Small Island s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

1 NARRATOR: Put the word "mother" in front of the word "country," and you think of somewhere safe, where your potential will be nurtured and your faults excused.
Hortense had never known the love of a mother.
Perhaps that' so long cherished a dream of coming to England.
But would it be the rainbow's end for everything she aspired to be? Sometimes, to make a dream come true, you must swallow your pride.
Hortense told herself that love was a luxury she could not afford.
(bell rings) Good evening.
Is this perchance the household of Gilbert Joseph? You're never his wife.
I am she, yes.
The lazy lummox didn't come and meet you off the boat? He did not.
Huh! Come on in.
No, I prefer to wait here, thank you.
QUEENIE: Gilbert! Your wife is here! GILBERT: Hortense! Hortense! "I will be at the docks to meet you," he says.
Hortense, let me tell you, I go to the dock this morning, no ship was there! They say come back tomorrow.
(laughs) You want everyone in England to know our business? QUEENIE: I'm Mrs.
Bligh People call me Queenie.
Come now, I show you your new home, Hortense.
And the rest? Where are the other rooms?! There are no other rooms, Hortense.
This is it.
This is where I am living.
Just this? You bring me all the way across the world for just this? Everybody live like this.
There has been a war.
Plenty people live worse than this.
Some have no roof over them at all.
Look, see, we have all we need right here.
The gas ring, that is our kitchen.
Sink over there.
Table, chairs-- dining room.
And the, uh, bedroom.
Compact but efficient, no? And the lavatory? Downstairs.
But we have this if we need to Ugh! Me so sorry, I forget You wash your cup in the same place you throw your Well, I usually take it down to the toilet when I I cannot believe you bring me all this way to live like an animal, that you think so little of me.
Listen here, Miss High-and-Mighty- Stick-Your-Nose-Up-in-the-Air, you will wash your plate, your vegetables and your backside in that basin, too! And what you don't know yet because you just come off a boat, you are lucky! One day, not now but one day, you will know that.
There will be snow in hell before that day comes, Gilbert Joseph.
QUEENIE: Don't forget this trunk, Gilbert! MAN: And God said, "Let there be light," and God saw that the light was good and separated it from the dark.
And he called the light "day" and the darkness he called "night.
" Amen.
Don't slouch, Hortense.
In point of fact, Pa, it is the rotation of the earth which causes night and day.
PHILIP: I suppose they teach you that at that fancy boarding school I sent you to? They taught me many things.
For example, it has now been irrefutably proved that man is not descended from Adam and Eve but from monkeys.
Apes, to be exact.
PHILIP: You dare to sit and mock the Bible in my presence, Michael? MICHAEL: Is an enquiring mind not part of His MR.
PHILIP: I will not have such blasphemy at my table.
Is it blasphemy to acquire knowledge, to want to understand how the world works? MR.
PHILIP: Leave the table! Don't hurt him, please! I have a mind of my own now, Pa.
And I will not be beaten into submission.
Not anymore.
(door creaks) I'm worn now, Hortense.
I can fight my own corner.
As you must learn to do.
(bells chiming) HORTENSE: I hope you are not neglecting your duties by escorting me to work every day, Michael Roberts.
MICHAEL: It is a pleasure, not a duty.
MICHAEL: Be a good girl now.
HORTENSE: I am grown too now, Michael.
How comes everyone sees that but you, hmm? CLASS: ♫in England's green and pleasant land.
♫ Very good, children! Now take your seats, please.
Today we are looking at the reign of the Tudors.
An urgent warning just came on the wireless-- it's a hurricaine! Everyone must return home immediately! You heard Mr.
Ryder, gather your things-- quickly now! Stay here with Hortense, my love.
Secure all the shutters, bolt the doors.
That's it, chop, chop.
(thunderclap, lightning crackles) Michael always say storms is just God shifting His furniture around.
Talk to me, Hortense.
Tell me about your brother.
Oh, Michael is not my brother, Mrs.
Ryder, although we share the same house.
See, my parents, they were teachers NARRATOR: So she talked to calm Mrs.
About how her parents had tragically died when she was a young child.
She did not tell her that she had been born out of wedlock in Savannah-La-Mar.
