The Gothic Tale

Episode #79
Aired 1948-12-19
Length: 31:05
Size: 28.5 MB
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Wyllis Cooper

No 14 (77) - “THE GOTHIC TALE”

WJZ-ABC SUN DEC 19 1948 - 530-600 PM EST
REH Fri Dec 17 1948 - 200-400 PM Studio 2-D
Sun Dec 19 1948 - 230-530 PM Studio 8-A

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


ANNCR: 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 Gothic Tale”



GUNNAR: Listen to the sound of the sea


GUNNAR: The sound of the sea, the surf, the ceaseless, measured sound of the sea.
I have heard the voices of the oceans of the world … on the shingle at Brighton, against the frowning heights of Point Sur, on the long, hot beaches of Hawaii and the cold foggy reaches of Attu. And again I have heard the seas that lash the shores of Okinawa and Kwajalein, their thunder a tiny sound under the sound of battle. But the sound of the sea at Hueneme.


GUNNAR: Is the sound of them all that I can never forget, though sure, I will never hear it again as I did those lost days so long ago.
For where the salt-grass grew in the hollows of the dunes there is concrete and steel and great buildings; where the house was there is a confusion of men and machines and echoing high walls. And the wet sand that gleamed darkly for so many lonely, lovely miles s far below the wide concrete roads and the massive buildings, and the ghosts that lived at Hueneme seek their homes in vain.
Still the rocky islands, grim Anacapa and hapless Santa Cruz and the little nameless ones, still they gaze lonesome to the mainland. And the bones of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo rest in hard-won peace somewhere between wind and water, and the sea-gulls scream and wheel above the place that was once a desolation, but is not a city. And there are those who mourn for the lost, windy loneliness of Hueneme, for it is gone and vanished utterly, and great ships nudge the piers where the grebes and the sooty terns and the ??? Pelicans foraged so long , so long ago.
Now Donn and I wandered among the dunes many a sunny day, and many a sunset saw us seeking shelter wearily enough that summer: Donn with his easel and paint-box, I with my camera and all, for that was the summer Hueneme was the subject of our pictures, and they were many. And this is the tale, I suppose of what we pictured, Donn and I.
In our blankets beside out battered car at the edge of the broken road in the cold night, we lay and watched the high stars wheel above us: mighty Orion and the Bears, and the endless mysterious arch of the Milky Way, and the sound of the surf was always behind our low voices as we spoke of many things.

DONN: It was like this a thousand years ago.

GUNNAR: The sea, and the sand, and the stars, and nothing else.

DONN: They called this “The Safe Place,” the old Indians did.

GUNNAR: It’s very peaceful.

DONN: Have you ever been here in the storm-time, when the waves run in like horses with great white manes, and leap high in the air, to crash down furious on the sand, so that it shakes the very world?

GUNNAR: I have seen them. My people have always thought of the storm-waves as horses of the sea.

DONN: Your people are fey, like mine.

GUNNAR: If you mean their dreams live, that is right.

DONN: There is a place that my people speak about, the old ones, a place where there is never death, and those who come upon the place live forever. I think it must be a place like this Hueneme.

GUNNAR: It would be a very lonely place; for not many would come upon it.

DONN: It’s so. They say it’s beside the everlasting sea somewhere; not the bleak sea of my peoples’ country, with the barren rocks and the dreary kelp to tangle your feet and draw you down to the cold bottom of it.

GUNNAR: This could be that place.

DONN: It could be that. It’s lonesome enough; yet there’s a feeling of others here besides us: others not of this world, but from the distant past, waiting and watching us from outside the little circle of our firelight.

GUNNAR: (AFTER A PAUSE, SOFTLY) Come to our fireside, you other ones in the cold dark. Come sit with us by the warmth of the fire …

DONN: That was not well-advised, Gunnar.

GUNNAR: Do you believe the tales you have heard, then?

DONN: I could not tell you the many things I believe. The many, many things.

GUNNAR: Are you afraid of the Other Ones, then?

DONN: I am afraid of nothing mortal.

GUNNAR: Of spirits, that you gainsay my welcome to the ones beyond the firelight.

DONN: If they are evil.

GUNNAR: Can they be evil, if this place be the Never-Never Land your people speak of?

DONN: A man may lose his immortal soul in trafficking with unknown things, Gunnar.

