Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Columbia Workshop
Show: The Use of Man
Date: Sep 14 1939

CAST:

The CBS Team:
CBS ANNCR
ANNOUNCER

Dramatis Personae:
1ST FOXHUNTER
2ND FOXHUNTER
LORD GORSE
MR. PELBY, M.F.H. (Master of Fox Hounds)
DICK (Lord Gorse's son)
DIANA (a hunting lady)
WILLIAMS
A TRAVELLING SPIRIT
COMET

The Spirits of the DOG, the CROW, the BEAR, the AFRICAN ELEPHANT, the INDIAN ELEPHANT, the MOUSE, the CAT, the HORSE, the COW, the PIG, the BEE, the HEN, the RABBIT, BIRDS, and the MOSQUITO.

NOTE: Although the announcer claims "The Use of Man" was written especially for the Workshop, the play originally aired on the BBC as early as 1933 and was published by 1937. This transcript contains text from the published version in brackets.

CBS ANNCR:

We announce an important change of program time for Friday night when "The Philip Morris Show," with Johnny Green and his orchestra, will be heard at nine p. m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time instead of eight-thirty. Friday night, "Philip Morris," at nine, Eastern Daylight Saving Time instead of eight-thirty.

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, the Columbia Workshop presents the fourth specially commissioned work for the current Workshop festival series. It is an extravaganza by the foremost British dramatist Lord Dunsany and is called "The Use of Man." Earle McGill is the director.

MUSIC:

INTRODUCTION ... WEIRD, FANTASTIC, SLIGHTLY FORBIDDING ... OUT BEHIND--

SOUND:

BRIEF ANIMAL NOISES ... BIRDS AND OTHER CREATURES WE MIGHT HEAR AT A FANCY BRITISH ESTATE ... OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

The scene is laid at Bowton Grange, in the middle of the hunting season. Lord Gorse and his guests are at dinner.

BIZ:

DINNER GUESTS MURMUR

1ST FOXHUNTER:

I think we changed.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

We never changed!

1ST FOXHUNTER:

I think we did.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

Where?

1ST FOXHUNTER:

At Todhunters Gorse.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

We never went into it.

1ST FOXHUNTER:

No. But hounds ran within two hundred yards of it. That's near enough.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

I don't believe it.

1ST FOXHUNTER:

Well, even if we did, it was a perfectly glorious hunt.

LORD GORSE:

(DISGUSTED) Would have been. Would have been, if that blasted earth hadn't been open. I never think a run to ground can come up to one that ends with a kill in the open, even if that one is a mile or two shorter.

DIANA: Why was it open? That's what we want to know.

PELBY:

Badgers.

GORSE:

I'd kill every badger in the whole county! Every badger from here to the Oozle!

PELBY:

(CHUCKLES) We're going to.

GORSE:

I wouldn't leave one alive.

PELBY:

We shan't.

GORSE:

That's right, Master.

PELBY:

I've sent for my two terriers from the kennels. And young Dick here has his two.

DICK:

(AGREES) Rather!

PELBY:

And we're going to Grimley Wood to-morrow at eight. We'll draw one badger before eleven.

DICK:

Change the meet to eleven-thirty, Master. It'll give us more time to get that badger.

PELBY:

Oh, we'll get him all right, without that. But if it takes us longer than we think, we needn't move off till, say, eleven-fifteen. But we'll get him.

DICK:

Hooray.

PELBY:

Oh, yes. Don't you worry.

DICK:

If Bob gets a chance, he'll just freeze on to him. (TO DOG) Bob? Badgers! Badgers! Badgers!

DOG:

(STARTS BARKING AT THE WORD "BADGERS" AND CONTINUES IN BACKGROUND)

GORSE:

Dick. Dick. A little quiet please.

DICK:

It isn't my fault, father. I can't stop him. He's always like this when he hears of badgers. Aren't you, Bob?

GORSE:

Well, ask him to keep that noise till tomorrow morning.

DICK:

All right, sir. (TO THE DOG) Bob. Not till to-morrow. Not till to-morrow, Bob.

DOG:

(STOPS BARKING)

DIANA:

Oh, do spare the badgers, Mr. Pelby.

PELBY:

Spare the badgers?

DIANA:

Yes. Do.

PELBY:

But we can't spare the badgers.

DIANA:

Why can't you?

PELBY:

Well, one never does.

DIANA:

Well, why not?

PELBY:

Well, what good are they?

DIANA:

What good are they?

PELBY:

Yes.

DIANA:

Well, I don't suppose they're any good.

PELBY:

Well, if a thing's no good, it doesn't seem to me that it has any right to exist.

DIANA:

Well, I suppose badgers think they're some good.

PELBY:

Yes, I've no doubt they do, the silly beasts. They would. But I don't know who else would speak for them.

