Brief Encounter (1945) - full transcript

At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson meets doctor Alec Harvey. Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other. They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible.

Evening, Mr. Godby.

- Hello, hello, hello.
- Quite the stranger, aren't you?

- l couldn't get in yesterday.
- l wondered what had happened to you.

- l had a bit of a dustup.
- What about?

Saw a chap getting out
of a first-class compartment.

When he came to give up his ticket,
it was only third class.

l told him to pay the excess,
and he turned nasty.

l had to send for Mr. Saunders.

- Fat lot of good he'd be.
- He ticked him off.

- Seeing's believing.
- l tell you, he ticked him off proper.

You pay the balance at once," he says,
"or l'll hand you over to the police."

You ought to have seen the look on the chap's
face at the mention of the word "police."

Changed his tune then, he did.
Paid up like lightning.

That's just what l mean. He didn't have
the courage

to handle it himself.
He had to call in the police.

Aw, he's not a bad lot, Mr. Saunders.

After all, you can't expect much
spirit from a man

with only one lung and a wife with diabetes.

l thought something must be wrong
when you didn't come.

l'd have popped in to explain,

but l had a date and had to
run for it the moment l went off.

Oh, indeed.

- Chap l know is getting married.
- Very interesting, l'm sure.

- What's up with you, anyway?
- l'm sure l don't know to what you're referring.

- You're a bit unfriendly all of a sudden.
- Beryl, hurry up.

- Put some more coal in the stove while you're at it.
- Yes, Mrs. Bagot.

l'm afraid l really can't stand here
wasting my time in idle gossip, Mr. Godby.

Aren't you going to offer me another cup?

You can have another cup and welcome
when you've finished that one.

Beryl'll give it to you.
l've got my accounts to do.


- l'd rather you gave it to me.
- Time and tide wait for no man, Mr. Godby.

Laura, what a lovely surprise!

Oh, Dolly.

My dear, l've been shopping
till l'm dropping.

My feet are nearly off,
and my throat's parched.

l thought of having tea in Spindle's,
but l was terrified of losing the train.

- Oh, dear.
- This is Dr. Harvey.

- How do you do?
- How do you do?

Would you be a perfect dear
and get me my cup of tea?

l really don't think l could drag
my poor old bones over to the counter.

No, please.

My dear, what a nice-looking man.

Who on earth is he?
Really, you're quite a dark horse.

l shall telephone
Fred in the morning and make mischief.

This is a bit of luck.
l haven't seen you for ages.

l've been meaning to pop in,
but Tony's had measles and then l had...

all that awful fuss over Phyllis.
But, of course, you don't know.

- My dear, she left me.
- Oh, how dreadful.

Mind you, l never really
cared for her much,

but still, Tony did. Tony adored her.

l'll tell you all about that later
in the train. Thank you so very much.

There's certainly enough milk in it,
but still, it'll be refreshing.

- Oh, dear, no sugar.
- lt's in the spoon.

Oh, of course. What a fool l am.

Laura, you're looking frightfully well.
l do wish l'd known you were coming in today.

We could've come together
and lunched and had a good gossip.

l loathe shopping by myself anyway.

- There's your train.
- Yes, l know.

- Oh, aren't you coming with us?
- No, l go in the opposite direction.

- My practice is in Churley.
- Oh, l see.

l'm a general practitioner at the moment.

Dr. Harvey's going out to Africa next week.

Oh, how thrilling.

...the 5:40 to Churley,
Leigh Green and Langdon.

- l must go.
- Yes, you must.

- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.

He'll have to run, or he'll miss it.

He's got to get right
over to the other platform.

Talking of missing trains reminds me
of that awful bridge at Broadham Junction.

You've got to go traipsing all up one side
along the top and down the other.

Well, the other day, l'd been
over to see Bob's solicitor

about renewing
the lease of the house.

And l arrived at the station
with exactly half a minute to spare.

My dear, l flew.

l'd got Tony with me

and like a fool, l just bought a new
shade for the lamp in the drawing room.

l could've gotten it
just as easily here in Milford.

Well, it was the most enormous thing.

l could hardly see over it.

But l've never been in such a frizz in all
my life. l nearly knocked a woman down.

Of course, by the time
l got home, it was battered to bits.

Oh, is that our train?

Can you tell me,
is that the Ketchworth train?

- No, it's the express.
- The boat train.

Of course. That doesn't stop, does it?

- l want some chocolate, please.
- Milk or plain?

Plain, l think.

No, perhaps milk would be nicer.
Have you any with nuts in it?

Nestle's Nut Milk. Shilling or sixpence?

I think one plain and one nut milk.

- Large or small?
- Large, please.

Where is she?

l never noticed her go.

Oh, l couldn't think
where you'd disappeared to.

l just wanted to see the express go through.

What on earth's the matter?
Are you feeling ill?

- l feel a little sick.
- My dear, come and sit down.

- There's our train.
- lt's all right.

- Have you any brandy?
- l'm afraid it's out of hours.

- Oh, surely, if somebody's feeling ill -
- l'm all right, really.

Just a sip of brandy
will buck you up.


- Very well.
- Thank you.

- How much?
- Tenpence, please.

The train for Ketchworth is now
arriving at platform three.

We shall have to hurry.

Oh, well, this is a bit of luck.

This train's generally packed.

l really am very worried about you, dear.
You look terribly peaky.

l'm all right. Really, l am.
l just felt faint for a minute, that's all.

lt often happens to me. l did it once
in the middle of Bobby's school concert.

l don't think he's ever forgiven me.

Well, he certainly was very good-looking.

- Who?
Your friend, Doctor - whatever his name was.

- Yes, he's a nice creature.
- Have you known him long?

No, not very long.

- l hardly know him at all, really.
- Well, my dear,

l've always had a passion for doctors.

l can well understand how it is
that women get neurotic.

I wish I could trust you.

I wish you were a wise, kind friend...

instead of a gossiping acquaintance
I've known casually

for years and never
particularly cared for.

l wish...
l wish...

Fancy him going all the way to Africa.
ls he married?

- Well, yes.
- Any children?

Yes, two boys. He's very proud of them.

ls he taking them with him -
his wife and children, l mean?

Yes. Yes, he is.

l suppose it's sensible in a way rushing off...

to start life anew in the wide open
spaces and all that sort of thing, but...

wild horses wouldn't
drag me away from England...

and home and all the
things l'm used to. I mean...

one has one's roots after all,
hasn't one?

Oh, yes, one has one's roots.

l knew a girl once years ago
who went to Africa.

You, know, her husband was something
to do with engineering or something.

And, my dear,
she had the most dreadful time.

She caught some awful kind of germ
through going out on a picnic

and she was ill
for months and months.

l wish you'd stop talking.

I wish you'd stop prying
and trying to find things out.

I wish you were dead.
No, l don't mean that.

That was silIy and unkind,

- but l wish you'd stop talking.
- My dear, all her hair came out,

and she said
the social life was quite, quite horrid.

Provincial, you know, and very nouveau riche.

Oh, Dolly.

What's the matter, dear?
Are you feeling ill again?

No, not really ill. l feel a bit dizzy.

- l think l'll close my eyes for a little.
- Oh, you poor darling.

And here am l chattering away
19 to the dozen.

l won't say another word.

lf you drop off, l'll wake you up
when we get to the level crossing.

That'll give you a chance
to pull yourself together

and powder your nose
before we get out.

Thanks, Dolly.

This can't last.

This misery can't last.

l must remember that
and try to control myself.

Nothing lasts, realIy -

neither happiness nor despair.

Not even life lasts very long.

There'll come a time in the future
when l shan't mind about this anymore...

when I can look back and
say quite peacefully

and cheerfully how silly l was.

