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The Test

The Columbia Workshop

The Test

Mar 08 1942 



JOSEPH, middle-aged

JANET, middle-aged

JENNIE, young Janet

JOEY, young Joseph

MRS. RAND, Jennie's sensible mother

MR. RAND, Jennie's artsy father

MR. PIKE, Joey's unhappy dad

MRS. PIKE, Joey's sympathetic stepmother

CUE: (Columbia Broadcasting System......30 sec.) 

NARR.: What is your name, sir? 

JOSEPH: (Beaten.) My name is Joseph Pike. I am 45, married, six children, and live in Denver, Colorado, with my wife Anna. I hate being 45, married, six children, and living in Denver, Colorado, with my wife Anna. 

NARR.: What is your occupation? 

JOSEPH: Salesman--bathroom fixtures. 

NARR.: And you hate that, too? 

JOSEPH: I hate that, too. 

NARR.: And what do you love? 

JOSEPH: I love New Haven, where I lived as a boy, Jennie Rand, whom I loved as a boy. And the boy. 

NARR.: That was thirty years ago? 

JOSEPH: That was yesterday. (Sighs.) I wish I was dead! 

NARR.: All right, Joseph, that's all for the time being. And now you, Madame--a synopsis of yourself, please? 

JANET: I am Mrs. Janet Wagschal. 

NARR.: Formerly Jennie Rand? 

JANET: Formerly Jennie Rand. 

NARR.: Go ahead, please. 

JANET: Now a childless widow--bitter, stout, middle-aged, Fall River, Mass., thirty years, but still a stranger to it--and to my husband Sam that was. New Haven's my home. 

NARR.: You were really young once? 

MUSIC: Fade in a harmonica, playing "The Missouri Waltz" down and continuing. 

JANET: (In a hushed tremulous voice.) His name was Joey. He played the harmonica. Joey Pike. And he never combed his hair. I've never loved anyone else--least of all Sam. (In a tragic whisper.) Sometimes I wish I was dead! 

NARR.: And you've never seen him since? 

JANET: Never. 

NARR.: And you really laughed once? And did your eyes flash and your teeth glisten? 

JANET: I was pretty as a picture. He played "The Missouri Waltz." He always kept playing it. 

NARR.: On his harmonica? 

JANET: Yes. I was so happy then. His soul was full of music. And my heart was full of joy. 

MUSIC: Suddenly stops. 

JENNIE: (Now the youthful Janet.) Go on Joey, finish it. (Trance-like.

JOEY: (Now the youthful Joseph.) Go home, Jennie. (Moodily.

JENNIE: (Standing her ground.) I won't either. 

JOEY: Go ahead. 

JENNIE: Make me! 

JOEY: (Sighs.) That's all there is--there ain't no more. 

JENNIE: (Imploring.) Please--play the rest of it--it's so lovely. 

JOEY: Can't. 

JENNIE: Why not? 

JOEY: Makes me cry. 

JENNIE: But not always. 

JOEY: No. 

JENNIE: You're sensitive, that's what. 

JOEY: I know. 

JENNIE: Are you in a mood? 

JOEY: That's it. 

JENNIE: Is it me again? 

JOEY: Yes. 

JENNIE: You love me very much? 

JOEY: Yes. 

JENNIE: So much that you close your eyes and stamp your feet and clench your fists and your teeth and explode-- (Sighs.) And you love me even more than that? 

JOEY: (Huskily.) Yes, Jennie. More than that. 

JENNIE: Then play that tune again. 

JOEY: I--can't. 

JENNIE: Is it Sam Wagschal again? 

JOEY: (Writhing.) Maybe. 

JENNIE: Do you still get a pain in your chest when I walk to school with him? 

JOEY: Maybe. 

JENNIE: Then play. 'Cause I decided I don't like him at all. I only walk with him once in a while out of pity for him being such a dunce. Play, Joey. He's not sensitive like you, he thinks money's everything and as soon as he finishes high school he's going to look for a job. Come on, Joey, start over. When I told him your philosophy--about just playing your harmonica through life, he laughed and called you looney. So you know what I did? 

JOEY: What? 

