The Agatha Christie Hour (1982) s01e05 Episode Script

The Case Of The Discontented Soldier

(man) Yes.
Thank you.
Good morning.
Come on, Wally.
- Morning, Major.
- Morning.
Nothingfor you, as per usual.
Perhaps next week, eh? Quite.
- Morning, Major.
- Oh, blazes! - Could I have a word with you? - Sorry, Vicar, bit of a hurry.
Enemy diverted.
Look out, heavy artillery.
(horn) come on.
Made it back to HQ.
That's a bit rum.
Listen to this, Wally.
Personal column, understood? "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr Parker Pyne, 1 7 Richmond Street.
" What do you make of that, old chap? Quite right.
- Yes, good morning, Major Wilbraham.
- Morning.
- May I take your coat? - Absolutely.
I telephonedfor an appointment.
Of course, Major Wilbraham.
Mr Parker Pyne is expecting you.
Thank you.
- Major Wilbraham, sir.
- Ah.
- Good morning, Major.
- Morning.
- Good morning.
Come in, please.
- Thank you.
- Coffee, Major? - Thank you.
- BIack or white? - Er, black.
Pent Cottage, Bricking Lane, Cobham.
That sounds charming.
Yes, charming spot.
And does the vine round the thatched eaves run? Er, sort of thing.
Wisteria, actually.
Thank you.
- Sugar? - Er, thank you.
- And is there a good Iady? - Bachelor.
Thank you, Miss Lemon.
PIease sit down.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd say that you were a man recently returned from abroad.
- Yes, that's right.
- India or africa? - East Africa, Kenya.
- A fine country, I believe.
And now here you are and you're not happy being back home again, is that it? Very shrewd of you.
You're absolutely right.
- Though how you know that - It's my business to know.
For 35 years of my Iife, I've been engaged in the compiling of statistics in a government office.
35 years, Major Wilbraham.
Now I'm retired and it has occurred to me to use the experience I've gained in this novelfashion.
You see, unhappiness can be classified under five main headings, no more.
- You make it sound so simple.
- Well, Iife is simple, if people will only allow it to be.
(chuckles) Now, may I ask why you came back? You're obviously not a man who's retired, you're still in your prime.
I hope you don't think me impertinent? No, not at all, it's afair question, quitefair.
No, I don't mind telling you, not at all.
Yes, that's it exactly.
And we need you here straight away if you wouldn't mind.
Thank you.
Thank you.
(Wilbraham)The Army's given me a goodlife.
ive seen a bit ofaction, travelled, of course, companionship, freedom, and Kenya.
That was the best posting of all.
Regiment was therefor six years.
They actually have a pack of hounds in the White Islands.
It's only drag hunting, but it makes a damp February in the shires seem pretty silly.
Anyway, when the regiment was due to come back, I gave very serious thought to staying on.
- But it's it's difficult, really.
- Yes, the Iife of an exile.
That's it! Absolutely.
And there are some splendid women out there.
- But - No one youfound you could Absolutely.
No, I justfelt that England was my home and I should return to it, settle down, make a go of it here.
So I came back and resigned my commission.
Why did you do that? There's no real soldiering any more when youface it.
Ifelt I should make a break, start afresh.
And now.
- Now you're restless? - That's putting it mildly.
Well, I doubt it's much consolation, but your situation isfar from unique.
- Would you? - No, no.
You see, retired empire builder, whoever he is, exchanges an active Iife full of responsibility, a Iife of possible danger,for what? Strained beans, dismal climate, andfeeling Iike a fish out of water? That's it, absolutely! My neighbours are pleasantfolk, but they've got veryfew ideas beyond the parish pump.
I've got money, but I can't afford to hunt or shoot.
The Iong and the short is you're bored and you find Iife tame? - Damned tame.
- Well, having diagnosed the malady, the remedy shouldn't be impossible.
I hope you're right.
You see, I stand in the place of a doctor.
There are cases where no treatment can be of any avail, if this is so, I say frankly that I can do nothing.
But if I undertake a case the cure is practically guaranteed.
And so? In your case, I will willingly undertake it.
Jolly good.
And the cure? What you require is excitement, possibly danger.