No, no, l don't want that
time to come ever.

I want to remember every minute...


always to the end of my days.

- Ketchworth!
- Wake up, Laura. We're here.


l could easily come to
the house with you, dear.

- lt isn't very much out of my way.
- Thank you.

All l have to do is
walk down Elmore Lane

past the grammar school
and l shall be home in two minutes.

lt's sweet of you, Dolly,
but l'm perfectly all right now, really l am.

- You're quite sure?
- Absolutely positive.

Thank you for being so kind.

Oh, nonsense, dear.

l shall telephone in the morning
and see if you've had a relapse.

l shall disappoint you.

Good night.

Good night. Oh, give my love
to Fred and the children.

ls that you, Laura?

- Yes, dear.
- Thank goodness you've come back.

- The place has been in an uproar.
- Why? What's the matter?

Bobby and Margaret
have been fighting again.

They won't go to sleep until you
go in and talk to them about it.

ls that you, Mummy?

- Yes, Margaret.
- Come upstairs at once, Mummy!

l want to talk to you.

You're both very naughty. You
should have been asleep hours ago.

- Now what is it, you two?
- Well, Mummy,

tomorrow's my birthday

and l want to
go to the circus.

And tomorrow's not
Margaret's birthday,

and she wants to
go to the pantomime.

My birthday's in June. There
aren't any pantomimes in June.

lt's far too late to
discuss it tonight

and if you don't
go to sleep at once,

l shall tell Daddy not
to let you go to either.

- Oh, Mummy!
- Oh, Mummy!

Why not take them to both?
One in the afternoon, one in the evening?

You know that's impossible.

We shouldn't get them to bed till
all hours and they'd be tired and fractious.

Well, then, one on one day
and the other on the other.

You're always accusing me
of spoiling the children.

Their characters would be
ruined in a fortnight

if l left them to your
over-tender mercies.

All right, have it your own way.

- Circus or pantomime?
- Neither.

We'll thrash them both soundly,

lock them up in the attic
and go to the pictures by ourselves.

Oh, Fred.

- What on earth's the matter?
- Nothing. lt's nothing.

Darling, what's wrong?
Tell me, please.

Really and truly, it's nothing. l -

l'm just a little run-down, that's all.

l had a sort of fainting spell
at the refreshment room at Milford.

lsn't it idiotic?

Dolly Messiter was with me and
she talked and talked and talked

until l wanted to strangle her.

Still, she meant to be kind.

lsn't it awful about people
meaning to be kind?

- Would you like to go to bed?
- No, Fred, really.

Come and sit by the fire
in the library and relax.

You can help me with
the Times crossword.

You have the most
peculiar ideas of relaxation.

That's better.

- There you are, darling.
- Thank you.

But why a fainting spell?
l can't understand it.

Don't be silly, darling. l've often
had fainting spells, and you know it.

Don't you remember
Bobby's school concert

and Eileen's wedding...

and that time you
insisted on taking me

to that symphony concert
at the town hall?

Go on, that was a nosebleed.

l suppose l must be
that type of woman.

lt's very humiliating.

l still maintain there'd be no
harm in you seeing Dr. Graves.

lt would be a waste of time.

- Now, listen...
- Oh, but do shut up about it, darling.

You're making
a fuss about nothing.

l'd been shopping and l was
tired and the refreshment room

was very hot, and
l suddenly felt sick.

Nothing more than that.

- All right.
- Really nothing more than that.

Now you get on with your old
puzzle and leave me in peace.

Have it your own way.

You're a poetry addict.
See if you can help me over this.

lt's Keats.

"When l behold, upon
the night's starred face...

huge cloudy symbols of a high" -
something in seven letters.

Romance, l think.

l'm almost sure it is.

"Huge cloudy symbols
of a high romance."

lt'll be in the Oxford
Book of English Verse.

No, that's right, l'm sure,

it fits in with "delirium"
and "Baluchistan."

- Would some music throw you off your stride?
- No, dear, l'd like it.



dear Fred.

There's so much
that I want to say to you.

You're the only one in
the world with enough wisdom

and gentleness to understand.

lf only it were somebody else's
story and not mine.

As it is, you are the only one
in the world that l can never teIl.

Never, never.

Because even if I waited until we were
old, old people and told you then...

you'd be bound to Iook back
over the years and be hurt...

and, oh, my dear,
I don't want you to be hurt.

You see,

we're a happily married couple...

and must never forget that.

This is my home.

You're my husband...

and my children are upstairs in bed.

I'm a happiIy married woman -

or, rather, I was until a few weeks ago.

This is my whole world...

and it's enough -

or, rather, it was, untiI a few weeks ago.

But, oh, Fred, l've been so foolish.

I've falIen in love.

I'm an ordinary woman.

I didn't think such violent things
could happen to ordinary people.

It alI started on an ordinary day...

in the most ordinary
place in the world...

the refreshment room
at Milford Junction.

I was having a cup of tea...

and reading a book that I'd got
that morning from Boots.

My train wasn't due for ten minutes.

I looked up and saw a man
come in from the platform.

He had on an ordinary mac.

His hat was turned down,
and l didn't even see his face.

He got his tea at the counter
and turned.

Then I did see his face.
It was rather a nice face.

- Any sugar?
- ln the spoon.

He passed my table on the way to his.

You're neglecting your duty.

The woman at the counter
was going on as usual.

You know, I told you
about her the other day -

the one with the refined voice.

- Minnie hasn't touched her milk.
- Did you put it down for her?

Yes, but she never came for it.

- Fond of animals?
- ln their place.

My landlady's got a positive
mania for animals.

She's got two cats -
one Manx, one ordinary -

three rabbits in a hutch
in the kitchen...

they belong to her
little boy by rights -

and one of those dark-looking
dogs with hair over its eyes.

- l don't know to what breed you refer.
- l don't think it knows itself.

Go and clean off number three, Beryl.
l can see the crumbs on it from here.

What about my other cup?

l'll have to be moving.
The 5:40 will be in in a minute.

- Who's on the gate?
- Young William.

Look, please, could you
give me a glass of water?

l've got something in my eye,
and l want to bathe it.

- Would you like me to have a look?
- No, don't trouble.

l expect the water will do.
Thanks you.

Bit of coal dust, l expect.

A man l knew lost the sight in one
eye through getting a bit of grit in it.

Nasty, very nasty.


- l'm afraid not. Ooh.
- Can l help you?

Oh, no, please, it's only
something in my eye.

Try pulling your eyelid
down as far as it'll go.

- And then blowing your nose.
- Please let me look.

- l happen to be a doctor.
- lt's very kind of you.

Look, turn around
to the light, please.

Now look up.

Now look down.

Keep still.
l see it.

- There.
- Oh, what a relief. lt was agonizing.

- Looks like a bit of grit.
- lt was when the express went through.

- Thank you very much, indeed.
- There we go. l must run.

- How lucky for me you happened to be here.
- Anybody could've done it.

- Never mind, you did, and l'm most grateful.
- There's my train. l must go. Good-bye.


That's how it all began -

just through me getting
a little piece of grit in my eye.

I completeIy forgot
the whole incident.

It didn't mean
anything to me at all.

At Ieast l didn't think it did.

The next Thursday l went
into Milford again, as usual.

l changed my book at Boots.

Miss Lewis had at last managed
to get the new Kate O'Brien for me.

l believe she'd kept it hidden
under the counter for two days.

On the way out,

l bought two new
toothbrushes for the children.

I like the smeIl of a chemist's
better than any other shop.

It's such a mixture of nice things -

herbs and scent and soap.

