London: Christmas, 1940. Rohan House: Dining Room, Night.
Clive has changed into civvies and is soaking his feet in a bowl of hot water. Tea has been laid and the family is assembled. They watch Clive warily. They have learned to live without him and his reappearance has upset the new balance.
Clive: Hand me my backpack, Bill.
Bill hands it to him and Clive proudly pulls out an unlabelled can and plants it firmly in the center of the table.
Grace: And what's that?
Bill and Sue jump for joy.
Bill and Sue (chanting): Jam! Jam! Jam!
Grace: Jam? What kind of jam? It's not like any jam I know.
Clive: German jam. It's German jam.
The table falls deathly silent. They stare at the can as though it was a time bomb.
Clive: It's all right. It came from a German ship. It got sunk, and this stuff washed ashore, crates of it. Jam. Our fellows found it on the beach, by the rifle range.
Grace gingerly picks it up, turns it, searches the blank silver-grey metal for a sign, a clue, a portent.
Grace: We don't know anything about it.
Clive: Well, it's off ration. We know that.
Grace: How do we know they didn't plant it there? They know we're mad for jam. They could poison half the country.
Clive surveys the suspicious hostile faces. Angrily, he seizes the can and jabs it clumsily with the can opener.
Grace: Come away, children. I don't want you to stand too close while he's opening it.
They retreat to the corner of the room. Clive has it opened and bends back the top to reveal a deep-red jam. Grace ventures forward and peers at it.
Grace: It looks ... foreign.
Clive: Jam is jam! It's just jam!
Dawn: Well, I'm not having any. Even if it's not poisoned. I don't think it's right. It's not patriotic.
Bill: You don't like jam. You hate jam. You never eat jam.
Dawn: That's not the point.
There is an impasse. They stare at it gloomily. Clive waves grandly at the jam.
Clive: Taste it. Why don't you taste it?
Grace: You taste it.
The eyes turn on Clive. The situation focuses their resentment for one who has not shared their hardships, who abandoned them, in fact. The jam has become a test. He looks into the faces of his family. Resolutely, he takes up a teaspoon, picks up the can and begins to eat. Grimly and steadily he ladles the jam into his mouth. They watch him carefully for signs of pain. Before their doubts are dispelled, he has consumed a third of the can. Bill is the first to crack.
Bill: Give us some, Dad.
Clive stops eating, puts the can back on the table and they all dig in. The tension is dispelled. Sue climbs on Clive's lap and he feeds her himself. They laugh and chatter and stuff bread and jam into their mouths.