That's it exactly, but I'm not going to find it in dear old England, am I? I beg to differ, Major.
You're quite wrong.
No, sofar you've only seen the smiling surface of English Iife, where turnips are applauded at villagefêtes and wisteria grows round the cottage doors.
(Laughs) But you must realise that there is another, darker side, where danger is commonplace.
If you wish, I can show you that side.
You know something, Mr Parker Pyne, I believe you can.
When I first came in and first saw you, you know, I thought to myself, "There's a chap I can trust.
" I should warn you, however, that there is an element of danger.
- It would be rum if there weren't.
- Exactly so.
- And yourfee? - 50 guineas, payable in advance.
- Ah.
That's rather - But I make it returnable.
If in six weeks' time you're still in the same state of unhappiness, I will refund you your money.
No cure, nofee.
Fair enough, I agree.
I'II give you a cheque now.
Thank you, Major.
Now, you will receive certain instructions from me in a day or so.
Be sure to carry them out to the Ietter.
- Sir.
- Thank you, Major.
- Oh, has Madeleine arrived? - She has, sir.
- Madeleine, my dear.
- Mr Parker Pyne.
- Come in.
- Thank you.
Madeleine, may I introduced Major Wilbraham? Miss Madeleine de Sara.
- Delighted.
- How do you do? - The Major is taking you out to Iunch.
- How wonderful! - Might I recommend Maroney's? - Er, certainly.
- Miss Lemon.
- Your taxi will be here at any moment.
- Splendid.
-(horn) - Ah! Your carriage awaits.
- Splendid.
Shall we, er? Thank you.
- Miss? - Miss de Sara.
-(Miss Lemon) Do enjoy your Iunch.
-(both) Thank you.
- Hmm.
A diffident man.
- But not without charm.
- I think I know what's required.
- Oh, I'm sure you do.
- He's obviously Schedule C.
- Yes.
And I'II wager you a new typewriter ribbon to a glass of sherry that you'II need a Type Four.
- Type Four? - Hmm.
(chuckles) I'II accept that wager and await Madeleine's judgement.
(Laughs) Type Four! - Oh, did you ring Maroney's? - Of course.
(chatter) (chatter) Bonjour, monsieur àvotre service.
Ah, yes, very well.
For two.
I'm afraid we haven't booked.
That willdérange us not at all, monsieur, j'en suis sûr I have just the tablefor you.
Suivez-moi, s'ilvous plaît.
Arstide,lesfleurs,toutde suite! If monsieur and mademoiselle would care tofollow? Absolutely.
- Mademoiselle.
- Thank you.
Merci, madame.
Merci, monsieur Ah, bien, Arstide.
Complimentsdela maison.
Ah, it's a very, erm The sort of place, erm - You don't Iike it? - It's not really a question of Oh, I Iike it occasionally.
It's somewhatfaded, don't you think, but still quite stylish.
Oh, it's stylish definitely, thoughfaded.
But not an everyday place, I quite agree with you.
- One would become tired of it.
- Yes, I think that one, er Butfor a special occasion, it's splendid.
- Mmm! These arefor us, you know? - Yes, I gathered.
- May I? - Of course, absolutely.
- I suppose that waiter chap is French? - Hmm.
I've heard that most of these chaps are from the East End and have an earfor the Iingo.
I Iike the French, as a matter offact, just wish they'd get out of the Ruhr.
- There.
Oh, you do Iook splendid.
- Good.
How can you get war reparations from a country that's broke? You can't mess aroundforever with the Germans, can you? Quite.
Shall we, erm? Ah, English Iamb cutlets, good.
How about you? I'II have the shrimps and the medallion.
Sounds Iike something from the Rhine followed by something from Burgundy.
(Laughs) That sounds Iike what you were just talking about.
What? Oh, yes.
Very good, yes.
Tell me, was it awful out in Africa? Er, not really, no.
It's pretty good on the whole.
Did you go on safari, that sort of thing? - Yes, I suppose I did, really.
- Must have been pretty dangerous? - Sort of, from time to time.
- Did you see any tigers? Tigers are India.
No tigers in Africa.
