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Zhulie

Redbook Dramas

Zhulie

Jul 14 1932



CAST:

ANNOUNCER, James Cleminger

EDWIN BALMER


ZHULIE

ROD EUSTACE

CLYDE WITHERSPOON

MISS CHESWICK

JESS

and a MURMURING MOB




ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pleasure in presenting another of the stories especially selected for us by Edwin Balmer, the distinguished editor of Redbook Magazine. Editor Balmer is here to tell you why he selected "Zhulie" by Ewing Walker for Redbook. Mr. Balmer.


BALMER: Thank you, Mr. Cleminger. Ewing Walker is a Southerner who has written some of the most unusual stories we have ever published. He is not a professional writer in the sense that he turns out stories regularly. Indeed, he writes only when he encounters a character so appealing that the story, almost in spite of himself, grows in his mind and heart. This makes a story that people seem to remember. You probably never met anyone like Zhulie, but you may be sure that Mr. Walker did, and now he passes on to you an engrossing experience.


ANNOUNCER: (PAUSE) Who could understand Zhulie, child of the Cajun swamps of Louisiana? -- the flashing eyes and windblown hair, mocking orienteers, wild as the cypress woods that were her home. Certainly, Rod Eustace, young engineer from New Orleans, could not understand her. Less could he understand his own feelings. A year he had known this child of the woodland -- and now on the eve of his departure for civilization, his emotions were strangely troubled. We find Rod in his cabin, packing his luggage preparatory for next day's river steamer.


ROD: (TO HIMSELF) Oh, there. That's done. I reckon I'm all set to go.


SOUND: KNOCK AT WINDOW


ROD: (TO HIMSELF) What's that? (CALLS) Who's at that window?


ZHULIE: (OFF, BEHIND WINDOW) It's Zhulie! It's me!


ROD: Oh, good heavens, child. Here, you can't come climbing through the window like that.


ZHULIE: (OFF) Can't I? Just watch me!


ROD: Zhulie!


ZHULIE: (OFF) Don't stop me! (A WARNING) I'll - I'll spit!


ROD: Oh, Zhulie! Nice people don't say "spit."


ZHULIE: (OFF) I ain't no nice people! (MOVES CLOSER) Well--


SOUND: ZHULIE STEPS INTO ROOM


ZHULIE: (COY) Well, here I am.


ROD: Zhulie, don't you know it's wrong for you to come here like this? People don't - don't understand.


ZHULIE: I knew you was goin' away. You're packin'. I - I wanted to tell you somethin' 'fore ya go.


ROD: All right, then.


ZHULIE: I won't say "spit" no mo'.


ROD: Now, that's a good girl.


ZHULIE: And you're goin' tomorra? For good?


ROD: Yes, Zhulie.


ZHULIE: Whyn't ya stay and marry me?


ROD: Why, I - I can't marry you, Zhulie. In the first place, you - you're too young.


ZHULIE: You're a liar! I'm 'most fifteen. You said yourself you was gonna miss me if you went away. You will miss me, won't ya?


ROD: Yes, I - I'm afraid I will, Zhulie.


ZHULIE: Then that means ya like me, don't it?


ROD: Why, of course I do.


ZHULIE: A lot?


ROD: A whole lot.


ZHULIE: Then let me come and go away with ya.


ROD: Oh, Zhulie, you don't know what you're saying.


ZHULIE: Yes, I do!


ROD: Is there nothing you're ashamed to say?


ZHULIE: Ashamed? Why should I be ashamed? I love ya, don't I?


ROD: Now, you listen to me, child. You must get out of this room. We can't marry now and you're certainly not going to come with me. Now, you run along home before somebody--


ZHULIE: (UPSET) Now I know. Now I know, you're just ashamed of me. You don't want to take me to the city. You can go to blazes, see?! I hate ya!


ROD: Zhulie, please--


ZHULIE: (WEEPS, TEARFUL) I didn't mean it. I wouldn't run away with ya. I - I just wanted to see how much you cared about me. Oh, Rod--


ROD: Go on. Say it, Zhulie.


ZHULIE: Rod, I - I love ya so.


ROD: And I love you, Zhulie. Love you too much to marry you just yet.


ZHULIE: (SURPRISED) You--? (ACCUSING, QUICKLY) Then you don't love me at all and you're a yella liar!


