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Wealth and Wisdom

The Rudy Vallee Hour

Wealth and Wisdom

Feb 02 1939 



CAST:

HOST, Rudy Vallee

PEGGY KEEMAN

JIM SHANNON


NOTE: The two characters speak with a thick Irish dialect, frequently dropping their G's and pronouncing "my" as "me," "you" as "ye," et cetera, but not always.




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


HOST: Over at the Playhouse Theatre on West Forty-Eighth Street, there's a revival going on of one of the finest plays in the past twenty years. The name of it: "Outward Bound." Last Monday the expert company of players who are doing it presented the play for President Roosevelt at his Birthday Ball in Washington -- an outstanding success there, as well as on Forty-Eighth Street. One of the main reasons for its continued capacity audiences is the heartwarming performance of Laurette Taylor as Mrs. Midget. Miss Taylor, an actress of great versatility, comes to us tonight as Peggy Keeman in "Wealth and Wisdom" by Oliphant Downs. Peggy Keeman bears a slight resemblance to the character created by Miss Taylor some years ago -- the first Peg of her time, "Peg O' My Heart." At least, Peggy and Peg are Irish. Presenting now "Wealth and Wisdom" with Laurette Taylor as Peggy Keeman and Damian O'Flynn as Jim Shannon.


MUSIC: INTRODUCTION


HOST: In a small Irish village -- it might be any small Irish village -- there's a little house, the home of Peggy Keeman. She is the owner of a small dairy farm, Miss Peggy Keeman, and the dairy itself is in the house. It is early in the afternoon of a smiling day in spring. Peggy is humming herself a bit of a tune as she goes about her chores.


PEGGY: (SINGS, TO HERSELF) I know my love by his way of walking and I know my love by his way of talking and I know my love by his way of, er--


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, KNOCK ON DOOR


PEGGY: (CALLS) You're welcome!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


JIM: (CHEERFUL) At the top of the morning to you, Peggy!


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--


PEGGY: (A LITTLE CROSS) Oh, it's you, is it? Well, you can't come in, so just go out with the door shut and nothing said. 


JIM: Aw, you won't turn me from the door and me walking bareheaded in the sunshine. I've come to help you, Peggy.


PEGGY: That never was, in all the days I've known you. When I close my doors and the air full of sunshine, it's to keep tramps out. 


JIM: Ho, ho! Tramps indeed! (APOLOGETIC) But I - I suppose I am a bit of a beggar, Peggy.


PEGGY: That's the third "Peggy." 


JIM: Well, when a fellow's proposed four hundred times, he's not going to stop over a name. 


PEGGY: And is it as many as four hundred times you've asked me now?


JIM: (CHARMING) And how can I help it when you go patting the butter with hands as white as the milk the cow hid the cream in.


PEGGY: Is that just talk? 


JIM: (MORE SERIOUS) Peggy, I'm desperate now. You know what day it is. It's Thursday. The Thursday. The last Thursday. You forget what happens this Thursday?


PEGGY: I'm knowing what Thursday it is. And you shall hear it -- it's Thursday you're to get your wife before ever it's three on the clock or you'll not get two thousand pounds from your Uncle Patrick. And a daft old fool it must be he is to have given you six months to do it in. And I'm thinking you're a near relation of his to have lost the time.


JIM: Oh, it's you who've wasted the time. I've been asking you to be my wife for weeks.


PEGGY: And now you've got five minutes left to find her in. But it'll not be me that'll marry you. What should the like of me be doing with two thousand pounds? Go about you and ask someone else.


JIM: It'd serve you right if I took you at your word.


PEGGY: Well, I'm asking you to do the same.


JIM: If there was another woman here, I would.


PEGGY: Oh, would you indeed?! Well now, well now, well now! Look out the window. There's a woman. There's Maggie Hanaghan coming along the road; I've seen her these three minutes. She's a decent body, and twenty-two she will be in a month.


JIM: Peggy, I'll give you a last chance. Come now.


PEGGY: Well, Maggie is near the gates. Ask her.


JIM: You mean it?


PEGGY: I'm saying it.


JIM: I'm in earnest.


PEGGY: Are you now? Well, well, well, well, well. I'll go and call her.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


PEGGY: (CALLS) Eh, Maggie, my darling! Would you come in? There's a man have a bit to tell you. Uplift the gate.


JIM: Er-- (CALLS) It's all right, Miss Hanaghan! I - I had a letter for post, but I've left it behind! 


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS QUICKLY


PEGGY: Oh, it's a fine liar you are, Jim Shannon, and I'm thinking it's a saintlier woman than myself you're needing, or you're lost entirely. You better marry Miss Hanaghan.


JIM: I'd be a poor man if I couldn't tell a lie to save the woman who's to be my wife.


