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Night Must Fall : a Play in Three Acts

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The sitting-room of Forest Corner, MRS. BRAMSON'S _bungalow in a forest in Essex, A fine morning in October.

Centre back, a small hall; in its left side the front door of the house (throughout the play, "left" and "right" refer to the audience's left and right). Thick plush curtains can be drawn across the entrance to the hall; they are open at the moment. Windows, one on each side of the hall, with window-seats and net curtains beyond which can be glimpsed the pine-trees of the forest. In the left wall, upstage, a door leading to the kitchen. In the left wall, downstage, the fireplace; above it, a cretonne-covered sofa, next to a very solid cupboard built into the wall; below it a cane armchair. In the right wall, upstage, a door leading to _MRS. BRAMSON'S _bedroom. In the right wall, downstage, wide-open paned doors leading to the sun-room. Right downstage, next the sun-room, a large dining-table with four straight chairs round it. Between the bedroom and the sun-room, a desk with books on it, a cupboard below it, and a hanging mirror on the wall above. Above the bedroom, a corner medicine cupboard. Between the hall and the right window, an occasional table.

The bungalow is tawdry but cheerful; it is built entirely of wood, with an oil lamp fixed in the wall over the occasional table. The room is comfortably furnished, though in fussy and eccentric Victorian taste; stuffed birds, Highland cattle in oils, antimacassars, and wax fruit are unobtrusively in evidence. On the mantelpiece, an ornate chiming clock. The remains of breakfast on a tray on the table_.

MRS. BRAMSON is sitting in a wheeled chair in the centre of the room. She is a fussy, discontented, common woman of fifty-five, old- fashioned both in clothes and coiffure; NURSE LIBBY, a kindly, matter-of-fact young north-country woman in district nurse's uniform, is sitting on the sofa, massaging one of her hands. OLIVIA GRAYNE sits on the old woman's right; holding a book; she is a subdued young woman of twenty-eight, her hair tied severely in a knot, wearing horn-rimmed spectacles; there is nothing in any way remarkable about her at the moment. HUBERT LAURIE _is sitting in the armchair, scanning the "Daily Telegraph." He is thirty-five, moustached, hearty, and pompous, wearing plus fours and smoking a pipe.

A pause. The church bells die away_.

MRS. BRAMSON (sharply): Go on.

OLIVIA (reading): "… Lady Isabel humbly crossed her attenuated hands upon her chest. 'I am on my way to God,' she whispered, 'to answer for all my sins and sorrows.' 'Child,' said Miss Carlyle, 'had I anything to do with sending you from …' (turning over) '… East Lynne?' Lady Isabel shook her head and cast down her gaze."

MRS. BRAMSON (aggressively): Now that's what I call a beautiful character.

NURSE: Very pretty. But the poor thing'd have felt that much better tucked up in 'ospital instead of lying about her own home gassing her 'ead off——


NURSE: Sorry.

OLIVIA (reading): "'Thank God,' inwardly breathed Miss Corny…....