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Jamaica Inn

The Chase and Sanborn Hour 

Jamaica Inn

Oct 08 1939



CAST:

HOST

ANNOUNCER


SIR HUMPHREY, crooked magistrate

CHADWICK, his butler

JOSS MERLYN, crooked innkeeper

TREHEARNE, law officer

PATIENCE, Merlyn's wife




MUSIC: FOR HOST'S INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: It is not often that a man is gifted with the truly great histrionic ability of Charles Laughton. His is an amazing talent, an artistry that enables him to range from delightful rib-tickling comedy to stark and poignant drama without effort. Mr. Laughton has just completed his work in "Jamaica Inn," the Erich Pommer production released by Paramount Pictures which starts its American showing in New York this week. And it is our privilege to anticipate that opening by presenting a radio adaptation from the picture tonight. We present Charles Laughton.


MUSIC: FOR PLAY'S INTRODUCTION ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


SOUND: APPLAUSE


ANNOUNCER: It is the year of our Lord Eighteen Twenty. Just off the bleak moorland road which runs along the coast of Cornwall stands Jamaica Inn, a strange foreboding place, and strange tales are told of the men who make it their headquarters, tales of smuggling and worse. But this is county gossip, surely no concern of the eminent Squire Humphrey Pengallan who even now rests in almost regal comfort in his baronial country home some mile or more from the unsavory inn. 


MUSIC: GENTLY OUT


CHADWICK: Will that be all, Sir Humphrey? 


HUMPHREY: Yes, that's all, Chadwick. 


CHADWICK: Good night, sir. 


HUMPHREY: Good night, Chadwick. (YAWNS) 


SOUND: LIGHT TAPPING AT WINDOW, OFF


HUMPHREY: (SHARPLY) There's no need to hang about, Chadwick. Get on to bed, will you? 


CHADWICK: Thank you, sir. 


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS AS CHADWICK EXITS ... THEN HEAVY TAPPING AT WINDOW


HUMPHREY: (LOW, ANNOYED, TO MERLYN) All right.


SOUND: WINDOW SLIDES OPEN


HUMPHREY: (COLD) How dare you come here to me? Why aren't you at Jamaica Inn? Haven't I told to a score of times--?


MERLYN: (INTERRUPTS, URGENT) Aye, aye -- but Trehearne's gotten out. He's escaped from the inn! 


HUMPHREY: Well, what have you done? 


MERLYN: The men be looking out for him now. We be doing our best.


HUMPHREY: Is that all you came here to say? 


MERLYN: Trehearne knows a lot too much. He was with us at the wreck last night. It was he who came, to inform on the others. 


HUMPHREY: That's your concern, not mine. 


MERLYN: You be in this as much as I be, Sir Humphrey. 


HUMPHREY: You're losing your head, Merlyn. 


MERLYN: Still, sir, you wouldn't like for to see me in the hands of the law. 


HUMPHREY: No? Don't count on that, Merlyn. You just find Trehearne. You ought to be able to take care of him. 


MERLYN: Aye, sir. But there's one other thing, sir. Do you know what time I should have the boys out for the wreck tonight? 


HUMPHREY: No, Merlyn. I'll have to go out to Jamaica Inn and tell you later. Now get out of here. Get out, will you? Get out!


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, VOICES OF CHADWICK AND TREHEARNE ARE HEARD ARGUING OFF ... WINDOW SLIDES SHUT AS MERLYN DEPARTS


CHADWICK: But I tell you it's impossible. You can't come in here.


TREHEARNE: I have got to see Sir Humphrey.


CHADWICK: Sir Humphrey has retired.


TREHEARNE: Well, them get him up!


CHADWICK: Now look here, you can't--! 


TREHEARNE: I have got see Sir Humphrey and I'm going to--


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... CHADWICK AND TREHEARNE ARE NO LONGER OFF


HUMPHREY: What's this? What's going on here? 


TREHEARNE: Sir Humphrey Pengallan? 


HUMPHREY: What's the meaning of this? 


CHADWICK: I couldn't stop him, Sir Humphrey. I--


TREHEARNE: (INTERRUPTS) Sir Humphrey, I have got to talk to you. I need your help. 


