Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Terror by Night
Show: The Canterville Ghost
Date: May 24 1936

CAST
ANNOUNCER
HIRAM: OTIS
LORD CANTERVILLE
MRS. UMNEY, the housekeeper
VIRGINIA, Hiram's daughter
WASHINGTON: , Virginia's brother
ROLAND: and ROGER, the twins
MRS. OTIS
THE GHOST

ANNOUNCER:

Terror by Night!

SOUND:

The twins burst into laughter.... Everybody "shhh's" them loudly ... then

ANNOUNCER:

(Surprised) The Columbia players present a play of the supernatural, Walton Butterfield's dramatization of Oscar Wilde's famous story, "The Canterville Ghost."

SOUND:

Wind.

HIRAM:

Ghosts?

LORD CANTERVILLE:

Precisely ... a ghost!

HIRAM:

My lord, you actually expect me to believe that Canterville Chase is haunted or that there exists such a thing as a ghost?

LORD CANTERVILLE:

My dear Mr. Otis, I feel it my bounden duty, as the present owner of Canterville Chase, to acquaint you and your family, as the prospective owners, with the facts. Your belief in them rests, quite naturally, with yourselves.

HIRAM:

In America, my lord, we have everything that money can buy. We have many of your best actors, your prima donnas, your plays, your novels, your works of art. Believe me, if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe or England, we'd have it at home in one of our public museums or on the road, in a theatrical production!

LORD CANTERVILLE:

Possibly, Mr. Otis, possibly! I fear, however, that the ghost exists ... though it may have resisted the overtures of your enterprising American impresarios. It has been well known for three centuries and always makes its appearance ...

HIRAM:

At Canterville Chase?

LORD CANTERVILLE:

... at Canterville Chase, immediately before the death of any member of our family.

HIRAM:

Well, so does the family doctor, for that matter, Lord Canterville.

LORD CANTERVILLE:

We have not cared to live in the place ourselves.

HIRAM:

(Blustering) But there is no such thing, sir, as a ghost!

LORD CANTERVILLE:

My grand aunt, the dowager Duchess of Bolton, was frightened into a fit ...

HIRAM:

By this "ghost"?

LORD CANTERVILLE:

... by two skeleton hands being placed on her shoulders as she was dressing for dinner.

HIRAM:

Imagination, Lord Canterville, pure ... maybe impure ... imagination!

LORD CANTERVILLE:

In conclusion, Mr. Otis, I feel bound to tell you that the ghost has been seen by several members of my family. None of our younger servants would stay with us, and Lady Canterville slept very little at night in consequence of mysterious and persistent noises that came from the corridor and the library.

HIRAM:

My lord, I appreciate your frankness. I'll take the furniture and the ghost at a valuation. We won't mind a ghost in the house; it's perfectly all right!

LORD CANTERVILLE:

Quite so. Only I beg you to remember ... I warned you!

MUSIC:

Something bright and suggestive of English countryside, fading for

MRS. UMNEY:

I bid you welcome to Canterville Chase.

HIRAM:

Thank you, thank you....

VIRGINIA:

(In background) Oh, what a lovely house!

WASHINGTON:

Say, I'm going to like this!

MRS. UMNEY:

Thank you for permitting me to stay on.

ROLAND:

(In background) Hey, Roger, ask her where the ghost is.

ROGER:

(In background) Aw, she wouldn't know.

MRS. OTIS:

(Over their chatter) We should be lost in this great house without your care.

HIRAM:

(Away) Ummmm ... tea!

ROLAND:

Any cakes, pa? Come on, Roger.

VIRGINIA:

Now, don't you children touch anything!

MRS. UMNEY:

I laid tea in the library, madam.

MRS. OTIS:

So my children have discovered! (Fading in) What a beautiful room. Don't you love this black paneling, Hiram?

HIRAM:

(His mouth full) Huh? Oh, yes ... very pretty.... Better pour the tea, Elizabeth.

MRS. UMNEY:

I'll take your wrap, madam.

ROGER:

Gee, these muffins are good!

VIRGINIA:

They're not muffins, Roger. They're scones. Aren't they, mother?

SOUND:

Slight sound of cups and saucers as Mrs. Otis pours and hands cupfuls to Mrs. Umney for serving.

MRS. OTIS:

What, dear?

