no…
JL – And I can’t tell my parents.
CQ – No!
JL – They’re very important people in the City.
CQ – No!
JL – And it would bring terrible shame upon the family.
CQ – Terrible shame!
JL – And also…
CQ – What?!
JL – The man, you see…
CQ – Yes?
JL – I didn’t even know his name.
CQ – Wow, this is a tricky one!
JL – I’m also being blackmailed.
CQ – Oh good Lord! Not having much luck…
JL – There was a third card player, you see.
CQ – What, (beginning to laugh) oh dear yes…
JL – His name is “Clive for Nothing”.
CQ – Clive for Nothing? I know that name… I thought they didn’t call him Clive for Nothing?
JL – Only on Tuesdays.
CQ – Oh, I see.
JL – He’s blackmailing me.
CQ – Yes?
JL – I’ve got to give him thirteen gold sovereigns tonight. I’ve already given him thirteen, I don’t know where to get the money.
CQ – Another thirteen sovereigns by tonight!
JL – How can I make money so quickly?
CQ – Well, I have an idea…
JL – Yes?
CQ – I’d have to talk to Mr Peplum about it…
JL – Oh please do anything, I’ll do anything…
CQ – But, we need a gown sewed for the Princess and if you stayed up all night I’m sure we’d pay you thirteen sovereigns but it’d be very hard work…
JL – I will. I’m not much good at sewing but I’ll try.
CQ – That’s right, you’re not much good at sewing but you’re up the duff and you’ve got no choice.
LS – Back at the river
splashes into water)
LS - …and the kindly gentleman will return.
PD – So, you want me to put that on?!
PM – Yes I do… I’m quite prepared to strap you
into it, because tonight is cabaret night down at the old opium den, and
there’s nothing that the old opium-head likes more (LS
sniggers as PM gets stupidly gravelly) than a
good piece of female impersonation.
LS – Yes indeed – this was the infamous Sir Lester Marwood!
(crashing dramatic chords) Procurer of
female impersonators from the streets of
PM – Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Sir Lester Marwood! (same crashing dramatic chords again) Here’s my card.
PD – Ah, Sir Lester Marwood (waits expectantly for crashing chords, none occur, audience laughter)
PM – Don’t forget…(he waits for laughter to die down). I’m sorry, that one hasn’t got the tune on it, here’s another one.
PD – Sir Lester Marwood! (crashing chords, audience laughter). Thank you, ah, I’ll keep that for later.
PM – Good, make sure you do.
PD – Well, I’ll put this on then.
LS – So Charles, for that was his name…now… slipped on the pink chiffon number.
PM – That’s better! Worthy of Sir Lester Marwood (another expectant silence). I’m sorry, it must be their tea-break.
PD – Here, use this card!
PM – Ah, Sir Lester Marwood! (crashing chords, audience applause) I shall see you at this address… tonight!
LS – Meanwhile, back at the haberdashers,
LS - …never had sweat beaded on her brow.
JL – (panting with exertion) Why that’s, that the top part of the gown
almost finished, and I did it! Me,
little old silly
PM – Excuse me.
JL – Yes?
PM – I will give you five guineas for that lovely lady’s gown.
JL – But this is a gown for the princess; I can’t possibly sell it, unless (sensing an opportunity)… you give me… sixty…gold…sovereigns.
PM – No.
PM – Wait!
(Door opens again)
JL – Yes?
PM – I will give you sixty guineas for this elegant gown, but you mustn’t tell anybody who you sold it to.
JL – Who did I sell it to, kind sir?
PM – I’m not going to tell you. Suffice it to say it’s got a five-bar beat at the end of it.
JL – There you are.
PM – Thank you. And here is your money.
JL – Thank you! (to herself) Sixty gold sovereigns! (door slams) But what am I going to do if the old lady comes back? I’ll have to make another one…
CQ – Elizabeth?
JL – Yes?
CQ – How’s the gown going?
JL – It’s coming on very well. It’s a wonderful gown, isn’t it, it’s over there on the model.
LS – She looked, but she could see nothing.
JL – Only clever people can see it.
CQ – It’s charming.