Look here, is this Parker Pyne's way of finding out about people? (Laughs) No, it ismy way of finding out about people.
I see.
Well, Iet's choose some vegetables, shall we? Where's that waiter? He's about as French as Wapping, I'd say.
- Wait -(clatters) Excuse me.
-Merci, monsieur - It's easily done.
Now then,legumes, Ah.
- Well? - Well? I never knew such enchantingly simple men still existed.
- So? - What type are we going to need? Don't be so excruciatingly efficient, Miss L.
You know perfectly well I cannot keep the grading codes in my head.
We shall need the Army Gazette, Miss Lemon.
Very good, Mr Parker Pyne.
I make it Type Four.
- You are a bit of a witch, Miss Lemon.
- I should jolly well hope so.
Do tell me we agree about something at Iast.
- You owe me a new typewriter ribbon.
- It's yours.
I have afeeling that this is a case for Mrs OIiver.
- Huh? - How extraordinary.
- What is it, Miss Lemon? - I was about to say the same thing.
- We are having a good day.
- Both of you? Oh, dear.
I could have argued successfully with either of your individual opinions, but this begins to Iook Iike nemesis.
- Mrs OIiver usually does.
- Ah, well.
- What's this? - Females.
Type Four.
(chuckles) Thank you.
- Hello, Miss CIegg.
Hello, miss.
Hello, Charlie.
Hello, Neville.
- Thatfella's here again.
- Whatfellow? - Fella that come when you was out.
- This morning.
- Who is he? - The Prince of Wales.
- Charlie, what does he Iook Iike? - Not half as pretty as you.
- Oh.
- Nah, much prettier.
Yeah, smooth as an Austin gearbox.
Delicious! A heartthrob, a matinée monsieur.
Stop it, the pair of you.
What does he want, do you know? No.
Don't 'alf talk odd.
Most peculiar.
- Australian.
- Australian? - Yep.
- Anything else? - Nope.
- Well, I'd better go and see him.
- Tell us when the wedding is.
- Be quiet, Charlie.
I'II see you Iater.
Oh, Iet mefold you in my arms! My dearest, I hungerfor your touch! Ah, Miss CIegg, there you are.
- Hello, Mrs B.
- There's a gentleman to see you.
A Mr Reid.
A Iawyer, he says.
He might be a Iawyer, but he's got a funny voice.
- Australian perhaps? - It's peculiar whatever it is.
Anyway, I put him in my parlour.
You can see him in there if you Iike.
You'II be alright in there.
Oh, I don't mind seeing him in my sitting room.
- Are you sure, Miss CIegg? - I dare say I'II survive.
I got a good Iook at him, so he needn't think he can get away with anything.
I'm sure he won't.
Just give me a moment and then send him up.
AIright? - I'II notforgive myself if - I'II be alright.
I didn't even know they had Iawyers in Australia.
(knock atdoor) - Come in.
- Ah, Miss CIegg? - Mr Reid, I believe? - That's right.
- It's very good of you to see me.
- I'm sorry you had to wait.
- That's alright.
- Do go in.
I'm one of the world's workers, I'm afraid.
- Vacuum Gas Company.
- I see.
- PIease, sit down.
- Thanks.
Very charming room you have.
- Oh, thank you.
- My goodness! That Iooks old.
- Yes, that's myfather's old sea chest.
- Really? Mrs Benson tells me you're a Iawyer? That's correct.
I'm a solicitor.
I have a very Iarge practice in Melbourne.
- Melbourne? - Yeah.
Actually, I knew yourfather years ago when I was only articled to the firm.
- Really? - Yes.
He was, as you know, master of one of the Liverpool & Oriental fleet at that time and he put some of the company's business into our hands.
I see.
Now, Miss CIegg, the reason why I'm here is a year or two before yourfather died, he entered into some business transactions, which had beenforgotten until a reference to them came to Iight this year when we were overhauling our filing system.
- Really? I didn't know - Oh, you wouldn't have heard of it.
From what we've Iearned, it seems that Captain CIegg hardly took it seriously.
But I have reason to believe that you might benefit as a result of it.
- Good heavens! How exciting.
- Yes.