DIANA:

Well, I will, for one.

PELBY:

(LIGHTLY) Well, if you can tell me any good they do, Diana, I'll call off the expedition to-morrow morning, and spare the whole lot of 'em.

DIANA:

(AMUSED) Thanks so much. (SERIOUS) I think it's hard they should all be wiped out just because they open foxes' earths. But I'm afraid I can't think what good they do. (TO GUESTS) Won't someone speak up for badgers? They must do some good. (TO PELBY AGAIN) It'll do if someone else speaks for them, won't it?

PELBY:

Oh, yes. If anyone can tell me what good they do.

DIANA:

(TO GUESTS) Oh, someone speak up for badgers. Here -- you, Mr. Williams. I know you're very clever. I'm sure you must know what good badgers are.

WILLIAMS:

Well, I really-- Badgers?

DIANA:

Yes.

WILLIAMS:

I'm afraid, I don't know quite enough about badgers.

PELBY:

Well, if they're no good, one doesn't quite see what right they have to live.

DIANA:

(TO GUESTS) Oh, do tell him, somebody, what good badgers are.

PELBY:

You know, I don't like to tell you, Diana, but badgers are a wretched nuisance.

GORSE:

Of course they are.

PELBY:

They'd open every earth in the country if we didn't keep them down. It'd be no use stopping.

GORSE:

None whatever.

PELBY:

Anyway, they're no beastly use.

GORSE:

None at all!

PELBY:

At least I never heard they were.

BIZ:

GUESTS MURMUR AGREEMENT

PELBY:

Well, in that case, Dick, we'll draw that fellow in Grimley Wood to-morrow.

DICK:

Rather!

GORSE:

You know, when you come to think of it, there aren't very many animals that are any use.

PELBY:

No. There are horses, of course. And cows; pigs, poultry. And dogs go without saying.

GORSE:

Yes, but things like stags, for instance. I have a few in the park, but I don't know what good they are.

PELBY:

Oh, I disagree with you there. A stag, a good highland stag, is a lot of use. I don't know what a hall would be without one. A dozen good stags' heads and a lion's skin on the floor-- Why, if you took them away from my hall, I'd feel it was only a barn.

GORSE:

Ah, yes. Well, I'll admit the stag. But there are heaps of animals that are no use whatever. Bears, for instance. You couldn't find any use in a bear.

PELBY:

Oh, I don't know. He's a jolly beast in the Zoo. He entertains lots of children.

GORSE:

Well, er, elephants, then.

PELBY:

I don't know about the African elephant, except that he gives us ivory; though that's pretty useful. But the Indian elephant's a lot of good. I think a great many animals have their uses.

GORSE:

Yes, the Indian elephant; we trained him. Of course lots of animals owe a great deal to us. They'd be no good but for our training; and they'd be hard put to it to get food and lodging, too.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

Well, what about a crow? They do no harm, but you can't say they're of any use.

PELBY:

A crow? No, I don't think one could.

GORSE:

I'm jolly sure you couldn't. And what about mice?

PELBY:

(CHUCKLES) No. They don't do much harm provided you've plenty of cats to keep them down. But they're certainly no use.

GORSE:

And then, rabbits.

PELBY:

(HARSH) Rabbits, blast them; they're just an infernal nuisance. Rabbit holes all over the place. They can kill a horse; or a man, for that matter. Wouldn't have a [damned] rabbit in the whole world if I could help it.

GORSE:

Bees, of course, are some good.

PELBY:

Yes, I like honey.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

I'll tell you one creature that's no good whatever, and no one can say he is.

PELBY:

What's that?

2ND FOXHUNTER:

The mosquito.

PELBY:

Oh, the mosquito. I grant you that.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

Can't think what he was ever invented for.

PELBY:

No. I suppose there was some reason.

2ND FOXHUNTER:

Can't think what it is.

PELBY:

No, nor can I.

GORSE:

Nor could anyone else. Oh, I say, Dick; it's time you went to bed if you're getting up for that badger, and hunting afterwards.

DICK:

Oh, I say, father, not yet.

GORSE:

Oh, yes, quite time. What do you think, Pelby?

PELBY:

I was just thinking it was a very good idea, and for me, too, if you'll excuse me. Late nights as well as early mornings don't go [well] with fox-hunting.

GORSE:

(CHUCKLES) Of course not.

PELBY:

Then I think I'll go now. Come on, Dick.

DICK:

Righto.

BIZ:

PELBY, DICK, AND THE GUESTS EXCHANGE "GOOD NIGHTS" BRIEFLY

GORSE:

Good night, Pelby.

PELBY:

Good night.

DICK:

I say, Mr. Pelby, shall I tell them to call you at seven-thirty?

PELBY:

Yes. That'll do.