ROD: Oh, Zhulie. Ladies don't talk like that.


ZHULIE: I ain't no lady.


ROD: Now, you come here and listen to me. I've made up my mind. I've planned something for us.


ZHULIE: Tell me.


ROD: You are going away -- tomorrow, on the boat.


ZHULIE: With - with you?


ROD: No. No, I'll put you in charge of the captain. He'll take you to New Orleans. You'll get some clothes--


ZHULIE: I've got clothes!


ROD: I know, but these will - will be different sort of clothes. Well, you see--


ZHULIE: I see. But you think clothes are gonna change me?


ROD: No, I wouldn't have them change you, Zhulie. But where you're going, the girls wear a different kind of clothes. You're going to a girls' school to - to learn a lot of things.


ZHULIE: What things?


ROD: Oh, mathematics, and French maybe, and how to paint a little.


ZHULIE: (UNHAPPY) What you really mean is, they'll learn me to be a lady and -- if I went as I am, they'd laugh at me.


ROD: Oh, don't say that, Zhulie. You're the rarest sort of person in all the world. But someday you'll be living with that sort and if you're so different from them, why-- Don't you see? At Miss Cheswick's school--


ZHULIE: (RESIGNED, SLOWLY) All right, Rod. I'll go. I'll be ready down at my place at twelve o'clock.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


SOUND: KNOCK AT DOOR


ZHULIE: (OFF) Who's there?


ROD: We've gotta get started, Zhulie. You ready?


ZHULIE: (CLOSER) All ready. Here. Here's this here carpet bag. You got Jess to drive the car?


ROD: Yes, he's waiting at the back gate. I guess we'd-- (SURPRISED EXCLAMATION) Well, hello! What's that up the road?


SOUND: MURMUR OF APPROACHING MOB


ZHULIE: Well, will ya just look what's comin' yonder from town? Seems like the whole village come up to say goodbye. Why - why, there's that Clyde Witherspoon a-leading 'em. Look at the dust. Say!


SOUND: MOB ARRIVES ... CONTINUES MURMURING IN BG


CLYDE: You there, Zhulie?


ZHULIE: (GENUINELY SWEET) Howdy, folks. Nice day. Sure is nice of you to come all the way up here to tell me goodbye. How are ya, Clyde?


CLYDE: (STERN) We didn't come to tell you no goodbye, Zhulie. But I reckon maybe that city fella there would do well by himself if he told ya goodbye.


SOUND: MOB MURMURS AGREEMENT


ROD: (INSULTED) Just a moment, if you please. Now, you might do well by yourself if you tell me just what you mean.


CLYDE: Sure, I'll tell ya. Zhulie there ain't much more'n a gal.


ZHULIE: Ya ain't such a powerful sight of a man yourself, Clyde Witherspoon. What in Tobit do you mean comin' here like this? I been getting on first-rate these last couple o' years without no advice from such as you.


CLYDE: You ain't got no folks, gal. Us neighbors don't aim to set by and watch you get toted off by such as that engineer fella there.


ZHULIE: And just what's wrong with him?


CLYDE: You're gonna run off with him, ain't ya? Well, we ain't gonna set by and see him get away with it, that's all.


ZHULIE: Why, you dirty swamp-footed cracker! Just what do you think--?!


ROD: Easy, Zhulie. He has a pistol in his pocket.


CLYDE: You ain't gonna take that riverboat with him, see? He's gonna take it, but you ain't.


SOUND: MOB MURMURS AGREEMENT


ZHULIE: Yeah? All right, then -- listen to this!


ROD: Zhulie, don't!


CLYDE: Hey, look out! Put down that pistol, gal!


SOUND: MOB MURMURS NERVOUSLY


ZHULIE: Yeah? I reckon I know you swamp boogers! Been carryin' it in my dress for just such as you! Get back to that gate, ya fools! If the whole lot o' you ain't out o' that gate with ya hands in the air 'time I count six--! Scat!


SOUND: MURMURING MOB HURRIEDLY RETREATS


ZHULIE: (LOW, SCARED) Oh, let's go. Let's go up the back road, Rod.


ROD: (ASTONISHED, RELIEVED) Oh, Zhulie, what a girl! (CHUCKLES)


ZHULIE: (CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY, ALSO ASTONISHED AT HERSELF) Ain't we got fun?


