Meeting at Ticonderoga

Episode #41
Aired 1948-03-15
Length: 29:45
Size: 54.6 MB
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Quiet, Please!

Wyllis Cooper

No. 40

“Meeting At Ticonderoga”

MBS – WOR – Mon. March 15, 1948 – 9:30-10:00 PM EST
REH – Mon. March 15, 1948 – 2:00-5:00 PM EST STUDIO 2
Mon. March 15, 1948 – 8:00-9:30 PM EST STUDIO 15

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


ANNCR: The Mutual Broadcasting System presents “Quiet, Please!” which is written and directed y Wyllis Cooper, and which features Ernest Chappell. “Quiet, Please!” for tonight is called, “Meeting at Ticonderoga”.


MENZIES: No, sir, they were not married.
They never saw each other in life.
I suppose they are buried in the same cemetery lot because each one of them is a legend in these parts. Jane McCrea, you’d think that Scots, wouldn’t you? I don’t know but there is a Scots flavour about the McCrea; and ye canna deny that his name is as Scots as claymore and sgean-subh.
I dinna know so much about Miss McCrea, save that she was massacred by the Indians about the tome of Saratoga, which as ye know, is no so far away frae here. She was to have married an officer in Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne’s army that came down frae the north and that Benedict Arnold tore into ribbons, although Horatio Gates took the credit and laid the foundation for Benedict’s defection in later years.
Miss McCrae was a famous beauty of the region, and they killed her and scalped her, and paraded her long tresses about, and it was the story of her barbarous death that stirred the people of the countryside to rally at Saratoga for one of the decisive battles of the world. But him – no, he was before that time.
Me? No, I’m not from this town. I’m frae Ticonderoga.
Ye’ve been there. Aye, so.
Can ye read the inscription on his gravestone?
“Here lyes the body of Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, Esquire; Major to the Old Highland Regiment, aged 55 years, who died the 17th of July 1758 of the wounds received at the attack of the retrenchments of Ticonderoga, or Carillon.”
Yes, retrenchments, that’s what it says. Should be entrenchments, of course. But I suppose the village stone-cutter in those days wasna used to military terms. The Old Highland regiment that was the Black Watch, the oldest Highland regiment in the British Army; the 42nd Regiment of Foot, the bonnie lads that have worn the red hackle aboon their braid bonnets since 1795. And Duncan Campbell of Inverawe was its major under Lt-Colonel Francis Grant in 1758.
And he, and many a good Highland laddie of the Black Watch, was killed at Ticonderoga!
No that was before Ethan Allen’s time.
The fort was just newly completed in the summer of 1758, and it was seventeen years before Ethan Allen took it away from a sick man and a garrison of twenty soldiers.
Montcalm was in command at Ticonderoga that summer.
Aye, the same man that Wolfe defeated at Quebec later.
Abercromby was the British general.
Yes, I know a good deal about it. I’m an old inhabitant of these parts.
About Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, now.
A good man. A thoughtful man, God-fearing, and good to all his fellows. It was his goodness that brought him to his death, so that he sleeps far away from the banks of the River Awe, with no descendant in all the world to mourn him.
Have ye the time, then, and I’ll tell ye?
Duncan Campbell had been casting up his accounts that night in the old hall of Inverawe House, and he sat alone on the night that was to seal his fate, all unknowing.
Canna ye see him, friend, a great kindly, lonely man at an oaken table scratching away at his papers with his quill in the candle-light? And the shadows flickerin’ aboon his head in the bloom, pickin’ out tiny flashes o’ siller on the basket hilts of the braid claymores upon the wall? Canna ye see him start to his feet at the sound o’ someone knockin’, hammerin’ on the great door o’ lonely Inverawe House in the middle o’ the night?
An’ pluckin’ up one o’ the little pistol they call Scots dags an’ stridin’ to the door in the dark to see what manner o’ man has come at this hour to cal upon the Laird o’ Inverawe? An’ unboltin’ the door an’ flingin’ it open to whatever should be outside?

MAN: Let me in! Let me in –

CAMPBELL: Now, gently, gently, man – who are ye?

MAN: They’re out after me! Quick – shut the door!


MAN: Lock it – lock it, for the love of heaven –

CAMPBELL: (LOCKING THE DOOR) There now, friend. I would say you’re safe, at least for the moment.

MAN: You won’t let them get me.

CAMPBELL: What have ye done, lad?

MAN: Murder.


CAMPBELL: (SLOWLY) Murder, eh? Weel, murder’s been done before in Scotland. Had ye a guid cause?

MAN: As good a cause as any man ever had!

CAMPBELL: And ye were seen?

MAN: Will you hide me?

CAMPBELL: No man has ever claimed hospitality of me without receiving it.

MAN: You will hide me!

CAMPBELL: Come with me. (THEY START AWAY) You’re hurt yourself.

MAN: It’s nothing.

CAMPBELL: Ye fought, then?

MAN: Yes, we fought. Listen!


CAMPBELL: What did ye hear?

MAN: Horse, I thought.

CAMPBELL: Be still.


CAMPBELL: Aye, you were right, man.

MAN: They’re coming –

CAMPBELL: We haven’t much time … weel … let me see let me see.

MAN: Don’t let them in –

CAMPBELL: Here. Come with me.

MAN: They’re coming here –


MAN: They’re coming here – do you hear ‘em?

CAMPBELL: Aye, I hear ‘em. Dinna fash yersel, noo. I’ll pit ye away so’s nobobdy’ll find ye.


CAMPBELL: I said I’ll hide ye.

MAN: What d’you mean nobody’ll ever find me?

CAMPBELL: (PUZZLED) Just what I said.

MAN: You just mean .. hide me …

CAMPBELL: Man, did ye think I meant I’d hide yer body? (HE LAUGHS SHORTLY) Campbell of Inverawe has ne’er yet been accused o’ treachery, man.

MAN: I didn’t mean – (HE STOPS, LISTENING) they are comin’ here!


CAMPBELL: Gang inside.

MAN: What’s this place?

CAMPBELL: Dinna ye show yer face at yon window, and sit ye quiet here, and I’ll come and fetch ye somethin’ tae eat when they’re gone.

MAN: You won’t let ‘em get me –

CAMPBELL: I have gi’en ye my word, man, and I dinna like to hae it dooted by any man. I winna turn ye ower to ‘em.

MAN: Swear it, then –

CAMPBELL: I am not accustomed to swear such things. My word is good enough for my ain folk, and it should be good enough for you.

MAN: No – swear you’ll keep me safe –


MAN: There they are – swear to me –

CAMPBELL: (ANNOYED) Weel, then, I answer a fool according to his folly. I swear upon my dirk that I will never betray you to mortal man! Is that enough? Now stay away frae the window and frae the door!


CAMPBELL: I maun to go to the door, lest they suspect!



MENZIES: And so on such a night, Duncan Campbell of Inverawe drees his weird. Thus by his pride and his own honour he draws his fate upon him, friend.
For this nameless man who found sanctuary in the house of Inverawe, this nameless slayer in the night, his is the hand of death.
They who waited upon Duncan Campbell that midnight were kinsmen of his.
And they were out upon the brass in the darkness, searching the countryside for one who had slain a kinsman.
The man who had murdered Donald Campbell, blood kin to the Laird of Inverawe.
And the description of the murderer was that of the man who lay in the upper room and trembled at the sound of angry voices in the hall.
Aye, hot tears started from the eyes of Duncan Campbell at the grisly news of his cousin’s passing in hot blood, and the thought of his own impotence in the matter.
Aye, I know.
In these latter days men make little of an oath; and besides it is true that Duncan Campbell had good cause to break his solemn sworn word when he knew that he sheltered the red-handed murderer of Donald. But:

CAMPBELL: I have not seen the murderer.

MENZIES: Belike, his heart shuddered at his words, and his gorge rose that he must say them.
I have said Duncan Campbell of Inverawe was an honourable man, a man whose word was sacred, and whose oath was triply sacred.

CAMPBELL: I have not seen the murderer.

MENZIES: And the kinsmen turned away into the night, satisfied, and the rising moon struck sharp glints on their naked broadswords as they mounted and rode again.
And Duncan Campbell returned again to the little upper room.


MAN: They went away! You didn’t tell them –

CAMPBELL: Man, I will have speech with you now, and for the last time. You are no Scot, and you could not know how sacred is the bond between kinsmen. You could not know how it is my immemeorial duty to take your life –

MAN: (CRIES OUT) No – no –

CAMPBELL: - for the one you have taken: my cousin.

