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The White Cliffs

Romance

The White Cliffs

May 22 1945




CAST:

HOST

SINGERS


SUSAN, educated small town American

JOHN, young man; upper class British

LADY JEAN, John's mother, very upper crust

VICAR, dignified

PERCY, as a boy

PERCY, as a young man




MUSIC: ROMANTIC FANFARE 


HOST: Colgate Tooth Powder presents THE THEATRE OF ROMANCE! 


MUSIC: STING!


HOST: Tonight, Colgate Tooth Powder brings you a special dramatic version of Alice Duer Miller's "The White Cliffs," starring Constance Cummings.


SOUND: APPLAUSE BEHIND--


MUSIC: THEME ... OUT BEHIND--


HOST: Tonight, and every Tuesday night, Colgate Tooth Powder brings you THE THEATRE OF ROMANCE with your favorite stars in your favorite stories and plays.


MUSIC: FOR DREAMY JINGLE


SINGERS: Use Colgate Tooth Powder.

Keep smiling just right.

Use it each morning 

And use it at night.


MUSIC: ABRUPTLY OUT


HOST: One of the most notable stories to come from this war has been the late Alice Duer Miller's dramatic poem "The White Cliffs." It's our pleasure to bring it to you now in a dramatized adaptation by Jean Holloway, starring Constance Cummings as Susan, with Karl Swenson as John.


MUSIC: HARP GLISSANDO INTO A STATELY INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

I have loved England, dearly and deeply, 

Since that first morning, shining and pure, 

The white cliffs of Dover I saw rising steeply 

Out of the sea that once made her secure. 


MUSIC: CHANGES TO BALLROOM ORCHESTRA PLAYING STRAUSS' "EMPEROR WALTZ" BEHIND--


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

Nineteen Fourteen, early May,

London was crowded and rich and gay.

It happened the first evening I was there.

Some one was giving a ball in Belgrave Square.

A light blue carpet on the stair, 

Tall young footmen everywhere.

I went up the stairs between them all,

Strange and frightened and shy and small,

And as I entered the ballroom door,

Some one beside me turned and smiled,

And looking down at me said: 


JOHN: (CHEERFUL)

Hello! I fancy,

You're Bertie's Australian cousin Nancy.

He told me to tell you that he'd be late 

At the Foreign Office and not to wait 

Supper for him, but to go with me, 

And try to behave as if I were he.


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

I should have told him on the spot 

That I had no cousin -- that I was not 

Australian Nancy -- that my name 

Was Susan Dunne -- that I came 

From a small white town on a deep-cut bay 

In the smallest state in the U.S.A. 

I meant to tell him, but changed my mind --

I needed a friend, and he seemed kind; 

So I put my gloved hand into his glove,

And we danced together -- and fell in love.


MUSIC: UP BRIEFLY ... THE WALTZ ... THEN IN BG--


JOHN: I've never danced so well with anyone before.


SUSAN: I haven't either.


JOHN: Are you going to be in England long?


SUSAN: A week.


JOHN: A week? Well, we shall have to crowd a lot into that. A week -- I'm sorry to hear that.


SUSAN: Why?


JOHN: Because I'll never be able to say all the things I want to say in a week.


SUSAN: How long would you need to say all those things?


JOHN: I might - need a lifetime.


MUSIC: WALTZ ... UP, FOR A TRANSITION ... THE WALTZ SLOWS TO A STOP


SUSAN: It was a wonder ball, and you were very kind, John. I've never had such fun before. I'm sorry it's over.


JOHN: Oh, there will be other balls.


SUSAN: Not like this one. I'm so glad we decided to walk back to the hotel.


JOHN: (LIGHTLY) Do you know I picked the longest possible way back to your hotel? (MORE SERIOUS) I'm very reluctant to let go this evening. Let's sit here on this bench a moment. There are some things I find I - must say to you.


SUSAN: There's something I must say to you.


JOHN: We've only known one another a few hours and yet it seems that I've known you always. You know, when I was seven and had my first crush on a girl, that girl was you. And when I was fifteen I worshipped the ground a certain young lady of twenty walked upon and she was you, too. You were the first girl I took dancing, the first girl I kissed, and the girl I was always talking about whenever I had anything at all to say about marriage.


SUSAN: (MOVED, BUT RELUCTANT) Oh, John--


JOHN: The moment you looked up at me and smiled, I thought, "At last." And when we started to dance and I held you in my arms I knew that I'd never let you go.


SUSAN: Please, you don't know anything about me--


JOHN: I know I love you and that's all I need to know.


