The African Queen (1951) Script

Bread of heaven Bread of heaven

In this barren wilderness

Song of praises Song of praises I will ever give to thee


Be the Lord my righteousness Song of praises Song of praises I will ever give to thee...

Death of death and hell's...

Song of praises Song of praises I will ever give to thee When I tread the verge of Jordan

Song of praises I will ever give to thee Amen.

Amen


-Hello, Reverend. -Mr. Allnut.

-Here's your mail. -Thank you.

Sorry l'm late, but one thing and another kept me in Limbasi.

You know how it is. Maybe you don't.

-Good morning, Mr. Allnut. -Good morning, miss.

Splendid, they've come at last. My rose trees.

-You'll stay for tea? -Don't mind if l do. l sure need something in my condition. l'm in for a going over when l get back to the mine.

Them Belgians are calling me all the names they can think of, but l don't mind being cussed out in a foreign language.

They won't fire me.

Ain't nobody in Africa except yours truly can get up a good head of steam on the old African Queen.


You take sugar, l seem to remember, Mr. Allnut?

That's right, miss. Couple of spoonfuls.

And milk?

That's right, miss.

-Bread and butter? -That's right, miss.

-Brother. -Thank you.

Just listen to this stomach of mine.

The way it sounds, you'd think l had a hyena inside me.

Do have some more bread and butter, Mr. Allnut.

Thanks, miss. l... l don't mind if l do.

Excuse me.

Queer thing, ain't it? What l mean is, what do you suppose makes a man's stomach carry on like this?

Try a rock cake, Mr. Allnut.

No, thanks, miss.

Herbie Morton's a bishop.

-Who's that, dear? -Dear, surely you remember Herbie.

Blond, a bit younger than l am, ruddy-faced.

He sang a solo at the commemoration concert.

HoIy, HoIy, l think it was. l think l remember. lt was so long ago.

-He's a bishop now. -Splendid.

Yes, l'd say Herbie was a bit younger than me, four or five years. Surprising, really.

He wasn't up to much as a student, didn't have more than his share of the social graces.

Then, of course, he married well.

Yes. That manufacturer's widow.

What was his name, Griggs? Briggs. That was it. Alfred Briggs.

Soap flakes, l think. Mrs. Alfred Briggs.

Not to take anything away from Herbie. l'm delighted for him, naturally.

Of course.

Ain't a thing l can do about it.

It was Holy, Holy.

More tea, Mr. Allnut?

Thank you, no, miss. l reckon l'd better be shoving off if l'm to get back to the mine before tomorrow night.

-Don't hurry, Mr. Allnut. -Do stay for dinner.

Thanks just the same.

l probably won't be coming around this way for a couple of months.

Really? Well, what about our mail?

Don't look like there's going to be any mail for a while.

Why not?

-The Germans will hold it up. -Why, in heaven's name?

-On account of the war. -War? Where, Mr. Allnut?

-Europe. -lndeed. Between whom?

Germany, England...

-England? -England?

-That's right. -You really mean war?

Yeah, that's what they tell me.

Germans claim the British started it, British claim it was the Germans.

Well, what do you know about it? What's happened?

Well, let's see. l... That's all l can remember.

Yes, the French are in it, and all them little countries.

Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Spain. l forget who's with who.

-ls that all you can tell us? -That's all l know. l'll see what l can find out when l get to Limbasi.

Well, l'm wondering what our position will be. Enemy aliens.

What harm could anybody do the Germans in this godforsaken place?

God has not forsaken this place, Mr. Allnut, as my brother's presence here bears witness.

-No offense, miss. -War.

Yeah. Yeah, looks like it.

Well, l'll be shoving off. Thanks for the tea.

Take care of yourselves.

-Goodbye. Thank you. -Goodbye, Mr. Allnut.

Wretched little man. What indifference. He's a Canadian.

Doesn't he realize he's in this, too?

Shouldn't we perhaps try to get to Limbasi while we can?

A good shepherd doesn't desert his flock when the wolves are prowling.

We must ask the Almighty to bless the arms of England and carry her through her hour of trial.


Rose, go into the house and stay there.

What's the meaning of this outrage? How dare you!


Samuel!

Dear, here you are. And without your hat on.

Didn't you hear me calling you?

Yes, but l must get the seeds in now. lt's a bit late. August.

But, dear, you know it doesn't matter when one plants in Central Africa.

Africa?

Brother, dear, you're not at all well.

Africa?

-l'll help you off with your things. -Rose.


Brother. Brother. Dear.

Smite the Amalekites, O Lord. Smite them, hip and thigh.

Amen.

Cold. Foggy.

Where's Rose?

Rose, are you down there in the shop? l'm here.

Bring me a nice, hot cup of tea. l'm here, Brother, beside you. l try so hard, you know, to study.

Hebrew, Greek. l've got no facility. lf l don't pass the examinations, l shall volunteer as a missionary.

Rose, too.

Not comely among the maidens, but she, too, can be a servant in the house of the Lord.

