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This Is from David

The Columbia Workshop

This Is from David

Jan 26 1941



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

DAVID VERN, seven-year-old boy

ANNA

MRS. VERN

MR. VERN

and two CROWDS, of Mrs. Vern's friends and at the circus




ANNOUNCER: [...] new ideas, new writers, new directors and new actors -- welcomes a number of new listeners who during the past months have not heard the Workshop presentations. Our show this evening, directed by Clinton Johnston, is an adaptation by Draper Lewis and Jack Fink of a short story by Meridel Le Sueur, which appeared originally in Story Magazine, called--


MUSIC: ECHOING CHIME!


DAVID: --"This Is from David."


MUSIC: WARM INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG


ANNA: (NARRATES) One who had never felt it can never know how it is not to have a child of her own, to take care of other people's children till they root in your heart, and to dream of them for years as if they were your own. I - I knew how it would be the moment I first saw David -- her son -- and saw the fine delicate look of him, and his eyes asking something of me from the first.


MUSIC: UP, FOR BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN OUT BEHIND ANNA--


SOUND: FADE IN WHIR OF ELECTRIC TRAIN SET BEHIND--


ANNA: (NARRATES) I remember him now as he looked up at me from the nursery floor where he was playing with a most expensive set of trains, and he said:


DAVID: Hello, Miss Anna.


ANNA: Hello. How did you know my name?


DAVID: Mother said you were coming today.


ANNA: Did she? My, what a lovely teddy bear.


DAVID: (PROUDLY) That's Brave Louie! He's my best friend.


SOUND: ELECTRIC TRAIN JUMPS TRACK ... WHIR OUT


DAVID: Oh, there goes the train. (BEAT) Miss Anna, do you know anything about electric trains? I can't seem to make the engine stay on the track.


ANNA: Well, I don't know too much about them, but perhaps if we try to find the reason why the engine jumps the track, we can fix it.


DAVID: We can be like father. He's an engineer. He's very smart. He knows all about trains. He bought these for me.


ANNA: Don't you think he'd be able to fix them?


DAVID: (TROUBLED) I'm sure he could -- only--


ANNA: (BEAT) Only what, David?


DAVID: He's very busy. Mama says I mustn't bother him. Mama says I might disturb him.


ANNA: I see. Well, you and I'll be able to fix them. Of course, it won't be as good a job as your father could do, but we'll have fun.


DAVID: (QUIETLY EXCITED) May I wear a pair of overalls, just like a real engineer? And may I have my lunch in a tin pail? And--?


ANNA: We'll settle all those important things in a little while. Just now, I have to go downstairs and speak to your mother.


DAVID: (A LITTLE WORRIED) You - you will come back?


ANNA: Of course I will.


DAVID: Promise?


ANNA: I promise.


DAVID: All right. I'll be waiting for you. Goodbye, Miss Anna.


ANNA: (MOVING OFF) Goodbye, David.


DAVID: Miss Anna?!


ANNA: (OFF) Yes, David?


DAVID: I'm awfully glad you've come, Miss Anna.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND ANNA--


ANNA: (NARRATES) David was just like his mother -- delicate-featured, with red hair, and clear, penetrating eyes. He was such a lovely boy -- so well-schooled, so well-mannered. It was easy to see that she gave him every luxury, every comfort. And she had everything, too. Lots of everything.


MRS. VERN: Sit down, Anna.


ANNA: Thank you.


MRS. VERN: You found the nursery?


ANNA: Without any trouble.


MRS. VERN: And David? What do you think of my son?


ANNA: I'm afraid he stole my heart away before I could stop him.


MRS. VERN: (CHUCKLES) He is sweet, isn't he? You know, I was telling Mr. Vern last night that I thought David was going to be the spitting image of Uncle Jonathan when he grew up. That's Uncle Jonathan over the mantle. Can you notice the resemblance?


ANNA: Very clearly.


MRS. VERN: Jonathan built this house. He liked Long Island. He wanted to be near the sea.


ANNA: It's a lovely house.


MRS. VERN: Tell me, Anna, do you really understand all these psychological things? They terrify me. I read the other day that you should watch your child play through a periscope so you wouldn't give him any bad complexes. Don't you think we're all distorted in youth?