(Laughs) - Would you Iike a cup of tea? - Oh, no, thank you.
The excellent Mrs Benson plied me with five cups of tea and several biscuits.
Well, now, where was I? Oh, yes, now, the amount accruing could be considerable.
But I can't go into details just in case the money doesn't infact pass to you.
Oh, quite.
Why might it not? Er, any claim you might make will depend upon your ownership of certain papers.
Now, these papers would be part of yourfather's estate and they could have been destroyed as worthless.
You haven't kept any of yourfather's papers, have you? Well, yes.
My mother put all his papers and mementoes in his old sea chest.
When she died, I Iooked through it, but I don't think I saw anything.
I mean You wouldn't perhaps recognise the significance of the papers in question? - Or any of them, as a matter offact.
- I see.
I didn't get rid of a single one of them.
You? Well, that's excellent.
- Would you Iike to see them? - Er, please.
(clearsthroat) Yes, they're they're all in there.
Well, well, well.
Er, this is very promising, Miss CIegg.
Would you mind if I took them away with me and studied them in my own time? - PIease, take them, they're all yours.
- Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Well, now, I'II be in contact with you, Iet's see, tomorrow? - As soon as I've been through them.
- Right.
- Right, well, goodbye, Miss CIegg.
- Goodbye, Mr Reid.
And, er, I'II see you tomorrow.
Nice Iittle job you're doing there, Major.
- Good of you to say so.
- Hmm.
- Know her, do you, Major? - Hardly at all.
Oh, I reckon she's got her eye on you, Mrs Trember.
Buried two husbands already, you know.
- Really? - Yeah, very hard woman to resist.
- Only onefor you this afternoon.
- Thank you.
- A Iovely bit of wisteria, that.
- Yes.
Never flowers.
Well, I've gotta get up to the OId Rectory, so I'd best be getting along.
(ParkerPyne) Goto Egremont, Briar's Lane,Hempstead, tomorrow at 11:15 sharp and askforMrde Souza.
YouwilLrepresentyourself as an employee ofthe SettLing BrownFirearms Company.
I say, old boy, I say.
(door closes) You alright, Wally? Sit and stay.
(woman screams) (woman) Help! Help! screams) Help! Let me go! Let me go! Screams) screams) Let her go or I'II break every bone in your body! - Come on! - No! Let me go! Let me go! No! Screams) -(groans) - Look behind you! - Over there! - Right.
(grunts) come on! come on! Now we'II see.
Sighs) - Are you alright? - Yes, I'm fine.
Come on, we don't know how many more there might be.
- Thank you.
- I know.
Thank you.
That should put a safe distance between us.
- You should have a drop of this.
- Oh, I really think I ought.
- There.
- Oh, thank you.
Splutters) I'm not used to this stuff.
- Well done.
- You really were splendid.
- Nonsense.
It was - If you hadn't come GIad I was on hand.
Nasty experiencefor you.
- Yes.
But you really were splendid.
- Really, it was nothing.
(Laughs) You did pretty well yourself.
Those brutes had quite a job holding you.
- You sure you're alright? - Much better, thank you.
- Goodfor the brandy.
- Yes.
Sighs) Oh, by the by, Wilbraham, Major of that ilk.
Freda CIegg.
- How do you do? - How do you do? - Oh, I say, is he yours? - Inseparable, I'm afraid.
- Oh, he's rather nice, isn't he? - Hmm.
You're taking this awfully well, you know.
Oh, well, it doesn't seem real.
Isn't it odd? I was thinking only this morning that my existence was too tame.
- Really? - Hmm.
Isn't that - What? - No, it's nothing.
- Oh.
- Would it help I don't mean to pry, but would it help to talk about all this? Not necessarily now Over Iunch perhaps? - That would be very nice.
- Splendid.
Then yesterday I got a Ietter from Mr Reid saying he thought he'dfound what he was Iookingfor and would I meet to discuss it with him.
The address he gave was that empty house, BIanchlands.
- The rest you know.
- I see.
Well, one thing's certain.
Whatever yourfather had amongst his papers, it was the key to something valuable.
- I suppose so.
- Hmm.
Must be so.
Thatfellow Reid put a Iot of thought into getting yourfather's papers.