JENNIE: I slapped him. 

JOEY: (Beaming.) You did? 

JENNIE: Cross my heart--right in his face! 

JOEY: (Gratefully--tremendously relieved.) All right, Jennie--I'll play this one specially for you...some day I'm going to run away from home and go to Wyoming and play cowboy tunes on a horse. And I'll take you with me, Jennie...honest... 

MUSIC: He plays in full the haunting strains of the "Missouri Waltz." 

JENNIE: (At its close.) You're a genius, Joey Pike! (Softly.) And I do love you--very much. (It is too much for Joey. He begins to sob, quietly.) Don't cry, Joey... 

MUSIC: Transition. 

NARR.: And that was thirty years ago? 

JANET: (Sighs.) That was yesterday. 

NARR.: And you remember it so vividly? 

JANET: Word for word. 

NARR.: And you, Joseph? 

JOSEPH: Word for word. 

NARR.: Well, what about some early background? Your folks, for instance. 

JANET: Joey's Pa ran a hardware store. 

JOSEPH: Jennie's was a waiter. 

JANET: Yes, but only now and then. Kept losing job after job so he could stay home and paint pictures. Poor Ma. 

JOSEPH: She was a frost-bitten one, all right. 

JANET: Joey's Ma was dead, you know, guess that's what helped make him so--sensitive. His step-Ma tried pretty hard to win him over, but he wouldn't budge. Poor Joey. 

NARR.: Well, let's get on with the story. 

JANET: Then one day Sam Wagschal asked me to go to the school picnic with him, and when Joey heard about it, why, he asked me too. So I asked Ma and Pa for some advice and both had different opinions. (Fading.) First I asked Ma and she said right off: "Sam"... 

MRS. RAND: Of course go with Sam. I don't understand what you see in Joey. Why Joey? 

JENNIE: I thought maybe because I love him. 

MRS. RAND: Pshaw! It's that silly childish music of his got you hypnotized. 

JENNIE: That, too. 

MRS. RAND: That shiftless, good-for-nothing! Why, even his own father gives him up as a bad loss, Joey refusing to help out in the store after school and all. At least Sam's a hustler, he'll always make a living--has a good paper route, and the other day Mrs. Wagschal was telling me he's got the offer of a job soon's he graduates. In a woolen mill where his uncle's a foreman--somewhere in Mass. 

JENNIE: Fall River. 

MRS. RAND: That's right. But Joey! The whole neighborhood knows how lazy he is--you're the only one that sees anything in him--

JENNIE: (Sighing.) That's a fact. 

MRS. RAND: What do you see in him? 

JENNIE: A--a troubadour! That's what. 

MRS. RAND: Fiddlesticks! The way he loafs around tootling that silly harmonica of his night and day--it was different when he was small, one made allowances--but now he's growing up you'd think he'd give up that nonsense--start amounting to something. Why, people say-- 

JENNIE: (Hotly.) People just don't understand him, Ma--he's—--constituted different--

MRS. RAND: He reminds me too much of your father. What's Pa but 

a grown-up Joey? 

JENNIE: That's true, Ma--never thought of it before. 

MRS. RAND: That ought to be a lesson to you! 

JENNIE: I don't know--maybe that's what I like about Joey. 

MRS. RAND: Hush! You know the aggravation Pa's caused me. Some men drink, but he paints pictures. Loses every job he gets, because his mind ain't on his work. Many's the time I never knew where our next meal was coming from. I don't know but what I'd rather have a drinking man. 

JANET: (Chuckling.) Good old Pa! 

MRS. RAND: I'm warning you, child, take a leaf from me, look what I've gone through--Joey's another Pa--better go to the picnic with Sam. 

JENNIE: (Thinks it over, then, slowly.) I'll ask Pa. 

MRS. RAND: (Snorts.) Pa! 

MUSIC: Transition. 

MR. RAND: Joey! 

JENNIE: (Elated.) Joey, Pa? 

MR. RAND: Of course Joey! Why Sam? That nincompoop! 

JENNIE: (Blowing her breath out in relief.) That's the way I feel. Whew! It's a great relief. Do you suppose I'm in love, Pa? 

