The Evening and the Morning
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Posted 09/22/04 - 8:56 PM:
The Evening and the Morning
CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.
(SEVEN SECONDS' SILENCE)
CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.
(MUSIC ... THEME ... FADE FOR)
ANNOUNCER: The American Broadcasting Company presents "Quiet, Please!" which
is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and which features Ernest Chappell.
"Quiet, Please!" for today is called "The Evening and the Morning."
(MUSIC ... THEME ... END)
SOUND: (THE WIND BLOWS INSISTENTLY THROUGHOUT)
DEAN: They're all gone now, aren't they?
That was the last car going out the gate, wasn't it?
There's nobody there but the - gravediggers?
Can we walk over there for a minute?
It's getting dark, isn't it?
Is that what's bothering you?
There isn't anything here that'll hurt you. My grandfather always taught me not to be afraid of cemeteries.
They're sad places, he always said. They're sad. And they're lonesome.
But there's nothing there to harm you.
I'll only be a minute, really. I - I'm not gonna break down or anything like that. It's--
There's something I have to do.
No, I won't run away. You're not worried about that, are ya?
Well, after all, you've got a gun. You could shoot me if I tried to run away.
I couldn't very well attack you suddenly, could I?
Not with these handcuffs.
(EXHALES) Of course not.
So, let's - walk over there for just a minute.
THORPE: Don't you think you're overdoing it a little bit, Dean?
DEAN: Well, I'm sorry if you think so.
THORPE: I do think so.
DEAN: Please, may we walk over to the grave?
THORPE: Listen here. You don't have to impress ME, you know. I was good enough to bring you out here and take the responsibility for you.
DEAN: And I'm very grateful to you for that, Mr. Thorpe.
THORPE: You know, if some of her friends had seen you here, you'd've stood a good chance of getting lynched.
DEAN: I know that.
THORPE: I was sympathetic and I listened to you. It was against my better judgment that I brought you out here.
DEAN: I'm more than grateful, Mr. Thorpe. If I could have come out here alone, I would have.
THORPE: We haven't started letting confessed murderers run around loose yet. Especially to attend the funerals of the people they've killed.
DEAN: (GETTING DESPERATE) May we walk over to the grave, please?
THORPE: Oh, come on.
DEAN: (DEEPLY RELIEVED) Thank you.
THORPE: You're not doing yourself any good this way, Dean.
DEAN: I'm not trying to, Mr. Thorpe.
THORPE: What do you wanna see the grave for? How can you stand looking at it? Haven't you got any heart at all?
DEAN: I - killed her, didn't I?
THORPE: They won't have any trouble hanging you for it.
DEAN: I expect that.
THORPE: What do you want, then? Why do you--?
DEAN: This isn't easy, Mr. Thorpe. It - it was hard enough doing what I did. And coming out here-- Well, it HAS to be done.
THORPE: I don't know what you're talking about.
DEAN: I - I loved Alice, Mr. Thorpe.
THORPE: (SKEPTICAL) You did.
DEAN: I did.
THORPE: And you murdered her. Here, where you going?
DEAN: (FROM OFF) A flower, that's all. I want a flower from her grave.
(MUSIC ... SOMBER ... UNDER)
THORPE: Put that back.
DEAN: No. No, I won't put it back, Mr. Thorpe.
THORPE: I tell you--
DEAN: No, please, don't ask me to put it back. This - this is a very precious thing, this flower.
THORPE: What are you talking about?
DEAN: Why, this is - this is why I murdered Alice, Mr. Thorpe.
(MUSIC ... SOMBER ... UP AND OUT)
SOUND: (WIND BLOWS INSISTENTLY)
DEAN: It's very good of you to walk back with me instead of riding. It's really a great favor, Mr. Thorpe. And, I might as well tell you, it's-- Well, I would have insisted on walking if you hadn't agreed so readily. It's just that-- You see, if you hadn't consented, I'd've just stayed there. And it would have been awkward for you because I - I think I'm stronger than you and I could have resisted you. I don't believe you would have used your gun. Even if you had threatened me, I wouldn't've moved. So I'm very grateful to you. Because it's important for me to - walk back.
