You are on page 1of 46

l,

,l

SH E LAGH DE LAN E Y

AThste of Honey
Witb a Commentary and No tes by
G LENDA LEEMING

Debreceni Eggetem
Angol-Amerikai Intzet K6ngvt6ra
Methuen Snrdent Editions
METHUEN.LONDON
This Methuen Student Edition first published in 1982 by Methuen
London Ltd,11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE.
A Taste of Honey first published in January 1959 by Methuen
& Co. Ltd. New edition April 1959.
A Taste of Honey copyright @ 1959 by Theatre Workshop
Contents
(Pioneer Theatres Ltd.)
Commentary and Notes copyright @ 1.982 by Methuen London Ltd.
Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd,
Bungay, Suffolk Page
Shelagh Delaney v
rsBN 0 4r3 49250 8
Plot and structure vii
Commentary x
CAUTION Characters X
This play is fully protected by copyright. All enquiries concerning Themes xv
performing rights, professional or amateur should be directed to Comedy xvii
Tessa Sayle, 11 Jubilee Place, Chelsea, London SW3 3TE. How the play came to be written xix
Dramatic effectiveness xxiii
Social background: the fifties xxiv
Suggestions for further reading xxvlll
A TASTE OF HONEY 5

Notes 88
Four pages of illustrations appear at the end of the commentary

Tbanks are due to Tessa Sayle and Non Worrall for tbeir belp and
adaice in the preparation of this edition.
This play was first presented by Theatre Workshop at the
Theaue Royal, Stradord, London Er5, on z7 May 1958.
Act One
On ro February 1959 the play was presented by Donald SCENE ONE
Albery and Oscar Lewenstein Ltd, at Wyndham's Theatre,
London, with the following cast: I'\rc stage relresents a cornfortless flat in Manchestn and tlv
street outide, Jazz nusic. Enter HELEN, a semi-whore, and
HELEN Ayi5 lrrnnsge hn daughter, Jo. Thq are loadpd with baggage.
ha daughtn Frances Cuka rriLEN: \[ell! This is the place.
JosEPHINn,
Nigel Davenport yo: And I don't like it.
PETER, her fiend
THE BOY Clifton Jones uriLEN: \[hen I find somewhere for us to live I have to con-
GEOFFREY Murray Melvin sider something far more important than your feelings . ..
the rent. It's all I can afford.
yo: You can afford something better than this old ruin.
THE APEX JAZZ TRIO Johnny Vallbank (cornet)
Barry Wright (guitar) ilriLEN: When you start &rning you can start moaning.
Christopher Capon (double bass) yo: Can't be soon enough for me. I'm cold and my shoes let
water . .. what a place . . . and we're supposed to be
SETTING BY John Bury living off her immoral earnings.
COSTUMES BY Una Collins nriI.EN:I'm careful. Anyway, what's wrong with this place?
Everything in it's falling apart, it's true, and we've no
The play is set in Salford, Lancashire, ttxlqy heating - but there's a lovely view of the gasworks, we share
a bathroom with the community and this wallpaper's con-
temporary. Vhat more do you want? Any*ay it'll do for
us. Pass me a glass, Jo.
Directed by Joan Littlewood J<l: Where are they?
uriLEN: I don't know.
Jo: You packed 'em. She'd lose her head if it was loose.
nI,LEN: Here they are. I put 'em in my bag for safety. Pass me
that bottle - it's in the carrier.
ytr: Why should I run round after you? lTahcs whisky bottle
from bag.l
A TASTE OF EONBY [ecr r scENE rl A TASTE OF IIONEY
HELEN: Children owe their parene these little atteotions. waiting for something to nun up. And it usudly does if I
1o: I don't owe you x thing. ddnk hard enough. Oh my God! I've caught a shocking
HELEN: Except respect, and I don't seem to get any of that. cold from somebody. Have you got a clean hanky, Jo?
yo: Drink, drink, drink, that's all you're fit for. You make me Mine's wringing wet with dabbing at my nose all day.
sick. ;o: Have this, i1's nearly clean. Isn't that light awful? I do hate
HELEN: Others may pray for thEir daily bread, I pray for . . . to see an unshaded electric light bulb dangling from the
;o: Is that the bedroom? ssiting like that.
HELEN: It is. Your health, Jo. urjLEN: Well, don't look at it then.
;o: 'IVe're sharing a bed agah, I see. Jo: C,an I have that chair, Helen? I'll put my scarf round it.
HELEN: Of course, you know I can't bear to be parted from l1o takes chair from HELEN, stands on it and zwaps lur
you. scarf round light fulb - burning herself in tlu process.l
1o: What I wouldn't give for a room of my own! God! It's ilt:LEN: Wouldn't she get on your nerves? Just when I was
freezing! Isn't there any sort of fire anywherg Helen? going to take the weight of my feet for five minutes. Oh!
HELEN: Yes, there's a gas-propelled thing somewhere. my poor old nose.
;o: Where? lo: Christ! It's hot.
HELEN: Vhere? What were you given eyes for? Do you want TTELEN: Why can't you leave things alone? Oh! she gets me
me to carry you about? Don't stand there shivering; have down. I'll buy a proper shade tomorrow. It's running like
some of this if you're so cold. a tap. This is the third hanky today.
1o: You know f don't like it" yo: Tomorrow? What makes you think we're going to live
HELEN: Have you tried it? that long? The roof's leaking!
yo: No. TTELEN: Is it? No, it's not, it's just condensation.
HELEN: Then get it down you! [Sfte wanders around tlu room Jo: Was it raining when you took the place?
searchingfor fire.l "\Xrhere!" she says. She can never see I(ELEN: It is a bit of a mess, isn't it.
anything till she falls over it. Now, where's it got to? I yo:You always have to rush offinto things. You never think.
know I saw it here somewhere . . . one of those shilling TIELEN: Oh well, we can always find something else.
in the slot affairs; the landlady pointed it out to me as yo: But what are you looking for? Every place we find is the
part of the furniture and fittiogp. I don't know. Oh! It'll same.
turn up. What's up with you now? HELEN: Oh! Every time I turn my head my eyeballs hurt.
yo: I don't like the smell of it. Can't we have a bit of peace for five minutes?
HELEN: You don't smell it, you drink it! It consoles you. yo: I'll make some coffee.
1o: What do you need consoling about? I{ELEN: Do what you like. I feel rotten. I've no business being
HELEN: Life! C-ome on, give it to me if you've done with it. out of bed.
I'll it in a safe place. [Drinks.]
soon put ;o: Where's the kitchen?
it back worse than ever.
yo: You're knocking IELEN: Where's the - through there. I have to be really bad
HELEN: Oh! Well, it's one way of passing time while I'm bdore I can go to bed, though. It's the only redeeming
ro a rAsrE oF HoNEY [ecr r scENB rl a TASTE OF HONEY rr
feature in this entire lodging house. I've got it in my throat yo: I saw him spii one day, on the street.
now too. I hope you're going to make full use of it. TTELEN: Did you?
yo: There's a gas stove in here. yo: I couidn't believe my eyes. He was thin, weak-chinnsd,
HELEN: It hurts when I swallow. Of course there is! with a funny turned-up nose.
yo: It looks a bit ancient. How do I light it? TTELEN: It wasn't his nose I was interested iu.
HELEN: How do I - with a match. Wouldn't she drive you lTugboat heard.l
mad? yo: C,an you smell that river?
yo: I know that, but which knob do I trrrn? IIELEN: I can't smell a thing! I've got such a cold.
HELEN: Turn 'em all, you're bound to find the right one in ;o: What's that big place over there?
the end. She can't de s thing for henelf, that girl. Mind IIELEN: The slaughterhouse. Vhere all the cows, sheep and
you don't gas yoruself, Every time I comb my hair it goes pigs go in and all the beef, pork and mutton comes out.
right through me. I think it's more than a cold, you know - yo: I wonder what it'll be like here in the summer. I bet it'll
more likely it's 'flu! Did you find it? smell.
lLoud borg.l TIELEN: This whole clty smells. Eee, there's a terrible draught
yo: Yes. in here. Where's it coming from? Look at that! What a
HELEN: The way she bangs about! I tell you, my head's coming damn silly place to put window. This place is cold enough,
a
off. isn't it, without grving shelter to the four winds.
;o: 'lVon't be long now. Who lives here besides us, Helen? ;o: Helen, stop sniffing. It sounds awful.
Any young people? IIELEN: I can't help it. You'd sniffif you had a cold like this.
HELEN: Eh? Oh! Yes, f did see a lad hanging around here She's not got a bit of consideration in her. It's self all the
when I called last week. Handsome, long-legged creanrre - time.
iust the way I like 'em. Perhaps he's one of the fixtures. Jo: I'm going to unpack my bulbs. I wonder where I can put
He'd iust do for you, Jol you've never had a boy friend, them.
have you? TTELEN: I could tell you.
;o: No. I used to like one of your fancy men though. ;o: They're supposed to be left in a cool, dark place.
HELEN: Oh! Which one? TIELEN: That's where we all end up sooner or later. Still, it's
;o: I thought I was in love with him. no use worrying, is it?
HELEN: Which one does she mean? yo: I hope they bloom. Always before when I've tried to fix
1o:I thought he was the only -an I'd ever love in my life and up a window box nothin's ever grown in it.
then he ran off with that landlady's daughtcr. I{ELEN: Vhy do you bother?
HELEN: Oh! Him. ;o: It's nice to see a few flowers, isn't it?
1o: And Icried myself to sleep for wccks. TTELEN: Where did you get those bulbs?
HELEN: She was a silly cat if evcr thcrc wln onc. Yorr should ;o: The Park. The gardener had just planted about two hun-
have seen her. Honcst to Godl Shc wiur r siglrt litr sore dred. I didn't think he'd miss half a dozen.
eyes. I'll have to tcll you ubout ltt'r ltxr ritttttt'lllttc. TIELEN: That's the way to do things. If you see something
t2 A TASTE OF HONBY [ecr r scENE rl A TASTE OF HONEY r3

