Mountaineer

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

A hotel bar at the foot of Ben Enormous. Stephen is the bartender, with a ludicrously long beard. Hugh is a git.

Hugh Oh she's beautiful, isn't she?

Stephen She?

Hugh The mountain.

Stephen Ah.

Hugh I always think of the mountain as "she". To me, the mountain will always be "she".

Stephen I know what you mean.

Hugh Do you? Yes, I think perhaps you do.

Stephen But to me, you see, the mountain is an "it".

Hugh An "it".

Stephen "It", yes. To me, the mountain has always had an "itty" sort of quality.

Hugh Interesting.

Stephen I think of my wife as a "she".

Hugh Is that right?

Stephen Oh yes. I always think of my wife as being a woman. Does that sound mad?

Hugh Mad? No, it's not mad. Your wife as a woman. Interesting.

Stephen Well, romantic, perhaps. You married?

Hugh Yes indeed. Oh yes. Marriage is a wonderful thing. It's upstairs at the moment. It's a bit tired after the journey.

Stephen "It"?

Hugh My wife.

Stephen Oh I see. I thought you meant the mountain. I thought you meant the mountain was upstairs.

Hugh No no no.

Stephen So are you going to be climbing tomorrow?

Hugh Oh yes. I shall be up her face tomorrow morning, first thing.

Stephen With your wife?

Hugh Oh no. It's never really enjoyed climbing. It doesn't like heights, you see. Mind you, neither do I.

Stephen Then why do you climb? That sounds very odd. It sounds very strange indeed.

Hugh It is strange, it's mad really. I can't think why I married it. That's why I climb mountains, I suppose. To get away from it.

Stephen And of course you're so beautiful.

Hugh I beg your pardon?

Stephen You are so ravishingly lovely.

Hugh Well that's very kind of you I'm sure.

Stephen Wales, that is. I always think of Wales as a "you". Don't know why.

Hugh Oh, I understand. Yes, you certainly are lovely, aren't you?

Stephen Oh yes. What a great country you are. Drifting through the window we hear a lilting Welsh hymn.

Hugh Ah. You hear that? What a beautiful hymn.

Stephen Ah. You think of that as a him, do you? That's funny, because I'd call that a "they". To me, that's a beautifully sung "they".

Hugh Ah, it's pure poetry, isn't it?

Stephen Your wife? Your wife is poetry?

Hugh No, the hymn is poetry.

Stephen Well I don't know. I don't think they is poetry. I always think that poetry is poetry.

Hugh You're talking now of Dylan Thomas.

Stephen Dylan Thomas, yes ... or any of the other great poets, like ...

Hugh Dylan Thomas.

Stephen Yes and ... er ...

Hugh Dylan Thomas.

Stephen Coal black ...

Hugh Black as black ...

Stephen Slow black ...

Hugh Black ...

Stephen Black ... Aye.

Hugh I?

Stephen Yes. I always think of aye as yes. Yes, there's no doubt about it, we're very, very lucky.

Hugh We?

Stephen The Welsh. I always think of the Welsh as "we". A great stream of we.

Hugh Yes, a huge reservoir of we, I know what you mean.

Stephen Oh Wales, you're so lovely.

Hugh You certainly are. I'd live there if the bastards didn't keep burning down my holiday cottage.

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