DICK:

And I'll have the car around at eight o'clock, with the dogs in it, yours and mine.

PELBY:

All right, Dick.

DICK:

All right. Good night, sir.

PELBY:

(YAWNS) Good night.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... THEN DREAMLIKE IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

SOUND:

[(CREAKING OF SPRINGS AS PELBY CLIMBS INTO BED, RUSTLES INTO COMFORT)]

PELBY:

(DRIFTING OFF TO SLEEP, TO HIMSELF) That'll teach the blasted badger. (YAWNS) No, but really. Really, I mean. What's the use of a badger? What's the [damned] use of a badger? (YAWNS ... THEN SNORES ... THEN BREATHES DEEPLY, ASLEEP ... THEN ABRUPTLY FULLY CONSCIOUS) Hullo? (NO ANSWER) Hullo? (STARTLED) What? A ghost, by Gad!

THE SPIRIT:

That is so.

PELBY:

(NERVOUS) But-- What do you want?

THE SPIRIT:

Follow.

PELBY:

Follow? But where?

THE SPIRIT:

Follow.

PELBY:

What? Dressed like this?

THE SPIRIT:

Follow.

PELBY:

(RELUCTANT) But-- I believe it's freezing out.

THE SPIRIT:

Follow.

MUSIC:

HARP GLISSANDO AS--

SOUND:

A GREAT WIND BLOWS THE CURTAINS OPEN ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... FOR A RAPID BUT DREAMLIKE TRIP INTO OUTER SPACE ... THEN FOR A TRIP THROUGH THE SOLAR SYSTEM, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

PELBY:

Well, I say! We're going at an awful pace!

THE SPIRIT:

Follow!

PELBY:

Well, I can't help myself. What's the meaning of all this hurry? I say! We're leaving the Earth behind!

THE SPIRIT:

Far!

PELBY:

Good Lord!

MUSIC:

[LITTLE TINKLINGS]

PELBY:

What are all those tinklings and lights?

THE SPIRIT:

The asteroids!

PELBY:

Good Lord! They're small planets, aren't they? (NO ANSWER) Look here. What I want to know-- What I want to know is-- Where are you taking me to? I mean, if you're going to kill me, why don't you [damned well] say so? I've risked my neck often enough; only I want to know.

THE SPIRIT:

Follow!

PELBY:

(TO HIMSELF) Well, he isn't talkative.

MUSIC:

[A DEEP DRONING NOTE]

PELBY:

(TO SPIRIT) I say, what's that ugly thing there on our left, that's droning at us?

THE SPIRIT:

The planet Neptune!

PELBY:

Oh, but we can't be as far as that! (BEAT, TO HIMSELF) I say -- it's dropped behind us. Why, there are no more planets. Gad! I believe I see land! I believe I do. It is, by Gad! But where?

SOUND:

WIND DIES OUT BEHIND--

MUSIC:

SLOWS, FOR AN ARRIVAL ... THEN A THEME TO EVOKE A LARGE CROWD OF SPIRITS, IN BG

THE SPIRIT:

A resting place, and a meeting ground, for spirits.

PELBY:

Well, there are plenty of them here.

THE SPIRIT:

(CALLS) Hail, spirits!

BIZ:

[SPIRITS' VOICES RESPOND, "HAIL!!!"]

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A GREETING ... THEN FADES OUT FOR--

BIZ:

MURMUR OF SPIRITS, IN BG

PELBY:

Well, we're here.

THE SPIRIT:

We are come.

PELBY:

Then what do you want with me?

THE SPIRIT:

I have a question to put to you.

PELBY:

Put it.

THE SPIRIT:

What is the use of man?

PELBY:

What?

THE SPIRIT:

What is the use of man?

PELBY:

Well, really--

THE SPIRIT:

Your answer. Your answer before all these.

PELBY:

Well, really, I - I - I don't know that I ever considered it.

THE SPIRIT:

Your answer!

PELBY: Well, there's no difficulty in it -- man civilizes; that is to say, he builds cities, he makes roads, he constructs harbours, he joins up one city with another by means of ships and trains and rail-roads, he--

THE SPIRIT:

That is only for man.

PELBY:

Well, for whom else?

THE SPIRIT:

What use is he?

PELBY:

I told you. He builds great cities. He--

THE SPIRIT:

Of what use is he to any other than man?

PELBY:

Well, I never gave that a thought. You see, I don't do a great deal of thinking. But perhaps some of these people do. The thing's perfectly obvious, even if I can't find words for it. Do you mind asking them?

THE SPIRIT:

(CALLS) Who will speak for man?

DOG:

(EAGER, PRACTICALLY BARKING) I will! I will! I will! Oh, I will!

PELBY:

(TAKEN SLIGHTLY ABACK BY THE ENTHUSIASM) Thanks. I expect you'll be able to put it better than I can.