you want, take it. That's my daughter for you. If you spent And to the old folks I'd give the memory
half as much ti e on me as you do on them fiddling bits of the baby upon their knee.
of greenery I'd be a damn sight better off. Go and see if
that kenle's boiling. [To orclrcsrra]: Come on, vamp it in with me.
yo:See yourself. I've got to find somewhere for my bulbs. yo: You can't play to that. It's got no rhythm-
HELEN: See yourself! Do everything yourself. That's what HELEN: Oh! They'd tear it up, wouldn't they? lSIu ings
happens. You bring 'em up and they turn round and talk anoths oerse.l It's nice though isn't it?
to you like that. I would never have dared talk to my yo: What would you say if I did something like that?
mother like that when I was her age. She'd have knocked HELEN: I should have taken up singing - everybody used to
me into the middle of next week. Oh! my head. Whenever tell me. What did you say?
I walk, you know how it is! What a iourney! I never yo: I said what would you say if I got a iob in a pub?
realized this city was so big. Have we got any aspirins left, HELEN: You can't sing, can you? Anyway, it's your life, ruin
Jo? it your own way. It's a waste of time interfering with other
;o: No. I dreamt about you last night, Helen. people, don't you think so? It takes me all my time to
HELEN: You're going to have a shocking journey to school look after myself, I know that.
each day, aren't you? It must be milqs and miles. ;o: That's what you said, but really you think you could make
1o: Not for much longer. a better job of it, don't you?
HELEN: Why, are you still set on leaving school at Chrisunas? HELEN: What?
yo: Yes. yo: Ruining my life. After all, you've had plenty of practice.
HELEN: vhat are you going to do? HELEN: Yes, give praise where praise is due, I always say' I
yo: Get out of your sight as soon as I can get a bit of money ceftainly supervised my own downfall. oh! This chair's a
io -y pocket. bit low, isn't it? Could do with a cushion.
HELEN: Very wise too. But how are you going to get your ;o: Anyway I'm not getting married like you did.
money in the first place? After all, you'rc uot very fond of nnrrN: Oh!
work, are you? 1o: I'm too young and beautiful for that.
yo: No. I take after you. HELEN: Listen to it! Still, we all have funny ideas at that age,
HELEN llooking at thc aspidistral: That's nice, isn't it? Puts me don't we - makes no difference though, we all end up same
in mind of my first job, in a utty little pub down Whit way sooner or later. Aoywuy, tell me about this dream you
Lane. I thought it was wonderful ... You know, playing had.
the piano and all that; a real get-together at weekends. 1o: What dream?
Everybod! standing up and grving a song. I used to bring HELEN: You said you had a dream about me.
the house down with this one. [Sr4gs.] Jo: oh that! It was nothing much. r was standing in a garden
and there were some policemen diggrng and guess what
I'd give the song birds to the wild wood they found planted under a rosebush?
I'd give the sr:nset to the blind nBtnN: You.
r4 A TAsrE oF HoNBy [ecr r sr:nxr r] A TASTE OF IIONEY r5
;o: No - you. I must say. Have you ever thought of going to a proPer art
HELEN: Why, had we run short of cemetery space? Well, I,ve school and getting a proper training?
always said we should be used for manure when we're 1o: It's too late.
gone. Go and see to that cofee. I'm dyrng for a hot drink. nllr,EN: I'll
pay, You're not stuPid. You'll soon learn.
This bloody cold! It's all over me. I,m sure it's 'flu - I ;o: I've had enough of school. Too many different schools and
suppose I'd better clear some of this snrff away. She too many different places.
wouldn't think. Well, they don't at that age, do they? Oh! rrrLEN: You're wasting yourself.
It gets me right here when I try to do anything when I ;o: So long as I don't waste anybody else. Why are you so
bend, you know. Have you ever had it? I was thinking of suddenly interested in me, anyway? You've never cared
washing my hair tonight, but I don't think it's wise to . .. much before about what I was doing or what I was trying
Christ! what the hell's she got in here . .. sooner her to do or the difference benpeen them.
than me . . . what's this? [.lea4g drawirrys.) Hey, Jo, Jo, r{ELEN: I know, I'm a olrel, wicked woman.
what's this? yo: Why did we have to come here anyway? \Ve were all right
;o: What's what? at the other place.
HELEN: Did you do this? HELEN: I was fed up with the other place.
;o: Put it dowu. ;o: You mean you're running away from somebody.
HELEN: I thought you said you weren't good at anything. r{ELEN: You're asking for a bloody good hiding, lady. Just be
1o: It's only a drawing. careful. Oh! She'd drive you out of yoru mind. And my
HELEN: It's very good. Did you show them this at school? head's splining. Splitting in two.
;o: I'm never at one school long enough to show them any- ;o: What about me? Don't you think I get fed up with all this
thing. flitting about? Where's the bathroom? I'm going to have
HELEN: That's my fault, I suppose. a bath.
yo: You will wander about the country. HELEN: You're always bathing.
HELEN: It's the grpsy in me. I didn't rcalize I had such a ;o: I'm not like you. I don't wait until it becomes necessary
talented daughter. Look at rhat. It's good, isn't it? before I have a good wash.
;o: I'm not just talented, I'm geniused. HELEN: You'll find the coutmunal latrine and wash-house at
HELEN: I think I'll hang this on the wall somewhcrc. Now, the end of the passage. And don't throw you things about,
where will it be least noticeable? Don't snatch. Havc you this place is untidy enough as it is.
no manners? What's these? 1o: That's all we do, live out of a travelling-bag.
yo: Self-poftraits. Give'em here. HELEN: Don't wony' you'll soon be an independent working
HELEN: Self-portraits? Oh! Well, I suppose you'vc got to woman and free to go where you please.
draw picttres of yor:rself, nobody else would. IIcyl Is that yo: The sooner the better. I'm sick of you. You've made my
supposed to be me? life a misery. And stop sneezing your'flu bugs all over me.
;o: Yes. I don't want to catch Your cold.
HELEN: Don't I look a misery? They're very trristic rhough, HELEN: Oh! Get out of my sight. Go and have your bath.
\(:ENE I] A TASTE OF HONEY r7
I6 A TASTB OF HONEY [ecr r
yo: You qrn get your own cpfee too. Vhy should I do any- termite and crawl into the wall or something, but make
thing for you? You never do anything for me. yowself scarce.
lrl'tER: Get rid of her.
lMusic. Enter IETER, a brash car salesman, cigar in mouth.l rnlt,EN: I can't. Anyway, nobody asked you to come here'
r,rl rER: why did you come here? I had to chase all over
town
HELEN: Oh! My God! Look what the wind's blown in. What
do you want? looking for you, only to finish up in this dump'
pErER: Just passing by, you know. Thought I'd take a look at rriLEN: Oh shut uP! I've got a cold.
your new headquarters. r'r: l'ER: What on earth made you choose such a gbastty distria?
HELEN: Just passing . . . How did you find my address? nuLEN: I can't afford to be so classy.
IETER: I found it. Did you think you could escape me, dear? ru tER: Tenements, cemetery, slaughterhouse'
1o: So that's what she was running away from. uljLEN: Oh we've got the lot here.
PETER: Who's this? r't,'rER: Nobody could live in a place like this'
HELEN: Itly daughter. 1o: Only about fifty thousand people.
IETER: Oh! Hello there. That puts another ten years on her. l'rj'rER: And a snotty-nosed daughter.
1o:
'What's this one called? Iu,LEN: I said nobody asked you to come' Oh my God! I'll
HELEN: Smith. have to have a dose of something. My head's swimming.
;o: You told me not to tnrst men calling themselves Smith. Why did you?
HELEN: Oh go and have your bath. lrirER: Vhy did I what?
yo: I
don't know where the bathroom is. rniLEN: Follow me here?
HELEN: It's in a little hole in the corridor. ltiTER: Now you know you're glad to see me, kid'
1o: Is he staying? TIELEN: No I'm not. The only consolation I can find in your
PETER: Yes, I'm staying. immediate prcsence is your ultimate absence'
1o: Then I'll go for my bath later. v'1;'rER! In that case, I'll staY.
rrtLEN: I warned you. I told you I was throwing my hand in'
HELEN: What did you want to follow me here for?
pErER ffumblingl: You know what I want. Now drdn't I?
HELEN: Give over! Jo, go and see to that coffee! He would pETER: You did.
show up iust when I've got her hanging round my ncck. TTELEN: oh! Throw that cigar away. It looks bloody ridiculous
nETER: Do what your mother tells you. stuck in your mouth like a horizontal chimney'
;o: Ordering me about like a servant! [Shc goes. PErl:R makzs eETER: Your nose is damp. Here, have this'
another pass at nrrrN.] The kettle's not boiling. I suppose HELEN: Oh go awaY!
she hasn't told you about me. PETER: Give it a good blow.
PETER: Christ! HELEN: Leave it alone.
PETER: Blow yoru nose, woman' lSlrc doesl' And
while you're
HELEN: Go and lay the table.
;o: No. atitblowafewofthosecobwebsoutofyourhead.You
HELEN: Vell, do something. Trrrn yourself itrlo it blotldy can't afford to lose a man like me'
I8 A TASTE OF HONEY [rcr r .. (:liNE II A TASTB OF HONEY r9
HELEN: Can't I?
rrj'rlR: Helen, you don't seem to reatze what an oppornrnity
PETER: This is the old firm. you can't renege on the old firm.
I'm giving you. The world is littered with women I've
HELEN: I'm a free lance. Besides, I'm thinking of giving it up.
rejected, women still anxious to indulge my linle vices and
PETER: What?
excuse my less seemly virtues. Marry me, Helen. I'm
HELEN: Sex! Men!
pETER: What have we done youg, good-looking and well set up. I may never ask you
to deserve this? again.
HELEN: It's not what you've done. It's what f've done.
ur,LEN: You're drunk.
PErER: But lapproaching lurl, dafling, you do it so well.
r'I:TER: I'm as sober as a iudge.
HELEN: Now give over, peter. I've got all these things to
uI:LEN: If you ask me again I might accept.
unpack.
lnrER [singsl: "I see a quiet place, a fireplace' a cosy room."
PETER: Send her to the pictures.
uriLEN: Yes, the tap room at the Red Lion. What are you
HELEN: I don't feel like it.
after?
PETER: What's wrong?
r'rirER: You know what I like.
HELEN: I'm tired. It's terrible when you've got a cold, isn,t
it? You don'r fancy anything. 1o lcouglu, entersl: Here's your coffee. Excuse me if I inter-
rupted something. I'm sorry the crockery isn't very elegant,
PETER: Well, put your hat on, let's go for a drink. Come on
but it's all we've got.
down to the church and I'll make an honest woman of you.
lrjrER: Dontt run away.
HELEN fshe goes to put her coat on, then changes her mincll: No,
I don't fancy it. 1o: I'm not running. [Stts.]
lrirER: Is she always like this?
PETER: I'm offering to marry you, dear. TTELEN: She's jealous . . .
HELEN: You what?
IErER: That's something I didn't bargain for.
PETER: Come on, Iet's go for a drink.
tTELEN: Can't bear to see me being affectionate with anybody.
HELEN: I I don'r fancy it.
toid you
rETER: You won'r find anything better. 1o: You've certainly never been affectionate with me.
IETER: Still, she's old enough to take care of herself. What
HELEN: Listenr, love, I'm old enough to be your mother.
sort of coffee is this anyway? It can hardly squeeze itself
PErER fpetting zar]: Now you know I like this mother and son
through the spout.
relationship.
r{ELEN: She always does that. Makes it as weak as she can be-
HELEN: Stop it!
cause she knows I like it strong. Don't drink that, it isn't
PETER: Aren't you rvearing your girdle?
worth drinking. Leave it.
HELEN: Now, Peter.
yo: She should be in bed.
PErER: Vhoops!
HELEN: Well, you certainly liberare something in me. And
PETER: I know she should.
I Jo: You look very pale and sickly, Helen.
don'r think it's maternal instincts either.
HELEN: Thank you.
PETER lsingsl: "Walter, Valter, lead me to the altar!',
HELEN: Some hopes. Jo: Is he going?
HELEN: Yes, come on, you'd better go before you catch my cold'
A TAsrE oF HoNEy [acr I scENE Il A TASTE OF HONEY 2l
lHe pulk fur to him as she passes.l get going. We've ail this to clear away before we go to
PETER: Come outside then. bed.
HELEN: No. t't:'rDR: Well, I won't be round tomorrowl the cat's been on the
IETER: What does the little lady want? An engagement ring? strawberries.
1o: I should have thought their courtship had passed the stage til1r.EN: Get going.
of symbolism. r'r,rER: Don't forget me.
HELEN: I always accept the odd diamond ring with pleasure. ro: Shall I withdraw while you kiss her good night?
eETER: I know it's my money you're after. lr:t.t1N: I'll kiss you good night in a minute, lady, and it really
HELEN: Are you kidding? will be good night.
yo: Hey! lrl't'ER: Well, take care of your mother while she's ailinB' Io.
You know how fragile these old ladies are.
lHe embraces HELEN at the door and begins to tell hn a dirty lr 11r.EN: Go on, get!lExit pETER.l Well, I'm going to bed. Ve'll
story.f
shift this lot tomorrow. There's always another day.
pETER: Did I ever tell vou about the bookie who married the ;o: It's dark out there now. I think I'll have my bath in the
prostitute? morning.
HELEN: No. Go on. IrrlLEN: Are you afraid of the dark?
yo: Hey! What sort of a cigar is that? 1o: You know I am.
rETER: Why don't you go home to your father? rr.r.EN: You should try not to be.
;o: He's dead. 1o: tr do.
IETER: Too bad. Anyway, this bookie . .. nr:t.EN: And you're still afraid?
1o: Is it a Havana? l, r: Yes.
HELEN: Yes. rrrlr.EN: Then you'll have to try a bit harder, won't you?
rETER: A rich, dark Havana, rolled on the thigh of a coal black 1, r: Thanks. I'll
do that. What's the bed like?
mafirmy. r u,t-EN: Like a coffin only not half as comfortable.

;o: You want to be careful. You never know where a coal black tr': Have you ever tried a coffin?
mammy's thigh's been. urlt.EN: I dare say I will one day. I do wish we had a hot water
HELEN: Take no notice of her. She think's she's funnv. bottle.
;o: So does he! I bet he's married. t,r: You should have asked him to stay. It wouldn't be the first
time I've been thrown out of my bed to make room for one
[unrrN bursts out laughing at his jokt.]
ofyour...
You're not really going to marry her, are you? Shc's a devil Iu:I.EN: For God's sake shut up! Close your mouth for five
with the men. minutes. And you can ttrrn the light offand come to bed.
PETER: Are you Helen? Io: Aren't we going to clear this lot up?
HELEN: Well, I don't consider nryself a slouch. Now come on rrrlLEN: No, it'll look all right in the dark.
then, if you've finished what you slme fbr you'd better yo: Yes, it's seen at its best, this room, in the dark.
A TASTE OP HONEY [acr I sceNr rr] A TAsrE oF HoNEY 23

HELEN: Everything is seen at its best in the dark - including rrov: Say that again.
me. I
love it. Can't understand why you're so scared of it. ;cl: I don't care.
yo: I'm not frightened of the darkness outside. It's the darkness rrov: You mean it too. You're the first girl I've met who really
inside houses I don't like. didn't care. Listen, I'm going to ask you something. I'm
HELEN: Come on! Hey, Jo, what would you do if I told you I a man of few words. Will you marry me?
was thinking of gening married again? yo: Well, I'm a girl of few words. I won't marry you but you've
1o: I'd have you locked up in an institution right away! talked me into it.
HELEN: C,ome on. noy: How old are you?
yo: Nearly eighteen.
llttu;ic. Fade out.l rroy: And you really will marry me?
yo: I said so, didn't I? You shouldn't have asked me if you
were only kidding me up. fSIu starts to go.l
rrov: Hey! I wasn't kidding. I thought you were. Do you
SCENE TIVO really mean it? You will marry me?
;o: I love you.
rrov: How do you know?
yo and hq sov FRIEND, a coloured naoal rating, walking on tlu ;o: I don't know why I love you but I do.
street. They stop by thc door. rrov: I
adore you.lSwinging her thrwgh the air.l
;o: I'd better go in now. Thanks for carrying my books. Jo: So do I. I can't resist myself.
gov: Were you surprised to see me waiting outside school? rroY: I've got something for you.
;o: Not really. yo: What is it? A ring!
soy: Glad Icame? rrov: This morning in the shop I couldn't remember what
1o: You know I am. sort of hands you had, long hands, small hands or what. I
soy: So am I. stood there like a damn fool trying to remember what they
;o: Well, I'd better go in. felt like. [He puts the ing on and hisses hn hand.f What will
sov: Not yet! Stay a bit longer. your mother say?
yo: All right! Doesn't it go dark early? I like winter. I like it yo: She'll probably laugh.
bener than all the other seasons. rrov: Doesn't she care who her daughter marries?
sov: I like it too. When it goes dark early it gives me more time ;o: She's not marrying you, I am. It's got nothing to do with
for - fHe hisses her.l her.
1o: Don't do that. You're always doing it. noy: She hasn't seen me.
soy: You like it. lo: And when she does?
yo: I kno% but I don't want to do it dl the time. nov: She'll see a coloured boy.
soy: Afraid someone'll see us? yo: No, whatever else she might be, she isn't preiudiced against
yo: I don't care. colour. You're not worried about it, are you?
e

24 A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr r III A TASTE OF HONEY 25

BoY: So long as you like it. Wcll, we can't be together all the time and all the time
;o: You know I do. t lrt'rc is wouldn't be enough.
nov: Well, that's all that matrers. It's a sad story, Jo. Once, I was a happy young man, not
;o: When shall we get married? carc in the world. Now! I'm trapped into a barbaric
oov: My next leave? It's a long time, six months.
;o: It'll give us a chance to save a bit of money. Here, see . . . Ir I What's that? Mau-Mau?
this ring . . . it's too big; look, it slides about . . . And I rror': Mztrimony.
couldn't wear it for school anyway. I might lose it. Let's Ir ) 'l'rapped!
I like that! You almost begged me to marry you.
go all romantic. Have you got a bit of suing? .Who
rror': You led me on. I'm a trusting soul. took me down
soy: What for? to that deserted football pitch?
1o: I'm going to tie it round my neck. Come on, turn your t( ): Who found the football pitch? I didn't even know it
pockets out. Three handkerchiefs, a safety pin, a screw! cxisted. And it just shows how often you must have been
Did that drop out of your head? Elastic bands! Don't linle thcre, too . . . you certainly know where all the best spots
boys carry some trash. And what's this? I'm not going there again . . . It's too quiet. Anythtng
:rre.
BoY: Nothing. might happen to a girl.
yo: A toy car! Does it go? rroy: It almost did. You shameless woman!
sov: Hm hm! t,r: That's you taking advantage of my innocence.
yo: Can I try it? [Slu does.l rroy: f didn't take advantage. I had scruples.
sov: She doesn't even know how it worls. Look, not like that. t,,: You would have done. You'd have gone as far as I would
have let you and no scruples would have stood in your way.
lHe nnhes it go fast.l
rroy:You enjoyed it as much as I did.
yo: I
like that. Can I keep it? 1o: Shut up ! This is the sort of conversation that can colour
noy: Yes, take it, my soul and all, everything. a young girl's mind.
yo: Thanks. I know, I can use my hair ribbon for my ring. Do rroy: 'Women never have young minds. They are born three
it up for me. thousand years old.
nov: Pretty neck you've got. Jo: Sometimes you look three thousand years old. Did your
yo: Glad you like it. It's my schoolgirl complexion. I'd better ancestors come from Africa?
nrck this out of sight. I don't want my mother to see it. rroy: No. Cardiff. Disappointed? Were you hoping to marry
She'd only laugh. Did I tell you, when I leave school this a man whose father beat the tom-tom ali night?
week I start a paft-time job in a bar? Then as soon as I get I don't care where you were born. There's still a bit of
1o:
a full-time iob, I'm leaving Helen and starting up in a room jungle in you somewhere. lA siren is luardl.I'm going in
somewhere. now, I'm hungry. A young girl's got to eat, you know.
nov: I wish I wasn't in the Navy. rrov: Honef5 ]ou've got to stop eating. No more food, no more
1o: Why? make-up, no more fancy clothes; we're saving up to get
sov: Ve won't have much time together. married.
t