SUSAN: Please, you must listen to me. I'm not what you think -- or who you think I am. I've been acting a lie all evening. I'm not Bertie's Australian cousin Nancy. I don't even know Bertie. I should have told you at once, but I couldn't.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... ROMANTIC ... BEHIND--


JOHN: (CHUCKLES WARMLY) Oh, my darling. I knew you weren't Nancy the moment you began to speak.


SUSAN: You knew?


JOHN: (LIGHTLY) Of course I did. Darling, you haven't the right accent for an Australian Nancy. (BEAT, MORE SERIOUS) What is your name?


SUSAN: Susan Dunne.


JOHN: Hello, Susan Dunne, welcome to England. Welcome to my home. And to my heart.


MUSIC: UP, FOR A BRIEF ROMANTIC TRANSITION ... THEN BRIGHTLY BEHIND SUSAN--


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

They showed me all London, 

Johnnie and his friends; 

They took me to the country

For long week-ends;

I never was so happy,

I never had such fun,

I stayed many weeks in England

Instead of just one.


JOHN: Susan dear, this is my mother. Mother, this is Miss Dunne.


LADY JEAN: How do you do, my dear? John has told us all so much about you. It's such a pleasure to have you visit us here in Devon.


SUSAN: Thank you. It was so nice of you to ask me.


LADY JEAN: Show Miss Dunne the house, John, if she'd care to see it.


SUSAN: Oh, I'd love to see it. And I'd love to meet the family ghost. John told me all about him.


LADY JEAN: I'm sure I've never seen him, but I did hear him once outside my door. It was the night John's father died.


SUSAN: (QUIETLY) Perhaps I don't really want to meet him after all. 


LADY JEAN: You know, Miss Dunne it's hard to believe you're an American. You know, really, you don't speak like one.


MUSIC: DURING ABOVE, SNEAKS IN ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

She seemed to think she'd said a thing 

Both courteous and flattering. 

I answered though my wrists were weak 

With anger: (TO LADY JEAN) "Not at all, I speak -- 

At least I've always thought this true --

As educated people do 

In any country -- even mine."


LADY JEAN: Really?


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

I saw her head incline, 

I saw her ready to assert 

Americans are easily hurt.

And suddenly I was heartsick and lonely for my own people.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT ... FOR A BRIEF TRANSITION


LADY JEAN: John dear? A letter just came in the post for you.


JOHN: Oh, thank you, Mother. (BEAT) Why, that's odd. It's Susan's writing. I was going to meet her in London for dinner tonight. Perhaps she can't make it.


LADY JEAN: Well, open it and see.


MUSIC: BEAT ... THEN BRIEF ACCENT


JOHN: (READS)

Dear John: I'm going home. 

My train leaves at break of day;

I'm going home to those who think the way

I think, and speak as I do. I could not spoil 

Our happy memories with the stress and strain

Of parting.

(BEAT, TO LADY JEAN)

I'm going after her mother.


LADY JEAN: You're sure about this girl, John?


JOHN: Very sure.


LADY JEAN: (MAGNANIMOUSLY) Then bring her home with you.


MUSIC: BRISK TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

The Southampton landing -- 

Porters, neat and quick, 

And a young man standing, 

Leaning on his stick. 


JOHN: Oh, Susan, Susan, Susan, did you really think I'd ever let you go away?


SUSAN: John-- Oh, John, you shouldn't have come.


JOHN: Susan, do you love me?


SUSAN: Love you? You don't have to ask me that. I never tried to hide it.


JOHN: Darling, it doesn't matter that you're from one country and I'm from another. All that matters is that at last we've found each other. Will you marry me, darling? Will you please marry me?


MUSIC: UP, FOR A TRANSITION ... WAGNER'S "HERE COMES THE BRIDE" ... THEN IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

Johnnie and I were married. England then 

Had been a week at war, and all the men 

Wore uniform, as English people can, 

Unconscious of it. We went down to Devon, 

In a warm summer rain, 

Knowing that our happiness 

Might never come again; 

I, not forgetting, 

"Till death do us part,"

Was outrageously happy 

With death in my heart. 


JOHN: (LIGHTLY) I want to know everything there is to know about you. Who was your first beau?


SUSAN: My first beau was named Jimmy O'Brien, his hair was as red as his name, and he was covered with freckles.


JOHN: (CHUCKLES) 


SUSAN: But! -- he loved me madly.


JOHN: Oh. Well, how old were you?


SUSAN: (CHUCKLES) Four.


JOHN: Oh! How old was he?


SUSAN: Forty. (CHUCKLES)


JOHN: (LAUGHS)


SUSAN: (BEAT, SERIOUS) John?