ROLAND:

I don't care whether they're scones or muffins, they taste swell.

ROGER:

I'd rather have cinnamon toast!

MRS. OTIS:

Tea, Washington?

WASHINGTON:

(Away) No, thanks, mother. Gee, I don't think I've seen such a beautiful sunset since we've been in England.

HIRAM:

Well, we deserve a clear day for a change.

VIRGINIA:

I never dreamed there could be so much rain in one month, but today is perfect.

SOUND:

Slight sound of cup being pushed on silver tray and spoon falling.

MRS. OTIS:

Oh, dear, I pushed something off the tray ... a spoon, I think.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Away but coming in) I'll get it, madam.

MRS. OTIS:

Thank you, Mrs. Umney, right over there in front of the fireplace. I must have ... why, Mrs. Umney, that spot! Children, did you spill anything!

VIRGINIA:

Where, mother?

MRS. OTIS:

There in front of the fireplace. I'm sure something has been spilled.

MRS. UMNEY:

Yes, madam; blood.

MRS. OTIS:

Blood?

HIRAM:

(Fading in) What's this?

MRS. UMNEY:

Blood has been spilled on that spot.

VIRGINIA:

Ohhhhh! ...

ROLAND:

(Coming in) Get out of my way, Roger. Lemme see the blood!

MRS. OTIS:

Are you serious, Mrs. Umney?

MRS. UMNEY:

Quite, madam.

HIRAM:

Here, let me see.

MRS. OTIS:

How horrid! I don't care at all for blood stains on the carpet.

HIRAM:

Don't worry, Elizabeth; we'll get rid of it.

MRS. UMNEY:

It's the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville.

MRS. OTIS:

I don't care whose blood it is, Mrs. Umney; it must be removed.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Unhurried and unperturbed) She was murdered on that spot in 1575.

VIRGINIA:

(Horrified) Murdered ...

MRS. UMNEY:

Yes, miss, murdered ... by her own husband, Sir Simon de Canterville.

WASHINGTON:

Say, dad, some family, these Cantervilles!

MRS. UMNEY:

(As though uninterrupted) Sir Simon survived her nine years and then mysteriously and suddenly disappeared. His body has never been discovered. It's his spirit ... his guilty spirit ... that still haunts the Chase.

HIRAM:

What nonsense. Get the Pinkerton from my suitcase, Washington.

ROGER:

Gee, it's a swell blood spot, ain't it, Roland?

MRS. OTIS:

(Faintly) Have it removed at once, Mrs. Umney.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Politely but firmly) It cannot be removed, madam.

HIRAM:

Bah. Pinkerton's Champion Stain Remover will clean it up in no time. (As though on his knees, scrubbing) There, you see ... it's disappearing already....

MRS. UMNEY:

But, sir ... Mr. Otis ... I beg of you ...

HIRAM:

See? Now it's all gone. I knew Pinkerton would do it.

SOUND:

Fearful peal of thunder.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Faintly) You shouldn't have done it, sir, you shouldn't ...

MRS. OTIS:

Hiram. Quickly. Mrs. Umney has fainted. Virginia ... get me some water.

HIRAM:

What good is a housekeeper who faints?

MRS. OTIS:

Hush, Hiram.

VIRGINIA:

(Coming in) Here, mother.

MRS. OTIS:

Now, what do you suppose made her faint?

VIRGINIA:

Maybe it was that blood stain.

HIRAM:

She ought to be used to it ... since 1575.

MRS. OTIS:

There, she'll be all right now. Are you better, Mrs. Umney?

MRS. UMNEY:

(Coming to) Oh, madam, there's trouble coming now ... and this your first day in the house.

HIRAM:

What do you mean, trouble?

MRS. UMNEY:

I've seen things with my own eyes, sir, that would make any Christian's hair stand on end. There are awful things done here.

MRS. OTIS:

If you're talking about ghosts, we're not afraid of ghosts, are we,
children?

VIRGINIA:

Of course not.

ROGER:

I'd like to see a ghost, though.

ROLAND:

So would I; a big one.

MRS. UMNEY:

Many and many a night I've not closed my eyes for even a wink of sleep. Tonight is sure to be another. I'll take my supper in my room, if you don't mind. (Fading) That storm didn't come up sudden like for nothing. Good night to you, madam, and you, sir ... and the Lord protect you all....