26 A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr I r(:lNr rr] A TAsrB oF HoNEy 27


yo: I iust need some new clothes too. f've only got this one 1o:Imetafriend.
coat. I have to use it for school and when I go out with you. urir.rN: Well, he certainly knows how to put stars in your eyes.
I do feel a mess. 1o: What makes you think it's a he?
noy: You look all right to me. rlr.riN: Well, I ss6ainly hope it isn't a she who makes you
yo: Shall I see you tonight? walk round in this state.
noY: No, I got work to do. to: IIe's a sailor.
1o: What sort of work? utl.riN: I hope you exercised proper control over his nautical
soy: Hard work, it invoives a lot of walking. :rrdour. I've met a few sailors myself.
;o: And a lot of walking makes you thirsty. I know, you're ;o: IIe's lovely.
going drinking. lll:l.liN: IS he?
sov: That's right. It's one of the lads'birthdays. I'll see you Jo: I{e's got beautiful brown eyes and gorgeous curly hair.
tomorrow. rrir.riN: Has he got long legs?
yo: All right. I'll tell you what, I won't bother going to school 1o: 'fhey're all right.
and we can spend the whole day together. I'll meet you How old is he?
'n1r-EN:
'Iwenty-two.
down by that ladies' hairdressing place. to: He's doing his national service, but before
soy: The place that smells of cooking hair? that he was a male nurse.
;o: Yes, about ten o'clock. rn.t.EN: A mde nurse, eh? That's interesting. Where did he
soy: Okay, you're the boss. do his nursing?
1o: Good night. to: In a hospital, of course! 'Where else do they have nurses?
soy: Aren't you going to kiss me good night? lr,r.tN: Does he ever get any free samples? We could do with
1o: You know I am. [Kzsses hin.ll like kissing you. Good a few contacts 1i11 hings like that.
night. t,r: Oh shut up, Helen. Have a look in that paper and see
BoY: Good night. what's on at the picnrres tomorrow night.
;o: Dream of me. rf I,I-EN: Where is it? Oh yes ... I a)as a Teenage . . . what?
sov: I dreamt about you last night. Fell out of bed nrice. You can't go there anyway, it's a proper little flea pit. Thc
;o: You're in a bad way. Ten Commandmcnts, here that'd do you good. Desire
nov: You bet I am. Be seeing you! Undq the ... oh! What a funny place to have desire!
Jo [as she goesl: I love you. You might as well have it at home as anywhere else,
nov: Vhy? mightn't you? No, there's nothing here that I fancy.
;o: Because you're daft. 1o: You never go to the picnrres.
fHe waztes good-bye, turns and sings to tlu audienurand goes. nriLEN: I used to but the cinema has become more and more
HELEN dances on to the tmrsicr lies dwn and reads an evening like the theatre, it's all mauling and muttering, can't hear
poper. lo dances on dreamily.f what they're saying half the time and when you do it's not
HELEN: You're a bit late coming home from school, aren't worth listening to. Look at that advertisement. It's porno-
you? graphic. In my opinion such a frank and open display of
28 A TASTE OF HONEY [acr r .,(:t{NE ltl A TASTE OF HONEY 29

the female form can only induce little boys of all ages to tr' :'l-here's his photograph.
add vulgar comments in pencil. I ask you, what sort of an rn r rjN: Oh! He looks like a dirty linle spiv. Listen Jo, don't
inflated woman is that? She's got bosom, bosom and still bother your head about Arabian mystics. There's two w's
more bosom. I bet every inch of her chest is worth it's rn your future. Work or want, and no Arabian Knight can
weight in gold. Let's have a look at you. I wonder if I tcll you different. Ve're all at the steering wheel of our own
could turn you into a mountain of votuptuous temptation? destiny. Careering along like drunken drivers. I'm going to
yo: Why? gct married. lThe news is receioed in silence.l I said I'm
HELEN: I'd put you on films. going to get married.
yo: I'd sooner be put on't streets. It's more honest. rrt: Yes, I heard you the first time. What do you want me to do,
HELEN: You might have to do that yet. laugh and throw pennies? Is it that Peter Smith?
;o: Where did this magazine come from? ilr:r.riN: He's the unlucky man.
HELEN: Woman downstairs give it me. t,r: You're cennrries older than him.
1o: I didn't think you'd buy it. nr,r.EN: Only ten years.
HELEN: W"hy buy when it's cheaper to borrow? 1o: What use can a woman of that age be to anybody?
yo: IThat day was I born on? In,t.ENr I wish you wouldn't talk about me as if I'm an im-
HELEN: f don't know. potent, shrivelled old woman without a clue ldt in her
;o: You should remember such an important event. head.
HELEN: I've always done my best to forget that. lo: You're not exactly a child bride.
yo: How old was I when your husband threw you out? rrjLEN: I have been one once, or near enough.
HELEN: Change the subiect. Vhen I think of her father and yo: Just imagine it, you're forty years old. I hope to be dead
my husband it makes me wonder why f ever bothered, it and buried before I reach that age. You've been living for
does really. forry years.
1o: He was rich, wasn't he . . . it must be a biological phenomena.
ntiLEN: Yes,
HELEN: He was a rat! 1o: You don't look forty. You look a sort of well-preserved
yo: He was yoru husband. Why did you marry him? sixty.
HELEN: At the time I had nothing better to do. Then he di-
lMusic. Entq pErER carrying a large bouquet and a bor of
vorced me; that was your fault.
cho colate s and looking uncomfortable.l
yo: I agree with him. If I was a man and my wife had a baby
I'd sling her out.
that wasn't mine TTELEN: Oh look, and it's all mine!
yo: Hello, Daddy.
HELEN: Vould you? It's a funny thing but I don't think I
rErER: Oh! So you told her.
would. Still, why worry?
yo lreading from mngazincf: It TIELEN: Of course. Come in and sit down. On second thoughts
sa5n here that Sheik Ahmed -
an Arabian mystic - will, free of all charge, draw up for lie down, you look marvellous.
you a complete analysis of your charactcr and destiny. lHe gioes hcr tlu bouquet.)
HELEN: Let's have a look. Oh! redlS you shouldn't have bothered yourself. I know
3o A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr I r, t.Ntt III A TASTB OF HONEY 3r
the thought was there, but . .. here, Jo, have we got a with you. Got a cigarette, Peter? Did you get yourself a
vase, put these in some water. tlrink?
;o: How did she talk you into it? You must be out of your r,r lr,rt:No, I...
mind.
t,': l)o I bother you, Mister Smith, or must I wait till we're
PETER: That's possible, I suppose.
rrlone for an answer?
1o: Flowers and all the trimmings. Helen can't eat anything r'r'r r1R: Can't you keep her under control?
sweet and delicious. She's got ro watch her figure. I r r, r. r: N : I'll knock her head rorrnd if she isn't careful. Be quiet,
HELEN: Nonsense! My figure hasn't altered since f was Io. And don't tease him.
eighteen. r'r, r'rjR: Tonight's supposed to be a celebration.
;o: Really?
to: What of?
HELEN: Not an inch. rr,r.r.rN: He's found a house. fsn't he marvellous? Show her
yo:I hope I'm luckier with mine. the photo of it, Peter. I shan't be a tick!
HELEN: Do you see anyrhing objectionable about my figure,
t,r: You've sqtainly fixed everything up behind my back.
Peter?
ur,r.uN: Don't you think it's nice? One of his pals had to sell,
rETER: I find the whole thing most agreeable.
moving into something smaller. fGoesl.
yo: You've got to say that, you're marrying it!
IETER: The chocolates are for you, Jo. [r,nrnn throws sflap orr to tlre table.l
yo: Buying my silence, hey! It's a good idea. I like chocolates.
Io: It's not bad. White walls, tennis courts. Has it got a
HELEN: Ilelp yourself to a drink, Peter, and I'll go and put my
swimming pool?
glad rags on.lExit.l
lrjrER: It has twelve swimming pools.
rETER: Don't let's be long, huh? I've booked a table. Dammit, yo: Can I see the other photos?
I thought you'd be ready. r'rrER: Which photos?
;o: She's gor no sense of time. I didn't notice.
yo: In your wallet. I suppose you thought
PETER: Don't sit there gtzzling all those chocolates at once.
r'rrER: Oh! These. Yes, well, that's a photograph of my
fShe throzas rle lid at him.l family, my mother, my fatherr hy sister, my brother and
I7hat the hell are you playing at . . . sit down and behave
. . . ITo himself.l all the rest of the little bastards.
yourself, you little snip. yo: Is this a wedding group?
1o: Hey! Don't start bossing me about. you're not my father. PErER: My brother's wedding.
pErER. Christ Almighty! Will you sit down and eat your
yo: They only just made it, too, from the look of his wife. You
chocolates. Do what you like but leave me alone.
can tell she's going to have a baby.
lSuddenly slrc attacks him, halfJaughing, half-tying.l PErER: Oh? Thank you.
;o: You leave me alone. And leave my mother alone too. ;o: You can have it back if I can see the others.
[nrrrx enters.] pErER; Which others? What iue you talking about?
nETER: Get away! F'or God's sake go and . . .
HELEN: Leave him alone, Jo. He docsn'L wrnt to bc bothered
;o: Do you want me to tell my mother?
nETER: I don't give a damn what you tell your mother.
32 A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr r '.r llNE III A TASrE OF HoNEY 33

yo: They're all women, aren't they? I bet you've had thou- rr,r'riR: She isn't old.
sands of girl friends. Vhat was this one with the long legs t,r: She soon will be.
called? r'r,r'r1R: Ah well, that's love. [Slzgs.] "That wild, destructive
pErER: Ah! Yes, number thirry-eight. A charming little thing. rhing called love."
yo: Why do you wear that black patch? t,': Why are you marrying Helen?
PETER: I lost an eye. rr'r'riR: Why shouldn't I marry Helen?
yo: Vhere? t.r: Your generation has some very peculiar ideas, that's all I
PETER: During the war. can say.
;o: Vere you in the Navy? lr, r l.rR: Could I have my photographs back, please?
PETER: Army. yo: There...
1o: Offficer? r'tl u1R:You don't like your mother much do you?
PETER: Private. 1o: She doesn't much care for me either.
yo:I thought you would have been somebody very impoftant. r,rirER: I can understand that.
rETER: A private is far more important than you think. After p llooking oaer his shoulder at photographsl: I like that one with
all, who does all the dirry work? the shaggy hair cut. She's got oice legs too. Nearly as nice
;o: Yes, a general without any army wouldn't be much use, as mine.
would he? Can I see your eye? I mean can I see the hole? lrl.rER: Would you care for a smoke?
PETER: There's nothing to see. 1o: Thanks.
;o: Do you wear that patch when you go to bed?
is lrcard singing off stagef:
IETER: That's something about which I don't care to make a
[nnrtN
public statement. rnrLEN: Jo! Where's my hat?
;o: Tell me. ;o: I don't know. Where you left it. It's no use gening im-
pErER: Well, there is one highly recommended way for a patient, Peter. The art work takes a long time. Are you
young girl to find out. sure you lost your eye during the war? What happened?
1o [glancing through photos in wallet]: I don't like this one. rrjrER: Go and tell your mother I'll wait for her in the pub.
She's got too much stuff on her eyes. ;o: Are you married?
IETER: That's the sort of thing your sex goes in for. IErER lgoingl: No, I'm still available.
1o: I don't. I let my natural beauty shine througb- TTELEN [enteing): But only just.
PETER: Is there no alternative? IETER: Helen, you look utterly fantastic.
yo: Don't you like shiny faces? HELEN: Thanks. Put that cigarette out, Jo, you've got enough
IETER: I suppose they're all right on sweet young things but bad habits without adding to your repertoire. Do you like
I just don't go for sweet young things - my hat, Peter?
1o: Do you fancy me? PErER: Bang-on darling !
PETER: Not yet. HEI.EN: What are all these books doing all over the place? Are
Jo: You prefer old women. you planning a moonlight flit, Jo? Stop it, Peter.
34 A TAsrE oF HoNEy [ecr r 1, ltN u lt] A TASTE OF HONEY 35
PETER: Got your blue garters on?
HELEN: Now, Peter. Come on, Jo, shift these books.
Ir I r riN: We can't take her with us. We will be, if you'll not take
('Kception to the phrase, on oru honeymoon. Ilnless we
1o: f'm sorting them.
pErER our minds.
t hange
ltaking HELEN's hatl: How do I look? r'r,u,R: I'm not having her with us.
HELEN: Peter!
rn r,r'N: She can stay here then. Come on. I'm hungry.
;o: Have you forgotten I'm leaving school this week?
HELEN: Peter, give to: .So am I.
it here. stop foering about. It took me ages
ru r riN: There's plenty of food in the kitchen.
to get this hat on right. Jo, do as you're told.
yo: All right. 1o: You should prepare my meals like a proper mother.
ru r.r:N: Have I ever laid claim to being a proper mother? If
HELEN: Peter! Don't do that. Give it to me. It's my best one.
you're too idle to cook your own meals you'll iust have to
Put it down.
pErER cut food out of your diet altogether. That should help you
lto himselfl: No bloody sense of humour. lose a bit of weight, if nothing else.
HELEN: s7hat has she got there? Lnok at'em. selected Nursery rr: r'rR: She already looks like a bad case of malnutrition.
Rhymes, Hans fuidersen's Fairy Tales, pinocchio. Well,
1o: I{ave you got your key, Helen? I might not be here when
you certainly go in for the more advanced types of litera-
you decide to come back. I'm starting work on Saturday.
ture. And what,s this? The Holy Bible!
nriLEN: Oh yes, she's been called to the bar.
;o: You ought to read it. I think it's good. r'r:'rER: What sort of a bar?
HELEN: The extent of my credulity always depends on the yo: The sort you're always propping up. I'm carrying on the
extent of my alcoholic intake. Eat, drink and be merry _ family traditions. Will you give me some money for a new
yo: And live to regret it. dress, Helen?
PETER: God! we've got a founder member of rn,LEN: If you really want to make a good investment, you'll
the Lord's Day
Observance Society here. buy a needle and some cofton. Every article of clothing on
yo: What are you marrying him for? her back is held together by a safety pin or a knot. If she
HELEN: He's got a wallet full of reasons. had an accident in the street I'd be ashamed to claim her.
;o:Yes. I've iust seen 'em too. lurER: Are we going?
HELEN: Can you give us a quid, peter? I,d better leave her .;o: Can't I come with you?
some money. !7e might decide to have a weekend at IIELEN: Shut up! You're going to have him upset. You
Blackpool and she can't five on grass and fresh air. jealous little cat ! Come on, Peter.
prirER: All right, all right, don't pull. Don't get excited. And
1o: I won't set eyes on her for a week now. I know her when
she's in the mood. What are you going to do abour don't get impatient. Those bloody little street kids have
me,
Peter? The snotty-nosed daughter? Don,r you think I'm probably pulled the car to pieces by now but we needn't
a bit young to be left rike this sa my own while you flit worry about that, need we .. .
off with my old woman? TIELEN: I told you you'd upset him.
PETER: Upset? I'm not upset. I just want to get to hell out of
PETER: She'll be all right, won,t shc? At hcr :rgc.
this black hole of Calcutta.
36 A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr I '.( rtNe rl] A TASTE OF HONBY 37

vlrey leazte flat.1o loohs aftt them.f- o moment ilun rrrl'; fsg'll
make a pretty bridesmaid.
turns
to bed - sfu lies across it, ryitg. Music. BLAcK sov mtas.l 1o: llridesmaid! I'd sooner go to my own funeral.
sov lcallingJ: Jo ! n(l \'' You'd better drink this first.
1,r: I don't like it.
lSlu doesn't mwe.f
It( | Y ' Get it down You.
nov: Joee!
yo: Coming. t.: llut look, it's got skin on the top.
r()y: Don't whine. I'm not spending the evening with a
vhey mone towards each otltq as if dancing to trrc nasic. running-nosed wreck. Finish your milk.
Tlu music goes, the lishtt change.l
1o: Did you treat your patients in hospital like this?
1o: oh! It's you! come in. Just when I'm feeling and looking rrov: Not unless they were difficult. Your mother looks very
a mess. yougr Jo, to have a daughter as old as you.
soy: What's wrong? You been crying'/ yo: She can still have children.
yo: No. rrov: Well, that's an interesting bit of news. Vlry should I
noy: You have. Your eyes are red. worry if she can have children or not?
yo: I don't cry. I've got a cold. Jo: Do you fancy her?
nov: I think you have, roo. Yes, you've got a bit of a tempera- rrov: That isn't the sort of question you ask your fianc.
ture. Have you been eating? to: It doesn't really matter if you do fancy her, anlmay'
;o: No. because she's gone. You're too late. You've had your chips.
soy: You're a fine sight. Where's the kitchen? rrov: I'll be gone soon, too. What then?
;o: Through there. What are you going to do? 1o: My heart's broke.
soy: Fix you a cold cure. Where do you keep the milk? rrov: You can lie in bed at night and hear my ship passing
1o: Under the sink. I hate milk. down the old canal. It's cold in here. No fire?
sov: I hate dirt. And this is just the dirtiest place I've ever 1o: It doesn't work.
seen. The children round here are filthy. rr<lv: Come and sit down here. You can keep me warm.
;o: It's their parents'fault. What are you puning in that milk? Jo: Is it warm where you're going?
nov: A pill. rroY: I guess so.
;o: I bet it's an opium pellet. I've heard about men like you. ;o: We could do with a bit of sunshine. In this country there
sov: There isn't another man like me anywhere. I'm one on are only two seasons, winter and winter. Do you think
his own. Helen's beautiful?
yo: So am I. rroy: Who's Helen?
noy: Vho was that f"o.y bit I saw stepping out of here a few yo: My mother. Honestly, you are slow sometimes. Well, do
minutes ago? you think she's beautiful.?
;o: If she was dressed up like Hope Gardens it was my mother. noy: Yes.
noy: And who is the Pirate King? yo: Am I like her?
1o: She's marrying him. Pqel dcvil! rroY: No, you're not at all like her.
38 A TASTB OF HONEY [acr r ..r l,Nu lrJ A TASTB OF HONEY 3e
;o: Good. I'm glad nobody can see a resemblance between us.
Boy: My ring's still round your neck. wear it. your mother
now, it's enough, it's all f want, and if you do come back
isn't here to laugh.
l'll still be here.
' You think I'm only after one thing, don't you?
nr | \'
;o:Unfasten ir, then.
t, ' I know you're only after sag thing.
Boy: Pretty neck you,ve got.
rrr,1'; {porre so right. lHe hisses lw.l But I will come back, I
yo: Glad you like it.
Iove you.
BoY: No! Let me put it on.
yo: Did it cost very much? t,': Ilow can you say that?
gov: You shouldn't ask questions like that. rrov; \pfuy or how I say these rhings I don't knoq but what-
I got it from cvcr it means it's true.
Woolworths
r, I Anyway, after this you might not want to come back. After
!