My mother actually died holding me in her arms NARRATOR: That her father was a government official and her mother a poor country girl in his employ.
How she had pleaded that he send Hortense to his cousin, Mr.
Roberts, to be raised so that she might learn to read and write.
And she did not tell her how she was determined to honor the sacrifice her mother had made for her.
I was five years old when first I met Michael.
He has such plans.
He wants one day to live in England.
When I am older, I will join him there.
And we will share a home again, he and I.
This time it will be as (banging) Oh dear God, what was that? It's the door! Mr.
Ryder has returned! MRS.
RYDER: Don't leave me, Hortense! I am quite capable of looking after myself.
I saw your husband at the bus stop with the children.
I thought he'd left you here alone.
I did not know you were so well acquainted with Mrs.
Ryder, Michael.
We met in church.
Did I blink and miss that day? Does it matter where we met? Make yourself useful.
Go and fetch some blankets! Go on! MICHAEL: I'm here now.
I'm not going to leave you.
RYDER: If Jeffrey comes back I'll say I am here for Hortense.
Only for her.
NARRATOR: Hurricanes never come without warning, and so it is in life.
But just when you think it's worked it's damage, there's often worse to come Where is Mrs.
Ryder? We must speak with Mrs.
Ryder, child! Her husband was on his way back to school when a truck got out of control he stood no chance.
We must inform her of his death.
He is an angry God! A fearsome God! This is His punishment! PASTOR: Hortense, be calm.
Is she inside? She is there with Michael Roberts! They are alone there together! This is God's punishment for their sin! MR.
PHILIP: Did you know that my son was committing a mortal sin with that woman? HORTENSE: No, sir, I did not.
Not until today when When you took it upon yourself to tell the pastor and his wife about them.
Now the whole island knows.
We are disgraced.
My son is lost to me.
Lost? It is time he learned what the word "duty" means.
A war is coming in Europe.
The mother country needs men to fight for her.
The Royal Air Force are recruiting volunteers in Kingston.
I've spoken to the appropriate people.
He's to go overseas.
As soon as arrangements can be made, you too shall leave this house, Hortense.
You have overstayed your welcome here.
I will have my dinner now, Miss Jewel.
(men yelling) QUEENIE: Oh, will you mind my paint work, please! GILBERT: Sorry, Queenie.
Easy easy nice and easy.
Don't push too fast.
Ah! Sorry, sorry, Queenie.
(yelling) NARRATOR: How people's lives entwine together is one of life's mysteries.
But they say God works in mysterious ways.
If there is no God, someone is having a fine joke at our expense.
In Hertfordshire Herefordshire and Hampshire Hurricaines (grumbles) (sternly to herself) Ninny! (poshly) In Hertfordshire, Herefordshire and Hampshire Hurricaines Hardly ever Happen.
(sighs) Three Grey Geese in a green field grazing.
In Hertfordshire, Herefordshire and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.
I think I'm really getting the hang of it now.
Elocution lessons may change the way you speak, Queenie, it won't change who you are.
But it changes how people think of you, Auntie.
Which will open doors for me.
I can get a job, travel, see the world.
(shop bell chimes) That man is like clockwork.
For the till.
Don't judge a book by it's cover.
Afternoon, Queenie.
And a quarter of barley twists.
Bligh, I thought I heard your voice.
How are you today? Very well, Mrs.
Montgomery, thank you.
So, do you think there will be a war? Or is it just more blather and talk? Well, the way things are developing in Europe, another war is inevitable, I'm afraid.
Even Mr.
Chamberlain Fourpence ha'penny.
(coins jingling) See you later, Queenie? The way you are with him, Queenie.
So off-hand-- you'll drive him away.
I know he's decent, Auntie, and dependable.
And I'm fond of him, I am.
It's just all these months, all our walks in the park, the bus rides, the boat trips.
All I know about him is he works in a bank, lives with his father and likes barley twists.
Let him slip through your fingers and you'll regret it, Queenie.
Seize the day.
Carpe diem-- carpe diem.
How is it you never talk about Yorkshire, Queenie? Your life there, your family, the farm? (sighs) It was a pig farm.
Everywhere you went, everywhere you looked, filth and blood.
My mother used to make me watch my father slaughtering the pigs.
For my own good, she said.