HUMPHREY: Some another time perhaps. Now will you go or must I have my man throw you out? 


TREHEARNE: I have just come from Jamaica Inn. 


HUMPHREY: (REALIZES) From, ah, Jamaica Inn? 


CHADWICK: I'll take care of the fellow, Sir Humphrey. Come along, you! 


HUMPHREY: Er, not so fast, Chadwick. 


CHADWICK: Sir? 


HUMPHREY: Get this fellow some, ah, bread and water, will you? 


CHADWICK: (SURPRISED) What, sir?


HUMPHREY: Well, what are you waiting for? 


CHADWICK: (MOVING OFF) Yes, sir. 


TREHEARNE: Thank you, Sir Humphrey. 


HUMPHREY: All right. Now what have you got to say to me? You're a smuggler, aren't you? Aren't you one of the gang of fellows from Jamaica Inn? 


TREHEARNE: I have been, yes. (SOUND: PAPER UNFOLDED) But perhaps this will explain. 


HUMPHREY: I'm not interested in any of your explanations. 


TREHEARNE: I think you'll be interested in this. 


HUMPHREY: (RESIGNED) All right, all right. Give it to me.


SOUND: RUSTLE OF PAPER


HUMPHREY: (READS, WITH DIFFICULTY) "To, ahhhh, all whom it may concern. Ah, James-- James, ah, Trehearne--"


TREHEARNE: At your service, sir.


HUMPHREY: (HEMS AND HAWS AS HE FINISHES READING, THEN THOUGHTFUL) You're a law officer. Hmm. (LIGHTLY) Puts a different complexion on matters a little, doesn't it? Heh.


TREHEARNE: Yes, it does. And since you, Sir Humphrey, are Justice of the Peace of this county, I've come to you for help. 


CHADWICK: (APPROACHES) I've placed some bread and water for this person in the harness room.


HUMPHREY: Have you now? Place some cold chicken and claret for this person in the study, will you?


CHADWICK: (CONFUSED) Sir?


HUMPHREY: And see if you can find some clothes for Mr. Trehearne. 


CHADWICK: For this gentleman, sir?


HUMPHREY: Yes, and hurry, will you? Hurry. (TO TREHEARNE) My dear sir, I must apologize. Of course I hadn't the least idea of who you were. 


TREHEARNE: It's quite all right, sir. Naturally, I've been at some pains to conceal my identity. 


HUMPHREY: No doubt with good reason. I still haven't the least notion what it's all about. Er, smuggling, I suppose, hm? 


TREHEARNE: No, sir. 


HUMPHREY: No? Not, er, not smuggling?


TREHEARNE: No. Much worse than that, Sir Humphrey. Wrecking. Deliberate, organized wrecking. 


HUMPHREY: Great Scott, man. Not here, though? 


TREHEARNE: Yes, sir -- along this coast.


HUMPHREY: We've always had wrecks here, you know. It's a very dangerous coast. 


TREHEARNE: Yes, sir, it is. But Lloyd's noticed that these wrecks had one curious feature in common.


HUMPHREY: What do you mean?


TREHEARNE: There were never any survivors. 


HUMPHREY: (FEIGNS THOUGHTFUL OUTRAGE) Ohhh. Mr. Trehearne, if what you say is true, it's the most terrible thing I ever heard. It's terrible! We've had our wrecks down here, of course, we always did. But I can't-- I can't believe it! 


TREHEARNE: I was assigned to the investigation and my researches took me to Jamaica Inn. The landlord, Merlyn, is the ringleader. That wreck last night, for instance, was carried out by his men. 


HUMPHREY: You were actually there? 


TREHEARNE: I was. 


HUMPHREY: (CAREFULLY) Er, have, uh--? Have--? Have you, ah, reported all this to your, ah, superiors? 


TREHEARNE: No, sir, not yet. You see, Sir Humphrey, I'm after bigger fry than Merlyn. 


HUMPHREY: I don't follow you. You said he was the ringleader. 


TREHEARNE: At Jamaica Inn, yes. But he gets his orders from outside. His information comes from outside. His thinking is done for him outside. 