Evidently, what he wanted wasn't there.
Oh, another thing.
Yesterday, when I got up to my rooms, I had afeeling that my things had been tampered with.
- It was only afeeling, of course.
- Well, Iet's see.
Reid doesn't find what he's Iookingfor, so he assumes it must still be in your room.
So he sends round someone posing as a water board inspector, or something.
He still can't find it, so he assumes youfound it yourself and arranges this dreadful ambush.
- May I make a suggestion? - Of course.
After Iunch, we should go over to your place and make sure whether this thing exists or not.
- You agree? - I agree.
Oh, Miss CIegg, there you are.
Thank goodness.
How d'you do, sir? Oh, Miss CIegg, I've been worrying all day.
- That person, I'd neverforgive myself.
- What on earth's wrong? That person yesterday.
You haven't noticed anything from your room gone missing? - No.
Why? - No? Oh, well, what a relief.
What a blessing.
I pride myself on my vigilance, but young Neville cut his knee, so I was off my guard, otherwise I would never have, you know, not unaccompanied.
Even though I find the stairs a trial, I wouldn't have.
You still haven't told us what happened.
From the electricity yesterday.
Well, that's what he said.
Peaked cap, Iittle bag, I never thought.
Something to do with the meters.
Starts at the top of the house.
Well, you don't know, do you? And there was Neville's knee.
But he wasn't up there Iong, I saw to that.
Dab of iodine, I was up those stairs before you could say how's yourfather.
Fiddling with the Iight he was.
I never thought, but then this morning What happened this morning? A man from the electricity came to read the meter.
Sighs) What do you suppose it is, if we even find it? Buried treasure? Buried's the word, I've been through everything.
I suppose thatfellow The egg.
- Sorry? - May I? Oh, yes, of course.
How stupid of me.
- There's something.
- Really? Looks Iike a piece of soft cloth or tissue, but it's definitely there.
Do you have a knitting needle, something Iike that? Yes, wait a minute.
- There.
- Thank you.
Now, then.
Come on.
- Well done.
- Now, Iet's see.
- Oh! - It's in Swahili.
- I mean, Swahili of all things! - Can you read it? Oh, yes.
I say, here's your buried treasure, in a manner of speaking.
- Treasure? - In a manner of speaking.
-(speaks Swahili) - What is it? Ivory, a mass of it.
"An ivory pit Iaid" Erm "Iaid in dry sand, six courses deep.
" speaks Swahili) "Seven by five.
" It's directions, most of it's directions.
It's up in Kikuyu country by the Iook of it.
I'd have to consult my maps.
- Ivory? - Probably the haul of some old moosy.
- Moosy? - Moosy wando.
EIephant poacher.
Yes, the authorities get onto him, so he hides the Iot.
- Perhaps even gets out of the country.
- Perhaps myfather gets him out.
Yes, that's possible.
Years Iater, when he knew he'd never get back, he gave yourfather that.
Yourfather didn't take it seriously, perhaps didn't even know what it meant, popped it in the egg and forgot about it, something Iike that.
Do you suppose it's still there? Whoever's been trying to find this thinks so.
Do you think you'd be able to find it? If anyone can, yes.
It could be worth an awful Iot, you know.
We should go after it.
- Us? - Yes.
- Meanwhile, what do we do about this? - Yes, of course.
- Would you Iook after itfor me? - Yes.
But you've trusted one man already.
- You were allowed up unaccompanied.
- Mrs Benson, yes.
I'II take it home and I'II work out a plan of action.
- Mind you, it might be dangerous.
- I'II Iook on that as a bonus.
Are you sure this is what Mrs OIiver said? - Absolutely.
- But is it necessary? It's not very original, is it? Mrs OIiver is a writer, so when it comes to the construction of a story, we must accept her verdict.
I suppose so.
Mrs OIiver did say that you were a great diagnostician.
Thank herfor me.
But that, "AII those years with government statistics and the company of clockwork men may have withered his instinct.
" - Oh, really! - I challenged her on that.
I told her that you'd advance to science the science of happiness.
Thank you, Miss Lemon.
It's just that her scheme seems a Iittle extravagant.