Even for such as she, God has a goodly purpose.

l'm going to put my books away. l'm not going to work anymore. lf l don't pass, it'll just mean that God has other work for me.

Thy will be done.

O Lord, if it be thy will, let me distinguish myself.

Give me a call here in England at home.

Mother would be so proud.

O Lord, l've tried so hard.


So they been here, too, eh?

After l left here the other day, the drums started in the forest.

Pretty soon, my boys was moaning and rolling their eyes. l asked them what the trouble was, and they told me the drums said the soldiers was rounding up their people and marching them off and burning their villages so they wouldn't have no homes to come back to.

Sure enough, when l got to the mine, everything was a shambles.

My boys took one look and bolted into the forest.

The way l look at it, they plan to make soldiers of the natives and take over all Africa. Where's the Reverend?

He's in there. He's dead.

Well, now, ain't that awful? lf they'd up and shoot a reverend couldn't do them a bit of harm, -well, there ain't nobody safe. -They didn't shoot him, Mr. Allnut, but they may as well have done.

That's certainly too bad, miss. That's all l can say.

-When'd he die, miss? -He died early this morning.

Excuse me, miss. What l mean to say is, what with the climate and all, the quicker we get him under the ground, the better. lf you don't mind my saying so. You got a spade?

Behind the bungalow. l expect he'd like to be buried in the shade. l'll tell you what. While l'm digging the grave, you get your things together, all the things you want to carry, and then we can clear out of here in a hurry.

The Germans might come back anytime.

-Why should they? -They'll be back, all right, looking for the African Queen.

They'd give a lot to get their hands on her, you bet.

And what's in her, too.

Blasting gelatin, tinned grub, cylinders of oxygen and hydrogen, heaps of things them Germans could use. You can trust them for that.

The Germans.

See, l figure we could go somewheres behind an island where it's quiet

-and we can talk about what to do. -l'll get ready.

Fine. l'll be as quick as l can.

Let's go, miss. Let's go while the going's good.


Pardon me.


Mind taking the tiller, miss? Come on.

-But l can't steer. -Come on.

A little to starboard, miss. No, no, the other way.

So far, so good.

Here we are, safe and sound, as you might say.

-The question is, what next? -Quite.

We got heaps of grub here, miss, so we're all right as far as that goes.

Two thousand cigarettes. Two cases of gin.

We could stay here for months if we wanted to. lt's not a bad place to sit out a war, then, is it, miss?

All the comforts of home, including running water.

We simply can't remain here in this backwater until the war is over, Mr. Allnut.

Can't we, miss? You got the map.

Show me a way out and l'll take it.

The British will certainly launch an attack.

The only question is, which way will they come?

Maybe from the sea, up the railway to Limbasi.

But that would put the Germans between us and them.

Mightn't our soldiers come in from British East, Mr. Allnut?

Yeah, they might, but the war in Europe would be over before they ever hacked their way through that forest.

We're in a bit of a fix, miss, no matter which way you look at it.

There's one thing certain. They won't come up from the Congo, not even if they wanted to. They gotta cross that lake, and nothing's going to cross that lake while the Louisa's there.

-The Louisa? What's that? -A hundred-ton steamer, miss.

The Germans brought her overland in sections.

She's the boss of the lake 'cause she's got a six-pounder.

A six-pounder? What's that?

A gun, miss. The biggest gun in Central Africa.

-l see. -lf it wasn't for the Louisa, there wouldn't be nothing to it.

The Germans wouldn't last a month if our men could get across the lake, but all that don't get us any closer to home, does it, miss?

This river, the Ulanga, runs into the lake, doesn't it, Mr. Allnut?

Well, yes, miss, it does, but if you got any ideas about going down to the lake in this launch, -you better get rid of them. -Why?

Well, first off, there's Shona.

The Germans have a fort there overlooking the river. lf we tried to pass under their guns, they'd blow us right out of the water.

And then after that, miss, there's the rapids.

A hundred miles of water like it was coming out of a fire hose.

After that, why, the river's even got a different name. lt's called the Bora. That just goes to show you they didn't even know it was the same river

-until this fellow Spengler got... -He got down it, l remember.

Yes, miss, in a dugout canoe. He had a half a dozen Swahili paddlers.

Map-making, he was. That was his map you was looking at.

-Mr. Allnut. -Yes, miss?

What did you say is in these boxes with the red lines on them?

Well, them, that's blasting gelatin, miss. ls it dangerous?

Bless you, no, miss. That's safety stuff, that is.

You can get it wet and it don't do it any harm.

You set fire to it, and it just burns.

You can hit it with a hammer and it won't go off.

At least, l don't think it will.

Takes a detonator to set it off. l'll put it over the side, though, if it worries you.

No, we may want it.

-Mr. Allnut. -Yes, miss?

What are these long, round, torpedo-like things?

Them? Them's oxygen and hydrogen cylinders, miss.

-Mr. Allnut. -l'm still right here, miss.

There ain't much of any other place l could be on a 30-foot boat.

