Excerpt from “The Winslow Boy” by Terence Rattigan ~~Innocent~~

picture-WinslowBoy-RattiganRonnie Winslow was dismissed from the Royal Naval College, Osborne, for allegedly stealing a postal order. His father, Arthur Winslow, is seeking to engage Sir Robert Morton to represent Ronnie in their bid to clear his name.

 

SIR ROBERT:
What did you do after leaving the locker-room?

RONNIE:
I’ve told you. I went for permission to go to the Post Office.

SIR ROBERT:
What time was that?

RONNIE:
About a quarter past two.

SIR ROBERT:
Dinner is over at a quarter to two. Which means that you were in the locker-room for half an hour?

RONNIE:
I wasn’t there all that time —-

SIR ROBERT:
How long were you there?

RONNIE:
About five minutes.

SIR ROBERT:
What were you doing for the other twenty-five?

RONNIE:
I don’t remember.

SIR ROBERT:
It’s odd that your memory is so good about some things and so bad about others —-

RONNIE:
Perhaps I waited outside the C.O.’s office.

SIR ROBERT (with searing sarcasm):
Perhaps you waited outside the C.O.’s office! And perhaps no one saw you there, either?

RONNIE:
No. I don’t think they did.

SIR ROBERT:
What were you thinking about outside the C.O.’s office for twenty-five minutes?

RONNIE (wildly):
I don’t even know if I was there. I can’t remember. Perhaps I wasn’t there at all.

SIR ROBERT:
No. Perhaps you were still in the locker-room rifling Elliott’s locker —-

ARTHUR (indignantly):
Sir Robert, I must ask you —-

SIR ROBERT:
Quiet!

RONNIE:
I remember now. I remember. Someone did see me outside the C.O.’s office. A chap called Casey. I remember I spoke to him.

SIR ROBERT:
What did you say?

RONNIE:
I said: “Come down to the Post Office with me. I’m going to cash a postal order.”

SIR ROBERT (triumphantly):
Cash a postal order.

RONNIE:
I mean get.

SIR ROBERT:
You said cash. Why did you say cash if you meant get?

RONNIE:
I don’t know.

SIR ROBERT:
I suggest cash was the truth.

RONNIE:
No, no. It wasn’t. It wasn’t really. You’re muddling me.

SIR ROBERT:
You seem easily muddled. How many other lies have you told?

RONNIE:
None. Really I haven’t —-

SIR ROBERT (bending forward malevolently):
I suggest your whole testimony is a lie —-

RONNIE:
No! It’s the truth —-

SIR ROBERT:
I suggest there is barely one single word of truth in anything you have said either to me, or to the judge advocate or to the Commander. I suggest that you broke into Elliott’s locker, that you stole the postal order for five shillings belonging to Elliott, that you cashed it by means of forging his name —-

RONNIE (wailing):
I didn’t. I didn’t.

SIR ROBERT:
I suggest that you did it for a joke, meaning to give Elliott the five shillings back, but that when you met him and he said he had reported the matter you got frightened and decided to keep quiet —-

RONNIE:
No, no, no. It isn’t true —-

SIR ROBERT:
I suggest that by continuing to deny your guilt you are causing great hardship to your own family, and considerable annoyance to high and important persons in this country —-

CATHERINE (on her feet):
That’s a disgraceful thing to say!

ARTHUR:
I agree.

SIR ROBERT (leaning forward and glaring at RONNIE with the utmost venom):
I suggest, that the time has at last come for you to undo some of the misery you have caused by confessing to us all now that you are a forger, a liar, and a thief!

RONNIE (in tears):
I’m not! I’m not! I’m not! I didn’t do it —-

GRACE has flown to his side and now envelops him.

ARTHUR:
This is outrageous, sir —-

JOHN appears at the door, dressed in evening clothes.

JOHN:
Kate, dear, I’m late. I’m most terribly sorry —-

He stops short as he takes in the scene, with RONNIE sobbing hysterically on his mother’s breast, and ARTHUR and CATHERINE glaring indignantly at SIR ROBERT, who is engaged in putting his papers together.

SIR ROBERT (to DESMOND):
Can I drop you anywhere? My car is at the door.

DESMOND:
Er – no – I thank you –

SIR ROBERT (carelessly):
Well send all this stuff round to my chambers to-morrow morning, will you?

DESMOND:
But – but will you need it now?

SIR ROBERT:
Oh, yes. The boy is plainly innocent. I accept the brief.

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1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “The Winslow Boy” by Terence Rattigan ~~Innocent~~

  1. Terence Rattigan was born in South Kensington, England on 10 June 1911, and died on 30 November 1977, aged 66 years. ‘The Winslow Boy’ premiered in London in 1946.

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