THE SPIRIT:

(TO DOG) Speak, then. The use of man?

DOG:

Arf! He is man. That is enough. More is not needed. More could not be needed. All wisdom is in him. All his acts are just; terrible sometimes, but always just. No use can be asked of him, only to be man. Man he is. He's man. The supreme perfection of which life is capable. Man! Man! Man!

THE SPIRIT:

(TO PELBY) That is his view. (CALLS) Will any other speak for man?!

PELBY:

I say, you fellows, speak up for the lot of us. Words aren't in my line, you know; but speak up for us all.

THE SPIRIT:

They are not men.

PELBY:

Why, what are they?

THE SPIRIT:

The spirits of the others. The beasts, the birds, the insects and the fishes. They are in human form so that you can perceive them; you would understand no other. But they are visible to you so that you are not judged in the darkness.

PELBY:

(DISBELIEF) All a lot of animals?

THE SPIRIT:

Even so.

PELBY:

And you?

THE SPIRIT:

A spirit of air, born of the morning. A messenger taking errands from orbit to orbit.

PELBY:

Well, some of them might speak up.

THE SPIRIT:

Let one of them tell the use of man. It will be enough.

DOG:

He needs no use! He needs no use! He's man!

THE SPIRIT:

Another must speak for you.

PELBY:

And if - if they won't? It will be the end of me, I suppose.

THE SPIRIT:

The end of your whole race.

PELBY:

The whole race?

THE SPIRIT:

Why not, if they're no use?

PELBY:

And two must speak for me? One has already.

DOG:

I speak for man! I speak for him! I speak for him!

THE SPIRIT:

Another must speak for you.

PELBY:

(REALIZES) Do you know, I'm beginning to see who they are. The gentleman who's just spoken is -- I feel sure he is -- he is--

THE SPIRIT:

The dog.

PELBY:

I thought so! I felt sure of it. And that gentleman in the black tail-coat, with his head a little on one side -- now he's put it over on the other -- do you know, that I feel sure he's the crow.

THE SPIRIT:

He is.

PELBY:

I should like to speak to him. I've done a good deal of speaking with farmers, and I - I think I could make him understand.

THE SPIRIT:

Speak.

PELBY:

(INGRATIATING, TO CROW) Well, what I want to say to you, sir, is -- that man has cultivated an incalculable amount of land; that is to say, he has ploughed it. We've not turned furrows purely and solely for our own advantage, without giving any thought to others. We know perfectly well that the plough turns up good worms, which we've never grudged to our neighbours. This is one of the uses of man. We've done this for centuries. It's only to-day that one of us -- one of us! -- asks for any recognition on account of it. I am sure you, sir, will not mind voicing that recognition. (BEAT, LOW, TO SPIRIT) He seems to be thinking pretty deeply, if putting his head on one side is any test.

CROW:

Caw! They were good furrows; good soft earth, and full of worms!

PELBY:

But, er, you'd never have got at them -- heh! -- but for us.

CROW:

They were good worms.

PELBY:

The very best.

CROW:

And then -- there were guns!

PELBY:

Oh, well, an occasional farmer--

CROW:

Guns!

PELBY:

Oh, no, no, no, not often. I never shot a-- Well, I never did that sort of thing, you know. I don't think it's sporting. I only shoot-- (STOPS SHORT, CLEARS THROAT UNCOMFORTABLY)

CROW:

(WITH FINALITY) I do not speak for man!

PELBY:

Well-- (HOPEFUL, TO BEAR) Well, then, you, sir. Perhaps you'll speak for us. You'll excuse my asking who you are.

BEAR:

(GRANDLY) I am the bear.

PELBY:

(AS IF GREETING AN OLD FRIEND) Ohhhhhh, well! I've known you quite a long time. I remember you when I was only a child; in the Zoo, you know. I used to throw -- (STAMMERS, GROPES FOR THE WORD) [what?] -- buns at you! (BEAT) Well, you needn't look like that. (BEAT) Hang it all, I didn't throw them really at you. (CHUCKLES) I don't suppose they hurt. (PAUSE, DISCOURAGED) Well, if you will take that line about it-- (BEAT, TO SPIRIT) If he won't speak for us perhaps - perhaps that gentleman will; that very tidy fellow over there, flicking the dust off the skirts of his coat. You see him? Dark hair with a good deal of grey in it. Who is he?

THE SPIRIT:

The badger.

PELBY:

(UNCOMFORTABLY) Oh. Oh, well, um-- Perhaps another time. Perhaps, er-- (BRIGHTLY) Well, that gentleman with the very high forehead. I think he'd understand me.

THE SPIRIT:

The African elephant?