THORPE: It's the last walk in the open air you're likely to have.
DEAN: Yes. I suppose it is.
THORPE: You're a strange character, Dean.
DEAN: You're rather unusual yourself, sir. Walking peacefully down a dark road with a - murderer. All alone.
THORPE: You may not have noticed but I've got my hand in my coat pocket.
DEAN: So you have.
THORPE: And in my coat pocket is a gun.
DEAN: Of course.
THORPE: So let's not get any ideas because I've been stupid enough to humor you a little--
DEAN: I have no intention of trying to escape.
THORPE: Thank you.
DEAN: (AFTER A SLIGHT PAUSE) Did you ever walk along the cemetery road before?
DEAN: I have. I know every inch of it.
DEAN: No. First time was with Alice.
THORPE: The woman you killed?
DEAN: Yes. I walked back with her from her husband's funeral. A year ago.
THORPE: So now you're walking back from hers. Did you kill him, too?
DEAN: Why, no. Don't you remember? He was killed in a motor accident.
THORPE: Oh, yes. Francis, that was his name.
DEAN: Francis. Yes.
THORPE: Were you, uh, in love with Alice then?
DEAN: (DEEPLY FELT) I - think I've always been in love with Alice.
THORPE: I see.
DEAN: But Alice loved Francis.
THORPE: I begin to see a motive now.
THORPE: For murdering her. She was still in love with her husband. She wouldn't have you. So you killed her.
DEAN: No, that wasn't my motive.
THORPE: What was, then?
DEAN: I remember walking along this same road, Alice and I, a year ago. Just a year ago, day before yesterday. It was the same kind of evening, too. Cold and misty. Threatening snow, like it is now. We'd stayed there at the cemetery after everybody else had gone, Alice and I. And now we were coming back home.
SOUND: (WIND OUT)
(MUSIC ... MOURNFUL ... "VALSE TRISTE" ... UNDER)
ALICE: Francis would have liked the flowers, wouldn't he, Dean?
ALICE: So many, many flowers. Such beautiful ones. So bright and lovely. And the cold rain on them. Pretty soon the snow.
ALICE: Francis - and the flowers. All alone. Dean, let's go back for a little while. Can't we?
DEAN: No. No, we mustn't do that, Alice.
ALICE: (STARTING TO BREAK DOWN) It's just come to me, Dean -- I'm alone. I - I - All this time I thought I-- I mean, I couldn't help thinking that it was some ghastly joke - that Francis isn't really dead. It's - it's a dream maybe. And now-- Oh, Dean, he IS dead. And I'm alone. (WEEPS)
DEAN: Yes, dear. Don't. We've got to face it. You--
ALICE: Francis -- Francis is dead. All I've got left is a flower from his grave.
DEAN: Alice, you're not alone. I'm-- Well, I know I'm not-- I-- But you're not alone while I'm-- Alice, you're not alone.
ALICE: Look, Dean, the little yellow flower. The little yellow moss rose that Francis always loved so much. (BREAKS DOWN) He was born and he lived and he loved me and I loved him and-- Now there's nothing left but this. (WEEPS)
DEAN: Alice, will you listen to me? Alice, will you stop this? It's no good carrying home a flower from - from there. Why, it's just a little symbol that'll break your heart all over again every time you look at it.
ALICE: But - but it was from his--
DEAN: No. Don't say it. Don't carry home any reminders from that place, dear. I know this is hard. But now is the time for you to make decisions now and not years from now, when you should be forgetting. That little rose -- it'll always remind you. It'll always hurt you. It'll do terrible things to you, Alice. Throw it away.
ALICE: Throw away Francis' flower?
