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Series: Royal Gelatin Hour
Show: Mrs. Clifford Receives
Date: Aug 12 1937

CAST:
HOST, Rudy Vallee
MRS. CLIFFORD, upper class
CELESTE, French maid
PETERS, butler (3 lines)
MISS MERRICK, young secretary
LOCAL ANNCR (1 line)

HOST:

Presenting now Miriam Hopkins, with Frances Fuller, in "Mrs. Clifford Receives" by Agnes Ridgeway. I don't know why it is that, with all the high-powered dressmakers in Hollywood, picture actresses need to come to New York to buy clothes. But whatever the reason, we're thankful it exists, because it enables us to bring you important people like Miriam Hopkins, a visitor in our town. Miss Fuller also divides her time between the coasts. She was seen most recently on Broadway in "Excursion." And so Miriam Hopkins, with Frances Fuller, in "Mrs. Clifford Receives."

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

MUSIC:

FOR INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT BEHIND HOST--

HOST:

The scene is Mrs. Clifford's boudoir. It is a very luxurious room furnished in the French manner. As the curtain rises, we find Mrs. Clifford lying on the chaise lounge. She wears a very handsome negligee and, except for a pronounced pallor, she is the very beautiful Mrs. Allen Dodson Clifford whose picture has so often looked out at us from the society pages of the New York papers. Her maid hovers solicitously -- adjusting a pillow; tucking in an end of a silken coverlet. Mrs. Clifford speaks.

CLIFFORD:

(BRISK AND AIRY) That's perfect, Celeste; thank you.

CELESTE:

Madame wishes a magazine?

CLIFFORD:

Oh, no, I don't want to read. I'm expecting someone. What time is it?

CELESTE:

(LOOKS AT CLOCK) It is, er, not quite twenty-five minutes of six, madame.

CLIFFORD:

Oh, she'll be here any minute. She said half-past. Oh, tell me, how's your ankle now? Does it still hurt you?

CELESTE:

Oh, no, madame. It is much less painful, thank you.

CLIFFORD:

That's good. Well, after Miss Merrick comes, you go and sit down and you rest.

CELESTE:

Oh, thank you, madame.

CLIFFORD:

Celeste? Try that other lamp, will you? This light hurts my eyes.

CELESTE:

Oui, madame.

CLIFFORD:

(BEAT, PLEASED) Oh! That's much better.

CELESTE:

I am very sorry that madame is not well. If madame will only take one of the powders that the doctor left.

CLIFFORD:

Well, it won't do any good.

CELESTE:

One can try, madame.

CLIFFORD:

All right. Well, then, let's have it.

CELESTE:

(MOVING OFF) I will get you a glass of water, madame.

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

CLIFFORD:

Yes? Come in!

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

CLIFFORD:

Yes?

PETERS:

Miss Merrick is calling, ma'am.

CLIFFORD:

Well, ask her to come up, Peters.

PETERS:

Very good, ma'am.

SOUND:

DOOR SHUTS

CELESTE:

(APPROACHES) Here is the powder, madame.

CLIFFORD:

What? Oh. Rest it here.

CELESTE:

Uh, if I might suggest, madame--?

CLIFFORD:

What?

CELESTE:

A little bit of rouge. Madame is very pale.

CLIFFORD:

Oh, no, no, no, it's all right. I think that, er, we'll have that armchair a little closer, Celeste.

CELESTE:

Oh? (BEAT) Comme ├ža?

CLIFFORD:

(YES) Mm hm. That's fine.

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

CLIFFORD:

Yes?

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

PETERS:

(ANNOUNCES) Miss Merrick.

CLIFFORD:

(SLOWER AND MORE SERIOUS) Come in, my dear.

MERRICK:

(APPROACHES) Good afternoon, Mrs. Clifford.

CLIFFORD:

Oh, I'm so glad you could come, Miss Merrick. You'll forgive me if I don't get up, won't you?

MERRICK:

Of course. (REALIZES) Oh, you're ill.

CLIFFORD:

It's all right. Let Celeste take your coat.

MERRICK:

Thank you.

CLIFFORD:

Would you like a cup of tea?

MERRICK:

No, thanks. Mother'll have dinner waiting for me. I'm afraid I'm a little bit late. Mr. Clifford didn't leave the office until nearly four o'clock and I had quite a lot of work to clean up.

CLIFFORD:

(LIGHTLY) I'm afraid my husband's a dreadful slave driver, Miss Merrick.

MERRICK:

(MATCHES HER) I don't mind. He works very hard himself.

CLIFFORD:

Yes, I know. That's why I encouraged him on this fishing trip. His nerves have been so ragged lately. There seems to be something about a fish and a piece of string. (CHUCKLES)

MERRICK:

(CHUCKLES)

CLIFFORD:

That'll be all, Celeste.

CELESTE:

Very good, madame.

SOUND:

DOOR CLOSES AS CELESTE EXITS

CLIFFORD:

(MORE SERIOUS) Won't you sit here, Miss Merrick? This armchair is so much more comfortable.