Jo: 't care. I'm not proud. It,s the rrll, I'm not very experienced in these little maners.
wonder what thought it was in rroy: I am.
de you buy it.
soy: f've got dishonourable intentions. 1o: Anyway, it's a bit daft for us to be talking about you
coming back before you've gone. Can I leave that hot
;o: f'm so glad. milk?
BoY: Are you? lHe embraces her.l
rrov; f1 would have done you good. Never mind. lEmbraces
;o: Stop it.
her.l
Boy: \Phy? Do you object to the "gross clasps of the lascivious
to: Don't do that.
Moor"?
rrov: Why not?
yo: Who said that?
BoY: Shakespearc in Othello. 1o: I like it.
yo: Oh! Him. He said everything, didn't he? [Fade sut. Music. lYedding bells. r.ntsN's music. Slrc dances
Boy: Let me be your Othello and you my Desdemona. on with an assortment of fanry boxes, containing her wedding
yo: All right. clothes.l
BoY: "Oh ill-starred wench.', rI:LEN: Jo! Jo! Come on. Be sharp now.
yo: Will you stay here for Christmas?
f1o comes on in her pyjamas, SIrc hat a luaoy cold.l
BoY: If that's what you want.
For God's sake give me a hand. I'll never be ready. What
;o: ft's what you want. time is it? Have a look at the church clock.
BoY: That's righr.
;o: A quarter past eleven, and tle sun's coming out.
;o: Then stay. rn,LEN: Oh! Vell, h"ppy the bride the sun shines on.
soy: You naughty girl!
;o: Yeah, and happy the corpse the rain rains on. You're not
;o: I may as well be naughty whilc I'vc gor the chance. I'll
getting married in a church, are you?
probably never see you again. I know it.
noy: What makes you say that?
urtLEN: Vhy, are you coming to throw bricks at us? Of
course not. Do I look all right? Pass me my fur. Oh! My
1o: I just know it. That's all. Ilut I tkrn'r crrc. stay with me
fur! Do you like it?
40 A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr r ',, r rutr II] A TASTE OF HONEY 4r

Jo: I
bet somebody's missing their cat. rrr r,N: Well, thank God for the divorce courts! I suppose
HELEN: It's a wedding present from that young man of mine. lrrst because I'm gening married you think you should.
He spends his money like water, you know, pemy wise, l( , I lave you got the monopoly?
pound foolish. Oh! I am excited. I feel rwenty-one all over rrr,rlN: You stupid little devil! Vhat sort of a wife do you
again. Oh! You would have to catch a cold on my wedding rhink you'd make? You're useless. It takes you all your
&y, I was going to ask you to be my bridesmaid too. time to look after yourself. I suppose you think you're in
;o: Don't talk daft. love. Anybody can fall in love, do you know that? But
HELEN: Where did you put my shoes? Did you clean ,em? what do you know about the rest of it?
Oh! They're on my feet. Don't stand there sniffing, Jo. t,' : Ask yourself.
Ifse a handkerchief. rn r.EN: You know where that ring should be? In the ashcan
1o: I haven't got one. with everything else. Oh! I could kill her, I could really.
HELEN: Use this, then. What's the matter with vou? What 1.: You don't half knock me about. I hope you suffer for it.
are you trying to hide? ur:r-EN: I've done my share of suffering if I never do any more.
yo: Nothing. Oh Jo, you're only a kid. Why don't you learn from my
HELEN: Don't try to kid me. What is it? Come on, let,s see. mistakes? It takes half your life to learn from your own.
yo: It's nothing. Let go of me. You're hurting. Jo: You leave me alone. Can I have my ring back, please?
HELEN: What's this? utjLEN: What a thing to happen iust when I'm going to enioy
yo: A ring. myself for a change.
HELEN: I can see it's a ring. Who give it to you? Jo: Nobody's stopping you.
yo: A friend of mine. urLEN: Yes, end as soon as my back's turned you'll be offwith
HELEN: Who? Come on. Tell me. this sailor boy and ruin yourself for good.
yo: You're hurting me. Jo: I'm already ruined.
uILEN: Yes, it's just the sort of thing you'd do. You make me
[HnrEN breaks the cord and gets the ring.l sick.
HELEN: You should have sewn some buttons on your pyjamas Jo: You've no need to worry, Helen. He's gone away. He may
if you didn't wanr me to see. Who give it you? be back in six months, but there again, he may . . .
yo: My boy friend. He asked me to marry him. nELEN: Look, you're only young. Enioy your life. Don't get
HELEN: ![ell, you silly linle bitch. you mean that lad vou,ve trapped. Marriage can be hell for a kid-
been knocking about with while we,ve been away? Io: Can I have your hanky back?
1o: Yes. TTELEN: Where did you put it?
HELEN: I
could choke you. ,Jo: This is your fault too.
yo: You've already had a damn good try. TIELEN: Everything's my fault. Show me your tongue'
HELEN: You haven't known him five minutcs. Has he really Io: Breathing your'flu bugs all over me.
asked you to marry him? HELEN: YeS, and yOUr neCk'S red where I pullcd that strttrg.
Io: Yes" lo: Vill you get me a drink of water, Helen?
42 A TASTE OF HONEY
[acr r '.1:ttttll ttl A TASTE OF HONEY 43
HELEN: No, have a dose of this
lOffering whiskyl.It,ll do you t,r: You hcard! My father! Vhat was he like?
more good. I might as well have one myserf
while I'm at it, urrr riN: Oh! Him.
mightn't I?
1, r : Wcll, was he so horrible that you can't even tell me about
to:
him?
r Hc wasn't horrible. He was iust a bit stupid, you know.
r.r riN:
Nor very bright.
HELEN: rt'[ never come to that. The devil looks after his own, I.r . lle serious, Helen.
rrr:r.[Nl I am serious.
they say.
Jo: Are you trying to tell me he was an idiot?
1o: He certainly takes good care of you. you look marveilous,
rt,r.riN: He wasn't an idiot, he was just a bit - retarded.
considering.
yo : You liar !
HELEN : Considering what?
yo: The wear and tear on yoru soul. ru,r.rN: All right, I'm a liar.
yo: Look at me.
HELEN: oh well, that'll have increased its market value, tltrl.llN: Well, am I?
won't it?
yo: Old Nck,ll get you in the end. Io: No.
ilrlr-EN: Well, now you know.
t,r: How could you give me a father like that?
rr:r.rN: I didn't do it on purpose. How was I to know you'd
materialize out of a little love affair that lasted five minutes?
to: You never think. That's your trouble.
nr:r-EN: I know.
;o: \Vhere's your husband?
r,r. Was he like a . . . a real idiot?
rI:I-EN: I've told you once. He was nice though, you know, a
nice little feller!
yo: Where is he now, locked up?
rriLEN: No, he's dead.
lo: Why?
urjLEN: Why? Well, I mean, death's something that comes to
us all, and when it does come you haven't usually got time
to ask wtry.
;o: It's hereditary, isn't it?
yo: What was my father like? rrrLEN: What?

[nerrN turns awajt.l ;o: Madness.


TTELEN: Sometimes.
HELEN: Who?
Jo: Am I mad?
A TASTE OF HONEY 45
# A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr r '. t r:NE II]
I'll be seeing you' Hey ! If he doesn't show up I'll be
HELEN: Decide for yourself. Oh, Jo, don't be silly. Of course r | | r.r1N:
you're not daft. Not more so than anybody else. back.
1o: Vhy did you have to tell me that story? Couldn't you have r.,: Good luck, Helen.
made something up? comes the Bride" on the cornct')
truth and you got it for once. Now
lExit :nntsN. "Here
HELEN: You asked for the
be satisfied? Curtain
yo: How could you go with a half-wit?
HELEN: He had strange eyes. You've got'em. Everybody used
to laugh at him. Go on, I'll tell you some other time.
yo: Tell me now!
HELEN: Mind my scent!
;o: Please tell me. I want to understand.
HELEN: Do you think I understand? For one night, acnrally
it was the afternoon, I loved him. It was the first time I'd
ever really been with a man . . .
1o: You were married.
HELEN: I was married to a Puritan - do you know what I mean?
yo: I think so.
HELEN: And when I met your father I was as pure and un-
sullied as I fondlyr and perhaps mistakenly, imagine you
to be. It was the fust time and though you can enjoy the
second, the third, even the fourth time, there's no time
like the first, it's always there. I'm off now. I've got to go
and find my husband. Now don't sit here sulking all day.
yo:I was thinking.
HELEN: Well, don't think. Itdoesn't do you any good. I'll see
you when the honeymoon's over. Come on, give us a kiss.
You may as well" It's a long time since you kissed me-
1o: Keep it for him.
HELEN: I don't suppose you're sorry to see me go.
1o: I'm not sorry and I'm not glad.
HELEN: You don't know what you do want.
;o: Yes. I do. I've always known what I want.
HELEN: And when it comes your way will you recognize it?
yo: Good luck, Helen.
.,r:ltNr tl A TASTE OF HONEY 47
: I'll
put the light on.
r , r, ( ) f?

t,'. No, you won't! I like this romantic half-light, it iust goes
with this Manchester maisonette!
r,r,,oFr Take four paces forward, nrrn right, turn left, once
round the gasworks and straight on up the creek. [He
Act Two a chair or table and cries or wsears.l
hangs into
Put a match on, you da1ft thing.
t,r .
SCENE ONE
[caor strihcs a nntch.l
r,rioFl Ee, this place is enormous, isn't it?
As tlte anrtain goes up fairground music can be ruard
in the dis- 1o: I know. f've got to work all day in a shoe shop and all night
tance. yo and a boy can be luard playtng
together. When in a bar to pay for it. But it's ming. All mine.
theg enter the flat_ trrcy hazte been ptaying-
abiut ,itt, o bunch of r,r oFi I can tell it's yours from the state it,s in. No wonder
brightly coloured balloons. It is summa now and yo,s preg_ you won't put the light on. Where do you keep the ctrps?
nancy is quite obaious.
Io: In the sink.
r,r:oFl fsn't this place a bit big for one, Jo?
Jo lass]te falls on a couch in trrc darhpned
rooml: Let me lie 1o: Why? Are you thinking of moving in?
here and don't wake me up for a month.
r,rioFl Not likely.
cEoF: Shall I put the light on?
1o: You are, you know. Put 'em down here. Don't you want
;o: No. Don't you dare put that light on. any?
cEoF: Did you enjoy the fair?
r,r'Op: NO.
;o: Loved it. I haven't been to a fair since Christmas. r,: Well, hand'em over to me because I'm stanred. Has your
f
cEop: Those roundabouts are still going. Can you
hear ,em? landlady thrown you out?
1o: I should be up at harf past seven tomoffow morning. I'll (;loF: Don't be silly.
never make it. I'll just have to be late. Anyway,
why should 1o: I've been wondering why you were so anxious to see me
f slave away fo_r anybody but me? Hav.dt you got a home. You didn't fancy sleeping under the arches, did you?
home to go to, Geof?
Why did your landlady throw you out, Geoffrey? I'll let
cEoF: Of course.
you stay here if you tell me.
1o: Vell, why are you lurking about? Come in if you want to. (;rloF: f was behind with the rent.
cEoF: Thanks.
;o: That's a lie for a start.
;o: There's some biscuits and a flask of coffee in the kitchen (;r:oF: I don't tell lies.
only I'm too tired to get 'em. Aren't you hungry?
cEoF: No, but you are. 1o: Come ou, let's have some truth. Why did she throw you
out?
;o: That's right. Go and ger ,em for me, Geof. (,r;oF: I've told you why.
cEoF: Where's the kitchen?
1o fsuritclrcs on lightl: C-ome on, the truth. Vho did she find
;o: Straight on. you with? Your gid friend? ft wasn't a man, was it?
48 A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr u :r r r.rri r] A TAsrE oF HoNEY 49
cEoF: Don't be daft.
;o: Look, I've got a nice comfortable t,, Me? Sentimental?
couch, I,ve even got ,,r()r;: No. No. I don't like'em.
some sheets. You can stay here if you'll tell me what you
do. t,) l)o you really think they're sentimental?
Go on, I've always wanted to know about people like you.
r.torjt Well, look. I mean . . .
cEoF: Go to hell.
yo: I won't snigger, honest f won,t. Tell me some ;,r: I'm sorry you don't like them.
of it, go on. r,r'or'-t Why don't you go to a decent school?
I bet you never told a woman before.
cEoF: f don't go in for sensationr I confessions. l,r: I've never been to any school.
,,r.()[:: You want taking in hand.
;o: I want to know what you do. I want to know why you do it.
Tell me or get out. l,r: No, thanks.
r,r,,oFt Has anybody ever tried?
cEoF: Right! fHe goes to thc dom.l
yo: Geof, don't go. Don't go. Geof! f'm sorry. please 1,r: What?
stay. r,r:oFr Taking you in hand.
cEoF: Don't touch me.
yo: I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. 1o: Yes.
r;r,oF: What happened to him?
cEoF: f can't stand women at times. Let go of me.
yo: He came in with Christmas and went out with the New
1o: Come on, Geof. I don,t care what you do.
Year.
cEoF: Thank you. May I go now, please?
(;uoF: Did you like him?
;o: Please stay here Geof. I'll get those sheets and blankets.
cEoF: r can't stand people who laugh at other people. They'd Jo: He was all right . . .
(;rioF: Did you love him?
get a bigger laugh if they laughed at themselves.
yo: I don't know much about love. f've never been too familiar
yo: Please stay, Geof. lshe goes off
fo, the sheets and blankets. with it. I suppose I must have loved him. They say love
He finds lur book of drawings on tlu table and glances through
creates. And I'm certainly creating at the moment. I'm
tlum,l
going to have a baby.
cEoF: Are these yours?
cEoF: I thought so. You're in a bit of a mess, aren't you?
;o: No, why? Put them down, Geof.
cEoF: Obviously they are. They're exactly like you. 1o: I don't care.
cEoF: You can get rid of babies before they're born, you know'
;o: How do you mean?
cEoF: Well, there's no design, rhythm or purpose. ;o: I know, but I think that's terrible.
yo: Hey? cEoF: W'hen's it due?
cEoF: Where's the design in that? It,s all 1o: Reckon it up from Christmas.
messy, isn't it? cEoF: About September.
Charcoal. I don't like it.
yo: I do. ;o: Yes.
cEoF: What made you choose that for a subjcct? cEoF: What are you going to do? You can't be on yoru own'
yo:Ilike... ;o: There's plenty of time.
cEoF: They're all sentimental. cEoF: Got any money?
1o: Only my wages and they don't last long. By the time I've
50 A TAsrE oF HoNEy [ecr rl '., r Nu I] A TASTE OF HONEY 5r
bought all I need, stockings and make-up and things, I,ve t,, Smashing!
got nothing left. r, | () [;] We're bloody marvellous !
cEoF: You can do without make-uo. r,'. [[ey! Do you like beer?
yo: I can't, I look fike a ghost without it. r,t()l;: YeS.
cEoF: At your age? 1,'. Whisky?
;o: What's age got to do with it? Anyway, I,m not working ',1,()l:: YeS.
for much longer. I'm not having everybody staring ar me.
cEoF: How are you going to nunage then?
1,
': Gin?
r, )r;t Yes. Have you got some?
| (