DEAN: (GENTLY) It isn't his flower, Alice.
ALICE: But I - I need something to remind me--
DEAN: Do you need anything to remind you of Francis, Alice? You have your memories of five years of being married to him. You have all the things he wrote, the music he loved. You have so many precious memories, dear. You're going to trade them all for a - a memory of a mound of flowers on a November day in the rain?
ALICE: I - I remember Francis when he came home from the war.
DEAN: And the day you were married. I remember.
ALICE: He was so tall.
DEAN: I remember both of you.
ALICE: And the time we went to Canada. And it snowed.
DEAN: You remember Francis - not the flower.
ALICE: And the springtime in the country with him. And the times he helped me wash the dishes.
DEAN: Throw the flower away, Alice.
ALICE: Here, Dean. You throw it away for me. I want to but - I'm afraid. Throw it away, Dean. And let me keep Francis in my heart.
(MUSIC ... ABRUPTLY OUT)
SOUND: (WIND BLOWS INSISTENTLY UNDER)
DEAN: There's an old elm tree beside the road. The biggest old elm tree you ever saw. We'll be walking past it in a few minutes and I'll show it to you, Mr. Thorpe.
THORPE: You certainly talk as if you loved that woman, Dean.
DEAN: I did love her. I do love her.
THORPE: Well, why did you kill her, then?
DEAN: (SIGHS) Because I loved her.
THORPE: (SHORT SKEPTICAL LAUGH)
DEAN: And because she loved Francis.
THORPE: I said that was it.
DEAN: No, no. You're right in what you said but you're forming the wrong conclusions, Mr. Thorpe.
DEAN: You think that I murdered her in a fit of anger because she refused to marry me.
THORPE: Of course.
DEAN: Well, that isn't true.
THORPE: I don't understand you.
DEAN: I'll explain it all to you.
THORPE: It doesn't need much explaining to me.
DEAN: I'll explain it.
THORPE: Well, what happened? Did your idea about throwing away the flower work?
DEAN: Yes, of course.
THORPE: But you're carrying away a flower from her grave.
DEAN: Perhaps I want my memories of Alice to be that grave out there in the rain.
THORPE: Adding to your own punishment.
DEAN: Yes, that's part of it. I realize that I must pay a price for what I've done. I do that gladly. And I mean that. I mean, I'm really glad to pay it. But-- Well, I hope you will believe me. I want to punish myself even more. But I haven't finished. I've got one more thing to do. That's why I begged you to let me come to the funeral. And why I plucked the flower from her grave.
THORPE: You're over my head, Dean.
DEAN: Bear with me, Mr. Thorpe, if you-- It's only a little while. Uh, there! That - that's the big elm tree I told you about. You see it? There's a little streetlight just beyond it.
THORPE: What about it?
DEAN: There's a bus stop just beyond it. We can - we can wait there for a bus if you like.
THORPE: Yes. I see somebody waiting there now. I think it's a good idea. I'm tired. I wish you'd tell me, though, why you did do it, Dean. Not that it'll make any difference. Not with your confession and all that.
DEAN: Mr. Thorpe, are you superstitious?
THORPE: Me? No. It's nonsense.
DEAN: No, it isn't nonsense. A great many superstitions are founded on fact. A great many.
THORPE: I don't believe in ghosts, if that's what you mean.
DEAN: You know Francis was a writer?
DEAN: A writer of supernatural stories.
THORPE: I didn't know that.
DEAN: He had a very fair understanding of superstitions, beliefs of all kind. He had a large library of source material on that subject.
THORPE: Did he believe in ghosts?
DEAN: (DEFENSIVE) He was a rational man, Mr. Thorpe. And my very good friend.
THORPE: All right.