I needed toughening up.
Well, it worked.
When I left school I knew I had to get away.
There was so much I wanted to do and experience! I wrote to Aunt Dorothy, begged her to help me.
She sent me the fare to come to London.
She saved me.
And here you are.
Since meeting you, Queenie, you've brought out feelings in me I never knew I had.
It's a gift you have.
I-I know I'm not as gay or worldly as other men or but no one will care for you as I do Bernard, please don't think that I No, please, let me finish, let me finish.
All I pray is that one day, should you ever I'll wait for you, Queenie.
However long it takes, I'll wait.
It belongs to you now, Queenie.
No one else.
Good night then, Bernard.
God bless you, Queenie.
Bernard! The door is jammed.
Something''s blocking it.
Stay there, Queenie.
No no, please Not this anything but this.
Thank you, Queenie.
All right, Queenie? Have you met Bernard? My mother You'll be needing to pack, Queenie.
Then we'll get off home.
There's a train this afternoon.
Your dad will pick us up at the station.
The landlord wants you out of here.
You've no roof over your head, no means of supporting yourself.
Time to face the world as it is, Queenie, not as you wish it to be.
She will have a roof over her head, Mrs.
She'll be with me.
We're getting married.
Isn't that right, Queenie? Directly we get a license.
So you don't need to worry anymore.
I'll be looking after her from now on.
WOMAN: Lily? Lily? Is that truly what you want, Queenie? Oh, er Carpe diem, Auntie.
Carpe diem.
This was your mummy's quilt.
I been savin' it for when you get married.
I is not goin' to see that day now.
Go to Kingston, study hard at that college.
Them make you a fine teacher.
Miss Jewel, when Michael comes back He's not coming back, child, not ever.
Put him from your mind now.
(truck engine starts up) (horns honking, people yelling) Michael? Michael? Michael! Michael! Can I help you? Sorry.
ELWOOD: Man, you're landing on your feet, Gilbert.
Go after her! (humming) Hmm, talk of using the Underground for bomb shelters.
I thought I'd make our own under the stairs.
You'll help me, won't you, dad? Or we can give it a go when you've cleared it.
We can spend a night in it, have a midnight feast.
It'll be fun.
Hardly fun, dear.
Why is it you don't use the rooms at top of house, Bernard? Well, we used to, when we took in lodgers.
But since Mother's death, his shell shock got a lot worse and his behavior was so unpredictable, especially around strangers-- better to be private.
We could open them up, make it into a proper family home.
No point in change for change's sake, is there? RADIO ANNOUNCER: We interrupt this program for a special broadcast My God, this is it this is it, Queenie.
It's really happening.
NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN: This morning the British ambassador in Berlin handed the German government the final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11:00 that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.
I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.
You can imagine Things will have to change now, won't they? Whether we like it or not.
(sirens wailing) (bombs falling in the distance) (bombs begin to fall closer) Oh God, it's the roof! We've lost the roof! I'll go see! No, Queenie! Queenie, no! Come back, Queenie, it's not safe! I can see it, Bernard, the roof is still there! It's still there! BERNARD: They've not given us the all clear yet.
You must come back! I can't breathe in there! In Hertfordshire, Herefordshire and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.
(sobbing) ELWOOD: To fight for your own country, yeah.
To see black skin in the Governor's house doing more than sweep the floor, yeah, that is worth a fight.
We should be fighting the British instead of going licky-licky to them! You know what Hitler calls us coloreds, Elwood? Anthropoids.
I look it up in the library: resembling a human, but primitive, like a ape.
We don't fight this war, I tell you, we all end up slaves again and that is worth fighting for.
And what I got going for me here anyway? All I ever wanted was to go to college and study law.
I can't even afford the books I need! This way, I fight for my country and I learn a skill.
When the war is over, I can fund myself for my studies.
How else I get such an opportunity? Gilbert, we have opportunities here, with our own cab, and you even have night school for your studies.
How many times I been to night school this year, Elwood? Never! Not one time did I get to night school, because every night I have me face stuck in that damn taxi engine trying to fix it! The only law I know is that of the combustion engine.
Fine, do what the hell you want.
Remember this, Gilbert: the English are liars.