;o: There's no need for you to worry about it. t.,: No, but if I had I'd give it all to you. I'd give everghing
cEoF: Somebody's got to. Anyway, I like you. I had to you. Here, have a biscuit. You'll like these. They
yo: I like you too. Laste like dog food.
cEoF: Your mother should know. r,tolri Spratts!
yo: Why?
t,': You look tike a spratt. Jack Spratt, who'd eat no fat, his
cEoF: well, she's your mother. Do you know her address? wife would eat no lean and so between them both, you see,
1o: No. She was supposed to be marrying some man. They they licked the platter clean. Did you enioy that dramatic
live in a big, white house somewhere. recitation?
cEoF: Vhat sort of a woman is she? r;r:oFl very moving.
;o: She's all sorts of woman. But she,s got plenty of money. 1o: You say one.
cEoF: That's all you need to be interested in. you've gor to (,r:oF: There was a young man of Thessaly,
buy all sorts of things for the baby. clothes, a cor and a And he was wondrous wise.
pram. Here, that teddy bear we won tonight'll come in He iumped into a quickset hedge
handy, won't it? I can make things too. I,ll help . . . And scratched out both his eYes.
yo: Shut up! I'm not planning big plans for this baty or And when he saw his eYes were out'
dreaming big dreams. you know what happens when you With all his might and main
do things like that. The baby'll be born dead or daft! He iumped into another hedge
cEoF: You're feeling a bit depressed, Jo. And scratched them in again.
1o: I'm feeling nothing. ;o: I like that. Do you know anY more?
cEoF: You'll be your usual self soon. (;DoF: As I was going up Pippin Hill,
yo: And what is my usual self? My usual self is a very unusual Pippin Hill was dirrY.
self, Geoffrey Ingram, and don,t you forget it. I'm an And there a I met a PretrY miss
qrtraordinary person. There's only one of me And she dropped me a curtsy.
like there's
only one of you. Little miss, pretty miss,
cEoF: We're unique! Blessings light upon You.
;o: Young. If I had half a crown a daY
cEoF: Unrivalled! I'd gladly spend it on Yur.
52 a rASTE oF HoNEy [ncr rr r;r;uNE I] A TASTE OF HONEY 53

1o: Would you? light out and then gets into bed. She begins to sing the song
cEoF: I would. " Black Boy" as shc lies on hn bed.l
;o: Silly things nursery rhymes when you weigh them up. Black boy, black boy, don't you lie to me.
cEoF: I like them. Do you want a cigarette? Where did you stay last night?
;o: How many have you gor left? In the pines, in the pines where the sun never shines,
cEoF: I've got enough for one each. I shivered the whole night through.
;o: No, you keep 'em. They don't bother me really. I used to ,;rior: Jo!
smoke just to annoy my mother. What's that? 1o: Yes.
cEoF: A free gift coupon. (;r1oF: What was that boy like?
yo: Everything you buy lately has a free gift coupon in it. It's yo: Which boy?
coming to somerhing when they have to bribe the public (;rioF: You know,
to buy tl.:ir sruff. '$?har's this one for? yo: Oh! Him. He wasn't a bit like you. He could sing and
cEoF: There's a whole list of things to send for if you have dance and he was as black as coal.
enough coupons. Hee, there's even a car, smoke forty (;rjoF: A black boy?
thousand cigarettes a day for the next ten thousand years ;o: From darkest Africa ! A Prince.
and you'll get a Lagonda. (;uoF: A what?
;o: What's that? Jo: A Prince, son of a chieftain.
cEoF: A car. (;DoF: I'll bet he was too.
1o: A nice car? 1o: Prince Ossini!
cEoF: A wonderful car. (;uoF: What was he doing here?
1o: tr'll buy you one for Christmas. If you ask me nice I'll buy yo: He was a male nurse in the Navy.
you two. (;EoF: Do you wish he was still here?
cEoF: Thanks. yo: Not really. I think I've had enough. I'm sick of love. That's
;o: Oh! I'm tired. This couch isn't going to be very comfort- why I'm lening you stay here. You won't start anything.
able, is it? (;DoF: No, I don't suppose I will.
cEoF: It'll do. I o: You'd better not. I hate love.
1o: What are you going to sleep in? (;EoF: Do you, Jo?
cEoF: My shirt! .;o: Yes, I do.
1o: I'm that tired! I haven't the energy to get myseH to bed. (;EoF: Good night.
You won't sleep very well on this couch, Geof. ;o: Good night.
cEoF: It's all right. Beggars can't be choosers. cEoF: You needn't lock the bedroom door.
yo: We're both beggars. A couple of degenerates. ;o: I'm in bed. Geoffrey! Geoffrey!
cEoF: The devil's own! cEoF: What do you want?
1o lslrc goes to bed. cnon starts to undressf: Hey! You'd better lo: What time have you got to be up in the morning?
turn that light out, or I might be after you. lHe nnns the (;EoF: I don't go to school tomorrow. I'll stay here and clear
54 A TAsrE oF HoNEy [.rcr tt scENE rI A TASTE OF HONEY 55
this place up a bit. And make you a proper meal. Now go yo: ft kicked me. [cror rans to lpr and puts his hcad. n lpr
to sleep, hey? belly.l
;o: Geoffrey! (;rioF: Vill it do it again?
cEoF: What's wrong now?
;o: It shows it's alive anyway. Come on, baby, let's see what
1o llaughingl: You're just like a big sister to me. big sister's making for us.
lMusic to black out. Then quick as lights go up. Waking,cEoF (;EoF: Put it down.
dances and goes off utith bedclothes. 1o danczs off. enor 1o: What a pretty little dress.
dances in with ?rops for the ncxt scene, which in reality (;EoF: It's got to wear something. You can't just wrap it up
would be a month or tuo latn. cEoF is anting out a ba.bj/s in a bundle of newspaper.
gown. 1o wa.nders about the room.l to: And dump it on a doorstep. How did Geoffrey find out the
yo: God! ft's hot. measurements?
cEoF: I know it's hot. (;EoF: Babies are born to the same size more or less.
1o: I'm so restless. lo: Oh, no, they're not. Some are thin scrappy things and
cEoF: Oh, stop prowling about. others are huge and covered in rolls offat.
1o: This place stinks. lGoes oner to the dom. children are hcard (;EoF: Shut up, Jo, it sounds revolting.
singing in tfu street.f That river, it's the colour of lead. Look yo: They are revolting. I hate babies.
at that washing, it's dirty, and look at those filthy children. (';EoF: I thought you'd change. Motherhood is supposed to
cEoF: ft's not their fault. come natural to women.
1o: It's their parents'fault. There's a linle boy over there and 1o: It comes natural to you, Geoftey Ingram. You'd make
his hair, honestly, it's walking away. And his ears. Oh! somebody a wonderful wife. What were you talking about
He's a real mess ! He never goes to school. He iust sits on to that old mare downstairs?
that front doorstep all day. I think he's a bit deficient. cEoF: I was grving her the rent. I got my grant yesterday.
[The children's ztoices die away. A tugboat lwo*.| ;o: You're as thick as thieves, you two.
(;EoF: She's going to make the baby a cradle.
His mother ought not to be allowed.
yo: What?
cEoF: Who?
cEoF: You know, she makes wicker baskets.
;o: His mother. Think of all the harm she does, ha*'iog child- yo: A wicker basket!
ren.
cEoF: It's the best we can do, unless you want to go down to
cEoF: Sit down and read a book, Jo.
the river plaiting reeds.
yo: I can't.
cEoF: Be quiet then. You're getting on my nerves. lsud.denly ;o: I don't want her poking her nose into my affairs.
cEoF: You're glad enough to have me dancing attendance on
she yelk and whirls atross tlu room.l
you.
;o: Whee! Come on rain. Come on storm. It kicked me, yo: Only because I thought you'd leave me alone. Why don't
Geof. It kicked me!
you leave me alone? lshe des and flings herself down on
cEoF: What?
the couch.l I feel like throwing myself in the river.
56 A rASrE oF HoNEy [acr rr scENE rl A TASTE OF HONEY 57

cEoF: f wouldn't
do that. It's full of rubbish. ;o: After all, you don't show much sign of coming fatherhood,
yo: Well that's all I am, isn't it? do you? You like babies, don't You, Geof?
cEoF: Stop pitying yourself. cEoF: Yes, I do.
yo: Don't iurnp down my throat. p lcoquettes with himl: Geoffrey, have you got any of that
cEoF: How much longer is this going on? toothache cure?
1o: Vhat? lHe mwes away.l
cEoF: Your present performance. Geoffrey, have you got any of that toothache cure?
1o: Nobody asked you to stay here. You moved in on me, cEoF: The only cure for the toothache is a visit to the dentist.
remember, remember? If you don't like it you can get out, Drink your milk.
can't you? But you wouldn't do that, would you, Geoftey? yo: I hate milk [Sftl looks out of ilre window.l I never thought I'd
You've no confidence in yourself, have you? You're afraid still be here in the summer. [Slr puts lur arms round cEoF
the girls might laugh . . . pl"yf"lly.l lVould you like to be the father of my baby,
cEoF: Read that book and shut up. When the baby comes, if Geoffrey?
it ever does, you won't know one end of it from the other. cEoF: Yes, I would.
1o: Looking After Baby.Isn't that nice? Three months, exer- in tlu dooru;ay. TIrc children ccrn be heard n rsing
l1o stands
cises, constipation. Four months, relaxation. It even tells again.l
you how to wash nappies. How lovely. There's a little job
What time is it?
for you, Geofrey. yo: Half-past four by the church clock. Why do you stay here,
cEoF: Drink that.lHe hanils lur a glass of milk.l Geof?
1o lflirting with himl: Does it tell you how to feed babies, cEoF: Someone's got to look after you. You can't look after
Geoffrey? yourself.
cEoF: Even you know that. yo: I think there's going to be a storrn. Look at that sky. It's
;o: I know about that way, breast feeding, but I'm not having nearly black. And you can hear the kids playing, right over
a little animal nibbling away at me, it's cannibalstic. Like there on the croft.
being eaten alive.
lA silnce in tlu roorn: we hear the children singing.l
cEoF: Stop trying to be inhuman. It doesn't suit you. cEoF: What would you say if I started something?
yo: I mean it. I hate motherhood. 1o: Eh !
cEoF: Well, whether you hate it or not you've got it coming cEoF: I said what would you say if I started something?
to you so you might as well make a good job of it. yo: In my condition I'd probably faint.
;o: I've got toothache. cEoF: No, I mean after.
cEoF: I've got bloody heartache! ;o: I don't want you.
yo: I think you'd like everybody to think this baby's yours, cEoF: Am I repulsive to you?
WOuldr,'t you, Geoffrey? yo: You're nothing to me. f'm everything to myself.
cEoF: Not likely. cEoF: No, you're not. You're going to need me after.
58 A TAsrE oF HoNEy [ecr rl SCENE I] A TASTE OF HONEY 59

Jo: I won't be here after. (;EoF: I said no.


cEoF: Do you still think he might come back? 1o: You like strawberry cream.
yo: I've forgotten him. (;EoF: I don't want any, Jo. I've made my mind gp.
lSlu turns toanrds hintr lu to lta.l ;o: Don't be daft, have some chocolate.
cEoF: No .. . lslre giaes a ptece of chocolate to him just ilu
cEoF: You do need me, Jo, don't you?
samc.)
;o: Let go of me. You're squeezing my arm.
cEoF: I've never kissed a girl. yo: I think it would be best if you left this place, Geof. I don't
think it's doing you any good being here with me all the
;o: That's your fault.
cEoF: Let me kiss you. time.
cEoF: I know that, but I couldn't go away now.
;o: Let go of me. Leave me alone.
lu ;o: You'll have to go some time. Ve can't stay together like
lShe smtggles but kisses her.l
this for ever.
cEoF: How was that for first time? cEoF: I'd sooner be dead than away from you.
1o: Practise on somebody else. 1o: You say that as if you mean it.
cEoF: I didn't mean to hurt you. cEoF: I do mean it.
yo: Look Geof, I like you, I like you very much, but I don't yo: Why?
enioy all this panting and grunting . . . cEoF: Before I met you I didn't qlre one way or the other - I
cEoF: Marry me, Jo. didn't care whether I lived or died. But now . . .
;o: Don't breathe all over me like that, you sound like a horse. 1o: I think I'll go and lie down. lshc goes to bed and li^es ctaoss
f'm not marrying anybody. it.l
cEoF: I wouldn't ask you to do anything you didn't want to cEoF: There's no need for me to go, Jo. You said yourself
do. you didn't want anybody else here and I'm only interested
;o: Yes, you would. in you. We needn't split up need we, Jo?
cEoF: Jo, I don't mind that you're having somebody else's yo: I don't suppose so.
baby. What you've done, you've done. What I've done, f,Music. Enter nnreN.]
f've done. HELEN: Jo! Your beloved old lady's arrived. Well, where is
yo: I
like you, Geof, but I don't want to marry you. she, Romeo?
cEoF: Oh, all right. fuiyway, I don't suppose I could live up to cEoF: Don't tell her f came for You.
that black beast of a prince of yours. I bet you didn't HELEN: What? Don't mumble.
stnrggle when he made love to you. cEoF: I said don't tell her f came for you.
yo: It might have been better if I had. HELEN: All right, all right. This place hasn't changed much'
cEoF llu gioes her a bar of chocolatef: Have some chocolate. has it? Still the same old miserable hole. wcll, whcrc's
yo: Tbanks. Do you want some? the lady in question?
cror: No. cEoF: In there.
;o: Go on. HELEN: What, Lazrngin bod' as usual? Come on' gct up; plclty
6o A TASTE oF HoNEy [ecr rr scENE rI A TASTE OF HONEY 6r

of girls in your condition have to go out to work and take nothing to do with it. She's more than I can cope with,
care of a family. Come on, get up. always has been.
yo: What blew you in? cEoF: That's obvious.
HELEN: Let's have a look at you. HELEN: And what's your part in this linle Victorian melo-
Jo: Who told you about me? drama? Nursemaid?
HELEN: Nobody. ;o:Serves you right for bringing her here, Geof.
;o: How did you get to know then? HELEN: It's a funny-looking set-up to me.
HELEN: Come on, aren't you going to introduce me to your yo: It's our business.
boy friend? Who is he? HELEN: Then don't bring me into it. Where's the loving
yo: My boy friend. Oh, it's all right, we're so decent we're father? Distinguished by his absence, I suppose.
almost dead. I said who told you about me? Jo: That's right.
HELEN: Does it matter? HELEN [ro cnor]: Did she hear any more of him?
1o: I told you to keep out of my affairs, Geoffrey. I'm not hav- ;o: No, she didn't.
ing anybody running my life for me. What do you think HELEN: When f'm talking to the organ grinder I don't expect
you're running? A "Back to Mother" movement? the monkey to answer.
cEoF: Your mother has a right to know. yo: I could get him back tomorrow if I wanted to.
;o:She's got no rights where I'm concerned. HELEN: Well, that's nice to know. He certainly left you a nice
HELEN: Oh, leave him alone. You're living off him, by all Christmas box. It did happen at Christmas' I suppose?
accounts. When the cat's away.
;o: Who've you been talking to? That old hag downstairs? cEoF: You've been away a long time.
HELEN: I didn't need to talk to her. The whole district knows HELEN: Oh, you shut up. Sling your hook!
what's been going on here. yo: Will you keep out of this, Geoffrey?
yo: And what has been going on? HELEN': Well, come on, let's have a look at you. [1o turns away.l
HELEN: I suppose you think you can hide yourself away in this What's up? We're all made the same, aren't we?
chicken run, don't you? Well, you can't. Everybody knows. ;o: Yes we are.
cEoF: She won't go out anywhere, not even for a walk and a HELEN: Well then. Can you cut the bread on it yet? l1o turns-l
bit of fresh air. That's why I came to you. Yes, you're carrying it a bit Hgh, aren't you? Are you
HELEN: And what do you think I can do about it? In any case, going to the clinic regularly? Is she working?
bearing a child doesn't place one under an obligation to it. cEoF: No, I told you, she doesn't like people looking at her.
cEoF: I should have thought it did. HELEN: Do you think people have got nothing better to do
HELEN: Well, you've got another think coming. If she won't than look at you?
take care of herself that's her lookout. And don't stand ;o: Leave me alone.
there looking as if it's my fault. HELEN: She'd be better off working than living off you like
cEoF: It's your grandchild. a little bloodsucker.
HELEN: Oh, shut up, you put years on me. Anyway, I'm having cEoF: She doesn't live off me.
6z A TASTE oF HoNEy [acr rl scrNn rl A TASTE OF HONEY 63