DEAN: I saw a good deal of Alice in the year since Francis was killed. In the first few months -- when she was having to reconstruct her life, when she was having to reconcile herself to the fact that she was alone, that - that Francis was gone out of her world -- I spent a good deal of time with her. And I was gratified that she was taking it very well. She did the house over -- completely, with the exception of the room he'd used for a study. That, she left exactly as he'd left it. Typewriter, stack of paper, the pottery jar full of sharpened pencils, half a pack of cigarettes and a torn match package. Even the wastebasket crap full of torn sheets of paper. Exactly the way he'd left it. That, she said, was to be her - living memory of Francis. And, always, when I came to visit her, we sat in Francis' study. The talk was mostly of him.
SOUND: (WIND OUT)
ALICE: His publishers called today. Wondered what about the book he was working on.
DEAN: What about it?
ALICE: I told them it wouldn't be finished.
DEAN: He only had a few pages to go, as I remember it.
ALICE: It won't be finished.
DEAN: I don't think you ought to do that, Alice.
ALICE: I want it that way, Dean.
DEAN: Do you still feel--? I mean--
ALICE: I'm very glad you made me throw away that flower, if that's what you mean. It was an ugly thing, bringing it away from there.
ALICE: I'm very content now. It's - been hard to make myself realize that-- You know, it's - not really so bad when there are people around. But, at night, alone by myself - I - I think I've cried myself out, Dean.
DEAN: I'm glad you're--
ALICE: You've been an angel.
ALICE: You have.
DEAN: Well, you see, Alice - I love you.
ALICE: I know you do.
DEAN: I-- Well, that's all I can say, Alice. I love you. It's-- ah, it's a horrible thing to have to say to the widow of my best friend but--
ALICE: (UPSET) Widow?!
DEAN: Well, Alice--
ALICE: Widow, you said?!
DEAN: But, Alice--
ALICE: (BREAKS DOWN) You called me his widow! I'm not! I'm NOT!
ALICE: No, no, no! Get away from me! I'm NOT his widow, do you hear me?! I'm Francis' wife!
(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT ... THEN, OUT)
SOUND: (WIND BLOWS)
THORPE: Where's that fella that was waitin' for the bus? Did he go away? You see him?
DEAN: Yes. I saw him.
THORPE: So, she DID get mad at you, huh?
THORPE: Well, don't you think you were rushing things a little, Dean? Don't you think you should have waited a little longer before you put in a word for yourself with his widow?
DEAN: (CORRECTS HIM) His wife. No, Mr. Thorpe, I always knew that Alice would never marry me. I knew too much of the deep love and affection that existed between those two. And I knew that I would never have a chance with her. But, in - in all honesty, I - I couldn't help confessing to her.
THORPE: She said she knew how ya felt.
DEAN: Yes. She did.
THORPE: Well, I don't see where this story is getting us, Dean. And, besides, here's your tree and I'm gonna sit down and wait for a bus. Wonder where that other fella went.
DEAN: Francis loved music although he couldn't play a note. Alice, in the old days, would sit at the piano nights when he found himself struggling with an idea that wouldn't come out. Francis always said that if he could listen to Alice playing long enough the - the toughest situation would unravel itself. I think that was a fact. Many a night, I've sat in the living room listening to her at the piano while Francis listened from his study. I remember one thing he used to love. Alice played it so often for him, people used to laugh and call it their theme song. Mm, one night, not very long ago, I dropped in to see Alice. After a while, she sat down at the piano and played it.
SOUND: (WIND OUT)
(MUSIC ... THEME FROM SECOND MOVEMENT OF FRANCK'S D MINOR SYMPHONY -- THE "QUIET, PLEASE!" THEME -- PLAYED A LITTLE AWKWARDLY ON THE PIANO)
DEAN: I hadn't heard it for so long.
(MUSIC ... PIANO CONTINUES FOR A WHILE ... ENDS)
ALICE: Long time since I played that -- isn't it, Dean?
DEAN: It still sounds wonderful to me.
ALICE: I felt so lonesome tonight.