JOHN: Mm?


MUSIC: GENTLY OUT BEHIND--


SUSAN: I don't want you to go to war. I know it's selfish. I - I know I shouldn't say these things, but I can't help it. I - I love you. I'm frightened, John.


JOHN: I know, darling. I don't want to go to war, either. But when the things you respect and love are threatened, there's nothing else that you can do. Each generation must protect the honor of its country. You see, it's a trust that's been handed down from father to son. We aren't a warlike people, but if we must fight, we will -- however little taste we have for it.


SUSAN: I understand.


JOHN: I know you do.


SUSAN: I understand. And I love you -- very much.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE ... THEN UP, FOR AN UNDERSTANDING TRANSITION ... THEN OUT


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

I settled down in Devon, 

When Johnnie went to France. 

Such a tame ending 

To a great romance -- 

Two lonely women 

With nothing much to do 

But get to know each other; 

She did and I did, too. 


LADY JEAN: Susan dear, those bandages must be rolled tighter. Better do them again.


SUSAN: All of them?


LADY JEAN: I'm afraid so. It's the regulation, you know.


SUSAN: (PETULANT) Oh, I've been working on them all day! I can't work on them any more! I'm - I'm cold and tired and cross.


LADY JEAN: (QUIETLY) It's colder in the trenches.


SUSAN: (BEAT, EMBARRASSED) I'm sorry. Of course it is. I'll do them over.


LADY JEAN: I'll help you.


SUSAN: No, you've enough to do. I'll try to have them finished by the time you're ready to go to the hospital.


LADY JEAN: (SYMPATHETIC) It isn't much of a world to be young in, my dear. I know that. But we have to do everything we can. Everything we can. 


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE ... SOLEMN ... CONTINUES IN BG


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

I think I shall always remember

Until I die

Her face that day in December,

When in a hospital ward together, she and I

Were writing letters for the wounded men and dying,

Writing and crying

Over their wounds.

Suddenly, looking up, I saw the old Vicar moving

Like fate down the hospital ward, until

He stood still

Beside her, where she sat at the bed.


VICAR: Dear friend, come home. I have tragic news.


SUSAN: (NARRATES)

She looked straight at him without a spasm of fear,

Her face not stern nor masked--


LADY JEAN: Is it Percy or John?


VICAR: The eldest. Percy.


LADY JEAN: (TO HERSELF) Percy. 

(TO VICAR, SIMPLY) I'm needed here.

I can't go until every letter is written. 

The dead must wait on the living.

This is my work. I must stay.


SUSAN: (NARRATES) And she did -- the whole long day.


MUSIC: UP, FOR A NOBLE CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


HOST: In a moment, Colgate Tooth Powder will bring you the second act of "The White Cliffs." But first-- Young lady, remember this message from Colgate Tooth Powder. Love binds two hearts together, but a little breath of trouble can pull them apart. So if you're looking for romance, be sure -- be very sure -- that no little breath of trouble -- you know, unpleasing breath -- will come between you and your heart's desire. Just do this: Brush your teeth, night and morning and before every date, with Colgate Tooth Powder. For Colgate Tooth Powder cleans your breath as it cleans your teeth. Yes, night and morning and before every date -- because scientific tests have definitely proved that in seven cases out of ten, Colgate Tooth Powder instantly stops unpleasing breath that originates in the mouth. As for cleaning, no dentifrice at any price will clean your teeth more quickly and thoroughly than Colgate Tooth Powder. Remember the name -- Colgate Tooth Powder, with the accent on "powder"!


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN BEHIND--


HOST: Colgate Tooth Powder brings you the second part of "The White Cliffs," starring Constance Cummings.


MUSIC: SECOND ACT INTRO ... THEN BEHIND SUSAN--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

Out of the dark, and dearth 

Of happiness on earth, 

Out of a world inured to death and pain, 

On a fair spring morn, 

To me a son was born, 

And hope was born -- the future lived again! 

And John came home on leave, and all was joy 

And thankfulness to me.

(LOVINGLY, TO JOHN)

John--!


JOHN: Susan--!


SUSAN: Oh, John, it's so wonderful to be able to see you again -- to reach out and touch you. Oh, John, I've been so lonely without you.


JOHN: You weren't without me, not for a moment. I carried you in my heart wherever I went.


SUSAN: (MATTER-OF-FACT) I've been thinking about names. I'd like to call him John, after you. Or if not that, then I'd rather--


JOHN: But, darling, er, the eldest son is always called Percy. 


