Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Suspense
Show: The Devil's Saint
Date: Jan 19 1943

CAST:
ANNOUNCER (1 line)
NARRATOR, "The Man in Black"
Lord Edward WHITEFORD, Son of the Earl of Cray (British)
Count Stephan KOHARY, a wealthy and eccentric Hungarian
ILONA, his niece (American)
Madame FLEY, his French housekeeper
Dr. SAULOMON, his creepy, croaky physician
DRIVER (French)
and a crowd of MASQUERADE GUESTS

NOTE: This transcript includes material from a published version of the script in brackets.

MFX:

SUSPENSE THEME

NARRATOR:

(OMINOUSLY QUIET) Suspense.

MFX:

THEME FILLS A PAUSE, THEN IN BG

NARRATOR:

This is the Man in Black, here again to introduce Columbia's program, SUSPENSE. Our star tonight is Peter Lorre, playing the part of the Hungarian count, Stephan Kohary, a gentleman of sinister aspect. The story is by John Dickson Carr, who calls it "The Devil's Saint."

If you've been with us on these Tuesday nights, you will know that SUSPENSE is compounded of mystery and suspicion and dangerous adventure. In this series are tales calculated to intrigue you, to stir your nerves, to offer you a precarious situation and then withhold the solution till the last possible moment. And so it is with "The Devil's Saint" and Peter Lorre's performance, we again hope to keep you in ...

MUSIC:

ACCENT, THEN OUT

NARRATOR:

(OMINOUSLY QUIET) ... suspense. (BEAT) "The Devil's Saint." (BEAT) Paris, fifteen years ago.

MFX:

GENTLE WALTZ, IN BG

NARRATOR:

Paris as it used to be. When lights twinkled from the old Trocadero to the hill of Sacre Coeur. When taxicabs honked, and the beat of tangos swayed, and Chinese lanterns gleamed above the lake in the Bois. When, in short, you and I were young. Come then to the President's Ball at the Opera.

SFX:

CROWD MURMUR GRADUALLY FADES IN THROUGH THE FOLLOWING--

NARRATOR:

St. Catherine's Day, 1927. A fancy-dress ball at the Opera, filling these marble halls with a multitude of masks and a multitude of dreams. The mosaic decorations are no less bright than the colors that weave here, Harlequin and Columbine, Cleopatra and [the] Musketeers. In the great, marble foyer -- remember it? -- they have set out little tables and lines of palms behind which you may sit screened. Look at one such table. A young man, wearing the scarlet-and-gold uniform of an English Guard's officer in Wellington's day. A dark-haired young girl, in the costume of a Bacchante. And as we approach...

SFX:

CROWD MURMUR GRADUALLY FADES OUT THROUGH THE FOLLOWING--

ILONA:

(LAUGHS GAILY, UNCONVINCING) Ned, don't! Please! You mustn't.

WHITEFORD:

Why not? You really don't mind, do you?

ILONA:

No, of course I don't mind. Only you mustn't. (LOVINGLY) Oh, Ned.

WHITEFORD:

Look here, Ilona. We've got to settle this thing. You have enjoyed being here tonight, haven't you?

ILONA:

Ned, I've loved it! After being cooped up at my uncle's place in the country, it's like heaven!

WHITEFORD:

All right! When I take you back to the hotel, I'm going to face this [dragon] uncle of yours tonight.

ILONA:

No! No, please, don't.

WHITEFORD:

I'm going to say that you and I intend to get married, and that's that.

ILONA:

(BEAT, QUIETLY) I can't marry you, Ned. I've told you that.

WHITEFORD:

But why not? Just give me one good reason.

ILONA:

Because-- I can't. My uncle-- He would never allow it. Never.

WHITEFORD:

And that seems to you a good enough reason?

ILONA:

Yes, Ned.

WHITEFORD:

This uncle of yours-- What's his name?

ILONA:

Count Stephan Kohary.

MFX:

IN BG, ORCHESTRA FINISHES WALTZ

SFX:

IN BG, POLITE APPLAUSE FROM DEPARTING GUESTS

WHITEFORD:

He's a Hungarian, I think you said?

ILONA:

Yes. So am I. My mother was an American.

WHITEFORD:

What's he like, actually?

ILONA:

(HESITATES) Oh, he's -- a little eccentric. Oh, please don't misunderstand. He's a great scholar and a historian. Only --he's a little strange. He-- (BREAKS OFF, TENSE) Ned.

WHITEFORD:

What is it?

ILONA:

There he is now.

WHITEFORD:

Your uncle?