;o: No, we share everything, see! We're communists too. cEoF bellingl: Vill you stop shouting, you two?
HELEN: That's his influence I suppose. HELEN: We enjoy it.
1o: Get out of here. I won't go out if I don't want to. It,s cEoF: Helen!
nothing to do with you. Get back to your fancy man or HELEN: Now you're going to listen to a few home truths, my
your husband, or whatever you like to call him. girl.
[nnrrN begins to chase her.l ;o: We've had enough home tnrths!
Aren't you afraid he'll run otr and leave you if you let him HELEN: All right, you thought you knew it all bdore, didn't
out of your sight? you? But you came a cropper. Now it's "poor little
HELEN: I'll give you such a bloody good hiding in a minute, Josephine, the tragedy queen, hasn't life been hard on
if you're not careful. That's what you,ve gone short of! her". Well, you fell down, you get up . . . nobody else
yo: Don't show yourself up for what you are! is going to carry you about. Oh, I know you've got this
HELEN: You couldn't wait, could you? Now look at the mess pansified little freak to lean on, but what good will that do
you've landed yourself in. you?
;o: I'll get our of it, without your help. ;o: Leave Geof out of it!
HELEN: You had to throw yourself at the first man you mer, HELEN: Have you got your breath back? Because there's some
didn't you? more I've got to get off my chest first.
yo: Yes, I did, that's right. ;o: You don't half like the sound of your own voice.
HELEN: You're man mad. cEoF: If I'd known you were going to bully her [ke this I'd
yo: I'm like you. never have asked you to come here.
HELEN: You know what they're calling you round here? A silly HELEN: You can clear off! Take your simpering little face out
little whore! of it!
yo: Well, they all know where I get it from too.
;o: Yes, buzz off, Geof! Well, who brought her here? I told
HELEN: Let me get hold of her! I'll knock her bloody head you what sort of a woman she was. Go and . . . go and
round ! make a cup of tea.
1o: You should have been locked up years ago, with my father.
HELEN: Let me get hold of her! lHe goes.'l

cEoF: Please, Jo, Helen, Jo, please! HELEN: Look at your arrns. They're like a couple of stalks!
HELEN: I should have got rid of you before you were born. You look like a ghost warmed up. And who gave you tbat
yo: I wish you had done. You did with plenry of others, I haircut, him? Don't sit there sulking.
know.
1o: I thought it was the tea break.
HELEN: I'llkill her. I'll knock the living daylights out of her. HELEN: I didn't come here to quarrel.
cEoF: Helen, stop it, you will kill her! yo: No?
Jo: If you don't get out of here I,U ... iump out of the HELEN: I brought you some money.
window. yo: You know what you can do with that.
fTfure is a sudden lull.l HELEN: All right! You've said your piece. Money doesn't
64 A TASTE OF HONEY
[acr rr sceNr rl A TASTE OIJ HONEY 65
grow on trees. I',ll leave it
on the table. Have you been
collecting your materniry benefit or . . . nETER lseeing cror]: $fhat's this, the father? Oh Christ,
yo: or are you too idle to walk down to the post office? Don,t no!
cEoF: Who's he?
be daft ! I'm not enritled to it. r haven,t Leen
earning long HELEN: President of the local Temperance Society!
enough.
HELEN: You've no need to go short of anphing.
nETER fsingingl: "'Who's got a bun in the oven? Who's got a
yo: It's taken you a rong time to come round cake in the stove?"
to this, hasn,t HELEN: Leave her alone.
it?
PErER: Oh, go to hell!
HELEN: What?
yo: The famous mother-love act. ;o: I've got nothing to say . . .
rETER: Go on, have your blasted family reunion, don't mind
HELEN: r haven't been abre to sleep for thinking about you
me! [Nolrces cror again.l Who's this? Oh, of course!
since he came round to our house.
Where are the drinks, Lana? lHe falls into the kitchen,
;o: And your sleep mustn't be disturbed at anv cost. singing.l "Gening to know you, getting to know all about
HELEN: There'll be money in the post for yor
.u..y week from you..."
now on.
yo: Until you forget.
HELEN: Jo, come on .. .
HELEN: I don't forget things; It's lThere is a loud aash in the kitchen.l
iust that I can't remember
anything. I,m going to see you through this And the light of the world shone upon him.
whether you
like it or nor. After all I am . . . [rrrrn enters.l
;o: Afte e remembering pErER: Cheer up, everybody. I am back. Who's the lily? Look
that, door with that at Helen, well, if she doesn't look like a bloody unrestored
man oil painting. What's the matter everybody? Look at the
HELEN: sour-faced old bitch! Well, are you coming for a few drinks
;o: You should have known. you,re nothing to me. or aren't you?
[rnrrn appears.f HELEN: The pubs aren't open yet.
what the hell's going on? Do you expect me to wait ;o: Do you mind genihg out of here?
'ETER:
in the fi.lthy str.eet all night? rETER: Shut your mouth, bubble belly! Before I shut it for
HELEN: I told you to stay outside. you. Hey! [To cror.] M"ry, come here. Did I ever tell you
rETER: Don't point your bloody finger ar about the chappie who married his mother by mistake?
me.
HELEN: I said I'd only be a few minutes
and I've only been a ;o: I said get him out of here, Helen. His breath smells.
few minutes. Now come on, outside! HELEN: f can't carry him out, can I?
pErER: Ah! The erring rETER: His name was Oedipus, he was a Greek I think. Well,
daughter. There she is. tsrrgr.l
"Little Josephiner lou're a big girl now.,, Where d,you the old bag turned out to be his mother . . .
keep the whisky? HELEN: Shut up, Peter, for God's sake!
HELEN: They haven't got any. Now, come pETER: So he scratched out both his eves.
on.
67
scrNr t] A TASTE OF HONEY
66 A TASTE oF HoNEY [ecr lt
this?
HELEN: Cut the dirty stories! Jo: How long has he been like
HELEN: What does that boy friend of yours do for a living?
nETER: But I only scratched out one of mine. Well, are you
stuclent. I suppose that's what's been keeping
coming or not? ;o: He's an art
HELEN: f'm not. you occuPied?
Does he live here?
nETER: Well, is anybody coming for a few drinks? You stay- HELEN: An art student. I might have known'
yo: Why should I answer yotlr questions? You never answer
ing with the ladies, Jezebel?
cEoF: Listen, mister, this is my friend's flat... any of mine.
HELEN: Look at you ! Why don't you take
a bit of pride in
rETER: And what do you do, Cuddles? Don't worrlr I know
this district. Look at Helen, isn't she a game old bird? yourself? Grow Your hair ProPcrlY?
your pride in yourself has done
Worn out on the bear but she's still got a few good strokes Jo: Look at you. Look what
left. for you.
a nice room and
IIELEN: Get out of here, you drunken sot. HELEN: Come and stay with me, Jol there's
rETER: Now I told you to moderate your language. What's plenty of food.
this? Giving my money away again? ;o: No, thanks.
HELEN: Take your bloody money and get out! HELEN.yo,,prefertostayirrthisholewiththatpansifiedlittle
PETER: Thank you. freak?
HELEN: You dirry bastard! cEoF: ShallI go?
pErER: You should have heard her the other night. You know HELEN: I didn't knorv You'd come'
you go and live rvith her if you were me' Geof?
what happened? Her wandering boy returned. He hadn't ;o: Would
been home for t'wo weeks and do you know why? He cEoF: No, I don't think I would'
Jo: Neither would anybody in
their right mind'
picked up a couple of grapefruit on a thirty-two bust,
rich, young and juicy hey ! Where's the smallest cEoF:Shealwayssaidyouwercaprettyrottensortofwoman'
room? I thought she was exaggeratrng'
stupid head that I'm
cEoF: This way. HELEN: Look' can't you get it into your
offering You a decent home?
PETER: And she went off the dcep end. [Strgs as he goes.
Anotlrcr oash offstage.l [r'rren en[ers' more sober' more unpleasant'l
HELEN [ro caor]: You'd better go with him or Lord knows in there'
where he'll end up. rETER: Bloody cockroaches are playing leapfrog
HELEN: Look' I'll tell you again, in front of him' my home is
cEoF: I hope the landlady hasn't heard him.
TIELEN: Cigarerte? yours.
yo: No. Yes, I will. I'll keep it for Geof. PErER: Ah! Shut uP!
HELEN: I'll take care of you and see you through
it'
HELEN: You'd better have the whole bloody packet if you're years ago' when I
Jo: The time to have taken care of
me was
in such a state.
couldu't take care of mYself'
1o: Well, he couldn't hold it any more, could he?
HELEN: No one could hold that much. HELEN:Allright,butwe'retalkingabouthereandnow'When
68 A TASTE OF HONIY [ncr rr scENn Il A TASTE OF HONEY 6g
I really ser out ro take care of somebody r usually do the mel it's your own bloody level. Well, are you coming or
job properly.
not?
;o: So I see. HELEN: I'm not.
PETER: I'm not having that bloody slut ar our place. I'll tell PETER: I
said are you coming?
you that for nothing.
HELEN: And I said I'm not.
HELEN: Take no norice. The house is half mine. pErER: Well, you n iust go and take a flying flip out of the
rETER: Like hell it is. I could throw you our romorrow.
window. lHe goes.l
yo: I don't think . .. HELEN: I'il I'll . " . would you sooner I stayed here
pETER: And don't bring that little fruitcake parcel either! with you?
[Mumbles.l I can't stand the sight of him. Can'r stand ,em yo: No, thanks.
at any price. ...
rETER: Helen ...fCalling]. come on!
HELEN: Oh, keep out of it. Jo, I can't bear to think of vou
HELEN: I'll send you some moneY.
sitting here in this dump! yo: Keep it. You might need it.
IETER: Neither can I. Now let's get going.
PETER: Helen!
HELEN: The whole district's rotren, it's not fit to live in.
HELEN: Go to . . .
nETER: Let's go before we grow old sining here.
PETER: Are you coming?
HELEN: Shut up, the pubs will be open in ren minures.
HELEN lydlt"sl: Yes. [To cror.] See that she goes to the clinic
pETER: You're wrong there.
lLooking at his watch.f They're regularly and be sure she gets enough to eat.
open now. What time do you make it?
cEoF: She has been doing that.
cEoF: There's one thing about this district, the people in it
HELEN: I'll see you around. [Sfte goes.l
aren't rotten. Anyway, I think she's happier here with me
yo: Vell, here endeth the third lesson.
than in that dazzling white house you're supposed to be cEoF: At least she left you some money. We can get some ' ' '
so...
pErER: Dazzling bunch of bul . . . lot of ;o: He took it back. I got you a cigarette though, lovc'
bloody outsiders, cEoF: Oh, smashing! I was out.
no class at all. What's the time anyway?
HELEN [ro cror]: You shut up ! I know what she necds if lMusic. They dance together- Fa"de out.l
she's
not going to finish up in a box.
IETER: Whar's the time by your watch, sonny?
cEoF: ft's never been right since it last went wrong.
pETER: Neither have I. How long are
we going to sit around SCENE TV/O
in this room? I don't like the smell of unwashed bodies,
woman. I dragged you out of the gufter once. If you want
cEOFFREv dances in aith a moP and bucket and begirts to clean
to go back there it's all the same to me. r'm not having this
the place. 1o dances bach ard liits ott tlu table reading. she
shower at any price. I'm telling you for the last time because
is weaing a long white housecoat and againrintealityrmonths
I'm getting out of it. Stay if you lvant, it's all rhe same to have passed between this ard the preoiotts scenc. Muic ottt.
7o A TASTE Ot' IIONEY [ecr rr scrNn r r] A TASTE OF HONEY 7
;o: "Ninth month, everyrhing should now be in readiness for
the little srranger." where did you fincl this book, Geoffrey? ;o: Mm, you're wonderful, aren't you?
cEoF: Pretty good.
It reads hke Little Women.
cEoF: I got ir for fourpence off a book barrow. 1o: I know, you make everything work. The stove goes, now
we eat. You've reformed me, some of the time at any rate.
;o: You've got terrible tendencies, haven't you?
cEoF: How do you mean? [crorrnrv shifts the sofa. There is old rubbish and dirt under
;o: You like everything to be just that littre bit out of date, it.l
don't you? Clothes, books, women. cEoF: Oh, Jo!
cEoF: You've got no choice, have you? I mean you
all start
yo: I wondered where that had got to.
by living in the past. Well look, it's all around you, isn,t cEoF: Now you know. It's disgusting, it really is.
it?
;o: I wonder if we ever catch up with ourselves? 1o: Oh Geof, the bulbs I brought with me!
cEoF: I don't know. cEoF: Haven't you shifted the sofa since then?
1o: Now you're a real Edwardian, aren't you? ;o: They never grerv.
cEoF: What's that? cEoF: No, I'm not surprised.
yo: A proper Ted! And me, I'm conremporary. ;o: They're dead. It makes you think, doesn't it?
cEoF: God help us! cEoF: Vhat does?
;o: I really am, aren'r I? I realry do live at the same time as 1o: You know, some people like to take out an insurance policy,
myself, don't I? don't they?
cEoF: Do you mind? I've just done all that. Oh come cEoF: f'm a bit young for you to take out one on me.
on!
Get off! ;o: No. You know, they like to pray to the Almighty fust in
case he turns out to exist when they snuff it.
fHe pushes her with the mop.l cEoF [brushing under the sofal: Well, I never think about it.
1o: Hey, hey! You come, you go, it's simple.
cEoF: Women! ;o: It's not, it's chaotic-a bit of love, a bit of lust and there
;o: You haven't noticed my home dressmaking. you are. We don't ask for life, we have it thrust upon us.
cEoF: No. I've been trying to ignore it. !7hat is it? croF: What's frightened you? Have you been reading the
yo: A house-coat. newspapers?
cEoF: It looks more like a badly tailored shroud. yo: No, I never do. Hold my hand, Geof.
1o: what the well-dressed expectant mother is wearing this cEoF: Do you mind? Halfway through this?
year. I feel wonderful. Aren't I enormous? yo: Hold my hand.
cEoF: You're clever, aren't you? lHe does.l
yo: What's in the oven, Geoffrey?
cEoF: Hey, Jo. Come on, silly thing, it's all right. Come on
cEoF: You what?
there.
1o: Vhat's cooking? hands, hard. You know I used to try and
cEoF: A cake.
;o: You've got nice
hold my mother's hands, but she ahvays used to pull them
72 A TASTE OF HONEY Incr rr scnNn rt] A TASTE OF HONEY 73
away from me. So silry really. She had so much love for cEoF: Do you like me more than you don't like me or don't
everyone else, but none for me. you like me more than you do?
cEoF: If you don'r watch it, you'll turn our exactly like her. 1o: Now you're being Irish.
;o: I'm not like her at all. cEoF: Fine Irishwoman you are. Where did your ancestors
cEoF: In some ways you are already, you know. fall, in the Battle of Salford Town Hall?
lShe pushes his hand azaay.l yo: My mother's father was Irish.
CanI go now? cEoF: You'll find any excuse.
;o: Yes. yo: And she had me by an Irishman-the village idiot, from
cEoP: Thank you very much I
[He is pushing the couch back into what I can make out.
position.)
cEoF: What do you mean?
;o: "And he took up his bed and walked." you can stay here yo: A frolic in a hay loft one afternoon. You see her husband
if you tell me rvhat you do. Do you remember, Geoffrey? thought sex was dirty, and only used the bed for sleeping
I used to think you were such an interesting, immoral in. So she took to herself an idiot. She said he'd got eyes
character before I knew you. I thought you *.-.. like
that like me.
. . . for one thing.
cEoF: Are you making it up?
[cnon'nrv chases her uith the mop ail through this speech.] yo: He lived in a twilight land, my daddy. The land of the daft.
cEoF: Did she tell you all this?
You're just like an old woman really. you just unford your
bed, kiss me good night and sing me to sleep. FIey, ;o: Yes.
what,s cEoF: I'm not surpnsed. It sounds like Ibsen's Ghosts.I don't
the matter? Don't you like living here with me? '
know where Helen gets them from, I don't really.
cEoF: It has its lighter momenrs, but on the whole
it's a pretty yo: I had to drag it out of her. She didn't want to tell me.
trying prospecr.
yo: Why do you wear black shirts? They make you cEoF: That doesn't mean to say it's the truth. Do people ever
look like tell the truth about themselves?
a spiv.
yo: Vrhy should she want to spin me a yarn like that?
cEoF: They do, Jo, but I can't be too particular. Good clothes cEoF: She likes to make an effect.
cost money.
;o: well' I weigh in with my share, don't I? That's a nice rittle ;o: Like me?
job you got me, retouching those bloody photographs. cEoF: You said it. You only have to let your hair grow for a