MR. RAND: (Chuckles.) What do you think? 

JENNIE: Well, I'm sure I'm not in love with Sam--

MR. RAND: Naturally. 

JENNIE: Even though he runs after me like a dog, and beats up all the boys that try to date me. He's too--too the same, Pa, you know what I mean? 

MR. RAND: I know. You take after me, daughter--you'd be unhappy with someone--uh--too down-to-earth. See. 

JENNIE: I see. 

MR. RAND: And Joey? 

JENNIE: (With enthusiasm.) Oh, Joey! He's--so--different...Do you think maybe I'm really and truly in love, Pa? 

MR. RAND: (Jovially.) Well, now, that all depends--you're not very old, you know. 

JENNIE: (Cautiously--searching for a scientific answer to her emotions.) Well--I tingle, for one thing. Is that love? 

MR. RAND: You mean when you're with him? 

JENNIE: When I'm with him--yes. 

MR. RAND: When he's playing the harmonica. 

JENNIE: Even when he's not. 

MR. RAND: (The probing is bringing interesting results.) Oh. 

JENNIE: And even when I'm not with him. 

MR. RAND: You mean even when you just talk about him? 

JENNIE: I mean when I even just think about him, I tingle. 

MR. RAND: You tingle? 

JENNIE: I tingle. 

MR. RAND: I see. 

JENNIE: Is that love, Pa? 

MR. RAND: Well--

JENNIE: (Sadly.) And sometimes when I think of him--I want to jump to the top of a tree and shout and shout and shout--till I burst. 

MR. RAND: (Gravely.) Sounds mightly like the genu-ine article. 

JENNIE: (Sighs.) That's what I thought. 

MR. RAND: And does he love you? 

JENNIE: (Confidently.) Oh, yes. 

MR. RAND: How do you know? 

JENNIE: Well, sometimes when he's playing me a song on his harmonica, he all of a sudden stops and--cries, sort of, and when I ask him what's the matter, he says it's because he loves me so much he can't stand it. 

MR. RAND: (Considering.) Hmm. How do you know it's not just his music doing things to him? Perhaps he can't stand too much of it at one time. Might be. How I happen to suggest that is I feel the same way sometimes when I'm painting. 

JENNIE: (Alarmed.) Oh, Pa! You don't think it's me? 

MR. RAND: I'm not saying one way or the other, but as a fellow-artist I can vouch for certain moments when you have to stand back, catch your breath and close your eyes--the beauty of your creation's too much for you. (Jennie suddenly bursts into tears.) What are you crying about? 

JENNIE: It's not me at all! He don't love me at all! 

MR. RAND: What makes you think so? 

JENNIE: You just said so! It's his music he loves! 

MR. RAND: I said no such thing. I merely said I could understand and appreciate such a mood, if such was the case. 

JENNIE: (Weeping afresh.) There! You see? 

MR. RAND: (Comfortingly.) Now, now, daughter--who can tell--maybe it is love that bowls our Joey over-- 

JENNIE: (Reviving somewhat.) You think so? 

MR. RAND: Could be. 

JENNIE: Not the harmonica? 

MR. RAND: Maybe not. Can't tell. 

JENNIE: (Frantically.) How can I tell? 

MR. RAND: That's for you to decide, I'm afraid. 

JENNIE: But how? 

MR. RAND: I don't know--put him through a test. 

JENNIE: A test? 

MR. RAND: Sure--some kind of--test. 

JENNIE: What kind? 

MR. RAND: (Sighs.) Wish I knew what to tell you. 

JENNIE: (Desperately.) But how can I tell which he loves best? (Wailing again.) Me or the harmonica! 

MUSIC: Transition into harmonica, down and under. 

JENNIE: (Stream-of-consciousness.) A test!...A test! What'll it be!...An ordeal? Fire? Water?...What about a duel--with Sam Wagschal? No-- (Fading.) Sam's too strong... 

MUSIC: Transition out into sound of harmonica down and continuing behind... 

NARR.: So you put him to the test, Mrs. Wagschal? 