HUMPHREY: By whom? 


TREHEARNE: I don't know yet -- though I have my suspicions. Merlyn's own wife doesn't know. But that's the man we have to find. Now, Merlyn has called them for tonight. They're wrecking another ship, but they won't know when until they've received information from their ringleader. In order to give them that information, he will be going to the inn tonight. 


HUMPHREY: Then we must get there first! 


TREHEARNE: Oh, but we can't do it single handed. Tell me, is there a garrison at Truro?


HUMPHREY: At Truro? Truro? Yes, we have some militia at Truro, yes. 


TREHEARNE: Who is the garrison commander? 


HUMPHREY: Uhhhh, Captain Boyle. Irishman, I believe. Good fellow in a pinch. 


TREHEARNE: Well then, if I may borrow one of your horses, I'll ride to him for help. 


HUMPHREY: But that'll take time. We mustn't let this ringleader slip through our fingers, must we? I fancy we two can intercept the man, whoever he is, by ourselves, what? 


TREHEARNE: (UNCERTAIN) Well-- 


HUMPHREY: What do you say, huh? We needn't have a tussle with Joss's gang at all. We can catch this fellow outside the inn, I think.


TREHEARNE: (REACHES A DECISION) All right. I'm game if you are, sir. 


HUMPHREY: Excellent. I say, this is positively exciting, what? (MOVING OFF) I - I better go and see about the horses. 


TREHEARNE: Fine. Fine, sir. (BEAT, TO HIMSELF) Now, if there's some paper-- (FINDS PAPER) Uh-huh. Hmm. Here we are. (MURMURS TO HIMSELF AS HE WRITES--)


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, RUSTLE OF PAPER ... SCRIBBLE OF PEN ON PAPER


CHADWICK: (APPROACHES) Mr. Trehearne, your supper is ready, sir.


TREHEARNE: Er-- Er, never mind that now, Chadwick. Here's a note. I want you to deliver it to Captain Boyle at militia headquarters in Truro.


CHADWICK: But-- 


TREHEARNE: And gallop all the way! Sir Humphrey's orders. 


CHADWICK: (MOVING OFF) Very good, sir. 


HUMPHREY: (APPROACHES) Oh, Trehearne, Trehearne? Oh, there you are. Come on, man -- horses are ready. We haven't all night, you know, have we? 


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... THEN GALLOPING HORSES ... HORSES SLOW TO A STOP, SNUFFLE ... WIND BLOWS ... TREHEARNE AND HUMPHREY DISMOUNT


TREHEARNE: (LOW) All right. Here we are. Now -- you know what to do? 


HUMPHREY: I'll look after the back door. You stand guard here in front of the inn.


TREHEARNE: You don't think I should take the back? That's where our man usually shows up. 


HUMPHREY: Don't worry about me, old man. I can still use my pistol, you know.


TREHEARNE: All right. On your way, then. 


HUMPHREY: I'm off. 


TREHEARNE: Good luck, sir.


HUMPHREY: Thank you.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN QUIETLY IN BG


SOUND: WIND BLOWS, IN BG ... THEN KNOCK AT DOOR, WHICH OPENS


MERLYN: (SURPRISED) Sir Humphrey! 


HUMPHREY: (LOW) Shut up, you fool. I'm here as a magistrate to arrest you. 


MERLYN: Why, what do you mean?


HUMPHREY: Trehearne's in front.


MERLYN: Trehearne?! 


HUMPHREY: Trehearne happens to be a law officer. 


MERLYN: I don't see why you let him come here with you. 


HUMPHREY: Why, you fool. If a fellow will insist on bringing a magistrate, I'm the only magistrate who can be safely brought here. (AMUSED) Because, of course, I have a very valuable knowledge of our local conditions, hm?


MERLYN: Well, what'll I do?


HUMPHREY: Here, take - take this pistol and capture me.


MERLYN: Capture you, Sir Humphrey?