ANNA: Not necessarily, Mrs. Vern. Too much psychology can be as harmful as too much candy.


MRS. VERN: David is so-- Well, he's different. That's why I brought you here. I believe that a child should be raised scientifically, especially a child of David's caliber. He's so easily affected by things about him. 


ANNA: Most children are impressionable--


MRS. VERN: David is more than impressionable. He almost frightens me. He says such strange things. You know, I've tried to show him as little physical affection as possible. Too much affection can cause complexes, I think.


ANNA: But don't you think he misses that affection? Needs you?


MRS. VERN: Oh, David doesn't need me. I feel definitely I'm bad for him. I'm too flighty. Too - too nervous.


ANNA: Perhaps you're right. Well, since I'm to stay, I'd better unpack. I've some repairs to make.


MRS. VERN: Repairs?


ANNA: Yes. I've got to do my best to make a train stay on the track.


MUSIC: ACCENT AND TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND ANNA--


ANNA: (NARRATES) And as the days passed, David became very dear to me. He was a jewel -- one you'd want for your own -- to make you feel sad you'd never had one, or wish that Fate would change, or something would, and you would have one, and wouldn't always be taking care of someone else's children. 


I first began to have the child write down his feelings, a procedure we used at nursery school. But I never dreamed it would lead to the great sheaf of notes I took to Mrs. Vern much later when David got so bad.


One night, David and I were waiting in the nursery for Mrs. Vern to come up and kiss him goodnight. He could hear the sound of her laughing voice and the murmuring of her friends in the hall below. (FADES OUT)


SOUND: LAUGHTER AND MURMUR OF MRS. VERN AND HER FRIENDS ... THEN IN BG


DAVID: (EXHALES WEARILY) Anna? Will she be coming soon?


ANNA: I think so, David.


DAVID: But we've been waiting such a long time.


ANNA: Mother has guests.


DAVID: She's going to a party tonight. She'll be dressed in a silver dress, with gold in her hair.


ANNA: Yes, David.


DAVID: And when she opens the door, the light from the hall will shine on the gold in her hair and it will sparkle like--


SOUND: DOOR SLAMS, CUTTING OFF LAUGHTER AND MURMUR ... THEN SILENCE


DAVID: (BEAT, DISTRESSED) Anna? Anna, she's gone!


ANNA: (QUICKLY, COMFORTING) Now, we mustn't feel bad. We must remember that she's going to have a wonderful time at the party, and tomorrow she'll tell us all about it.


DAVID: But I had so much to tell her. I wanted to show her Brave Louie. I wanted her to see how Sambo bit the ears off Brave Louie and he didn't cry.


ANNA: Sambo's a bad dog, hurting your new teddy bear.


DAVID: But he didn't know Brave Louie belonged to me. I wanted to tell Mother that Sambo was not to blame. And I wanted to tell her that--


ANNA: (INTERRUPTS) I know! Why don't you write her a letter?


DAVID: A letter? But I don't write. Only "cat" and "Sambo" and "Brave Louie" in tall letters.


ANNA: But I can write. All you have to do is tell me what you want to say and I'll write it down. Only you mustn't talk too fast.


DAVID: (ENTHUSIASTIC) Can we do that? Oh, that'll be fun. A real letter!


ANNA: Just hand me the pencil and paper. (BEAT) Thanks. Now, I'm ready. You can begin.


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN BEHIND DAVID ... GENTLE--


DAVID: Begin it this way: (DICTATES, A LITTLE AWKWARDLY) "This - is from David. Dearest Mama-- I'll call you Mama Horsey because a little horse can stay close by his mama all day, with his nose close to her. I'm gonna tell you about the cake for my birthday at Sunday school. It was wood but with a real candle. Today I made a little mudcake in the sun. Anna sat in the sun, and I swang and teetered. You went quick. You are quick. Good night, sweet Mama."


MUSIC: UP, GENTLY ... THEN OUT


ANNA: (BEAT, NARRATES) That was the first letter David wrote. He didn't want me to show it to her. He just wanted me to keep it. After that, we wrote every night. It got to be very exciting. When things would happen in the daylight, he'd look at me with a delicious look and say:


DAVID: You see, Miss Anna? We can tell her about that tonight.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


DAVID: (DICTATES A LETTER) "This - is from David. A building goes up. Its upness is mostly what a building is. It has to go up and it goes there. They don't grow like trees. They don't have babies or fruit. They have elevators fast as thinking. And your insides are too slow for them."