That awful Mrs. Leftwich
was at the other end of the counter

wearing one of the silliest
hats l've ever seen.

Fortunately, she didn't look up,

so I got out without
her buttonhoIing me.

Just as I stepped out
onto the pavement -

- Good morning.
- Oh, good morning.

- How's the eye?
- Perfectly all right.

- How kind it was of you to take so much trouble.
- lt was nothing at all.

- lt's clearing up, l think.
- Yes, it's going to be nice.

- Well, l must be getting along to the hospital.
- And l must be getting along to the grocers.

What exciting lives
we lead, don't we?

- Good-bye.
- Good-bye.

That evening l had to run
nearly all the way to the station.

l'd been to the Palladium,
as usual,

but it was a terribly long
film and l was afraid l'd be late.

As l came up onto the platform,

the Churley train
was just puffing out.

I looked up idIy as the windows
of the carriages went by,

wondering if he was there.

l remember this crossing my mind,
but it was quite unimportant.

I was reaIly thinking of other things.

The present for your birthday
was worrying me rather.

It was terribly expensive,
but I knew you wanted it...

and I had sort of half
taken the plunge

and left a deposit on it at Spink and
Robson's untiI the next Thursday.

The next Thursday.

Well, l squared my
conscience by thinking

how pleased you would be
and bought it.

- Yes, l'll have it.
- Thank you, madam.

lt was wildIy extravagant, l know,
but having committed the crime...

I suddenly felt reckIess and gay.

The sun was out and,

everybody in the street
looked more cheerful than usual...

and there was a barreI organ
at the corner by Harris's

and you know how
I love barrel organs.

It was playing

"Let the Great Big World keep Turning..."

and I gave the man sixpence

and went to the Kardomah for lunch.

It was very full,

but two people had got up
from the table just as l had come in.

That was a bit of luck, wasn't it?

Or was it?

Just after l had given my order,
l saw him come in.

He looked a Iittle tired, l thought,

and there was nowhere
for him to sit...

so l smiled and said...

Good morning.

Oh, good morning.

Are you all alone?

Yes, l am.

Would you mind if l
shared your table?

lt's very full. There
doesn't seem to be

- anywhere else.
- No, of course not.

l'm afraid we haven't been
introduced properly.

My name's Alec Harvey.

How do you do?

- Mine's Laura Jesson.
- Mrs. Or Miss?


You're a doctor, aren't you?

l remember you said so that
day in the refreshment room.


Not a very interesting one.
Just an ordinary G.P.

My practice is in Churley.

Yes, sir?

- What did you plump for?
- Excuse me, sir.

Um, the soup and fried sole.

Yes, l'll have the same.

- Anything to drink?
- No, thank you.

That is, would you
like anything to drink?

- No, thank you. Just plain water.
- Plain water, please.

Will you just look at the cellist?

lt really is dreadful, isn't it?

But we oughtn't to laugh.
They might see.

There should be a society
for the prevention of

cruelty to musical instruments.

You don't play the piano, l hope?

- l was forced to as a child.
- You haven't kept it up?


- my husband isn't musical at all.
- Good for him.

For all you know, l might have
a tremendous burning professional talent.

Oh, dear, no.

Why are you so sure?

You're too sane and uncomplicated.

l suppose it's a good thing
to be uncomplicated,

but it does sound a little dull.

You could never be dull.

- Do you come here every Thursday?
- Yes, to spend a day at the hospital.

Stephen Lynn, the chief physician
here, graduated with me.

l take over from
him once a week.

Gives him a chance
to go up to London.

- Gives me a chance to study the hospital patients.
- l see.

Do you?

- Do l what?
- Come here every Thursday?

Yes, l do the week's
shopping. Thank you.

Change my library book, have lunch
and generally go to the pictures.

Not a very exciting routine,
but it makes a change.

Are you going to
the pictures this afternoon?


How extraordinary.
So am l.

l thought you had to spend
all day at the hospital.

Well, between ourselves, l killed
two patients by accident this morning.

The matron's very
displeased with me.

l simply daren't go back.

How can you be so silly?

Seriously, l really did get through
most of my work this morning.

lt won't matter at
all if l play truant.

Would you mind very much
if l came to the pictures with you?

- Well, l -
- l could sit downstairs,

and you could sit upstairs.

Upstairs is too expensive.

The orchestra stopped
as abruptly as it had started...

and we began to laugh again.

l had no premonitions,

but l suppose
l should have had.

It alI seemed so natural
and so innocent.

We finished lunch, and that idiot
of a waitress had put the bill aIl on one.

- l really must insist.
- l couldn't possibly.

Having forced my
company on you,

it's only fair that l should
pay through the nose for it.

Oh, please don't insist. l should so
much rather we halved it.

l would really, please.

- l shall give in gracefully.
- We haIved it meticulously.

We even haIved the tip.

Thank you.

We have two choices:

The Loves of Cardinal Richelieu
at the Palace...

- or Love in a Mist at the Palladium.
- You're very knowledgeable.

There must be no argument
about buying the tickets.

We each pay for ourselves.

You must think me
a very poor doctor if

l can't afford a couple
of one-and-ninepennies.

- l insist.
- l had hoped you were going to treat me.

- Which is it to be: Palace or Palladium?
- Palladium.

l was once very sick on a channel
steamer called Cardinal Richelieu.

Excuse me.

l feel awfully grand perched up here.
lt was very extravagant of you.

lt was a famous victory.

Do you feel guilty at all?
l do.


You ought to more than me really.
You neglected your work this afternoon.

l worked this morning.

A little relaxation never
did harm to anyone.

Why should either of us feel guilty?

l don't know.

How awfully nice you are.

lt can't be.

lt is.

We walked back
to the station together.

Just as we reached the gates,
he put his hand under my arm.

I didn't notice it then,
but l remember it now.

- What's she like - your wife?
- Madeleine?

Small, dark, rather delicate.

How funny. l should have
thought she would've been fair.

And your husband?
What's he like?

Medium height, brown hair,

kindly, unemotional
and not delicate at all.

- You said that proudly.
- Did l?

- Good evening.
- Good evening.

We've just got time for
a cup of tea before our trains go.

And for the third
time in one week,

he brought that common
man and his wife...

to the house without so much
as a "by your leave."

- Two teas, please.
- Cake or pastry?

- Cake or pastry?
- No, thank you.

- Are those Bath buns fresh?
- Certainly they are. Made this morning.

Two, please.

That'll be sevenpence.

- Take the tea to the table, Beryl.
- l'll carry the buns.

You must eat one of these.

- Fresh this morning.
- Very fattening.

l don't hold to such foolishness.

They do look good, l must say.

One of my earliest passions in life.
l've never outgrown it.

- What happened then, Mrs. Bagot?
- Well -

it's all very fine, l said,

expecting me to do this, that and
that other but what do l get out of it?

You can't expect
me to be a cook,

housekeeper and char rolled
into one during the day...

and a loving wife in the evening,
just because you feel like it.

Oh, dear me, no.

There are just as good
fish in the sea,

l said, as ever came out of it.

And l packed me boxes
then and there and left him.

Didn't you never go back?


Went to my sister's place
at Folkestone for a bit.

Then l went in with a friend of mine,
and we opened a tea shop in Hythe.

What happened to him?

- Dead as a doornail inside three years.
- Well, l never.

ls tea bad for one?
Worse than coffee, l mean?

lf this is a professional interview,
my fee is a guinea.

- Why did you become a doctor?
- That's a long story.

Perhaps because
l'm a bit of an idealist.

l should think all doctors
ought to have ideals really.

Otherwise their work
would be unbearable.

Surely you're not
encouraging me to talk shop?