SOUND:

Heavy thunder and wind fading away into

MUSIC:

Up and down into grandfather clock striking 12 (away).

HIRAM:

(On seventh or eighth strike) What's that striking now, Elizabeth?

MRS. OTIS:

(Sleepily) It must be twelve. We came up about eleven. Go to sleep, Hiram....

HIRAM:

I've been asleep. Just before the clock started to strike I thought I heard something outside in the hallway. A sort of clanking sound.

MRS. OTIS:

Now, Hiram, if you're trying to frighten me ...

HIRAM:

Of course I'm not trying to frighten you. But I tell you I heard something. Be quiet.

SOUND:

Metallic clanking sound far away.

HIRAM:

There. Do you hear that?

MRS. OTIS:

(Somewhat alarmed) Yes, I did, Hiram. It sounded like a ... a chain, being dragged.

SOUND:

Clanking draws nearer.

HIRAM:

Like a rusty chain.

MRS. OTIS:

Get up. Strike a match. It's coming nearer.

SOUND:

Clanking continues to draw nearer. Clanking outside door.

MRS. OTIS:

It's right outside the door now.... See what it is, Hiram.

HIRAM:

(Fading somewhat) That's exactly what I'm ...

SOUND:

Door opens ... definite clank.

MRS. OTIS:

(Screams)

SOUND:

Door closes with a slam.

HIRAM:

(Fading in again) What the devil are you screaming about, Elizabeth?

MRS. OTIS:

(Breathy) Didn't you see it, Hiram?

HIRAM:

(As though rummaging in something) Of course I saw it.

MRS. OTIS:

Horrible ... a terrible-looking old man.... His eyes were red as burning coals ... and his long gray hair was ... ugh. Something was hanging from his wrists and ankles....

HIRAM:

(As before) Chains ... they're what we heard.

MRS. OTIS:

Why don't you do something, Hiram?

HIRAM:

(Fading somewhat) I am. ... Be quiet.

SOUND:

Door opens suddenly.

HIRAM:

My dear sir, I really must insist on your oiling those chains. Here's a small bottle of Tammany Lubricator. I shall leave it here on this hall table.

SOUND:

Bottle being set on marble table top away.

HIRAM:

If you want more, just shout. Good night.

SOUND:

Door shuts.

MRS. OTIS:

Hiram, what did you do?

HIRAM:

(As though climbing into bed) The only thing I could think of to stop that bloomin' clanking. Maybe we can go to sleep now.

SOUND:

Of bottle being smashed to bits as though thrown with great force against marble slab.

MRS. OTIS:

What was that?

HIRAM:

(As though getting out of bed) I don't know, but I'm going to find out (fading somewhat) Something broke.

SOUND:

Door opens.

ROLAND:

(Squeals with delight ... away, as though out in hall)

ROGER:

You missed, him, Roland; now he's gone.

HIRAM:

Here ... what's going on out here?

ROGER:

(Gleefully fading in) We saw him, daddy ... we saw him ... a dirty old man.

ROLAND:

(Gleefully) It must have been that Canterville ghost.

SOUND:

Door opens away.

ROGER:

Roland missed him, too, Wash ... almost hit him with our pillow.

WASHINGTON:

What's all this glass?

HIRAM:

It's the bottle of Tammany Lubricating Oil I put out here on the table for that ... that whatever it was.

ROGER:

It was the ghost, daddy, of that old man who murdered his wife down in the library.

HIRAM:

Nonsense.... You can't tell me ...

VIRGINIA:

(Far away ... from the floor below ... screams as she runs up stairs)

HIRAM:

What the ...

MRS. OTIS:

Virginia ... where's Virginia ... ?

WASHINGTON:

(Away) Here she comes.... What's the matter, Virge?

VIRGINIA:

(Fading in excitedly) Mother ... daddy ... I was just down in the library ... I couldn't sleep and went down for my writing case, which I'd left in front of the fire ...

ROGER:

(Hopefully) Did you see him, Virge?

VIRGINIA:

Him? Who?

ROLAND:

The Canterville ghost ... the old man. ... He was up here in the hall....

ROGER:

He broke a bottle to pieces and disappeared just as I threw a pillow at him. Daddy saw him ...

MRS. OTIS:

Virginia, are you all right?