You're a machinist, aren't you? l mean, wasn't that your position at the mine?

Yes, a kind of a fixer, jack of all trades and master of none, like they say.

-Could you make a torpedo? -How's that, miss?

-Could you make a torpedo? -A torpedo?

Ask me to make a dreadnought, and do it up right.

A torpedo, miss...

You don't really know what you're asking.

You see, there ain't nothing so complicated as the insides of a torpedo. lt's got gyroscopes, compressed air chambers, compensating...

But all those things, those gyroscopes and things, -they're only to make it go, aren't they? -Yeah.

Yeah, go and hit what it's aimed at.

Well, we've got the African Queen.

How's that, miss? lf we were to fill those cylinders with that blasting gelatin and then fix them so that they would stick out over the end of the boat, and then run the boat against the side of a ship, they would go off, just like a torpedo, wouldn't they?

Yeah, yeah, if they had detonators in the ends.

We could... What do you call it? Get a good head of steam up, and then point the launch toward a ship, and just before she hits, we could dive off, couldn't we?

Sure, miss, sure. Absolutely.

There's only one little thing wrong with your idea.

-There ain't nothing to torpedo. -Yes, there is.

-There's what? -Something to torpedo.

-What's that? -The Louisa.

The Louisa? Now, don't talk silly, miss.

You can't do that. Honest, you can't. l told you before, we can't get down the Ulanga.

-Spengler did. -ln a canoe, miss...

-lf a German did it, we can, too. -Not in no launch.

How do you know? You never tried it. l never tried shooting myself in the head, neither.

The trouble with you, miss, is you... You don't know anything about boats. ln other words, you are refusing to help your country in her hour of need, Mr. Allnut?

Well, l wouldn't put it that way.

Just how would you put it, Mr. Allnut?

All right, miss, have it your own way, but don't blame me for what happens.

Very well, then. Let's get started.

-What, now, miss? -Yes, now.

There ain't two hours of daylight left, miss.

We can go a long way in two hours, Mr. Allnut. l'll have to get the old kettle to boiling and...

Well, do so, Mr. Allnut.

"Could you make a torpedo?

"Well, do so, Mr. Allnut."

A little to starboard, miss. That's right.

Hey, you're doing fine, miss. lt's really quite easy, isn't it, Mr. Allnut?

-Well, you gotta learn to read the river. -Read the river?

Yeah. You see that long thing over there, looks kind of like a "V"? That means a snag.

Now, this choppy water over here, that means shallow.

The Queen don't draw much water, so we can go right over them.

Most boats would get their bottoms tore up.

And when it's smooth and flat like that over there, -does that mean a rock, Mr. Allnut? -Rock or hippo, miss.

But don't go bumping into no hippo. Makes them awful mad.

This boat's only big enough for the two of us.


-What was the matter, Mr. Allnut? -Feed pump's full of scum and rust.

She gets clogged up. Kicking her starts her to working again. l gotta act fast, 'cause one of my boys dropped a screwdriver down the safety valve.

What would happen if you didn't kick her?

Whole boiler would blow up.

But if we're going downstream, Mr. Allnut, why do we need the engine at all?

Boat's got to go faster than the water or you can't steer. lf l was to let the engine die going down the rapids, we'd be goners.

-Mr. Allnut? -Yes, miss?

Why don't you dismantle the safety valve and remove the screwdriver?

You know, l'm going to do that one of these days.

The only reason l ain't done it up to now is that l kind of like kicking her. She's all l've got.


lt's kind of hot work, ain't it, miss? l could do with a drink. Excuse me, miss.


-You going to have one, miss? -No.

-What is it? -Gin, miss.

-Something the matter, miss? -No.

How'd you like a nice cup of tea? l'd like a cup of tea.

Course, it'll taste a little rusty, but then we can't have everything, can we?

There you are. l'll get this out of the way.

-Sugar, miss? -Thank you.

Don't mention it.

-Have a bit of supper, miss? -lt's too hot to eat.

-How long you been out here, miss? -About 10 years.

And what part of England do you come from?

-The Midlands. -lt sounds pretty, anyway.

Yes, it is. lt's very pretty.

Ever get homesick? lt's Sunday afternoons l think of most.

The peace and the quiet.

On Sunday afternoons, l was always sleeping one off.

-This is very, very good. -Yes, it isn't half bad, is it?

-What brought you to Africa, Mr. Allnut? -The Zambezi Bridge, miss.

A whole boatload of us Canucks came over to work on it.

Don't know yet what they wanted a bridge for, both sides of the river being the same, but why does a chicken cross the road?

-l beg your pardon? -Nothing, miss.

Sometimes l wish l was back rubbing elbows, as they say.

You know, there's nothing like the jostle and the noise and the music of a Saturday night for cheering a fellow up.

The rest of the week l'd be taking orders from somebody.

Out here, l'm my own boss. Anyway, l was, until...

You didn't see any crocodiles in this arm, did you, miss?

Crocodiles? No.