Why shouldn't you talk shop?
lt's what interests you most, isn't it?

Yes, it is.

l'm terribly ambitious really.

Not ambitious for myself
so much as for my special pigeon.

- What is your special pigeon?
- Preventive medicine.

l see.

l'm afraid you don't.

l was trying to be intelligent.

Most good doctors...

especially when they're young,
have private dreams.

That's the best part of them.

Sometimes, though those
get over-professionalized

and strangulated
- am l boring you?

No, l don't quite understand,
but you're not boring me.

What l mean is this:

All good doctors
must primarily

be enthusiasts.

They must,

like writers and
painters and priests -

they must have
a sense of vocation...

a deep-rooted, unsentimental
desire to do good.

- Yes, l see that.
- Well,

obviously one way of preventing
disease is worth 50 ways of curing it.

That's where my ideal comes in.

Preventive medicine isn't anything
to do with medicine at all really.

lt's concerned with conditions -

living conditions and hygiene
and common sense.

For instance, my speciality
is pneumoconiosis.

Oh, dear.

Don't be alarmed.
lt's simpler than it sounds.

lt's nothing but a slow process
of fibrosis of the lung...

due to the inhalation
of particles of dust.

ln the hospital herenthere are
splendid opportunities for observing

cures and making notes
because of the coal mines.

You suddenly
look much younger.

Do l?

Almost like a little boy.

What made you say that?

l don't know.

Yes, l do.

Tell me.

Oh, no, l couldn't, really.

You were saying
about the coal mines.

Oh, yes,

the inhalation of coal dust.

That's one specific form of the disease.
lt's called anthracosis.

What are the others?

Chalicosis -

that comes from metal dust -

steelworks, you know.

Yes, of course, steelworks.

And silicosis -

that's stone dust -

gold mines.

l see.

- There's your train.
- Yes.

- You mustn't miss it.
- No.

- What's the matter?
- Nothing. Nothing at all, really.

lt's been so very nice. l've enjoyed
my afternoon enormously.

l'm so glad.
So have l.

l apologize for boring you
with long medical words.

l feel dull and stupid not to be
able to understand more.

Shall l see you again?

lt's the other platform, isn't it?
You'll have to run.

Don't bother about me.
Mine's not due for a few minutes.

- Shall l see you again?
- Yes, of course.

Perhaps you'd come out
to Ketchworth one Sunday.

lt's rather far, l know,
but we should be delighted.

- Please, please.
- What is it?

Next Thursday, the same time.

- No, l couldn't possibly.
- Please.

l ask you most humbly.

You'll miss your train.

All right.

- Run.
- Good-bye.

l'll be there.

Thank you, my dear.

I stood there

and watched his train
draw out of the station.

l stared after it

until its taiIlight had vanished
into the darkness.

I imagined him
getting out at Churley...

giving up his ticket

waIking back
through the streets...

letting himseIf into his
house with his Iatchkey.

His wife - Madeleine -

would probably be in
the haIl to meet him.

Or perhaps upstairs
in her room,

not feeIing very welI.

"Small, dark and rather deIicate."

I wondered if he'd say...

"l met such a nice woman
at the Kardomah.

We had lunch and
went to the pictures."

Then suddenly,
l knew that he wouIdn't.

I knew beyond a shadow of doubt
that he wouldn't say a word.

At that moment, the first awful
feeIing of danger swept over me.

I got into the first
compartment l saw.

l wanted to get home
as quickIy as possible.

l looked hurriedIy round the carriage
to see if anyone was Iooking at me...

as if they couId read
my secret thoughts.

No one was,

except a cIergyman
in the opposite corner.

I felt myself blushing

and opened my library book
and pretended to read.

By the time l'd
got to Ketchworth,

l'd made up my mind definitely that
I wasn't going to see Alec anymore.

- Good evening, Mrs. Jesson.
- lt was silly and undignified,

flirting like that with
a complete stranger.

Good evening.

I walked up to the house
quite briskly and cheerfully.

l'd been behaving
like an idiot, admittedIy,

but after all, no
harm had been done.

You met me in the hall.

Your face was strained and
worried, and my heart sank.

Fred, what's the matter?

lt's all right, old girl, but you must
keep calm and not be upset.

- What is it? What's wrong?
- lt's Bobby.

He was knocked down by a car
on the way home from school.

Now it's not serious.

He was just grazed by the mudguard
but it knocked him against the curb,

and he's got slight concussion.
The doctor's upstairs with him now.

lt's all right, Mrs. Jesson.
Nothing to worry about.

He'll be as right
as rain in a few hours.

You're sure?
You're sure it's not serious?

Quite sure,

but it was certainly
a very lucky escape.

l've given him
a little sedative,

and l shall advise keeping him
at home for a couple of days.

lt must have been
a bit of a shock -

l feIt so dreadful, Fred,
Iooking at him,

Iying there with that
bandage round his head.

l tried not to show it, but I was
quite hysterical inside...

as though the whole
thing were my fault -

a sort of punishment,

an awful, sinister warning.

An hour or two later, of course,
everything became quite normal again.

He began to enjoy
the whole thing thoroughIy...

and reveled in the fact
that he was the center of attraction.

Oh, good!

Do you remember how we spent
the whole evening planning his future?

But he's much too young
to decide really.

Good life,

if the boy has
a feeling for it.

How can he possibly really
know if he has a feeling for it?

He'll probably want to be
an engine driver next week.

No, it was last week he
wanted to be an engine driver.

lt seems so final, somehow, entering
a child of that age for the navy.

lt's a healthy life.

l know it's a good life...
and l know it's a healthy life...

and l know he'll be able to see the
world and have a wife in every port...

and keep on calling
everybody "sir," but

- what about us?
- What do you mean, "What about us?"

- We shall hardly ever see him.
- Oh, nonsense.

lt isn't nonsense.

He'll be sent away to sea
as a smooth-faced boy...

and the next thing we know,

he'll come walking in with
a long beard and a parrot.

l think you take rather a Victorian
view of the navy, my dear.

He's our only son, and l should like
to be there while he's growing up.

All right, old girl. Then
we'll put him into an office

and you can see him off
on the 8:50 every morning.

You really are very annoying. You
know perfectly well l should hate that.

All right, have it your own way.


l had lunch with a strange man today,
and he took me to the movies.

Good for you.

He's awfully nice.
He's a doctor.

A very noble profession.

Oh, dear.

lt was Richard lll who said
"My kingdom for a horse," wasn't it?


l wish to goodness he hadn't,
'cause it spoils everything.

l thought perhaps we might
ask him to dinner one night.

By all means.


Dr. Harvey -
the one l was telling you about.

- Must it be dinner?
- Well, you're never at home for lunch.


Oh, Fred.

Now what on earth's the matter?

lt's nothing.
lt's only -

Oh, Fred.

l really don't see what's
so frightfully funny.

Oh, l do.
lt's all right, darling.

l'm not laughing at you.
l'm laughing at me.

l'm the one that's funny.
l'm an absolute idiot,

worrying myself about
things that don't exist...

and making mountains
out of molehills.

l told you when you came in
that it was nothing serious.

- There was nothing to get into such a state about.
- l do see that now, l really do.

When Thursday came,
l went to meet Alec...

more as a matter of politeness
than for any other reason.

It didn't seem of any importance,

but, after alI, l had promised.

l managed to
get the same table.

l waited a bit,

but he didn't come.

The ladies' orchestra
was playing away, as usual.

l looked at the cellist.

She had seemed to be
so funny last week...

but today, she didn't
seem funny anymore.

She looked pathetic,
poor thing.

After Iunch,

I happened to pass
by the hospital.

l remember looking up at the windows
and wondering if he were there...

or whether something awful had
happened to prevent him turning up.

l got to the station
earlier than usual.

