Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: Heartbeat Theatre: The Third Saturday in Advent
Date: Dec 24 1961

CAST:
C. P. MACGREGOR, your host
ILSA HELD, a German immigrant store clerk
STEFAN, her bitter husband
CHARLEY, her cheery co-worker
MRS. JOHNS, her boss
GIRL, a potential customer
MRS. ARNELL, a wealthy customer

MFX:

BRIEF OPENING

MACGREGOR:

Welcome, everyone, to Heartbeat Theatre.

MFX:

A MODEST FANFARE

MACGREGOR:

This is your host, C. P. MacGregor, inviting you to be the guest of the Salvation Army for the next half hour.

Christmas is a time of giving and what more wonderful thing can anyone give to another than the joy, the happiness, and the love which the Christ Child first brought to the world? We see this reflected in three people in a Salvation Army thrift shop in Robert Juran's Christmas story, "The Third Saturday in Advent," starring Constance Cavendish as Ilsa Held. Now, "The Third Saturday in Advent," Act One.

MFX:

A GENTLE INTRODUCTION

ILSA:

I must go now, Stefan. I will be home to fix your lunch.

STEFAN:

If you must. I never thought Stefan Held would see the day his wife would have to go out to work.

ILSA:

Oh, please, Stefan. I want to do this. We have talked and talked -- and it is the only way.

STEFAN:

Ja. And such a cold day. It is almost too much. You remember? I always said it would be a cold day when my Ilsa--

ILSA:

Please. Forget about what you have always said. This is what we must do.

STEFAN:

Ja. But my Ilsa -- a store clerk!

ILSA:

And what is wrong with that? It is a lovely store. It is run by the Salvation Army. A thrift store, they call it. And it is nice. I am lucky to get this job. I could find no work anywhere else.

STEFAN:

But you should not have to work!

ILSA:

Stefan, calm yourself. And, while I am gone, think what we have talked about. We will never pay the doctors and the friends who helped us unless we have extra money. I work now at Christmas and maybe they let me stay on after the holiday. And in a few months we will be out of debt. Which is not so much we owe - but, with only your pension, we will never pay it back.

STEFAN:

Pension! They take away a man's legs and then pay seventy-five dollars a month to make up for it.

ILSA:

(GENTLE) Aw, sshh, Stefan. Enough. You cannot blame the factory all of your life. You rest now, and I will try to be home to fix lunch.

STEFAN:

I will not be hungry.

ILSA:

And you will see, my Stefan, by Spring, when the sun is warm and the flowers bloom, we will have all our worries behind us. We will look back to this time and we will smile. I go now.

STEFAN:

Take your boots, Ilsa. It looks like it's going to snow.

ILSA:

Oh, I will be all right. Goodbye, my Stefan.

MFX:

BRIDGE

SFX:

CHARLEY'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH ... CLINK OF ORNAMENTS

CHARLEY:

Where'd you like these snowball things, Mrs. Johns?

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh. Oh, put them with the rest of the things by the window there, Charl--

SFX:

PHONE RINGS

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, dear.

SFX:

RECEIVER UP

MRS. JOHNS:

(INTO PHONE) Salvation Army Thrift Store, Merry Christmas. ... Yes, we do. ... We open at nine. ... Well, that's perfectly all right. Goodbye.

SFX:

RECEIVER DOWN

MRS. JOHNS:

Uh, Charley, will you see if you can get me a can of that snow spray for the windows?

CHARLEY:

Sure, but from the looks o' that sky you're gonna have plenty of snow on them windows.

MRS. JOHNS:

(LAUGHS) I hope we have a blizzard -- I'd love it! Now, scoot. Get me that spray. I want to try and have the window decorated before the rush begins.

CHARLEY:

Yes, ma'am.

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, and, Charley, pick up another string of lights, will you?

CHARLEY:

Okay.

SFX:

CHARLEY'S FOOTSTEPS DEPART ... CLINK OF ORNAMENTS

MRS. JOHNS:

(TO HERSELF) Let's see now. Ornaments, rooping, holly--

SFX:

TAPPING ON GLASS

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh. (TO ILSA, ENUNCIATING BROADLY) We - don't - open - till - nine.

