Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Lux Radio Theater
Show: The Scarlet Pimpernel
Date: Dec 12 1938

CAST:

The Lux Team:
ANNOUNCER
CECIL B. DeMILLE
MOTHER
MIDGE
DOT
BOBBY
HILDA GRENIER, intermission guest

Dramatis Personae:
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL / SIR PERCY BLAKENEY (LESLIE HOWARD)
MARGUERITE (OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND)
CHAUVELIN
MAN 1 (3 lines)
WOMAN 1 (1 line)
MAN 2 (1 line)
WOMAN 2 (1 line)
BARBER
GUARD, at prison (2 lines)
COUNT DE TOURNAY, aristocrat
ARMAND ST. JUST, Marguerite's brother
SIR ANDREW FFOULKES
ROMNEY, the painter
BRINKER, servant
LADY (2 lines)
2ND LADY (1 line)
THE PRINCE OF WALES
SERVANT
SERVANT 2
INNKEEPER
SERGEANT
COMMANDER, of firing squad
HASTINGS (1 line)
and various CROWDS

MUSIC:

FANFARE

ANNOUNCER:

From Hollywood, California, the Lux Radio Theatre presents Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland in "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

MUSIC:

THEME ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Lux presents Hollywood. "The 'Robin Hood' of the reign of terror." That was the Scarlet Pimpernel, whose daring defiance, whose colorful romance we bring you tonight, with Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland. Madam Hilda Grenier, formerly royal dresser to Queen Mary of England, is our special guest, while our music is conducted by Louis Silvers. Before our producer takes over the program, let me remind you that Lux helps you get longer wear out of your stockings. It helps them stay nice and elastic, so they give under strain instead of popping runs. Yes, Lux cuts way down on runs. So give your stockings regular Lux care. Buy Lux Flakes in the large-size box for greater economy. Our producer takes over the program. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Cecil B. DeMille.

MUSIC:

UP AND OUT

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

DEMILLE:

Greetings from Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen. They call it "the poor man's weatherglass," this little crimson flower that lends a splash of color to English waysides, and closes up its petals in warning whenever there's a storm approaching. They also call it "the scarlet pimpernel." And, by the mark of this flower only, the mysterious hero of our play, Sir Percy Blakeney, signed his daring exploits.

As a play, "The Scarlet Pimpernel" was performed over five thousand times. And it's perhaps the most popular screen characterization of the celebrated star who reenacts the title role for Lux listeners tonight, Mr. Leslie Howard. All the acclaim the stage and screen can bring a star has been won by Mr. Howard. He may continue his career as an actor, but should his present plans materialize, he'll also join the ranks of film producers; which I hope he does. Olivia de Havilland, who's been away from our stage too long, is the brown-haired, brown-eyed heroine of Warner Brothers' new production "Dodge City," in which she plays opposite Errol Flynn. She's co-starred tonight as Marguerite, and Denis Green plays Chauvelin.

As producer of the Lux Radio Theatre, I want to take a moment before raising our curtain to thank all of you for your support. Thousands of you have written, telling us that you show your appreciation by regularly purchasing our products. With this kind of cooperation, ladies and gentlemen, you can depend upon hearing Hollywood's brightest stars on our program every Monday night. And now for the play. The Lux Radio Theatre presents Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland in "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

MUSIC:

FANFARE ... DRUMS AND TRUMPETS

DEMILLE:

Paris -- in the year 1793!

MUSIC:

"LA MARSEILLAISE" ... THEN IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE FOLLOWING--

DEMILLE:

The French Revolution is over, but the reign of terror casts its gruesome shadow across the city. Every day, the citizens of Paris watch an endless procession of death. Crude wooden carts, laden with the nobles of France, on their last journey through the streets -- a journey to the guillotine.

Into this maelstrom comes one man to stem the rising tide of French blood -- an Englishman, known only as "The Scarlet Pimpernel." The object of every nobleman's prayer, and every Revolutionist's curse, he works silently, mysteriously, and successfully. In his native England, they speak of him with bated breath.

MAN 1:

The Scarlet Pimpernel? He's the only hope the French nobles have.

WOMAN 1:

The Scarlet Pimpernel? Does anyone know who he is?

MAN 2:

No, madam. But I must confess I feel quite proud when I remember that he is an Englishman.

WOMAN 2:

They say he's always in disguise.

MAN 1:

Oh, he's an actor, that man. He speaks French like a Frenchman, they say. And I've heard he can assume a hundred disguises in an hour's time -- an old hag, a peddler, a captain of the guards. You never know in what dress the Scarlet Pimpernel will strike.

DEMILLE:

And now the Scarlet Pimpernel is about to strike again. Into a barber shop in Paris comes an old man, in the black robes of a priest. The French barber greets him jovially.

MUSIC:

OUT

BARBER:

Ah, good morning, Father. You wish to be shaved this morning?

PERCY:

(AS AN OLD FRENCH PRIEST) Yes, if you please, barber.

BARBER:

Sit down, sit down. Have you come from the square, Father? The guillotine is busy again today, eh?

PERCY:

I don't know. I didn't stop.

BARBER:

No? Well, it is always the same. The drums roll, the knife falls, and another aristocrat parts company with his head.

PERCY:

Yes. Very monotonous.

BARBER:

And so clumsy. That great, ugly machine. When all they need is a sharp razor, like this -- a quick rip, and FLICK!

PERCY:

Oh, please, please. Don't "flick" quite so close to my throat. I only want a shave.

BARBER:

You-- (LAUGHS) You are all right, Father. But I wish they'd give me a few aristocrats to shave. Can you not see me dealing with the Scarlet Pimpernel?

PERCY:

The what?

BARBER:

The Scarlet Pimpernel. Haven't you heard?

PERCY:

No.

BARBER:

There is a band of Englishmen helping these cursèd aristocrats out of the country. Their chief is the only man who ever cheated Madame Guillotine. He is known by the title of "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

PERCY:

And who is he?

BARBER:

Ah, that is the mystery.

PERCY:

The mystery, of course. Yes.

BARBER:

But there will be heads falling today, in spite of him. Some very famous heads, Father.

PERCY:

Yes?

BARBER:

We checked off the names last night -- the Duc de Tours, the Count d'Eterais, de Nijons, the Count de Tournay and his wife and daughter--

PERCY:

(SURPRISED) De Tournay?! Are you sure? De Tournay?

BARBER:

But certainly I am sure. They were taken to prison over a month ago. (SUSPICIOUS) Why, Father? You are not a friend of theirs?

PERCY:

(CHUCKLES, DRY) A friend? No, no, no. No, it isn't safe to know any nobles these days.

BARBER:

Hm? Oh. (LAUGHS) Good. Very good. (LAUGHS)

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

GUARD:

You wish to see the former Count de Tournay, is that so, Father?

PERCY:

(AS AN OLD FRENCH PRIEST) Yes. If you don't mind.

GUARD:

Very well, Father. They haven't long now. You'll find the former Count de Tournay in that room over there.

PERCY:

Thank you. Thank you.

SOUND:

CELL DOOR UNLOCKED AND CREAKS OPEN

PERCY:

Good morning. Are you the Count de Tournay?

TOURNAY:

Yes. I suppose you have come to offer me the last rites, Father.

PERCY:

In a manner of speaking. If you will just look at this passage I have marked in the book, your spirits will be uplifted.

TOURNAY:

I am not afraid to die, Father.

PERCY:

Even so, it is sometimes better to live, my son.

TOURNAY:

To live? What are you--?

PERCY:

Sshhh. Read there. In the book.

TOURNAY:

But-- But there is nothing on the page, except a red mark.

PERCY:

Look carefully.

TOURNAY:

It is a flower. A red-- (HUSHED) A scarlet pimpernel!

PERCY:

(QUICKLY) Sh!

TOURNAY:

(WHISPERS) Father, are you the Scarlet Pimpernel?

PERCY:

(DROPS THE ACT, BRITISH ACCENT, QUICK AND LOW) Be careful. It will do you no good to know. Just listen to me. Before you start on your journey to the guillotine, they will bring your wife and daughter to you. You will ride in the same tumbrel. On the way, there will be an accident. The wheel of the tumbrel will come off. There will be a commotion, the soldiers guarding the cart will be jostled by the crowd -- all carefully arranged for. Look sharply. An old hag will drive past in a wagon. There will be a place to hide in the back large enough for three people. The old hag will drive you through the city gates. (SLOWLY) If all goes well, you'll be safe in England in three days.

TOURNAY:

God bless you, whoever you are. God bless you.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR WHICH OPENS

ARMAND:

Well? What is it?