Every last one of them is a damn liar! Good morning to you, sir, you're joining the Royal Air Force.
HORTENSE: The game's afoot.
Follow your spirit and upon this charge cry, "God for Harry, England and Saint George!" (quiet applause) MISS MORGAN: Excellent, Hortense.
A most entertaining diversion, and an apt choice at such a time.
Thank you, Miss Morgan.
Finished, Miss Morgan.
MISS MORGAN: Then start more, dear.
England is a very cold country.
We must ensure that our boys are kept warm.
I came here to learn to teach, not knit wretched socks.
Celia! It could be a brother or a lover out there facing death.
I shall knit a pair a day.
All of them ruby red like the red chest of our hummingbird.
(laughing) WOMAN: Celia! Celia! I cannot find him, Celia.
Celia! I look everywhere but he' Celia! She gets a little bit confused.
Your father's gone! CELIA: Mother, I told you never to come here.
Let's go now, all right? CELIA'S MOTHER: Didn't I always tell you he would? Didn't I always say that good-for-nothing man would do this to us one day? He's with that strumpet from Spanish Town.
All is lost to us, Celia.
God has turned his back on us.
(crowd cheering) (marching band playing) Think of all they will see in England, Celia.
Trafalgar Square! Buckingham Palace! One day I will see them, too.
I will be a teacher in a fine English school.
And I will live in a fine house with electric lights and a bell at the front door, and I will ring that bell.
Ding! Ding! It's a dream Michael and I shared since we were children.
When the war is over, he will realize his mistake and come back for me.
From what you tell, he is not one to learn from his mistake, Hortense.
He will be back, you will see.
This island is too small if you have big dreams, Celia.
And without dreams, we are nothing.
♫♫ MR.
TODD: They're moving people out all over the place.
You get bombed out in Rotherhithe, you should be relocated in Rotherhithe, not somewhere else.
Some idiot of a pen pusher at the Ministry ordered them to be rehoused at Number 29.
This is the start of it, mark my words.
Be your house next, then mine.
Those bombed-out families from Rotherhithe.
Todd's gonna get a petition together for the Ministry of Housing, get them sent somewhere else.
They need a roof over their heads like anyone else, don't they? You seen the state of them? Crawling in lice and God knows what.
Enough with the Polacks and Jews invading us without damned Cockneys taking us over, too.
The Residents Committee will be in touch.
Much obliged.
We should be offering to help those people, Bernard, not make things worse for them.
All that space we've got begging upstairs, it's not right.
They're not our responsibility, Queenie.
It's up to the authorities to deal with them.
Tell me, Bernard, have you ever thought what we'll tell our children if they ask us what we did for the war effort? I, for one, will be stuck for a bloody answer.
NARRATOR: War means different things to different people.
To some it threatens to destroy everything they hold dear.
For others it can mean new freedom and new experiences.
For Queenie, too, needed a lifeline into the future.
It meant relinquishing old dreams for a new one.
QUEENIE: I'm worried there's a problem.
Hardly the best time to start a family.
Time isn't something I'm short of.
I doubt that a young, healthy woman like yourself has a physical problem, Mrs.
We've been married over a year.
You have regular conjugal relations with your husband, I take it? And how is it? Do you enjoy it? Is it pleasurable? If a wife does not partake fully and enjoy relations with her husband, Mrs.
Bligh, she greatly reduces her chances of procreating.
That a medical fact, is it? A fact of life.
You're not pregnant, are you? (door closes) (sighs) I need to prove I'm up to it.
Not to me, Bernard.
No, but to our children I do.
That's a grand job you've done now.
I'll be the envy of the squadron.
Look at the shine on those, Queenie.
NARRATOR: There are times in life when a moment can be missed and an opportunity forever lost.
Such a moment can be fleeting but its legacy can last a lifetime.
White always, socks they knit for us.
Them and gloves.
Chow man, what is this? I swear (name) you learn nothin' since you been in England! This here is your boiled mush! Here you have the White Mush, here the brown and this is the greatest delicacy of all! This is green mush.
How the English run an empire with them belly full a this shit? Listen, it take years, centuries even, to develop their advanced system of cooking everything in boiling water thereby ridding it entirely of taste and goodness! That is some achievement, man! Face it, that don't come easy, even for a white man.