MAN: No – no – don’t kill me – you swore –

CAMPBELL: Peace, I swore, aye, and I could tear my tongue out for the words that I said. But you will not die by my hand. Nor because of any words I will say.

MAN: Oh, thank you – thank you –

CAMPBELL: Be still. At the first light of dawn, I will take you away to the mountain, where you can hide yourself until my cousins are sure you have escaped.

MAN: No – no – let me stay here!

CAMPBELL: I will not have my cousin’s slayer in my house.

MAN: They’ll find me –

CAMPBELL: I have sworn, and I will keep my oath.


MENZIES: In the great master’s room at Inverawe stands an ancient canopied bed; and Duncan Campbell tossed sleepless upon it until at last his tired body could hold out no more, and he slept.
Then it seemed to him as he slept that he heard light footsteps approaching the door of his room from the balcony outside. And in the darkness his door opened, and a man came in. and for a long time there was no sound, until Duncan Campbell raised himself upon his elbow and looked into the face of his murdered cousin. And though the room was black-dark, he could see the gouts of blood upon his cousin’s plaidie. And at long last the apparition spoke:

DONALD: Inverawe.

CAMPBELL: Who is that?

DONALD: You know me, Inverawe. Duncan, murder has been done. The blood of your kinsman has been shed.

CAMPBELL: Aye, Donald –

DONALD: Shield not the murderer, Inverawe.


MENZIES: The morning was very near, and with the first light, Duncan Campbell awoke from his fitful sleep and went to the secret room where the murderer lay.
Duncan Campbell might have slain the man as he slept; but he did not.
Out across the braes to the slopes of Ben Cruachan he led the man, and never a word did he speak until they had come to a secret cave high above the Valley of the Awe.

CAMPBELL: Here you will be safe.

MAN: Oh, don’t leave me here – take me back –

CAMPBELL: No. (A PAUSE, WHILE THE MAN SNIVELS) Hark ye, man. (THE MAN STOPS) Last night one came to me in a dream; the man you murdered.
(THE MAN CRIES OUT) And he spoke to me, and I know I am in danger of my immortal soul. (THE MAN STARTS TO SPEAK, BUT CAMPBELL STOPS HIM) For he knows I have hidden you – (NO! SAYS THE MAN) – and he bade me shield not the murderer.

MAN: Oh, no no no –

CAMPBELL: Will you give yourself up?

MAN: No! No – no – you swore – youswore –

CAMPBELL: Aye. Aye, so. And I will keep my oath.


MENZIES: And on a second midnight, the ghastly figure of Donald Campbell came again to haunt his cousin who held his honour above the ancient duty of vengeance for a slain kinsman; and again Duncan Campbell spoke of his oath, and the figure vanished.
Then again.
A midnight when the storm lashed the slopes of Ben Cruachan and the wind howled about the eaves of Inverawe House, and the Laird lay alone in the canopied bed.

CAMPBELL: I canna break my oath, Donald. (SILENCE) I didna ken it was you had been slain, I tell you.

DONALD: Shield not the murder, Inverawe.

CAMPBELL: What can I do? You wouldna have me break my given oath?

DONALD: A blow for a blow, Inverawe, and blood for blood.

CAMPBELL: I canna do it.

DONALD: Then farewell, Inverawe.

CAMPBELL: I canna –

DONALD: Farewell until we two shall meet at Ticonderoga.



MENZIES: And on the morrow, in the brightness of the sun after the storm, Duncan Campbell climbed the slops of Ben Cruachan again. No man can say what was in his mind, but he carried his great battle claymore, and its shining blade marked him as he made his way up the mountainside to the little hidden cave.
The murder was gone.
And no man has ever found him.


MENZIES: Yes, Ticonderoga was the name the ghost spoke to Duncan Campbell that night more than two hundred years ago. And Duncan Campbell, nor any Scot for that matter, had ever heard the name before.
For at the time, Ticonderoga was a name that only the Indians knew, and there was no fort there where the waters flow between Lake George and Lake Champlain. And mind you it is clear that Duncan Campbell heard the name many years before any other white man in the whole world. It is written down, in his handwriting, long years before he came to America.
About that time ten companies of Highlanders were banded together in a regiment to watch upon the Braes, and the Earl of Crawford gave his name to the regiment. But soon they became known as the Black Watch, from the dark regimental tartan they wore, and wear to this day. And among the gentry that became members of the Black Watch was Duncan Campbell of Inverawe.
In the years since the ghost of his cousin spoke to him, Duncan Campbell had become a more dour man, a man hagridden by his conscience, and I can imagine him one day calling his kinsmen together and speaking to them of this thing that rankled in his breast. I can imagine the elder of the clan sitting in judgment upon him.