HUMPHREY: Yes, you fool. Then send your men out and come up on Trehearne from the road. (CONFIDENTIALLY) Come here, come here. About this wreck tonight. It'll be at-- (FADES OUT)


MUSIC: TOPS THE SCENE ... FOR BRIDGE


MERLYN: (TO MEN) All right, all right. Bring Mr. Trehearne in here with Sir Humphrey. 


TREHEARNE: You're not going to get away with this, Merlyn. 


HUMPHREY: Now that you've captured us so cleverly, Joss Merlyn, just exactly what do you intend to do? 


MERLYN: Well, first, I, uh-- (CALLS) Patience?! Patience?! 


PATIENCE: (APPROACHES) Yes? Yes, Joss?


MERLYN: Patience, these are our guests. Here, take this pistol and if our guests get too unhappy, use it.


PATIENCE: (RELUCTANT) Oh, but, Joss--


MERLYN: Do as I say!


TREHEARNE: Joss, where are you going? 


MERLYN: Got a bit of work down at the shore. Wrecking business. You'll understand, Trehearne. (AN ORDER) Come on, Harry, round up the boys. We haven't got too much time. (MOVING OFF) Take good care of our guests, Patience! (EVIL LAUGHTER, OFF) 


HUMPHREY: (AIRILY) Well, Trehearne, it would seem our ringleader fellow has escaped us, hmm? We've got ourselves in a pretty mess, haven't we, hm? 


TREHEARNE: (GLUM) Yes. Merlyn evidently has the facts on the wreck now. 


HUMPHREY: I say, I wonder when he could have talked to his ringleader chap. 


TREHEARNE: I wonder.


HUMPHREY: It's all very annoying. I told Chadwick I'd be back for dinner. (CHANGES SUBJECT) Mrs. Merlyn--? I wonder if that pistol's loaded. 


PATIENCE: (RESOLVED) That's no good, sir. 


HUMPHREY: Very well, Mrs. Merlyn, will you see if it's properly primed? See, I'm afraid you're not fully conversant with the real facts of the situation. I know your husband better than you do. I think he would have no more loaded that pistol than he would have left me helpless, which would have been quite absurd. 


PATIENCE: (NERVOUS) Sir Humphrey, I don't know what you're talking about. Please be quiet, sir. 


TREHEARNE: (TRIUMPHANT, CONFIDENT) No. No, you should listen to Sir Humphrey, Mrs. Merlyn -- if only out of respect for your husband's job. You see, ma'am, Merlyn has been in Sir Humphrey's employ for some little time now.


HUMPHREY: What's this, Trehearne?


TREHEARNE: You knew, did you not, Mrs. Merlyn, that your husband received instructions from someone before each wreck? Now think -- who in the county could have had all that information but the Honorable Sir Humphrey?


HUMPHREY: (CHUCKLES) You're very extraordinarily bright, Mr. Trehearne. You suspected me all along, what? 


TREHEARNE: I did. 


HUMPHREY: (CHUCKLES) And yet you let yourself be led into this trap. That wasn't very clever, Mr. Trehearne. In fact, it's not very believable. (CHANGES SUBJECT) Mrs. Merlyn? I've always admired your devotion to your husband -- "the woman shall cleave to the man." Admirable, what? Now if this officer should escape, your husband will pay for it with his life, so I needn't stress the importance of the task I am giving you. Watch him closely! For that purpose, this pistol -- loaded -- may be most effective. If there's the slightest possibility of his getting free, don't hesitate to shoot him. Just a firm pressure on that trigger, Mrs. Merlyn, and all will be well. 


TREHEARNE: (VERY CONFIDENT) All very ingeniously arranged, Sir Humphrey, but there's just one little thing you've overlooked. I sent Chadwick with a note to Captain Boyle at Truro. The militia should be here now. You, Sir Humphrey, will be on your way to the gallows inside of an hour.


HUMPHREY: Most ingeniously arranged, Mr. Trehearne. But there's just one thing you overlooked. 


TREHEARNE: I?


HUMPHREY: (TRIUMPHANT) There is no Captain Boyle! (BEAT) And in consequence, there will be no militia. (BEAT) Good night! 


MUSIC: CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE ... FADES OUT


MUSIC: NBC CHIMES ...

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