MAN: Which one of you is Joseph? That would be me, sir.
Sorry, sir Sergeant.
You lot, back to work.
SERGEANT: It says here you can drive.
Is that true? Yes, sir.
Your orders have come through.
You're to report to ground transport.
They need a driver.
There must be some mistake, Sergeant.
See, I volunteered for air crew duty.
To go overseas as a wireless operator or navigator.
I was told the R.
had need of such men and that they would train us Guess what-- you are overseas.
No, no, I mean overseas to the front, Sergeant.
To the front line.
This is the bloody home front.
And you'll do as you're bloody ordered.
Now get yourself cleaned up and report to ground transport.
Yes, sir.
(sighs) (can clanking) Oh, there it is.
The Billeting Officer sent us.
Said you had lodgings for servicemen.
Oh, of course, come in.
It's Walter actually, but everyone calls me Ginger.
And you? Kip.
Short for Kipling.
Mother was an ardent admirer.
Could have been worse.
She was also keen on Trollope.
(doorbell rings) That'll be our mate, I suppose.
Ever punctual as usual.
Bligh, I presume? Sergeant Michael Roberts? You have Kip and Ginger with you, I believe.
Sorry-- yes, I Thank you.
Oh, yeah, yeah, go on up.
They're waiting for you.
(radio playing) (humming the tune) Good evening, Mrs.
(radio clicks off) I hope I'm not disturbing you? I thought you were all out for the evening.
The other two met up with some lady acquaintances.
I decided to have an early night.
We must be at Paddington Station by 7:00 in the morning.
A token of my appreciation for your hospitality.
Oh, that's really not necessary.
Please, I insist.
Good evening, sir.
Shell shock-- the last war.
He is your father? Husband's father.
like you.
Can I perchance interest you in a game of poker, sir? I am a seven-card stud man myself.
Unless you prefer otherwise? (sniffing) Oh.
(softly): What are you doing, Queenie? I doubt he's up to playing for money.
Your father-in-law is up to rather more than that, Mrs.
He's cheating.
I don't yet know how, but Even if he was capable of it, it's not in his nature to do such a thing.
Human nature is full of surprises, Mrs.
QUEENIE: In all the years I've known him, I've never seen him do such a thing.
Well, now I I should be getting to bed, too.
You've not had your tea yet? Please Now you can ask me all the questions you've been thinking about since I arrived.
What? You're not curious about this colored man in your house? Have you not heard the expression, "Curiosity killed the cat"? I prefer the one about it having nine lives.
(laughs) I come from an island in the Caribbean called Jamaica.
Have you heard of it? Well, you must miss it.
And your family.
Unfortunately, you can't choose your family.
Our disappointment in each other is mutual.
But you must miss being with your own kind.
My own kind? Oh, no, no, no.
I mean being so far from home and And you, do you miss your husband? Yeah, of course.
So tell me, am I the first black man you ever see? No.
I saw one first on a school trip to the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley.
They'd made a jungle, with an African village in it.
It was so real, it was like something out of National Geographic.
Like real life.
And this, you know, this big black man came out of one of the huts.
He looked like he was carved out of melting chocolate.
I was terrified.
Then he smiled.
Then he took my hand and he kissed it.
They said afterwards he was a tribal prince.
But a prince nonetheless.
I had such grand plans as a child.
All the things I was going to do, all the places I'd travel and see.
I used to think anything was possible.
You can still travel in here.
We have a bird in Jamaica.
Hummingbird-- it's our national bird.
It's very small, barely this size.
But oh, so beautiful.
When it flies, its wings flicker so fast the eye cannot see them.
Motion so quick you can't detect it.
Then hovers, steady as a man with a gun, sticks its yellow beak into the mouth of the flowers and drinks up all the nectar.
And this one time in London, during the Blitz, everywhere death and devastation.
You could barely breathe from the dust.
You know what I see through it? Amidst all the rubble and despair a hummingbird.
I thought my eyes was playing tricks on me, but yet there it was.
I dare not move, just in case I broke the spell.
You want me to stay, Queenie? It's for you to say.
It must be your choice.
NARRATOR: There are two kinds of love.
One is solid and enduring, like the ground beneath your feet.