SFX:

SLIGHTLY OFF, THE GUESTS MURMUR IN REACTION TO KOHARY'S ARRIVAL ... THEN CONTINUE IN BG

ILONA:

(AGITATED) Yes! That elegant man in plain evening clothes, with the Order of the Golden Fleece across his chest.

WHITEFORD:

Oh, I see him. Oh, he looks as black as a thundercloud.

ILONA:

He's throwing those two dressed as devils aside as though they didn't exist. Give me my mask. Quick! Before he sees us.

WHITEFORD:

No, Ilona.

ILONA:

Why not?

WHITEFORD:

We'd better face this out now. Sit still.

KOHARY:

(AFTER A PAUSE) Good evening, Ilona.

ILONA:

(NERVOUS) Good evening, Uncle Stephan. Uncle, may I present Edward Whiteford?

WHITEFORD:

How do you do, sir?

KOHARY:

(FLATLY) How do you do? (POINTED) Ilona, do you think that costume is quite the thing to wear in public?

ILONA:

Why not?

KOHARY:

Well, an older generation might call it immodest. It looks like--

ILONA:

Like what?

KOHARY:

Nothing. Will you go and get your cloak or your domino or whatever you wore here?

ILONA:

Uncle, please don't make me go home so soon. It's hardly eleven o'clock!

KOHARY:

I was not asking you to go home, my dear. I was merely asking you to put on a wrap.

ILONA:

All right. I'll get it. You stay and talk to Ned.

KOHARY:

(GRIM) I shall be delighted.

WHITEFORD:

Will you sit down, sir?

KOHARY:

Thank you. You seem to have quite a gathering at this table.

WHITEFORD:

Yes. Some friends of mine from the embassy. They're upstairs dancing now.

KOHARY:

(CHUCKLES, AGREEABLE) Well. Look. Glasses, glasses, and still more glasses. (CHUCKLES) You know, I was quite an adept once at, er, musical glasses. Have you ever tried it, young man? (CHUCKLES) Well, it's very easy. You take a spoon, like this, you see, and--

SFX:

SPOON TO GLASS ... SEVERAL TINKLING NOTES, SUGGESTING A SCALE

KOHARY:

Like it?

WHITEFORD:

Oh, forgive me, sir, but there's something I'd like to ask you.

KOHARY:

Yes?

SFX:

MORE GLASS NOTES, CONTINUES IN BG

WHITEFORD:

I don't exactly know how to say this, so I'd better say it in the shortest way. I want to marry your niece.

SFX: SHORT, SHARP CRASH OF BREAKING GLASS

WHITEFORD:

Well, look out, sir! You've smashed one of the glasses.

KOHARY:

(REPRESSED) A few francs will pay for that. But there are other things of higher value. At least to me.

WHITEFORD:

Well, maybe I ought to mention first that my full name is Lord Edward Whiteford. My father is the Earl of Cray.

SFX:

A FEW MORE GLASS NOTES, BRIEFLY IN BG

KOHARY:

Indeed. (CHUCKLES)

WHITEFORD:

I only mention that to show we're -- well, respectable enough. The British ambassador will vouch for me, sir, if you'd like to ring him up.

KOHARY:

And perhaps I ought to mention that, er, I have always kept Ilona carefully guarded from the world.

WHITEFORD:

Almost too carefully guarded, don't you think?

KOHARY:

(SHARP) That, Lord Edward, depends on my reasons.

WHITEFORD:

Sorry, sir.

KOHARY:

You have known Ilona about how long?

WHITEFORD:

Four days.

KOHARY:

(DRY) Four days! You wouldn't even choose a business partner in four days. Yet you want to marry my Ilona, after four days.

WHITEFORD:

We know our own minds, sir.

KOHARY:

You do, huh? Heh! Then you know more than the wisest men in this world. However! As one whose dearest wish is Ilona's happiness--

WHITEFORD:

(INTENTLY) I hope it is, Count Kohary.

KOHARY:

(SHARP) Do you doubt what I say?

WHITEFORD:

Oh, no, sir.

KOHARY: (AMUSED) Well, I will make you a proposition. I own an estate, in Touraine, not far from Paris. A little chateau, a few hundred acres, fishing, very good stable of horses--

WHITEFORD:

I know. Ilona told me.

KOHARY:

Oh, she did? Well, then here is my suggestion. Why not come down and visit us for a week or two?

WHITEFORD:

(SURPRISED) Why, that's very decent of you, sir.

MFX:

THE SPOON PLAYS A TUNE ON THE GLASSES ... THE SLOW WALTZ FROM "DANSE MACABRE" ... CONTINUES IN BG, OUT AT [X]

KOHARY:

Oh, not at all, not at all. And, uh, if at the end of that time you are not cured of this infatuation--

WHITEFORD:

Oh, it's not an infatuation! I swear it's not!