There's no shallows for them. The current's too swift. l could do with a bath before l turn in. l'd like a bath myself.

Well, then, l'll just go up in the bow and hang off the anchor chain.

You can stay back here in the stern and do whatever you have to.

Just so long as we don't look, it won't matter, huh?

Well, how about it, miss?

Very well, Mr. Allnut.

That's the ticket.


-Mr. Allnut. -Right here.

-l can't get back into the boat. -l'll give you a hand.

Close your eyes, please, Mr. Allnut.

All right. l'm all right. Thank you.


Mr. Allnut!

Hi. Sorry l woke you, miss.

What are you doing?

-l ain't doing nothing, miss. -Well, get out this instant.


Mr. Allnut.

You may come in out of the rain.

Thank you, miss.

-Miss. -Yes, Mr. Allnut?

-l'm sorry l gave you such a turn. -That's quite all right, Mr. Allnut.

-Good night, miss. -Good night, Mr. Allnut.


-What a frightfully strong smell. -What smell?

The river. lt smells like marigolds. Stale ones. lt does, huh? Not a very good smell for a flower.

-They're very pretty, though, marigolds. -They are, huh?

-Mr. Allnut? -Yes, miss?

-The current's quite strong here, isn't it? -Yes. We're getting near the rapids.

-Really? So soon? -Just around that bend.

Kind of dangerous. You better let me take over.


Here you are, miss.

-Well, miss? -Yes, Mr. Allnut?

-How'd you like it? -Like it?

-White water, rapids? -l never dreamed. l don't blame you for being scared, miss, not one little bit.

Ain't no person in their right mind ain't scared of white water. l never dreamed that any mere physical experience

-could be so stimulating. -How's that, miss? l've only known such excitement a few times before.

A few times in my dear brother's sermons, when the spirit was really upon him.

-You mean you want to go on? -Naturally.

-Miss, you're crazy! -l beg your pardon?

You know what would have happened if we'd come up against one of them rocks?

But we didn't. l must say, l'm filled with admiration for your skill, Mr. Allnut.

Do you suppose after l've practiced steering a bit, -that someday l might try? -Miss, let me tell you something.

Them rapids ain't nothing to what's out in front of us.

On second thoughts, l wouldn't call them rapids at all.

-l can hardly wait. -But, miss...

Now that l've had a taste of it, l don't wonder you love boating, Mr. Allnut.

ls something the matter, Mr. Allnut? Tell me.

Nothing. Nothing you'd understand. l simply can't imagine what could be the matter. lt's been such a pleasant day. What is it?

-Yes, Mr. Allnut? -All this foolish talk about the Louisa, -going down the river. -What do you mean? l mean we ain't going to do nothing of the sort.

Of course we are. What an absurd idea.

"What an absurd idea. What an absurd idea."

Lady, you got 10 absurd ideas for my one.

Just why don't you want to go on, Mr. Allnut?

-The river and Shona. -Shona?

You're darn right, Shona.

All it would take would be one bullet in the blasting gelatin and we'd be in little bits and pieces.

-Then we'll go by night. -No, we won't.

After Shona, there's the rapids.

Nobody in their might rind would tackle the rapids at night.

But then we'll go in the daylight.

We'll go on the far side of the river from Shona, -just as fast as ever we can. -No, we won't.

-You agreed to go. -l never did. l never agreed to nothing.

You are a liar, Mr. Allnut, and what is worse, you are a coward.

Coward yourself. You ain't no lady. No, miss.

That's what my poor old mother would say to you. lf my poor old mother were to hear you...

Whose boat is this, anyway? l asked you on board 'cause l was sorry for you, on account of you losing your brother and all.

That's what you get for feeling sorry for people.

Well, l ain't sorry no more, you crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!

There was a bold fisherman Set sail from off Pimlico And when he got off Pimlico The winds did begin to blow And the little boat wibble-wobbled so That overboard went he Singing twinkie deedIedum

Twinkie deedledee Was the highly interesting song that he sung Twinkie deedledum Twinkie deedledee...


Miss. Have pity, miss.

You don't know what you're doing, miss. l'll perish without a hair of the dog.

Miss. lt ain't your property!

What a headache.


There was a bold fisherman Set sail from off Pimlico To catch...

But when he got off Pimlico The one...

lt's a great thing to have a lady aboard with clean habits.

Sets a man a good example.

A man alone, he gets to living like a hog.

Then, too, with me, it's always putting things off.

Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.

But with you, business before pleasure, every time.

Do all your personal laundry. Make yourself spic-and-span, get all the mending out of the way, and then, and only then, sit down for a nice, quiet hour with the Good Book. l tell you, it's a model, like an inspiration.

Why, l ain't had this old engine so clean in years, inside and out.

Just look at her, miss. See how she practically sparkles?

Myself, too.

Guess you haven't never had a look at me without my whiskers and all cleaned up. l'll bet you wouldn't hardly recognize me.

Works that much of a change. Freshens you up, too. lf l only had some clean clothes like you.