MUSIC: TO A FINISH, FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN IN BG


DAVID: (DICTATES ANOTHER LETTER) "Nobody goes to a restaurant for breakfast, do they? Anna and I go there for lunch. You don't know anybody at a restaurant, but some people smile at you as if they met you a long time ago. I saw birds today and Miss Anna says to feed all birds. That's school talk, Mama. I heard a bird say he was hungry."


MUSIC: TO A FINISH, FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN IN BG


DAVID: (DICTATES YET ANOTHER LETTER, SADLY) "This - is from David. You haven't been to see me today, sweet Mama. You haven't been here for two whole days. Anna says she will talk to you. Please listen to Anna when she tells you. Please listen! Please!"


MUSIC: TO A FINISH


MRS. VERN: Anna, how is David?


ANNA: He's fine, Mrs. Vern. I thought on Tuesday that he was coming down with a cold, but it turned out to be nothing more than a few sniffles. He's fine.


MRS. VERN: David is very delicate. We must be very careful of his health. 


ANNA: I realize that. Mrs. Vern, I wonder if you could--


MRS. VERN: Yes, Anna?


ANNA: There's one thing I wanted to ask you.


MRS. VERN: Go right ahead. I'm sure any suggestion you have will be excellent. (SUDDEN NON SEQUITUR) Oh, I wonder if James ordered the wine! You know, Mr. Vern hates to have wine served unless it has been properly chilled. (BACK ON TRACK) Oh, er-- You were saying something, Anna?


ANNA: I thought that if Mr. Vern was going to be home this weekend that perhaps he might like to take David to a ball game.


MRS. VERN: (HIGHLY AMUSED) Take David to a ball game? But how ridiculous! A seven-year-old boy; he wouldn't understand what it was all about.


ANNA: Perhaps not, but it isn't so much the ball game as - as being with his father. He needs him. Needs his company, his advice and encouragement.


MRS. VERN: Oh, Anna, I'm afraid you think David a great deal older than he actually is.


ANNA: He's at the age when he needs all the help and affection he can get. The mind of a child is a sensitive thing. You can never tell what's happening to it. Won't you ask Mr. Vern to take David to the ball game this Saturday? Please ask him.


MRS. VERN: Oh, goodness, I'm afraid his father's much too busy. If you think he's lonely, I can arrange to have his cousin Rene come over on Thursdays. (CHANGES SUBJECT, QUICKLY) Oh, uh, now about the stockings; that's really what I wanted to ask you. Uh, will you make out a summer inventory of David's wardrobe, so I can make out my budget?


ANNA: (DISAPPOINTED, QUIETLY) Yes. Yes, I will. Of course.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


ANNA: (NARRATES) At the end of the month, Mrs. Vern had promised to take David to the country, to a huge farm that had been in the family for years, with real horses, and even a lake for David to bathe in when it got too hot. (SADLY) Mrs. Vern had promised to take him, but she didn't. She was "too busy." There were too many "important things." I tried to persuade her to change her mind, but she wouldn't. David and I went alone.


MUSIC: OUT


ANNA: (BEAT, NARRATES) The summer went swiftly, quietly -- happily for me; I was with David. There were only the letters from him to tell of those days. Intimate and gay letters. Letters like this:


MUSIC: PLEASANTLY PASTORAL ... IN BG


DAVID: (DICTATES A LETTER) "I was walking with Horsey. I want to tell you everything, Mama. We went with Miss Anna to see the cows. There was Clarabelle Cow and Horse Collar Horse, and they moo when you wake up at six. I was worrying about you and I want to see you bad. I feel like running to your house and pick you up and run right back. I'm sitting down here happily with Miss Anna and she says you are happily and I am happily, too. You smell so sweet. Nobody smells as sweet as you, Mama. Not the summer, not a new cat, not the water when it comes out of the ground. This is my favorite letter. In case you say, 'Who is this from?' -- this - is from David."