GUNNAR: But also a man might find everlasting happiness; for there must be love in the hearts of these others, as well as lurking evil.

DONN: It is known that a few good people have found their way to the Timeless, Deathless Land.

GUNNAR: The Safe Place. This Hueneme, the Safe Place. Could it be so, Donn?

DONN: It could be, now, in the night.


GUNNAR: Listen.

DONN: (AFTER A PAUSE) What is it?

GUNNAR: In the sound of the sea, there was something more.

DONN: A voice.

GUNNAR: Listen.

DONN: (AFTER A PAUSE) A voice, that you heard. The voice of one of the Others, that you called to us.

GUNNAR: Look to the sea.

DONN: (AFTER A PAUSE) There is nothing.

GUNNAR: A white thing in the darkness.

DONN: Will you go to see?

GUNNAR: Come with me.


GUNNAR: And we rose from our blankets and stood a moment shivering in the keen little wind of the night, and Donn caught up a branch from the fire for a torch, and together we walked down to the place where the sand met the water. And there was nothing: no white figure in the boiling surf, no person in that place save us two. But as we turned to go back to our little fire, Donn raised his torch high, and he called to me.

DONN: Gunnar. Come here.

GUNNAR: I came to his side, and he stretched out his hand to the smoothness of the beach beside him.


GUNNAR: And on the wet sand were footprints: bare footprints in the sand.
And the footprints came up out of the sea.


GUNNAR: In the flickering red glow from the torch, we traced these footprints, so that now there were three sets: Donn’s and mine, and these of the Outsider. And the trace went straight up to the edge of the glow from our fire, and there we saw deeper prints where she had stood.: for we knew it was a woman; the prints were tiny and delicate in the rough sand: where she had stood, and perhaps listened to our talk.
And then the footprints moved away again, and when we followed them, we found that they had returned to the sea.
(PAUSE) And that was all that night.
For though we sat sleepless and silent till the sun rising behind the dunes warmed out backs in the morning, there was no sound nor no sight of another at Hueneme that night.


GUNNAR: But then it was day, and it was Donn who must go away to the city, for we, the two of us, were poor and there was work to be done to pay for out long days on the sands at Hueneme. I walked alone with my camera, south along the beach, pausing to make a picture of a white tree-bench tossed ashore by the restless waves, pausing to scan the horizon seaward and landward. And there was never a soul to see.
So I found the house, the little hut, the black little house on the strand. I had not seen it before; it was hidden in a little fold of the dunes, and I came upon it unawares.
She was standing in the doorway, looking out to the sea, and my heart gave a great leap at the sight of her and I raised my camera, and I had the picture before she turned and saw me.

DOLORES: (AWAY) Oh! Who are -

GUNNAR: Who are you?

DOLORES: (COMING CLOSE) I was hoping that you should find this place.

GUNNAR: I have heard your voice.

DOLORES: And I have seen your face. In the firelight, with another.

GUNNAR: Who are you?

DOLORES: I am Dolores.

GUNNAR: I am called Gunnar.

DOLORES: Gunnar. It is a strange name.

GUNNAR: My people are from the Northland. My people were Viking-farers.

DOLORES: They were people of the sea, like mine?

GUNNAR: They sailed the whale-road in their high-prowed whips, and they conquered many people.

DOLORES: My people found a new world. Well, then, welcome son of seafarers, for I have waited long for you.

GUNNAR: But, I do not know you! How could you wait for me that you do not know? Who are you?

DOLORES: I am Dolores, and I ask you straight without evasion. Tell me, could you love me? Gunnar?

GUNNAR: (AFTER A PAUSE) I think that when I first heard your voice in the night …

DOLORES: You are slow of speech, Gunnar. Are all of your people slow of speech? Slow to love?

GUNNAR: It is only that I cannot find words to make my answer to you.

DOLORES: Tell me truly, tell me straightly: could you love me, Gunnar?

GUNNAR: I could love you more than is due any mortal woman, Dolores, even though my eyes see you this moment for the first time.

DOLORES: (GRAVELY) Then I have not waited all these years in vain, Gunnar. No, do not touch me: the time will come. Now I must go from you for a little while. But say again that you love me, Gunnar. For I love you.