PERCY:

(AS AN OLD HAG) Good evening. Have you a crust of bread for an old lady?

ARMAND:

No, I'm sorry. Here, take this.

SOUND:

A FEW COINS

PERCY:

Thank you, monsieur. Thank you.

ARMAND:

Good night.

PERCY:

Oh, wait. Isn't this the home of Monsieur Armand St. Just?

ARMAND:

Why, yes. I am Armand St. Just. What do you want?

PERCY:

(DROPS THE ACT) I want to come in, Armand.

ARMAND:

(STARTLED, WHISPERS) Percy! Quickly, quickly!

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES AND LOCKS

ARMAND:

Good lord, Percy.

PERCY:

How are you, Armand?

ARMAND:

Heh, I'm afraid I will always be startled at these disguises of yours. Last time I saw you, you were a priest.

PERCY:

And now I'm an old hag. Here, help me out of these clothes. I feel silly.

ARMAND:

Did you get the Tournays out of the city?

PERCY:

I got the girl and the Countess. What happened to de Tournay? He wasn't in the tumbrel.

ARMAND:

I know. He was remanded the last minute.

PERCY:

Why?

ARMAND:

Because Robespierre wants to see him. And Robespierre wants to see him because the ambassador of the French Republic has come over from London.

PERCY:

Chauvelin? Here in Paris?

ARMAND:

Yes. All in your honor, Percy. Your work is becoming even more dangerous than it was.

PERCY:

Our work, Armand. Well, let's hope Chauvelin will go back to England, though, knowing less than ever. I'll be going back myself for a few days. Then we must lay our plans to free de Tournay.

ARMAND:

Percy -- aren't you risking too much? Why do you persist in this mad sport?

PERCY:

Why do you?

ARMAND:

Why? Because I am a Frenchman. This is my country. You, you are English. You are Sir Percy Blakeney, an English baronet, with a lovely home and a charming wife.

PERCY:

Even if she is your sister.

ARMAND:

My sister or not, I'd still say Marguerite is charming. Or perhaps you don't think so any longer.

PERCY:

Why do you say that? Has she said anything to you?

ARMAND:

She hinted at it in her last letter. She said you've - changed, Percy.

PERCY:

Did she? Well, I have changed. I'm rarely at home now, and when I am, I play the fop. I'm insipid, vain, silly. I think only of the latest fashions in clothes, the latest court gossip. But all for good reason, Armand. The greater fool I am in England, the safer I'll be in France.

ARMAND:

But you could tell Marguerite--

PERCY:

No.

ARMAND:

Just so she would understand.

PERCY:

I said, no! And don't you tell her! (BEAT) Armand, you asked me why I live over here in the shadow of the guillotine while heads fall one after another. I can save only a few; I know that. The rest have to die. People I know and love -- innocent people, kindly people -- herded together like sheep and butchered like cattle.

ARMAND:

But what has it to do with you?

PERCY:

Armand, do you remember the case of the St. Cyr family?

ARMAND:

I think so. They were one of the first families to go to the guillotine.

PERCY:

Yes, because they were betrayed, Armand. Before their execution they told me who it was who had betrayed them. It was Marguerite.

ARMAND:

My sister?

PERCY:

My wife.

ARMAND:

It is a lie!

PERCY:

I wish I could believe that, but I can't. I watched that execution, Armand -- the Marquis, his wife, his son. And it was my wife who put them there.

ARMAND:

So that's why you stopped loving her. What a tragedy.

PERCY:

Stopped? I shall love her till I die. That's the tragedy.

ARMAND:

And it's to make up for what she did to them that you risk your own life, week after week, to rescue the others?

PERCY:

Oh, don't be so heroic, Armand. I got a smack in the eye and took refuge in sport. And what a sport! By gad, I think I shall give up fox hunting this winter.

ARMAND:

Percy, don't joke about it.

PERCY:

I have to. It's the only thing that can save me. Well, I'm off for England in the morning, Armand. My love to Monsieur Chauvelin, if you should see him.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

SOUND:

HORSE AND CARRIAGE

FFOULKES:

Gad, Percy, but it's good to have you at home again.

PERCY:

So far, so good, Ffoulkes. I've still got my head.

FFOULKES:

You should hear them talk about you in London. You're the greatest mystery of the age.

PERCY:

Yes, well, I hope no one solves me just yet. But tell me about Marguerite. Has she been well?

FFOULKES:

As well as a neglected wife can be.

PERCY:

What has she been doing?

FFOULKES:

Having her portrait painted, mostly. Romney's been there every day.

PERCY:

And our friend, Monsieur Chauvelin?

FFOULKES:

The French ambassador? What would he be doing in your house?

PERCY:

Oh, one never knows, Ffoulkes, one never knows. Well, England again, I shall have to become the fop once more -- (AS THE FOP) "The London Dandy" who has been at Bath for the past ten days taking the cure. And, sink me, I'm not cured yet, I shall have to go back to Bath again.

FFOULKES:

(LAUGHS)

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

BIZ:

LADIES' LAUGHTER

ROMNEY:

(FRUSTRATED) Lady Blakeney. Lady Blakeney, please. I can't paint you unless you sit quite still.

MARGUERITE:

I'm sorry, Mr. Romney, but we were just talking of this man they call the Scarlet Pimpernel.

ROMNEY:

Oh.

LADY:

He must be quite wonderful, Marguerite.

MARGUERITE:

So they say. But it's maddening to think that somewhere there is a man as marvelous as that and we never see him. He's of no use to us whatever.

BIZ:

LADIES' LAUGHTER

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

BRINKER:

Lady Blakeney?

MARGUERITE:

Yes, Brinker?

BRINKER:

Sir Percy, milady. He's just returned.

MARGUERITE:

(WHISPERS, UNEASY) Percy!

BIZ:

LADIES MAKE A COMMOTION AS PERCY ENTERS

PERCY:

Good day, ladies. So charmed to see you here. Have you been taking good care of my lovely wife? (AN OBSEQUIOUS GREETING) Your servant, ladies. Marguerite, my dear, your slave.

MARGUERITE:

Percy. Why didn't you tell me you were coming?

PERCY:

So few things are surprising in this world, my dear. I should like to be one of them. And how are you, Romney? And how is the portrait progressing?

ROMNEY:

You may see for yourself, Sir Percy.

PERCY:

(APPRAISING) Mmmm. Yes. The-the-the-the eyes are wrong, aren't they? And is the nose all right? You know, I rather think you've missed the mouth altogether. Yes, you have, Romney. Otherwise, of course, it's the image of her.

ROMNEY:

(OFFENDED) I think that will be enough for today.

MARGUERITE:

Poor Mr. Romney. You are tired. And - and so am I.

PERCY:

Tired. Zwounds! I, too. You know, dear ladies, I've just been to Bath to be cured of the fatigue. And now I'm so fatigued by the cure that I really think I shall have to go back to Bath again to be cured of the fatigue.

BIZ:

LADIES' LAUGHTER

LADY:

Marguerite, my dear, we must be going.

2ND LADY:

Yes, goodbye, darling.

BIZ:

LADIES EXCHANGE FAREWELLS WITH PERCY AND MARGUERITE, THEN BUSTLE OFF

PERCY:

Goodbye, goodbye. (AN OBSEQUIOUS FAREWELL) Your servant, ladies, your servant.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES AS ALL BUT PERCY AND MARGUERITE EXIT

MARGUERITE:

Well, Percy. What do you think of my portrait?

PERCY:

It's clever. (BEAT, MORE SERIOUS) But there's something lacking.

MARGUERITE:

What?

PERCY:

I don't know. There's a look. A look in the eyes. He's lost it.

MARGUERITE:

Perhaps I've lost it. Perhaps it was ---- happiness.

PERCY:

Good gad, my dear, how you could be unhappy I can't imagine.

MARGUERITE:

Can't you? Percy, can't you?

PERCY:

(LIGHTLY) No, cursed if I can. Why, you're the most courted woman in town.

MARGUERITE:

By whom?

PERCY:

By everybody.

MARGUERITE:

Except you.

PERCY:

Oh, but, my dear, I-I-I'm your husband.

MARGUERITE:

Months after we were married, we were still happy. And then came this - estrangement. Heaven knows, it's not of my making.

PERCY:

Can you honestly say that?

MARGUERITE:

Can you honestly deny that you've changed? So changed that I scarcely know you. You're never with me now. You're always away on some pretext or other. I'm always alone.

