DOLLY: Come on Charlie! Give us a speech!
CHARLIE: I don’t like public speaking. I’d rather jump out of an aeroplane.
LLOYD: Go on then!
CHARLIE: I’ve only ever spoken three times, formally, in public, in my life, and each time I’ve been banged up by the judge straight afterwards! I done me best bringing up Pauline, on me own, after her muvver. . . (Chokes.) . . . sorry. . .
LLOYD : – doin’ well Charlie.
CHARLIE : – I’ve had to be her dad and her mum after her muvver… (Chokes.)
PAULINE: – It’s alright dad.
CHARLIE : – …after her muvver left me and went to live in Spain. It’s a disappointment that Jean can’t be here in Brighton at her daughter’s engagement party, and a shame she can’t even afford a stamp for a card neither. But I’m not gonna go on about it. I’d like to thank Alan’s father, my solicitor, where is he?!
DANGLE: (Coming forward.) Ecce homo!
CHARLIE: No Latin! Please! I have enough difficulty understanding you when you’re speaking English. But, seriously, wivout Harry, I wouldn’t be here today, I’d be behind bars, where, let’s face it, by rights, I oughta be. Over to you Alan.
CHARLIE steps back. Applause for CHARLIE. ALAN kneels, with a flourish, before PAULINE.
(Aside.) He wants to be an actor.
ALAN: Pauline, I give you my hand. (ALAN holds out an upturned, closed, cupped hand towards PAULINE.) Captive within my hand, is a bird. This bird is my heart.
PAULINE: (To DOLLY.) Is it a real bird?
DOLLY: No. It’s a metaphor.
PAULINE: (Excited.) Oh! Lovely!
ALAN: I offer you the whole of my life, as your husband.
DOLLY: (Aside.) Ooh! I could do with a bit of this myself. Knowhatimean.
PAULINE opens his hand and takes out the imaginary bird, and presses it to her heart.
PAULINE: I accept your bird heart thing, and I promise to look after it properly (PAULINE kneels, and offers her hand to ALAN.) I got a bird in my hand an’all.
CHARLIE: – That’s two birds now, I’m gonna have to get in a box of Trill!
PAULINE: – This bird is my heart, the only one I’ve ever had.
ALAN mimes taking the bird and presses it through his rib cage into his heart. They kiss passionately. Silence. A bit embarrassing. It is broken by the pop of a champagne cork.
DANGLE: May I propose a toast. To love! In Latin –
CHARLIE: – Oh no!
DANGLE: Ars amandi!
PAULINE: No! Pauline.
ALAN: (To PAULINE.) ‘Ars amandi’, is the art of love.
PAULINE: I don’t understand.
ALAN: (Aside.) This is why I love her. She is pure, innocent, unspoiled by education, like a new bucket.
LLOYD: To love!
ALL: To love!
They toast. The door bell rings.
CHARLIE: Dolly, get the door.
DOLLY: Bookkeeper? Or butler? Make your mind up.
CHARLIE: And if it’s carol singers tell them to piss off. It’s only April.
LLOYD: You’re Charlie’s solicitor then?
They shake hands.
DANGLE: Harry Dangle. Dangle, Berry and Bush. My card.
LLOYD: (Reading.) No win, same fee?
DANGLE: That’s us.
LLOYD: Charlie tells me you’re brilliant!
DANGLE: Put it this way, I got the Mau Mau off. Are you family Lloyd?
LLOYD: No, no! An old friend. Me and Charlie go way back. (Aside.) Parkhurst.
PAULINE: Dad! Me and Alan, we’re gonna go up to my room, to play some records.
CHARLIE: Do I look like I just came down in the last shower? No! Mingle!
LLOYD takes CHARLIE to one side. Gets out invitation.
LLOYD: Man! What’s going on! Last week I gets this invitation to a hengagement party –
CHARLIE: – put that away.
LLOYD: – of Pauline Clench and Roscoe Crabbe, which was a shock because I always thought Roscoe was ginger.
CHARLIE: He was ginger! He was as queer as a whisky and Babycham. That was the whole point, it was a gonna be a marriage of convenience wannit.
LLOYD: But today and it’s a different groom man!
CHARLIE: Because Roscoe’s dead. Pauline and this Alan wanted to get engaged, so I thought –
LLOYD: – I’ve paid for the sausage rolls so why waste them?!
Enter DOLLY, looking serious.
DOLLY: Some geezer from London. Says he’s Roscoe Crabbe’s minder.