ILSA:

(PLAINTIVE, OFF, THROUGH GLASS) The door is locked!

MRS. JOHNS:

(TO ILSA, ENUNCIATING BROADLY) You'll have to come back at nine. We're - not - open - yet.

ILSA:

(OFF) Oh, please! I come in!

MRS. JOHNS:

(MUTTERS) Mm, just a minute.

SFX:

MRS. JOHNS' FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS

MRS. JOHNS:

I'm sorry. We're not o--

ILSA:

Please. I am Mrs. Held. I am working here.

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh! Oh, Mrs. Held! Well, of course. Come on in.

SFX:

ILSA'S FOOTSTEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSED

MRS. JOHNS:

You're the extra person Mr. Thomas hired for the holidays.

ILSA:

Ja. He tell me eight-thirty, Saturday morning.

MRS. JOHNS:

(CHUCKLES) I thought you were an early customer. Come on, I'll show you where to put your coat.

SFX:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING

MRS. JOHNS:

I'm Mrs. Johns.

ILSA:

Oh, how do you do?

MRS. JOHNS:

Have you ever worked in a store, Mrs. Held?

ILSA:

Well, no, not like this one. Stefan and I, we had a little tobacco shop in Hamburg. Oh, it was very small.

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, it's very easy, really. Everything's marked with the price. And if a customer wants something you can't find, I'll help out.

ILSA:

Oh, thank you. I am a little nervous.

MRS. JOHNS:

Here we are.

SFX:

CLOSET DOOR OPENS

MRS. JOHNS:

You can put your things in here.

ILSA:

Thank you. It is a cold day, ja?

MRS. JOHNS:

Mm, coldest yet.

SFX:

CLOSET DOOR CLOSES

ILSA:

What do I do first, Mrs. Johns?

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, I'll show you around and then you can, um, help me decorate the front window till the store opens. All right?

ILSA:

All right. Whatever you say.

MRS. JOHNS:

All the appliances are in that area over there. Clothing against that wall. Books and magazines to the front. After one day, you'll know your way around as well as I do.

ILSA:

Oh, I don't know. But I am surprised. You - you pardon my saying but-- Everything is so nice-looking. I thought used things would be-- Well, how can I say--?

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, everything's reconditioned before we put it out, Mrs. Held. That's probably the most important function of the store. Come this way. I want to show you the workroom where the men repair and paint the items we get.

SFX:

THEIR FOOTSTEPS SLOW TO A STOP

ILSA:

(PAUSE, IMPRESSED) Oh! My goodness!

MRS. JOHNS:

You see, things that are turned into the Salvataion Army are gone over completely -- right here. The men fix up the toys, paint the appliances, mend the clothing.

ILSA:

Oh, how wonderful!

MRS. JOHNS:

It's part of the rehabilitation program for men. Gives them something useful to do.

ILSA:

Ja, that is good!

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, later on, when some of the men get here, you can watch them work. That box of toys is due for sorting today.

SFX:

CHARLEY'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

CHARLEY:

(APPROACHES) I got the lights, Mrs. Johns, but-- Oh, hello.

MRS. JOHNS:

Charley, this is Mrs. Held; Mrs. Held, Charley Wood.

ILSA:

How do you do?

CHARLEY:

Hello.

MRS. JOHNS:

Mrs. Held's working with us for the holidays.

CHARLEY:

Oh, nice to have you with us, Mrs. Held.

ILSA:

Thank you.

CHARLEY:

Oh, I couldn't get any of that spray, Mrs. Johns.

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, it doesn't matter. I'll try later. Come on, Mrs. Held, let's tackle that window.

ILSA:

Ja. Nice to have met you, Mr. Wood.

CHARLEY:

(FLUSTERED) Oh, er, uh, yeah, yeah, thank you, er-- See ya.

SFX:

THE LADIES' FOOTSTEPS AWAY

ILSA:

He is a nice gentleman.

MRS. JOHNS:

Charley? Charley's a prince. He's in charge of the workroom. He's a fine example of the change made in a man when God enters his life.