PERCY:

My dear, the fashionable belief today is that one makes one's own life. I'm trying to make mine; you must try to make yours. Now I must leave you for a while. There's to be a fight for a prize out in the countryside. Mendoza versus Jackson. Quite a battle.

MARGUERITE:

(NEEDY) Percy, you've only just come home. Do you have to leave right now?

PERCY:

My dear, the prince himself invited me. I'm trying to make my own life, Marguerite.

MARGUERITE:

I see. Goodbye, Percy.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

SOUND:

PRIZEFIGHT BACKGROUND ... CROWD CHEERING, ET CETERA

MAN 1:

Come on, Jackson, Come on boy! Come on, Jackson, he's our boy!

PRINCE:

Mendoza's groggy! He's done for, Percy.

PERCY:

(AS THE FOP) Don't you believe it, Your Highness! He's foxy! You wait until the thirtieth round!

PRINCE:

I'll wager a hundred guineas he won't last two more rounds.

PERCY:

Done. Come on, Mendoza!

PRINCE:

Come on, Jackson!

FFOULKES:

Percy?

PERCY:

Ah, Ffoulkes. Sit down.

FFOULKES:

Percy, I've got to speak to you at once.

PERCY:

Pardon me, Your Highness. (PAUSE, MORE SERIOUS) Well, Ffoulkes?

FFOULKES:

Percy, it's Chauvelin. He's returned to England.

PERCY:

Chauvelin? Where is he?

FFOULKES:

(HESITANT) He's-- He's--

PERCY:

Well, come on, Ffoulkes, come on, man. Where is he?

FFOULKES:

He's at your house, Percy.

PERCY:

My house? Order my carriage, I'm leaving at once.

SOUND:

SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

CHAUVELIN:

(FADES IN) I would advise you to tell me, Lady Blakeney. You are French. You know these nobles who have escaped. You must know who it was who helped them.

MARGUERITE:

I'm sorry, Monsieur Chauvelin, but I don't know. And even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. You tricked me once into giving you information about the Marquis de St. Cyr, and I shall never forgive myself.

CHAUVELIN:

I'm sick of this sentimental twaddle about the poor persecuted aristocrats. Have you forgotten what they did to the defenseless peasantry for centuries? What this very St. Cyr did to you?

MARGUERITE:

No. I have not. But I am no spy.

CHAUVELIN:

Then that is your last word?

MARGUERITE:

Absolutely!

CHAUVELIN:

I wonder. Oh. By the way, how is your brother, Armand?

MARGUERITE:

He is - very well, I hope.

CHAUVELIN:

I hope so, too. But yesterday he was arrested.

MARGUERITE:

Arrested?!

CHAUVELIN:

At Boulogne.

MARGUERITE:

What for?

CHAUVELIN:

As a traitor to his country!

MARGUERITE:

Traitor?! Oh, you're lying, Chauvelin. Trying to trick me again.

CHAUVELIN:

I have the proof of his guilt in my pocket -- a note he once wrote to the Scarlet Pimpernel. This scrap of paper will certainly send your brother to the guillotine. Unless, of course, you care to redeem it. Bring me the name of the Pimpernel and this is yours.

MARGUERITE:

But even if I wanted to, I don't know it.

CHAUVELIN:

Find it!

MARGUERITE:

How can I? If you can't, with an army of spies--

CHAUVELIN:

Because you go everywhere and know everyone in his circle. That much I do know. And this also. That he will be among the guests tomorrow night at the Grenville ball.

MARGUERITE:

So will half the world. The thing's impossible!

CHAUVELIN:

To a clever woman whose brother's life is at stake, nothing is impossible. Well?

MARGUERITE:

Do you swear to give me that paper?

CHAUVELIN:

The moment I catch the Scarlet Pimpernel.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

PERCY:

(ENTERS, AS THE FOP) Zwounds! That name again.

MARGUERITE:

Percy.

PERCY:

I've heard nothing else all day -- at the club, at the fight, and now here. I protest, the fellow's a public nuisance. Oh, I beg your pardon, my dear, do I intrude?

MARGUERITE:

No, no. This is an old acquaintance, Monsieur Chauvelin, the French ambassador. My husband.

PERCY:

Charmed, delighted, enchanted. Devilish clever race, the French. How they speak that unspeakable language of theirs defeats me.

CHAUVELIN:

You flatter us, Sir Percy.

PERCY:

No, no, no, no, no. You've got the cleverest heads in the world. The only trouble is you all go to pieces around the neck.

CHAUVELIN:

Around the neck?

PERCY:

Yes. Now, now, look at your cravat. Sink me, what a mess! Now, if you'd really like to know how to tie a cravat, I'll tell you, but it isn't easy, you know. It takes all my brains.

CHAUVELIN:

(DRY) Yes, I'm sure it would.

PERCY:

Yes. Of course, you-- Now, see, look here. First of all-- First of all, the thing goes twice around the neck. And then the front folds back to allow the back to come to the front. Otherwise, of course, the front, eh-- The front would be all behind, as-as-as-as it was before. You see? Hm?

MARGUERITE:

Percy, what are you talking about?

PERCY:

You don't follow me, my dear. It's exactly what I say. It takes brains, doesn't it, Mr. Chauvelin? (AS THE FOP, PERCY TYPICALLY PRONOUNCES THE NAME AS "SHOVEL IN")

CHAUVELIN:

One can see that.

PERCY:

Yes, of course one can.

CHAUVELIN:

Well, good day, Lady Blakeney.

PERCY:

Oh, no, no, no, no. Don't go, no. I want you to hear my verse about that Pimpernel fellow. You'll love it, Chauvelin. Now, listen here.

SOUND:

RUSTLE OF PAPER

PERCY:

(READS) "They seek him here, they seek him there.
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? Is he in--? (CHUCKLES)
That demmed elusive Pimpernel."

CHAUVELIN:

Delightful.

PERCY:

Yes, it's deli-- I wrote it, you know? It's clever, what?

CHAUVELIN:

Yes. Especially that line, "Those Frenchies seek him everywhere."

PERCY:

Oh, yes, yes. I like that, too, yes. Because, you see, I hear that they do. And that gives the line sort of a -- sort of a something -- that gives it a sort of a -- something. If I -- if I make myself clear.

CHAUVELIN:

Yes, clear as crystal.

PERCY:

Yes.

CHAUVELIN:

Good day, my dear Sir Percy.

PERCY:

Bonjour, Monsoo! -- as the French say. Bonjour, Monsoo!

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES AS CHAUVELIN EXITS

PERCY:

Oh, it was a magnificent fight this afternoon, my dear. Gad, I wish you could have been there. (BEAT, MORE SERIOUS) What's the matter, my dear?

MARGUERITE:

Percy--? Who is the Scarlet Pimpernel?

PERCY:

Pimpernel? Gad, Marguerite, how should I know? What's your interest in the Scarlet Pimpernel?

MARGUERITE:

Oh, no more than any other woman's. We'd all like to know who he is.

PERCY:

Yes, so would your friend Chauvelin, I'll wager.

MARGUERITE:

What makes you say that?

PERCY:

Well, isn't that what he's here for? Didn't he tell you?

MARGUERITE:

Why should he?

PERCY:

Why not? Mind you, the man's clever. But a fellow who can't even tie his own cravat isn't likely to put a noose around the Pimpernel's neck, is he?

MARGUERITE:

Oh, Percy, can't you ever rise above trivialities?

PERCY:

(CHUCKLES) Can't rise above anything more than three syllables, my dear. Never could.

MARGUERITE:

(SLOWLY, SADLY) You were a man once. A man a woman could look up to. Could turn to in trouble. And now ---- I wouldn't know where to begin.

PERCY:

Could you begin by telling me what the trouble is?

MARGUERITE:

What's the use? We don't speak the same language. We did once. But I don't think we ever will again.

PERCY:

Really? Well, perhaps you're right, my dear.

MUSIC:

CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard Act One of "The Scarlet Pimpernel," starring Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland. During our brief intermission, let's see what the Brownings are doing.

MUSIC:

ACCOMPANIES "JINGLE BELLS"

BROWNINGS:

(SINGING) Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.
(CONTINUES UNDER ANNOUNCER) Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

ANNOUNCER:

Mm, Christmas spirit. That's Midge and Dot and ten-year-old Bobby practicing for the community sing.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

ANNOUNCER:

And here comes Mother, home from a shopping tour.

MOTHER:

Hello, youngsters!

MUSIC:

OUT

MIDGE:

Hello, Mother.

DOT:

Hiya, Santa Claus.

BOBBY:

Look-see! Look at the packages!

MOTHER:

Oooh, what a day. Here's your ribbon and wrapping paper, Midge.