DEAN: It's an unpleasant night.
ALICE: Like it was a year ago, out there in--
DEAN: You weren't going to think of that.
ALICE: I can't help it, Dean.
DEAN: Play something else.
(MUSIC ... PLAYS A BRIEF CHORD ON THE PIANO ... THEN STOPS)
ALICE: (SIGHS) I - I wonder if Francis is lonesome too.
ALICE: No. I've been dreaming about him, Dean.
DEAN: Well, I suppose that's natural.
ALICE: He's always trying to tell me something. It's so vague. But he - he's lost. And he wants me so.
DEAN: You're morbid tonight.
ALICE: No. No, I'm not, Dean. I thought I was getting over missing Francis, Dean. But I'll never get over it. I'll never forget him. But I can't forget.
DEAN: You must forget him, dear.
ALICE: (STARTS TO BREAK DOWN) No. I won't forget him. He's my husband. I love him! I love him!
DEAN: Alice, dear, you mustn't--
ALICE: No, Dean. I want him so. You've never lost anyone, Dean. You don't know how it is. And now, these last few weeks, I don't know how Francis lost me.
DEAN: You're not being rational, Alice.
ALICE: But I love him, Dean! Oh, isn't there some way--?!
DEAN: Now, Alice...
ALICE: Well, I mean it! (AFTER A PAUSE, QUIETER) Dean? Listen.
ALICE: Francis had so many books. Wouldn't there be something in one of them that might tell me how to bring Francis back to me?
ALICE: Or some way I could find him, Dean?
DEAN: Alice, sit down and stop this.
ALICE: Dean. Do you love me?
DEAN: You know I do.
ALICE: I'll never marry you.
DEAN: Well, I - hope that someday--
ALICE: No. It's sacrilege to think it even. I'm Francis' wife! I'll be Francis' wife forever! Forever and ever!
DEAN: Well, darling--
ALICE: Wait! Dean - as surely as I'm sitting here I swear to you I'll always love Francis.
DEAN: (DEEPLY FELT) Yes.
ALICE: And I - I can't live without him.
DEAN: (CONCERNED) What do you mean by that?
ALICE: I've thought about it. I've thought about it until my head hurts. You think I'm losing my mind, don't you?
DEAN: (UNCONVINCINGLY) No.
ALICE: Dean, I won't marry you.
DEAN: Yes. You said that.
ALICE: But - do you want to earn my everlasting gratitude? And Francis' gratitude, too?
DEAN: I don't understand you.
ALICE: (WHISPERS) Yes, you do. Yes, you do.
DEAN: I won't do it.
ALICE: Dean, listen. If I kill myself, that'll be a sin, won't it?
ALICE: And I won't go to Heaven and be with Francis, will I?
ALICE: Then, will you do it?
DEAN: Alice, you've lost your mind.
ALICE: You said you loved me! Then prove it! Give me back to Francis!
(MUSIC ... A SOMBER ACCENT ... AND OUT)
SOUND: (WIND BLOWS)
THORPE: That's a great story, Dean. That's a great story.
DEAN: Yes, it is. Isn't it?
THORPE: It's not the story you told when they arrested you.
THORPE: So you shot her because she asked you to.
THORPE: What do you mean?
DEAN: I went away from the house that night. I was very disturbed.
Sleep? No, I couldn't sleep. About three in the morning, I telephoned her. We talked for a long time, she was much calmer. She agreed that she'd been very foolish - and we'd talk it all over again later in the day.
SOUND: (WIND OUT)
DEAN: I took two bromides and slept till noon. And then, in the afternoon, she telephoned me, woke me up. "Come over right away," she said. "Come over now! Hurry!"
When I came in, she was holding a book. She seemed perfectly calm - but had obviously been crying for a long time. She was exhausted.
"What's happened, Alice?" I asked. "What's the matter?"
ALICE: Sit down, Dean.
