Microphone Plays‎ > ‎

For Services Rendered

The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour

For Services Rendered

Apr 06 1933



CAST:

HOST, Rudy Vallee

EVA ARDSLEY

COLLIE STRATTON

LEONARD ARDSLEY, Eva's father




MUSIC: ... INTRODUCTION ... OUT BEHIND HOST--


HOST: "For Services Rendered" is a drama of the war's aftermath -- the story of ruined lives, dragged out through the years in the spiritual and material wreckage of postwar days. The characters are members and friends of an upper-class English country family, the Ardsleys. In one way or another, all of them are war victims. It is with Eva Ardsley, eldest daughter of the house, that our scene is concerned. For fifteen years she has devoted her life to the service of her brother, blinded in the war. She has sacrificed everything: youth, love, marriage -- every chance for a normal life of her own. She is in love with Collie Stratton, an ex-naval officer and war hero, who is now making a complete failure of life as an automobile dealer. He faces bankruptcy and possible jail sentence for giving a fraudulent check. As our scene begins, the two are together. Made miserable by his lack of interest, she adopts desperate measures. 


EVA: I beg your pardon. I was looking for my bag. I didn't know there was anyone here.


COLLIE: I was just going.


EVA: Please don't. I won't disturb you.


COLLIE: What are you talking about? Surely you can come into your own dining room. 


EVA: I wasn't telling you the truth. I knew you were here and my bag's upstairs. I heard father go. I wanted to see you. I'm most frightfully anxious. 


COLLIE: What about?


EVA: Well, everyone knows you're in difficulties. Father let drop a hint at luncheon. I knew he was going to see you this afternoon.


COLLIE: Kind of you to bother, Evie. I've had rather a tough passage. But at all events I know where I am now.


EVA: Can nothing be done?


COLLIE: Not very much, I'm afraid.


EVA: Won't you let me help you?


COLLIE: My dear, how can you?


EVA: Well, it's only a matter of money, isn't it?


COLLIE: (DRY) Only is good.


EVA: Collie, I have a thousand pounds that my godmother left me. It's invested and I've always dressed myself on the interest. I could let you have that.


COLLIE: I couldn't possibly take money from you. It's out of the question.


EVA: Why not, if I want to give it to you?


COLLIE: It's awfully generous of you--


EVA: (INTERRUPTS) Surely you must know how fond I am of you.


COLLIE: It's very nice of you, Evie. Besides, your father would never hear of it. 


EVA: Well, it's my money. I'm not a child.


COLLIE: Can't be done, my dear.


EVA: (QUIETLY DESPERATE) Well, couldn't I buy an interest in your garage? I mean-- Well, then it would be sort of an investment.


COLLIE: Can you see your father's face when you suggested it? (WISTFUL) It looked all right when I bought it. Things were booming then. But the slump has killed it. It isn't worth a bob.


EVA: But if you could get more capital, you could afford to wait until times got better.


COLLIE: Your father doesn't think very much of me as it is. He'd think me a pretty mean skunk if he thought I'd induced you to put your money into an insolvent business.


EVA: You keep speaking of father. It's nothing to do with him. It's you and I that are concerned.


COLLIE: I know you're a very good sort and you're always going out of your way to do things for people, but there are limits. Perhaps you'll want to get married one of these days, and then you'll find your thousand pounds come in devilish useful.


EVA: (DEEP EMOTION) I could never have a better use for it than to give it to someone who means as much to me as you do.


COLLIE: I'm awfully sorry. God knows I want the money, but I really can't take it from anyone like you.


EVA: I thought you liked me.


COLLIE: I like you very much. You're a jolly good friend.


EVA: (SLOWLY) I thought perhaps some day we might be more than friends. After all, if we were engaged, it would be very natural for me to come to your rescue when you were in a hole.


COLLIE: But we're not engaged.


EVA: Well, couldn't we pretend to be? Just for a little while, I mean. And then I could lend you the money and father could help you to get straight.


COLLIE: (AMUSED) Oh, my dear, that's absurd.


EVA: (SLOWLY) [Perhaps] when you got used to the idea, you wouldn't want to break it off.


COLLIE: My dear, what ever put such an idea in your head?


EVA: You're alone. I'm alone. No one in the world cares twopence for either of us.


COLLIE: What nonsense. Your family's devoted to you. They depend on you so enormously. Why, the whole house centers 'round you.


EVA: (AGITATED) But I want to get away. I'm so unhappy here.


COLLIE: I can't believe that. You're just nervous and run down. I daresay you want a bit of change.


EVA: (REALIZES, SLOWLY) You just won't understand. (TEARFUL) How can you be so cruel?


COLLIE: I'm not cruel. I'm - I'm awfully grateful to you.