MIDGE:

Thanks, Mother. And, uh, did you get the, uh, you know?

MOTHER:

(CHUCKLES) Yes. Here it is, Midge.

BOBBY:

Zowie! What's that?

MIDGE:

Now, Bobby, no fair peeking.

BOBBY:

Well, gee! Can't I just feel it?

MIDGE:

Nix. You keep away.

DOT:

Mother, did you get the stockings?

MOTHER:

Yes. Here they are, Dot.

MIDGE:

Who are they for, Dot?

DOT:

Mary Lou. She's always running out of them.

MIDGE:

Running out is right. Gosh, did she pop a runner in chemistry today!

DOT:

Gee, it's something awful, the runs she gets. And snaky seams, too.

BOBBY:

(HISSES) I'm a snake! Wrigglin' through the grass!

DOT:

(LAUGHS) Oh, Bobby!

MIDGE:

Oh, I know! I know!

DOT:

Why, what?

MIDGE:

Why, look, Dot. You could wrap a box of Lux Flakes in with Mary Lou's stockings.

DOT:

Oh, I bet she'd love to know about Lux.

MOTHER:

I'm sure she would, dear. Lux cuts way down on runs.

MIDGE:

Gee. And we could write a little card, like this. "Lux these stockings, fine and sheer--"

DOT:

Uh, "To help cut down on runs, old dear."

MIDGE:

(LAUGHS) Oh, I think that's swell.

ANNOUNCER:

Now, that was mighty helpful of Midge, thinking of Lux Flakes for Mary Lou. In a month's time, I'll bet Mary Lou'll be very grateful to Midge, for she'll be glad to get the special help Lux Flakes gives. You see, Lux saves the elasticity in stockings, so they give under strain instead of breaking into runs so often. If you haven't tried Lux for your own stockings, you'll find it's great, the way it cuts down on runs and helps stockings wear longer and fit better. Buy Lux Flakes tomorrow, in the large-size package for extra thrift. Now Mr. DeMille and Act Two of our play.

DEMILLE:

We continue with "The Scarlet Pimpernel," starring Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland.

MUSIC:

BRIEF INTRO ... THEN IN BG

DEMILLE:

The search continues -- the search for the cursed elusive Pimpernel. Forced by Chauvelin to lend her assistance, Marguerite attends Lord Grenville's ball.

MUSIC:

CHANGES TO BALL ORCHESTRA ... CONTINUES IN BG

DEMILLE:

As she enters the crystal and marble room, she glances nervously around, wondering which of the guests is the Scarlet Pimpernel, never suspecting her own husband, the vain and foolish Sir Percy Blakeney. Chauvelin appears suddenly at her side.

CHAUVELIN:

Well, Lady Blakeney?

MARGUERITE:

I've learned nothing yet.

CHAUVELIN:

I only want to know who one person is. If you don't tell me, you know the alternative -- the guillotine for your brother.

MARGUERITE:

Monsieur Chauvelin, you can't do this. What if I can't find the Scarlet Pimpernel?

CHAUVELIN:

My dear lady, the Pimpernel is under this roof -- at this moment -- among your friends. Your move, my lady. And good luck.

MUSIC:

BALL ORCHESTRA FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG

BIZ:

BALLROOM CROWD LAUGHS AND CHATTERS IN BACKGROUND

BRINKER:

I beg pardon, Sir Percy.

PERCY:

(AS THE FOP) Yes, my man?

BRINKER:

Sir Andrew Ffoulkes wishes to speak to you.

PERCY:

Of course, of course, delighted.

BIZ:

BALLROOM CROWD FADES OUT BEHIND--

MUSIC:

BALL ORCHESTRA FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG.

PERCY:

Good evening, Ffoulkes.

FFOULKES:

Ah, good evening, sir.

PERCY:

Well, what is it?

FFOULKES:

(LOW) Hastings has just arrived from France.

PERCY:

(SERIOUS) Any news?

FFOULKES:

The very worst. The king is doomed. He'll go to the guillotine any day.

PERCY:

Where is Hastings?

FFOULKES:

He's dancing. Shall I get him?

PERCY:

No, wait. I'll send him a note. Come over here to the desk. Wouldn't do for me to be seen with Hastings. I want you to give him this.

SOUND:

SCRIBBLE OF HANDWRITING

PERCY:

Make certain no one sees you. I'm telling him to come to the library at midnight. You'd better come, too.

FFOULKES:

Very well.

PERCY:

Here, slip this note in the cuff of Hastings' coat.

SOUND:

HANDS OVER PAPER

PERCY:

Then don't speak to him for the rest of the evening.

MUSIC:

BALL ORCHESTRA CHANGES TUNES ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG.

CHAUVELIN:

Ah, Lady Blakeney. Won't you take pity on a lonely compatriot?

MARGUERITE:

Monsieur Chauvelin, are you asking me to dance with you?

CHAUVELIN:

(LOW) Not with me. With Lord Hastings, madame.

MARGUERITE:

Why?

CHAUVELIN:

He has a note in his cuff. It was just put there by Sir Andrew Ffoulkes. I want you to get it for me.

MARGUERITE:

Oh, but listen, Chauvelin--

CHAUVELIN:

Get it. Hurry, please. It might be important.

MUSIC:

BALL ORCHESTRA FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN CONTINUES BUT FADES SOMEWHAT WITH--

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

CHAUVELIN:

Come in, please. (BEAT) Well, Lady Blakeney? Did you get that note from Hastings?

MARGUERITE:

No.

CHAUVELIN:

You didn't?

MARGUERITE:

I couldn't. I think he suspected me. I pretended to turn my ankle. He helped me upstairs and then, while I was sitting there, he read the note and burned it. Then he left.

CHAUVELIN:

He burned the note?

MARGUERITE:

Yes. But not entirely. Some of the pieces were left. The note began--

CHAUVELIN:

Go on. Quickly.

MARGUERITE:

It said, "...start tomorrow myself." And the last sentence was, "...will be in the library at midnight."

CHAUVELIN:

Thank you. Thank you, Lady Blakeney. And now, if your labors have tired you, you are quite at liberty to go home.

MARGUERITE:

Thank you. I will.

MUSIC:

BALL ORCHESTRA UP, THEN CONTINUES IN BG

BIZ:

BALLROOM CROWD LAUGHS AND CHATTERS IN BACKGROUND

PERCY:

(SERIOUS) Are you certain of this, Ffoulkes?

FFOULKES:

Quite certain. Hastings burned the note, Percy, as you've always ordered us to. Then he went back to the room. And she was reading what was left of it.

PERCY:

And she went to Chauvelin?

FFOULKES:

Yes. You know what that means, Percy. It means that Chauvelin knows that the Scarlet Pimpernel will be in the library at twelve o'clock.

PERCY:

Perhaps. And perhaps he will.

MUSIC:

FADES OUT

SOUND:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

CHAUVELIN:

Is this the library?

SERVANT:

Yes, Monsieur Chauvelin.

CHAUVELIN:

Have you seen anyone go in or come out of this room in the last few minutes?

SERVANT:

No, sir.

CHAUVELIN:

Who is that on the sofa?

SERVANT:

I don't know, monsieur. He must be asleep.

CHAUVELIN:

Well, please wake him up and ask him to leave. I have an important engagement here.

SERVANT:

Oh, it's Sir Percy Blakeney, sir.

CHAUVELIN:

Blakeney? That fool. Wake him up and ask him if he'll have the decency to go home and sleep in his own bed.

SERVANT:

Yes, sir. (TO PERCY) Uh, Sir Percy? Sir Percy!

PERCY:

(WAKES, AS THE FOP) Huh? Wha-wha-wha-wha-what is it? What is it? Is there no peace for the weary? What ails you, man?

SERVANT:

The French ambassador, Sir Percy. He would like to have the library to himself.

PERCY:

The French ambassador? Ah, Monsoo Chauvelin!

CHAUVELIN:

I am sorry to disturb you, Sir Percy, but I have an important
engagement here.

PERCY:

Really? Gad, there's not a comfortable sofa anywhere else in the house. I've tried 'em all. Sit down, Monsoo. What time is this, eh, this gentleman to appear?

CHAUVELIN:

He's a little late. If you don't mind, I'll wait for him alone.

PERCY:

No, not at all, not at all. By the way, what do ambassadors talk about in libraries at midnight? Must be very fatiguing. Are you afraid England is going to declare war on France?

CHAUVELIN:

That does not concern me at the moment.

PERCY:

Is that so? Your revolution, now. Now, there-there-there's a great bore. Uh, how's it going? Do you think you'll win?