She's convinced that if the Major's threatened, he'II realise that business is meant, and everything else becomes that much more simple.
Maybe, but it is very trying, you know.
I've reduced my theories to a set of precepts as Iimpid as the Mediterranean on a calm day.
But Mrs Ariadne OIiver Perhaps you'd better get hold of young Lorimar.
- Right, sir.
- Oh, Miss Lemon? - Yes, sir? - For you and your typewriter.
Oh, thank you, sir.
I thought you'dforgotten.
(radio plays /hums) Nothing elsewould matter intheworldtoday We could go onloving inthe same oldway A Garden ofEdenjust madefortwo With nothingto mar ourjoy (bird screeches) (whimpers) (creaking) (Wally barks) Damn! Oh, what a relief.
Of course! Why the deuce didn't I think of that before? (knock atdoor) - Afternoon.
-(both) Hello.
-(knock atdoor) - That won't do no good.
She's out.
I came to see Miss CIegg.
Is she at home? - Ah! - Your name Wilbraham? - Major Wilbraham, that's right.
-(both) Ah! What on earth's that supposed to mean, you horrible Iittle duo? - We have a Iittle bill and coofor you.
- A billet-doux from her.
Thank you.
(Freda) DearMajorWilbraham, somethingrather strange has happened.
Canyou meet me at Blanchlands? Canyou please gothere as soon asyou getthis?Yours,Freda Clegg, - Where did you get this? - Mrs Benson said to Iook outfor you.
Thank you.
She give us a penny.
Very well.
Here's a tanner each for both of you.
There you are.
(both) Ta ever so.
Did Mrs Benson say where she got it? - No.
- Just that it arrivedfor you.
- Arrived? When did Miss CIegg go out? - After she come back.
She come back and went straight out again.
- Miss CIegg? - Yeah.
I see.
Thank you, men.
Carry on.
(doorbelL chimes) (grunts) (waterdrips) (woman) John? John? It's me, Freda.
(he moans) Oh, damn, damn, damn! Sighs) Sorry, old girl.
Don't be silly.
I knew there was something wrong and still I walked right into it.
- I suppose you didn't send me a note.
- And you didn't send me one? - No.
- And have they got the map? I suppose they must have, I had it on me.
(needLe scratches) (Reid)Well,well,MajorWilbraham.
It's alLturned outvery satsfactorily,wouldn'tyou say? - It's Reid! - No? Well, i can hardlyexpectyouto agree.
Anyway,we havewhatwewerelooking for My most appreciativethanks.
Unfortunately,this also means you are nowdispensable.
Therefore,youwilL bedispensedwith.
Enjoyyourlast momentstogether - Reid! - John, don't.
- Reid! - It's no good, you know.
(creaking) - My God! We're going drown! - No, we're damn well not.
Whatever happens, I just want you to know that I know.
Me, too.
- Worth Iivingfor, wouldn't you say? - I would.
I would.
(groans) Now, you're going to have to guide me.
Yes, of course.
Up a bit.
A bit further.
A bit to your Ieft.
Not toofar.
You're there.
-(gasps) Are you alright? - Yes Don't worry.
Are you alright? - Try them.
-(groans) Just try them once more.
Right! Nearly.
-(groans) - Well done.
Let me see.
No, I'm alright.
Got to see to you.
Are yourfeet tied? - Yes.
- Damn! Come on! Oh! come on! Oh! It's Iocked.
I don't think that was quite what Mrs OIiver had in mind.
(Laughs) You can turn that thing off now.
Poor man.
I've never seen anyone show that sort of courage before.
Who'd want to play the hero? That reminds me.
Did you get the job in the cochrane show? No.
Too tall or some such rot.
- Oh, bad Iuck.
- Yes.
I'm to tell you, if you come into the office tomorrow the charming Miss Lemon will give you yourfee.
Oh, jolly good.
Oh, by the way, I'm Iookingfor - Are you sure I'm not hurting you? - Yes.
It's worth a bit of pain having you here to do it.
I'm glad theyfound the map.
- Why? - It was afake.
The original should be at my bank by now.
(Laughs) Jolly good.
So we can still go.