GUNNAR: And her words to me were the sweetest sounds that ever I have heard under sun or moon, and I took a step toward her to take her in my arms, for suddenly I knew that my first love of all my life had come to me, and that it should be with me always.
Then a little cloud came from nowhere in the sky above us; and its shadow fell upon us two as Dolores turned away from me and walked slowly down to the sea. And try as I might, I could not follow, and I closed my eyes for a little moment. And when I opened them again, I was alone beside the haunted house, the little black hut on the shore.


GUNNAR: And in the evening Donn came again, and I led him to the little house and we made a little driftwood fire, and we ate the provisions he had brought, and the quick night came down upon us, and I sad to Donn
Donn I saw her today.

DONN: I wondered.

GUNNAR: I saw her at this house.

DONN: It was no day-dream?

GUNNAR: No; I saw her, and I heard her voice.

DONN: In the light of day.

GUNNAR: In the light of day, I saw Dolores, and spoke to her. And she to me.

DONN: Dolores.

GUNNAR: She loves me, Donn. She said she loves me.

DONN: And you - what did you say to her?

GUNNAR: Why, I said I love her.

DONN: I warned you last night under the stars, Gunnar.

GUNNAR: Warned me?

DONN: There is many a tale of those who invite the outsiders to come and sit with them, as I have told you. There is lore that one who plights his love to one of the outsiders is in danger of destruction.

GUNNAR: I love her.

DONN: Does man fall in love so sudden?

GUNNAR: There never was such a thing, Donn. I love her.

DONN: You touched her?

GUNNAR: No. She went away.

DONN: Away, then?

GUNNAR: Back into the sea. There was a little cloud over our heads, and -


GUNNAR: What well, then?

DONN: You dreamed in the sunshine.


DONN: Sure, you dreamed in the sunshine. And in your dream you remembered the footprints that led down to the sea, and it was all a dream, Gunnar. (pause) Sleep, Gunnar, and you’ll dream of her again.

GUNNAR: It was no dream.

DONN: I told you the tale of the Timeless Land, and you dreamed.

GUNNAR: Was it a dream last night?


GUNNAR: Why, I have proof that I saw her, Donn. I remember, Donn, I made a picture of her, standing in this very doorway.

DONN: Show me the picture and I’ll believe it was no dream, then.


GUNNAR: And I took my little tanks and my camera, and I mixed my powders with some part of our drinking-water, and inside the little hut I sat in the dark and developed up the film from the camera, whilst Donn smoked in peace outside in the cool. And when the task was done, I took the film outside to him, and I said here. Here is the proof. So Donn took up his flashlight, and he scanned the film very closely. Here, I said, here is the picture of the house, do you see? And he looked at the wet, snaky film very, very narrowly, and then he handed it back carefully.

DONN: Here, look for yourself.

GUNNAR: And I held up the flashlight and I looked long and narrowly. And there was the little house as clear as ever was; and it was the only picture I had made of it on all the long roll of film. And it was clear and sharp and recognizable. But of Dolores, who had stood in the doorway, there was no sign.


GUNNAR: And I spoke no more of the matter to Donn my friend; but my dreams were strange beyond belief. I saw a great ship, a galleon, and at its truck an ensign of red and gold, and I heard the deep sound of drums and the chanting of a multitude of voices. And ever the waves dashed high before me, and somewhere there was a woman’s cry, echoing from across the water. But I spoke no more of the matter to Donn.
Then Donn went away again, and I was alone in the night. Alone and sleepless for many a long hour, till I heard the wind rise, and a voice spoke to me in the heavy, cold darkness, and it was Dolores.

DOLORES: I am come again to you, Gunnar my beloved.

GUNNAR: You are Dolores in the night, come from the sea.

DOLORES: I am Dolores; come to my beloved from the sea, in the night.

GUNNAR: It was no dream.

DOLORES: No, it was no dream, beloved!

GUNNAR: Touch my hand, Dolores.

DOLORES: I may not. Nor may you touch me.

GUNNAR: It is because you are a spirit, not a living woman.


GUNNAR: I have no fear of you.

DOLORES: Why should you fear me, since I love you, Gunnar?

GUNNAR: Donn told me to beware of you.

DOLORES: I love you.

GUNNAR: And I have told you I love you; yet how shall we - what is to become of our love, between a spirit and a mortal? Will you say that to me, Dolores?

DOLORES: I will say that mortals have souls that are immortal.