PELBY:

(TO AFRICAN ELEPHANT) You, sir -- you, sir, will I think recognise the greatness of man. He certainly always regarded you very highly. You will be able better than most to estimate what he stood for, the grandeur of his aims, the--

AFRICAN ELEPHANT:

He only wanted my treasure!

PELBY:

I beg your pardon?

AFRICAN ELEPHANT:

He was after my ivory! (CONTEMPTUOUS) Man! Man, indeed!

PELBY:

(DISAPPOINTED) Oh. Well. Excuse me. (TO SPIRIT) It was the Indian elephant that I really wished to speak to.

THE SPIRIT:

That is he. There; taking his hat off and bowing to you.

PELBY:

Oh, yes -- the large gentleman in the frock coat. Very polite of him.

INDIAN ELEPHANT:

(COOL) You wish, sir, to do me the honour of addressing me?

PELBY:

If it's not troubling you.

INDIAN ELEPHANT:

It is an honour.

PELBY:

Very kind of you to say so. Well, sir, I think you appreciate the greatness of man.

INDIAN ELEPHANT:

I do.

PELBY:

(PLEASED) Well, that's all right. Now, perhaps you'll say a few words on our behalf.

INDIAN ELEPHANT:

(WAILS DESPAIRINGLY) He took me from the woods! I have forgiven so great a wrong, long, long ago! But he took me away from the woods!

PELBY:

(BEAT, LOW, UNCONVINCING) I'm sorry. (BEAT, WITH A SHRUG) Well, I'm sorry. I can't say any more. (TO SPIRIT) Spirit, I shall have to ask one of the others. (TRYING TO CONVINCE HIMSELF) I think I can make out a case all right. Often had to do so before; you know, little difficulties with the farmers, and the hunting of half a county to organise. (TO SPIRIT) Well, who are they all? I bet I know that sly fellow slinking about at the back. No, I'm not going to ask him, no. No, I hunted him all my life. And that - that fellow with the big gold watch-chain, and great yellow beard and long hair to match. I'm pretty sure he's the lion.

THE SPIRIT:

He is.

PELBY:

(RELUCTANT SIGH) I don't think I'll ask him. Now that I look at his eyes; he seems to have a sense of injury. I dare say he may be right. But that lady who just arrived, and ran so quickly to her place; who is she?

THE SPIRIT:

The mouse.

PELBY:

(CHUCKLES) Well, I'll ask her. (BEAT, UNHAPPY) Oh, but then, there's the cat. I can hardly ask them both. (WHISPERS) Where is the spirit of the cat?

THE SPIRIT:

Yonder.

PELBY:

Where you are pointing? I see. The comfortable lady. Do you know, I don't quite trust her.

THE SPIRIT:

As you please.

PELBY:

(DECIDES) Then - then I'll ask the mouse. (TO MOUSE, GENTLY) Neighbour, we've lived for a long while side by side. Will you not speak for us now, if our crumbs were good? There would have been no wainscotes but for man.

MOUSE:

(SQUEAKY) What of the traps of steel?! The beautiful cheese that none could resist, and the cruel traps of steel! For man I do not speak!

CAT:

Meow!

PELBY:

Then, you, madam. I address the spirit of the cat, and with some confidence. I have only to remind you; I feel sure I need only mention -- deep rugs, soft carpets, cushions of silk and down, sofas, and, above all, our fires.

CAT:

(PURRS, DURING ABOVE LINE)

PELBY:

Where would any of these be but for man? Where would comfort be? Where warmth? Did we not make all that is soft and dry? And for what purpose? For ourselves, I admit. But for ourselves alone? Never. Your people came along among our people by invitation, and were content to come. They had perfect freedom to go, but they did not go. I come to this overwhelming point in my argument -- you accepted us then, I ask you to accept us now. (LOW, PLEASED WITH HIMSELF, TO SPIRIT) Really, I think I put that conclusively.

CAT:

(PURRS THOUGHTFULLY, THEN--) You asked the mouse first.

PELBY:

(LIGHTLY) Oh, yes, I just asked her.

CAT:

You asked her before me.

PELBY:

Well, you see, she caught my eye first.

CAT:

She caught your eye before I did?!

PELBY:

She just happened to.

CAT:

She happened to?! And before me?!

PELBY:

Well, madam, I'm very sorry, but you'll speak for man, won't you?

CAT:

Never!

PELBY:

We've done a lot for you. Won't you help us now?

CAT:

Never! I've been treated as less than the mice!

PELBY:

But you wouldn't care -- just because of my careless oversight -- to see the human race destroyed?

CAT:

Gladly! (HOWLS)

PELBY:

Oh, dear. Some spirits are very touchy. (TO SPIRIT) Do give me time, Spirit. There are several that I can easily convince; but give me time.

THE SPIRIT:

You shall have time.