SFX:

CLATTER OF STRING OF GLASS BULBS IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

MRS. JOHNS:

Now, if you'll hold this end, we'll string the lights across the top of the window. (OFF) How do you like my toy arrangement?

ILSA:

Oh, very, very nice.

MRS. JOHNS:

Do you like that doll sitting in the little car? She looks as though she's driving it.

ILSA:

(CHUCKLES) Ja. It is cute.

MRS. JOHNS:

(MODEST) Well, it's just a touch. Now, if you'll take your end of the lights, get up in the window--

SFX:

ILSA CLIMBS IN WINDOW DISPLAY

MRS. JOHNS:

That's it. Oh -- watch your stockings on that car! Hook it over that nail. That's right. (TO HERSELF) Now, my end. (WITH EFFORT) And it's done. (TO ILSA) I'll have Charley fix an extension later. Now, for the ornaments--

ILSA:

(QUIETLY) Mrs. Johns? I think someone is watching us.

MRS. JOHNS:

What? (BEAT) Ohhh! Isn't she sweet?

ILSA:

(CHUCKLES) She is looking at the doll in the little car, ja?

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, they always come in droves when we put the toy display in at Christmas. (BEAT) Poor child looks cold.

ILSA:

Ja. She isn't even wearing stockings.

MRS. JOHNS:

(AMUSED) She doesn't seem to know we're here. She's so intent on that doll.

ILSA:

Hmm. The eyes of children. Is there anything so beautiful?

MRS. JOHNS:

I don't think there is. Oh, would you unlock the door now, Mrs. Held? It's almost nine.

ILSA:

Ah. Ja.

SFX:

ILSA'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH IS UNLOCKED ... ILSA RETURNS

MRS. JOHNS:

Think you frightened our little friend off.

ILSA:

Ah, she must have thought I was going to chase her.

MRS. JOHNS:

She'll be back. Well, if you'll take some of these empty boxes to the back, I'll get started on the ornaments.

ILSA:

Oh, certainly. (MOVING OFF) I'll put them in the workroom, ja?

MRS. JOHNS:

That'll be fine. (CALLS) Oh, Charley? Can you fix an extension here for the lights?

CHARLEY:

Well, sure, Mrs. Johns.

MRS. JOHNS:

Whenever you get a minute.

CHARLEY:

Say, you know, that Mrs. Held's a nice lady.

MRS. JOHNS:

Yes, she is. I'm glad she's working with us.

CHARLEY:

You know something, Mrs. Johns?

MRS. JOHNS:

What, Charley?

CHARLEY:

(PROUD) She called me Mister Wood!

MFX:

BRIDGE

SFX:

CROWD OF SHOPPERS BUZZES, CONTINUES IN BG ... CASH REGISTER RINGS UP A SALE

ILSA:

(TO A CUSTOMER) Forty-five cents. Thank you.

MRS. JOHNS:

(APPROACHES) You wanted to go to lunch at twelve, didn't you, Mrs. Held?

ILSA:

Oh, ja. If it is all right.

MRS. JOHNS:

You go ahead. Margie's due in any minute and I have to stay till one-thirty.

ILSA:

Oh, thank you.

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, you run along and have a good lunch. Oh, it's started to snow.

ILSA:

Ja. (MOVING OFF) I will be back on time.

SFX:

ILSA'S FOOTSTEPS, THEN OUT WITH--

CHARLEY:

Well, how are ya gettin' along, Mrs. Held?

ILSA:

Oh, just fine, Mr. Wood.

CHARLEY:

Well, you can call me "Charley." Everybody does.

ILSA:

All right. Charley.

CHARLEY:

You haven't worked much before, have you, Mrs. Held?

ILSA:

Well, no. But my husband and I, we had a little tobacco shop.

CHARLEY:

I knew it! I knew it after you'd been here an hour.

ILSA:

(CHUCKLES)

SFX:

CASH REGISTER RINGS UP A SALE, IN BG

CHARLEY:

If you'll excuse my sayin', Mrs. Held, you look like a lady who ought to be in a fine big house with a big kitchen.

ILSA:

(CHUCKLES, AMUSED) And baking struedel maybe?