Now, you, why, you could be at high tea.

Say, that's an idea, miss. How's about a nice little cup of tea?

Now, don't you stir. l'll be glad to make it for you.

How's the book, miss?

Well, not that l ain't read it. That is to say, my poor old mom used to read me stories out of it.

How's about reading it out loud? l could sure do with a little spiritual comfort, myself.

And you call yourself a Christian.

Do you hear me?

Don't you?

What you being so mean for, miss?

A man takes a drop too much once in a while. lt's only human nature.

Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.

Miss. l'm sorry. l apologize.

What more can a man do than say he's sorry?

You done paid me back, miss.

You didn't even leave me a drop.

Miss, have a heart. Fair is fair.

You gotta say something. l don't care what it is, but you gotta say something. l'll be honest with you, miss, l just can't stand no more of this. l just ain't used to it, that's all.

So you think it was your nasty drunkenness l minded?

-Well, what else? -You promised you'd go down the river.

Miss, listen to me and try to understand.

There's death a dozen times over down the river. l'm sorry to disappoint you, but don't blame me. Blame the Ulanga.

-You promised. -Well, l'm taking my promise back!

All right, miss, you win, as the crocodiles will be glad to hear.

Down the river we go.

Have some breakfast, Mr. Allnut.

Thanks for asking, and l don't mind if l do, because it'll be my last.

Or, no. Get up steam.

Breakfast can wait.

Waiting for their supper, miss.

Which side of the river is Shona on?

How's that, miss?

Which bank is Shona on?

Over to starboard, miss.

Good. Then the sun will be in their eyes.

l say the sun will be in their eyes.

Don't be worried, Mr. Allnut. l ain't worried, miss.

Gave myself up for dead back where we started.

Mr. Allnut.

Better get down, miss.


Come here.

Fire over the ship!

Get down lower, miss.


Nothing to do but let her drift, miss.


Are we going to be all right, Mr. Allnut?

Yes. Everything's all right. lf we can keep the steam up and the boiler don't bust and that mend holds.

And we don't pile up on them rocks.


We made it! We made it!

Hip, hip, hooray!

We sure put one over on them that time, didn't we, miss?

What a curious feeling to have people shooting at you.

They were that surprised to see the African Queen, they didn't start shooting till we were past.

One knows it's dangerous, and yet one isn't afraid at all!

They didn't believe we'd try to go down the gorge! l suppose it's because the bullets sound like mosquitoes.

They didn't believe anybody could! l felt like slapping at them.

Well, we showed them! Hip, hip, hooray!

Was my handling of the boat all right?

Well, yes, miss. lt was better than all right, miss.

Well, we're running short of fuel. We better put in someplace.


Well, l guess l better do some pumping. We'll be swimming pretty soon.

-Let me do that. -No, miss.

No, please, let me while you get the fuel.

Hey, easy does it, miss. Don't wear yourself out.


Picked up a thorn in my foot.

Must have gone right through the rubber sole.

Let me.

Thank you, miss.

Do you recognize these flowers, Mr. Allnut?

l've never seen them before.

Well, l can't say as l have, either.

Perhaps no one has. l don't suppose they even have a name.

Whether they have or not, they sure are pretty.


Mr. Allnut.

Dear.

Well. Well, now.

This is more like it, breakfast in bed.

Two spoonfuls of sugar is right, isn't it?

Fancy your building the fire and all while l slept.

Dear, what is your first name?

-Charlie. -Charlie.

That's a nice name. Charlie, Charlie.

Give us a kiss.

Charlie. Charlie.

You know, the more l look at this place, the prettier it gets. l expect it's just about the prettiest place l've ever been to, and that's saying a lot.

Not that l ain't all for going on down the river, you understand.

The sooner we blow up the old Louisa, the better.

What l meant was, l'd like to come back here someday.

Then you think we can do it?

Do it? Of course we can do it.

Nothing a man can't do if he believes in himself.

Never say die, that's my motto. l've had misgivings. l was beginning to think that the whole thing was a mistake.

How's that, miss, l mean, Rosie? l had a moment of weakness.

Now, if you're feeling weak, a day or two more here won't make any difference.

Oh, no. We'll go on.

Thank heaven for your strength, Charlie.


Oh, no!


Charlie.

Hey, Rosie. Listen.


We nearly done it that time, didn't we, Rosie? l wonder how much damage we've done.

Let's get the water out and see.

Yeah, better than we could've hoped for. The skin seems tight enough.

No water coming in.

What was all that clattering just before we stopped?

That's what we gotta find out, old girl.

How are you going to do that, dear? l gotta go down underneath and take a look. l hope there's no fancy currents down there.

Well, here goes.


Could you see anything, dear?

Yeah. The shaft's twisted like a corkscrew and there's a blade gone off the prop.

We'll have to mend it, then.

Mend it? Fat chance.

Why is that, dear?

What should we have to do before we can go on? l'll tell you. l'll tell you what we could do if we was back in the slip at Limbasi.