JANET: (Sadly.) Yes--I put him to the test. That's what parted us--I mean not that it really proved anything--It was really a silly, childish little test--(Wretchedly.) But that's why I'm here all these years in Fall River, Mass., a lonely widow with a broken heart. And Joey's--(A catch in her voice.) God knows where. 

NARR.: And now about that test, Janet--But wait--first I'd like to hear a little more about Joseph's early history, since we've had a glimpse of yours--I'm sure our listeners-in would be glad to get a closer study of his relations with his father and step-mother--Can you give us an intimate picture, Joseph? 

JOSEPH: (Reticent.) Well-- 

NARR.: (Encouragingly.) Yes, Joseph? Needn't be shy, we're all your friends and want very much to understand you--really. 

JOSEPH: There isn't really much to tell-- 

NARR.: Did she abuse you, Joseph— your step-mother? 

JOSEPH: Oh, no--on the contrary--she meant awfully well--tried to get close to me--(Fading.)--more than I can say for my father. 

MUSIC: Transition...out under sound of harmonica playing softly... 

MR. PIKE: (Shouting.) Will you stop that noise! 

MUSIC: Ceases at once. 

MRS. PIKE: (Chastingly.) Ezra! 

MR. PIKE: (In self-defense.) I've told him often enough I can't stand that infernal racket! 

MRS. PIKE: Now, Ezra Pike, you've got to allow the boy some civil liberties. 

MR. PIKE: (Testily.) Oh all right, Helen, all right--but how in thunder can I read the Sunday paper? 

MRS. PIKE: (Kindly.) Go ahead, Joey. Play. (No response.) Play some more. 

JOEY: (Sullenly.) Never mind. I don't feel like anymore. 

MRS. PIKE: Please, Joey. 

JOEY: (Exasperated.) Leave me alone! I don't feel like! 

MR. PIKE: (Flaring up angrily.) Oh, you don't feel like! Well, I don't feel like! I don't feel like thinking what a son I got! I don't feel like looking at you! 

MRS. PIKE: Ezra, you stop talking like that--or I'll leave the house! 

MR. PIKE: (Turning his wrath on his wife.) You've helped spoil him, Helen--humoring him--I won't have it anymore--a grown boy doing nothing but playing a harmonica when he should be helping me out in the store. For the last time, Joey, are you going to do some work in the store or not--answer me!... 

JOEY: (Miserably.) I--I can't, Pa. 

MR. PIKE: Why not? 

JOEY: I told you. (Revolted.) Hardware! What do I know about hardware! 

MR. PIKE: Wouldn't kill you to learn. 

JOEY: (Fiercely.) It would! It'd kill my soul! 

MRS. PIKE: (With quiet determination.) He's right. He's not going into hardware, Ezra, he's not meant for that. 

MR. PIKE: Oh? Where is he headed for? 

MRS. PIKE: He's going to Yale. 

MR. PIKE: (He is not averse to the idea.) Well, I dunno-- 

JOEY: I'm not going to Yale. 

MR. PIKE: (Angrily.) Not Yale either? 

JOEY: No, sir. 

MRS. PIKE: Of course you are, Joey, when you get through High. You've got to. 

JOEY: No. Not Yale either. 

MR. PIKE: (Sneering.) I suppose Yale would kill your soul too? 

JOEY: Yes, it would. Trigonometry, and things like that. 

MR. PIKE: (Ready to burst a blood vessel.) Well ye gods and little fishes! 

MRS. PIKE: What do you intend to do, then? 

JOEY: I'm going out West. 

MRS. PIKE: (Incredulous.) Wh-at? What doing? 

JOEY: I don't know. Ride a horse. Punch cows. I'm going to take Jennie Rand with me. 

MR. PIKE: (Cynically.) Tommyrot! 

JOEY: And we'll just ride and ride--and I'll play my harmonica-- 

MR. PIKE: That harmonica again! (Beside himself with rage.) Give it here! Once and for all! 

JOEY: (Indignantly.) I'll not! 

MR. PIKE: Hand it over! 

JOEY: Like fun! 

MR. PIKE: I'm going to throw it in the sewer--give me that piece of trash--that baby play toy of yours! 

JOEY: (Standing his ground.) No sir! 