MERRICK:

Thank you.

CLIFFORD:

(BEAT) You're wondering why I asked you to come here.

MERRICK:

Why, if there's anything I can do for you, I'll be very glad.

CLIFFORD:

I wonder if you will. Miss Merrick, can we talk together, you and I-- Well, not as enemies, but - as friends?

MERRICK:

(UNEASY) I - I don't quite understand.

CLIFFORD:

(FRIENDLY) Well, isn't it really civilized -- oh, don't you think? -- for two women not to hate each other just because they happen to love the same man?

MERRICK:

(TAKEN ABACK) Mrs. Clifford, please--

CLIFFORD:

Well, you're in love with my husband, aren't you?

MERRICK:

(QUIETLY) Yes. I am.

CLIFFORD:

And he loves you.

MERRICK:

(SURPRISED) Why-- Why, he said he hadn't told you!

CLIFFORD:

Oh, my dear, when you've been married to a man for three years, he doesn't need to tell you things. You wear a great deal of blue, don't you?

MERRICK:

Yes, I do.

CLIFFORD:

Mmm, he's become very fond of blue this past six months. Um, your name's Katherine, isn't it?

MERRICK:

Yes.

CLIFFORD:

Mm. We've a friend named Katherine. He doesn't even like her, but he talks a great deal about her -- just so he can say her name. Because it's your name, too. (BEAT) Men are just a little bit transparent, Miss Merrick.

MERRICK:

Mr. Clifford isn't clever at hiding things. I'm glad he's not.

CLIFFORD:

You call him Allen, don't you?

MERRICK:

Yes.

CLIFFORD:

Then shall it be Allen between us?

MERRICK:

If you like.

CLIFFORD:

Katherine, what do you and Allen plan to do with your love?

MERRICK:

(BEAT) That - that's a very direct question, isn't it?

CLIFFORD:

But won't you please answer?

MERRICK:

(SLOWLY) All right. When Allen comes back from this fishing trip, he's going to ask you for a divorce.

CLIFFORD:

Yes! I thought it would be that way.

MERRICK:

(EMOTIONAL) Why shouldn't you let him go? There's nothing left! The loveliness is all gone! My pride wouldn't let me hold on to a man who didn't want me any more!

CLIFFORD:

(A HALF-CHUCKLE, SYMPATHETIC) Oh, my dear. Now, won't you please believe I didn't ask you to come here to quarrel with you? Or - or even to reproach you. (CHUCKLES)

MERRICK:

(QUIETLY AGAIN) I'm sorry. I've been under - under quite a strain lately. (EARNESTLY) It's true, though. Why should you want to hold him? Whatever you had between you is dead.

CLIFFORD:

You believe that?

MERRICK:

It's true, isn't it?

CLIFFORD:

(SIMPLY) I love Allen more than I've ever loved him.

MERRICK:

(DISMAYED) Oh. (BEAT) I didn't know that. Allen thinks--

CLIFFORD:

(INTERRUPTS) Yes, I know. But you see, I have my pride, too.

MERRICK:

I'm terribly sorry. (BEAT) I never tried to take him away from you. It just happened that way. I didn't try to make it happen. I wouldn't do that to any woman.

CLIFFORD:

I'm sure you wouldn't. I've seen you just once before -- you remember that day at the office? -- but I think I'm a little clever in judging people. Do you know, Katherine, there's been a great deal said about the cruelty of women to each other? Somehow I've never quite believed it. I think women are just as good sports as-- I think women are capable of something much better than sportsmanship. Kindness. It's because I believe that, that I asked you to come here today.

MERRICK:

(BEAT, WITH DREAD) What is it you want?

CLIFFORD:

(DELIBERATELY) I want you to give Allen back to me -- for one year.

MERRICK:

I don't understand.

CLIFFORD:

(A HALF-CHUCKLE, LIGHTLY) Do you mind handing me a cigarette? That box over there on the table. (BEAT) Thank you. Will you have one?

MERRICK:

No, thanks.

CLIFFORD:

Do you remember -- ohhhh, about three months ago -- I had an operation?

MERRICK:

Well, yes. I made out the checks down at the office for the doctor and the hospital.

CLIFFORD:

(YES) Mm hm.

MERRICK:

It was acute appendicitis.

CLIFFORD:

That's what we told Allen, the doctor and I. But that wasn't it. It was my heart. (BEAT) I have a year to live at the most.

MERRICK:

(QUIETLY EMOTIONAL) No. No, it isn't true. I don't want it to be true.

CLIFFORD:

You see? I told you women were kind. (BEAT, LIGHTLY) But, according to our best authorities, you should be glad.

MERRICK:

Glad? Of anything like that?

CLIFFORD:

But why not? There's a lovely finality about death. It'll remove me from the scene quite easily. No messy divorce, no scandal. (BEAT, QUIETLY) Just a little wait.