JL – Thank you!
slams, JL pants with effort)
LS – But now she had to work doubly hard, for she had made money; she had made money in an honest way, something a Masterson had never, ever done before.
JL – Ah, oh it’s finished.
LS – Meanwhile, through the dark streets of
CQ – HELLO!! S’like a graveyard in ‘ere.
LS – And she heard a voice, a voice heard before by a young woman in disgre.. disgress? Distress.
JS (as Clive for Nothing) Hello…
CQ – Hello?
JS – My name’s Clive.
CQ – Clive?
JS – Correct, well remembered.
CQ – And what can I do for you, sir?
JS – More the case what can I do for you. Are you looking for…bodies?
CQ – I might be. Who’s aski.. oh, Clive, yes, that’s right. Can you ‘elp me out in that department then Clive?
JS – I have a shovel…
CQ – Well that is helpful, yes, and erm… ‘ave you dug up graves before, Clive?
JS – Yes. Like this one here in front of you.
CQ – (dramatic intake of breath)
JS – Sorry about that…
LS – He took his hand from off her rear end.
JS – Yes, I dug up this grave earlier.
and straining noises)
LS – Between them they lifted the body, they lifted
the body and they carried it back (sinister music) through the foggy streets of
PD – Er… could you give me a few, hints?
PM – No.
PD – Very well, I…er…I’ll…I’ll do my best.
PM – I suggest you open with that popular song, “I May be a Man, But Not So Much as You’d Know It”.
PD – Very well, er.. I’ll… go for it.
PM – I shall be in the corner, tappin’ away.
PD – Ah, er, ahem. Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
clap and cheer)
PD – Um, how do you do, erm,
I’m going to start with, er, an opening number,
a little s…song, er, I’m, er….
Oh dear, this isn’t going very well, is it?
(Cast boo – JL
– Boo, come on, get off!
CQ – Show us yer ankles!)
PD – No, no… no, really, I, I… I... I am, ah,
well, I..I’m… I
know how to pretend to be a woman.. ah..er
(dissolves into confusion) Oh, oh
boo again CQ – Get ‘im off!
PM – Ladies and gentleman, we are watching a first time female impersonator here tonight. Go for it son! (stirring music begins) This is your…
encouragement – JS – The toff’s right,
let’s give the young lad a chance! CQ
– Give ‘im a go, give ‘im
a go! JL – Give him a
chance! Give him a go! JS – Go
on son, you can do it!)
(PD launches into
warbled rendition of “As Long as He Needs Me”,
PD – As long as heeee… needs… meee!
clap and cheer)
PD – As long as heee…
LS – And so we leave Charles, a great hit in the
opening [sic] den with a rendition
of a song that would be written some 110 years later.
Back at the laboratory, erm, Dr Henry
Deadlock is waiting for the cadaver. (bubbling
noises) It is brought in by
laugh, presumably realising that the doctor and Clive are both played by JS)
JS (Henry )– Where the hell have you been, and who’s he?
“ (Clive) – Hello.
“ – He sounds just like me!
CQ – Yes! I met him down the graveyard, darlin’, his name’s Clive.
JS (Henry) – You… you mean that you let somebody else know what you were doing?!
CQ – Well I…
JS (Henry) – But that means…
CQ – Wot?
JS (Clive) – Yes, that means I can blackmail you.
CQ - **********
LS – Suddenly there was a fearful argument between the two men.
(JS starts to ouch
and aargh in both voices, window glass crash,
LS – They fought!
crashing, punching, CQ generally ahhs, ohs,
oh, don’t do that etc.)
CQ – (as fighting noises cut out) Oh no, that’s made a big mess! I’ve got to clear that up now.
LS – And lying, lying in a pool of blood, like a red halo around his head, was Clive for Nothing; and standing over him, with a blood-soaked scalpel, was Dr Henry Deadlock.
JS (panting) Look
what I’ve done! (sinister
CQ – Oh no! You’ve killed ‘im!
JS – Yes! But it means…
CQ – Wot?
JS – I have a fresh corpse to practice on!
CQ – Darlin’ that’s true, and if you cut ‘im up no-one will ever know that he’s died.