CHARLEY:

Yeah! That's what I mean.

ILSA:

I have a big kitchen. And you must come over and meet my husband. And have some of my struedel!

CHARLEY:

Hey, I'd like that.

ILSA:

You have a family, Charley?

CHARLEY:

No. Not since-- Well, the Salvation Army is my family. They gave me a second chance.

ILSA:

Ja? They give me a chance, too. I could find work nowhere else.

CHARLEY:

Do you really have to work?

ILSA:

Mm hm. Until we pay for my husband's illness. Ja.

CHARLEY:

Oh, that's tough.

ILSA:

Oh, no. I am grateful to be able to work.

CHARLEY:

No, tough about your husband, I mean. Is he very sick?

ILSA:

He was, um-- He was in an accident at his work.

CHARLEY:

Oh. I'm sorry. I never had any sickness or accident or anything but -- there's things a lot worse. I know. It's when you lose something inside ya.

ILSA:

One would not know that you had trouble, Charley.

CHARLEY:

Well, I haven't now because the Salvation Army cleaned me up inside. They gave me something to do.

ILSA:

Hmm. That is good. We all must have something to do. And, if you'll excuse me now, Charley, I must go home and fix my Stefan's lunch. He will be waiting.

CHARLEY:

Oh, sure. I didn't mean to keep ya.

ILSA:

Oh, that is all right. (MOVING OFF) I see you later.

CHARLEY:

Yeah, see you later, Mrs. Held.

SFX:

ILSA'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS ... TRAFFIC NOISE, CONTINUES IN BG ... DOOR CLOSES ... ILSA'S FOOTSTEPS ON SIDEWALK, OUT WITH--

ILSA:

(TO GIRL) Ah! Hello! You were here this morning. You like the doll? It is pretty, ja?

GIRL:

(CONCEDES) It's pretty.

ILSA:

Every time at Christmas, little girls look at little dolls. Maybe you get this one, ja?

SFX:

GIRL'S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS AWAY

ILSA:

(CALLS) Oh, wait! Wait, don't be afraid! (TO HERSELF) Ach, poor little thing.

MFX:

BRIEF BRIDGE

SFX:

CLATTER OF DISHES, UTENSILS, ET CETERA

ILSA:

Mrs. Johns is so nice, Stefan. When I made the mistake about the camera, she just smiled.

STEFAN:

I do not want to hear any more about the store.

ILSA:

But why?

STEFAN:

It is hard enough to know that you work. I don't want to hear about it.

ILSA:

Oh, then I won't mention it again. And you don't mention again how sorry you are for yourself! (LONG PAUSE) It is now two weeks to Christmas. We will spend them happy, ja?

STEFAN:

Mm. We will spend them.

ILSA:

Oh, we are not so unfortunate, Stefan. If you could have seen the little girl--

STEFAN:

Little girl?

ILSA:

It was, um-- It was at the store, and you don't want to hear about the store.

STEFAN:

That is different. You - you want to speak--?

ILSA:

A poor little child in a thin coat looking at a beautiful doll in the window.

STEFAN:

Ja?

ILSA:

It is only four dollars. But I don't think she has even four cents. You can see in her eyes. She knows she will never have it.

STEFAN:

Mmm.

ILSA:

She will be lucky to have bread on the table.

STEFAN:

(PAUSE, QUIETLY) I'm not complaining, Ilsa. I have you.

ILSA:

Oh, I love you, Stefan. And, remember, we only pay debts with my money. It is your pension we live on. You are the support in this house.

MFX:

TO A FINISH

MACGREGOR:

That was the first act of "The Third Saturday in Advent" starring Constance Cavendish as Ilsa.

Ilsa Held is a lucky woman. Although her husband is unable to work, she has found a job which will help take care of their living expenses to provide the basic necessities of life. But there are many people far less fortunate than Ilsa; people to whom such basics as food, shelter and clothing are miracles hoped for but not expected; children to whom Santa Claus is someone that belongs to other kids. In this greatest of our Christian Holy Days, the Salvation Army extends to you, through their familiar kettle and bell, an opportunity to aid these people so much less fortunate than we; an appeal for contributions which will help to feed, clothe and house hungry, ragged, homeless people. Find it in your heart this Christmas season to give generously to this annual appeal by the Salvation Army.