PEGGY: Oh, you're not quit of that yet? Now, I'll not have you.


JIM: And I never shall be quit of asking you. 


PEGGY: And what should I be doing with two thousand pounds, I'm saying? I'd be a lost woman without the butter and the eggs and the crowing of the cocks to tell me there was someone coming over the hills with a lamp, and me knowing all the time it was only the dawn.


JIM: Ah, but what a nest egg we should have against bad times. (LAUGHS) It'd take your old hens a bit of trouble to lay two thousand pounds. (LAUGHS)


PEGGY: I'm not wanting nest eggs. Not of that sort. 


JIM: Aw, Peggy, have you never wanted to get married? I don't say to me -- to anyone?


PEGGY: Ha! It's as curious as a fidgety crow you are, and him letting fall a marrow bone into a hollow tree, and not knowing what was to become of it at all.


JIM: That's no answer! Oh, Peggy darling, when there's a cross wind and a low, beating rain against the window panes and they a-rattling, isn't it you would be glad to have a man put up the latch of the door fast, and him and you on the inside and no heed to the weather? 


PEGGY: Providence and mercy, look at the clock! 'Tis the time come and the hour ready for the striking of the clock, and you a poor man with the end of it. 


JIM: Well, let it strike! I don't care. When it finishes a-striking, I'll go out that door, but I'll come right back in again -- this time, minus my uncle's fortune, and a poor man.


SOUND: CLOCK STRIKES THREE


JIM: Ah! There now!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS JIM EXITS


PEGGY: (SINGS, TO HERSELF) Da da da -- by his way of walking and I know my love by his way of talking and I know my--


SOUND: DURING ABOVE, KNOCK ON DOOR


PEGGY: (CALLS) You're welcome!


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


PEGGY: Now what's the trouble of it now? 


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


JIM: (PLAINTIVE) It's a poor man, God help him, would speak with the lady of the house. 


PEGGY: I'm not wanting to twit you now and your misfortune, Jim Shannon, but aren't you a poor soft loon to carry on the way you do and all, and you just now, you let a woman's smile melt up a great fortune.


JIM: I'm a penniless man now. I must either work or starve, and starving's not in my line. I want you to give me some work.


PEGGY: (A LITTLE SARCASTIC) Oh, the shamelessness of the poor daft! And you not knowing a m'norca hen from a speckly wy'ndot. But being a mere educated man, maybe you'll be after teaching the ignorant old hens to write scripture sayings on their eggs. (RELENTS) Ah, but there, I'll not hold you to scorn, and you with your good intentions. I'll take you on for a week and pay you what you may be worth at the week ended. 


JIM: (PLEASED AND EAGER) Ho, ho! Now for me first job. Start me off, Peggy!


PEGGY: Now, hold your whist! Is it "Peggy" I am to every man of a bad lot comes tramping the country? It's "Mistress Keeman" I am to you, and I'm after telling you. Now get about with a broom and clean the stone steps. 


SOUND: HEAVY SWEEPING WITH BROOM BEHIND--


JIM: (SINGS HAPPILY, TO HIMSELF)


PEGGY: (ANNOYED) Saints in Paradise! Wasn't it the stone steps I said? Is it the butter you're wanting to make as black as the dun cow itself? 


JIM: (BEAT, APOLOGETIC) Well, I'll - I'll do it better next time. How long d'you think it'd take me to learn farming? 


PEGGY: Oh, most like you'd spend your life at it and not know much about it. 


JIM: Well, I'll know something about it in six months or my name's not Jim Shannon! No, I've absolutely made up my mind. I'll go across the ferry to Collin Grigan's farm and he shall teach me the tricks of the trade. 


PEGGY: Colly Grigan's farm, is it now? 


JIM: Well, who else can teach me? 


PEGGY: And what's wrong with my ways of farming? I'm thinking you're a strange one. Here some minutes you've been and not a word said of will I marry you. 


JIM: (LIGHTLY) Oh, sure, that's off for a bit. When the money was there, it was a different matter. I haven't got more 'n about thirty shillings in the world, and so I don't ask any girl to marry me yet awhile.


PEGGY: (SUPPRESSED DISAPPOINTMENT) Oh, now-- (CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY) Sure, is it a girl you think wouldn't marry for a straight body and a kind word? Why, there's some women I could name with enough for two -- and the right man coming down the road. 


JIM: (DISMISSIVE) Ah, it's little you understand the ways of men, Peggy. You don't suppose a decent fellow would be content to live on his wife's money? At any rate, I'm not one of 'em. Maybe in a year I'll have a bit of property and then I'll talk again. But till then I keep my mouth shut and my heart locked up. 