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE


CHESWICK: So you want to put this child in my school? Now, let me tell you, Mr. Eustace, this is most irregular. Most irregular.


ROD: Oh, but, Miss Cheswick, surely you know it's all right. Why, you've known me all my life -- long before my sisters attended your school. And - and I want you to do this for Zhulie. She's a remarkable girl.


CHESWICK: You want to enter my school, young lady?


ZHULIE: Yes'm. To learn math-- (STUMBLES OVER THE WORD) --mathematics, and some French, and a little paintin'. 


CHESWICK: Well, this certainly is most irregular.


ROD: Oh, I admit it is, but we must do it. Zhulie must have her chance. Why, with two years in your splendid, wonderful school--


CHESWICK: Hmmph! Well, I'll have to see the registrar. (MOVING OFF) Excuse me a moment.


ROD: Yes, Miss--


ZHULIE: (TEARFUL) Rod? Rod, I feel like crying.


ROD: Why, Zhulie dear? Aren't you happy?


ZHULIE: I'm so happy. All these wonderful clothes and - and things. I love 'em so. And - and you'll come back and get me?


ROD: Yes, Zhulie, I'll see you often. Two years won't be long. Then we'll be married.


ZHULIE: (SAD, SKEPTICAL) Just like a dream, I reckon. The kind of dream that don't never come true.


ROD: Oh, but it will come true, Zhulie dear. You'll see. Everything's going to work out just as we want it. Oh, here comes Miss Cheswick now. Now, you try hard to--


CHESWICK: (APPROACHES) It's arranged, Mr. Eustace. She'll be enrolled at once, but I want you to understand this is most irregular. Most irregular.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ANNOUNCER: Ten months have elapsed. Once more, we find Rod on an engineering job in the Cajun country. It has been some time since he has had word from New Orleans and he awaits, with some anxiety, word from Zhulie.


ROD: (TO HIMSELF) Well, it's about time for Jess to drive up with that weekly mail. I sure hope everything's all right with Zhulie. (CHUCKLES) Oh, but Miss Cheswick will look after her. I'm just a fool to worry.


SOUND: AUTO ENGINE APPROACHES


ROD: Hello, here's Jess now.


JESS: Hello, Rod!


ROD: Hello, Jess!


JESS: Here, a letter for ya!


ROD: That's the boy! Let's have it.


JESS: Looks like Zhulie's writin'. She sure writes a fancy hand now, huh? How's she doin' in that school where ya put her?


ROD: Oh, don't you worry about Zhulie. Here, let's have the letter. (SIGHS) Excuse me a minute, will ya?


SOUND: RATTLE OF PAPER


ROD: (READS) "Dearest Rod darling, Why study French and mathematics? I know French and I shall never need mathematics in keeping house for you." (CHUCKLES, RESUMES READING) "I want to leave this place. I scarcely ever say 'spit' any more and I hardly ever swear. Miss Cheswick is a blasted old fool." (CHUCKLES, RESUMES READING) "But I wouldn't say so to her for the world. I want to leave here, Rod. I have learned all the new dances and how to say 'precious' and 'adorable,' just like the others. And I don't want to stay here any more. Come and get me. I won't stay!"


JESS: Oh, er, yeah, Rod, I 'most forgot. Just as I left the village the telegraph office asked me to bring ya this here wire.


ROD: Oh, a telegram?


JESS: Yeah. Here it is. Well, so long!


SOUND: AUTO ENGINE STARTS UP BEHIND--


ROD: (TO HIMSELF) Hmm, it's from New Orleans. Miss Cheswick. I wonder what's happened now. (READS) "Mr. Rodney Eustace, Zhulie's conduct unbearable. You must remove this person from my school at once. I can endure the situation no longer. Abigail Cheswick." (TO HIMSELF) Well, the blasted old fool. (CALLS) Oh, hey! Hey, Jess!


JESS: (OFF) Yep?!


ROD: Wait a second! I'm goin' to town right away!


SOUND: BEAT ... THEN AUTO ENGINE DEPARTS ... SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE


ROD: Oh, Miss Cheswick--


CHESWICK: Mr. Eustace, I'm glad you came at once. Something had to be done.


ROD: Zhulie's got to leave then?