MUSIC: UP AND OUT, FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN A BRIEF MELANCHOLY TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND ANNA--


ANNA: (NARRATES) With the first chill fall night, we went back to the town house. I was glad we did. David had been growing quiet and morose. He seemed to be closing up from within. The day after we arrived, Mrs. Vern sent for me, and I went down to the brilliant, colorful room which the servants referred to as "her room." She was waiting for me there and I remember her first words. She said: 


MRS. VERN: Well, Anna, what sort of a summer did you have?


ANNA: It was fine. We - we hated to leave. David was having a splendid time.


MRS. VERN: I'm sorry I wasn't able to visit him, but I was terribly busy. Anna, I decided not to send David to school this fall.


ANNA: You're not sending him to school?


MRS. VERN: No. You'll tutor him here at home.


ANNA: But you don't seem to realize -- he needs more than just school work. He needs the friendship of children his own age. He needs--


MRS. VERN: Anna, I don't want to argue about this. I've had a very tiring summer and I want rest.


ANNA: All right, Mrs. Vern. I hope you won't think I'm being rude, but I'd like to ask you something.


MRS. VERN: (AMUSED) Another ball game, Anna?


ANNA: Well, almost. Since you weren't with David this summer, I think it might cheer him up if you took him to the circus.


MRS. VERN: (LIGHTLY) The circus? Anna, what have I got you for? (SEES ANNA IS SERIOUS) Is it necessary that I take him?


ANNA: Yes, it is. And I think it might be fun if you'd walk there with David. It's just a short distance down the road.


MRS. VERN: You really think so? (BEAT, CARELESSLY) Very well. It's on Saturday. Very well, I'll go. I - I'll try to go.


ANNA: May I tell him you will?


MRS. VERN: Well, yes. Yes, tell him. (HALF TO HERSELF) Yes, I might enjoy the circus myself. Yes, I might enjoy very much the circus. (CHUCKLES) How quaint!


ANNA: (RELIEVED, SUPPORTIVE) I'm sure you'll have fun.


MRS. VERN: (AMUSED) Then it's settled -- the circus.


MUSIC: TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND ANNA--


ANNA: (NARRATES) I couldn't explain to her then. I couldn't tell her how strange and fantastic his notes were becoming. I was hoping the trip to the circus would help bring David out of his young and lonely mental prison.


MUSIC: OUT


ANNA: (NARRATES) He looked forward to Saturday eagerly and his letters became warm and intimate again. The week seemed to fly past.


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


DAVID: Today is Tuesday and on Saturday I'm going to the circus with Mama! 


ANNA: Yes, David.


DAVID: Why do they call today Wednesday? Why can't we call it Saturday?


ANNA: (AMUSED) There are only three more days, David. You can wait three days.


DAVID: I like Thursday because then the next day is Friday!


ANNA: Yes, David.


DAVID: Friday, Saturday, and then Saturday!


ANNA: Yes, David -- Saturday!


MUSIC: UP HAPPILY AND OUT


ANNA: Mrs. Vern? We should be leaving at one-thirty.


MRS. VERN: One-thirty? What for, Anna?


ANNA: Have you forgotten? Today's Saturday.


MRS. VERN: Saturday? Of course I haven't forgotten -- the music luncheon. (REALIZES) Oh! Oh, you mean the circus. I did forget. But what of the luncheon? I'm secretary of the club, you know. You can see how important it is that I attend.


ANNA: (SERIOUSLY) There's nothing as important as your son right now.


MRS. VERN: (LIGHTLY, CONDESCENDINGLY) Oh, come now, Anna. Aren't you being just a trifle melodramatic? Confess now, is it so important? Does everything depend on my going to the silly circus?


ANNA: I wish I could tell you exactly how much it meant.


MRS. VERN: (DISMISSIVE) Oh, Anna, please.


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


DAVID: (DICTATES A LETTER) "This is from David. I'm not writing to you now, Mama. I'm writing to Brave Louie and Horsey. These are not for you to see. I want to tell Brave Louie and Horsey about the circus. It was such fun."