SUSAN: Well, now look. I didn't ask to call him Hiram, after my father--

 

JOHN: Yes, but the eldest son is always called Percy, dear.


SUSAN: But I hate the name Percy. There are so many better names -- Richard or - or Ronald, or Peter, or Jack, or James, or - or Ian.


JOHN: But the eldest son is always called Percy, dear.


SUSAN: (ADAMANT) Oh, John, not Percy. I won't have him called Percy. He's my son, too. And I positively will not have him going through life with a name like Percy!


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN DURING ABOVE ... BUILDS TO A PEAK ... THEN HOLDS BEHIND--


VICAR: (WITH GREAT DIGNITY) Percy Richard Peter, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


MUSIC: DESCENDS TO A GENTLE ACCENT FOR A BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN GENTLY OUT


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

John went back to his company

And I could do nothing, but ache and long 

That my country, peaceful, rich, and strong, 

Would come and do battle for England's sake. 

And at last -- at last -- like the dawn of a calm, fair day 

After a night of terror and storm, they came --

My young light-hearted countrymen, tall and gay, 

Looking the world over in search of fun and fame--


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... SPRIGHTLY ... BEHIND SUSAN--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

All the bands playing: "Over There, Over There, 

Send the word, send the word to beware--"

And as the American flag went fluttering by 

Englishmen uncovered, and I began to cry. 


MUSIC: UP BRIEFLY... END OF COHAN'S "OVER THERE" ... FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN OUT


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

How beautiful upon the mountains,

How beautiful upon the downs,

How beautiful in the village post-office,

On the pavements of the towns --

How beautiful in the huge print of newspapers,

Beautiful while telegraph wires hum,

While telephone bells wildly jingle,

The news that peace has come --


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... FOR PEACE


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

That peace has come at last -- that all wars cease.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the footsteps 

Of the messengers of peace!


MUSIC: UP, FOR A TRANSITION ... THEN CHANGES TO QUIETLY OMINOUS, WITH LOW PLUCKED STRINGS FOR THE ASCENDING FOOTSTEPS ON THE STAIRS--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

In the depths of the night, when the old house was sleeping, 

I, lying alone in a desolate bed, 

Heard soft on the staircase a slow footstep creeping -- 

The ear of the living -- the step of the dead. 

In the depth of the night betwixt midnight and morning

A step drawing near on the old oaken floor --

On the stair -- in the gallery -- the ghost that gives warning

Of death, by that heartbreaking sigh at my door. 


MUSIC: HAS BUILT TO A TENSE PEAK ... PLUCKED STRINGS OUT


SUSAN: (HORRIFIED EXCLAMATION; DEVASTATED) John!


MUSIC: LONG GRIM ACCENT ... THEN OUT


SUSAN: (NARRATES, SADLY) 

I do not remember 

The words that they said: 

"Killed -- Douai -- November--" [PRONOUNCED "doo-ay"]

I knew John was dead. 

All done and over --

That day long ago --

The while cliffs of Dover -- 

Little did I know. 


MUSIC: WARM AND GENTLE ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

Nanny brought up my son, as his father before him, 

Teaching him to be civil and manly and cool

In the face of danger. And then before I knew it

The time came for him to go off to school.


PERCY: (AS A BOY) Will you hear my lesson, mother?


SUSAN: Of course, dear.


PERCY: Two and two are four. Three and three are five?


SUSAN: No. Think again.


PERCY: Three and three are six.


SUSAN: That's right. Now four and four?


PERCY: Four and four are--


MUSIC: UP, TOPS THE SCENE ... A WARM ACCENT ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

John's own son, 

That blond bowed face, 

Those clear steady eyes; 

Hard to be certain 

That the dead don't rise.

Jogging on his pony

Through the autumn day--


SOUND: HORSES' HOOFBEATS


PERCY: (AS A YOUNG MAN) 

Bad year for fruit, Mother,

But good salt hay.

(CHUCKLES) Would you care to race me home?


SUSAN: I'd love to race you home. Let's go.


SOUND: HORSES' HOOFBEATS CANTER AWAY


MUSIC: UP, FOR A WARM TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

Bowling for the village

As his father had before;

Coming home at evening

To read the cricket score.


PERCY: Mother, there's a dance at the club on Saturday. Thought I might go. There's a new girl in Devon. Quite a looker, too.


SUSAN: Margaret Winfield?


PERCY: (CHUCKLES) That's right. I thought I might ask her.


SUSAN: Why don't you?


PERCY: Say, Mother, look at this paper. What do you suppose that fellow Hitler is up to? I don't like the looks of things at all.