VIRGINIA:

Yes, I'm all right ... but, mother ... daddy ... that blood stain ... on the carpet in front of the fire ...

MRS. OTIS:

(Comfortingly) Yes, dear, forget about it. ... Your father wiped it out....

VIRGINIA:

That's it, mother ... it's back again ... redder and bloodier than it was before.

SOUND:

Terrific peal of thunder.

MUSIC:

Comes in under thunder peals.

SOUND:

Heavy rain (away) ... crackling of log fire.

WASHINGTON:

Well, if you ask me, we've been here a whole week, and we haven't made much progress.

VIRGINIA:

What can you do in weather like this? We're lucky to have such large fireplaces.

WASHINGTON:

I'm not talking about the weather; I'm talking about the ghost.

MRS. OTIS:

Oh, now, Washington, can't we go to bed one night without talking about that horrible apparition?

HIRAM:

The more we talk about it, Elizabeth, the less it should frighten you. You don't see me, or even the twins, shuddering and screaming. Virginia isn't afraid.

VIRGINIA:

(Wistfully) No ... I feel sort of sorry for him ... poor old ghost.

MRS. OTIS:

Well, I can't help feeling that it would be much safer if you, Hiram, and Washington and even the twins took it more seriously. We don't want to have to move ...

HIRAM:

Seriously. I don't mind the old fellow if he'll just keep quiet and let us sleep. After more than 300 years he certainly has a claim on the place. But I'll tell you one thing ... if he doesn't use that Tammany Lubricator and quit smashing my bottles to pieces I'm going to take his chains away from him.

MRS. OTIS:

He who laughs last ...

HIRAM:

Ghosts do not laugh, Elizabeth. Mind you, I do think that pillow throwing and pea shooting ...

MRS. OTIS:

Now, for heaven's sake, Hiram, don't start the twins again; they're fast asleep long ago.

HIRAM:

Getting rested up for midnight, probably, the little devils.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Away) Might I come in, madam?

MRS. OTIS:

Of course, Mrs. Umney, come in.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Fading in) Madam ... and sir ... I'm that upset about everything this past week....

MRS. OTIS:

Of course, we all are, Mrs. Umney; but it's not your fault; this beastly weather, getting settled ...

MRS. UMNEY:

Not that, madam; it's ... what goes on at night.

HIRAM:

Nonsense; we'll have all those high jinks cleared up in no time, Mrs. Umney. Besides, Mrs. Otis gave you full permission to remain in your room, safe and sound.

MRS. UMNEY:

Safe? Was old Madame de Tremouillac safe when she woke up early one morning and saw a skeleton seated in her favorite armchair, reading her diary? Was Lady Stutfield safe when five unseen fingers clutched her throat so tightly that she almost strangled and had to wear a black velvet band around her throat until the day she died? I could go on like that ...

MRS. OTIS:

Please don't, Mrs. Umney. I admit that while I do not, of course, believe in such a thing as this Canterville ghost, there is something about the house that ...

HIRAM:

... that interferes with our sleep and that we're going to squelch if ...

MRS. UMNEY:

(Awesomely) ... if it costs you the life of one of your family?

MRS. OTIS:

(Weakly) Mrs. Umney ... please ...

HIRAM:

Bah. If you persist in your silly fears ...

MRS. UMNEY:

Then, please, may I give notice, sir?

HIRAM:

We'll talk about that tomorrow or the next day.

MRS. UMNEY:

Tomorrow may be too late. Doesn't the persistence of the blood spot on the library carpet tell you anything, sir?

HIRAM:

Yes, that's a humdinger, I must admit. If I myself hadn't locked up the library tight every night after removing the stains ...

MRS. UMNEY:

Six nights it's been, sir, and each morning the blood is back again as though you'd never touched it.

HIRAM:

Yes, but what kind of blood is it? Washington, you've got your list.

WASHINGTON:

Yes, here it is. The first morning it came back blood red and returned even bloodier the next three mornings. The fourth morning it was a dull, almost Indian red. The fifth it was vermilion, and this morning it was sort of a rich purple.

MRS. OTIS:

Sort of like a chameleon, isn't it?

VIRGINIA:

I don't think we ought to joke about it, mother.

MRS. UMNEY:

I know you shouldn't, miss.