MR. PIKE: Give it to me at once or get out of my house! 

JOEY: (After a pause.) (Quietly.) I'll get out. 

MR. PIKE: Then get! (Weakly, of a sudden.) Where's the blasted baking soda, Helen? (Sound of his footsteps receding, and of door banging shut behind him.

MRS. PIKE: (After a moment of silence.) Don't mind him, Joey--he don't mean it. 

JOEY: I don't care. I'm going. If not today, tomorrow, or the next. 

MRS. PIKE: (Tenderly.) Joey-- 

JOEY: (Surly.) What? 

MRS. PIKE: Why do you hate me? 

JOEY: I don't hate you--don't even hate Pa. 

MRS. PIKE: But you don't love me? 

JOEY: No. 

MRS. PIKE: (Earnestly.) Why? And why won't you ever play a song for me when we're alone? Didn't you play for your Ma when you were little? 

JOEY: (Huskily.) Yes. 

MRS. PIKE: Ain't I your Ma, now? 

JOEY: No. 

MRS. PIKE: Why not? Why have you been--resenting me all these years--when I tried so hard to get near you? 

JOEY: Because. Just because and that's all. 

MRS. PIKE: (Softly.) Because I took her place? 

JOEY: (Choking.) Maybe. 

MRS. PIKE: (Changing the subject discreetly.) Who are you taking to the school picnic, Joey? 

JOEY: Jennie Rand. 

MRS. PIKE: Jennie's a sweet girl. 

JOEY: You bet. And some day I'm taking her away with me--like I said. To Wyoming. 

MRS. PIKE: Did she say she'd go to the picnic with you? 

JOEY: (Thinly.) Well--uh--she didn't say yet. She's going to give me her answer tomorrow. (Now frankly plumbing the depths of despairing suspense.) It's between me and that darn Sam Wagschal! 

MUSIC: Transition. 

NARR.: And you lost, Joseph? Her answer was no--on that day thirty years ago? 

JOSEPH: That's right, sir. She put me through a--a test--and found me wanting, you might say. 

NARR.: Where'd you say you're located these days, Joseph? 

JOSEPH: Colorado. Denver, Colorado. 

NARR.: Salesman? 

JOSEPH: Right. 

NARR.: Bathroom fixtures? 

JOSEPH: Right. Wonder what became of Jennie after she ran off with Sam? I'd give my right arm to know. 

NARR.: And the test? What did it prove? 

JOSEPH: (Indignantly.) Proved nothing! Darned childish that test was--but because of it she got mad and a few years later married Sam and went out of town. And I was lonely and miserable and broken-hearted and I didn't want Yale or hardware and my Pa was too mean to me and my step-Ma was too good to me--and so after I graduated High I bummed my way out West. Before I could become a cowboy, though, I somehow got married to a telephone operator--blind date--I was lonely--you know--and settled down as a salesman--same job all these years--own my own home--wife Anna--good woman, never really loved her though, never anyone but Jennie--never! 

NARR.: You say you've got five children, Joseph--or six? 

JOSEPH: Six--five girls. Wonder what she's doing right now. Where she is and what she's doing. 

NARR.: Who? 

JOSEPH: Jennie. Right this minute. 

NARR.: All right, Joseph, much obliged. And now Mrs. Wagschal--Janet--what about that famous little test you put him through? I'm sure all our listeners-in are waiting anxiously to hear about it at last. 

JENNIE: Well, I was jealous of his harmonica all right, but at first I couldn't think up a good proof of his love--I thought maybe I ought to have him fight a bull or wrestle with an alligator--but at last I thought up a simple, common-sense test--a beautiful test that would go right to the heart of the matter--that would prove for sure whether he loved me or his harmonica. I wondered why I never thought of it before. (Harmonica sneaks in playing "Beautiful Ohio") I was going to put it up to him as soon as I met him on the green that night--but right away he got to talking of Wyoming and then he got to playing a song and I got to humming it, and so I decided I'd wait till he was finished--then spring the test... 

MUSIC: Transition out under harmonica playing "Beautiful Ohio" and female voice humming accompaniment. 

JENNIE: (When it is over.) That was wonderful! 