KOHARY:

No? Well, if at the end of that time you are not cured -- permanently -- of this feeling, you may take Ilona. And with my blessing. That's fair, isn't it? [X]

WHITEFORD:

Oh, it's more than fair, Count Kohary. I don't know how to thank you!

KOHARY:

Oh, no, please, don't even try. And at least I can promise you a very interesting experience. You see, at the Chateau d'Azay there is one certain bedroom. We call it the Tapestry Room.

WHITEFORD:

Yes?

KOHARY:

Well, uh, I assure you, it will be very interesting for you to sleep in that room.

WHITEFORD:

(AMUSED) Why? Is it haunted or something?

KOHARY:

(CHUCKLES) Oh, no. No, no, no. Not haunted. (CHUCKLES) Well, now, if you don't mind, I shall say good night and I hope I can trust you to bring Ilona safely to the hotel. Au revoir.

MFX:

DREAMY DANCE ORCHESTRA HAS ALREADY BEGUN, IN BG

SFX:

GROWING MURMUR OF VOICES, IN BG

KOHARY:

[In the meantime,] Look over there.

WHITEFORD:

What is it?

KOHARY:

Just look. [Look all about us!] Streams of our fellow guests, pouring down the main staircase. Shapes of nightmare. Shapes of delirium. [Great goblin masks -- ] Insane, dead masks -- only the eyes move. Wouldn't we be terrified perhaps if we would look behind those gargoyle faces?

WHITEFORD:

No, I don't think so. They're only ordinary people like ourselves.

KOHARY:

(AMUSED) That, sir, is where you make your mistake. Well, I shall expect you for the weekend. And, er, encore une fois -- au revoir.

ILONA:

(BEAT, APPROACHES, CALLS SOFTLY) Ned? Ned?

WHITEFORD:

(INDULGENT) It's all right, Ilona. You can come out from behind those palms.

ILONA:

(NERVOUS) What was he saying? I couldn't hear.

WHITEFORD:

Ilona, it couldn't be better. Why, he's a very decent old boy actually. And he's invited me to the Chateau d'Azay.

ILONA:

(WORRIED) Did he say anything about the Tapestry Room?

WHITEFORD:

Yes. He invited me to sleep there.

ILONA:

And you said?

WHITEFORD:

I said I would. Naturally.

ILONA:

You mustn't do it, Ned! I won't let you do it!

WHITEFORD:

Why the devil not?

ILONA:

Because everybody who sleeps in that room --- dies.

MFX:

[KNIFE CHORD]

SFX:

[HOLLOW LAUGHTER FROM MANY PERSONS IN THE BACKGROUND]

WHITEFORD:

Dies? Are you serious?

ILONA:

Oh, Ned, please don't do it!

WHITEFORD:

Oh, nonsense. There are a lot of superstitions about every old house.

ILONA:

This isn't a superstition, Ned. It happened once when I was a little girl. A man insisted on sleeping there. They found him dead in the morning.

WHITEFORD:

(A LITTLE SHAKEN) So? How did he die?

ILONA:

They don't know. There wasn't a mark on his body. He wasn't shot, or stabbed, or strangled, or poisoned, or hurt in any way. He was just --- dead.

MFX:

AN ACCENT ... A TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

NARRATOR:

Two nights later in the province of France now known as Indre-et-Loire but once called Touraine. The ancient land beloved of Rabelais and Balzac. But now, as the wind moans down the valleys and rain flickers across the apple trees and thunder stirs in those haunted hills ...

SFX:

THUNDER CLAP ... RAIN, IN BG

NARRATOR:

... it can bring little comfort to a young man driven in an ancient carriage from the railway station ...

SFX:

HORSE'S HOOF BEATS, IN BG

NARRATOR:

... along snakelike roads -- to what destination? Ahead, a lift of lightning shows the gray walls and conical slate-roofed towers of a chateau set some distance back from the road. Lights shine from its narrow windows, dimly seen through the rain, as ... [X]

WHITEFORD:

Driver? Coachman?

DRIVER:

Oui, monsieur?

WHITEFORD:

Is that the Chateau d'Azay up ahead?

DRIVER:

Oui, monsieur. I will take you to the very door, if, uh--

WHITEFORD:

If what? Why do you cross yourself?

DRIVER:

If I am permitted.

WHITEFORD:

What should stop you?

DRIVER:

Only fear, monsieur. And I am not -- much -- afraid.

SFX:

EERIE HOWL OF DOGS IN THE DISTANCE

WHITEFORD:

Listen. What was that?

DRIVER:

Only the dogs, monsieur. They keep many dogs, large dogs, at the Chateau d'Azay. [You hear them howling?