HIRAM:

I'm considering writing an article on the subject of the permanence of sanguineous stains when connected with crime.

VIRGINIA:

I think I'll go up to bed now, mother.

MRS. OTIS:

I think we'd all better; it's long after eleven. Are you going to lock the library again, Hiram?

HIRAM:

I certainly am. Come on, Washington; we may have a new color for your chart tomorrow morning.

MRS. OTIS:

(Away) Good night, Mrs. Umney.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Away) Good night, madam, and I pray it is a good night. (Further away) Good night, miss.

VIRGINIA:

(As they go upstairs far away from mike) Sleep tightly, Mrs. Umney.

HIRAM:

Did you screen the fire, Washington?

WASHINGTON:

O.K., dad; lock her up.

SOUND:

Heavy oak doors being closed and locked.

MRS. OTIS:

(From upstairs) Are you coming, Hiram?

HIRAM:

(Calling up) Coming, Elizabeth (normal voice as the mike accompanies them upstairs).

HIRAM:

(Whispering) It's almost time to wake the twins. Have you got everything ready?

WASHINGTON:

Yes, in my closet. I'll wait until just before midnight. (Full voice) Good night, dad.

HIRAM:

See you later. (Aloud) Good night, son.

MUSIC:

Fade in very soft mystery music.

SOUND:

Distant clock strikes once only.

ROLAND:

(Whispering) What time is that, Roge?

ROGER:

(Whispering sleepily) Half past four. I'm getting sleepy waiting. Wonder what's the matter with the old ghost.

ROLAND:

(Whispering) Maybe he's died.

ROGER:

(Whispering) He did that in 1575, or he wouldn't be ghost. Shhh ... I hear something.

SOUND:

Dog bays in distance.

ROLAND:

(Whispering) That's only the dog down in the barn.

SOUND:

Terrific peal of thunder, wind, clanking of chains from distance growing nearer.

ROGER:

(Whispering) He must be outside the door now.

SOUND:

Clanking full up, followed by door-hinge squeak ... terrific crash as of tin pail falling 7 feet to floor. Voice utters wail of terror, fading away, followed by distant crash of mail armor.

HIRAM:

What happened?

WASHINGTON:

(Slowly away) I think we got him.

ROGER:

(Gleefully) He tripped on the string.... See, it's broken.

ROLAND:

(Excitedly) And the pail of water fell right on him when our door opened.

WASHINGTON:

Did you hear him shriek when he saw our scarecrow?

HIRAM:

Look, he knocked it over. The broom handle has gone right through the pumpkin shell.

WASHINGTON:

Something tells me that's the last we'll hear of ye olde Canterville ghost.

SOUND:

Thunder peal.

WASHINGTON:

Where's Virginia?

HIRAM:

Your mother fainted; she's probably in with her. (Calling) How's mother, Virginia?

MRS. OTIS:

(Away ... faintly) Virginia's not here, Hiram. Is everything all right?

HIRAM:

(Alarmed) All right? (Sternly) Virginia ...

WASHINGTON:

(Away as though calling downstairs) Virge ... Virge ...

HIRAM:

(Fading) Roger ... Roland ... help us find your sister.... Look in all the rooms.

WASHINGTON:

(Fading) I'll look downstairs.... Virge ... where are you? ... Virginia....

MRS. OTIS:

(Fading in) Hiram ... what's the matter ... ? Where is Virginia?

HIRAM:

Be quiet, mother. She's around some place.

ROGER:

(Fading in) She's not in bed, daddy.... The bed's all messed up. ...

HIRAM:

(Eagerly, suddenly) That you, Virginia?

MRS. UMNEY:

(Away) No, sir, it's me ... Mrs. Umney.... Has anything happened?

SOUND:

Thunder and rain continue throughout.

MRS. OTIS:

Happened? Mrs. Umney, help us find her.... Virginia ... my little girl.... Wake up the servants....

HIRAM:

(Sternly) Now, Elizabeth, be quiet. We'll find her.... She's probably fallen asleep in one of the big chairs downstairs by a fire. (Fading slightly and calling downstairs) Is she there, Washington?

WASHINGTON:

(Far away) No, dad, the library's locked, and she's not in any of the other rooms.

MRS. OTIS:

(Hysterical) This all comes of your crazy fooling in the halls with that ...