MERRICK:

Oh, please, don't talk like that. It's horrible. (A LITTLE DESPERATELY) Are the doctors sure? Did - did they say so definitely?

CLIFFORD:

(SADLY) So very definitely. Dr. Martin was here just a little while ago. (BEAT, HEARTFELT, DELIBERATE) Katherine--? Give me this year with Allen. The last year of my life. (QUIETLY, HALF TO HERSELF) The last year of my life. I've always thought of that as something terribly far away. Something that - that would come when I was very old, and perhaps all the people and all the things that I - I love would be gone. And now it's here. And - it's beginning now. (EXHALES) Even as I - I sit here talking to you. (BEAT) One year. (BEAT, TEARFUL, UP) Katherine--? I can't face it without Allen. I-- Oh, I can't-- (SOBS)

MERRICK:

(DISTRESSED) Oh, don't. Please.

CLIFFORD:

(REGAINING COMPOSURE) Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I'm afraid I'm such a coward that-- I'll be all right in a moment.

MERRICK:

I'll do anything I can. You know that. I'll do anything to help you, except give Allen up. I couldn't do that.

CLIFFORD:

Oh, I don't want you to give him up. So many women have wanted Allen; the wrong kinds of women. You can't know how glad I am to know he'll have someone like you ---- afterward.

MERRICK:

(BEAT, RESIGNED) What is it you want me to do? Go away?

CLIFFORD:

For just a little while, Katherine. One little year. You're not afraid?

MERRICK:

Oh, no.

CLIFFORD:

If you really love each other, your - your [?] will keep.

MERRICK:

I - I know. I guess I'd better go right away, before Allen gets back.

CLIFFORD:

(CONCERNED) Katherine--? What will you do? I mean, about yourself.

MERRICK:

I don't know. Find another job I guess.

CLIFFORD:

Ohhh, I feel so guilty.

MERRICK:

Oh, no, you mustn't. It'll be all right. I've a brother out on the West Coast. I'll go out there, I guess. I don't think I could stay here.

CLIFFORD:

You'll leave word for Allen?

MERRICK:

Yes. I'll write to him right away.

CLIFFORD:

(IMPLORING) Oh, but you won't tell him, Katherine? I mean, he'll have to know soon, of course, but - but please-- Not quite yet.

MERRICK:

No, dear. I'll - I'll just say I've been called away or something. You'll explain, won't you, when - when you tell him about the other--?

CLIFFORD:

I promise.

MERRICK:

(BEAT) I guess that's all, then. I'll be getting along home.

CLIFFORD:

Katherine?

MERRICK:

Yes?

CLIFFORD:

There are so many things I want to say to you -- and can't.

MERRICK:

Don't try, dear. I understand. (BEAT, READY TO CRY) I want to go now.

CLIFFORD:

I won't see you again. [...] Goodbye, Katherine.

MERRICK:

(MOVING OFF) Goodbye.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS AS MERRICK EXITS ... PHONE RINGS ... THEN CONTINUES IN BG

CLIFFORD:

(CALLS, IMPATIENT) Celeste?! Celeste?!

CELESTE:

(APPROACHES) Oui-oui, madame?

CLIFFORD:

Oh, Celeste, answer the telephone. I don't feel like talking to anyone.

CELESTE:

Oh, oui, madame.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP

CELESTE:

(INTO PHONE) Halloooo? ---- Oh, yes, madame. One moment, please! (TO CLIFFORD) It is madame's sister.

CLIFFORD:

Oh, I'll talk to her. (INTO PHONE, BRISK AND AIRY AGAIN) Hello, Joan? How are you? ---- How was the bridge party? ---- You won again?! Oh, darling, you are such a pig! ---- Yes, I'm sorry I couldn't come, but I had a visitor. She's just gone. Miss Merrick. ---- Yes; you know, Allen's little secretary. ---- (SLY, WITH PLEASURE) Hmm? Why, er, she's going away. ---- Mm hm, California. ---- Hm, for about a year, I think. ---- (HIGHLY AMUSED) What? Oh, why, darling, you wrong me. What could I have to do with it? ---- (DISAGREES, WITH GOOD HUMOR) Oh, no! Nooooo! (CHUCKLES) Not especially clever, darling. It's just, er, a matter of recognizing the type, and choosing the proper technique. Mm hm. ---- (DISMISSIVE) Oh, in one year, Allen could forget Helen of Troy. ---- What did you say? ---- What? Tonight? Oh, darling, I don't feel particularly partyish. I've had a beastly headache all day. I took some stuff the doctor left, but-- Well, it helped a little. ---- What? Oh, no, darling. Of course I'm not ill. I had the doctor in for Celeste. You know, I told you she wrenched her ankle. --- Hm? Don't worry. Well, I'll try and make it. The Rainbow Room, ten o'clock? Right, darling. Bye-ee!

MUSIC:

CURTAIN

SOUND:

APPLAUSE

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES

LOCAL ANNCR:

WEAF, New York.

HOST:

Well, some women are like that. (...)