GUNNAR: Must I die, then, to win you forever?

DOLORES: I am Dolores Maria de las Nieves Acosta y Cabrillo. My mother brought me from Estremadura in Spain to the land of Mexico so many years ago, that we two might be with my father, who was Don Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, whom men called the little goat, and he was a famous captain of the seas.

GUNNAR: (AFTER A PAUSE) Your father is dead, then.

DOLORES: He lies in a forgotten grave beside the harbour of the island called Las Posesion out there.

GUNNAR: I know of no Las Posesion. There is Ancapa, Santa Cruz, San Miguel -

DOLORES: No matter; doubtless they have changed its name. I will tell you Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo is dead these many years and I his daughter have watched over his grave … he died that January morning in the cold rain and we put into Las Posesion, and there they buried him, and they sailed away again, back to Jalisco. Ay Jalisco … que es bonita! And I shall never see Jalisco again, for I must stay in the land of Hueneme, the safe place, the timeless place, forever.

GUNNAR: You lived on the island then, Dolores?

DOLORES: Si, for I would not leave my father’s grave. My mother, she died before we set out for the land of California, and there is none who remembers me in Jalisco. Thus I am bound to this place.

GUNNAR: It has been a long time, Dolores, and you have found none to love you?

DOLORES: It was the third day of the new year -

GUNNAR: The new year?

DOLORES: The year 1542.


DOLORES: And nigh unto four hundred years have I lived on that bleak island: lived? I have been there; let us not say I lived. Yet until two nights ago I have never come upon any man, living or dead, whom I could love. Only you, you, gunnar. Ye te amo, Gunnar, I love you forever.

GUNNAR: I love you, Dolores, beyond the saying of it. But what shall I do? Tell me!

DOLORES: Go not from here, ever, Gunnar. Stay in this Hueneme, and I shall come to your side whenever you call me.

GUNNAR: Must I be enchanted to this place always?

DOLORES: No. I am reasonable. I know men must labour for their bread; they must go to fight in the wars; they must do others’ bidding, go where others send them. I remember; I was a woman; I lived; I know. Go as you must go, Gunnar; go, but always come back to Hueneme. For here am I Gunnar; and here I must stay; thus you must come back always.

GUNNAR: I will come back.

DOLORES: Never forget, Gunnar.

GUNNAR: How shall I forget, Dolores?


GUNNAR: It is a very sharp-horned dilemma.
It is a very strange thing. How shall I know this is not a dream indeed? For if it is, then I love a dream; and if it be reality, then must I die to win my love? For she is spirit; and I am flesh, and how shall the two wed? How shall I know that this is not a dream, a disorder of the mind, a sickness? For I love this woman, this wraith, this daughter of an ancient sea-captain, whether she dwells alone on a rock island, or exists only in my brain

DOLORES: Proof of my love? Proof that I exist? Proof that I am here, that I remain here, awaiting only you? Here, Gunnar, my lover; here is proof. Look upon these my pearls in the light of day, and know that thy Dolores loves thee.



GUNNAR: And so I raised my eyes, and she was gone. But before me, on the rude table in the haunted hut by the sea, lay this string of fair, lovely pearls; and on the clasp was engraved the name “Dolores”.


GUNNAR: So it sees to me that I did not dream.

DOLORES: (OFF) You did not dream, Gunnar, and I love you.

GUNNAR: I love Dolores, dead these four hundred years.

DONN: They are very real pearls, Gunnar.


DONN: And priceless.

GUNNAR: Priceless. (A PAUSE) Tell me, Donn, speak to me out of your wisdom, for you are fey also.
Tell me what to do.

DONN: You are much in love.

GUNNAR: (HEAVILY) I am much in love.

DONN: You think of doing away with yourself.

GUNNAR: (AFTER A PAUSE) It is in my mind.

DONN: So that, being then a spirit yourself, you and Dolores …



GUNNAR: You say no?

DONN: I have heard it said that that is the surest way to utter destruction.

GUNNAR: So have I heard it, but … Dolores.

DONN: It is a dark and bitter thing, Gunnar; yet you must wait.

GUNNAR: How shall I wait?

DONN: I cannot counsel you, save only in this matter. Do not destroy yourself! For if you do …

GUNNAR: But if I live, I become old and wasted and …


GUNNAR: She will forget me!