We could pull this old tub out and take the shaft down and haul it over to the workshop and forge it straight again.

Then we could write to the makers for a new prop.

They might even have one in stock, on account of how this boat's only 30 years old.

Then while we was waiting, we could clean her bottom and paint her up.

Then we'd put the new shaft in and the new prop and go on our way as if nothing had happened.

But this ain't Limbasi.

Couldn't you straighten the shaft without taking the boat up on shore? l don't know. l might.

Means working underwater. Could be done, maybe. lf you could get the shaft up on shore, could you straighten it? l ain't got no anvil, l ain't got no hearth, l ain't got no coal, l ain't got nothing. l saw a Masai native working once using charcoal on a big hollow stone.

He had a boy to fan the charcoal.

Yeah, yeah. l've seen that. l'd use a bellows myself. Could make one easy enough.

Well, if you think that would be better.

Well, lots and lots of firewood on the bank.

Why don't you try it?

No, no. lt ain't no use, Rosie. l was forgetting the prop. The blade's gone.

Can't we go on the blades that are left?

No. The prop would be out of balance.

The shaft would be all twisted up like a corkscrew again.

We'll have to make a new blade, then.

There's lots of iron and stuff that you could use.

Yeah. Tie it on!

Well, if you think that would do, but wouldn't it be better to weld it on? lsn't that the right word, dear? Weld it on?

You're a one, Rosie. Really, you are.

Well, isn't "weld" the right word, dear?

You know what l mean, -even if it isn't, don't you? -Yes.

l swallowed half the river that time.

You were down there an awfully long time. l was scared.

The shaft don't seem to want to come out. lt's stuck, like.

Charlie, let me help you.

How do you mean? What do you think you're going to do?

-l'm going to go down there, too. -Rosie, are you cracked?

The currents down there are fierce. l don't want a drowned woman on my hands.

What will you be thinking of next?

Well, here goes.


lf my old dad had put me to blacksmithing when l was a kid, l don't think l should have ever come to Africa. l might have...

But then l wouldn't have met you, Rosie, old girl.

Charlie.

Now.

There.

Yeah, that's about as good as l can get it.

Didn't take so long, neither.

The blade will be a different thing. l gotta make that.


lt turns right enough, but that don't mean nothing.

Question is, will she stand up under a full head of steam?

Well, we'll get the answer out there, but the Lord help us if it ain't the right one.


Looks like this old river got tired of all the running and jumping she did and decided to lay down and rest for a while.

This must be where the river changes her name from Ulanga to Bora.

Pinch me, Rosie.

Here we are, going down the river like Antony and Cleopatra on their barge.

lf it hadn't been for you, this couldn't be.

-Don't you feel proud of yourself? -Certainly not.

Look at the way you kept the engine going.

Look at how you mended the propeller. lt wasn't me at all. l don't think there's another man alive who could've done it.

Right you are, Rosie, 'cause no other man alive's got you.

-Charlie. -l'll never forget the way you looked going over the falls.

Head up, chin out, hair blowing in the wind.

The living picture of a heroine.

Fancy me a heroine.

Charlie, you've lost your mind.

Lost my heart, too.

Shall we drop the anchor, sweetheart? lf the river needs to rest for a while, l suppose we do, too.

Rosie, l got a feeling that pretty soon we're going to wish we was back shooting the rapids.

This is awful. We gotta get out of here.

-We ain't got no steam. -l'm going in.

-l'm going under the water. -Yeah, that's it.

-No. -But l'm being eaten alive!

What's that you said about being eaten alive?

Look at that.

Get me out of here, Charlie! l cannot stand it!

Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!

Golly! Golly! My! Hurry!

Charlie!

Hurry, hurry, hurry.


We got away from them. You can come out now.

l'm ashamed of myself, Charlie, acting this way, but l couldn't help it. l was going mad.

You're so bitten.

The bites themselves ain't so bad. lt's having them all around you. l've heard of them driving buffalo and native cattle stark-staring mad, so they just run and run till they fall down dead.

Will it be that way wherever we tie up?

Probably.

What are we going to do, Charlie?

Well, if the river keeps straight and deep and slow, there ain't nothing much can hurt us. l'll let the anchor out a way. That'll keep us out of trouble.

How much further do you suppose it is to the lake, Charlie?

Well, not so many miles, as the crow flies.

No telling how many days.

All depends on how much winding around this old river does.

What a time we've had, Rosie.

What a time.

We'll never lack for stories to tell our grandchildren, will we?


Nothing but grass and papyrus as far as you can see.

Which is the main channel?

Don't look like there is one.

What are we going to do, Charlie? l don't know.

We can't just go round and round here forever.

We can't just go round and round.

Well, if we get in there and the grass closes in back of the stern, there's no going back, Rosie. lf anything happens, we just sit there till we go off our heads with fever. l know it.

All right.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

-That way. -Put her over.


We've come along by steam, we've paddled and pushed and pulled this old boat along with the hook.

What we ain't done up to now is get out and carry her.

Looks like that'll come next.

Hard to breathe, the air is so heavy.

Yeah. You can't tell it from the water, or the water from the land, for that matter.

All the channels we've lost, all the twisting and turning we've done.

We may come out back where we started, if we come out at all.

We've always followed the current, what little there is of it.

That don't mean nothing with this river.

This river's crazy, crazy as l am.

-Charlie, Charlie. -Sorry, old girl.

Well...

The only thing that'll put the roses back in our cheeks is to get out of these reeds.

What l said about having to get out and carry this old boat was meant to be a joke. lt don't look like a joke now. Well...


The little beggars.

Pull them off me.

No, no. The heads stay in, poison your blood.

Salt. Salt, salt.

Your legs.

lf there's anything in the world l hate, it's leeches.

The filthy little devils.


There.

There, dear, there, there.

Fine specimen of a man l am, ain't l?

You're the bravest man that ever lived.

You just overdo, that's all.

What you need is a few hours' sleep.

There. Now, are you all comfortable? Go to sleep, dear.

When you wake up, we'll be on our way again.

-Rosie. -Yes, Charlie.

You want to know the truth, don't you?

Even if we had all our strength, we...

We'd never get her off this mud. We're finished. l know it.

But, Rosie, l'm not one bit sorry l came.

What l mean is, it was worth it.

Dear Lord,

we've come to the end of ourjourney. ln a little while, we will stand before you.

l pray for you to be merciful.

Judge us not for our weakness, but for our love.

And open the doors of heaven for Charlie and me.


Rosie.

Rosie, dear.

Look. We're on the lake.

The rain did it, just lifted the old Queen up and carried her over the mud.

We couldn't have been 100 yards from it last night.

Look. Look, Rosie.

Let's build the fire and get the engine started and go right out into the middle, away from these reeds where we can breathe.

Sure, sure. We'll be out of here in a jiffy.

This air, isn't it wonderful?

Yeah. lt's like... l know you don't approve, but it's like a shot of gin. lt makes your blood race, your face numb and your spirit soar. l'm sorry l poured that gin out, Charlie.

Forget it, Rosie.

And just to show you there's no hard feelings, l'll make you another cup of tea.

You carry on more over a cup of tea than l do over a glass of gin.

ls it?

Yes, it's the Louisa, and she's coming right toward us.

She must be doing a good 12 knots.

We've got to make a run for it, back to the reeds.


She's coming right toward us.

l thought for a minute they'd seen us.

They're going toward that island.

They'll probably anchor there for the night and leave in the morning.

Don't you worry, they'll be back again. You know how the Germans are.

They lays down systems and then they sticks to them.

Monday, they're one place, Tuesday, someplace else, and then Wednesday, they'll be back here.

How long will it take to get the torpedoes ready? l don't know. lt depends on the detonators.

We've got to devise something.

l know what you're thinking, Rosie.

You're thinking of taking the Queen out at night when the Louisa comes back, ain't you, old girl?

Well, we ought to manage it.

There, that ought to work. When we ram into it, the ends of these nails will hit the percussion caps and shoot the bullets into the gelatin.

Charlie, you're wonderful.

Can't put them in the cylinders yet. They're pretty tricky.

We'll put them in when we're ready to start. lt will be dark by then.

Do you think that you can do it in the dark? lt's a case of have to.

You're quite sure that they will come back with the Louisa, aren't you, Charlie?

Dead sure.

Let me see, the lake's 100 miles long, 50 miles wide.

Louisa does about... About 12 knots.

That's 120 miles a day. Yep.

She'll be back here tomorrow.

When she comes, we'll be ready for her.

Charlie, let's make the Queen as clean as we can, scrub her decks and polish her brass.

Sure. She ought to look her best, representing, as she does, the Royal Navy.

-You know, Rosie, l've been thinking. -Yes, Charlie?

Now, there ain't no use of us both going to do it.

Now that l've had time to study it, l can plainly see it's a one-man job.

You couldn't be more right, Charlie dear.

Well now, Rosie, l'm glad you agree with me.

When the time comes, l'll put you off on the east shore.

You'll wait there for me while l attend to the Louisa.

Certainly not. You're the one to be put ashore.

-Me? -This whole thing was my idea, wasn't it? l'm the logical one to carry it out.

Why, Rosie, l'm surprised at you! You're a very sensible woman as a rule.

Now, we won't have any more talk along those lines.

Now, look here, Charlie Allnut, l can manage this boat every bit as well as you can and you know it.

Rosie, you're cracked.

Didn't l steer going down the rapids?

You steer well enough, but you don't know nothing about the engine.

Suppose she broke down on you out there? Wouldn't you look foolish?

Now, me, l'd just walk back from the tiller and do a thing or two to that old engine.

You know, spit on her, kick her in the slats and she'd go right to work again.

She knows who's boss, all right, you bet that old engine does.

-l suppose you're right. -Well, now, that's all settled. l'll dive off a second before the crash and swim over to where you'll be waiting on the east shore and we'll be off to Kenya together.