I hadn't enjoyed the pictures much.

lt was one of those noisy musical
things, and l'm so sick of them.

I had come out
before it was over.

As l took my tea to the table,

I suddenly wondered
if I'd made a mistake...

and he'd meant me
to meet him there.

Albert Godby, how dare you!

- l couldn't resist.
- l'll trouble you to keep your hands to yourself.

Oh, you're blushing.

Oh, you look wonderful
when you're angry,

- just like an avenging angel.
- l'll give you avenging angel,

coming in here taking liberties.

l thought after what you
said last Monday you

wouldn't object to
a friendly little slap.

Never you mind
about last Monday.

l'm on duty now.

A nice thing if Mr. Saunders had happened
to be looking through the window.

lf Mr. Saunders is in the habit
of looking through windows

it's about time he saw
something worth looking at.

- You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
- lt's high spirits, don't be mad at me.

High spirits, indeed.

Take your tea, and be quiet.

lt's all your fault, really.

l don't know to
what you're referring.

l was thinking of,
um, tonight.

lf you don't learn to behave
yourself, there won't be a tonight

or any other night, either.

Give us a kiss.

l'll do no such thing.
The lady might see us.

- Come on, a quick one across the bar.
- Albert, stop it!

- Come, there's a love.
- Let go of me this minute.

- Come on, love.
- Albert.

Now look at me Banburys
all over the floor.

Just in time, or born in the vestry?

You shut your mouth and help
Mr. Godby pick up them cakes.

Come along now -
what are you standing there gaping at?

As l left the refreshment room,
l saw a train coming in

His train.
He wasn't on the platform,

and I suddenly felt panic-stricken
at the thought of not seeing him again.

My dear, l'm so sorry.

l'd no way of letting you know.

- Your train, you'll miss it.
- The house surgeon had to operate suddenly.

l was going to send
a note to the Kardomah,

but l thought they might shout your
name out and embarrass you.

Please don't say any more.

Quickly, quickly,
the whistle's gone.

l'm so glad l had a chance to explain.

l didn't think l'd see you again.

How absurd.
Quickly, quickly.

- Next Thursday?
- Yes, next Thursday.

- Good-bye!
- Good-bye!

Next Thursday!

The train for Ketchworth is about
to leave from platform three.

The stars can change
in their courses,

the universe go up in flames
and the world crash around us,

but there'll always be Donald Duck.

l do love him so - his dreadful
energy and his blind frustrated rages.

lt's the big picture now.

Here we go. No more
laughter. Prepare for tears.

It was a terribIy bad picture.

We crept out before the end,

rather furtively...

as though we were
committing a crime.

The usherette at the door looked
at us with stony contempt.

It was a lovely afternoon,

and it was a relief
to be in the fresh air.

We decided we'd go
to the botanical gardens.

Do you know,

l believe we should aIl
behave quite differentIy...

if we lived in a warm,
sunny climate aIl the time.

We shouldn't be so withdrawn
and shy and difficult.

Oh, Fred, it really
was a lovely afternoon.

There were some little
boys sailing their boats.

One of them looked
awfully like Bobby.

That should have given me a pang
of conscience, l know, but it didn't.

l was enjoying myself -

enjoying every single minute.

Alec suddenly said that he
was sick of staring at the water

and that he wanted to be on it.

All the boats were covered up,

but we managed to persuade
the old man to let us have one.

He thought we were raving mad.

Perhaps he was right.

Alec rode off at a great rate

and l trailed my
hand in the water.

It was very cold,
but a lovely feeling.

You don't row very well, do you?

l'm going to be perfectly honest
with you - l don't row at all...

and unless you want to go round
and round in ever-narrowing circles...

you'd better start steering.

Oh, we had such fun, Fred.

I felt gay and happy
and sort of released.

That's what's so
shameful about it aIl.

That's what would hurt
you so much if you knew -

that I could feel as
intensely as that...

away from you,

with a stranger.

Oh, look out!
We can't get through!

Pull on your left!

Oh, dear, l never
could tell left from right.

l'm most awfully sorry.

You know the British have
always been nice to mad people.

That boatman thinks
we're quite dotty,

but look how sweet he's been.

Tea, milk, even sugar.

Thank you.

You know what's
happened, don't you?


Yes, l do.

l've fallen in love with you.

Yes, l know.

Tell me honestly. Please tell me
honestly if what l believe is true.

- What do you believe?
- That it's the same with you -

that you've fallen in love too.

- lt sounds so silly.
- Why?

- l know you so little.
- lt is true though, isn't it?

- Yes, it's true.
- Laura.

No, please,

we must be sensible.
Please help me to be sensible.

We mustn't behave like this.

We must forget that
we've said what we've said.

- Not yet, not quite yet.
- But we must. Don't you see?


it's too late now to be
as sensible as all that.

lt's too late to forget
what we've said...

Whethand anyway, whether we'd
said it or not couldn't have mattered.

We know. We've both of
us known for a long time.

How can you say that?

l've only known
you for four weeks.

We only talked for the first
time last Thursday week.

Last Thursday week.

Has it been a long time
for you since then?

Answer me truly.


How often did you decide that you
were never going to see me again?

- Several times a day.
- So did l.

- Oh, Alec.
- l love you.

l love your wide eyes...

and the way you smile...

and your shyness...

- and the way you laugh at my jokes.
- Please don't.

l love you.
l love you.

You love me too.

lt's no use pretending it hasn't
happened, because it has.

Yes, it has.

l don't want to pretend anything
either to you or to anyone else...

but from now on,
l shall have to.

That's what's wrong,
don't you see?

That's what spoils everything.

That's why we must stop
here and now talking like this.

We're neither of us free to love each
other. There's too much in the way.

There's still time...

if we control ourselves

and behave like
sensible human beings.

There's still time to -

There's no time at all.

- There's your train.
- Yes.

l'll come over to
the platform with you.

No, Alec, not here.
Someone will see.

l love you so.

Do you think we might
have that down a bit, darling?

Hi, Laura.

- Yes, dear?
- You were miles away.

Was l? Yes,
l suppose l was.

Do you mind if we turn
that down a little?

lt really is deafening.

No, of course not.

l shan't be long over this, darling,
then we'll go up to bed.

You look a bit tired, you know.

Don't hurry.
l'm perfectly happy.

How can l possibly say that?

"Don't hurry.
l'm perfectly happy."

If only it were true.

Not, l suppose, that anybody
is ever perfectly happy, really.

But just to be
ordinariIy contented,

to be at peace.

lt's such a littIe
while ago, realIy,

but it seems an eternity since
that train went out of the station...

taking him away
into the darkness.

I was happy then.

As l went back through the subway to
my own platform l was walking on air.

When l got into the train,

I didn't even pretend to read.

l didn't care whether people were
Iooking at me or not. I had to think.

I should have been utterly wretched and
ashamed. l know l should, but l wasn't.

I felt suddenly
quite wildly happy...

Iike a romantic schoolgirl,

like a romantic fool.

You see,

he had said he loved me,

and l had said l loved him.

And it was true.
lt was true.

l imagined him
holding me in his arms.

l imagined being with him in all
sorts of glamorous circumstances.

lt was one of those
absurd fantasies,

just like one has when
one is a girl being wooed

and married by the
ideal of one's dreams.

l stared out of that raiIway
carriage window into the dark...

and watched the dim trees and
the teIegraph posts slipping by...

and through them,
l saw Alec and me.

Alec and me -

perhaps a little younger than we
are now, but just as much in love...

and with nothing in the way.

I saw us in Paris,

in a box at the opera.