CHAUVELIN:

We have won, sir.

PERCY:

Oh, you have? I see. Yes. Have I been asleep that long?

CHAUVELIN:

I - I hate to hurry you, Sir Percy, but I'm afraid your presence here is keeping my friend from entering.

PERCY:

Oh, he can come in! Is he outside?

SOUND:

PERCY OPENS THE DOOR

PERCY:

Oh, come in. Do, sir. Please don't stand on ceremony.

CHAUVELIN:

(ICY) I hardly think that will persuade him.

PERCY:

Ah, this must be a very secret meeting. I have it! I'll wager you're expecting that Scarlet Pimpernel, is that it?

CHAUVELIN:

(EXPLODES) Sir Percy, you're becoming insufferable!

PERCY:

Oh, Monsoo Chauvelin, you would not deprive me. Let me hide behind the curtain. Anything. Just let me be the first in London to glimpse that mystery man. Why, I'll be the most popular man at the club.

CHAUVELIN:

(EXASPERATED) It is too late now. He has been warned.

PERCY:

Oh, then I shall miss him. Oh, sink me. Well, good night, Monsoo. (MOVING OFF) Better luck next time. Good night.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

SOUND:

CLOCK CHIMES TWICE

PERCY:

(NO LONGER THE FOP) You've packed my things?

BRINKER:

Yes, Sir Percy.

PERCY:

Good. See that Sir Andrew Ffoulkes receives this note, will you?

SOUND:

RUSTLE OF PAPER

BRINKER:

Yes, Sir Percy.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

PERCY:

Well, Marguerite. What are you doing up at this hour? That's all, Brinker.

BRINKER:

Yes, Sir Percy.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES

PERCY:

Well, my dear?

MARGUERITE:

Percy. It's about Armand. He's in the most terrible danger. They've arrested him in Boulogne.

PERCY:

How do you know?

MARGUERITE:

Chauvelin told me.

PERCY:

When?

MARGUERITE:

Yesterday.

PERCY:

Why didn't you tell me when I asked you?

MARGUERITE:

Well, I - I don't know. He threatened me.

PERCY:

Why are you telling me now?

MARGUERITE:

Because I thought you might do something for Armand. You have influence at court.

PERCY:

Didn't you ask your friend Chauvelin for help?

MARGUERITE:

He promised me that, but-- I don't trust him.

PERCY:

He promised you the life of your brother. What did you give him in exchange?

MARGUERITE:

What? Oh, Percy, what has happened to you? Why do you hate me?

PERCY:

Why did you denounce the Marquis de St. Cyr?

MARGUERITE:

(REALIZES) Oh. So that's it. Why did you never ask me what the Marquis de St. Cyr did to me?

PERCY:

You didn't even know him.

MARGUERITE:

No. I didn't even know him. But I knew his son. I was only seventeen when he asked me to marry him. His father heard about it and had me arrested. And sent to Saint-Lazare. Do you know what Saint-Lazare is? Do you know the sort of women that are sent there? I would have killed myself, only--

PERCY:

Only what?

MARGUERITE:

The Revolution came, the Fourteenth of July, and I was free.

PERCY:

Free to denounce the Marquis. Free to send two innocent people to the guillotine. It was your information, wasn't it?

MARGUERITE:

Yes. It was. And yet-- I still ask myself, am I really guilty of their deaths? The Marquis plotted with Austria. I told a friend, a man whom I thought a friend. He denounced him; the Terror did the rest.

PERCY:

Who was that friend? Chauvelin? (REALIZES) Yes. He promised you your brother's life. What price did you pay for it? (NO ANSWER, INSISTS) What price did you pay for it?

MARGUERITE:

A horrible one. I betrayed the Scarlet Pimpernel.

PERCY:

How?

MARGUERITE:

Ffoulkes gave a scrap of paper to Lord Hastings. I read it and told Chauvelin that the Pimpernel would be in the library at midnight. Oh, what am I to do, Percy? How can I warn him?

PERCY:

Warn him? Against what?

MARGUERITE:

Against the danger that threatens him if he goes back to France.

PERCY:

My dear, if he's the kind of lunatic I take him to be, your warning won't help him.

MARGUERITE:

But he might be going to his death.

PERCY:

Well, that's all the fellow lives for. Besides, he doesn't know that you're in love with him.

MARGUERITE:

In love with--? I admire his heroism, but I don't love him.

PERCY:

Oh, but you do, only you don't know it.

MARGUERITE:

(SCOFFS) Oh!

PERCY:

I didn't know it myself, until a moment ago. You know, it's a dangerous game, falling in love with a phantom, my dear. For all you know, he may be a married man, who's-- A married man who's deeply in love with his wife.

MARGUERITE:

Never.

PERCY:

Why not?

MARGUERITE:

Would any man who was in love with his wife leave her continually to face death? Would you?

PERCY:

Me? Marguerite, I-- (CATCHES HIMSELF, CHUCKLES, MORE FOPPISH) Zwounds, I'm much more romantic that you think. In a case like that I wouldn't leave you. Not even to go to my tailor's.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

BRINKER:

The horses are ready, sir.

PERCY:

Thank you, Brinker.

MARGUERITE:

Are you going away?

PERCY:

Yes, didn't I tell you? Important business in town in the morning. Goodbye, my dear.

MARGUERITE:

Your tailor's, I suppose.

PERCY:

No. Not only my tailor's, but my bootmaker's. And, incidentally, I want to see what my influence is worth at court. That little matter of your brother; perhaps I can help.

MARGUERITE:

Oh, Percy, if you could, I'd -- (DEEPLY) -- love you all my life.

PERCY:

Gad, I-- (BEAT, MOVED) I must remember that, my dear. Goodbye.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES AS PERCY EXITS

BRINKER:

Milady?

MARGUERITE:

What is it, Brinker?

BRINKER:

It's very late, Milady.

MARGUERITE:

I suppose you want me to leave this room. I've never been here quite alone, have I?

BRINKER:

Why, no, Milady.

MARGUERITE:

I've hardly even noticed the furniture. Is that portrait of Sir Percy's one of Romney's?

BRINKER:

Why, yes, Milady. A very fine one, too.

MARGUERITE:

He's a great believer in detail, isn't he? Look at that ring on Sir Percy's finger. You'd think it was-- (GASPS) Brinker!

BRINKER:

Yes, Milady?

MARGUERITE:

Have you ever noticed that ring?

BRINKER:

Why, no. It - it's a seal ring, Milady.

MARGUERITE:

Look closely. That flower, engraved on the stone. What is it, Brinker?

BRINKER:

Why, bless my soul. It's a scarlet pimpernel.

SERVANT 2:

(ENTERS) Milady?

MARGUERITE:

Well?

SERVANT 2:

A letter to be delivered into your ladyship's hands.

MARGUERITE:

From Sir Percy?

SERVANT 2:

No, madame. From His Excellency, the French ambassador.

MARGUERITE:

Give it to me.

SOUND:

ENVELOPE TORN OPEN ... DOOR CLOSES AS SERVANT EXITS

MARGUERITE:

(READS, LOW, TO HERSELF) "Milady. I have at last discovered the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I hope to catch him tomorrow. And true to my word--" (UP) Brinker!

BRINKER:

Yes, Milady?

MARGUERITE:

Order my carriage, at once! I must see Sir Andrew Ffoulkes!

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

FFOULKES:

Lady Blakeney. What's happened?

MARGUERITE:

Sir Andrew, there's no time to waste in talking. Just listen to me. Your leader, and friend, the Scarlet Pimpernel-- He's my husband.

FFOULKES:

How do you know that, Milady?

MARGUERITE:

Don't ask me any questions now. He's in danger. Chauvelin knows that the Scarlet Pimpernel and Percy Blakeney are one and the same.

FFOULKES:

How did Chauvelin come to know?

MARGUERITE:

Through me.

FFOULKES:

Ah.

MARGUERITE:

Yes, yes, yes, I betrayed him. Never mind how. Just tell me this. Has Percy left for Boulogne?

FFOULKES:

Yes.

MARGUERITE:

To save my brother?

FFOULKES:

And de Tournay.

MARGUERITE:

What is their meeting place at Boulogne?

FFOULKES:

Why? Do you want to betray him again, Milady?

MARGUERITE:

Oh, look at me. Do I look like a woman who wants to send her husband to his death? I want to find Percy, to warn him, to save him. Or die with him.

FFOULKES:

I'll go with you.

MARGUERITE:

Ah. Can you bring your friends?