WHITEFORD:

Yes.

DRIVER:

Jules Seznac at the inn says it is because two of the dogs died this afternoon. Do dogs mourn their own dead? I don't know. But--] Well, here we are.

SFX:

HORSE'S HOOF BEATS STOP ... WHITEFORD DISEMBARKS ... DISTANT HOWL OF DOG

DRIVER:

Bon soir, monsieur. And, if I may be permitted a word of advice--

WHITEFORD:

(BEAT) Well?

DRIVER:

(SLOWLY) Beware of the Tapestry Room.

MFX:

EERIE ACCENT, THEN IN BG

SFX:

CRACK OF WHIP, HORSE'S HOOF BEATS AWAY ... THUNDER AND RAIN CONTINUE IN BG

WHITEFORD:

(MUTTERS TO HIMSELF) If there isn't a bell on this door, there might at least be a knocker. Ah! Got it!

MFX:

OUT WITH--

SFX:

LOUD KNOCKING ... PAUSE ... DOOR CREAKS OPEN

MFX:

FROM SOMEWHERE IN THE HOUSE, A DISTANT CLASSICAL PIANO PIECE IS PLAYED, IN BG

FLEY:

Et alors, monsieur? Vous cherchez--?

WHITEFORD:

Je cherche le Chateau d'Azay et je - je -

FLEY:

Perhaps it would be better if monsieur spoke English, yes? You are Lord Edward Whiteford?

WHITEFORD:

Yes.

FLEY:

Monsieur is expected. Please to enter.

SFX:

WHITEFORD'S FOOTSTEPS IN ... DOOR CREAKS SHUT ... RAIN OUT

MFX:

PIANO GROWS A LITTLE LOUDER

FLEY:

Monsieur's hat and coat?

WHITEFORD:

Thank you.

ILONA:

(APPROACHES, HAPPY) Ned!

WHITEFORD:

Hello, Ilona! (GIVES HER A HUG) Oh, darling.

FLEY:

(HUSHED WARNING) N'embrasses pas, ma petite! Garde a ton oncle!

ILONA:

(LOW) Oh. You'd better not kiss me, Ned. Madame Fley says to look out for my uncle. Madame Fley is our housekeeper.

WHITEFORD:

(LOW) Oh. Well, where's your uncle now?

ILONA:

In the drawing-room. He's playing the piano. Come along.

SFX:

IN BG, WHITEFORD & ILONA'S FOOTSTEPS WALK TOWARDS--

MFX:

THE PIANO, GROWING LOUDER

WHITEFORD:

Ilona, is anything wrong?

ILONA:

Oh, everything's wrong. Two of my dogs were in horrible pain this afternoon. Dr. Saulomon had to put them out with chloroform.

WHITEFORD:

You don't think--?

ILONA:

I hope nobody's -- practicing, that's all. Well, here we are.

SFX:

FOOTSTEPS OUT

WHITEFORD:

Oh, nice tiger-skins on the floor. I say! Who's the little old man with the gray beard, sitting over there by the fire?

ILONA:

That's Dr. Saulomon.

WHITEFORD:

(CHUCKLES) Hasn't he funny-looking eyes.

ILONA:

He watches and watches -- and watches. He's an old friend of the family. Sh-h!

WHITEFORD:

Come along. Let's get this over with.

MFX:

PIANO FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN STOPS

KOHARY:

(AFFABLY) Ah, Lord Edward. (CHUCKLES) Well, I see my niece has anticipated me. Welcome to the Chateau d'Azay.

WHITEFORD:

Thank you, Count Kohary.

KOHARY:

Oh, you must be very wet after your long drive. Go up to the fire and warm yourself. (CALLS) Oh, er, Madame Fley?!

FLEY:

Yes, monsieur?

KOHARY:

Please tell Antoine to take our guest's luggage up to the Tapestry Room.

SFX:

THUNDER

FLEY:

(STARTLED) The - Tapestry Room, monsieur?

KOHARY:

That is what I said, Madame Fley.

FLEY:

Yes, monsieur.

KOHARY:

By an odd coincidence, Lord Edward, Dr. Saulomon and I were just discussing the fate of the last person who slept in the Tapestry Room.

SAULOMON:

(CREEPY, CROAKY) This is not good, my friend. This is against my advice.

KOHARY:

(CHUCKLES, MIMICS SAULOMON) It's against his advice. (TO WHITEFORD) Hear Dr. Saulomon croaking.

SAULOMON:

This is not good, I tell you. It is the wrong season of the moon.

KOHARY:

(LAUGHS, MOCKING) Moon? But there is no moon tonight. It's raining cats and dogs.

ILONA:

(UPSET) Don't talk about dogs!

SAULOMON:

Nevertheless, it is the wrong season of the moon. I say no more.

WHITEFORD:

(LOW) Cheerful blighter, that doctor.

ILONA:

(LOW) Don't do it, Ned! I won't be responsible if they make you do it!

WHITEFORD:

But look here, Count Kohary. What did happen to the last bloke who slept in the Tapestry Room?

KOHARY:

You mustn't call him a "bloke," sir. He was a very saintly gentleman, the Bishop of Tours. That was some time ago; and Ilona was only fifteen years old. (SUGGESTIVE) But, er, surely she must remember it.

ILONA:

(SHIVERS) I remember it!

KOHARY:

"The Church," said our Bishop, "has no use for superstitions." Well-- (CHUCKLES) He insisted on sleeping there. I made it as comfortable for him as possible, but -- he was found dead next morning, with a crucifix still in his hand.

SFX:

DOG HOWLS

WHITEFORD:

Was it poison?

SAULOMON:

(VEHEMENT) There was no poison, monsieur!

KOHARY:

No. (CHUCKLES) Hear Dr. Saulomon.

ILONA:

It's true, Ned.

MFX:

KOHARY PLAYS PIANO ... CONTINUES IN BG

KOHARY:

Well, there were just two very curious things, you see, in connection with that death. On the mantelpiece there was found burning a stick of incense. Just ordinary incense. Nothing wrong with it.

WHITEFORD:

Yes, sir?

KOHARY:

And, er, under the dressing-table -- the police found it -- was an empty jar of ointment. Now -- use your wits! A dead man, some burning incense, and an empty jar of ointment. What do you make of that?

WHITEFORD:

I don't make anything of it. It's crazy.

MFX:

KOHARY BANGS ON PIANO KEYS AND STOPS PLAYING

KOHARY:

(SHARP) Please do not speak like that!

WHITEFORD:

I'm sorry.

SAULOMON:

It is still the wrong season of the moon.

WHITEFORD:

(DOGGED) But what I really meant, sir, was this. Is - is there any reason for this story of death?

KOHARY:

Reason?

WHITEFORD:

Any legend attached to the room, or anything like that?

KOHARY:

Yes. There is.

WHITEFORD:

(BEAT) Well, sir?

MFX:

UNEASY ... IN BG

KOHARY:

Well, we are a very old family, Lord Edward. Old, and perhaps accursed. When my ancestors moved from Hungary to France in the seventeenth century, they brought certain beliefs with them. The Old Religion.

WHITEFORD:

The Old Religion?

KOHARY:

Yes. The cult of Diana. The cult of Janus. The cult of freedom and fertility. (SHARP) The witch cult, if you prefer.

WHITEFORD:

(SCOFFS) Oh, now look here, sir--

ILONA:

(CRIES OUT, UNNERVED) Must we talk about this?!

KOHARY:

(AGREEABLE) Well, you smile, but, er-- When I say the word "witch," you think of some humorous picture on a Halloween card. It was very different in the Middle Ages, believe me. Then, my friend, there existed an organized religion which rivaled the Church. There were many to worship unashamed at the Grand Sabbath -- many! -- to receive all favors from Satan, their master; and to dance forever, joyously, in the red flaming quadrilles of hell.

SFX:

THUNDER ... FOR PUNCTUATION

KOHARY:

Well, some two hundred years ago an ancestress of mine, Catherine Kohary, was tortured to death in the Tapestry Room for professing the Old Religion. Many persons have not thought it safe to sleep there since. Are you answered?

MFX:

GENTLY OUT

WHITEFORD:

(LIGHTLY) Oh, come, sir. This is some kind of elaborate joke.

KOHARY:

(STUNG) Joke? The Bishop of Tours did not find it a joke!

SAULOMON:

Not a mark on his body. I assure you as a physician, not a mark on his body.

KOHARY:

(LAUGHS, MOCKING) No, not a mark on his body. Hear Dr. Saulomon?

WHITEFORD:

Yes, I hear him.

KOHARY:

Well, understand me, Lord Edward. There's no compulsion in this. If you do wish to sleep in that room, all right; if you don't--

WHITEFORD:

Oh, ridiculous. I'm not afraid to sleep there, sir.

KOHARY:

Well, I thought perhaps you wanted to change your mind.

WHITEFORD:

(SCOFFS) Oh, never. Would you like me to make a wager on that?

KOHARY:

What sort of wager?

WHITEFORD:

Well, if I spend the night in this famous room and come out of it alive--

KOHARY:

Yes?

WHITEFORD:

Will you give your consent to the marriage immediately? Tomorrow morning?

KOHARY:

Tomorrow morning? Why?

WHITEFORD:

Because I don't think the atmosphere of this house is good for Ilona. What do you say? Will you do it?

MFX:

KOHARY PLAYS A FEW MUSING CHORDS ON PIANO ... THEN STOPS BY POUNDING THE KEYS DECISIVELY

KOHARY:

Very well, Lord Edward. I accept the terms of your wager.

WHITEFORD:

[There'll be no quibbling or backing out or saying you didn't mean it?

KOHARY:

After a few hours in the Tapestry Room, my friend there will be no need for quibbling.]

ILONA:

(EMOTIONAL) Don't do it, Ned! For the love of Heaven, don't do it!

MFX:

MASSIVE ACCENT, FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

SFX:

THUNDER ... THEN IN BG

NARRATOR:

High up in the north tower of the Chateau d'Azay, under the conical slate roof, is the circular room hung with faded tapestries. These tapestries move slightly, with uneasy mimic life, to the clamor of the storm outside. Candles burn along the mantelpiece and beside the great four-poster bed. The flames of these candles waver, too, as the door opens. [X]

SFX:

THUNDER, FOR PUNCTUATION

FLEY:

This is the Tapestry Room, monsieur.

WHITEFORD:

Thank you, Madame Fley.

FLEY:

That is the mantelpiece where the incense burned. That is the bed where Monseigneur le Bishop died.

WHITEFORD:

(LIGHTLY) Very inviting, isn't it?

FLEY:

Will there be anything else monsieur requires? Some sandwiches? A decanter of whisky?

WHITEFORD:

No, thanks. I had a drink with Count Kohary before I came upstairs.

FLEY:

Bien, monsieur. (OMINOUS) Uh, Monsieur's shaving-water will be brought up in the morning -- if he requires it. Good night.

SFX:

CREAKY DOOR SHUTS ... PUNCTUATED BY THUNDER

WHITEFORD:

(TO HIMSELF) Infernal old harpy! Trying to scare a fellow out of his wits just because-- Oh, well; they've built a good fire, anyway. Didn't realize how cold it was. Temperature must have dropped.

SFX:

SOFT KNOCK AT DOOR

WHITEFORD:

What's that?

SFX:

CREAKY DOOR OPENS

ILONA:

(OFF) It's me. Ilona. May I come in?

WHITEFORD:

No, Ilona! Get out of here!

ILONA:

(CLOSER) That's not very gallant of you.

WHITEFORD:

No, I mean, I-- I don't want you exposed to-- Whatever it is.

ILONA:

Ned, listen. Are you going to bed? Or are you going to sit up all night?

WHITEFORD:

I'm going to sit up all night, naturally.

ILONA:

Then -- let me sit up with you.

WHITEFORD:

No.

ILONA:

Why not?

WHITEFORD:

Well, it may be dangerous. Besides, I promised your uncle I'd go through with this alone.

ILONA:

I wish you hadn't had that drink with him.

WHITEFORD:

Why? He couldn't have done anything to it. It was you who poured it.

ILONA:

Yes. That's true. Only--

SFX:

SLOW, HEAVY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

ILONA:

(LOW) Listen!

WHITEFORD:

(LOW) What is that?

ILONA:

Sounds like footsteps.

WHITEFORD:

Yes, but where's it coming from?

ILONA:

Seems to be right here in the room.

WHITEFORD:

It seems to come from all directions.

ILONA:

Doesn't it sound like somebody walking between the walls?

WHITEFORD:

By George, it is someone walking inside the wall. Get behind that tapestry, Ilona! Quick! Hide there.

SFX:

A VERY LONG PEAL OF THUNDER ... TO FILL A PAUSE

WHITEFORD:

(LOUD, FOR ILONA'S BENEFIT) Count Kohary. Where did you come from?

KOHARY:

Oh, forgive me, Lord Edward, for seeming to appear out of the wall in-between the tapestries. (CHUCKLES) Like Mephisto appearing to Faust, hm? And this red dressing-gown perhaps adds to the effect, too.

WHITEFORD:

How'd you get here? A passage between the walls?

KOHARY:

Yes, exactly. A little device of my ancestors for visiting this room -- you know, they invented that [for] when its occupant was so unmannerly as to bolt the door.

WHITEFORD:

Door's not bolted. You could have walked straight in.

KOHARY:

But I couldn't have done it -- unobserved.

WHITEFORD:

No. Maybe not.

KOHARY:

Have you had any other visitors, Lord Edward?

WHITEFORD:

(HALF-BEAT, CAGEY) No.

KOHARY:

Are you quite sure of that?

WHITEFORD:

Quite sure.

KOHARY:

Well, then, er, since nobody saw me come here, I'll just sit down by the fire. (CHUCKLES) Please sit opposite me.

WHITEFORD:

Is this the showdown, sir?

KOHARY:

Hm? I don't understand.

WHITEFORD:

Well, there's got to be a showdown between us. Is that why you're here?

KOHARY:

Oh, I am here, young man, to explain certain things to you. Uh, will you have a cigarette?

WHITEFORD:

Thank you, I-- (STOPS SHORT)

KOHARY:

(SENSES HIS WARINESS) Oh. They're perfectly all right, if that is what you're afraid of.

WHITEFORD:

I'll have one, yes.

KOHARY:

A light?

WHITEFORD:

Thank you.

SFX:

CLICK! OF CIGARETTE LIGHTER

KOHARY:

(LEISURELY) Well, when I was discussing the witch cult a while ago, you didn't appear to think I meant what I said.

WHITEFORD:

Do you want a perfectly frank answer to that?

KOHARY:

Yes.

WHITEFORD:

I think you're mad enough to mean anything.

KOHARY:

(LAUGHS) What you say, in a sense, is quite true. You see, in an old and inbred family like ours, the mind can crack and the fantasies of witchcraft become as real -- well, more real! -- than the living world. Let me give you an example.

WHITEFORD:

Go on.

KOHARY:

The saucer on the table beside you is Ming porcelain. It was once owned by Catherine Kohary, a martyr of the Old Religion. Yet you are using it as an ashtray.

WHITEFORD:

Oh. (LIGHTLY) I beg the witch-lady's pardon. I'll blow off the ash.

KOHARY:

Well, that's a very dangerous remark, sir. Don't you understand that the worship of evil can be as strong and compelling as the worship of good? That the devil can have his saints too? That -- to a sick brain which knows but can't help itself -- you have profaned this room merely by entering it? And therefore you deserve to die?

WHITEFORD:

Like the Bishop of Tours?

KOHARY:

Exactly.

WHITEFORD:

You're not going to tell me the devil killed him?

KOHARY:

The devil's agent may be flesh and blood.

WHITEFORD:

(POUNCING) Then it was murder?

KOHARY:

Oh, of course it was murder. Murder so cunningly contrived that no one ever saw through it.

WHITEFORD:

Go on.

KOHARY:

I asked you before to use your wits on this problem. Well-- Look, incense was burned in this room. You know why?

WHITEFORD:

Suppose you tell me.

KOHARY:

Well, obviously, I think, to conceal something else - which would be too easily noticed.

WHITEFORD:

To conceal what?

KOHARY:

For instance, the smell of chloroform.

SFX:

THUNDER

WHITEFORD:

Chloroform?

KOHARY:

Yes. A drug not very well understood by laymen. Dr. Saulomon, by the way, was using chloroform this afternoon to dispose of some dogs.

WHITEFORD:

So I've heard.

KOHARY:

Well, Dr. Saulomon is old and, er, very forgetful.

WHITEFORD:

(UNEASY) You mean chloroform could be stolen?

KOHARY:

Oh, yes, it could be, easily. Now, suppose -- I mean, just suppose -- I take a pad saturated with chloroform. I place it over the mouth and nostrils of a man already sleeping or drugged, so that he gets no air.

WHITEFORD:

Wait a minute. That - that won't do.

KOHARY:

Why not?

WHITEFORD:

Chloroform burns and blisters when it touches the skin. You'd leave marks.

KOHARY:

Oh, not at all, my friend. Not at all. If I first covered the mouth and nostrils with some substance like--

WHITEFORD:

(REALIZES) Ointment!

KOHARY:

Yes. Now you're waking up.

WHITEFORD:

I--

KOHARY:

Now observe what follows. In a few seconds, unconsciousness. In two minutes, or three minutes -- death.

WHITEFORD:

Certain death. Yes.

KOHARY: Oh, but chloroform, you see-- (CHUCKLES) It evaporates very quickly. There is no trace in the stomach, since nothing has been swallowed. Well, delay your post-mortem for twenty-four hours -- a very easy matter in these country districts -- and no trace remains in the blood. Murder without a mark, Lord Edward. Murder without a mark.

WHITEFORD:

You can't do it, Count Kohary. There's one thing you're forgetting.

KOHARY:

What's that?

WHITEFORD:

I'm not sleeping. And I'm not drugged.

KOHARY:

Oh, yes, you are.

SFX:

THUNDER

WHITEFORD:

(STUNNED) How? When? In -- the cigarette?

KOHARY:

Hm? No. In the drink you had with me.

WHITEFORD:

(GASPS) What -- was it?

KOHARY:

Morphine. And you've had enough to put three men to sleep.