Now, Act Two of "The Third Saturday in Advent," with Constance Cavendish as Ilsa.

MFX:

AN INTRODUCTION

SFX:

CROWD OF SHOPPERS BUZZES, CONTINUES IN BG ... CASH REGISTER RINGS UP A SALE

MRS. JOHNS:

Mrs. Held, may I see you for a minute?

ILSA:

Ja? Is something wrong?

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, no, not at all. You know, today marks just a week you've been with us.

ILSA:

Ja.

MRS. JOHNS:

You've been doing well, Mrs. Held. Mr. Thomas wanted me to ask you if you'd consider staying on after the Christmas rush. Work full time, in other words.

ILSA:

Oh, ja!

MRS. JOHNS:

Margie's getting married in January, you know. We'd really appreciate your staying on.

ILSA:

Oh! Oh, I was hoping I might do that. It means so much. I have to keep working for a while - and I didn't know what I would do after Christmas.

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, good. It's all settled then.

ILSA:

Oh, ja! Thank you!

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh! I see our little friend's back again.

ILSA:

Ah, ja. I saw her just once during the week -- pressing her nose against the glass.

MRS. JOHNS:

(CHUCKLES) I guess she wants to make sure it's still there.

ILSA:

She is so in love with that doll.

MRS. ARNELL:

(APPROACHES) Oh, excuse me. Could someone help me please?

MRS. JOHNS:

Yes, certainly.

MRS. ARNELL:

I'd like that doll you have in the window. The one in the car. For four dollars.

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh. Yes. Well, this way, madam.

SFX:

LADIES' FOOTSTEPS TO THE WINDOW

MRS. ARNELL:

It's just the doll I've been looking for. I want to surprise my little girl with it.

MRS. JOHNS:

It, uh, is pretty. I hope I can get it without knocking over these lights.

ILSA:

Excuse me, Mrs. Johns. Uh, we cannot sell that doll.

MRS. ARNELL:

What?

MRS. JOHNS:

What do you mean, Mrs. Held?

ILSA:

It, uh-- It is already sold. I - I should have told you.

MRS. JOHNS:

But we were just talking about--

ILSA:

Ja, ja. It slipped my mind.

MRS. ARNELL:

Now, just a moment. That doll's on display and I want it!

ILSA:

I - I'm sorry. I take it out now.

MRS. JOHNS:

But why didn't the customer take it?

ILSA:

Uh-- Because, uh, er-- I buy it!

MRS. ARNELL:

You?!

ILSA:

Ja. I pay for it. Four dollars.

MRS. ARNELL:

Give me that doll!

ILSA:

No, no. It is mine now. I buy it.

MRS. ARNELL:

(TO MRS. JOHNS) Are you going to stand there and let this woman--?

MRS. JOHNS:

Please, madam. Mrs. Held, are you sure you bought this?

MRS. ARNELL:

Well, I never heard of anything like this! A salesperson snatching the merchandise right from under a customer's nose!

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, she has every right to buy what she wants, madam. I'm sorry for this misunderstanding. But it is hers now. (TO ILSA) You should have put it away, Mrs. Held. This has been most embarrassing.

ILSA:

I - I did not mean to cause trouble.

MRS. ARNELL:

(SOFTENING) Um, uh, Mrs. Held-- Let me buy the doll from you, then. I - I'm sorry I was so quick-- I - I'll give you ten dollars for it.

ILSA:

Oh, I - I - I could not.

MRS. ARNELL:

But why do you want it? It - it's old. There's nothing unusual about it.

ILSA:

Oh, there - there is something very unusual - about this particular doll.

MRS. ARNELL:

(KNOWINGLY) Oh. I see. You're more clever than I assumed.

ILSA:

(PUZZLED) No. No, I am not clever.

MRS. ARNELL:

Oh, no? You know what's unusual about that doll.

ILSA:

Ja. A little girl's love.

MRS. ARNELL:

(SKEPTICAL) It's, uh, for your little girl?

ILSA:

For a little girl.