MRS. UMNEY:

With the Canterville ghost, madam. ... I heard him stalking through the house....

HIRAM:

(Calling downstairs as before) Washington ... catch this key and open the library doors.... She may have got in there somehow and fallen asleep....

WASHINGTON:

(Far away) All right, dad.

MRS. UMNEY:

Since midnight he's been prowling around....

ROLAND:

We didn't see him, Mrs. Umney....

ROGER:

We've been waiting for him since the clock struck twelve....

ROLAND:

He didn't come out until just a few minutes ago....

MRS. OTIS:

(Sobs)

MRS. UMNEY:

There, there, madam ... maybe she's safe after all....

HIRAM:

(Away, calling down) Is she there, Washington?

WASHINGTON:

(From below) No, dad, everything's just as we left it in the library, except ...

HIRAM:

Except what?

WASHINGTON:

Except the blood stain; it's back again.... Only this time it's much bigger and much bloodier than it's ever been before.

MUSIC:

Sneak in soft background music here which swells at end of scene.

MRS. OTIS:

(Crying) Virginia ... my baby ... my baby.

HIRAM:

(Fading in) Take her to her room, Mrs. Umney, and wake the other servants ... and the gardeners too. We'll search the grounds.... Daylight's coming.

MRS. UMNEY:

(Fading) I knew it. ... I knew this was to be the night.... This is his revenge for all you've done to him the past week.

HIRAM:

Be quiet, Mrs. Umney. Virginia can't be far.... We'll find her if we have to search every corner and tear apart every brick!

MUSIC:

Up full to fill, then fade.

GHOST:

(Laughs softly, as though to himself)

VIRGINIA:

(Softly) Oh ... is this ... your hiding place, Mr. Ghost?

GHOST:

My name is Sir Simon de Canterville.

VIRGINIA:

Yes, Sir Simon.

GHOST:

What are you doing here?

VIRGINIA:

I started to the twins' room to beg them to leave you alone tonight. I feel so sorry for you, Mr. Gh ... Sir Simon. But the twins are going back to Eton next week; and then, if you behave yourself, no one will annoy you.

GHOST:

Behave myself? Then I'd have no reason for existing!

VIRGINIA:

You know you've been very wicked. Mrs. Umney told us ...

GHOST:

(Disdainfully) Mrs. Umney ... ugh!

VIRGINIA:

... the first day we arrived here ... that you had killed your wife.

GHOST:

That was purely a family matter and no concern of Mrs. Umney, or your family, or anyone else.

VIRGINIA:

Don't you know it's very wrong to kill any one?

GHOST:

Ethics ... bah! My wife was very plain.... She never had my ruffs properly starched.... She knew nothing about cookery.... She couldn't ... (He stops abruptly)

VIRGINIA:

What's the matter ... are you angry at me for being here?

GHOST:

No, though I'm a bit angry at myself for letting you find me. I was resting. But after all, you are much nicer than the rest of your family ... your father and the boys, I mean; they're rude ... disrespectful.

VIRGINIA:

(As though suddenly seeing something familiar) Ohh ...

GHOST:

What's the matter?

VIRGINIA:

So it was you who stole my box of paints ! And all the different shades of red are used up! That explains that silly blood stain on the library carpet!

GHOST:

Well, what was I to do? It's very difficult to get real blood nowadays. Didn't it frighten you?

VIRGINIA:

(Lightly) No, of course it didn't. Though I think it did my mother a little, and it certainly annoyed my father. Mrs. Umney was the only one ...

GHOST:

Ah, yes, Mrs. Umney is a very satisfactory person!

VIRGINIA:

I do hope you'll be nice from now on, Sir Simon.

GHOST:

No, no, please don't go, Miss Virginia.... You're a great comfort to one so lonely and so unhappy as I am!

VIRGINIA:

But I'm getting sleepy!

GHOST:

(Sadly) Sleepy! I have not slept for three hundred years!

VIRGINIA:

Poor, poor ghost; have you no place where you can sleep?

GHOST:

(Dreamily) There is a garden where the grass grows long and deep, where the nightingale sings all night through while a cold crystal moon looks down and yew trees spread their giant arms over the sleepers.

VIRGINIA:

You mean the Garden of Death.