- Go? - To find it.
Oh(Laughs) Good.
- You Iike the cottage? Oh, it's beautiful.
Just right.
For whom? - For you.
- Orfor us? Does that mean what I I think? Absolutely.
And Wally? Doesn't Iook as though he'd mind.
- More tea? - Ah, thank you.
(Laughs) Another case concluded.
I think the Major's getting value for money, don't you? Most certainly, but was Lorimer really worth the eight guineas? He collected the moment the office was open this morning.
Miss Lemon, you are the victim of thespian prejudice.
The poorfellow is an actor, but he's not a scoundrel because he calls you darling.
(tuts) Our two assailants were much more reasonable, 30 shillings apiece.
Yes, in this world the unskilled will always suffer.
- Unless they sit in the House of Lords.
- Hmm? Oh, I see.
(Laughs) You're right, as always.
How did you manage with the Swahili? Thank youfor reminding me.
I consulted the Hertford Commercial Language Bureau.
I'm afraid that's another 38/ 6d.
- Mr Parker Pyne? - Mrs Ariadne OIiver.
And sounding very cross.
Mr Parker Pyne, do you realise you could have ruined everything? Have I not impressed upon you, time and time again, the importance of detail? - Detail, Mr Parker Pyne.
- But I'm a master of detail.
Your kind of detail, not mine.
Really! It's Iike teaching music to a tram.
Why didn't you tell me the basement was gas Iit? Could have been disastrous.
Your kind of detail, not mine, it should have occurred toyou.
If you had thought to mention it, it would have occurred to me.
Sillyfellow might have gassed himself.
Men defeat me, they really do.
Couldn't he have seen that picture with the broken glass I put there especially so that he could cut himself free? Human nature, I suppose.
I've noticed it before.
People simply will not see what you want them to see.
I have this trouble with my characters, I put a perfectly good clue in front of them, they simply turn the other way.
- It's too tiresome.
- Tea, Mrs OIiver? Ah, no, thank you.
Apart from your unfortunate oversight, everything went off well, did it? - Yes, very well.
- I'm glad.
- There's just one thing.
- What? Don't you think that on a future occasion the mise en scène might be a Iittle more original perhaps? - No.
- No? - No.
- Oh.
What we are talking about, Mr Parker Pyne, is the basisfor my being able to sell my 40 books in 20 different Ianguages.
That is to say, the conservatism of the generality of mankind.
People Iike to know where they stand.
They read about buried Ioot, maidens in distress, water rising in the cellar and so on, and they're thoroughlyfamiliar with them, so that when they experience these thingsfor themselves, they really know they've had an adventure.
Put them through something too unfamiliar, they merely have a disagreeable experience they'd ratherforget.
Oh, no, Iife should imitate fiction wherever possible.
Now, I must dash.
Thank you.
Thank youfor your help.
Any time, Mr Parker Pyne, as Iong as we get it right in the end.
- Speaking of which.
- Yes? (Laughs) Do you think they'II try to find the ivory? - I sincerely hope so.
- You hope so? - Yes.
- Well, it's inevitable they will try, but I'd rather have Iiked to spare them the disappointment.
They're realists, both of them.
Their expectations won't be very high.
Most important he should show her africa.
It's his soul, the very heart of his experience.
She must see it.
Of course.
Of course.
(cicadas chirrup /dstant chanting) Are you very disappointed? It's funny, you know.
When I saw the mission station and the road and everything and the canningfactory built just where the stuff was supposed to be buried, I didn't mind.
More than that, I was actually quite pleased.
It was only then that I realised how happy I was.
If we'dfound your ivory things would have changed.
I want nothing to change.
- Does that make sense? - I was dreading finding it too.
Good Lord.
We should'veforgotten about it, gone up country.
- I thought you'd be disappointed.
- I thoughtyou would be.
(Laughs) - Do you know, it's our anniversary? - Really? - Six weeks to the day we met.
- Six weeks? What is it? I've just remembered, a chap owes me 50 quid.
(chanting continues) - Still, I suppose - What? Six weeks Seems more Iike a couple of days, doesn't it? Weren't we Iucky, finding each other? Weren't we just?