MRS. ARNELL:

(COOL) Oh. I see. Well. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll pay you twenty-five dollars for this doll ...

ILSA:

(GASPS)

MRS. ARNELL:

... and you can buy a dozen dolls for that special little girl.

MRS. JOHNS:

Twenty-five dollars?!

ILSA:

No. No, I am sorry. But this is the little doll she wants. Not the other.

MRS. ARNELL:

But any doll will please a child! And this one is so important to me.

ILSA:

No, I - I - I cannot.

MRS. ARNELL:

Very well, Mrs. Held. You're a clever dealer. One hundred dollars -- no more!

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, just a moment, madam--?

MRS. ARNELL:

Mrs. Arnell. Mrs. John Arnell.

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, Mrs. Arnell. Why are you so anxious to pay a hundred dollars for this doll?

MRS. ARNELL:

(IMPERIOUS) Mrs. Held can tell you.

ILSA:

But I - I do not know what you mean.

MRS. ARNELL:

Well, I think you do. But, uh, deals like this aren't made overnight. Think it over, Mrs. Held. (MOVING OFF) I'll stop by to see you during the week.

SFX:

MRS. ARNELL'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

ILSA:

(RELIEVED) Ohh. Er, here is the four dollars, Mrs. Johns.

MFX:

BRIDGE

STEFAN:

But, Ilsa -- a hundred dollars?!

ILSA:

Now, don't get excited, Stefan.

STEFAN:

You mean that woman would give you one hundred dollars for an old doll?

ILSA:

I do not understand it. But the doll is not for sale.

STEFAN:

Ilsa, don't you realize what a hundred dollars would mean to us? You wouldn't have to work past Christmas. And, as for this child you speak of, any doll would do.

ILSA:

If you could have seen her eyes when Mrs. Johns reached into the window--

STEFAN:

Wait, wait, wait. If this Mrs. What's-her-name--?

ILSA:

Arnell.

STEFAN:

If Mrs. Arnell would pay you one hundred dollars, then maybe someone else would pay even more. It must be very valuable.

ILSA:

No, no. It is not that. Mrs. Arnell is a very rich woman. You can tell by the way she dresses, the way she acts. And she is spoiled. Ja, spoiled. All her life she has just what she wants. And she stamps her foot when she can't have something. Now, she's too old to stamp her foot so she offers money to get her way.

STEFAN:

But nobody would pay a hundred dollars for an old doll just to get her way--

ILSA:

No, Mrs. Arnell would. What is a hundred dollars to her? But that little face at the window-- Ah, she has probably never had anything she wants. But this doll? She shall have it.

STEFAN:

Ach, you are stubborn, Ilsa.

ILSA:

So I am stubborn.

STEFAN:

And beautiful.

ILSA:

(SIGHS, AFFECTIONATE) Stefan.

STEFAN:

The doll is yours. Do what you like. But it is a shame to throw a hundred dollars away.

ILSA:

Stefan, we have never in our life had a hundred dollars at one time. We do not know what it is like to have a hundred dollars that is ours.

STEFAN:

Ja.

ILSA:

So - what are we missing now?

MFX:

BRIDGE

SFX:

CROWD OF SHOPPERS BUZZES, CONTINUES IN BG ... CASH REGISTER RINGS UP A SALE

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, how I hate Wednesdays. That midweek drag gets me right here.

ILSA:

(CHEERY) But Monday is Christmas! Soon the rush will be over, ja?

MRS. JOHNS:

Ja! (LAUGHS)

ILSA:

(CHUCKLES)

MRS. JOHNS:

By the way, have you heard any more from that Mrs. Arnell?

ILSA:

No. I don't think I will, either.

MRS. JOHNS:

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I'm glad you took the doll out of the window, though. It'll save any more complications.

ILSA:

Oh, I can hardly wait for Saturday. I have my surprise all ready. When the little girl comes to the window and sees the doll gone -- oh, how sad she will be! And then -- I will call her in and I will give it to her.

MRS. JOHNS:

(CHUCKLES) I still don't understand that woman offering a hundred dollars.

ILSA:

As I told Stefan, she will try to buy her way.