SThat was it supposed to do, prove I was the artistic week for Helen to think you're a cretin.
type? yo: What?
Of course we can't all be art students, going to our expcn_
sive art schools, nursing our little creative genius. cEoF: I said you've only got to let your hair grow for a week
cEoF: Must you shout? for Helen to think you're a cretin. She always looks at me
yo: f'm Irish. as though I should be put away for ueatment, doesn't she?
cEoF: Never mind, it's not your fault. 1o: Yes.
1o llaughingl: I like you.
cEoF: I know, you don't have to tell me! Have you been
worrying about that all these months?
7l A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr rr scnNn ul A TASTE OF HONEY 75

1o: No. the weekend. You've got to be able to establish your


cEoF: You have. superiority over the little devils. I don't know where that
yo: I haven't. goes. There, look, isn't it good?
cEoF: Well, I didn't rhink you could be so daft. Can you see yo lseeing t\rc dollf: The colour's wrong.
Helen going out with a real loony! cror: Jo.
1o: \Vell, now you put it like that, no, I can't! 1o: The colour's wrong. lsuddenly and aiolently flinging tlu
cEoF: No, neither can-I don't know. Anryay, who knows doll to thc ground.l I'll bash its brains out. I'll kiil it. I don't
who aie the fools and the wise men in this world? want his baby, Geof. I don't want to be a mother' I don't
tro: I wouldn't be surprised if all the sane ones weren't in the want to be a woman.
bin. cEoF: Don't say that, Jo.
cEoF: You're probably right. Anymy everyone knows you're
;o: I'11 kill it when it comes, Geoff, I'11 kill it'
as craeked as an old bedbug. cEoF: Do you want me to go out and find that chap and bring
1o llaughing]: Thanks, Geof. You know, you're a cure. him back? Is that what You want?
cEoF: I used to be a patrol leader in the Boy Scouts. yo: I don't want that. I don't want any man.
yo: So long as you weren't Scoutmaster! You know, I wish she cEoF: well, if you're going to feel like that about it you might
was here all the same. as well have it adopted. I thought you'd feel differently as
GEoF: Why? You'd only quarrel. You know you always say time went on.
you hate the sight of her. yo: I won't.
yo: I do. cEoF: Perhaps you will when you see the baby'
cEoF: Well then.
;o: No, I won't.
yo: She must know my time has almost come. When do your cEoF: L-\o you still love him?
exams finish? yo: I don't know. He was only a dream I had' You know, he
cEoF: On Thursday. could sing and he was so tender. Every christmas Helen
yo: I wonder which day it'll be? Put your arms round me, used to go off with some boy friend or other and leave me
Geof. I don't want you to be worried while your exams are all on my own in some sordid digs, but last christmas I
on. had him.
cEoF: Then you shouldn't have asked me to put my arms cEoF: Your black prince.
round you, should you? ;o: What was his name?
1o: Ah well, it doesn't matter if you fail. In this country the cEoF: Prince Ossini.
more you know the less you earn. yo: No, it was Jimmie!
cEoF: Yes, you're probably right. I've got something for you. cEoF: oh well, the dream's gone, but the baby's real enough.
Oh Jo, I'm daft at times. the first time
1O: My mother always used to say you remember
yo: I know that. I was wondering what it was. all your life, but until this moment I'd forgotten it'
cEoF Wo* his pack Iu takcs a life-sized doltl: There-isn't it cEoF: Do you remember when I asked you to marry me?
nice? I thought you could practise a few holds on it over 1o: Yes.
76 A TASTE OF HONEY
[ecr rl scnNn rr] A TASTE OF HONEY 77
cEoF: Do you?
HELEN: Anybody at home? Well, I'm back. You see, I couldn't
;o: No. What did I say? stay away, could I? There's some flowers for you, Jo. The
cEoF: You just went and lay on the bed.
barrows are smothered in them. Oh! How I carried that
;o: And you didn't go and follow me, did you? lot from the bus stop I'll never know. The old place looks
cror: No.
yo: You see, it's not marrying love between a bit more cheerful, doesn't it? I say, there's a nice homely
us, thank God. smell. Have you been doing a bit of baking? I'll tell you
cEoF: You mean you just like having me around till your
next e1s thing, it's a lovely day for flining.
prince comes along?
yo: Would you like a cup of tea, Helen?
;o: No. HELEN: Have you got anything stronger? Oh no, course you
cEoF: oh welr, you need somebody to love you while
you,re haven't! Go on, I'll have a cup with you. Let's have a look
looking for someone to love.
yo: oh Geof, you'd make a f,nny father. you are at you, love. I arrived iust in time, by the look of things,
a funny didn't I? How are you, love? Everything straightforward?
little man. f mean that. you're unique.
Been having your regular check-up and doing all them
cEoF: Am I?
exercises and all d1g things they go in for nowadays?
1o: I always want to have you with me because I know you,[
That's a good girl. Have you got everything packed?
never ask anything from me. Where :ue you going?
yo: Packed?
[crorrnrv goes b tlu bitchen.l nntnN: Yes.
cEoF: To see the cake.
;o: But f'm not going into hospital.
fio folloa;s him.l HELEN: You're not having it here, are you?
;o: I'll set the cups and
we'[ have a celebration, then you,ll cEoF: Yes, she didn't want to go away.
have to study for your exams. rt's a bit daft tarking about HELEN: Oh my God, is he still here? I thought he would
gening married, isn't it? v'e're arready married. be.
w'e,ve
been married for a thousand years. cEoF: Do you want a piece of cake, Jo?
ITl,'ey march in togetrer from thc kitchen, he aith tru cakc, 1o: Yes, please.
slu with the tea things.l HELEN: You can't have a baby in this dump. Why don't you
cEoF [putting it dountl: Here, rook at that. what use a bit of sense for once and go into hospital? They've got
are you going
to call it? everything to hand there. f mean, sometimes the first one
;o: What, the cake? can be a bit tricky.
cEoF llaugltingl: No, Jo, the baby. cEoF: There's going to be nothing tricky about it; it's going
1o: I think I'll give it to you, Geof. you like babies, don't you? to be perfectly all right, isn't it, Jo?
I might call it Number one. It'n always be number one ro HELEN: Who do you think you are, the Flying Doctor?
itself. 1o: Look, f've made up my mind I want to have it here" I
don't like hospitals.
[nnrnN enttrs, toadcd with baggage as in Act One, Scme I{ELEN: Have you ever been in a hospital?
&p.l
1o: No.
T8 A TAsrE oF HoNEy [ecr ll scrNr rrJ A TASTE OF HONEY 79
HELEN: Vell, how do you know what it's like? Oo! Give me HELEN: Come here. How long is he going to stick around here.
a cup oftea quick. Bloody little pansy . . .
cEoF: Oh well, we've got a district nurse coming in. ;o: Look, if you're going to insult Geof . . .
HELEN: Oh my God, my feet are killing me. How I got that HELEN: f'm not insulting him.
lot from the bus stop I'll never know. yo: Yes you are.
yo: Well what are you lugging all the cases about for? HELEN: I'm not. I just don't like his style, that's all.
HELEN: I've come to look after you. It's iust as well, by the cEoF: It's all right, Mrs. Smith .. .
look of things. [Whispers ro 1o.] HELEN: Look, love, I iust want five minutes alone with her.
;o: Well, it's going to be a bit crowded, you know. Is your Do you mind? Is it too much to ask?
husband coming and all? Is he moving in too? i,iioF: I)o you want any cotton wool?
HELEN: There wouldn't be much room for two of us on that HELEN: Good God, does he knit an' all?
couch, would there? yo: You don't have to go.
yo: That's Geoffrey's bed. cEoF: Jo, I've got to gc, I'll only be a couple of minutes.
cEoF: It's all right, Jo, I don't mind moving out. 1o: There's plenty of stuff in the kitchen. Now look . . .
yo: For Heaven's sake, you don't have to staft wilting away as
[cEorrnev goes.l
soon as she barges in.
cEoF: I don't. HELEN: You don't mean to tell me he's really gone?
HELEN: Icould do with a drink. ;o: Now that you've been rude to my friend . . .
yo: Start barging around just like a bull in x shinx shop. HELEN: What an arty little freak! I wasn't rude to him. I
HELEN: f've got some lovely things for the baby, Jo. Where never said a word. I never opened my mouth.
did I put them? Where's that other case, Jo? Oh! ;o: Look, he's the only friend I've got, as a matter of fact.
cEoF: Jo, will you sit down. I'll get it. HELEN: Jo! I thought you could find yourself something more
HELEN: Look, love. I've come here to talk to my daughter. like a man.
Can you make yourself scarce for a bit? yo: Why were you so nasty to him?
cEoF: I've got to go, we need some things for the weekend. HELEN: f wasn't nasty to him. Besides, I couldn't talk to you
;o: You don't have to let her push you around. in front him, could I? He5 wait till you see these things
cEoF: f don't. for the baby.
HELEN: Oh I do wish he wouldn't mumble. It does get on my ;o: You hurt peopls'5 feslings and you don't even notice.
nerves. What's he saying? HELEN: Jo, I iust wanted to get rid of him, that's all. Look at
cEoF: Where's my pack? those, ]o. Look, isn't that pretry, eh? The baby's going to
1o: What a couple of old women. be dressed like a prince, isn't he?
cEoF: Look here, Jo! ;o: !?e're all princes in ou own little kingdom. You're not
;o: Look, iust a minute will you. I... took I... there,s to insult Geoffrey. Vill you leave him alone?
nothing. .. HELEN: Hen look at this Jo, isn't it pretty? Oh, I love babies-
cEoF: Hor.v can I stav .. . aren't they lovely?
8o A TASTE oF HoNEy [ecr lr scnNr rrl A TASTE OF HONEY 8t
1o: Has your husband thrown you out? yo: What happened?
HELEN: Oh come off it, Jo. I had to be with you at a time like HELEN: He's gone offwith his bit of cnrmpet. Still, it was good
this, hadn't I? And what about this sailor lad of yours, have while lasted. Anyw"y. I'll shift some of this, Jo.
it
you rnade any attempt to trace him? He's entitled to keep
;o: So we're back where we started. And all those months you
his child, you know. stayed away from me because of him! Just like when I was
yo; I wouldn't do that, it's degrading. small.
HELEN: What do you call this set-up? HELEN: I never thought about you ! It's a funny ffrg, I never
;o:'It's all right. There's no need for you to worry about me. have done when I've been hrppy. But these last few weeks
I can work for the baby myself. I've known I should be with you.
HELEN: Who's going to look after it when you're out at work?
;o: So you stayed away-
Have you thought about that? HELEN: Yes. I can't stand trouble.
;o: Yes, I have. ;o: Oh, there's no trouble. I've been performing a perfectly
HELEN: Well, you can't do two jobs at once, you know. Who's normal, healthy function. We're wonderful! Do you know,
going to nurse it? Him? for the first time io -y life I feel really important. I feel
;o: That's my business, f can do anything when I set my mind as though I could take care of the whole world. I even
to it. feel as though I could take care of you, too!
HELEN: Very clever, aren't you? HELEN: Here, I forgot to tell you, I've ordered a lovely cot for
yo: There's no need to be so superior. Look where all your you.
swanking's landed you. What does the little lady want-
;o: We've got one.
an engagement ring? And now he's thrown you out, hasn't HELEN: It's lovely. It's got pink curtains, you know, and frills.
he, and you have to come crawling back here.
l1o gets wicker basket from under bed.l
HELEN: Well, it was good while it lasted. Oh, I don't like that. What is it?
yo: Making a fool of yourself over that throw-back. yo: It's wicker work. Geof got it.
HELEN: He threw his money about like a man with no anns. HELEN: It's a bit old-fashioned, isn't it?
yo: This is my flat now, Helen.
;o: We like it.
HELEN: It's all right, love, f've got a bit of money put by. HELEN: Look love, why don't you go and lie down? You look
;o: You're a real fool, aren't you? as though you've got a bit of a headache.
HELEN: Oh, Jo, look. I'm back aren,t I? Forget it. Don't keep
1o: Do you wonder?
on about it. HELEN: Vell, go and have a rest, there's a good girl. I'm going
yo: Do you know what I think? to tidy this place up for you. I'm going to make it just the
HELEN:!ilhat? way you like it. Go on.
yo: I think you're still in love with him. Oh no!
1o:
HELEN: In love? Me? HELEN: Go on, Jo. Go on. It looks more like a laundry basket,
yo: Yes. doesn't it! Oh! The state of this place! We'll never have it
HELEN: You must be mad. right. Living like pigs in a pigsty-
8z A TASTE OF HONEY [ecr u scrNn rr] A TASTE OF HONEY 83