JS – It’s not really an experiment though, is it, just cutting him up!
CQ – Well, then you sew ‘im back together again.
JS – Yes! With a new brain…
CQ – Ye… don’t look at me like that! Don’t…!
JS – Yes, darling…yes!
CQ – No, I’ve never been bright, darlin’, you know that!
JS – Yes, yes, yeeeeesssss!!!!!
CQ – No, darlin’ no, don’t, no, unhand me, AAAAHHHH!!!
moment of stunned silence, then laughter from audience)
LS – At Clarendon’s, haberdashers to the rich and
JL – Ah, that’s the seventieth gown I’ve made tonight! I now have three thousand, six hundred and forty-two golden sovereigns. I’m rich! And I’m going to find Clive for Nothing, and tell him that I don’t care whether he blackmails me! I’m free now, I’m independent! Not a girl any more (deep voice) but a woman…
LS – And so she left the shop. Charles had finished his night’s work as a female impersonator, but he was not happy, as she was happy with her night’s work; he felt soiled. He felt… dirty.
PD – Frankly Sir Lester, I feel cheap!
PM – You were rubbish.
PD – I did my best! I did my best for you. What are you going to do in return?
PM – I’m going to give you my card. I’ve changed my name, and my theme tune since the last time you saw me.
PD – Ah, Sir Fred Pontin! (Frontier/Wild
West style music)
PM (JL laughing in background) – Cost me a fortune to have that printed up! Yes, Sir Fred Pontin, I’m going to open a holiday camp up somewhere in Skegness! Why don’t you come and join me, (trying not to laugh) I could do with a very bad female impersonator!
LS – But Charles was not going to fall for that, he wanted to escape from this world, and so he tore the card up in front of Sir Fred’s face, and walked out, out onto the streets!
PD – This, this is what I think of your card! And this is what I think of your holiday camps!
(Wild West music
faded in and out very fast to imply torn-ness)
PD – There’s your tune, all over the floor!
PM – But if I pick up that tune, those notes, I can get another tune out of it! See, a little bit of Blu-tac! So, my name is now Nyer Nyernoo! (Dramatic brass orchestral music) So hang you! Goodbye and good riddance, you young puppy.
LS – He left and he walked out, he walked out into a new morning, a new morning in a dirty city but, somehow the morning made it clean. (rippling water noise, general city noises) The sun was coming up, just over Big Ben, and he looked up, he looked up at the clock face and he felt better.
PD – Oh
(Big Ben chimes)
LS – And hurrying by was a new woman. A woman made new by her experiences. She hurried by to her family home where she burst in on her parents, having breakfast.
JL – Mother, father!
PM – Yes?
JL – I have something to tell you.
PM – What is it, my child?
PD – Yes?
JL – Do you want the good news or the bad news?
PM – The bad news.
JL – I’m pregnant.
PD – Good God!
JL – Would you like the good news?
PM – Yes.
JL – I’m rich!
PD – Brilliant!
JL – What do you think of that?! I was being blackmailed by a terrible, terrible man.
PD – Oh no!
JL – So I went, and I worked like a decent, honest woman, like I’ve never worked before. I now have over three thousand golden sovereigns; (LS laughing) I am pregnant, but I don’t care! I’m going to raise the child myself with the money I’ve earned. What do you say to that, father?
PM – Good.
JL – Yes, I knew you’d be angry!
laugh at the contradicting dialogue)
JL – What do you say, mother?
PD – Well, you seem to have got it all worked out, really.
JL – Oh, please try and understand me!
PM – We can only offer you our best wishes…
JL – Oh yes, typical parents! I won’t leave, I tell you, I won’t! I’m going to my room now, stop shouting!
slams, audience applause)
LS – And so it was, that she ran to her room, she ran to her room and she flung open the window and she looked at London too; she looked at this great, vibrant city, this city in a changing world, and she knew, (city noises) she knew that she was going to help build this new world, she was part of it, she was someone (LS laughs as a stirring march begins to play) who was going to make it great, England great, and London great. For she was a Masterson, but a new sort of Masterson, a Masterson who would work for a living, who would sweat for a living, someone who was worthy of… The Masterson Inheritance!