CHESWICK: There is no alternative, young man. This person must go at once.


ROD: But what on Earth has she done?


CHESWICK: What hasn't she done? Certainly nothing she should have done. She's been here almost a year and practically demoralized the institution. Simply wrecked the discipline of my school. Another week with her and my establishment, with its unblemished record of forty years, would be a shambles! Simply a shambles!


ROD: Zhulie's done that? Then why--? Why on Earth didn't you put her out?


CHESWICK: To tell you the truth, I was afraid. That little spitfire would have stood outside of the school and broken every window in the place with rocks. She told me she would obey no one but you.


ROD: All right, I'll take her out of here at once. Oh, did you tell her you got my wire I was coming? 


CHESWICK: I told her this noon. (MOVING OFF) I'll go to her room and bring her here immediately.


ROD: Yes, Miss Cheswick.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


CHESWICK: (APPROACHES) Mr. Eustace! Mr. Eustace!


ROD: Well, what's happened, Miss Cheswick? What's wrong?


CHESWICK: She's gone, Mr. Eustace! She's not in her room!


ROD: Gone?! Zhulie's gone?!


CHESWICK: She's not there. She must have climbed out the window. And her things are thrown every which way. She left a note. It's for you.


SOUND: RATTLE OF PAPER


ROD: Here, let me have it, please. (READS) "I can't stand it, dear Rod. I'm not changed. And I couldn't stand to have you ashamed of me. I'm going away. Don't hunt for me; it will do you no good. I love you very much. Your Zhulie."


CHESWICK: You see?


ROD: Yes, I see all right. (MOVING OFF) I've just got enough time to catch that train.


MUSIC: BRIDGE


ANNOUNCER: Twilight lies softly in the cypress. Nearing Zhulie's cabin, Rod sees her seated in the doorway. A surprising Zhulie, as only Zhulie could always be surprising -- modish little shoes, chic little hat, a dress that made her a very different Zhulie from the one he had known here a year before.


ROD: (APPROACHES, CALLS) Zhulie? (SEES HER, PLEASED) Oh, Zhulie! Oh, Zhulie, I knew you'd be here.


ZHULIE: I saw you comin', Rod. I knew you'd come. Oh, Rod, I - I'm so ashamed.


ROD: Well, young lady, you should be.


ZHULIE: (SUDDENLY FERVENT) I'm not ashamed! I'm glad! (BITTERSWEET) You see? I didn't say 'ain't'! Aren't you proud o' yourself, the way you've educated me?


ROD: Zhulie?


ZHULIE: Mm hm?


ROD: I'm thinking of something else.


ZHULIE: What?


ROD: The way you've educated me, dear.


ZHULIE: (LOVINGLY) Oh, Rod--


ROD: Zhulie, we must get married right away.


ZHULIE: (CAGEY) I think we'd better not. Not right now.


ROD: (SURPRISED) Why not?


ZHULIE: Well, uh-- It wouldn't be "decorious" or "seemingly," as Miss Cheswick would say.


ROD: Oh, blast Miss Cheswick.


ZHULIE: (SHOCKED) Why, Rodney!


ROD: Will you or will you not?!


ZHULIE: (WARM AND HAPPY) I will.


ROD: Awww, great. Let's hurry to town and get a license.


ZHULIE: (A LITTLE EMBARRASSED) That isn't-- That isn't necessary.


ROD: Oh, well, we've got to have a license.


ZHULIE: I - I already have it.


ROD: What?!


ZHULIE: You see, Rod, I - I got it when I came through town.


ROD: (PLEASED) Why, Zhulie! Then - then I'll hurry and get the preacher -- and I'll be right back!


ZHULIE: Don't you dare look at me! I'm terribly ashamed.


ROD: But why?


ZHULIE: You needn't go for - for the preacher.


ROD: Oh, but, Zhulie dear, we must have a preacher!


ZHULIE: But, Rod dear, I - I already have one -- waitin' in the house.


ROD: (LAUGHS)


MUSIC: CURTAIN ... MENDELSSOHN'S "WEDDING MARCH"


ANNOUNCER: Redbook gave us special permission to broadcast this delightful story, "Zhulie," written by Ewing Walker. Next week at this same time, we take pleasure in announcing that we will present another story in dramatic form from Redbook.


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