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Frederick enters from hall, in shirt sleeves but carrying jacket which he places on the back of the chair.

Fred: Morning.

Alice: Morning.

Fred: No paper I see. That's good.

He sits at the table.

Fred: Ann had her breakfast? What's wrong with her? Tell her she's been ill for long enough.


Joyce: Why did you leave England?

Fred: Mm? Weather. Too damp. You should walk. Much healthier. Helen got tuberculosis because she didn't get enough fresh air.

Janet: (pushing him) But what about family?

Fred: Mm?

Alice: I'm sick, sick, sick of knowing nothing. Sick of knowing nothing. You've told us nothing. You've told us nothing of your brothers. You've told us nothing about life in Lancashire. Or the cotton mills. You treat us like children. Like stopping the paper. Like blathering on about nothing.

Janet: Alice!

Alice: We don't know how to meet anyone. We don't know who we are. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of all the mess. I'm sick of... of... everything. Nothing.

Pause, then Alice plummets for the outside door and exits. Long silence.

Fred: Helen. Helen would know what to do. Helen. Sweet Pea.

Silence. Then Alice enters from outside with the paper. She sits at the table, still angry, and opens it. She pretends to read but is too angry to concentrate.

Janet: I'll see to Ann.

Janet exits through hall door.

Fred: I'll be in my room.

Joyce: Who cares?


Joyce: (regretfully) There's a letter from Jane.

Fred: I don't care.

Frederick exits through hall door. Silence.

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