PELBY:

Thank you. There were a few points I wanted to think out. (AN INSPIRATION) I - I wish to address the householders. (CALLS) You, Ladies and Gentlemen, a householder myself, I address myself particularly to those who, like myself, dwelt in houses. I appeal particularly to the horse, the cow and the pig. And I wish to include the poultry, and the bee, and several others. It is to this class that I now appeal to speak up for one of its own members.

[No-one that has lived under a good slate roof can readily contemplate a life spent entirely in the open, in cold weather, year after year. And yet, if it were not for man, what shelter would you have ever had? ... I know in my own house, when winter is coming and storms are beginning to blow up, perhaps about nightfall, how glad I am to be in a good solid house. I know stables that are built more solidly than some of our own houses, and cow-houses built quite as solidly. Nobody that has known the comfort and security of a house can disregard the link that, however much we respect the others, unites all householders in a special class of their own.]

(LOW, TO SPIRIT) You'll find that'll persuade 'em. (PAUSE) Well? Where are they all? Where is the horse?

THE SPIRIT:

That.

PELBY:

What, that silly fellow that's always surprised when anyone moves?

THE SPIRIT:

He.

PELBY:

(TO HORSE) Well, sir; you are counted as our oldest friend. Will you help us now for the sake of what we call, um, "auld lang syne"?

HORSE:

(WHINNIES LIKE A NINCOMPOOP)

PELBY:

Well, of all the fools.

DOG:

Arf! Arf! He's a fool; he's a fool! (EAGER, TO PELBY) Shall I run after him? Shall I run after him?

PELBY:

No, no, no, no. He's my respected friend.

DOG:

He's a fool! I often run after him, and he goes half way around the planets.

PELBY:

No, no, no.

DOG:

And he tries to kick me with both feet at once, over there beyond Saturn. He's a fool!

PELBY:

Now, don't disparage my friend. (TO HORSE) You will speak for us, sir?

HORSE:

(WHINNIES STUPIDLY)

DOG:

Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! He's a fool! He's a fool! He's a fool!

PELBY:

Oh, be quiet! (TO SPIRIT) And where is the cow?

THE SPIRIT:

There.

PELBY:

There? Why, she's been staring at me all the time. [Well, she's certainly heard all my points.] Madam, you will perhaps speak for us. (AS IF ADDRESSING A CHILD) The question is what use is man to others besides himself. The answer is, I think, that he builds cow-houses. (PAUSE, DISMAYED, TO SPIRIT) Oh, she's staring at me still.

COW:

(DUMB AS A COW) Mmmmmmmmmmmoooo!

DOG:

Arf! Arf! Arf! Let me chase her. Let me chase her. Let me chase her.

PELBY:

No, no. Most certainly not.

DOG:

She'll run away and stop staring.

PELBY:

Most certainly not!

DOG:

She will!

PELBY:

Oh, to heel!

DOG:

(BARKS CONTRITELY) I beg your pardon, sir. I beg your pardon, Master.

PELBY:

Stay there.

DOG:

Most certainly, sir.

PELBY:

(TO COW) If you won't speak for us, madam-- (TO SPIRIT) [No, she's still staring.] Then I must ask, which is the spirit of the pig?

THE SPIRIT:

He.

PELBY:

(SURPRISED) You don't mean the gentleman with the fierce moustaches? That smart-looking fellow?

THE SPIRIT:

That is he.

PELBY:

Huh. I shouldn't have thought it. (TO PIG) Well, sir, I appeal to you once more as a householder. I live in a house myself, and I know what it is, when a North wind is blowing, to have the shelter of good walls.

PIG:

(DIGNIFIED) I love the North wind.

PELBY:

But in winter there's often snow in it.

PIG:

I love snow. I love storms. I love to protect myself in the oak-woods against the might of the winter. I need no houses. (GRUNTS)

PELBY:

We did what we could to make you comfortable. Of course if you don't like comfort--

PIG:

We have no need of it. And no need of man.

PELBY:

I see. Then you will not speak for us?

DOG:

Arf! May I, Master?

PELBY:

Certainly not. And be quiet.

DOG:

Most certainly, sir.

THE SPIRIT:

(TO PELBY) No other speaks for you?

PELBY:

I beg your pardon; that's not so at all. I've scarcely explained anything yet. They'll understand as soon as I make it clear to them. I've not done with the householders yet. We householders usually stick together. We look at things in rather a different way from what people do who roam the sky by night past half a dozen planets. There's the bee for instance, I haven't spoken to him yet. Where is the bee? What, there? The gentleman in the gold trousers? (TO BEE) Well, sir, we not only made houses for you, but you sometimes used to live in the roofs of ours. I think you liked our gardens, and I fancy you had no enmity for us, as we had none for you. Am I right, sir?