No, l meant it may be necessary for you to come along.

Come along? What do you mean?

Didn't we just agree this was a one-man job?

But you convinced me that it isn't, so now it's settled. We'll go together.

No, we won't. You'll wait for me on the east shore.

Who do you think you are, ordering me about? l'm the captain, that's who.

And l ain't taking you along. You'd only be in my way. l suppose l was in your way going down the rapids.

Then what you said to me back there on the river was a lie about how you never could have done it alone and how you'd lost your heart and everything.

You liar.

Charlie, we're having our first quarrel.

Rosie. lt's only that l just can't bear the thought of...

Well, what l mean is, suppose something should happen, not that anything will, but...

Don't you understand, Charlie? l wouldn't want to go on to Kenya without you.

Rosie. All right. lt'll be you at the tiller and me at the engine, just like it was from the start.

And there's the Louisa, right on time.


lt's blowing up a bit. We'd better get started, all right?


Charlie. Charlie, l can't steer. lt's hard to steer.

Too much water in the bow. Screw's out of the water half the time.

We've got to get her nose up or we'll be in trouble.


Rosie, we're sinking.


Rosie!

Rosie! Rosie! Rosie!

Rosie!

What is your nationality?

French? Belgian? British?

-Yeah. -Yes, what?

-British. -What were you doing on the island?

Fishing.

You are aware that the punishment for giving false testimony before this court is death by hanging?

Who cares?

What were you doing on the island?

-l was fishing. -How did you get there? l swam.

Do you know that you are in an area prohibited to all but members of the forces of His lmperial Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm ll?

Who cares?

You are accused of being a spy in the service of the British Armed Forces.

Have you anything to say that might lead this court to believe otherwise? l told you l was fishing.

The court sentences you to death by hanging.

Sentence to be carried out immediately.

Was there a woman with you?

Rosie. Rosie! Rosie! Rosie!

-Charlie! -Rosie!

Charlie!

Who's that woman?

-l don't know. -You just called her by name. l thought she was somebody else. l shall hang you twice, l think.

-Charlie, dear. -Rosie.

Who are you?

Miss Rose Sayer.

English?

Of course.

-What were you doing on the lake? -l ain't told him nothing, Rosie.

Silence!

-What were you doing on the lake? -We were boating.

Last night? ln such weather?

We were not responsible for the weather.

As your fellow prisoner has already learned, the penalty for not answering this court is death.

You mean he... Charlie? Stop that!

Order.

Are they going to hang you, Charlie?

FräuIein Sayer, you will come to order and answer the question of this court.

Very well. Ask your questions.

What were you doing on the lake?

-We came here to sink this ship. -Rosie!

-And we would have, too, except... -Rosie!

Let's at least have the pleasure of telling them about it, Charlie.

Sink this ship?

Don't you believe her, Your Honor. She's touched, you know. Fever.

Stop that, Charlie. We've been through all that. l'm certainly not going to outlive you, and that's all there is to it.

And just how, FräuIein, did you propose to sink the Königin Louise?

With torpedoes.

Torpedoes?

Will you be so good as to tell us exactly where and how you acquired torpedoes?

-Mr. Allnut made them. -How very interesting.

You don't believe me, do you?

Charlie, tell them how you made the torpedoes.

Well, l... See, what l did, l... l took the heads off two cylinders of oxygen and l filled them up with live explosive.

You know, about two hundredweight. That was easy enough. lt was the detonators that took some doing.

And you know what l used?

Cartridges and nails and blocks of soft wood.

Then l took the two cylinders and l put them in the bows of the African Queen, right down near the waterline, so when we rammed you...

And where is the African Queen?

She sank in the storm.

But how did you get onto the lake?

We came down the Ulanga, the Bora, you call it down here.

-That's impossible. -Nevertheless.

But everyone knows the river is unnavigable.

That may be.

We came down it, though, didn't we, Charlie?

And in the African Queen.


Would you hang us together, please?

-Now, wait a minute. Hey, Captain. -Yes?

-Will you grant us a last request? -What is it?

-Marry us. -What?

We want to get married. Ship captains can do that, can't they?

-Yeah. -Why, Charlie, what a lovely idea.

What kind of craziness is this?

Come on, Captain, it'll only take a minute, and it'll mean such a lot to the lady.

Very well, if you wish it absolutely.

What are the names again?

-Charles. -Rosie. Rose.

Do you, Charles, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?

Yes, sir.

Do you, Rose, take this man to be your lawful wedded husband? l do.

By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm ll, l pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.


Hey, what happened?

We did it, Charlie! We did it!

But how?

Well, what do you think?

You all right, Mrs. Allnut?

Wonderful. Simply wonderful. And you, Mr. Allnut?

Pretty good for an old, married man. l'm all twisted around, Charlie. Which way is the east shore?

The way we're swimming, old girl.

There was a bold fisherman Set sail from off Pimlico To catch the bold picky And the gay mackerel But when he got off Pimlico The wind did begin to blow...