EVA: I can't say any more than I have. It's so humiliating.


COLLIE: I'm dreadfully sorry. I don't want to hurt your feelings.


EVA: (VOICE BREAKING) After all, I'm not as old as all that. Plenty of men have wanted to marry me.


COLLIE: I don't doubt that for a minute. I'm quite convinced that one of these days you'll find someone that you really like--


EVA: (WOUNDED) Oh--


COLLIE: --and I'm sure you'll make him a perfectly grand wife.


EVA: (WHIMPERS, THEN WEEPS IN BG)


COLLIE: I'm awfully sorry.


EVA: (TEARFUL, QUIET) Go away, Collie. Please. Please go away.


MUSIC: SOMBER TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: A few days later, Eva's alone in the drawing room of the Ardsley home, her nerves worn to the breaking point by her inward struggle. Her father enters. He is a cold, pompous lawyer. Alone of those in the house, he has been insensible to the air of impending tragedy that shadows all his family.


ARDSLEY: Eva, something dreadful's happened. I thought I'd better come in and tell you at once.


EVA: (A CRY) Collie! 


ARDSLEY: How did you know? 


EVA: What is it? 


ARDSLEY: They've just telephoned me from the police station. There's been an accident. Collie's been shot. I'm afraid he shot himself. 


EVA: (WITH DREAD) He's not -- dead? 


ARDSLEY: (BEAT) Yes. 


EVA: (LONG, LOUD BLOODCURDLING SCREAM)


ARDSLEY: (SHOCKED) Eva!


EVA: (HYSTERICAL) You killed him, you fiend! 


ARDSLEY: What are you talking about? 


EVA: You fiend! You beast! Leave me alone! You could have saved him, you devil! I hate you! I hate you! 


ARDSLEY: Are you mad, Eva? 


EVA: You hounded him to his death! You didn't give him a chance! 


ARDSLEY: Good heavens, we all gave him chance after chance.


EVA: It's a lie! He begged for money! He begged for time! Not one of you would listen to him! Not one of you remembered that he'd risked his life for you a hundred times, you brutes! 


ARDSLEY: Oh, what rubbish.


EVA: I hope you're shamed before the whole world. Let everyone know that a brave and gallant gentleman went to his death because nobody in this bloody place would lend him two hundred pounds! 


ARDSLEY: Pretty language, Eva. In point of fact two hundred pounds wouldn't have helped him. It would have saved him from going to jail, but that's all. 


EVA: (STUNNED) Jail?


ARDSLEY: Yes, a warrant for his arrest was issued this morning. 


EVA: (DEFLATED, QUIET ANGUISH) Oh, poor Collie. I can't bear it. It's cruel. It's cruel. (WEEPS QUIETLY BEHIND--)


ARDSLEY: Now, my dear, don't take it so much to heart. Go and lie down in your room and Ethel will come and rub your forehead with eau-de-Cologne. [Of course] the whole thing is very unfortunate. No one regrets it more than I do. The poor fellow was in a hopeless mess and perhaps he took the best way out of a situation that could only have thrown discredit on the uniform he'd worn. 


EVA: But he was alive. And he's dead. He's gone from us forever. He's been robbed of all the years that were ahead of him. Have you no pity for him? He used to come here nearly every day. 


ARDSLEY: He was a very nice fellow and a gentleman. Unfortunately he wasn't a very good business man. 


EVA: As if I cared whether he was a good business man! 


ARDSLEY: There's no reason why you should. But his creditors did. 


EVA: He was everything in the world to me. 


ARDSLEY: My dear, what an exaggerated way to speak. You ought to have more sense at your age. 


EVA: He loved me and I loved him. 


ARDSLEY: Don't talk such nonsense. 


EVA: We were engaged to be married. 


ARDSLEY: (ASTONISHED) What's that? Since when? 


EVA: Since ages. 


ARDSLEY: Well, my dear, you're well out of that. He was in no position to marry. 


EVA: (ANGUISHED) It was my only chance. 


ARDSLEY: You have a good home. You'd much better stay here. 


EVA: (FURIOUS) And make myself useful? 


ARDSLEY: There's no harm in that.


EVA: I've got just as much right to life and happiness as anybody else! 


ARDSLEY: Of course you have. 


EVA: You've done your best to prevent me from marrying! 


ARDSLEY: Rubbish. 


EVA: (HYSTERICAL) Why should I be sacrificed all the time?! Why should I be at everybody's beck and call?! Why should I have to do everything?! I'm sick of being put upon! I'm sick of you, I'm sick of Lois, I'm sick of Sydney! I'm sick of you all!


ARDSLEY: Eva!


EVA: Don't touch me! Don't touch me!


SOUND: APPLAUSE ...

Comments