FFOULKES:

Ten of them. The rest of them are in France. Percy has forbidden us to go over. It will be the first time we've ever disobeyed him.

MARGUERITE:

I'll save Percy, if I have to kill Chauvelin. And if he goes to the guillotine, I'll go with him!

MUSIC:

CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

We pause for station identification. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

MUSIC:

LUX SIGNATURE FILLS THE PAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

We've dropped the curtain on the second act of "The Scarlet Pimpernel." It goes up again shortly, when Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland bring us Act Three. During this short intermission, we hear from our special guest and Mr. DeMille.

DEMILLE:

In addition to being a foremost authority on the period of tonight's play, Madam Hilda Grenier, like our drama, has been intimately concerned with English nobility all her life. For many years she had the title of Royal Dresser to Queen Mary, and has been on duty at every imaginable royal function, from baptisms to coronations. Her background makes her one of Hollywood's most valued technical advisors. If there's a more proper introduction for an ex-Royal Dresser, Madam Grenier, please enlighten us.

GRENIER:

It was infinitely better, Mr. DeMille, than my first introduction to royalty. Princess Charlotte of Germany had granted me an interview. Entering her salon, I tripped on a rug and went flying along the highly-polished floor like a sailboat in the wind. When I dared to open my eyes, there I was at the feet of the princess. She laughed, picked me up, gave me my first lesson in poise. And now, sir, I can tell you a little about royalty, and a little about the Scarlet Pimpernel. Which would you like first?

DEMILLE:

Well, we'd like to know a little more about you. Suppose you tell us what a Royal Dresser is.

GRENIER:

In addition to direct supervision over Queen Mary's wardrobe, my duties included the care of her jewels, orders, decorations, messages and other personal activities. I suppose my greatest responsibility was to see that everything Her Majesty wore was absolutely correct -- right down to her umbrellas.

DEMILLE:

Her umbrellas?

GRENIER:

Indeed. Each one in her tremendous collection was named after the person who gave it to her. She'd simply ask me to bring her "Lord Chesterfield," or "papa," or "The Emperor," or "Dali." But far more famous than her umbrella collection is her priceless array of antique furniture. Many of her most treasured pieces originally came to England without a scratch, escaped from France at the time of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

DEMILLE:

What mementos do you have, Madam Grenier, of your days in the palace?

GRENIER:

Several cherished gifts from both the late King George and Her Majesty. I was also given a pair of silk stockings worn by Marie Antoinette, who was the guillotine's most celebrated victim. Handmade, they have a texture like gossamer. Of course, Mr. DeMille, I wouldn't dream of wearing them, as you can well imagine. But just from showing them to my friends they became soiled, and I finally had to make a courageous decision -- I had to wash them. I did the job myself, and with Lux, they came out perfectly. Lux, incidentally, was used in Buckingham Palace during all the years I served Her Majesty.

DEMILLE:

Hm, that's a real tribute. Looking back over those years, what stands out most conspicuously in your host of regal recollections?

GRENIER:

Not the pomp and glory, Mr. DeMille, but the little human traits of Her Majesty. I remember how, as Princess of Wales, she wept because she had to leave her little baby, Prince John, for an official visit to India. How, coming home from a new musical show, she would whistle tunes from the play, just as you and I. And I well recall how she'd carefully tear off bits of unused papers from letters and save them for memoranda. She was, and is, a wonderful woman. Now the word I promised about the play. It may be a surprise to most Americans to learn he actually existed, Sir Percy Blakeney, called the Scarlet Pimpernel. To this day, his descendants are well known in England. As portrayed so excellently by Mr. Howard, he was vain and foppish, but underneath it all, courageous, almost to the point of being foolhardy. Was the Scarlet Pimpernel ever caught? Well, suppose we all listen to the third act of the play and find out.

DEMILLE:

You've entertained us royally, Madam Grenier.

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

DEMILLE:

"The Scarlet Pimpernel," starring Leslie Howard in the title role, and Olivia de Havilland as Marguerite, with Denis Green as Chauvelin.

MUSIC:

BRIEF INTRO ... THEN BEHIND DEMILLE--

DEMILLE:

Armed with the knowledge that her husband is the Scarlet Pimpernel, Marguerite takes ship for France to be with him in his hour of danger. With Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, she stands on deck as their boat plows its way across the English Channel. Just ahead lies the coast of France -- a few flickering lights in the darkness.

SOUND:

SHIP BACKGROUND

FFOULKES:

You'd better go below, Lady Blakeney. We'll be coming in soon.

MARGUERITE:

What was the name of that inn? The one you told me of?

FFOULKES:

The Lion d'Or, Sir Percy's headquarters on this coast.

MARGUERITE:

And he'll be there at ten o'clock? You're certain?

FFOULKES:

If all goes well, he'll be there.

MARGUERITE:

But Chauvelin knows that Percy is the Pimpernel. What if he goes there, too?

FFOULKES:

We can only hope that he won't. If Percy can escape this time, he'll never go back again.

MARGUERITE:

Never again.

FFOULKES:

If he can free de Tournay and Armand, his mission is over.

MARGUERITE:

(TROUBLED) His mission -- that I drove him to. Sir Andrew, will we be there in time?

FFOULKES:

I think so. Ah, there are the lights now.

MARGUERITE:

Lights?

FFOULKES:

Yes, the signal. You see the window of that house off there to the left? That's the Lion d'Or. See the light swinging back and forth? That means it's safe. Up and down means danger. You want to turn back now? I can't go with you, Lady Blakeney.

MARGUERITE:

Don't worry. I shall be all right. He has been risking his life every day for me. I can risk mine once for him.

MUSIC:

TRANSITION

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

INNKEEPER:

(LOW) Who's there?

MARGUERITE:

(WHISPERS) A message.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

INNKEEPER:

Well?

MARGUERITE:

Is this the Lion d'Or?

INNKEEPER:

Yes, madame, but--

MARGUERITE:

Let me in, please.

SOUND:

MARGUERITE ENTERS ... DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--

INNKEEPER:

Madame, what do you want here? This is no place for one of your sort.

MARGUERITE:

I am the sort that pays well, Citizen Brogard.

INNKEEPER:

For what?

MARGUERITE:

For a seat by the fire. I'll wait here for a friend of mine -- and yours.

INNKEEPER:

What should I know of your friends?

MARGUERITE:

You signaled to him before. You must be expecting him. What time? What time, please?

INNKEEPER:

Ten o'clock. Madame, do--? Do you--? Do you know him?

MARGUERITE:

Yes. I know him.

SOUND:

COMMOTION OF MEN BEHIND DOOR ... POUNDING ON DOOR

MARGUERITE:

Who is that?

INNKEEPER:

I do not know. At this time--?

MARGUERITE:

Where can I hide?

INNKEEPER:

Up those stairs, to the room on your left. Hurry.

SOUND:

MORE POUNDING

CHAUVELIN:

(BEHIND DOOR) Open here! Open!

INNKEEPER:

One moment. One moment.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... COMMOTION OF MEN AS THEY ENTER

CHAUVELIN:

Citizen Brogard?

INNKEEPER:

Yes.

CHAUVELIN:

Under arrest. Take him, Sergeant.

INNKEEPER:

What for?

CHAUVELIN:

Betraying the Republic. Helping the enemies of France. Smuggling aristocrats out of the country.

INNKEEPER:

That's a lie.

CHAUVELIN:

You've got one chance. Take it, or I'll hang you now from your own sign. Your leader's coming here tonight, isn't he?

SOUND:

SLAP! IN THE FACE

CHAUVELIN:

Isn't he?!

INNKEEPER:

Yes.

CHAUVELIN:

What time?

INNKEEPER:

He ordered his boat to be off the point at ten o'clock.

CHAUVELIN:

But he'll call here first for his passengers, won't he?

INNKEEPER:

He might.

CHAUVELIN:

(WITH DISGUST) Might. You'll look pretty swinging in the wind. How does he know it's safe? What is the signal? Sergeant, ask him what the signal is. A twist of the arm will help him to remember.

SERGEANT:

Speak up.

INNKEEPER:

(GROANS IN PAIN) Don't! I'll tell. A lantern in the attic window, waved up and down for danger. Across the window when all is clear.

CHAUVELIN:

Thank you, citizen. Sergeant, you may take Citizen Brogard outside.

SOUND:

SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

MARGUERITE:

(FADES IN, TO HERSELF) Up and down for danger. Oh, God, let him see the signal. Let him see it. Up and--

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

CHAUVELIN:

Put down that light, Lady Blakeney.

MARGUERITE:

Chauvelin.