DONN: She has waited nigh unto four hundred years, Gunnar.

GUNNAR: But if I must go away from here?

DONN: I will help you come back, Gunnar.

GUNNAR: I grow feeble, and sick, and cannot remember …

DONN: I will remember, Gunnar. For I am your friend. I will remember.

GUNNAR: You believe, then, Donn?

DONN: Yes, Gunnar, I believe. And I shall remember.

DOLORES: (OFF) You have sworn it Donn. Send Gunnar back to me.


DONN: And Gunnar went away, as he had known from the beginning that he must go; for his work was far away, a continent away, from the lonely sands of Hueneme. And he told me he would come back as soon as he could arrange his affairs, and he would stay then forever, till he died, on that lonely, haunted place. And time wore on, and in his letters he spoke always of the sand and the sea, and the stars … and Dolores. And I walked often alone, too, on the sands of Hueneme, and in the little Oxnard cemetery hard by where the tall eucalyptus trees weep over the grey headstones in the winter rain. And of a lonely night on the shore, I felt a presence near me, and I cried out to the wind and the surf, he will come back Dolores! I will keep my promise! And always, over the sound of the wind among the dunes, a voice answered me…

DOLORES: (OFF) Remember, remember, remember.


GUNNAR: A year went by, and a year, and a year, and the lightnings of war struck, and I knew that I must go, for were not my forefathers fighting men of the sea? And I had none to hold me back: I was an orphan, with neither brother nor sister: only my friend Donn.
So I became a seafarer again; but this time a very strange one, for they put me for my knowledge into the Sea-Bees, and I was content.
And had not seen Donn all these long years, and many things had crowded into my mind and my life, and it had been many months since I had heard from him.
But always the thought of Dolores had been in my mind, and I dreamed of her so many times, and thought of a happy day when I should return to her forever.

DOLORES: And I thought of you, and I wept to think of the war, and I dreamed of Gunnar lying dead in some far, forgotten place whence he could never return to me.

DONN: And in my letters to Gunnar I never told him what had become of the sandy beach of Hueneme, how tall buildings and great docks were built there and how the face of the land was changed so that no man could recognize it. How could he come back to Hueneme now? It is gone, the trysting place; the old haunted house is gone, and the sea thunders against high walls, and…..


DONN: This is Donn.

GUNNAR: (PHONE) Donn! I go to the South Pacific!

DONN: Gunnar!

GUNNAR: (PHONE And Donn - hear me, Donn! I’m coming to Hueneme. I’m sailing from Hueneme! I’ll see Dolores!


GUNNAR: High, resounding walls.
Long piers, and jetties out into the sea.
Noise and confusion and lights that dim the stars at night.
Men, and machines, and ships; steel and concrete.
And I walked down the echoing streets and called
Dolores! Dolores!
And there was only the echo of the little song she used to sing.


GUNNAR: And we sailed away into the night, and I wept as the lights of Hueneme dimmed into the blackness of the night in war-time.
For I knew I had lost my Dolores now, forever.


DONN: And I stand in the rain-drenched little Oxnard cemetery hard by the great bustling port of Hueneme, and there is a sound of weeping, a woman weeping in my ears.

DOLORES: (WEEPING SOFTLY) He is dead … he is dead on a far, far island, and I shall never see him again … oh, Donn, Donn, I loved him so …

DONN: I have not forgotten my promise, Dolores. Here in this place, this is Hueneme, too, isn’t it?

DOLORES: Why, this is Hueneme! All the great houses, and the ships and the - why, this is Hueneme!

DONN: Look up, Dolores! Look up at the gate.


DOLORES: Soldiers, and sailors .. And a coffin with a flag on it -

DONN: I have kept my promise, Dolores.

DOLORES: Gunnar! Gunnar! You’ve come back to me!


ANNCR: The title of today’s “Quiet, Please!” was “The Gothic Tale”. It was written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and the man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.

CHAPPELL: And Don Briggs (??) played Donn. Dolores was Ch??? ???, The music for “Quiet, Please!“ is by Albert Buhrmann. Now for a word about next week’s “Quiet, Please!”, here is our writer-producer Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: Thank you for listening to Quiet Please. Next week, in response to many requests, we are bringing you a Christmas story many of you heard last year: “Berlin, 1945”.

CHAPPELL: And until next week at this time, I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell.