Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: The Magic Key: A Sunny Morning
Date: Feb 05 1939

CAST:
HOST, Ben Grauer
DOÑA LAURA, an old woman
DON GONZALO, an old man
PETRA, a young woman
JUANITO, a young man

HOST:

... THE MAGIC KEY takes you now into the realm of the theater. The play -- "A Sunny Morning," a delicate and facile little comedy from the Spanish of the Quintero brothers. The star -- the distinguished American actress, Miss Eva Le Gallienne, assisted today by H. Cooper Cliff. THE MAGIC KEY presents Eva Le Gallienne.

SFX:

APPLAUSE

MUSIC:

AN INTRODUCTION ... SUNNY AND SPANISH ... THEN BEHIND--

HOST:

The scene -- a bright sunny morning in the corner of a park in old Madrid. Approaching a brightly-painted bench and leaning on the arm of her maid is Doña Laura, a handsome, white-haired lady of about eighty. Doña Laura, played by Miss Le Gallienne, speaks.

MUSIC:

OUT

DOÑA LAURA:

(SIGHS) I'm so glad to be here. I was afraid my bench would be occupied. What a beautiful morning!

PETRA:

The sun is too hot.

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, yes, to you, who are only twenty. Oh, I feel more tired today than usual. (CHUCKLES) Run along, if you want to chat with your guard.

PETRA:

He's not mine, señora; he belongs to the park.

DOÑA LAURA:

He belongs more to you than he does to the park. (CHUCKLES) Go and find him, but remain within calling distance. Wait a moment, Petra.

PETRA:

What does the señora wish?

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, you've forgotten to give me my bread crumbs.

PETRA:

Here, señora. (MOVING OFF) Adios.

DOÑA LAURA:

(TO HERSELF) Ah, here come my birds. They know just when to expect me. (TOSSES CRUMBS) These are for the spryest, these are for the gluttons, and these for the littlest ones who are the biggest rogues of all.

DON GONZALO:

(APPROACHES, GRUMBLING) Those priests! Idling their time away! They should be saying mass.

JUANITO:

You can sit here, señor. There is only a lady.

DON GONZALO:

I won't, Juanito. I want a bench to myself.

JUANITO:

But there is none.

DON GONZALO:

That one over there is mine.

JUANITO:

There are three priests sitting there.

DON GONZALO:

Well, rout them out. (BEAT) Have they gone?

JUANITO:

No, indeed. They are talking.

DON GONZALO:

Just as if they were glued to the seat. No hope of their leaving. Oh, come on, Juanito.

DOÑA LAURA:

(INDIGNANT) Why, look out!

DON GONZALO:

Are you addressing me, señora?

DOÑA LAURA:

Yes, you.

DON GONZALO:

What do you want?

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, you frightened away my birds.

DON GONZALO:

What do I care about the birds?

DOÑA LAURA:

But I do.

DON GONZALO:

This is a public park.

DOÑA LAURA:

Then why do you complain that the priests have taken your bench?

DON GONZALO:

Señora, we've not met and I cannot understand why you take the liberty of addressing me. (MOVING OFF) Come, Juanito.

DOÑA LAURA:

(SCOFFS, TO HERSELF) Disagreeable old man! Why is it some people must get so fussy and cross when they reach a certain age? (CHUCKLES) I'm glad! He's lost that bench, too. Serves him right for scaring the birds. (SHORT LAUGH) He's furious. Poor man! He's wiping the perspiration from his face. Here he comes. A carriage couldn't raise more dust than he does with his feet.

DON GONZALO:

Well? Have the priests gone yet, Juanito?

JUANITO:

No, indeed, señor. They are still there.

DON GONZALO:

Well, the authorities should place more benches here for these sunny mornings. Ah, I suppose I must resign myself and sit on the bench with the old lady. (MUTTERS, TO Doña LAURA) Good morning.

DOÑA LAURA:

(UNHAPPY) Oh, you here again?

DON GONZALO:

(STIFF) I repeat that we've not met.

DOÑA LAURA:

You should have asked permission to sit on this bench, which is mine.

DON GONZALO:

The benches here are public property.

DOÑA LAURA:

I thought you said the one the priests are sitting on was yours.

DON GONZALO:

Very well, very well. I have nothing more to say. (TO HIMSELF) Senile old lady! She ought to be at home knitting and counting her beads.

DOÑA LAURA:

Now, don't grumble any more. I'm not going to leave just to please you.

DON GONZALO:

If the ground were sprinkled a little, it would be an improvement.

DOÑA LAURA:

Hm! You use your handkerchief as a shoe brush, do you?

DON GONZALO:

Well, why not?

DOÑA LAURA:

Do you use your shoe brush as a handkerchief?

DON GONZALO:

What right have you to criticize my actions?

DOÑA LAURA:

A neighbor's right.

DON GONZALO:

(SCOFFS) Juanito, my book. I don't care to listen to nonsense.

DOÑA LAURA:

You're very polite, I must say.

JUANITO:

Here, señor.

DON GONZALO:

Fine. Now my glasses, Juanito. (BEAT) And, er, my magnifier.

DOÑA LAURA:

(SUPPRESSED CHUCKLE) I thought you were going to take out a telescope next.

DON GONZALO:

Oh, you again?

DOÑA LAURA:

Your eyesight must be keen.

DON GONZALO:

Keener than yours is.

DOÑA LAURA:

That's evident.

DON GONZALO:

Ask the hares and partridges.

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, you hunt, do you?

DON GONZALO:

Oh, yes, señora. Every Sunday I take my gun and dog and go to one of my estates near Aravaca and kill time.

DOÑA LAURA:

Kill time! That's all you can kill.

DON GONZALO:

Oh, do you think so? I could show you a wild boar's head in my study.

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, I could show you a tiger's skin in my boudoir. What does that prove?

DON GONZALO:

Oh, very well, very well. Please allow me to read. First, I shall take a pinch of snuff. Will you have some?

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, is it good?

DON GONZALO:

It's of the finest. (TAKES A BIG SNIFF) Mmmm, you'll like it.

DOÑA LAURA:

(TAKES A BIG SNIFF) It clears my head.

DON GONZALO:

And mine.

DOÑA LAURA:

Do you sneeze?

DON GONZALO:

Yes, señora, three times.

DOÑA LAURA:

So do I. What a coincidence!

DON GONZALO:

(SNEEZES)

DOÑA LAURA:

(SNEEZES)

DON GONZALO:

(SNEEZES)

DOÑA LAURA:

(SNEEZES)

DON GONZALO:

(SNEEZES)

DOÑA LAURA:

(SNEEZES)

DON GONZALO:

(MORE AGREEABLE NOW) There, I feel better.

DOÑA LAURA:

(LIKEWISE) So do I.

DON GONZALO:

You'll excuse me if I read aloud?

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, read as loud as you like; you won't disturb me.

DON GONZALO:

(READS) "All love is sad, but sad as it is, it is the best thing that we know." That's from Campoamor.

DOÑA LAURA:

Ah!

DON GONZALO:

There are some beautiful poems in this book. Here. (READS) "Fifty years pass. He returns."

DOÑA LAURA:

You can't imagine how it affects me to see you reading with all those glasses.

DON GONZALO:

Can you read without any?

DOÑA LAURA:

Certainly.

DON GONZALO:

What, at your age? Ha! You're jesting.

DOÑA LAURA:

Pass me the book, then.
(READS) "Fifty years pass. He returns.
And each, beholding the other, exclaims -
Can it be that this is he?
Heavens, is it she?"

DON GONZALO:

Mmmmm, I envy you your wonderful eyesight.

DOÑA LAURA:

(ASIDE) I know every word by heart.

DON GONZALO:

I am very fond of good verses, very fond. I even composed some in my youth.

DOÑA LAURA:

Good ones?

DON GONZALO:

Of all kinds. I was a great friend of Zorrilla. I first met him in America.

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, you've been to America?

DON GONZALO:

Oh, several times. The first time I went I was only six years old.

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, you must have gone with Columbus in one of his caravels.

DON GONZALO:

(LAUGHS) Well, not quite as bad as that. I am old, I admit, but I didn't know Ferdinand, nor Isabella. (LAUGHS)

DOÑA LAURA:

(LAUGHS)

DON GONZALO:

I was also a great friend of Campoamor. I met him in Valencia. I'm a native of that city.

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, you are?

DON GONZALO:

Yes, I was brought up there -- and there I spent my early youth. Have you ever visited that city?

DOÑA LAURA:

Yes, indeed, señor. Not far from Valencia there was a villa that, if still there, should retain memories of me. I spent several seasons there -- many, many years ago. It was near the sea, hidden away among lemon and orange trees. They called it-- Now, what did they call it now? Uh, Mari-- uh, Maricela.

DON GONZALO:

(DEEPLY) Ah, Maricela.

DOÑA LAURA:

Yes. Is the name familiar to you?

DON GONZALO:

Ohhhhh, very familiar. If my memory serves me right, for we forget as we grow old, there lived in that villa the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, and I assure you I've seen many. Let me see - what was her name? Laura - Laura - Laura - Laura-- Er, Laura Llorente.

DOÑA LAURA:

(STARTLED) Laura Llorente?!

DON GONZALO:

Yes?

DOÑA LAURA:

(RECOVERS) Oh, nothing. You - you're speaking of - of my best friend.

DON GONZALO:

Mm? How strange!

DOÑA LAURA:

It is strange, señor. She was called "The Silver Maiden."

DON GONZALO:

Precisely, "The Silver Maiden." By that name she was known in that locality. I seem to see her as if she were before me now, at that window with the red roses. Do you remember that window?

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, indeed. It was the window of her room.

DON GONZALO:

Yes, she spent many hours there. I mean in my day.

DOÑA LAURA:

(WARMLY) And in mine.

DON GONZALO:

Ah, she was ideal. Fair as a lily, jet black hair, black eyes, with an uncommonly sweet expression. She seemed to cast a radiance wherever she was. Her figure was beautiful, perfect. "What forms of sovereign beauty God models in human clay!" (SIGHS) She was a dream.

DOÑA LAURA:

She was very unfortunate and had a sad love affair.

DON GONZALO:

Very sad.

DOÑA LAURA:

Did you hear of it?

DON GONZALO:

Oh, yes.

DOÑA LAURA:

Of the duel?

DON GONZALO:

Precisely, the duel. The gallant lover was-- My, er, cousin, of whom I was very fond.

DOÑA LAURA:

Oh, er, your cousin, eh?

DON GONZALO:

Yes.

DOÑA LAURA:

My - my friend told me in one of her letters the story of that affair -- truly romantic. He -- er, your cousin, -- passed by on horseback every morning down the rose path under her window, and tossed up to her balcony a bouquet of flowers which she caught.

DON GONZALO:

And later in the afternoon the gallant horseman would return by the same path, and catch the bouquet of flowers that she would toss to him. Am I right?

DOÑA LAURA:

Yes. They wanted to marry her off to a merchant whom she would not have.

DON GONZALO:

And one night, when my cousin waited under her window to hear her sing, this other person presented himself unexpectedly.

DOÑA LAURA:

And insulted your cousin.

DON GONZALO:

There was a quarrel.

DOÑA LAURA:

And later a duel.

DON GONZALO:

Yes, at sunrise, on the beach, and the merchant was badly wounded. My cousin had to conceal himself for a few days and later to fly.

DOÑA LAURA:

(SUSPICIOUS) Mm, you seem to know the story very well.

DON GONZALO:

(LIKEWISE) So do you.

DOÑA LAURA:

Uh, I - I explained to you that - that my friend repeated it to me.

DON GONZALO:

Yes. As my cousin did to me.

DOÑA LAURA:

Mm. Was it, by any chance, you who advised your cousin to forget Laura?

DON GONZALO:

Why, my cousin never forgot her!

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, how then do you account for his conduct?

DON GONZALO:

Well, I'll tell you. The young man took refuge in my house, fearful of the consequences of a duel with a person highly regarded in that locality. From my home he went to Seville, then came to Madrid. He wrote Laura many letters, some of them in verse.

DOÑA LAURA:

Mm?

DON GONZALO:

But undoubtedly they were intercepted by her parents, for she never answered at all. Gonzalo then, in despair, believing his love lost to him forever, joined the army, went to Africa, and there, in a trench, met a glorious death, grasping the flag of Spain and whispering the name of his beloved Laura.

DOÑA LAURA:

(ASIDE) What an atrocious lie!

DON GONZALO:

(ASIDE) I couldn't have killed myself more gloriously.

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, you - you must have been prostrated by the calamity.

DON GONZALO:

Oh, yes, indeed, señora. As if he were my brother.

DOÑA LAURA:

Ah.

DON GONZALO:

I presume, though, on the contrary, that Laura in a short time was chasing butterflies in her garden, indifferent to regret.

DOÑA LAURA:

(INDIGNANT) Oh, no, indeed, señor!

DON GONZALO:

Oh, it's woman's way.

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, even if it were a woman's way, "The Silver Maiden" was not of that disposition. My friend awaited news for days, months, a year, and no letter came. And one afternoon, just at sunset, she was seen to leave the house, and with quickening steps wend her way toward the beach, the beach where her beloved had risked his life. She wrote his name on the sand, then sat down upon a rock, her gaze fixed upon the horizon. The waves murmured their eternal threnody and slowly crept toward the rock where the maiden
sat. The tide rose with a boom and swept her out to sea.

DON GONZALO:

Good heavens!

DOÑA LAURA:

The fishermen of that shore who often tell the story-- They affirm that it was a long time before the waves washed away that name written on the sand. (ASIDE, PLEASED WITH HERSELF) Heh! He won't get ahead of me!

DON GONZALO:

(ASIDE) She lies better than I do.

DOÑA LAURA:

(SIGHS) Poor Laura!

DON GONZALO:

Poor Gonzalo!

DOÑA LAURA:

[(ASIDE) I will not tell him that I married two years later.

DON GONZALO:

(ASIDE) In three months I ran off to Paris with a ballet dancer.]

DOÑA LAURA:

How curious Fate is. Here are you and I, complete strangers, met by chance, and -- in discussing the romance of old friends of long ago -- we have been conversing as if we were old friends.

DON GONZALO:

Yes, it is curious, considering the ill-natured prelude to our conversation.

DOÑA LAURA:

Well, you scared away the birds.

DON GONZALO:

Well, I was unreasonable, perhaps.

DOÑA LAURA:

That was evident. (SWEETLY) Are you coming again tomorrow?

DON GONZALO:

Oh, most certainly, if it's a sunny morning. And not only will I not scare away the birds, but I'll bring a few crumbs.

DOÑA LAURA:

Thank you very much. Birds are grateful and repay attention. I wonder where my maid is? (CALLS) Petra!

DON GONZALO:

(TO HIMSELF) No, no, I-- I'll not reveal myself. I'm too old now. Better that she recall the gallant horseman who passed daily beneath her window tossing flowers.

DOÑA LAURA:

Ah, here she comes. (TO HERSELF) No, I'll not tell him. I'm too sadly changed. Better he should remember me as the black-eyed girl tossing flowers as he passed among the roses in the garden. (ALOUD, TO PETRA) Well, Petra! At last!

DON GONZALO:

Juanito, you're late.

PETRA:

The guard gave me these violets for you, señora.

DOÑA LAURA:

How very nice! You must thank him for me. They're fragrant.

DON GONZALO:

My dear lady, this has been a great honor and a great pleasure.

DOÑA LAURA:

It's also been a pleasure for me, señor.

DON GONZALO:

Well, goodbye until tomorrow.

DOÑA LAURA:

Until tomorrow.

DON GONZALO:

If it's a sunny morning.

DOÑA LAURA:

If it is a sunny morning. Uh, will you go to - to your bench?

DON GONZALO:

No, I'll come to this -- if you don't object?

DOÑA LAURA:

This bench is at your disposal.

DON GONZALO:

And I'll surely bring the crumbs.

DOÑA LAURA:

(MOVING OFF) Tomorrow, then?

DON GONZALO:

Tomorrow!

JUANITO:

(BEAT, CURIOUS) What are you doing, señor?

DON GONZALO:

Juanito, wait. These violets -- I must pick them up.

DOÑA LAURA:

(ASIDE, ROMANTIC) "Can it be / that this is he?"

DON GONZALO:

(ASIDE, LIKEWISE) "Heavens, is it she?"

MUSIC:

FOR A FINISH

SFX:

APPLAUSE ...