PEGGY: (GENTLY PERSUASIVE) Oh, is it a year you'd be after waiting? Arrah, that's a mighty long time and none to say what might happen in the passing of it. Why, you know, a widow woman might get on the blind side of you. A widow woman's a queer thing to a lone man, and him not knowing in the ways of such. Ah, I'm thinking you'd be better not be risking it for a year. 


JIM: No. Widows or not, I've made up my mind to earn my living without any woman's help. 


PEGGY: Oh, let you be not a fool, Jim Shannon, but come you along and be my man. 


JIM: (SURPRISED) What? Why, you'd take me penniless? 


PEGGY: It's a distracted man you are this day or you'd not act so queer. 


JIM: (WARMLY) Aw, Peg, you mean it? (SUDDENLY DEFIANT) No. No, I'm hanged if I do! You've made a fool of me once and it's waiting I will until I can come and show you a farm as big as yours.


PEGGY: Wait till a month goes over then, and see if your heart's not sad with emptiness and you wanting to come up the pathway and kiss me.


JIM: (EXASPERATED) Look here, Peggy, you're beyond all understanding. What made you let me lose that money of my uncle's if you intended marrying me all the time? 


PEGGY: Well, how was I to know it was you wanting me for my own self? Or was it just to put a hand on your uncle's great wealth and me a comely body would do as well as any?


JIM: Oh, ho! So you doubted me.


PEGGY: Oh, but it wasn't that I doubted like any common woman and being jealous. I wanted to see -- just for the joy of seeing. 


JIM: (QUIETLY SATISFIED) Well, I'm glad the money's lost. Now for work and the joys of life. I'm quit of the waster. Yes -- I'll have my own house with nine bean-rows and a hive for the honeybee. Yes, and besides, a water-butt with clematis climbing 'round it and hens clucking on the door step.


PEGGY: And me to tell you which is the good layers and which is the--


JIM: (INTERRUPTS) Oh, ho, no! No, no. That's in the future when I've made my mark. Till then, you take your chance with the widow woman, for all I say. 


SOUND: POSTMAN'S WHISTLE


JIM: Huh! Maybe that's a widow woman now!


PEGGY: No, it's the post boy.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


PEGGY: It's a telegram for you. 


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES ... TELEGRAM OPENED BEHIND--


JIM: (SKEPTICAL) Ah, sure, who'd be sending me a telegram? (SURPRISED) Hullo! (BEAT, READS SLOWLY) "Congratulations on your engagement. Only just in time, you young dog. Uncle Patrick." (TO PEGGY) But what the devil's he getting at?


PEGGY: Maybe he's heard you're engaged. 


JIM: Oh, but he can't have! 


PEGGY: Maybe a body telegraphed him.


JIM: Nonsense. Who could have?


PEGGY: Sure, I did.


JIM: You?!


PEGGY: My very own self. I sent it to him this morning before you came in, telling him you was engaged to Peggy Keeman and she a decent body.


JIM: (STUNNED) Glory be!


PEGGY: Don't you see? After a hundred-odd times of asking and me willing, it seemed like one of the family I was -- and all that money going for the want of just a little message.


JIM: (HURT) So you wanted the money? Ah, you spoil my dreaming. I won't touch a penny. Not a penny!


PEGGY: (REASSURING) Oh, it'll be a nice thing to fall back upon, sure, and the school fees and all so heavy. Sure, maybe some seasons will be good and some bad, but it's not in me to let our children run wild and no education along of a poor harvest, now. 


JIM: Well, I'm hanged if I give up the water-butt with the clematis! I'm going to earn my living by the sweat of my brow. 


PEGGY: (A LITTLE DESPERATE) Well, you can work still! Isn't it now that you can buy a farm of your own and work till the sweat of your brow makes furrows down your face in the dust of the day? (A HELPFUL OFFER) Sure, you can buy my farm. And I'll teach you all about it, and no widow woman waiting to waylay you, and your heart beating low for a kind word. 


JIM: (SHARPLY) All right. I'll buy your farm. I'll give you five hundred for it -- m'norca hens, speckly wy'ndots, and all. 


PEGGY: 'Tis not worth more than than two hundred.


JIM: Five's me offer.


PEGGY: Well, the farm's yours then.


JIM: (EXULTANT, WARM) Glory be, you've made a man of me. You've taught me wisdom and the joys of life.


PEGGY: (QUIETLY AMUSED) Oh, it's a mighty slow scholar you are. (BEAT, PLEASED) Hmm. (UNSENTIMENTAL) Why don't you kiss me?


JIM: Er, like this?


PEGGY: (PAUSE FOR A KISS, LIGHTLY) Ah, well, that will do for a start now.


MUSIC: CURTAIN (QUOTES "BELIEVE ME, IF ALL THOSE ENDEARING YOUNG CHARMS")


SOUND: APPLAUSE ...


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