This piece can be performed either in two parts, with an interval before the Intermezzo, or as one act totalling around 75 minutes.
On a warm summer’s evening, Harry Benn is enjoying a mug of beer outside The Beehive inn, and singing a bit to himself (‘When rocked on the billows, that roughest of pillows’). A serving girl, Mary Ann, is sitting nearby, holding a bundle of things and waiting. She catches Benn’s eye as he sings, and he gets embarrassed and stops.
Mary Ann is going to stay with her mother for the night, and Benn tries to make conversation with her about it (‘So you’re going to spend the night with your mother?’). Headstrong Mary Ann has her own views on the world, and quickly dismisses his conversation. Fortunately, it is not long before Mrs Waters, the landlady, comes out with her wages, and sends her on her way.
Benn continues the conversation he was having with Mrs Waters (‘As I was saying when the girl come in’). Mrs Waters is rather frustrated, she has
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