The orchestra was tuning up.

Then we were in Venice,

drifting along the Grand Canal
in a gondola with the sound of

to us over the water.

I saw us traveling
far away together

aIl the places I've
always longed to go.

I saw us leaning on the rail of a ship,
looking at the sea and the stars...

standing on a tropicaI
beach in the moonlight

with the palm trees
sighing above us.

Then the palm trees changed
into those pollarded wiIlows

by the canal just
before the level crossing...

and all the silly
dreams disappeared...

and l got out at Ketchworth

and gave up my ticket...

and walked home as usual

quite soberly
and without wings-

without any wings at all.

When l had changed for dinner and was
doing my face a bit - Do you remember?

I don't suppose you do,
but l do.

You see, you didn't know that
that was the first time in our life

together that I had
ever lied to you.

It started then -

the shame of the whole
thing the guiItiness, the fear.

- Good evening, Mrs. Jesson.
- Hello, dear.

- Had a good day?
- Yes, lovely.

What'd you do?

Well, l shopped and had lunch
and went to the pictures.

- All by yourself?
- Yes.

- Uh, no, not exactly.
- What do you mean, "not exactly"?

Well, l went to the pictures
by myself, but

l had lunch with Mary Norton.

She couldn't come to the pictures 'cause
she had to go and see her in-laws.

They live just outside
Milford, you know.

So l walked with her to the bus
and then came home on my own.

Haven't seen Mary Norton for ages.
How is she looking?

Very well, really.
A little fatter, l thought.

Hurry up with all this beautifying.
l want my dinner.

You go on down.
l won't be five minutes.

- Number, please?
- Ketchworth 3-7, please.

Ketchworth 3-7.

- Hello?
- Hello, is Mrs. Norton there, please?

- Yes. WiIl you hold on?
- Yes, l'll hold on.

- Hello?
- Hello? ls that you, Mary?

Oh, Laura! Fancy hearing from you.
l thought you were dead.

No, l haven't seen you for ages.

Listen, my dear...

will you be a saint and back me up
in the most appalling domestic lie?

- As bad as all that?
- My life depends on it.

Well, today, l went into Milford,
as usual, to do my shopping...

with the special
intention of buying

a far too expensive
present for Fred's birthday.

WelI, Spink and Robson's
hadn't got what l wanted...

which was one of those clocks with,
um, barometers and everything in one...

but they rang up their branch in
Broadham and said there was one there

so l hopped on the 1:30
train and went to get it.

- Go on.
- Well,

this is where
the black lie comes in.

Fred asked me if l'd had
a good day, and l said yes

and that you and
l had lunch together

and that you had gone to see your
in-laws and l had gone to the pictures.

So if you run into him,
don't let me down, will you?

Darling, of course not.

l'll do as much
for you, l promise.

- Well, Iet's really lunch one day.
- Yes, that'd be lovely.

What about next Thursday?

No, l can't on Thursday.
That's my Milford day.

- What about Friday?
- Fine, better make it here.

All right, perfect.

You know what my cook's like.

- lt'll have to be early.
- Yes,

all right.

- Good-bye.
- Good-bye.

That week was misery.

I went through it
in a sort of trance.

How odd of you
not to have noticed

that you were living
with a stranger in the house.

Thursday came at last.

l had arranged to meet Alec
outside the hospital at 12:30.

- Hello.
- Hello.

l thought you wouldn't come.

l've been thinking all the week
that you wouldn't come.

l didn't mean
to really, but

here l am.

Do you know, l hadn't been inside the Royal
since Violet's wedding reception.

lt aIl seemed very grand.

He actually ordered
a bottle of champagne

and when l protested, he said
that we were only middle-aged once.

We were very gay during Iunch
and taIked about quite ordinary things.

Oh, Fred, he really was charming.

I know you would have liked him
if only things had been different.

As we were going out, he said
that he had a surprise for me...

and that if l would wait
in the lounge for five minutes,

he'd show me what it was.

He went out and
down the steps at a run

more like an excited schoolboy
than a respectabIe doctor.


out of the dining room
came Mary Norton

and that rich over-made-up
cousin of hers.

They must have been
in the dining room all the time

and seen Alec and me and
the champagne and everything.


So it was you after all.

Hermione said it was.

- How are you?
- You know how shortsighted l am.

l peered and peered
and still couldn't be sure.

l never saw you at all.
How awful of me.

l expect it was the champagne.

l'm not used to
champagne for lunch.

Or for dinner either,
for that matter, but

- Alec insisted.
- Alec? Alec who, dear?

Alec Harvey, of course. Surely
you remember the Harveys.

l've known them for years.

- No, l don't think l ever -
- He'll be back in a minute.

You'll probably recognize him
when you peer very closely.

- He looks very charming and very attentive.
- He's a dear.

One of the nicest people in
the world and a wonderful doctor.

- Alec, you remember Mrs. Norton, don't you?
- l'm afraid l don't.

lt's no use, Laura. We've never
seen each other before in our lives.

l'm quite sure we haven't.

How absurd. l made certain
he and Madeleine were there

when you dined with us
just before Christmas last year.

Alec, this is Mrs. Rolandson.

- How do you do?
- How do you do?

- Horrid weather, isn't it?
- Yes.

Of course, one can't really expect
spring at this time of the year, can one?

No. No.

Well, we must be going.

l'm taking Hermione with me to
see the in-laws as moral support.

- Good-bye, Dr. Harvey.
- Good-bye.

Good-bye, my dear.

l do so envy you
your champagne.

- Good-bye.
- Good-bye.

- That was awful.
- Never mind.

They'd been watching us
all through lunch. Oh, dear.

Forget it.

Come out and
look at the surprise.

There at the foot of the steps
was a little two-seater car.

Alec had borrowed it from
Stephen Lynn for the afternoon.

I tried so hard to look pleased,
but it wasn't any good.

I kept thinking
of those two

Iaughing and talking...

Iaughing and taIking about us, and
I couldn't get them out of my mind.

When we were out
in the real country -

I think it was a few
miles beyond Brayfield -

we stopped the car just
outside a village and got out.

There was a little
bridge and a stream...

and the sun was making
an effort to come out,

but really not
succeeding very well.

We leaned on the parapet of the bridge
and looked down into the water.

I shivered,

and Alec put his
arm round me.

- Cold?
- No, not really.


No, not really.

l know exactly what
you're going to say.

That it isn't worth it.

That the furtiveness and lying

outweigh the happiness
we might have together.

lsn't that it?

Something like that.

l want to ask
you something,

just to reassure myself.

What is it?

lt is true for you, isn't it?

This overwhelming feeling
we have for each other -

it's as true for you
as it is for me, isn't it?

Yes, it's true.

We must have stayed
on that bridge for a long time...

because when we got back to
Stephen Lynn's garage,

it was getting dark.

l remember feeling as if I was
on the edge of a precipice.

I think Alec felt that too.

You see, we both knew how
desperately we loved each other.

Alec said that he had to leave the keys
of the car in Stephen Lynn's flat...

and suggested that
I came up with him.

I refused rather
too vehemently.

Alec reminded me that Stephen
wasn't coming back tilI late,

but I still refused.

l'm going back.

l'm going to miss my train.

- Back where?
- To Stephen's flat.

Oh, Alec.

Alec, l must go home now.
l really must go home.

A cup of tea, please.

Good afternoon.

- Afternoon, lady.
- Afternoon.

- Couple of whiskeys, please.
- Very sorry. lt's out of hours.

Well, just sneak 'em to us under
the cover of them poor old sandwiches.

Them sandwiches were fresh this morning,
and l shall do no such thing.

Come on, be a sport.