SOUND: MURMUR OF CIRCUS CROWD ... THEN IN BG


MUSIC: CALLIOPE PLAYS A CHEERFUL "DIXIE" ... IN BG


SOUND: BARKERS AND VENDORS JOIN THE CROWD WITH SHOUTS OF "STEP RIGHT UP" ET CETERA ... THEY SPIEL INDECIPHERABLY, INTERMITTENTLY IN BG


DAVID: (DICTATES) "There were men in shiny hats that winked at you. And when we went into the big white house, I stood behind a lot of people and Miss Anna held my hand -- just like I hold your hand, Brave Louie. We sat down with lots of people, and there was music and lights and loud noises. In the beginning, after the band, there was a pretty girl in diamonds -- all in diamonds. She was so pretty -- sparkling, sparkling -- and everybody loved her. I did, too. I do, too. There were dogs and monkeys dressed in red, and men in funny clothes that made you laugh. Miss Anna laughed and I laughed. Everybody laughed. And it was fun! There were little horses and big horses, and they ran around and around inside a ring. And everyone shouted loud as they could. Everyone shouted and laughed and clapped."


MUSIC: CALLIOPE FADES OUT ... CHANGES TO SOMBER STRAIN THAT TOPS THE SCENE AND CONTINUES IN BG


DAVID: (DICTATES, SLOWLY AND SADLY) "And I shouted and laughed and clapped. I don't feel like writing any more. I feel a little sick. Mama didn't come to the circus at all. She wasn't there."


MUSIC: UP AND OUT


ANNA: (SYMPATHETIC) I think you'd better go to sleep now, David.


DAVID: Yes, Miss Anna.


ANNA: Good night, David.


SOUND: ANNA'S STEPS AWAY


DAVID: Good night, Miss Anna.


SOUND: BEDROOM DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS ANNA EXITS THE BEDROOM ... OUTSIDE THE BEDROOM, ANNA TAKES A STEP ... THEN PAUSES


ANNA: (TROUBLED, TO HERSELF) He's changed now. You can see it. You can just see how he's changed. 


SOUND: ANNA'S STEPS TO MRS. VERN


ANNA: Mrs. Vern? May I see you for a moment?


MRS. VERN: Of course. What is it, Anna?


ANNA: I must speak to you about David.


MRS. VERN: Well, Anna? He's not ill, is he?


ANNA: No. No, but he will be.


MRS. VERN: Anna, I don't understand you at all. You're so - so vague.


ANNA: It's so hard to explain. This is very serious.


MRS. VERN: What can be so serious? David's not sick. Anna, you're doing wonderfully. I'm very well satisfied. I think David is better than he's ever been.


ANNA: He's lonely.


MRS. VERN: Lonely? (CHUCKLES, SKEPTICALLY) Oh, really, Anna. You're with him all the time. He plays with Rene on Thursdays. He has everything a boy could possibly want. (BEAT) I'm thinking of giving you a raise.


ANNA: Mrs. Vern, when I took this position, you said you wanted me to be particularly concerned with David's mental condition and health. I have here a sheaf of letters.


SOUND: RUSTLE OF PAPERS


ANNA: They're notes and poems that David has written. I'm breaking a promise to show them to you. But I think you should see them. I think it's the only way you'll really understand. The only way you'll really understand him. They're written largely to you.


MRS. VERN: To me? All of these -- to me, from David?


ANNA: Most of them. It's a psychological trick, to let a troubled person talk freely and take down everything he says. David and I have done it every night since I came here.


MRS. VERN: How interesting. How amazing. All of these.


ANNA: Please, take good care of them. And, above all, don't let him know that I've shown them to you.


MRS. VERN: I don't understand.


ANNA: You don't have to understand. Just read them carefully and try to see what's behind them. Try to feel what they mean.


MRS. VERN: Why, certainly I'll read them.


ANNA: Please do. Especially his last two letters. (UNEASY) I'm frightened of them. I'm afraid--


MRS. VERN: (LIGHTLY, CONDESCENDINGLY) For heaven's sake, Anna, what's the matter with you? Can't my son write me a letter? Let's be sane about this. After all, he's only a small child. I'm sure you exaggerate. It's much different when you've got a child of your own -- when you're really a mother. (BEAT) Good night, Anna.