WHITEFORD:

(GASPS)

KOHARY:

See? That's it. Well, try to get up!

WHITEFORD:

(GASPS, STRUGGLES) I'll - I'll do it. I'll do it!

SFX:

CRASH! AND CLANG! OF METAL ... KOHARY CATCHES THE FALLING WHITEFORD

KOHARY:

(CHUCKLES) You see? You've knocked over the fire-irons. You'd have been in the fire yourself if I hadn't caught you.

WHITEFORD:

Take your hands off me!

KOHARY:

Just as you please.

WHITEFORD:

(STRUGGLES) [I won't go under! I won't!] If I could reach that bell-pull--

KOHARY:

Well, but you can't. We'd better sit down again. [You're only wasting what breath you have left. Didn't I tell you not to trust surface appearances? Didn't I warn you what shapes might lie behind the mask you saw in public? But you had no faith in the religion of our fathers; you had no faith in these outworn superstitions; and you wouldn't take warning.]

WHITEFORD:

You murdering lunatic. [Do you think I ever trusted you for a second? I knew what you were going to try; only I thought you couldn't get away with it.] So that's how you killed the Bishop of Tours! And that's how you're going to kill me!

KOHARY:

(AMAZED) Who? I?! Well, you don't think I killed the Bishop of Tours? [Or had anything at all to do with this?]

WHITEFORD:

Didn't you? [Why bother to pretend now?

KOHARY:

I had reckoned on stupidity, but hardly such stupidity as this.] You [damned young] fool, I'm not trying to kill you. I'm trying to save you!

WHITEFORD:

[To -- to save me?]

KOHARY:

(CALLS) Dr. Saulomon?!

SAULOMON:

(OFF) Yes, Monsieur le Comte?

KOHARY:

Well, come out, come out! Come in the room. [Come out from behind the secret door now.] Come out, and be my witness.

SAULOMON:

(APPROACHES) Yes, monsieur. I shall always guard the family honor, even when I guess how men die.

KOHARY:

This young man evidently thinks I've been talking about myself. [Now, tell me, Doctor,] am I, in the popular parlance, insane?

SAULOMON:

No, monsieur. Heaven forbid! I have never known a saner man.

WHITEFORD:

[I can't stand this much longer! The drug's taken hold. I can't see straight any longer.]

KOHARY:

Have you any notion, Lord Edward, why I brought you to this house?

WHITEFORD: [No.]

KOHARY:

You would never have believed me if I had merely told you. [Oh, no. Youth is too wise, too brash, too trusting.] So [if I were to convince you of anything,] I had to bring you here to show you.

WHITEFORD:

Show me what? What?

ILONA:

(LAUGHTER -- HIGH, SHRILL AND MANIACAL -- THEN INTERMITTENTLY IN BG)

SAULOMON:

(ALARMED) [Monsieur le Comte, there is someone behind the tapestries! I saw them move!] Look, look at the tapestries -- there is someone behind them!

KOHARY:

(CALLS) Come out of there! Come out of there! Hey! Come out!

WHITEFORD:

Ilona!

KOHARY:

Yes! Yes! Ilona!

WHITEFORD:

[It's nobody who can hurt you. It's only--

KOHARY:

It is only -- Ilona. Is that what you would say?

WHITEFORD:

Yes.

KOHARY:

Then, in the black second before unconsciousness, ask yourself these questions.] Why do you think I've kept Ilona so well-guarded from the world?! Why, at a fancy-dress ball, for instance, did I object to the costume of a medieval witch?! Whose dogs were poisoned so that chloroform should be brought [here]?! Who poured [you] the drink drugged with morphine?!

WHITEFORD:

In the devil's name, what are you trying to tell me?!

KOHARY:

(LOW) It was Ilona. She's been helplessly, hopelessly insane for more than ten years.

ILONA:

(LAUGHTER -- HIGH, SHRILL AND MANIACAL -- UP, FOR PUNCTUATION)

SFX:

THUNDER, FOR PUNCTUATION

MFX:

TO A FINISH

NARRATOR:

And so closes "The Devil's Saint," starring Peter Lorre, tonight's tale of--

MFX:

KNIFE CHORD

NARRATOR:

SUSPENSE!

MFX:

THEME, IN BG

NARRATOR:

This is your narrator, the Man in Black, who conveys to you Columbia's invitation to spend this half hour in suspense with us again next Tuesday.

MFX:

THEME FILLS A LONG PAUSE, THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

William Spier, the producer, John Dietz, the director, Bernard Herrmann, the composer-conductor and John Dickson Carr, the author, are collaborators on--

NARRATOR:

(OMINOUSLY QUIET) Suspense.

MFX:

THEME FILLS A LONG PAUSE, THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.