MRS. JOHNS:

(SLOW) And here she comes to buy it now.

ILSA:

Oh, dear.

SFX:

MRS. ARNELL'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

MRS. ARNELL:

Well, good morning, Mrs. Held.

ILSA:

Good morning.

MRS. JOHNS:

Good morning.

MRS. ARNELL:

(TO MRS. JOHNS) Hello. (TO ILSA) Well, Mrs. Held? Have you reached a decision?

ILSA:

It is still the same.

MRS. ARNELL:

It is? Well, go ahead, Mrs. Held. Name your own price.

ILSA:

But - how can I make you understand--?

MRS. JOHNS:

I think Mrs. Held has made herself clear, Mrs. Arnell.

MRS. ARNELL:

Very clear, indeed. Then let's not beat around the bush any more. (CRISP) We both know the doll is a genuine Turoni. You have it and I want it.

ILSA:

(CONFUSED) A -- Turoni? What is a Turoni?

MRS. ARNELL:

(TAKEN ABACK) You mean - that you really don't know?

ILSA:

No.

MRS. ARNELL:

Well, Turoni was a classic Italian doll maker. I happen to have the largest collection of Turonis in the country and I must have that doll. Oh, you see, Mrs. Held, there are only three Turonis missing from my collection. Now, with this one, I'll need only two more to make it complete. Now don't you see why it's so important to me?

ILSA:

Oh, ja.

MRS. ARNELL:

To anyone else, it's - it's just a doll. It's really worthless by itself. But, as part of a collection, it becomes priceless -- to me.

ILSA:

Uh huh. I see.

MRS. ARNELL:

Then, uh, you'll reconsider? (NO ANSWER)

MRS. JOHNS:

Mrs. Held?

ILSA:

(COMES TO A DECISION) I - I will do this. The doll, it is not mine to give. It belongs to the little girl who will hold it in her arms on Saturday. If she will let you have it, then I can do nothing. It will be hers to give.

MRS. ARNELL:

(CAGEY) Well, thank you. That's a sensible and a very fair decision.

ILSA:

Well, perhaps it is -- to you.

MRS. ARNELL:

Well, I'll go now. (MOVING OFF) I'll be in first thing Saturday.

SFX:

MRS. ARNELL'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

ILSA:

(BITTER SIGH) She will get it from the child. Perhaps I am putting too great a choice on the little one -- her precious doll or that hundred dollars her family must need very much. (HELPLESS) But what else can I do?

MRS. JOHNS:

I hate to say it at this time of year but I've never seen anyone as selfish as that woman.

ILSA:

(DECISIVE) Well, I will not let it spoil my surprise. I'm still looking forward to Saturday.

MFX:

BRIDGE

ILSA:

I am glad there are no customers yet. I don't want to be busy when she comes.

MRS. JOHNS:

I'll take care of anyone who comes in, Mrs. Held.

ILSA:

Charley wrapped it very pretty for me, ja?

MRS. JOHNS:

Oh, it's beautiful.

SFX:

CHARLEY'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

CHARLEY:

No sign of her yet?

ILSA:

Not yet. But she will be here.

CHARLEY:

Suppose she comes before that lady?

MRS. JOHNS:

Well, then that lady won't be able to get it.

CHARLEY:

Hey, this is fun, you know? I kinda feel as though I was givin' the little tyke the present, too. (LAUGHS, OTHERS JOIN IN)

ILSA:

Ja. It is really from all of us.

MRS. JOHNS:

Uh oh. Here's Mrs. Arnell.

ILSA:

(DISAPPOINTED) Oh.

SFX:

DOOR OPENS, MRS. ARNELL'S FOOTSTEPS IN, DOOR CLOSES

MRS. ARNELL:

Oh, good morning!

ILSA:

Good morning.

MRS. JOHNS:

Good morning, Mrs. Arnell.

MRS. ARNELL:

Has she come yet?

MRS. JOHNS:

Not yet.

ILSA:

Mrs. Arnell? I would ask a favor.

MRS. ARNELL:

Yes?

ILSA:

You will let me give the child the doll. You will say nothing to her -- until she holds it in her arms.