The other is like a hurricane, fierce and powerful.
It may come only once in your life but it leaves a footprint on your heart.
(birds chirping outside) Uh, cup of tea? I'm uh.
His train doesn't leave till 7:00.
(bomb whistling) Arthur! Arthur! Arthur Arthur, it's all right! I'm here! I won't leave you! It's all right.
(siren wailing) I'll take us away.
(whimpering) I'll take us somewhere safe.
(women giggling) Something I can do for you, sir? Is it you are lost? Let us come to an arrangement, you and I.
You take this rock.
I will find somewhere else to sit, how is that? I have to tell you, sir, you are beginning to try my patience.
Calm yourself, sir.
It's just a plane.
a plane from the base, that's all it is.
Sir, look, see, it's a plane.
Tell tell me where you live.
I will take you home.
You know which way it is? "My name is Arthur Bligh.
If found, please return me to 21 Nevern Street, London.
" Man, you a long way from home.
I know that feeling.
(pigs oinking) Get out the way, come on.
(pail clanks on ground) Oh, you'll be the death of me yet, Arthur.
What have you been up to? Where was he? On the beach.
He took a shine to me, ma'am.
It's not him, Arthur.
It's someone else.
It's not Michael.
He's remembered, he gets confused.
Go inside.
I'll make you something to eat.
Who he think I am? Oh, just someone we knew like you.
Another R.
man? No, no, no-- another colored chappie.
I can assure you, ma' there is no other colored chappie like me.
(laughs) Airman Gilbert Joseph at your service, ma'am.
Queenie Bligh.
Can I offer you a cup of tea in return for Mr.
Walkabout? I must get back to the base.
Maybe another time.
(plane engine buzzing overhead) MISS MORGAN: I commend you on your efforts, my dear.
You've transformed it.
I do what I can.
I hope for better when I get to England.
A letter came for you, Hortense.
It was addressed to the principal, but it is intended for you.
From your guardian, Mr.
It is news of Michael! Thank you, Miss Morgan.
Would it be possible to keep the letter? Do you not want to talk about it, Hortense? Any news of Michael Roberts is welcome to me.
I've waited so very long for it, you see.
I don't think you've grasped the significance of this letter, dear.
This young man has been officially reported as missing.
Oh, he will turn up.
That is Michael for you.
The proverbial bad penny.
He's always off making mischief.
We have plans to go to England, you see.
When the war is over, he'll be back to fetch me and then Sit, child.
Hortense NARRATOR: Hortense heard the words spoken, but she would not accept that Michael was lost to her.
To do so would be to accept all her hopes for their future together in England were lost with him.
The pain of lost dreams is too much for any human soul to bear.
(wailing) (crying) AMERICAN G.
: A nigger who can write.
Now I've seen everything.
QUEENIE: Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Don't say you lost him again? I should really keep looking for him.
GILBERT: We can watch out for him here, see? Tea and scones, please.
WAITRESS: Scones are off.
Teacakes are off, crumpets are off and muffins are off.
Off? Are they bad? No, no, she means off the menu.
May I ask what is on? Rock cakes.
Two rock cakes, please.
There's just the one left now.
Just the one then, for the lady.
(giggling) You English, why you say all this "don't mind if I do" or "it off"? Is it to confuse we Jamaicans? (laughs) QUEENIE: So, what is it you do at the base, Gilbert? I am a driver.
I was hoping for something more, but, uh, needs must in a war.
My my friend was from Jamaica, too.
The one Arthur mistook you for? I only met him the one time, but, um when he talked about Jamaica, he made it sound so exotic.
What I want to know is why would any of you want to leave such a place to come all this way and fight for us? Well It's like if you have a relative who live far away, whom you have never met.
And this relation is so dear, she is known as Mother.
On her birthday you sing and party in her honor.
At home and school, everybody talk about her.
"She is so beautiful, so refined, so cultured.
"Like the Lord, she take care of you from afar.
"And she'll love you all as her own children.
And you must work hard to be worthy of her love.
" Then one day, you hear your mother is in trouble.
She calling to you, she need you.
So you leave your home and you travel the seas with waves as big as mountains.
You are cold and hungry, and you feel for the first time in your mouth the taste of fear.
But you know you' doing your duty.