SOUND: ANNA'S STEPS AWAY


MUSIC: MELANCHOLY TRANSITION ... THEN BEHIND ANNA--


ANNA: (NARRATES) Several days went by and I didn't speak to Mrs. Vern again. I thought I should allow her a week to read the letters before I discussed them with her. In the meantime, I kept close to David. But I'd waited too long. No one can tell when these crises of the mind occur. Something mysterious happens, something erupts, breaks -- everything's changed. (PAUSE) I ate my dinner only after David was in bed. He'd been sleeping uneasily, crying out in the night. I decided not to go out, although it was my night off, since the house was empty as usual and I didn't want David to wake up with only the maid at home. I sat downstairs in the kitchen with Gladys and played hearts until I decided to go upstairs and see how he was sleeping.


SOUND: CLOCK CHIMES NINE AND ANNA'S STEPS UP STAIRS BEHIND--


ANNA: (NARRATES) I heard the clock in the hall strike nine as I went upstairs. I remember thinking about Mr. and Mrs. Vern -- how they'd left earlier in the evening without speaking to David. I remember thinking of the letter he'd written -- a letter I read over and over, trying to understand.


SOUND: ANNA'S STEPS IN HALLWAY


ANNA: (NARRATES) I walked down the hallway and quietly opened his door.


SOUND: BEDROOM DOOR OPENS


ANNA: David? (NO ANSWER, TENSE) David! Where are you?! (NO ANSWER) David? David?! David?!


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT AND TRANSITION


MRS. VERN: Go on, Anna. What did you do next?


ANNA: (AGITATED) His clothes were still laid out on the chair where I'd left them. Only, his overalls were gone and his boots and--


MR. VERN: (BEAT) Yes? Yes?


ANNA: And Brave Louie. I ran to the window, but it was closed, except for the night window, which was just as I'd opened it when I left him. Then I went downstairs and called you, Mr. Vern.


MR. VERN: Why didn't you call me sooner? He might have been kidnapped.


ANNA: Oh, he couldn't have been kidnapped. I tell you, the window hadn't been touched. I - I just think he's wandered off in his sleep. He was so restless.


MR. VERN: Wandered off? For heaven's sake, why?


MRS. VERN: Restless? Why was he restless?


ANNA: Well, it was apparent in his letters. You saw that, didn't you?


MRS. VERN: His letters--? (REALIZES) Oh!


ANNA: You - you haven't read them?!


MRS. VERN: I was going to read them. I was just about to.


ANNA: Oh, but - but I told you how important it was. You promised me.


MRS. VERN: (DEFENSIVE) I - I didn't have time. They've been in my lower drawer. I didn't have time.


MR. VERN: Well, if he hasn't been kidnapped and he's wandered off, there must be some clue as to where he's gone. Something we've missed.


ANNA: (REALIZES) There is! (QUIETLY) There is.


SIMULTANEOUS---

MRS. VERN: Oh, Anna, what?

MR. VERN: What is it?


ANNA: The letter he wrote tonight! It must tell something. It was the first letter he wrote all by himself.


MR. VERN: Will someone kindly tell me what these letters are?


ANNA: They're from David to his mother. When he couldn't see her -- or you -- he used to write a letter and tell about his day, or his impressions of things about him. At first, he would tell them to me and I'd write them down. But then he learned himself. He wrote one tonight.


MR. VERN: Where is it? It may help.


ANNA: I have it here.


SOUND: LETTER UNFOLDED


ANNA: Let me read it to you. (BEAT, READS, SLOWLY, WITH DIFFICULTY) "This - is from David. Horsey went walking one day. I got on him. And we went together. And the cat held my hand. My mother put me outdoors all naked--" (LOW) Naked. (READS) "Horsey said, 'Do you like to live here all the time? Don't you want to go away?' I want to go fast. I want to be quick. I'm an orphan. My mother never gave me a name, because she doesn't call me. She never calls me. Never. Never. I wouldn't be afraid to die. When I die, Mother will stop, and call me. And she will know me. Everything sparkles." (PUZZLED, TO HERSELF) Everything sparkles? (READS) "I'm warm - inside, and out. It's very nice. But it's warm. I don't feel good."


MR. VERN: (BEAT) Is that all?


ANNA: Yes.


MRS. VERN: But I don't understand. He said I never called him.


MR. VERN: I know what he meant. Then he did run away; that's not important. All that matters is: where is David?


