Page 88 – 89 / 1941 – 42
Left Hand Page
Reverse of score on old letter from 1920 (unknown author) and reverse of poetic styles (hand-written names, unknown author).
Right Hand Page
‘The Child Photographer’, script (unknown author).
THE CHILD PHOTOGRAPHER
W. (Zagu Pitts stuff) Oh Dear!
H. (Looking up from paper)
NOW what’s the matter?
W. I wish I was pregnant.
W. I wish I could have a baby.
H. But you’ve had seven already.
W. (Excusing herself) well, I started early. Anyhow, first marriages don’t count.
H. How do you mean “don’t count”? Have you entered a competition or something?
W. (Rebuking) Harold! This is no subject for joking. You will have to race up to your responsibilities to the community. You will have to perform!
H. But, I do: you said yourself I was capable of more in five minutes han your first husband could achieve in twelve months.
W. There is no need to be indelicate. When I said perform I meant produce. It is not the letters that are posted Harold that count – it’s the packages that get there.
W. Well! What are you going to do?
H. Do? I don’t see that I can do anything. I’m not certain that I want to.
W. (tears stuff) Oh, oh!
H. Now look here Caroline. It’s not my fault I can’t absorb vitamin E. It’s my glands.
W. Glands! You’ll stand by and allow the postman to [unknown]
W. Yes, postman. Read that. (She slams down a letter on the table)
H. (reads aloud) “In view of the fact etc” Great scott! “Rectify the matter”. I like that.
W. Well, I don’t.
(She flings out of the room. The H. looks after her for a moment then he bursts into a chuckle, slaps his thighs.)
H. “Rectify the matter”. That’s rich, that is! (Loud knocking) Um – I wonder who that is? (He goes to door)
(Enter Photographer with camera, tripod and black hood.)
P. Good morning. My name’s Speed. Herbert Speed. I’m a child photographer.
H. A what!
P. A child photographer, sir.
P. Yes! I specialise in babies.
H. You specialise – you specialise in babies?
P. Yes sir
H. Oh, you’ve come to the right house, you have.
P. (Glad) Have I?
H. Oh yes, I’ve got a little job just waiting for you.
P. Go on! You haven’t!
H. Oh yes I have! You come round this afternoon and annoy my wife.
P. Annoy your wife? But I take babies!
H. Take! Oh, I thought you said make. Come back later I might be able to use you.
P. Later on? Certainly sir.
(H. hurries P. out. Re-enter wife.)
W. Who was that?
H. Oh, just the postman darling.
H. No, as a matter of fact it was a canvasser dear.
W. Canvasser! (More knocking. Enter agent.)
a. Ah, good morning.
W. Good morning.
H. Good morning.
a. That makes it unanimous. Now, as I was saying.
H. Were you?
a. Don’t interrupt! Now as I was saying. Where was I?
W. I suppose you’re the man?
a. The man? Madam, I have the strength of ten.
H. Here – don’t you get familiar with my wife.
a. Familiar? I’m not familiar. For a Civil Servant I’m most amiable, I could hate you with pleasure. Now about this population problem.
H. Oh that.
a. Yes, that. Is there any sign of anything coming up on the horizon?
H. Look here, I object to your tone.
a. Tone? Well apparently you don’t speak in the language of flowers yourself, judging by the way that cradle stays empty. Step on it pal. ‘Old Time’, he’s a-fleeting, and there’s an age at which the first act of parenthood becomes merely tedious son.
H. Don’t call me son.
a. Well, I can’t call you pop, can I? Anyhow, you two have got to get matey, and pronto, or
Churchill’ll be sending somebody round to give [unknown] here the old
H. Get out!!
a. O.K. The interview is at an end pal. I’m withdrawing but don’t forget – the men will be round (He winks salaciously at the wife) from the Government Stud within the hour! (EXIT)
H. Within the hour. The cool bloody cheek of the fellow.
W. Oh, he had a certain refreshing charm.
H. Look here! I say, this rectifying business is purely technical. You know you’re still my wife.
W. Oh, I don’t know I feel like a change.
(Wife goes over to the settee)
W. You’ll be late for the office dear.
H. I’ve a good mind not to go!
W. Oh, I shouldn’t stay sweetheart. The sight m ight unnerve you.
H. Pah! (He stalks to the door)
W. Aren’t you going to kiss me good-bye?
H. Goodbye! Look here – Oh –
(EXIT. The wife laughs and makes herself up with a pocket compact. ENTER P. carrying photograph album).
P. Good morning Madam.
W. Good morning.
P. My name is Speed – Herbet Speed – I am —
W. Yes, yes! I was expecting you. Sit down. My husband has just left for the office.
P. Good. I always prefer dealing with the mothers on their own. The presence of the husband
embarasses me – sort of cramps my style you know. Though mind you, you’ve got to get on with the job in hand, haven’t you?
W. Oh yes, yes, I suppose you’re right.
P. Oh, I know I am. Some husbands are that russy! Do you know I’ve had to ask them not to get in the way when I’ve been on the job.
W. Er – well – when do we start?
P. Start? Oh yes, well how about a couple of shots on the hearthrug to begin with.
P. Yes, then a couple say, in the bath – and then perhaps one on the settee here. I like a shot on the settee don’t you?
W. (Annoyed) Well – I say, you’re a very fast worker aren’t you?
P. Oh yes! Speed’s my name and speedy’s me nature. Practice you know, practice.
W. (Gives him a searching look)
P. Perhaps before we start you’d like to see the results of some of my efforts. (Opening album)
W. (Drily) es, that might be rather interesting.
P. I always like the customer, as it were, to see what they’re getting. My motto is complete satisfaction at all costs. Now here are some photographs of what I regard as some of my best work.
W. How interesting.
P. Isn’t it. Now this one – lovely child, isn’t she – I did this one on top of a bus in Oxford Street.
W. Oxford Street!
P. Ues. Had quite a bit of bother with the conductor. Had to ask him to keep some inquisitive
children down below until I had finished me shots.
W. (Showing consternation) Really!!
p. Yes – and this oe. Another good result. I did this in the shop window of Selfridges (Gasp from W.) Yes, the mother was a film actress – publicity stunt you know. Tremendous crowd outside!
Thought they were going to break the window!
W. (More concern than ever) I should think so!
P. And this one was one of the trickiest shots I ever did. Got this one hanging by heel from
W. Good Heavens!
P. Yes! Amazing what one does for one’s profession.
W. It certainly is – but I think one of the more conventional positions would suit me better.
P. Just as you wish madam, you know I’m here to oblige. You must see this one first though –
beautiful little girl this, don’t you think?
W. Isn’t she a darling?
P. Yes, I did that in Hyde Park in the middle of winter. Snow on the ground. Terrific crowds – had to have police controlling the traffic.
W. Heavens! (Gasps)
P. Yes, everything against me.
W. Yes! (Gasps)
P. But I got through.
W. You did?
P. Yes. Got in about six shots before the ice formed.
P. Yes – do you know it was so cold the squirrels came down and nibbled at my apparatus!
Wife faints – black out.