IT IS ABOUT seven-thirty in the evening. ELSIE is sitting at the piano practising with the loud pedal firmly down all the time. MRS ROCKETT is sitting in her chair by the fire, but she is dressed in her street things and wearing a black hat with a veil. DORIS, also in street clothes, is trying on paper patterns.
There is a cloth across the upstage end of the table on which is set a loaf, a plate of cold ham, a saucer with two tomatoes in it, a bottle of A.1 sauce and a teapot, tea-cup, sugar basin and milk jug.
HENRYcomes in, taking off his mackintosh. He gives one look round the room and goes out into the hall again to hang up his things. ELSIEstops playing and comes over to DORIS.
ELSIE. Mum, can we go now?
DORIS. In a minute.
ELSIE. We'll miss the Mickey.
DORIS. Put on your hat and don't worry.
ELSIE [grabbing her hat from the sideboard]. Oh, all right.
DORIS. Your supper's all ready, the kettle's on the gas stove when you want it. [Folding up paper patterns.] We've had ours.
DORIS. And you needn't look injured, either.
HENRY. Very well. [He crosses in front of the table.]
DORIS. If you managed to get home a bit earlier it'd save a lot of trouble all round.
HENRY [amiably]. Sorry, dear. [He warms his hands at the fire.]
DORIS. It's all very fine to be sorry, you've been getting later and later these last few weeks, they can't keep you overtime every night.
HENRY. All right, dear, I'll tell them.
DORIS. Here, Elsie, put these away in the cupboard. Mind your fingers with the scissors.
[She hands her a pile of material and pieces of paper. ELSIEobedi ently takes them and puts them in the left-hand cupboard of the sideboard.]
HENRY [sitting at the table]. Cold ham, what a surprise!
DORIS [looking at him sharply]. What's the matter with it? [She puts on her coat.]
HENRY. I don't know, yet.
DORIS. It's perfectly fresh, if that's what you mean.
[ ELSIEcrosses to L.C.]
HENRY. Why are you all so dressed up?