JOEY: So will you go to the picnic with me, then? 

JENNIE: (Sighs.) Yes. 

JOEY: (Rapturously.) Oh, Jennie! 

JENNIE: If you pass the test. First you must do that. 

JOEY: All right. Go ahead and test me. 

JENNIE: You mean it? 

JOEY: Sure, go ahead. 

JENNIE: (Gravely.) This is for real. 

JOEY: Naturally. 

JENNIE: Ready? 

JOEY: Shoot! 

JENNIE: Give up your harmonica! Throw it away! 

JOEY: (Unbelievingly.) Wh--at? 

JENNIE: Come on out to the corner and take your harmonica and throw it down the sewer and spit on it! And that'll prove you love me best. Like a holy sacrifice! 

JOEY: (Trying to change the subject.) And when we get out West, Jennie, we'll ride a tamed bronco, and we'll sing cowboy songs to the dogies--

JENNIE: (Insistently.) Will you do it, Joey? Will you? Down the sewer? Right now? 

JOEY: (Desperately holding fast to his deafness.) And there'll be a harvest moon overhead--and it'll be listening... 

JENNIE: Will you, Joey? Will you? 

JOEY: (Bursting out angrily.) Don't be silly! 

JENNIE: (Outraged.) You refuse! Oh! That proves it! That proves it! 

JOEY: Proves what? 

JENNIE: That you don't love me at all! That it's your harmonica like Pa said! (Bursts into tears.

JOEY: It ain't either! It don't prove nothing...! Please don't cry...I do, I do too love you...I'd do anything for you--anything--

JENNIE: (Blubbering.) Then make a holy sacrifice! 

JOEY: Anything but that, I mean. Gosh, my poor little harmonica--down the sewer--gosh--what for? (Almost in tears himself.) Never did you any harm--And you used to say it was sweet as sugar-- 

JENNIE: It is. 

JOEY: And that it sent you straight up in the sky a mile and a half--

JENNIE: It does. 

JOEY: And makes you so sad you feel delicious. 

JENNIE: That's right. 

JOEY: Then why are you a traitor now? 

JENNIE: Because--Look, Joey, you're jealous of Sam Wagschal, aren't you, you can't help it? 

JOEY: Yeah. 

JENNIE: Well--I'm jealous of--of your harmonica. And I can't help it. 

JOEY: (Writhing.) But what'll I do without it? 

JENNIE: (Relenting a bit.) All right, tell you what: Give it up for a year, then. Just a year. 

JOEY: (In anguish.) A year! 

JENNIE: (Bargaining.) A month, then. 

JOEY: A month! 

JENNIE: A week. 

JOEY: A whole week! 

JENNIE: I shan't go any lower, Joey Pike. 

JOEY: Rats! I'll die! 

JENNIE: What do you say--yes or no? 

JOEY: God! 

JENNIE: (A final compromise.) Oh, very well then, I don't want to make you too miserable. One day, make it. One teenie little day! 

JOEY: (Considering.) Which one? 

JENNIE: Tomorrow. 

JOEY: (Gloomily.) All day? 

JENNIE: All day. 

JOEY: (Silent for a while, then wretchedly.) What'll I do when I wake up in the morning and the sun's coining in my room?...And outside when I'm walking along and it's good to be alive, and a tune comes in my head? What'll I do?...And at night, when I'm alone and it's all mysterious and dark and I wonder what it's all about. What then? Those are the times I got to play my harmonica most. What'll I do? 

JENNIE: (Impatiently.) Joey Pike, I've put you to the test! Will I find you wanting? 

JOEY: (Lowly.) This is pretty darn silly. 

JENNIE: It's darn important to me. 

JOEY: How you going to tell if I do or I don't? 

JENNIE: (Solemnly.) Your word of honor. 

JOEY: And if I don't do what you want? 

JENNIE: Then I'll never speak to you again! As long as I live! 

JOEY: (Wretchedly.) Oh. 

JENNIE: And--and I'll go to the picnic with Sam Wagschal--that's what I'll do! 

JOEY: I see. 

JENNIE: Well? I'm waiting! 

JOEY: I--I don't feel so good. 