You can have as much
as you want to after 6:00.

My throat's like a parrot's cage.

I'm sorry.

My license does not permit me to serve
alcohol out of hours. That's final.

You wouldn't want to get me
into trouble, would you?

Just give us the chance, lady.

That's all we ask.
Just give us the chance.


- Yes, Mrs. Bagot?
- Ask Mr. Godby to come here for
a moment, will you?

Yes, Mrs. Bagot.

- Oh, and who's he when he's at home?
- You'll soon see.

- Coming in here cheeking me.
- Come off it, mother. Be a pal.

l'll give you "mother,"
you saucy upstart.

- Oi, oi, who you callin' an upstart?
- You!

And l'll trouble you to
get out of here double quick.

Disturbing the customers and
making a nuisance of yourselves.

Here, where's the fire,
where's the fire?

What's going on in here?

Mr. Godby, these
gentlemen are annoying me.

What? We haven't done nothing,
have we, Johnnie?

All we did was ask
a couple of drinks, that's all.

- They insulted me, Mr. Godby.
- We never did anything of the kind.

- Just having a little joke, that's all.
- Hop it, both of you.

- We've got a right to stay here as long as we like.
- You heard what l said. Hop it.

Now, look here. What is this, a free
country or a bloomin' Sunday school?

l checked your warrants at the gate.
Your train's due in one minute,

number two platform.
Hop it.

- Now, look here -
- Aw, come on, Johnnie. Come on.

- Don't argue with the poor basket.
- Hop it.

Cheerio, mother.

And if them sandwiches were made
this morning, you're Shirley Temple.

- Thank you, Albert.
- What a nerve, talking to you like that, Mrs. Bagot.

Be quiet, Beryl.

Pour me out a nip of Three Star.
l'm feeling quite upset.

- l must get back to the gate.
- l'll be seeing you later, Albert.


The train now arriving at platform
three is the 5:43 for Ketchworth.

- l reaIly must go home.
- I'm going back to the flat.

I must go home.

l reaIly must go home.

l'm going back to the flat.

l'm going home.

Excuse me.
l've forgotten something.


lt's raining.

lt started just as l turned
out of the high street.

You had no umbrella,
and your coat's wet.

You mustn't catch cold.
That would never do.

l look an absolute fright.

- Let me put that down for you.
- Thank you.

l hope the fire will
perk up in a few minutes.

- l expect the wood was damp.
- Yes, l expect it was.

Do sit down, darling.

l got right into the train
and then got out again.

Wasn't it idiotic?

We're both very,
very foolish.

- Alec, l can't stay, you know. Really, l can't.
- Just a little while. Just a little while.

Quickly, quickly!
l must go.

Here, through the kitchen.
There's a tradesman's staircase.

- ls that you, Alec?
- Yes.

- You're back early.
- Yes, l felt a cold coming on...

so l denied myself the always
questionable pleasure...

of dining with that arch-arguer Roger Hinchley
and decided to come back to bed.

lnflamed membranes
are unsympathetic to a dialectic.

What'll you do about food?

l can always ring down to the
restaurant if l want any later on.

We live in a modern age,
and this is a service flat.

- Yes, yes, of course.
- lt caters for all tastes.

You know, my dear Alec,

you have hidden depths which
l never even suspected.

- Look here, Stephen -
- Oh, for heaven's sake, Alec.

No explanations or apologies.

l am the one who
should apologize

for returning so inopportunely.

lt's quite obvious to me

that you were interviewing
a patient privately.

Women are frequently
rather neurotic creatures

and the hospital atmosphere
is upsetting to them.

By the rather
undignified scuffling

which l heard when
l came into the hall...

l gather that she beat a hasty
retreat down the back stairs.

l'm surprised at this farcical
streak in your nature, Alec.

Such carryings-on are
quite unnecessary.

After all, we've been
friends for years...

and l am the most
broad-minded of men.

l'm really very sorry, Stephen.

l'm sure that the whole situation must
seem inexpressibly vulgar to you.

Actually, it isn't in the least.

However, you're perfectly right:

Explanations are unnecessary
particularly between old friends.

- l must go now.
- Very well.

l'll collect my hat
and coat. Good-bye.

Absolutely you'll let me
have my latchkey back.

l only have two, and l'm
so afraid of losing them.

You know how
absentminded l am.

- You're very angry, aren't you?
- No, Alec, not angry, just disappointed.

l ran until l couldn't
run any longer.

l leant against a lamppost
to try and get my breath.

I was in one of those side roads
that Iead out of the high street.

I know it was stupid to run,
but l couldn't heIp myself.

I felt so utterly humiIiated and defeated
and so dreadfulIy, dreadfulIy ashamed.

After a moment or two
I pulled myself together...

and walked on in
the direction of the station.

lt was stilI raining,
but not very much.

l suddenly realized
that l couldn't go home...

not until l had got myself more under
control and had a Iittle time to think.

Then l thought of you waiting at
home and the dinner being spoil...

so l went into the high street and found
a tobacconist and telephoned to you.

Do you remember?

Hello, Fred, is that you?

Yes, dear, it's me, Laura.

Yes, everything's perfectly all right,
but l shan't be home to dinner.

l'm with Miss Lewis.

Miss Lewis, dear. You know,
the librarian l told you about at Boots.

Y-Yes, l can't explain in any detail
because she's outside the box now.

Well, l met her in the high street
a little while ago in a terrible state.

Her mother's been taken ill, and l've promised
to stay with her until the doctor comes.

Yes, l know, but she's always been awfully
kind to me, and l feel so sorry for her.

No, l'll get a sandwich,

but ask Ethel to
leave me some soup

in a saucepan
in the kitchen.

Yes, of course,
as soon as l can.

All right.

It's awfulIy easy to lie when you know
that you're trusted implicitly -

so very easy

and so very degrading.

l started walking
without much purpose.

I turned out of the high
street almost immediately.

I was terrified that
l might run into Alec.

l was pretty certain that he'd
come after me to the station.

I walked for a long whiIe.

FinalIy, l found myself
at the war memorial -

you know, it's right at
the other side of the town.

lt had stopped raining aItogether,
and I felt stifIingly hot...

so l sat down on
one of the seats.

There was nobody about,
and I lit a cigarette.

I know how you disapprove of
women smoking in the street

I do too, really -

l wanted to calm my nerves,
and l thought it might help.

I sat there for ages -

l don't know how long -

then I noticed a policeman
walking up and down a Iittle way off.

He was looking at
me rather suspiciousIy.

Presently he came up to me.

- Feeling all right, miss?
- Yes, thank you.

Waiting for someone?

No. No, l'm not
waiting for anybody.

Don't go and
catch cold now.

lt's a damp night for
sitting about on seats.

l'm going now anyhow.
l've got to catch a train.

You're sure you
feel quite all right?

Quite, thank you.

- Good night.
- Good night, miss.

l walked away,
trying to look casual,

knowing that
he was watching me.

I felt like a criminal.

l walked rather quickIy back
in the direction of the high street.

I got to the station 15 minutes
before the last train to Ketchworth.

And then I realized that I had been
wandering about for over three hours...

but it didn't seem
to be any time at aIl.

Stan, you are awful.

- See ya in the yard.
- All right.

- I'd like a glass of brandy, please.
- We're just closin'.

Yes, l see you are, but you're
not quite closed yet, are you?

- Three Star?
- That'll do.

Oh, and have you got
a piece of paper and an envelope?

- l'm afraid you'll have to get that at the bookstall.
- Well, the bookstall's closed.

Please, it's very important.
l should be so much obliged.

All right.
Just a minute.

- Thank you very much.
- We close in a few minutes, you know.

Yes, l know.