That is why we come.
We can share.
(laughs) (knife thumping hollowly) Rock by name and by nature.
Ah, there he is! Sorry, do you mind if I just No-- go, do.
(coins clink on table) Arthur (Queenie sighs with exasperation) QUEENIE: What am I to do with you, eh? You must stay close to me.
You remember Gilbert? He brought you home that day.
Shall we? Why not? G.
: You-- You're in the wrong line.
Go wait your turn with them.
Come again? They can stay.
You, go wait over there.
GILBERT: I am not American.
I'm with the British R.
All coloreds sit together at the back.
This is not America! There is no segregation in this country.
I will go where I please and I will sit where I please.
WOMAN: Don't make the troubles, son.
Once you're inside, in the dark, they won't know where you're sitting, will they? G.
: Get going, nigger! I won't tell you again.
Hey, who you calling nigger, asshole? Just leave him alone.
Why don't you keep your legs crossed, you nigger-loving whore! That's enough! You apologize to the lady! Huh? Apologize right now.
Gilbert! Get off him! Get off him! Gilbert Get Arthur! GILBERT: Get Arthur! QUEENIE: Arthur Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! (gunshots) Oh, God, no.
Please, God, no! M.
: Stand back, give the lady room.
He caught a ricochet.
Get back! (sobbing) Arthur! Arthur! Get away from her, nigger! Get back! NARRATOR: It's said military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but make them long for it.
Everyone longs for peace, yet no one prepares for it.
When you return from war, you see the life you left behind through new eyes.
(both laughing) Man, it's good to have you home.
Yeah, man.
So damn good.
(sighs) Like I never been gone.
So did the war office have anything to say about Bernard? They've got no idea where he is either.
They confirmed his outfit got back in the country six months ago, that he was with them, that he wasn't dead, just You know, the chap gave me this pitiful look as if to say, "He's left you love, face it.
" He doesn't know Bernard like I do.
LILY: Maybe you know him less well than you think.
If he's back in the country and not come home, he's made his choice, hasn't he.
He's chosen a fresh start.
Your father has his heart set on a new piggery, did I tell you? Extra space for the grower pigs.
With more than half the time to the slaughter weights.
Country's crying out for food, for fresh meat.
There's never been a better time to expand.
Bernard's savings aren't going to last much longer, are they? Then What? Before he went He put the house in your name, in case anything happened to him, didn't he? House this size should fetch a pretty penny.
You could invest some money in the farm.
Come home, help us run it.
And if Bernard comes back? Isn't it enough he's lost his father, without his home, too? It's your own flesh and blood you should think on now, Queenie.
Not some man who's left you in the bloody lurch! You always did think you were too good for us, didn't you? This is my home now.
NARRATOR: For Gilbert, home was no longer a place of sweet sanctuary.
For now that he had seen something of the world, he could see how small his island was.
(engine cranking) (Gilbert groans) Every day he could feel his hopes for the future shrink within its borders and with it, his potential.
But then hope is often the last thing to die in a man.
CELIA: He has such stories of England, Hortense! He was there in the thick of it, in ground transport in the Royal Air Force like your Michael.
Michael was a navigator, not stuck on the ground.
He flew many missions into Europe, even over Germany itself.
It was coming back from Germany that his There he is! Come.
Hortense Roberts, Gilbert Joseph.
Miss Hortense.
Did we meet someplace before? CELIA: Sooner or later everyone meets everyone here.
Well, now we are all acquainted, shall we go and have our picnic, Gilbert? I should be proud to escort you fine ladies to it.
Hortense has duties to attend to back at our school.
School? School must be done.
Come, Hortense.
Think how every man will envy me.
Them will say, here is one fortunate man to have two such beauties on his arm.
Would you rob me of such a pleasure? I never forget a face, you know.
We have not met before, Mr.
Joseph, I can assure you.
HORTENSE: Since your return to Jamaica, Mr.
Joseph, may I inquire how it is you' managed to earn a living? I have a share in my cousin taxi.
And we can get a run in and anyone have money to hire us.
(giggles softly) (sighs) I wonder now why I come back here at all.
This country poorer now than before the war.
Celia? I have decided my best chance is to return to England.
