Brown: The girl’s main object in life was to be together, to share each other’s thoughts and activities, secrets and plans. The girl Parker visited the Hulme’s residence at Ilam regularly, on occasion staying for days at a time. Mrs. Parker became perturbed over their unhealthy relationship and tried to break it up. This interference was resented by the girls and gradually grew into hatred.
(1953. The two girls’ bedrooms. Pauline is in her underclothes writing in her diary. She is listening to ‘E lucevan le stelle’ from Tosca)
Pauline: Yesterday Mother was out so I went to Deborah’s. No one was home so we bathed together… However, I felt thoroughly depressed afterwards…
(In her own bedroom, Juliet is writing in her diary. The music continues as both girls write, their voices overlapping.)
Juliet: We bathed for some time. Gina was very depressed. She talked about suicide. Of course, her circumstances are almost intolerable.
Pauline: Life seemed so much not worth living and death such an easy way out.
Juliet: … such an easy way out.
Pauline: Anger against Mother boils up inside me. It is she who is one of the main obstacles in my path.
Juliet: … our path is strewn with obstacles…
(the music swells. Pauline is overcome by it. She hardly hears Mrs. Rieper knocking at the door.)
Mrs. Rieper: Pauline! We’re going to be late. (Pauline ignores her) You’ve been locked up there an hour and a half.
Pauline: In a moment.
Mrs. Rieper: I’m opening the door right now.
(Mrs. Rieper enters with freshly ironed skirt and blouse.)
Mrs. Rieper: Please turn that music off. (Pauline turns it off.) Well?
Pauline: Well what?
Mrs. Rieper: Thank you for ironing my clothes, Mother. I know I promised to do it myself but I forgot.
Pauline: Thank you. Don’t watch me!
(Pauline zips up her skirt)
Mrs. Rieper: That skirt’s hanging on you.
Pauline: It is not.
Mrs. Rieper: You could be anaemic.
Pauline: I feel fine.
Mrs. Rieper: Your hair looks limp.
Pauline: I like it straight.
Mrs. Rieper: It was the Hulmes who recommended Dr Bennett so stop sulking.
Pauline: Only because you went on and on.
Mrs. Rieper: I did no such thing.
Pauline: Mrs. Hulme said-
Mrs. Rieper: Said what?
Mrs. Rieper: Don’t you ‘nothing’ me.
Pauline: That you’re a worrier.
Mrs. Rieper: She said that, did she?
Mrs. Rieper: If you ask me, Lady Muck should worry herself a little bit more. Don’t slouch. You’ll compress your innards. You really could be a lovely girl if you set your mind to it.
Pauline: Deborah likes me the way I am.
Mrs. Rieper: Why you can’t call Juliet by her proper Christian name I’ll never know. Deborah and Gina.
Pauline: There’s no need to harp on about it.
Mrs. Rieper: You’re not pining over that fellow Nicholas are you?
Pauline: (scornfully) Nicholas!
Mrs. Rieper: I thought he was rather fond of you.
Mrs. Rieper: I know you’d never do anything to disappoint me.
Pauline: I wouldn’t touch Nicholas with a barge pole.
Mrs. Rieper: I wasn’t suggesting-
Pauline: If you think there was ever anything between Nicholas and me-
Mrs. Rieper: Now Pauline, I’ve never said-
Pauline: The thought disgusts me.
Mrs. Rieper: Sometimes young people do things they regret later on.
Pauline: Not me.
Mrs. Rieper: Even you Dad’s worried.
Pauline: There’s nothing wrong with me!
Mrs. Rieper: Maybe you need a tonic.
Pauline: You don’t like the Hulmes, do you?
Mrs. Rieper: There is such a thing as overstaying your welcome. You practically live there.
Pauline: I’m one of the family. Mrs. Hulme said so.
Mrs. Rieper: I’m your mother, Pauline, not Lady Muck.
Pauline: I’m to come out as often as I like.
Mrs. Rieper: And I say no more going to Ilam until you’re more cheerful around the house, and you eat properly.
Pauline: That’s not fair.
Mrs. Rieper: No potatoes, no Juliet. (Bridget rings at the Riepers’ front door. She has a Mario Lanza record) Finish getting dressed. We’re leaving in five minutes. (she opens the door) Yes?
Bridget: Mrs. Rieper? Bridget O’Malley.
Mrs. Rieper: Oh yes. Come in.
Bridget: Thank you. Juliet asked me to drop this record off for Pauline.
Mrs. Rieper: I don’t like her accepting gifts she can’t repay.
Bridget: I think it’s a loan.
Mrs. Rieper: A loan. Well then.
Bridget: There’s a note too.
Mrs. Rieper: We’ve a doctor’s appointment to keep-
Bridget: Nothing serious I hope.
Mrs. Rieper: Pauline’s not looking herself lately. She’s off her food.
Bridget: She eats like a horse at Ilam. Everything on her plate.
Mrs. Rieper: False expectations is what hurts people.
Bridget: Isn’t that the truth.
Mrs. Rieper: She doesn’t seem to realize.
Bridget: You don’t at that age. (she gives Mrs. Rieper an envelope) You can rip it up if you like. It’s only schoolgirl drivel.
Mrs. Rieper: Thank you.
Bridget: I won’t keep you then. Afternoon.
Mrs. Rieper: Good afternoon.
(Bridget goes out. Mrs. Rieper looks at the envelope debating whether to open it. Pauline and Juliet continue writing in their diaries.)
Pauline: Suddenly the means of ridding myself of the obstacle occurs to me.
Juliet: … I see the faint shadow of a solution… the faintest of shadows, there on the horizon.
Pauline: I will not tell Deborah of my plans – yet.
Juliet: I will not say anything to Gina – yet. She must come to see its inevitability herself.
Pauline: The last fate I wish to meet is one in Borstal.
(Mrs. Rieper hands Pauline the envelope and the record)