MRS. ARNELL:

Oh, no, no, of course.

ILSA:

Then you - you may offer her what you like. But-- She is only a child. Don't press her.

MRS. ARNELL:

No, I won't. I promise. I'll simply offer her any doll in the store in exchange for it. If she says no, well-- Then that's how it'll be.

CHARLEY:

Look! Here she comes.

MRS. JOHNS:

She's running.

ILSA:

Oh, ja, please-- I must see her face. (LONG PAUSE, PUZZLED) Oh, I - I don't understand. She is still excited.

SFX:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

GIRL:

(BREATHLESS) Oh, excuse me--?

ILSA:

Ja, come in, child.

GIRL:

Please, I have the money now for the car! It's still six dollars, isn't it?

ILSA:

The car?

GIRL:

The red car in the window. The one that had the doll in it.

ILSA:

You want the car?

GIRL:

Oh, please! It hasn't been sold, has it?

ILSA:

Oh, child. When - when you came here so many times and looked in the window, weren't you looking at the little doll that was in the car?

GIRL:

No. I don't need a doll. I want the car. It's for my brother. (GIGGLES) But he doesn't know it. He thinks Santa Claus is gonna bring him a car. (GIGGLES) He still believes in Santa Claus. He's only five. Can't I have it?

ILSA:

Oh, you may have it, child.

GIRL:

(RELIEVED SIGH) Ohhh, thank you! For a minute, I was afraid.

MRS. ARNELL:

And you keep your money, dear. I want to buy it for you.

GIRL:

Buy it for me?

MRS. ARNELL:

Yes. You spend your six dollars on yourself.

GIRL:

Oh, but then it wouldn't be my gift to Roger. Thank you very much but I think I'd better pay for it. May I take it now, please?

CHARLEY:

Sure. I'll get it for you, honey. Come with me.

GIRL:

(MOVING OFF) Here's my money.

SFX:

CHARLEY AND THE GIRL'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

ILSA:

(PAUSE) Mrs. Arnell -- Merry Christmas.

SFX:

HANDS OVER PACKAGE

MRS. ARNELL:

Wha--? What?

ILSA:

The doll, it is yours.

MRS. ARNELL:

Oh, now, Mrs. Held, I--

ILSA:

And I will not take your money. Then it would not be my gift. The little girl is happy and that is all that matters.

MRS. ARNELL:

(EXHALES, HANDS OVER MONEY) Here. (FLUSTERED, AWKWARD) I - I don't know what to say. I - I'm sorry. (ABRUPTLY MOVING OFF) Er-- Goodbye.

SFX:

MRS. ARNELL'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS AND CLOSES

MRS. JOHNS:

(PAUSE, WISELY) I think the child got the doll after all, Mrs. Held. That very unselfish young lady over there is a lot more mature than her years.

ILSA:

Ja. How often God shows us the way - through children.

MRS. JOHNS:

I'm sorry your surprise didn't turn out the way you expected.

ILSA:

Oh, so what does it matter? The child is happy. Mrs. Arnell is happy. And I am happy! I have a steady job now, ja? And it is Christmas, Mrs. Johns!

MRS. JOHNS:

It certainly is.

ILSA:

Oh, here. She gave me ten dollars. I will buy that radio for Stefan. He will fuss about me spending the money but I might as well do my Christmas shopping where it will do the most good, ja?

MRS. JOHNS:

Ja! (LAUGHS) Ja, Mrs. Held. And a very warm "fröhliche Weihnachten." (CHUCKLES)

ILSA:

(LAUGHS, DELIGHTED) You know it! (WARMLY) Fröhliche Weihnachten, Mrs. Johns. Fröhliche Weihnachten.

MRS. JOHNS:

(LAUGHS)

MFX:

FOR A FINISH

MACGREGOR:

So ends the final act of "The Third Saturday in Advent" starring Constance Cavendish as Ilsa. Be sure and be with us again next week for another Heartbeat Theatre story. Heartbeat Theatre is a presentation of the Salvation Army and is broadcast overseas by the Armed Forces Radio Service. Until next week, this is your host, C. P. MacGregor, saying thanks for listening and wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

MFX:

CLOSING