… Extract from script …
Zoë: That was lovely, Rose. Really delicious.
Rose: Not my idea, I’m afraid. Mrs. Elliot cut it out. From a magazine. And it seemed to work. Shall I serve the pudding now? Or would you like to wait?
Zoë: Mrs. Elliot is hurt because you don’t read her books.
Rose: Is she now?
Zoë: She thinks you think Andrew’s books are … worthier.
Patrick: Oh come on Zoë.
Patrick: Stop stirring things.
Zoë: I’m not stirring things. We are having a literary discussion.
Sally: She is right, though, isn’t she Rose?
Rose: She is.
Zoë: And you’re not a bit offended, are you, darling?
Sally: People always know instinctively when I’m offended, Zoë. As you well know.
Andrew: I really don’t think it’s fair to … ah… put Rose on the spot like this.
Andrew: I mean look at my sales. It’s obvious lots of people can’t stand my stuff.
Rose: That’s hardly the point, though, is it?
( Pause. )
Sally: It isn’t?
Zoë: ( Innocently ) What is the point, Rose?
Patrick: ( Warningly ) Zoë. Behave.
Rose: Well, since you ask, the point is that Mr. Elliot, believes in his writing.
Zoë: And Sally’s writing?
Rose: Nobody believes in it. Especially not Mrs. Elliot, I suspect.
Sally: I really feel I ought to issue a public warning here. To the effect that I could not be described as one of those who welcomes criticism.
Patrick: Look, can we please change the subject?
Rose: I think perhaps I’d better just get on with serving the pudding. I’m putting my foot in it, here. Again.
Zoë: Absolutely not. Come on, Rose. Why are Andrew’s books better than Sally’s?
Rose: In my opinion, if you can write, you’re someone special. I used to think, I could. And then I realised the truth. I knew what good writing was. But I couldn’t do it. Mrs. Elliot can write. There is no doubt about that.
Zoë: There you are, darling.
Sally: I had the vague feeling that was a compliment but now I’m not sure.
Zoë: (Innocently) Oh, do go on, Rose. This is very interesting.
Rose: You have to understand, I’m not just picking on Mrs. Elliot. It’s she and all the other writers who are producing these beach books. These chick-lit sagas. They are just not … real. If you ask me writing clever rubbish is worse than not being able to write at all.
Zoë: ( To Sally ) Oh, dear, darling.