MUSIC: UP, FOR AN UNEASY ACCENT ... THEN IN BG--


SUSAN: (WORRIED, SLOWLY) No. Neither do I. Neither do I.


MUSIC: CONTINUES GRIMLY IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

Later than many, earlier than some,

I knew the die was cast -- that war must come;

That war must come. Night after night I lay

Steeling a broken heart to face the day

When he, my son, would tread the very same

Path that his father trod. When the day came

I was not steeled, not ready. 

(TO PERCY)

My child, my child,

Why should you die for England, too?


PERCY: Is she not worth it, if I must?


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

"Is she not worth it, if I must?" he said.

John would have answered yes -- but John was dead.


MUSIC: UP, FOR AN ACCENT ... THEN STATELY AND NOBLE IN BG--


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

And then, and then, 

I thought of the history of Englishmen,

Knowing what the English have always known --

Something that none can teach or tell --

The moment when God's voice says; "Rebel."

And were they not English, our forefathers? Never more 

English than when they dared to be 

Rebels against her -- that stern intractable sense 

Of that which no man can stomach and still be free, 

Writing: "When in the course of human events..."

Writing it out so all the world could see 

Whence come the powers of all just governments. 

The tree of Liberty grew and changed and spread, 

But the seed was English. 


MUSIC: GENTLY OUT


SUSAN: (NARRATES) 

I am American bred,

I have seen much to hate here, much to forgive,

But in a world where England is finished and dead,

I do not wish to live. 


MUSIC: CURTAIN


SOUND: APPLAUSE


MUSIC: FOR DREAMY JINGLE


SINGERS: Use Colgate Tooth Powder.

Keep smiling just right.

Use it each morning 

And use it at night.


To help you rate

With every date

Use Colgate Tooth Powder.


MUSIC: ABRUPTLY OUT


HOST: Young man, a word from Colgate Tooth Powder. That little breath of trouble -- unpleasing breath -- is an expensive liability; expensive in dollars and cents. Because of unpleasing breath, you may miss out on a sale, a contract, a promotion, and you may never even suspect that your "hoodoo" is a little breath of trouble. So I'll tell you what. Brush your teeth, night and morning and before every date, with Colgate Tooth Powder. For Colgate Tooth Powder cleans your breath as it cleans your teeth. Scientific tests prove that Colgate Tooth Powder, in seven cases out of ten, instantly stops unpleasing breath that originates in the mouth. Money can't buy a dentifrice that will clean your teeth better than Colgate Tooth Powder. Remember the name -- Colgate Tooth Powder, with the accent on "powder"!


MUSIC: THEME ... THEN BEHIND HOST--


HOST: In tonight's play, Constance Cummings starred as Susan and Karl Swenson appeared as John. Alice Duer Miller's "The White Cliffs" was dramatized especially for this program by Jean Holloway. The music was composed and conducted by Charles Paul and the entire production was directed by Marx Loeb.


Next week, your COLGATE TOOTH POWDER THEATRE OF ROMANCE will bring you the charming star of radio and the screen, Anne Baxter, in "Jezebel." Join us next Tuesday night, won't you? 


MUSIC: FOR BRISK JINGLE


SINGERS: Halo, everybody, Halo!

Halo is the shampoo that glorifies your hair!

So Halo, everybody, Halo!


MUSIC: ABRUPTLY OUT


HOST: Yes, use Halo Shampoo if you want naturally bright and beautiful hair -- for Halo contains no soap; therefore leaves no dulling film. The first time you use Halo, see how your hair sparkles and gleams with natural brilliance; how the deep natural color looks brighter, glossier. Even in hardest water, Halo makes oceans of rich fragrant lather. Halo quickly carries away loose dandruff and dirt; needs no lemon or vinegar rinse. Say hello to Halo and goodbye to dulling soap film. Get Halo Shampoo at any cosmetic counter.


MUSIC: FOR BRISK JINGLE


SINGERS: So Halo, everybody, Halo!

Halo Shampoo, Halo!


MUSIC: ABRUPTLY OUT ... THEN THEME ... OUT BEHIND--


HOST: Until next Tuesday night, when Colgate Tooth Powder brings you Anne Baxter in "Jezebel," this is your host saying good night -- and wishing you love, happiness, and romance.


Ladies and gentlemen, victory over Japan is certain, but that victory will cost us dearly. In material, it calls for a colossal amount of ships, planes, tanks, arms, and supplies. To hasten the victory against Japan, every one of us is asked to buy a bigger share of extra bonds than we ever did before. Invest now in the Seventh War Loan.


MUSIC: THEME ... UNTIL END


HOST: This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.


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