CHAUVELIN:

We meet again. Permit me, madame, but you were giving the signal incorrectly. Up and down means danger. That will drive the Pimpernel away. (SOUND: TAKES LANTERN) You must move the light -- back and forth -- across the window. So. Now he will come to us.

MARGUERITE:

Chauvelin, listen to me. He's my husband.

CHAUVELIN:

A fact that you neglected to mention a few days ago.

MARGUERITE:

You've got to let him go. I'll do anything you want! I'll give you any information I can, but you've got to let him go free!

SOUND:

HORSE AND CART APPROACH BEHIND--

CHAUVELIN:

Don't be a fool. You've no information to give. Even if you had, do you suppose I'd sacrifice my meeting with the Scarlet Pimpernel for it?

SERGEANT:

Monsieur Chauvelin?

CHAUVELIN:

Well?

SERGEANT:

A coach, monsieur, is pulling up at the door.

CHAUVELIN:

Ah. Our friend is early. I'll let him in myself. Sergeant? You shall have the privilege of watching over the Republic's most charming prisoner for the rest of the evening.

SOUND:

SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR ... NO RESPONSE ... KNOCK AGAIN

SOUND:

DOOR CREAKS SLOWLY OPEN

SOUND:

TICKING! OF CLOCK IN BACKGROUND

PERCY:

(LOW) Brogard? (NO ANSWER) Brogard?

CHAUVELIN:

Don't move, Sir Percy. Stand where you are.

PERCY:

(AS THE FOP) Monsoo Chauvelin! Well, well, this is a surprise.

CHAUVELIN:

Yes, I thought it would be.

PERCY:

Yes. A very pleasant one, too. How nice of you to wait up for me.

CHAUVELIN:

The time for laughing has passed, Sir Percy. I have followed you for a year. Your energy, your ingenuity, your audacity have been quite admirable. But now the game is over.

PERCY:

Because all the trumps are in your hand, eh?

CHAUVELIN:

Precisely. This house is surrounded by my soldiers. I have only
to raise my voice.

PERCY:

Yes. Yes, of course, I-I-I see your point. Yes. But suppose, eh-- (INCREASINGLY INTENSE) Suppose I could reach the door. The night is black. The sea is mine. I make a dash!

CHAUVELIN:

You won't.

PERCY:

(INSTANTLY CASUAL) Oh, of course, I won't. I don't need to, because-- ... Because, you see, one of my friends might shoot you, from behind. Hidden in THAT CLOCK!

CHAUVELIN:

What?

SOUND:

CHAUVELIN SMASHES CLOCK WHICH STOPS TICKING

PERCY:

Ha ha! Come now, come now, Chauvelin. You know that clock is too small to house a man. But there's still one avenue of escape -- one we could take together. In this pipe, there is an ember. And in that cask behind me there is gunpowder. If I drop this ember here, I fly straight to heaven. And, of course, you know where you fly to. ...

CHAUVELIN:

Get away from that barrel!

PERCY:

(LAUGHS) Why, it isn't gunpowder. I merely wanted to see you turn pale. (CALLS) Ah, come in at the window, Ffoulkes. You're a welcome sight. (THREATENING) I would raise my hands if I were you, Chauvelin.

CHAUVELIN:

Another trick. I don't turn this time.

FFOULKES:

I don't think you'd better.

CHAUVELIN:

Why, you--!

PERCY:

There, you see? Ffoulkes tricks us both. He must have sensed that you and I would meet here. Now, Chauvelin, I've had a delightful visit with you. In the meantime, my friends, Armand St. Just and de Tournay, are safely aboard my ship. And, in a moment, if you'll excuse us, Ffoulkes and I will join them.

CHAUVELIN:

You'll never get beyond that door.

FFOULKES:

We'll need the password, Percy.

PERCY:

Ah, yes. Yes, the password. Yes. Well, Monsoo, eh-- Do we have to use force?

CHAUVELIN:

Not at all, Sir Percy. The password is, "The channel is free."

PERCY:

Thank you. Ffoulkes, give me your pistol. You get onto the ship, I'll take care of our friend here and join you in a minute.

FFOULKES:

Very good.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS FFOULKES EXITS

PERCY:

You know, that, er, that was quite sensible of you, Monsoo Chauvelin. To give us the password, I mean.

CHAUVELIN:

Not at all, Sir Percy. You may go because --- I know you'll come back of your own free will.

PERCY:

Ah, you overestimate the charm of your society.

CHAUVELIN:

I told you once the time for jesting was over. I have all the trumps in my hand. In that room upstairs, there is a woman, under arrest, who has forfeited her life by aiding the enemies of the Republic.

PERCY:

What woman?

CHAUVELIN:

Your wife, Sir Percy -- who loves you very much.

PERCY:

(STUNNED) Marguerite?

CHAUVELIN:

Is the game up, Sir Percy? Is this the last adventure?

PERCY:

All right, I give up, Chauvelin. What next?

CHAUVELIN:

There is a firing squad outside.

PERCY:

And my wife?

CHAUVELIN:

The Revolutionary Tribunal.

PERCY:

That means death.

CHAUVELIN:

It would have meant my death if I had not caught you. But don't be alarmed, Sir Percy. I don't want your wife's life. She's free the moment you die.

PERCY:

I offer you a pact. If you promise to say nothing to her, if you'll send her onto my ship immediately, I'll walk up in front of your firing squad.

CHAUVELIN:

I accept. (CALLS) Sergeant?

SERGEANT:

(OFF) Yes, monsieur?

CHAUVELIN:

Bring the lady downstairs, please. (TO PERCY) You must be very fond of your wife, Sir Percy.

PERCY:

Yes, I am. Is that so strange?

CHAUVELIN:

Not at all. A charming woman.

MARGUERITE:

Percy!

PERCY:

Marguerite.

MARGUERITE:

Percy, I came to help you as soon as I knew. I wanted to give my life to save you. And now-- Oh, forgive me, Percy.

PERCY:

You came to help me? Chauvelin didn't bring you?

MARGUERITE:

No. I came with Sir Andrew.

PERCY:

Oh, Marguerite.

MARGUERITE:

What are they going to do to you? Tell me.

PERCY:

Why, I'm in no danger, my dear.

MARGUERITE:

What? (BEAT, INCREASINGLY AGITATED) No, you're lying. I know! He's going to kill you! I can see it in his eyes! Oh, Percy, don't leave me! I want to die with you. I want-- (SWOONS AND FAINTS)

PERCY:

(CATCHES HER) Marguerite. (BEAT, SADLY) She's fainted.

CHAUVELIN:

Some water, perhaps.

PERCY:

No. Our parting would be too cruel now, even for you. Take her while she's still unconscious. (BEAT, TO MARGUERITE) Goodbye, my sweet. It's good to know that you love me a little.

CHAUVELIN:

Sergeant! Carry her to Sir Percy's boat. The boat is to sail the minute Sir Percy dies. The lady is free when you hear the firing squad.

SERGEANT:

Yes, monsieur.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS SERGEANT AND MARGUERITE EXIT

CHAUVELIN:

Well, she's gone, monsieur. Now, are you quite ready?

PERCY:

Yes. By the way, do you like poetry, Monsieur Chauvelin?

CHAUVELIN:

"That demmed elusive Pimpernel"?

PERCY:

Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. I mean ---- poetry.
"This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."
I - I forget the rest.

SOUND:

MARCH OF FIRING SQUAD, OFF

COMMANDER:

(OFF, CALLS) Firing party! Halt!

SOUND:

MARCHING STOPS, OFF

COMMANDER:

(OFF, CALLS) Ground muskets!

CHAUVELIN:

The firing squad. They're waiting.

PERCY:

Will you come see me die, monsieur?

CHAUVELIN:

No. Thank you, no. I shall remain here. I shall picture the scene in my own way.

PERCY:

Oh, yes, of course. Make it as horrible as possible. ... Yes. Good night, monsieur.

CHAUVELIN:

Good night.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS PERCY EXITS

COMMANDER:

(OFF, CALLS) Ready!

SOUND:

RIFLES READIED

CHAUVELIN:

(TO HIMSELF, SAVORING IT) Present.

COMMANDER:

(OFF, CALLS) Present!

CHAUVELIN:

(TO HIMSELF) Fire.

COMMANDER:

(OFF, CALLS) Fire!

SOUND:

RIFLES FIRE!

CHAUVELIN:

(PLEASED, TO HIMSELF) "That demmed elusive Pimpernel." (CHUCKLES)

PERCY:

(APPROACHES, WHISTLING "GOD SAVE THE KING")

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

PERCY:

(AS THE FOP) I'm so sorry, monsieur.