MUSIC:

A "FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE"-STYLE BIT BRIEFLY PRECEDES THE BEE'S SPEECH

BEE:

We liked your houses-zzzzz. But somebody took our treasure.

BEAR:

It wasn't me. You can't blame the bear.

BEE:

I don't know who it was-zzz. I was too busy to guard it. But I speak for no one, for fear he took the treas-zzz-ure.

PELBY:

You will not speak for us?

BEE:

I speak for no one. The treas-zzz-ure! The ines-zzz-timable treas-zzz-ure!

PELBY:

(EXHALES, DISCOURAGED) Then - then the poultry. Will the spirit of the poultry speak for us?

HEN:

(CLUCKS) I am she.

PELBY:

Oh, er, how do you do? I think you liked the houses that we built for you?

HEN:

We liked better the deeps of the jungle. (CLUCKS)

THE SPIRIT:

(TO PELBY) Have you any more to ask, before the end?

PELBY:

I can't think of any more just at the moment. But that's only because I have a bad memory. [You aren't going to condemn the whole human race merely because of that.

THE SPIRIT:

Only if they are of no use.

PELBY:

Of course they're of use. Well, look here. I told you we linked up distant cities with our ships. And you said that was only for man. Now that's where you're wrong; and I'll give you a case in point. And there's a gentleman over there who will bear me out, though he is sitting all hunched up, pretending he isn't there. I know perfectly well who he is. Now, you say ships are only for men. But a ship went to Australia once with a few rabbits on board. And what happened? The rabbits multiplied and lived in a country entirely free from enemies. They could never have got there but for man, and could never have thrived so well anywhere else. (TO RABBIT) You, sir, yes, you will bear me out.

RABBIT:

Man ate us.

PELBY:

No one in Australia would touch you. (TO SPIRIT) That's a neat one for him, I think. (TO RABBIT) Oh, er, not because they didn't respect you. Quite the contrary. I know they held you in very high esteem. I merely meant that nobody wished to hurt you. Damn.

THE SPIRIT:

Do you wish to ask any more?

PELBY:

Yes, plenty more.] That gentleman there. Who is that very--? Well, the only word is aristocratic -- that very aristocratic-looking gentleman over there, holding his head up?

THE SPIRIT:

That is the spirit of the stag.

PELBY:

(ENTHUSIASTIC) Ohhh, the stag. I always loved a fine stag. I often went to Scotland; they're really magnificent. The royal stag is superb. I once got-- (STOPS SHORT, AWKWARD) Well, perhaps-- Never mind. I-- (TO STAG) No, sir. No, sir, I will not trouble you.

DOG:

[May ... ?

PELBY:

NO!

DOG:

Certainly, sir. Just as you command.

THE SPIRIT:

So you have no more to ask.

PELBY:

No.]

THE SPIRIT:

I give you three minutes more.

PELBY:

It's no good. I can't think of any more points to make. I've been up most of the night and I can't think out any more of them.

THE SPIRIT:

I give you three minutes more.

SOUND:

TWITTER OF BIRDS AS THEY START FLYING OFF ... THEN IN BG

PELBY:

I say, a lot of them are going. They're soaring away. Why are they singing as they go?

THE SPIRIT:

It is the birds, rejoicing at the ending of Man.

PELBY:

Aw, look here! We - we weren't as bad as all that. [We weren't as bad as all that.] (CALLS, DESPERATELY, TO BIRDS) Wait a minute, you spirits! Excuse me! But what about our gardens?! What about our black currants, raspberries and strawberries?! What about our green peas?! Who planted them and looked after them?! Where would strawberries have been, but for man? Big garden strawberries, I mean! Not these miserable little wild ones. And the birds got just as many as we did. Man seems to me to have been a good deal of use in the world. If you know where to get good strawberries without him, that's another matter. If not, you might admit it.

BIRDS:

Nets! Nets! Nets! Nets! Cages! Cages! Cages! Cages! Cages! (ET CETERA, THEN FADES OUT AS THEY FLY AWAY)

PELBY:

(DISHEARTENED) That's the end of us.

DOG:

Never. Never! Never! Everything is for man. He is man. No more is needed. Man. Man! Man! (PLAINTIVE) The world and the stars are for him. He does not need to be useful. All things must be useful to him. It's all for man. Arf! Arf!

THE SPIRIT:

(CALLS) Does any other speak for Man?! (NO ANSWER) The three minutes are ended.

MUSIC:

[A SILVER TRUMPET PLAYS ...] A BRIEF TINY MARCH, HERALDING THE MOSQUITO

PELBY:

(QUIET, HOPEFUL) Wait a moment. Who's that coming? Far off, over there. He's lighted on a pinnacle of mist. He's lifting his trumpet.

MUSIC:

[SILVER TRUMPET PLAYS ...] A BRIEF TINY FANFARE

MOSQUITO:

(SMALL, HIGH-PITCHED VOICE) I will speak for Man!