[cuorrnnv enters.l HELEN: Hey, you can throw that bloody thing out for a staft.
cEoF: What thing?
Oh, you're back are you? Well, come in if you're coming.
HELEN: That thing there. You're not putting rny grandchild in
cEoF: Where's Jo?
a thing like that. Oh, this place! It's filthy! f don't know
HELEN: She's in bed. Where do you think she is? She's having
what you've been doing between the two of you. you might
a little sleep, so don't you dare wake her up.
have kept it a bit cleaner than this. lust look at it! Don,t
f
cEoF: wouldn't do that. fHe places pack filled with food on
stand there looking silly holding that thio& throw it away,
tlrc table.l
or do something with it! I've ordered a proper cot of the
HEi.EN: Don't put that bag on there, I'm cleaning this place
latest design, it's got all the etceteras and everything. 'fhis
up. place! You're living like pigs iu a pigsty. Ob for God.'s
cEoF: You know I
just did it bdore you came.
sake give it here, I'll do something with it.
HELEN: It doesn't look like it. Look, son, we're going to have
cEoF: Yes, but Jo likes it.
the midwife running in and out of here bdore long. We HELEN: $7ell, I suppose it will come in handy for something
want this place all clean and tidy, all hygienic-looking if
fShe enters thp kitchenl Oh my God, it's the same in here!
that's possible.
Nowhere ro put anything . . . Are you off now?
cEoF: Well, it's clean.
crop: Yes.
1o: Is that Geof? HELEN: Vell, take that muck with you as you're going.
HELEN; Now look what you've done!
cEoF: I don't want it.
cEoF: Yes, Jo.
HELEN: f'm sure f don't.
;o: Have you got any of those headache pills, love? cEoF: Mrs. Smith, I . . . I . ..
cEoF: Yes, I'll get you some.
HrLEN: Are you talking to me?
HELEN: If you're going in there take these flowers with you
cEoF: Yes, f wanted to ask you something.
and put them in water. You might as well make yourself HELEN: Vell, get it said. Don't mumble.
useful. They look as though they're withering away. fSIu crioF: I don't want you to take offence.
peers into thc pack.l Vhat the devil's he got here? What's
rrrjr.DN: Do I look the rype that takes offence?
that? Spagheni! I don't know how people can eat it. And (;11oF: Would you not frighten Jo?
that's a fimny looking lettuce. What the hell's tbat? H.y, nrir.uN: I thought you said you were going.
what's this here? (;r:or,: I said would you not frighten Jo.
cEoF: What? rrir.uN: What :ue you talking about, frightening her?
HELEN: All this muck in here? (;r1()r,: You know, telling her that it might be tricky or that
cEoF: Vell, Jo likes that type of food. shc might have trouble, because she's going to be all right.
HELEN: Since when? She needs proper food down her at a rr:r r,N: Are you trying to tell me what to do with my oum
time like this. d:rughter?
cpor: Oh! (,t;()lr: Oh no.
[unrnN points to wicker basket.l urir.rtN: Well, are you going?
84 A TAsrE oF HoNEY [ecr rr scrNn rrl A TASTE OF HONEY 85

cEoF: Yes, although she said she didn't want a woman with yo: Did you yell?
her when she had it. HELEN: No, I ran.
HELEN: She said what? ;o: Do you know, I had such a funny dream just now.
cEoF: She said she wanted me with her when she had it HELEN: Oh Jo, you're always dreaming, aren't you. Well,
because she said she wouldn't be frightened if I was with don't let's talk about your dreams or we'll get morbid.
her. yo: Where would you like those flowers puning?
HELEN: How disgusting! HELEN: Over . .. over there . .. Come on, you come and
cEoF: There's nothing disgusting about it. do it, love.
HELEN: A man in the room at a time like this! yo: Hasn't Geof come back yet?
cEoF: Husbands stay with their wives. HELEN: No, he hasn't.
HELEN: Are you her husband? ;o: Well, where iue you going to sleep, Helen?
cnor: No. HELEN: It's all right, love" Don't fall over, now.
HELEN: Well, get. 1o: You know, I've got so used to old Geof lying there on that
cEoF: I'm going. She can't cope with the two of us. Only just couch like-like an old watchdog. You aren't . . .
don't frighten her, that's all. HELEN: It's all tight, love, don't you worry about me, I'll find
HELEN: I've told you we don't want that. somewhere.
cEoF: Yes I knoq but she likes it. yo:I wonder where he is . . . Oh!
HELEN: You can bloody well take it with you, we don't want it. HELEN: Oh Jo, careful ... Hold on, love, hold on! It'll be
all right. The first one doesn't last long. Oh my God, I
[crorrnnv empties food from his pack on to tlu table while could do with a drink now. Hold on.
HELEN thrusts it back. nutnN finally throws tlu whole thing,
pack and all, on to tlu fu*.\ [1o kneels on bed, HELEN strokps hn hair.l

cEoF: Yes, the one thing civilisation couldn't do anything ;o: That's better.
about-women. Good-bye Jo, and good luck. lHe goes.'l HELEN: fue you all right now? There we are. lChildren sing
outside.l Can you hear those children singing over there on
[o srrrs on tlu bed.l the croft, Jo?
HELEN: It's all dght, love, I'm here and everything's all right. ;o: Yes, you can always hear them on still days.
Are you awake now? HELEN: You know when I was young we used to play all day
1o: Hello. Yes . . . Vhat's it like? long at this time of the year; in the sunmer we had singing
HELEN: Wrat? games and in the spring we played with tops and hoops,
1o: Is there much pain? and then in the autumn there was the Fifth of November,
HELEN: No! It's not so much pain as hard work, love. I was then we used to have bonfires in the street, and gingerbread
putting my Chrismas pudding op on a shelf when you and all that. Have I ever told you about the time when we
started on me. There f was standing on a chair singtng went to a place called Shining Clough? Ob I must have
away merry as the day is long . .. done. I used to climb up there every day and sit on the top
86 A TASTE OF HONEY [acr rl scrNr ul A TASTE OF HONEY 87

of the hill, and you could see the mills in the d.istance, but
HELEN: Where's mY hat?
the clough itself was covered in moss. rsn't it ftrnny how
you remember these rhings? Do you know, Ird sit
;o: On your head. you,
there all nrrsN:-oh yes . . . I don't know what's to be done with
day long and nobody ever knew where r was. sha[ r go
I don't t."ffy. lTo ttu aadimce] I ask you' what would
and make us a cup of tea? you do?
[nrrnN enters hitclun and fiddtes with stmte.l ;o: Are you going?
nrtnN: Yes.
Oh Jo, f've forgonen how we used to light ftis thing. yo: fue you iust going for a drink?
;o: Turn on all the knobs. Mind you don,fgas yo'rself. nrt.sN: Yes.
HELEN: I still can't do it. 1o: fu'e you coming back?
yo: Geof'll fix it.
nsnN: Yes.
HELEN: No, ir's all right.
;o: \[ell, what are You goiug to do?
;o: Helen.
HELEN: put it ,ir. stage and call it Blackbird. lsfte ntslus
nrlrN: Yes. "o
out.i
yo: My baby may be black.
lyo watclus her go, Ieaning
against tln iloorpost' TlPn slrc
HBLEN: You what, love?
yo: My baby will be black. looks round. tlp riom, sftiw a little to herself-she rcnumbas

HELEN: oh' don't be sillp Jo. you'll be giving yo'rself cror.l


nightmares.
;o: As I was going uP PiPPin Hill'
;o: But it's tnre. He was black. Pippin Hill was dirtY.
HELEN: Who? And there I met a Pretty miss,
Jo: Jimmig. And she droPPed me a curtsY'
HELEN: You mean to say that ... that sailor was a black Linle miss, Pretty miss,
man? ... Oh my God! Nothing else can happen to me Blcssings light uPon You.
now. Can you see me wheeling a pram with a . . . Oh my If I had hdf a crown a daY,
God. I'll have to have a drink. I'd gladlY sPend it on You.
1o: Vhat are you going to do?
HELEN: f don't know. Drown it. Vho knows about it?
Cwtain.
yo: Geoffrey.
HELEN: And what about the n'rse? she's going to get a bit of
a shock, isn't she?
;o: Vell, she's black too.
HELEN: Good, perhaps she'll adopt it. Dear God in heaven!
1o: rf you don't like it you can get out. I didn't ask you to
ctme here.
NOTES 89

Itl old firm - colloquial term for a reliable, familiar enterprise.


t:l.te
Notes lll make an bonest woman of you - marry you, make a
rclationship legal by marriage.
Itl girdle - corset, tight underwear.
Itl 'Walter, Walter,lead me to the altar!'- line from a song of that
title.
19 'l see a quiet place, a fireplace, a cos)l room'- line from the
(Tbese notes are intended use by ooerseas students as zuell as by song'My Blue Heaven'.
for
En glis h -b orn re ad ers. ) 2O a rich, dark Haaana etc. - the sort of description found in
advcrtising slogans.
Act I 22 institution - institution or hospital for the insane.
22 coloured - a common euphemism in the fifties for someone of
7 Mancbester - very large industrial city in the North of England non-whitc race.
(according to a note under the cast list on page 6 the play takes 22 naaal rating - ordinary sailor.
place in Salford, a smaller industrial town adjoining Manchester). 23 I don't knou wby I loae you but I do - title line of a popular
7 liaing off her immoral eamings - it is a criminal offence for a s()ng.
man to live off a woman's immoral earnings, i.e. her earnings as a 25 Mau-Mau - nztionalist movement based on the Kikuyu tribe in
Prostltute. Kcnya. in the fifties during the struggle for independence.
7 gasworks - where gas is generated and stored for piping to 2(> daft silly , crazy.
houses that use it as a fuel; gasworks can smell unpleasant. 27 nut.ional seraice - compulsory two years in the armed forces,
7 contemporary - a decorative style of the fifties, usually Io whiclr all young men were conscripted at this time.
involving very bright colours, sharp contrasts, and spiky designs. 27 I uas a Teenage - several films, usually horror films, had titles
7 sbe'd lose ber bead - a common saying, indicating carelessness. lrcginning like this, e.g.I usas a Teenage Frankensteiz (released in
8 get it dousn - drink it. 1957).llclcn leaves the title incomplete for comic effect.
8 shilling in tbe slot - a coin placed in the slot of a gas meter 27 'l'bc'l'en Commandments
buys a certain quantity of gas to burn in fire or cooker.
- epic film by Cecil B. De Mille
lr:rsctl on the Bible (released in 1958).
8 furniture and fittings - what is supplied by the landlady of a 27 I)asire Under - film version (released in 1958) of Eugene
furnished flat. O'Ncill's intense drama, Desire under tbe Elms. Again Helen gets
8 knocking it back - drinking. l'rrrr out of leaving the title incomplete.
9 take the weight off my feet - sit down. 2tl sling her out - throw her out.
lo one of the fixtures - part of the equipment supplied with a flat. 21) spia flashily dressed person living on his wits.
lO fancy rnen - lovers. 3ll glad rqgs - smart clothes.
lO sight for sare eyes - usually means a pleasant, welcome sight' 3l tt.ick -amoment.
here Helen is being sarcastic. .1.1 "l'hot
12 knocked me into tbe middle of next zpeek - hit me very hard.
wild, destructiae thing called looe' - line from a popular
s()nll.
12 aspirins - painkilling tablets. 33 lttrtlqtt'n absolutely right.
12 set on - determined to. 34 Lrtrtl's Day Obseraance Society - a group who believe that
13 aamp it - add a simple musical improvisation or Srrrrtl:ry, the Christian Sabbath, should be kept holy. Peter means
accompanlment. tlr:rt .f o is being unusually moral and righteous.
14 geniused - (made up word) endowed with genius, as talented 34 t quid - (popular slang) a pound (money).
means endowed with talent. 34 llluckpool - a very popular, not very genteel seaside resort in
77 classy - insisting on only the best. llrt' north of England within easy reach of Manchester.
17 kid - used as an endearment.
90 A TASTE OF HONEY NOTES 9I

35 called to the bar - usually said of barristers when they first 59 Rorneo - name of a typical lover, from Shakespeare's Romeo
begin their profession. and Juliet.
35 black bole of Calcutta - used of any dark or confined space; 6O you'ae got another tbink coming - you'll have ro think again.
originally the completely dark, cramped dungeon into which the 6l set'up - situation or arrangement.
sultan who captured Calcutta in 17S6 crowded his enemies. 6l organ grinder . . . monkey - street musicians playing a portable
36 opium pellet - drug traditionally given to victims in romantic organ traditionally had pet monkeys to attract amenrion and
novelettes. money from passers-by. Helen is rudely implying that the
36 Pirate King - the boy is referring to perer: pirate kings and relationship between Geof and Jo is like that between an organ
captains infiction were often portrayed with a black eye-patch like grinder and his monkey.
Peter's. 6l Cbristmas box - present traditionally given to tradesmen etc.
37 You'ae bad your cbips - you are too late, you have missed at Christmas. Here used sarcastically.
your chance. 6l When tbe cat's auay - a proverb, meaning that people do what
38 Woolwortbs - a cheap chain store. they are usually not allowed when unsupervised. The full saying is:
39 sbarp - quick. When the cat's awly, the mice do play.
4O spends his rnoney like anter - spends lavishly (cf. p. g0). 6l sling your hook - (slang) go away.
4O knocking about witb - going around with. 6l can you cut tbe bread on it yet? - at an advanced stage of
42 boozer - (slang) drinker, alcoholic. pregnancy the belly sticks out high and shelf{ike.
42 metbs - methylated spirits, a form of cheap alcohol used as 62 bloody good hiding - a severe beating.
fuel, and as intoxicating drink by down-and-outs. 62 knock tbe liaing dayligbts out of her - hit her very hard.
42 Old Nick - the devil. (>3 came a cropper
- fell down, failed.
(t3 pansified like a homosexual ('pansy' is a slang word for
44 balf<tit - menrally deficient person. - a
44 Puritan - originally a member of an extreme Engrish protestant homosexual).
part!, strict in religion and morals; used of someone who (>3 get off my cbest
(>3 buzz off go zway.
- reveal.
disapproves of sex. -
(t4 maternity benefit weekly payments made to expectant
-
Act II rnothers by the government.
(t5 bun in tbe oaen (slang) pregnant.
47 maisonette - flat (normally a flat on two floors). -
715'Getting to kruou you' etc. - title line of a song from the
47 up tbe creek - (slang) all wrong, mistaken. rrrusical Tbe King and I, the film version of which had been released
47 under tbe arches - arches under railway bridges or viaducts rn 1956.
give some shelter to the homeless and the down-and-out.
66 utent off tbe deep end - was extremely angry.
48 people like you - Jo thinks Geof is homosexual. 67 leapfrog - a, children's game, in which they jump over the
49 taking in band - looking after and organising. lr:rt'ks of several others.
5l Spratts - a well-known make of dog biscuit. 6tI lruitcake - (slang) homosexual.
5l Jack Spratt etc. - a nursery rhyme. (tlJ qt any price at all.
52 Beggars can't be cboosers well-known proverb meaning that -
- irtl box - i.e. a coffin.
those who have little cannot expecr to choose what they are given. 6tl shower - (slang) useless crowd of people , presumably referring
54 walking auay - i.e. with lice. r, .f o and Geof (and Helen if she stays with them).
54 deficienr - mentally deficient. $ llip - j,r-p.
55 tbick as thieaes - very friendly and in confidence with each (tt) ltcre endeth
other. - said after a reading from the Bible in the Church
,,1 l,.ngland service.
57 croft - (dialect) patch of waste land. 'ltt Little Women a nineteenthrenrury book for girls by Louisa
-
NOTES 93
92 A TASTE OF HONEY
was very
May Alcott; its tone is very moral. 8O tbreu bis money about like a man with no arms -
7o ba*oas - carts or barrows are used as stalls in outdoor markets; me
a book barrow would sell second-hand books. 81
82 childbirth'
83
85 ) meantng gorge or
narrow ravlne.

7l snuff it - (slang) die


72
'And he took up bis bed and warked'- a reference
to rhe New
Testament miracle where Jesus cures a lame cripple.
72 retoucbirg - improving photographs by bruihwork after they
are printed.
73 lrish - often used of something comicalry conrradictory.
73 spin me a yarn - tell me a story.
73 put auay - i.e. in a hospital for the insane.
74 loony - lunatic.
74 bin - short for 'loony bin', a slang phrase for an institution or
hospital for the insane.
74 cracked - crazy,mad,.
74 you're a cure - you make me feel better.
e Boy Scouts
- the Boy Scouts is a world
boys; patrol leader is a boy who leads a small

7 4 scoutmaster _ r.rrX1iion"t newspapers


sometimes fearure
stories about Scoutmasters using their position as leaders of
a scout
company to make homosexual advances to the boys. It has become
a journalistic clich6.
74 a feu bolds - grips used in wrestling.
75 digs -lodgings.
77 flitting - (dialect) moving house.
77 cbecktp - examination by the doctor.
7 sbased on the advenrures
o .cy cases by aeroplane.
-, ple in their homes.
7 por a destructive. clumsv
p
8o entitled to keep bis cbild - Heren rnay mean that the father has
a legalobligation to pay for the upbringing.f his chircr, or she may
simply mean that Jo should pass rhc clril,l ,,vcr ro hinr.
8A sasanking - conceited behaviour.
8O tbroas-back - primitive crcarrrr(..

Related Interests