ANNA: (MUSES, TO HERSELF) Sparkles--? Everything sparkles. (GETS AN IDEA) I think I know where he is. The circus! Of course! He's on his way down the road back to the circus.


MR. VERN: The circus? Maybe you're right. Come on, we've got to find him. (MOVING OFF) That child alone at night on a busy highway--


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN ... SPEEDING AUTO ENGINE BACKGROUND ... OVERLAPS WITH THE FILTERED THOUGHTS OF THE AUTO'S OCCUPANTS--


MRS. VERN: (FILTER, DISTRESSED) What have I done? What have I done?


MR. VERN: (FILTER) Why should he run away?


MRS. VERN: (FILTER) Why didn't I listen to Anna?


MR. VERN: (FILTER) Why should he run away?


SIMULTANEOUS---

MRS. VERN: (FILTER) What have I done? What have I done?

MR. VERN: (FILTER) What's the matter with him? What's the matter with him? Why should he run away? (FADES OUT BEHIND--)


ANNA: (FILTER, WORRIED) He can't have walked far. He's so small. We must find him. We must find him. (BEAT, UNFILTERED, TO MR. VERN) Wait! There he is! I can see him now! He's on the other side of the road! Stop, quickly!


SOUND: AUTO BRAKES TO A STOP, TIRES SQUEAL BEHIND--


MR. VERN: Come on, let's get him.


ANNA: No, no -- you stay here. Don't startle him. Let me get him.


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, CAR DOOR OPENS AND ANNA GETS OUT ... ANNA HURRIES TO DAVID


ANNA: (RELIEVED) David? Oh, David! I was so frightened. Miss Anna was so scared. David? (NO ANSWER, TENSE) David? What's the matter? David? Look at me. Stop staring up the road and look at me.


DAVID: (DULLY DELIRIOUS) Are you the lady that sparkles? I've come to see the lady that sparkles.


ANNA: David--?


MR. VERN: (APPROACHES) Is he all right?


MRS. VERN: (APPROACHES) Is he all right?


ANNA: We must get him home as quickly as possible. He's sick -- burning with fever.


MR. VERN: Get him into the car quickly. I'll bring him home and then get Dr. Haskins.


SOUND: CAR DOOR SLAMS ... AUTO ENGINE REVS UP AND DRIVES OFF ... SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN ... CLOCK CHIMES TWICE ... BEDROOM DOOR OPENS


ANNA: Will the doctor be here soon?


MRS. VERN: (DISTRACTED) In a few minutes. (DEEP CONCERN) David? David, you must get well.


ANNA: (REASSURING) He'll be all right. Don't worry. With all the care you can give him, he'll be all right. He'll be up and around in no time at all.


MRS. VERN: (READY TO CRY) I feel so ashamed.


ANNA: You mustn't.


MRS. VERN: We get mixed up in so many little things -- so many unimportant things. We lose sight of the important ones.


ANNA: I know.


MRS. VERN: What did you give him? What did you give him that I didn't? I thought I gave him everything. What did you give him? 


ANNA: (SIMPLY) Myself. I just gave him myself, Mrs. Vern.


MUSIC: WARM TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG


DAVID: (WRITES A LETTER) "Dear Miss Anna. Brave Louie, Mama, Daddy, and I -- we all miss you. I'm all well now, and yesterday Mama took me to the circus. It was such fun. We all shouted and laughed and clapped, and it was just like when you took me -- remember? I'm going to school today. Do you know who this is from? This - is from David."


MUSIC: UP, FOR CURTAIN


ANNOUNCER: You have just heard "This Is from David," adapted for radio by Draper Lewis and Jack Fink from the short story by Meridel Le Sueur, which appeared originally in Story Magazine. This was a presentation of the Columbia Workshop, which is heard weekly at this time. The director was Clinton Johnston and Larry Robinson was featured in the role of David. The other actors included Betty Hugh as Anna, Agnes Moorehead as Mrs. Vern, and Roger DeKoven as Mr. Vern. The music was composed and conducted by Alexander Semmler. Again we wish to welcome the new listeners who have joined the Workshop audience this evening. We invite you to be with us next week to hear a farce by Charles S. Monroe called "Help Me, Hannah." Harry Clark speaking. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.


MUSIC: FOR A WARM QUIET CLOSE

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