CHIEF: Aye, Inverawe, ye aright.
It is a sad thing that ye did not know the man had murdered ye rain cousin; for gin ye had, ye’d have slain him yerself, and justice would have been done.
But a Campbell’s word once given may not be broken, despite all provocation, and I say that ye have acquitted yerself with due honour.
That is my judgment.
Still and all I would not be happy to have on my soul –
(HE BREAKS OFF) This Ticonderoga that yer cousin Donald spoke of, Ye havena heard of the place, ever, ye say.


CHIEF: Nor I. Is there such a place?

CAMPBELL: I dinna ken. But the name is forever in my mind.

CHIEF: I wouldna fash myself about it more, Inverawe. For it is well known that the dead have wisdom not vouchsafed us who walk the earth; and it may be that this is a name they have for the Afterlife. Go yer way, Inverawe, and fear not. Ye are a man of honour.


MENZIES: So Duncan Campbell took some comfort from the elder’s words, and slowly the name Ticonderoga faded out of his memory.
He served honourably and well in the Black Watch, and the day came when he became its Major. And Major he was when the regiment sailed for the Americas to fight in what people call today the French and Indian War.
Abercromby commanded the British and the Provincials.
They were camped down at Albany.
And then they marched northward.
It was a braw sight, with the Black Watch in front, their pipers in the bright red Stewart tartan bravely skirling Cock o’ the North, and the white gaiters of a thousand men swinging along beneath the dark cloud that was the twelve-yard Black Watch plaid…
And northward they marched in the summertime, and the hearts of the coutryfolk were gay because this was the Army that would end the depredations of the savage Indians and the fierce Frenchmen.
And there was an evening in a village along the way, when the men walked in little groups through the town, gawking at the strange costumes of the colonials … and Major Duncan Campbell himself walked along a flower-scented lane, and there was a young girl who spoke to him.

GIRL: Good evening to you, soldier.

CAMPBELL: Why, good evening, my child.

GIRL: You’re a Scotchman, aren’t you?

CAMPBELL: I am that. Frae out of the Black Watch.

GIRL: We never saw any Scotch before. Do all Scotch people wear dresses like that?

CAMPBELL: Aye, most of us. Once they were forbid, but not no more.

GIRL: They look strange on a man.

CAMPBELL: Aye, weel, we’d not feel at hame in breeks, ye ken. What’s yer name, lassie?

GIRL: Ellen.

CAMPBELL: Ellen, eh. I’ve got a lass at home that’s aboot your ain age.

GIRL: A daughter?

CAMPBELL: Aye. Her name’s Janet. I’ve not seen her for a year.

GIRL: Is she pretty?

CAMPBELL: Aye. Her hair’s darker than yours.

GIRL: Does she wear a dress like you?

CAMPBELL: Oh, no. In Scotland girls wear skirts. We’re not wild people, ye ken.

GIRL: We’re glad you’re here.

CAMPBELL: Well, thank ye, lassie.

GIRL: Will you be coming back this way?

CAMPBELL: Coming back?

GIRL: After you take Ticonderoga.


MENZIES: Ticonderoga. A name almost forgotten, conjured up out of nothing by a girl in a strange American village! Duncan Campbell had never heard the name in the Army –

CAMPBELL: They said we were to attack Fort Carillon!

OFFICER: That’s what the French call it, Duncan.

CAMPBELL: But the girl said Ticonderoga!

OFFICER: That’s the Indian name of the place.

CAMPBELL: Have you heard the name Ticonderoga before?

OFFICER: (UNCOMFORTABLY) Why… yes, I think so.

CAMPBELL: Has anyone else?

OFFICER: I believe so, Duncan …….

CAMPBELL: And you were keeping it a secret from me?

OFFICER: (AFTER A PAUSE) Duncan, the real name of this place is Carillon, I tell you.

CAMPBELL: Ticonderoga ……

DONALD: …. until we meet at Ticonderoga ….