JENNIE: Yes or no? Quick! You will kindly decide your fate! 

JOEY: (After a terrific struggle with himself.) No! I'm sorry, Jennie, but I can't. I just wouldn't. A whole day! I'd get fidgety and I'd start playing absentminded--Couldn't help it. You might as well tell me to stop breathing! 

JENNIE: (After a long pause; sorrowfully.) So that's your answer. You're not willing to make the holy sacrifice! All right. (Hoarsely.) Goodbye, Joey. 

JOEY: Wait, don't go, Jennie! 

JENNIE: (Fiercely.) Let me go! Take your hand off me! 

JOEY: Please! Don't be mad! (Voice breaks.) Don't go away! 

JENNIE: (Hysterically.) Let me alone! I never want to see you again! Don't you dare come to see me anymore! I hate you! I hate you! 

MUSIC: Transition. 

NARR.: And you never spoke to him again, Janet? 

JANET: Never. (Sorrowfully.

NARR.: Or you to her, Mr. Pike? 

JOSEPH: I had my pride. (Lowly.

NARR.: (Sighs.) And that was thirty long years ago? 

JANET: (Flaring up.) Pride! If he really loved me, he wouldn't have had any pride! 

JOSEPH: (Flaring up in turn.) And if she really loved me, she--what about her foolish pride? 

JANET: (Indignant.) Foolish? 

JOSEPH: (Crying out.) Foolish! Foolish! 

JANET: What do you think, Mr. Narrator? 

NARR.: (Sadly.) I think you were both very, very foolish. 

JANET: (Miserably.) Well, I--I was waiting for him to make up first. 

JOSEPH: (In similar vein.) I was waiting for her. 

JANET: Plenty of times, when he passed me in the street--I wanted to. Oh, how I wanted to! 

JOSEPH: (In a choked voice.) Jennie! You did? And so did I--I wanted to lie down on the ground and roll over at your feet and tell you I'd do anything for you--anything! 

JANET: (Her voice, too, comes choked.) Joey! You did? 

JOSEPH: Plenty of times! Plenty! 

JANET: I wanted to tell you I was sorry. I was dying to! 

JOSEPH: It was all my fault! 

JANET: No! No! It was mine! (A pause, then.) I had a miserable time at the picnic. 

JOSEPH: I didn't even go. 

JANET: I know. That's why. 

JOSEPH: Once I rescued you from drowning and we made up. But it was a dream. 

JANET: Once I gave you a great big ten dollar harmonica for a present, and we were patched up. But that was make-believe. Once I waited for you at school and walked home after you and threw roses on your footsteps. And that was real, except the roses. 

JOSEPH: Once I sneaked into your back yard at night to watch the light in your room, and I fell asleep in the bushes and caught cold. I was sick for a week. That was all real! (Sighs: a long silence.

NARR.: (Softly.) Time's almost up--better say goodbye. 

JANET: (Suddenly bursting into sobs.) Oh, Joey! Joey! 

NARR.: (Tender, but firm.) All right--that's all. 

JANET: (Sobbing broken-heartedly.) Where are you, dear darling boy? Forgive me, forgive me! 

NARR.: (Crisply.) That's all, now. Please, Janet--

JANET: (As before.) Joey! 

NARR.: Mrs. Wagschal! Fade out, please! We're going off the air. There's nothing can be done about it at this late date. 

(Janet and her sobs fade out. A short silence, then)--

NARR.: You, too, Joseph. 

JOSEPH: (Hollowly.) Yes. 

NARR.: Goodbye. 

JOSEPH: (Fading.) Goodbye. 

NARR.: (Calling.) Oh, just a minute! 

JOSEPH: (Fading in.) Yes? 

NARR.: I was just wondering--do you still play the harmonica? 

JOSEPH: Oh, no. No. 

NARR.: You've given it up? 

JOSEPH: Long ago. 

NARR.: Why? 

JOSEPH: Oh, I don't know--(forlornly.)--stress and strain--(fading out.)--stress and strain--(Silence, then)--

NARR.: That's about all, folks. (Sighs.) Good afternoon. 

MUSIC: Curtain.