CHAUVELIN:

Blakeney!

PERCY:

Yes, you see, I've come back for my hat. It's such a cursed good hat, you know. ...

CHAUVELIN:

You--! But you--!

PERCY:

Oh, no, no, no, no. Don't - don't look at me like that. Sink me, if you don't think I'm my own ghost.

CHAUVELIN:

(CALLS) Duroc! Duroc!

PERCY:

Oh, you mean the captain of your firing squad? I'm afraid it'll be an hour or so before poor Captain Duroc will be able to resume his duties. I regret that I struck him rather violently. (CALLS) Come in, gentlemen!

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... MEN ENTER

PERCY:

This, eh, is my firing squad. Allow me to present Sir Andrew Ffoulkes--

FFOULKES:

Monsieur.

PERCY:

--Lord Hastings--

HASTINGS:

Monsieur.

PERCY:

--Lord Belville and all the rest of 'em. But of course you know all about them.

CHAUVELIN:

Your firing squad?

PERCY:

Yes, you see, those men you hired -- oh, excellent men, all of 'em -- but, oddly enough, they can't resist a drink of wine. Oh, they'll recover; it was just a mild drug, you know. But, eh, for the moment, they're all sleeping very soundly. And now, since the volley of shots has freed Lady Blakeney, I must make haste to join her. Good night!

CHAUVELIN:

(STAMMERS) Why, I-- Why--

PERCY:

Chauvelin! You know, I think a cooling off is what you need. Ffoulkes, raise that trap door, there.

SOUND:

TRAP DOOR OPENS

PERCY:

You'll find it very cool below, Monsieur Chauvelin, and you will have ample time to think things over. Bonsoir, monsieur. Vive la France. Long live the King!

SOUND:

TRAP DOOR SLAMS SHUT

MUSIC:

TRANSITION ... A BURST OF "LA MARSEILLAISE" ... THEN ROMANTIC IN BG

MARGUERITE:

Percy -- you're here. They told me.

PERCY:

Yes, Marguerite, my darling, I'm here. And we're on our way to England, that's all you have to know.

MARGUERITE:

Are we free now? Really free?

PERCY:

I'm free, my sweet. But you-- You know, Chauvelin said that you would not be free until the moment I die.

MARGUERITE:

Darling--

PERCY:

And I won't let it be a moment sooner.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

We take leave of "The Scarlet Pimpernel." You know, hearing the Brownings get all excited over Christmas reminds me of something -- and I'd like to tell you about it before Mr. DeMille comes back with our stars.

I want to tell you a very snappy way to trim your Christmas tree. All you need is your old friend Lux Flakes. Now, listen. Pour a large box of Lux Flakes into a big bowl and add two scant cups of lukewarm water. Whip it up with an egg beater. Gosh, it's wonderful the suds you get -- a big pan full of fine white suds that look like whipped cream in the bowl, and like real snow on the Christmas tree. Now, take handfuls of the suds, and spread them with your fingers all along the branches of your Christmas tree. If you want an even more glittering effect, while the suds are still moist, sprinkle the tree with artificial Christmas snow -- the kind you get in the stores. Boy, what an effect you get. Your tree looks as though it had been out in a real honest-to-goodness snowstorm. It certainly is pretty, all sparkling and everything. And, you know, this is one way to help your tree last longer -- because the Lux suds cling to the needles and keep them from drying out and falling off too soon.

Want me to repeat the recipe? A large-size box of Lux Flakes, two scant cups of lukewarm water, whipped with an egg beater. That's all. Be sure to get the large-size box of Lux, so you can make plenty of snow.

Here's Mr. DeMille.

DEMILLE:

Our stars drop their roles. Lady Marguerite is again Olivia de Havilland and the Scarlet Pimpernel becomes Leslie Howard.

HOWARD:

Well, it is every bit as enjoyable bringing this play to the air, Mr. DeMille, as it was bringing it to the screen. As Madam Grenier told us, the Scarlet Pimpernel really actually existed. I confess, I didn't know that until I was making the picture, because, surely, no character seemed more a piece of elaborate fiction. So naturally, when someone sent me a note and said he belonged to Sir Percy's family, I wondered whether one of my friends had thought up the gag, you know. It was slightly embarrassing not long after when a Mr. Blakeney, a descendant of the original Scarlet Pimpernel, introduced himself to me.

DE HAVILLAND:

Two weeks ago, Mr. Howard, I heard you say something on this program about turning motion picture director. Earlier tonight, Mr. DeMille added the word "producer" after your name. Apparently, you're really going into the picture business in all its branches.

HOWARD:

You scare me, Olivia. As a matter of fact, we expect to produce certain pictures in England. But just to be sure that our efforts will appeal to our American audiences, we're going to write our first story right here in Hollywood. It'll be the first time, I believe, that this has been done by an English unit.

DEMILLE:

(CHUCKLES) Well, there's no reason why the tie that binds the nations can't be made of celluloid. Miss de Havilland, you've been out of Hollywood a long time filming "Dodge City." Any adventures on location?

DE HAVILLAND:

Well, I'm the "Dodge City" dodger. I've been dodging kidnappers.

HOWARD:

Not kidnappers?

DE HAVILLAND:

Yes, kidnappers.

HOWARD:

Really?

DE HAVILLAND:

Let me tell you. We were on location near Modesto, in the prairie country, and a very fine place, I thought, for a nice, quiet walk. But it seems that two very tough-looking gentlemen also decided to take a nice, quiet walk and follow me. And after a couple of miles they were still right on my heels. There wasn't another soul around and the only building in sight was a farmhouse. And when I made a dash for that, the two men dashed after me. I reached the farmhouse, found it was abandoned, and decided to face it out. I walked right up to the men, demanded what they wanted, and looked them straight in the eye. One of them took something out of his pocket. I didn't dare look. I was too sure it was a six-shooter. Just as I was about to faint, the man poked it under my nose and said, "We sure would like your autograph, Miss de Havilland." ... And believe me, gentlemen, I signed! (CHUCKLES) Well, Mr. DeMille, I hate to say good night, but I guess it's time to. Thank you for another grand evening.

LESLIE HOWARD:

Yes, with an added "thank you" to all who worked with us in the cast. Good night, C. B.

DEMILLE:

Good night, Mr. Howard. Good night, Olivia.

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

ANNOUNCER:

There's a great show awaiting you here next Monday night. Listen for Mr. DeMille's announcement of it shortly.

Heard in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" were Denis Green as Monsieur Chauvelin, Walter Kingsford as Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, Vernon Steele as Romney, Ramsay Hill as Armand St. Just, Reginald Sheffield as Count de Tournay, Eric Snowden as the Prince of Wales, Gerald Cornell as Innkeeper, Keith Kenneth as Brinker, Lou Merrill as a barber, George Pembrook as Lord Hastings, John Toti as a voice, Dave Roberts as a guard, and Geraldine Peck, Ethel Sykes, Coral Colebrook and Betty Sutter as ladies of the court.

Miss de Havilland's current film is the Warner Brothers comedy "Hard to Get." Mr. Howard is co-director of the new picture "Pygmalion." Our musical director, Louis Silvers, appeared through courtesy of Twentieth Century-Fox studio, where he was in charge of music for the new picture "Kentucky."

We want to remind you that this is the time to help the 1938 drive to fight tuberculosis. Help make the world safer. Purchase your supply of anti-tuberculosis Christmas seals now. Use them on all your Christmas mail. Show that you are helping, too, to fight the dread disease. Buy seals for Christmas, and you buy health for the New Year. Mr. DeMille.

DEMILLE:

It carries a punch, like a prizefighter's fist, the play you'll hear next Monday night -- "Kid Galahad" -- an exciting drama of the squared circle. It's the story of a manager, the boy he picks to win the title, and the women who love this naive thunderbolt called Kid Galahad. The same two stars you saw in the picture bring the play to our stage -- Edward G. Robinson and Wayne Morris, and with them Miss Joan Bennett and Andrea Leeds.

MUSIC:

THEME ... TILL END

DEMILLE:

Our sponsors, the makers of Lux Flakes, join me in inviting you to be with us again next Monday night, when the Lux Radio Theatre presents, "Kid Galahad," starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett, with Wayne Morris and Andrea Leeds. And as the evening's special guest, the former heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Dempsey. This is Cecil B. DeMille saying good night to you from Hollywood.

SOUND:

APPLAUSE ... TILL END

ANNOUNCER:

Your announcer has been Melville Ruick. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.