MENZIES: I wish you could have seen it, friend.
More than fifteen thousand men loading into boats at Fort Edward on a summer’s day.
The Highlanders, the Royal Americans, the Seventeenth, the Forty-Sixth – a dozen British regiments and more and more provincials. Loading into boats to make their way up to Ticonderoga …..
And Abercromby himself called Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe into his quarters as the loading began and spoke to him of Ticonderoga, for he had heard the story, too. Abercromby told him he was keeping two companies of the Black Watch at Fort Edward.

CAMPBELL: My duty is with my regiment, sir.

MENZIES: Abercromby told him he had heard the story, and he did not wish to risk the loss of a brave officer.

CAMPBELL: Sir, whether or not I die is of small moment. I have my honour to consider.

MENZIES: And Abercromby, who had done his best, could do no more. In the first of the boats rode Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, Major of the Black Watch.


MENZIES: There was a landing at the cove below Ticonderoga.
The British columns hacking their way through the forest. There was the first brush with the Frenchmen, and the death of a beloved officer, Brigadier General Lord George Howe.
There was the long struggle against the blackness of the woods, and the regiments hopelessly entangled – and the weary way back to the landing.
And the French, waiting implacably up there at the unfinished fort, building their earthworks, cutting down trees, sharpening their bayonets, weighing out the powder,… waiting for the assault.
And the British general who should have known better.
For his attack on Ticonderoga was childish.
And many men died for his foolishness.
But that’s past: Let me tell you of Duncan Campbell, who lies buried here.
It was dark in the forest, and Duncan Campbell and his friend were searching for soldiers that had straggled away, and found themselves in a hopeless wilderness of trees. And the imminence of Ticonderoga weighed heavy on Duncan Campbell;’s heart.

CAMPBELL: I’ve made my will.

OFFICER: I think you’re worrying about this too much, Duncan.


OFFICER: It was only a dream.

CAMPBELL: Perhaps. Perhaps. But he said Ticonderoga. And that was … how many years ago? No, this is where I die.

OFFICER: The – the ghost didn’t say you’d die!

CAMPBELL: He didna need to. I kan it weel. No, we’re all fey, we Scots, and we ken the hand of fate. I would not have chosen this way; but this is the way it is to be, and I am content.

OFFICER: I wish you’d forget it.

CAMPBELL: No, it canna be forgot. I shall not go away from here.

OFFICER: (SHIVERS) Shall we go back to the shore? Can’t be any more soldiers out here now. And if they are, they’ll just have to stay.

CAMPBELL: Aye, so. War’s cruel with men.




CAMPBELL: There’s a soldier.

OFFICER: Where? I don’t see –

CAMPBELL: By yon tall bush. A Scot, too – (CALLS) Hi, there, you!

OFFICER: I don’t see anyone, Duncan.

CAMPBELL: Sitting there – he’s probably fallen asleep. (CALLS) Hi! (A PAUSE) I’ll run over and wake him. How some of these gillies can fa’ sleep anywhere, any time –

OFFICER: (OFF) Where are you going? I don’t see – oh, well ….

CAMPBELL: Ho, soldier! Ho, wake up – wake up – ah.

DONALD: Ah, Duncan, we’re well met.


OFFICER: (COMING UP) Where did you see this soldier, Duncan?

CAMPBELL: You see nobody?

OFFICER: Why, of course not!

CAMPBELL: (AFTER A PAUSE) Aye, Donald. We are weel met.


MENZIES: And that is the story, and it’s true.
Here lies Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, who died of wounds received at the attack … on Ticonderoga.
He was a good man, was Inverawe.
No, thank you.
I must go back to Ticonderoga.
I don’t mind the walk. I’m used to it.
I visit Duncan’s grave every day.
Have for years.
My name?
My name’s Donald Campbell.
I’m Inverawe’s cousin.


ANNCR: You have listened to “Quiet, Please!” which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. The man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.

CHAPPELL: And was Inverawe. Others in the cast were

The original music for “Quiet, Please!” is composed and played by Abert Buhrmann. Now for a word about next week’s “Quiet, Please!” here is our writer-director Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: My story for you next week is called A Night to Forget – it’s about a man who wished he could – and couldn’t.

CHAPPELL: Until next week at this time I am quietly your Ernest Chappell.

ANNCR: “Quiet, Please!” comes to you from New York.