PELBY:

(RELIEVED) I'm very much obliged to you. We're all very much obliged to you. On behalf of the great human race, I'm very much obliged to you indeed. An intelligent spirit at last! May I ask who you are, sir?

MOSQUITO:

(PROUD) I am the Mosquito!

PELBY:

The Mosquito?

THE SPIRIT:

What use is Man? Tell this assembly.

MOSQUITO:

(MAJESTIC) I speak for Man. I, the mosquito. Man is my food.

PELBY:

[His what?

MOSQUITO:

My lovely food.

THE SPIRIT:

Come.]

SOUND:

THE GREAT WIND BLOWS AGAIN ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG

MUSIC:

FOR A RAPID BUT DREAMLIKE TRIP BACK THROUGH THE SOLAR SYSTEM, [MOSQUITO'S TRUMPET DYING AWAY IN THE DISTANCE] IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

PELBY:

I say, the whole thing's slid away! It's night again! Where are we going?!

MUSIC:

[A DEEP DRONING NOTE]

PELBY:

Why, there's Neptune again! Why don't we see Jupiter? It's large enough; isn't it?

THE SPIRIT:

He's far off, to the North of the sun.

COMET:

(CACKLING LAUGHTER ... ZOOMS PAST, IN AND OUT)

PELBY:

What's that going by laughing?

THE SPIRIT:

A comet.

MUSIC:

[LITTLE TINKLINGS]

PELBY:

Hullo, the asteroids again! Oughtn't we to see Mars?

THE SPIRIT:

He's at the far end of his orbit, on the other side of the sun.

PELBY:

(CHUCKLES) Good of the mosquito to speak for us. Nasty little beast.

MUSIC:

A MELODY FOR APPROACHING EARTH

PELBY:

What's that song?

THE SPIRIT:

It's Earth -- singing.

PELBY:

Why?

THE SPIRIT:

She's always doing it.

PELBY:

Why, so it is. It's all shining dimly. Why, it's underneath us now.

MUSIC:

FADES AND CHANGES TO DISTANT HUNTING HORNS CALLING THE FOXHUNTERS ... HORNS CONTINUE BRIEFLY BEHIND--

PELBY:

(YAWNS) What? (PAUSE, AS PELBY HEARS THE HORNS AND THINKS IT'S THE MOSQUITO, DROWSY) Well, I'm much obliged to you for speaking up for us, but -- oh! -- don't go on trumpeting.

DOG:

Arf! Arf! Arf! (CONTINUES TO BARK, BRIEFLY, IN BG)

PELBY:

I told you to keep quiet.

DICK:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) Mr. Pelby?! Mr. Pelby?! I say, aren't you coming?! I--

PELBY:

Huh?

DICK:

(CLOSER) Wake up, Mr. Pelby. Wake up.

PELBY:

(WIDE AWAKE NOW) What? Oh. Coming? Coming? Where?

DICK:

To dig out that badger.

PELBY:

Oh, of course, the-- Well, you know, I had rather a long day yesterday.

DICK:

(AMUSED) But you don't mind a long day.

PELBY:

No, not in the ordinary way. But I've been thinking - that, after all, we might leave that badger alone.

DICK:

(INCREDULOUS) Leave him alone?

PELBY:

(SELF-CONSCIOUS) Well, that's what I thought.

DICK:

But what ever for?

PELBY:

Well, you see, it occurred to me that there might, after all, be some use in a badger, and the silly little devil might not be able to prove it.

MUSIC:

FOR A DRY, GENTLE, THOUGHTFUL, MYSTICAL FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have been listening to the CBS presentation of Lord Dunsany's play "The Use of Man," a specially-commissioned work for the current Columbia Workshop Festival. Earle McGill directed and Bernard Herrmann composed and conducted the musical score.

MUSIC:

IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Horace Braham played the part of Mr. Pelby. The other characters were played by Junius Matthews, George Coulouris, Eustace Wyatt, Reginald Bach, Ian Martin, John Clark, Erik Rolf, Edgar Barrier, Naomi Campbell, and Florence Robinson.

Next week at this same time, the Columbia Workshop Festival will bring you the fifth and final specially commissioned work, "Now It's Summer" by Arthur Kober who will be remembered for his outstanding Broadway success "Having Wonderful Time."

It might interest you to know that on September 28th, the final program in the Columbia Workshop Festival series will present Archibald MacLeish's "Fall of the City."

The book, Columbia Workshop Plays -- published by Whittlesey House, and which contains a number of the plays you have heard on the Workshop over the past several weeks -- is now on sale at your local bookstore.

MUSIC:

FILLS A PAUSE ... CONTINUES TILL END

ANNOUNCER:

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.