Darling, l've been
looking for you everywhere.

- Please go away. Please don't.
- l've watched every train.

Please go away.

- l can't leave you like this.
- You must. lt'll be better, really it will.

You're being
dreadfully cruel.

lt was just an accident
that he came back early.

He doesn't know who you are.
He never even saw you.

l supposed he laughed, didn't he?

l suppose you spoke of me
together as men of the world.

We didn't speak of you.

We spoke of some nameless
creature who has no reality at all.

Why didn't you tell
him who l was?

Why didn't you say we were cheap
and low and without courage?

- Stop it, Laura. Pull yourself together.
- lt's true, isn't it?

lt's nothing of the sort.

We know we
really love each other.

That's true.

- That's all that really matters.
- lt isn't all that really matters.

Other things matter too.

Self-respect matters, and decency.
l can't go on any longer.

Could you really
say good-bye,

never see me again?

Yes, if you'd help me.

l love you, Laura.

l shall love you always
until the end of my life.

l can't look at you now
because l know something.

l know that this is
the beginning of the end -

not the end of
my loving you,

but the end of
our being together.

But not quite yet, darling.
Please, not quite yet.

Very well.
Not quite yet.

l know what you
feel about this evening -

l mean about
the sordidness of it.

l know about the strain
of our different lives

our lives apart
from each other.

The feeling of guilt,

doing wrong is
too strong, isn't it?

Too great a price to pay for the
happiness we have together.

l know all this

because it's
the same for me too.

You can look at me now.
l'm all right.

Let's be very careful.

Let's prepare ourselves.

A sudden break now, however brave
and admirable, would be too cruel.

We can't do such violence
to our hearts and minds.

Very well.

l'm going away.

I see.

- But not quite yet.
- Please, not quite yet.

- That's the 10:10. lt's after closing time.
- Oh, is it?

- l shall have to lock up.
- All right.

- l want you to promise me something.
- What is it?

Promise me that
however unhappy you are...

and however much
you think things over

that you'll meet me
again next Thursday.

- Where?
- Outside the hospital at 12:30.

- All right. l promise.
- l've got to talk to you. l've got to explain.

- About going away?
- Yes.

Where will you go? Where can you go?
You can't give up your practice.

l've had a job offered me.
l wasn't going to tell you.

l wasn't going to take it,

but l know now
it's the only way out.

- Where?
- A long way away - Johannesburg.

Oh, Alec.

My brother's out there.

They're opening a new hospital.
They want me in it.

lt's a fine opportunity, really.

l'll take Madeleine
and the boys.

lt's been torturing me -

the necessity of making
a decision one way or the other.

l haven't told anybody,
not even Madeleine.

l couldn't bear the thought
of leaving you...

but now l see it's got
to happen soon anyway.

lt's almost happening already.


When will you go?

Almost immediately,

in about two weeks' time.

Quite near, isn't it?

Do you want me to stay?

Do you want me to
turn down the offer?

Don't be foolish, Alec.

l'll do whatever you say.

That's unkind of you, my darling.

The train for Ketchworth is
now arriving at platform three.

You're not angry with me, are you?

No, l'm not angry.

l don't think l'm anything,
really. l just feel tired.

Forgive me?

Forgive you for what?

For everything -

for meeting you
in the first place...

for taking the piece
of grit out of your eye...

for loving you,

for bringing you
so much misery.

l'll forgive you
if you'll forgive me.


All that was a week ago.

lt's hardly credible that
it should be so short a time.

Today was our
last day together -

our very last together
in alI our Iives.

I met him outside the hospital
as l had promised at 12:30 -

at 12:30 this morning.

That was only this morning.

We drove into the country again,
but this time he hired a car.

l Iit cigarettes for him every
now and then as we went along.

We didn't taIk much.

I felt numbed and
hardly alive at aIl.

We had lunch
in a viIlage pub.

Afterwards, we went to the same
bridge over the stream -

the bridge that
we'd been to before.

Those Iast few hours
went by so quickly.

As we waIked through the station,
I remember thinking...

"This is the last time with Alec.

''l shalI see all this again,
but without Alec."

I tried not to think of it...

not to Iet it spoil our
last moments together.

- Are you all right, darling?
- Yes, l'm all right.

l wish l could think
of something to say.

lt doesn't matter -
not saying anything, l mean.

- l'll miss my train and wait to see you to yours.
- No, please don't.

l'll come over with you
to your platform. l'd rather.

Very well.

Do you think we shall ever
see each other again?

l don't know.
Not for years anyway.

The children will
all be grown up.

l wonder if they'll ever
meet and know each other.

Couldn't l write to you,
just once in a while?

No, Alec, please.
You know we promised.

Well, all right, dear.

l do love you
so very much.

l love you with
all my heart and soul.

l want to die.

lf only l could die.

lf you died,
you'd forget me.

l want to be remembered.

Yes, l know.
l do too.

- We've still got a few minutes.
- Laura, what a lovely surprise!

My dear, l've been
shopping till l'm dropping.

My feet are nearly falling off.
My throat's parched.

l thought of having tea at Spindle's,
but l was terrified of losing the train.

Oh, dear!

- Oh, this is Dr. Harvey.
- How do you do?

How do you do?

Would you be a perfect
dear and get me a cup of tea?

l really don't think l could drag my
poor old bones over to the counter.

No, please.

lt was cruel of fate to be against us
right up to the very last minute.

DoIly Messiter -

poor, well-meaning,
irritating Dolly Messiter -

crashing into those last few
precious minutes we had together.

She chattered and fussed,
but I didn't hear what she said.

- I felt dazed and bewildered.
- Oh, dear. No sugar.
- lt's in the spoon.

Alec behaved so beautifully
with such perfect politeness.

No one could have guessed
what he was realIy feeIing.

And then -

- There's your train.
- Yes, l know.

- Oh, aren't you coming with us?
- No, l go in the opposite direction.

- My practice is in Churley.
- Oh, l see.

- l'm a general practitioner at the moment.
- Dr. Harvey's going out to Africa next week.

Oh, how thrilling.

The train now arriving
at platform four...

is the 5:40 for ChurIey,
Leigh Green and Langdon.

- l must go.
- Yes, you must.

- Good-bye.
- Good-bye.

l feIt the touch of his hand
on my shoulder for a moment...

and then he walked away -

away, out of my life forever.

He's got to get right
over to the other platform.

Talking of missing trains reminds me of
that awful bridge at Broadham Junction.

Dolly stilI went on talking,
but l wasn't listening to her.

l was Iistening for
the sound of his train starting.

Then it did.

I said to myself, "He didn't go.

At the Iast minute his courage
failed him. He couldn't have gone.

Any minute now he'lI come back
into the refreshment room

pretending he's
forgotten something."

I prayed for him to do that...

just so that l could see
him again for an instant.

But the minutes went by.

ls that the train?

Oh, can you tell me,
is that the Ketchworth train?

- No, it's the express.
- The boat train.

Oh, of course.
That doesn't stop, does it?

- l want some chocolate, please.
- Milk or plain?

l meant to do it, Fred.

I really meant to do it.

l stood there trembling
right on the edge...

but l couldn't.

l wasn't brave enough.

I should like to be able to say that it was
the thought of you and the children

that prevented me,
but it wasn't.

l had no thoughts at all.

Only an overwhelming desire
not to feel anything ever again.

Not to be unhappy anymore.

I turned...

and went back into
the refreshment room.

That's when l nearly fainted.


Yes, dear?

Whatever your dream was,

it wasn't a very happy one, was it?


ls there anything
l can do to help?

Yes, Fred.
You always help.

You've been
a long way away.

Thank you for
coming back to me.