GHOST:

Yes, death. It must be so beautiful to lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head and listen to silence ... to have no yesterday and no tomorrow. Have you ever read the old prophecy on the stained-glass library window?

VIRGINIA:

Yes, I learned it by heart the first day we came....

(Reciting) "When a golden girl can win prayer from out the lips of sin,
When the barren almond bears and a little child shall give away its tears,
Then shall the house be still and peace come to Canterville."

GHOST:

(Pleadingly, almost) You can be that golden girl, Miss Virginia, and open for me the portals of death's house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is.

VIRGINIA:

I don't think I know what you mean.

GHOST:

If you will weep with me because I have no tears ... and pray for me because I have no faith ... you who have always been sweet, good, and gentle will move the angel of death to have mercy on me.

VIRGINIA:

(Uncertainly) But where would I have to do this, Sir Simon?

GHOST:

In darkness filled with fearful shapes, where wicked voices will whisper in your ear ... but they will not harm you, for against the purity of a little child the powers of hell cannot prevail. (Anxiously) Are you afraid?

VIRGINIA:

(Almost majestically) I am not afraid; and I will ask the angel to have mercy on you!

MUSIC:

Up full and sweeping.

SOUND:

A sharp sound as of a panel opening and closing almost simultaneously: then all is quiet as Virginia speaks.

VIRGINIA:

(Calling) Mother ... daddy ... everybody ... where are you ... ? I'm back!

MRS. OTIS:

(Fading in excitedly) Virginia ... my darling ... thank God! Where have you been ... ? We were just about to send out searching parties. (Calling) Hiram ... Hiram ... she's here ... in the upper hall ... safe and sound!

VIRGINIA:

Oh, mother, I'm so sorry you were worried. ... I didn't know it would take so long.

MRS. OTIS:

Take so long?

HIRAM:

(Fading in) Virginia! Where have you been, child? (Calling) Come up, boys, she's here. Tell the servants to go back to bed!

MRS. UMNEY:

(Fading in) Oh, Miss Virginia ... are you really safe?

MRS. OTIS:

(Softly, as though to herself) My baby ... my baby....

WASHINGTON:

(Fading in hurriedly) Virge ... where on earth have you been?

ROLAND:

(War whooping in the distance) Here she is, Roger, here she is! Hurray ... hurray!

HIRAM:

Well, Virginia, where have you been?

VIRGINIA:

(Quietly) I've been with the ghost, daddy. He is dead; after waiting three hundred years, he has gone to sleep in peace. Would you like to see him?

MRS. OTIS:

Child, what are you talking about?

VIRGINIA:

There's a panel in the wall, near the window ... in the tapestry room. He's there, in a little cell ... just a skeleton, tied to a huge iron ring.

WASHINGTON:

(Fading out) Come on, twins ... the tapestry room!

MRS. UMNEY:

(Impressed) That would be the remains, where they have been hidden all these years, of old Sir Simon de Canterville!

VIRGINIA:

Yes, Mrs. Umney. He had been very wicked, but he was really sorry for all that he had done. Before he could really die and go to sleep forever he needed someone to pray for him. So he asked me to pray for him, and I did, and he gave me this box of beautiful jewels before he died.

WASHINGTON:

(Away excitedly) Dad ... come quickly.... It's here, just as Virginia said ... the secret room and the skeleton and everything!

MRS. OTIS:

(As though hugging Virginia) Oh, my child, my child ... what a night of terror and of heartache!

MRS. UMNEY:

Never mind, madam, the ghost of Sir Simon will walk no more. See, it's light already and quite clear. (Slightly away) Why fancy that!

VIRGINIA:

What is it, Mrs. Umney?

MRS. UMNEY:

That old withered almond tree in the court. I do believe it's blossomed! Yes, I can see the flowers quite plainly in the dawn!

VIRGINIA:

Can you really, Mrs. Umney? Then you need never fear the Canterville Ghost again! For he is now at rest.

MUSIC:

Heavy, impressive, majestic music to fill.

ANNOUNCER:

You have been listening to "The Canterville Ghost," by Oscar Wilde. Those in the cast were:

As Virginia __________________

As Hiram Otis __________________

As Mrs. Otis __________________

As Virginia's brother Washington __________________

As the twins __________________

As Mrs. Umney __________________

As Lord Canterville __________________

As the Canterville Ghost himself __________________