Look what I see in the paper-- The SS Empire Windrush, leaving for London on the 28th of May.
That is just a month away! But the cost of the passage is only £28 and ten shilling.
Of course that is £28 and ten shilling I don't have yet, but I have four weeks before that date to find it.
And somehow I will get it.
I have to get it.
Did you know they have just passed an Act of Parliament there? The Nationalities Act, they call it.
We Jamaicans are now not just citizens of the Empire, but citizens of the United Kingdom.
We're equal to all those born and bred there.
We're British now, just like them! HORTENSE: Is it true what they say, that every room in an English house have it own electric light? Chah! More than one.
Two, three sometimes.
CELIA: Oh, I would like to see that! I could come with you to England, Gilbert.
We could go together on this ship.
You have enough money for that, Celia? I will ask my father to pay for it.
He owes me that at least.
We let Hortense write to us of hurricanes and rice shortages while we take tea in the fine hotels and visit the King in Buckingham Palace-- please! All right.
(squealing): Yes! I'm coming too! Yes, yes! Oh, my Lord, I'm going to England! (laughing with delight) To England! What about your mother, Celia? You tell me your mother dead, Celia.
HORTENSE: Oh, Celia's mother is very much alive, Mr.
But she's how to put it, Celia?-- not quite right in her mind.
A pitiful sight, truly.
And she is quite alone, her husband having deserted her.
Is this true? I will find somewhere for her.
CELIA: We don't have to take her with us.
I will leave her here.
You would abandon your own mother? No, no, I will find somewhere for her-- somewhere where they look after people like her.
To be cared for by strangers? GILBERT: I think I do not know you as well as I thought, Celia.
Please, Gilbert.
Sometimes she doesn't even know where she is or who I am.
GILBERT: I promised Elwood I would do a shift in the taxi today.
See you later, Celia.
Miss Hortense.
You had to tell him, didn't you? You cannot blame me for your lie, Celia.
Joseph? Miss Hortense.
If you have a moment, I would speak with you, Mr.
I hope you didn't give as good as you got.
To what do I owe the honor, Miss Hortense? If you still want to sail on that ship, I will let you have the money for your passage, Mr.
See, every week I place half my wage into the building society.
Over the years it mounts up.
I have near £30 saved now.
That is a lot of money to give to a man you It is a loan, not a gift.
Here is my proposal.
I will lend you the money.
Before you depart, we will be married.
You will send for me to come to England when you find a place to live.
It is not fitting for a single woman to travel on her own.
But a married woman can go anywhere she pleases.
And I have for a long time harbored a dream to go to England.
Here is my lodgings.
Let me know what you decide.
Good day, Mr.
ELWOOD: Man, if that don't beat everything! She after a ride out of here, and she thinks you' She trying to buy you, man.
She trying to buy you.
♫♫ One small bag for starting a new life does not seem very adequate, Mr.
Well, I have you, Mrs.
You are more than adequate for my needs.
It's a big trust I give you.
Promise me that when you get to England you will not forget me and leave me here.
You are my wife now.
I have a duty to you.
I would like somewhere with a garden.
A small garden will suffice.
And do not pick out furniture for my house.
It can wait until I arrive.
I prefer to choose myself what I Don't be alarmed, Hortense.
It is just me manhood.
Keep that thing away! Keep it away.
But I am your husband now.
Do not come near me with that thing! Shh! You want everybody to hear? Wait, wait, nah! I never hurt you, Hortense.
I never lay a hand on you! Look, it gone.
It gone.
I will sleep here on the floor, right? I won't touch you.
I give you my word.
Look, I give you my R.
salute, see? (sighs) Tomorrow I will be out of your hair.
I'll go to the mother country to make ready our new home.
But oh, boy, Miss Uppity High Class, I just hope England is ready for you.
(sighs) NARRATOR: There are some thoughts which, once spoken aloud, will split your world in two.
There's a life before you breathe them and the altered life after they have been said.
So Hortense did not tell the man she had married that he was a poor substitute for the one she once so dearly loved.
(snoring) And on her first night in London, keeping that thought unspoken, her dream of living in England would stay intact while beneath her, another soul had felt the force of a hurricane.
Not once, but twice.
She knew the havoc that man had wreaked in her life had barely begun.