DEAN: What is it? What's that book?
ALICE: It's one of Francis' books from his reference library.
ALICE: Dean, when you left last night, I got to thinking some more about what I'd said first -- that maybe there was something in one of Francis' books that would tell me how to bring us together again.
DEAN: Alice, I thought that--
ALICE: Be still. I went in there. And I looked at a lot of books. Some of them I couldn't understand. But I found one. I found this one.
DEAN: What is it?
ALICE: Dean -- you murdered Francis.
DEAN: I what?
ALICE: You murdered his soul.
DEAN: Alice, what are you talking about?
ALICE: Do you remember the flower from his grave?
DEAN: Why, yes. Yes, of course.
ALICE: Look at the book.
SOUND: (BOOK SET DOWN ON TABLE)
DEAN: (READS) "Dictionary of Superstitions and Mythology -- Bonnerjea -- Paris, 1927." Well, what about it?
ALICE: Page a hundred and one. I've marked it.
SOUND: (PAGES FLIPPED)
ALICE: Read it.
DEAN: (READS) "Flowers. If a flower be plucked from the grave, then afterwards thrown away, the place where the flower falls will be haunted--"
SOUND: (SLAMS BOOK SHUT)
DEAN: Alice! What IS this?
ALICE: It's true, Dean!
DEAN: It's superstition, for heaven's sake.
ALICE: It's true!
DEAN: Oh, now, come now!
ALICE: It's true!!
DEAN: How do you know?
ALICE: Because I went out to the cemetery road. And I went to the elm tree where you threw the flower away almost a year ago.
DEAN: You went--? When did you go out there?
ALICE: This morning. While it was still dark.
DEAN: This morning?
ALICE: And it's truth. I know. Francis is there. Chained to that spot forever and ever. Oh, Dean, what are we going to do?! We did it! You and I! What are we going to do?!
(MUSIC ... AN ACCENT ... AND OUT)
SOUND: (WIND BLOWS)
THORPE: And what DID you do?
DEAN: I - I did what I thought best.
THORPE: You mean to say you believe in a stupid superstition? You mean you murdered the woman because of--? Because of--?
DEAN: I came out here to this tree with Alice, Mr. Thorpe.
THORPE: You did?
DEAN: And I knew Francis was here, too. He's here now.
DEAN: You saw him, didn't you? The man you thought was waiting for the bus.
THORPE: I-- Here, where're you going?
DEAN: (FROM OFF) I threw away a flower from HIS grave here a year ago. Now, here's your flower, Alice. (THROWS THE FLOWER) I kept my promise, dear. (RETURNS) Alice and Francis -- together now. Forever.
THORPE: (SCORNFUL) You don't believe that.
DEAN: (BEAT) Listen.
(MUSIC ... ALICE'S AWKWARD PIANO VERSION OF SYMPHONY IN D MINOR THEME ... SEGUES TO SMOOTHER ORGAN VERSION ... THEN FADE FOR)
ANNOUNCER: The title of today's "Quiet, Please!" story is "The Evening and the Morning." It was written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. Ernest Chappell was the man who spoke to you.
CHAPPELL: And Bess Johnson played Alice. Martin Lawrence was Mr. Thorpe. As usual, music for "Quiet, Please!" is by Albert Buhrman. Now for a word about next week, our writer-director Wyllis Cooper.
COOPER: Thank you for listening to "Quiet, Please!" For next week, I have a story which I call "One for the Book."
CHAPPELL: And so, until next week at this same time, I am quietly yours,
(MUSIC ... THEME ... OUT)
ANNOUNCER: And now, a listening reminder. A great number of our citizens are unaware of the insidious rackets that are constantly challenging our law enforcement agencies. You can hear about them on "David Harding, Counterspy." Tune in "Counterspy" this afternoon on your ABC station. This is ABC, the American Broadcasting Company.
Posted 10/01/04 - 11:46 PM: