Authors
Wilbur Daniel Steel
Publisher
Date
1930
Distributor
Identification Number
11.7-11.8
Genre
Exhibit
Document Type
Work

Ropes

0

ROPES

By
Wilbur Daniel Steele
Screen Story1 & Dialogue

ROPES

CHARACTERS

JENNY BLAKE (Mary Nolan)
A girl of about 20. Flippant and pleasure loving, dance and boy mad, pretty and sexy. Lightheaded and vain. The kind of girl men go crazy about. Beneath her flighty ways, Jenny has a warm loveable nature.
Jenny is a product of the east side of New York. To her the noises and smells of New York, the teaming millions means –home and joy.
PAUL WHALEN
About 27 or 28. A young life guard. Fine, athletic type. Big hearted, frank and square shooting by nature.
Born in a light-house, and loving nature and the sea.
JIM PAINE (Eddie Phillips?)
About 30 years of age. A big animal.
Jealous and selfish—ruthless and cominant.
KITTY LEWIS
A fairly pretty and colorless type of girl. In love with Jim. Will take any amount of snubs from him. Not a bad sort. Just a nonentity, yet a sort of faithful, sticking type. Jim can’t shake her.
LITTLE PAULIE WHALEN
2 years old. Pretty but delicate. Born in lighthouse.
SAM LOWENSTEIN
Whose little boy Paul rescues from drowning.
People on the public beach. Jen’s young friends—boys and girls &c.

Sets for Ropes

1. PUBLIC BEACH---Coney, Brighton, Venice, Santa Monica---wherever we decide.
        At the beach:
        a.Life guard look-out station.
        b. Siren pole. on beach
        c. Hot dog and hamburger shack.
2. PUBLIC DANCE HALL ON PIER
3. BEACH STREET
        All we need is the outside of the window of Justice of Peace as described in adaptation.
4. Exterior
LIGHTHOUSE
        a. LIVING ROOM
        B. TOWER WITH THE BIG LIGHT
        c. PLATFORM
        d. BEDROOM
5. Small beach harbor for boats.
6. The open sea.
1
Treatment and dialogue by:
WINNIFRED REEVE
From P. 1 to 38, this is all new, original material by Reeve. Also last sequences practically original except for block incident.2

ROPES

By
WILBUR DANIEL STEELE

SEQUENCE I.

        FADE IN
        Life-Guard Look-out Station
        This is a small structure (on scaffolding) about fifteen feet from the ground.
        These posts are maintained along the Public Beaches. They are the look-out stations from which the life guards scan the water, for people who may have gone beyond the danger lines.
        Two young Life guards are in the Station. They wear dark bathing suits, with the caption: U.S. LIFE GUARD in white letters across the breasts.
        One of them, a splendid young specimen of athletic manhood, is Paul Whalen. Through a pair of field glasses, Paul is scrutinizing the somewhat rough waves of the sea. Quite casually the glasses sweep the Beach and come to rest upon a girl – the center of a gay group.
        Show the girl Paul is looking at through glasses.
        She is a young slip of a thing. In the bathing suit. Pretty as a wildflower, laughing like a crazy kid, ready for any devilment. A slamgy, lightheaded light hearted girl.
2
        She is holding a large ball above her head, and her eyes sweep the circle of fellows all calling to her to throw the ball to them.
        Look-out station. Paul is smiling as he looks through glasses. The other boy, also with glasses, is looking through them at the water.
LIFE GUARD
The water’s pretty rough.
PAUL
Look at that girl.
LIFE GUARD
And there’s a powerful undertow off there.
PAUL
Say, Bill – look at her – isn’t she pretty?
        He nudges Bill and the latter reluctantly turns from the water and turns his glasses to the beach.
        PUBLIC BEACH – a type not unsimilar to Crystal Pier, Coney, Bridghton, or wherever we decide to lay our story – east or west coast. Preferably the east.
        It is a hot summer day, and scores of people have come to the beach for relief.
        We do not show the adjoining concessions, but we hear their noises and music. We do show part of the board walk, with its line of hot dog and hamburger shacks and the people strolling along.
        This being a Public beach, there are all sorts conditions of types.
3
        Young couples sprawled in profusion every place. Quaintly bawdy.
        Pretty girls and homely ones. Lithe limbed boys and youths running here and there indulging in acrobatics and beach sports. Valuable checks and keys attached to bare legs by leathern thongs. Fat men and woman.
        Striped unbrellas and tents pepper the beach. Lunches are spread on the ground – picnic parties etc.
        The sough of the waves and the noise of the surf, gusts of wind, mingle with the music of the carousel, shouts and cries of hot dog, peanut, popcorn and marshmallow vendors, screeches of laughter, shouts and calls.
        A score of people are in the water. Some are fair swimmers, but most of the bathers hug the shore, clinging to the ropes and jumping with the pounding waves. Children everywhere. Also dogs.
        We come to the group of young people who are playing handball. Jenny Hall is the pretty girl, with the huge beach ball held above her head.
        We notice particularly JIM PAINE a dark browed, big fellow. He is Jenny’s “steady,” or considers himself so. He is jealous of everyone that looks at Jenny. At this time they are calling to her, or whistling.
        “Heh Jen, throw it to me!”
        “This way, kid!”
        “My turn.”
        “I’m your boy friend.”
        One of the girls, a plump girl named Kitty calls:
3a
KITTY
        Throw it to the one you love best, Jen!
        Instantly there is an anticipatory mock leaping around and we see however, that Jim Pane fully expects that Jen is hoping to throw the ball to him.
        Just to be contrary however, Jen singles out little Lindy Moore, a homely, thin little fellow.
JEN
        Ketch him, Lindy.
She throws the ball to Lindy. There is a united dash for Lindy. We see him running fleetly, the little mob at his heel. He goes down before the onslaught. It is all rough and tumble beach play, but not so in the case of Jim Paine. Sore at his girl, contemptuous of Lindy, he has hurled himself upon him. Lindy is holding to the ball tenaciously and is unprepared for Jim’s brutal grasp. The latter shakes him as if he were a rat terrier, takes the ball from him and then deliberately pounds Lindy’s face into the sand. Having inflicted fire punishment he rises and turns back to Jen, who is blazing.
JIM
        Here you are Jen!
Throws the ball to the girl. She ignores it. It rolls along the ground.
JEN
        I’m not playing any more.
        She turns and walks off. Jim follows, catches up to her.
JIM
        Lets have another dip.
4
JEN
        No. I don’t want to.
JIM
        You ain’t sore at me, are you?
JEN
        Yes I am, if you want to know.
JIM
        Just because I give that little runt a knock or two.
JEN
        Well, why did you? Who don’t you pick on a fellow your own size?
JIM
        I’ll pick on any one who poaches on my preserves.
Jen stops and stares at him in angry amazement.
JEN
        What do you mean by preserves?
JIM (Grinning possessively)
        You! You’re my girl, ain’t you?
JEN
        Is that so. How do you get that way?
JIM (a bit crestfallen)
        We been going together for two months now.
Jen’s two hands go to her hips. Her attitude is beligerant.
JEN
        I laugh in your face. I’ve gone with better fellows than you longer than that, and I’m fed up on your jealous tempers.
        She turns away. Jim starts to remonstrate. They move along the beach, arguing and quarrelling.
5
LIFE GUARD STATION
        Bill is looking off intently through glasses at sea. We see his back tensing. He turns to Paul.
BILL
        Kid in the undertow!
Instantly Paul drops his glasses and springs into action. At the same time, we see Bill work the lever and we cut to the Siren in the center of the Beach. This is a tall white pole, at the top of which is the siren. It connects by wire with the life guard post.
THE BEACH
        Closeup of the siren. We hear its terrific screeching. It is similar to the Police and ambulance and fire alarms, but kept up indefinitely – in fact until the endangered person in the water is either brought in or lost.
        From all parts of the beach people are running toward the siren and down to the shore which is now lined with the bathers. We hear their exclamations:
        “Someone’s drowning!”
        “It’s a child!”
        Some women scream or faint.
        From the life guard station and from various parts of the beach we see the life guards charging. A boat is launched but several of3 the guards take no chances and dive straight into the water, making for where the child has gone under.
        A magnificent swimmer,4 Paul is ahead of the others.
6
ON THE BEACH.
        A large woman is screaming frantically.
WOMAN
        Abie! Abie! It’s my little Abie!
        The father is almost as hysterical as his wife. He runs up and down futilely.
        Jenny and her friends are watching the lifeguards swimming for the child. Jenny is all excitement. She has not failed to note the splendid looking young life guard who is swimming ahead of his fellows.
        In the water, Paul has almost reached the child, when a log, borne by a mighty wave, smites him squarely between the eyes. For a moment he goes under. He comes up again; reaches out for the bobbing head, manages to grasp the child. The life boat comes alongside, and the child, sputtering, but not much the worse for his experience is taken aboard, as well as Paul.
NOTE: Anyone who has been on a public beach will be familiar with the above circumstances. There is always some such rescue, and the alarming screech of the siren is an exciting diversion.
        There is the usual scene of the child brought to beach. The overjoyed parents, etc. Only the father notices the life guard who has saved his child. He rushes up to Paul, seizes both his hands and volubly thanks him. Running back to tent, he digs up a card, gives it to Paul and tells him any time he needs a friend to come to him.
        We should show this card.
        Paul is really feeling the strain, not so much of the rescue of the child but the blow from the log. The man asks
7
him about it but Paul says it is nothing. He’ll just stretch out a bit on the beach and be O.K. soon.
        He stretches out under the slight shade of the siren pole. Lies on his stomach, his head on his arms.
        A rescue on a public beach is a detail and the bathers are soon dispersing to their various places. Jenny and her friends come back to their umbrella. Jim is at Jen’s elbow. Jen is all enthusiasm now.
JEN
I’m just thrilled to pieces.
        Wasn’t he gorgeous?
JIM
        What do you mean – gorgeous – who was?
JEN
        Why that life-guard – the way he rescues that child. Did you see that log hit him – and it didn’t feaze him. He went right after the kid.
JIM
        Say listen, that’s what he’s paid for. He’s a life guard, ain’t he? Anyone can swim out and pull a kid from the water. That’s nothing to rave about.
JEN
        I’d like to see you do it.
JIM
        I don’t have to. My uncle’s head of the whole works. He’s superintendent of –
JEN
        Quit your braggin’ Jim. Go on in and take a dip.
JIM
        How about a hot dog?
8
JEN
        No thanks. I’m not hungry.
JIM
        Ice cream – soda? what you like?
JEN
Nothing.
        She throws herself down on the sand, stretches herself out. The girl Kitty is there also. The boys and the other girls are all going in for another dip and they call to Jim to come along. He wants Jen with him.
JIM
        Come on Jen. We’re goin’ in the water again.
JEN (Sleepily)
        I’m not. I’m going to stay right here and go to sleep.
Jim and the rest of them go running down to beach and into the water.
        Jenny has maneuvered around so that stretched out on the sand her face comes directly in line with the young life guard Paul, also, stretched out on sand, his forehead resting on his crossed arms. Jen knows he must look up presently. Kitty is wearing white duck pants over her legs. 5 She looks at Jen and hesitates. Presently she nudges her.
KITTY
        Jen.
Jenny is watching the life guard. She has even edged a bit nearer to him. She’ll be right there when he wakes – if he is asleep.
JEN (Absently)
        Yeh?
9
KITTY
        Why’nt you leave Jim Pain alone?
JEN
        How do you mean – leave him alone?
KITTY
        Well – you got all the fellows stuck on you, and you don’t care anything about him – you know you don’t.
JEN
        I dunno about that. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. He certainly gets my goat with his jealousy.
KITTY
        Before you come along, Jim and I were going together. Now he can’t see me for dust.
JEN
        Aw! That’s too bad. I didn’t know that.6
KITTY (Pleadingly)
        Well, you know now. Couldn’t you shake him --
JEN
        That’d be easy, wouldn’t it – I don’t think. Jim’s just about as persistent and ugly as a bull dog.
KITTY
        Yes, but if you started going steady with another fellow, he’d be frozen out.
JEN
        Where’s the other fellow?
KITTY
        Gee! They’re around you like flies – all the time.
10
JEN
But I don’t give two darns to any of them. However – don’t worry, I’ll think about it for – your sake.
Kitty puts her head under the shade of the beach umbrella. Her legs, in beach pajamas are stretched out in the sun.
KITTY
        Guess I’ll take a snooze –
        She lies back drowsily and closes her eyes.
        Jen soon forgets Kitty. She is watching Paul eagerly. She edges still nearer. Their heads are only a few paces from each other. As Paul raises his head, he finds himself looking into the face of the girl he had been admiring through the glasses. They are both lying face down, heads raised. They look at each other, and then both of them laugh. Jenny raises herself to elbow. She is not in her element, flirting. Paul watches her delightedly. Jen pretends to edge back, as if she had trespassed upon his part of the beach.
PAUL
        Don’t go! Please don’t go.
JEN
        But this is your place.
PAUL (Smiling)
        No it’s not – it’s yours.
        Jenny laughs. The little awkward silence follows a flirtation of this sort, neither knowing quite what to say or do. Then Paul gets an inspiration.
PAUL
        How about a hot dog?
JEN (She is chewing gum)
        Goody! I’m starvin’. I could eat a horse.
10a
They both laugh. He helps her to her feet. Jen looks down at Kitty.
JEN (In whisper to Paul)
        Guess she’s asleep --
PAUL
        Don’t wake her – whatever you do –
        They both giggle and slip off toward boardwalk.
His hand under her elbow, they move across to the boardwalk, step across the little stone fence.
11
HOT DOG SHACK
        This is the usual open air affair. Paul manages to get a couple of stools for himself and Jen.
PAUL to waiter - look.7
        Two dogs with all the works.
We see the man cooking the weinerwursts, toasting the rolls, etc. on the counter stove. We see the heaped up chopped onions, lettuce leaves, tomatos, pickles, etc. and the rows of pies, bottles of soft drinks, etc. As their “dogs” are cooking, Jen and Paul are smiling at each other. Paul buys a coupld of bottles of pop and they sip through straws in bottles. As they sip their pop:
JEN
        You been on this beach long?
PAUL
        Since the season opened.
JEN
        That so? Funny I never saw you before.
PAUL
        I’ve seen you everytime you been at the beach.
JEN
        You have? How’d you notice me in a big crowd like this?
PAUL
        Any one’d notice you.
JEN (Dimpling and fishing for compliments)
        Why?
PAUL
        Because you’re so pretty.
12
JEN
        You’re kiddin’ me. Theres hundreds prettier’n me.
PAUL
        No they’re not. And then you always seem to be havin’ such a lot of fun.
JEN
        Well life’s fun anyway, isn’t it?
PAUL
        Since I met you – yes – it is!
JEN
        Go on – now!
The waiter slaps down the hot dog sandwiches before them. They talk as they eat, their eyes above the sandwiches, their mouths full.
JEN
        Where do you live?
PAUL
        Right here – at the beach.
JEN
        I mean, where’s your home?
PAUL
        I haven’t any.
JEN
        Well you must’ve been born somewhere. (They both laugh)
PAUL
        I was born in a lighthouse.
JEN
        Honest?
13
JEN
        Honest?
PAUL
        Honest. My father was a lighthouse keeper. Where were you born?
JEN
        East side – old New York. Right down among all the smells and the noises.
PAUL
        That’s pretty tough.
JEN
        I don’t see why. I like noises. I even like to hear the ‘L’ and the Subway. When I was a kid I spent half my life on the sidewalks with the hurdy gurdies and dancing.
PAUL
        Like dancing, do you?
JEN
        And how! Don’t you?
PAUL
        Well, I’m kind of a heavy weight. Guess I need some lessons.
JEN
        I’m a swell – teacher!8
They both burst out laughing at this as if it were some very brilliant sally.
        Jim and the rest of the party are coming out of the water and back up the beach toward their place. Arrived there, Jim at once misses Jen. Kitty seems to be asleep. He gives her
14
a prod with his foot.
JIM
        Where’s Jen?
KITTY (Sleepily)
        Dunno.
        Jim scowls. Looks about at the various people stretched out on the beach – peers under an umbrella. He starts calling:
JIM
        Jen! Jen! Jen!
HOT DOG SHACK
        Jen and Paul are licking ice cream cones.
JEN
        Listen! That’s Jim Paine. He’s calling me.
PAUL
        Who is he?
JEN
        A friend.
PAUL
        A very particular friend?
JEN
        No – nothin’ like that.
        (Innocently)
        I haven’t any particular friend.
She gives him a sad, seductive look.
PAUL (Falling)
        You have too!9
JEN
        Who?10
PAUL
        You know darn well – (means himself) 11
15
Jim, more and more irritated is roaring.
JIM
        Jen! Where the heck are you, Jen!
JEN
        Listen to him, will you. Let’s duck!
They slip off stools ad are sneeking around the back of people on boardwalk, when the irate Jim who has come to the edge sees them. He comes tramping across to Jen, seizes her arm.
JIM
        Where’ve you been? Didn’t you hear me callin’ you?
JEN
        Let go my arm. I been right here – having a dog and –
Holds out ice cream cone.
JIM
        Thought you said you wasn’t hungry – didn’t want no dog or ice cream.
JEN
        I changed my mind. Let go my arm. Oh, by the way, shake hands with –
She doesn’t know Paul’s name. He supplies it, smiling.
PAUL
        Whalen’s my name – Paul Whalen.
The two men shake hands roughly, Jim glaring at Paul, and the latter smiling. Jen is wickedly enjoying the situation. She goes tripping ahead of them – off toward their umbrella – deserting them both.
JIM
        Thanks for the dog and the ice-cream for – my girl.
16
PAUL
Your girl?
JIM
        That’s what I said.
        Suddenly the siren begins to screech again, and there is the usual running and excitement. Jim looks sneeringly at Paul.
JIM
        Better get on your job. There’s another kid for you to pull out of the water.
        Paul, enraged, starts toward him, and then as the siren continues, we see him wheel around and he starts running for the water.
        FADE OUT.
17

SEQUENCE II.

        This is a Public Dance Hall on one of the concessions on the pier. It is a big, rough structure. Around the sides are booths, with tables and chairs for light refreshments and soft drinks.
        Admission to the dance floor is by tickets that are dropped into a slot similar to the old street car arrangements. A detailed description of this dance hall later.
        We must keep in mind that this is a Public dance Hall. No high class sort of thing, though some swells are among the dancers.
        All types of people are here. Working girls with their fellows – sailors and chauffeurs – soldiers, clerks out for a good time are in sweaters and sports clothes, or in the flimsy finery.
        The floor is packed. The music deafening. Band music. Couples clinched together dancing in limited space. Fat and skinny men and women and girls and youths of all ages and all sizes. In fact the types one sees in a Public dance hall.
        In one of the booths – or at a side table, show Jim and Kitty. Jim is in a dark mood, Kitty watching him anxiously.
KITTY
        Jim ---
JIM
        Well?
KITTY
        I’d like a turn in the fun house.
JIM
        I’m staying here.
18
KITTY
        You’re just waitin’ for Jen.
JIM
        Well, suppose I am?
KITTY
        A lot of good it’ll do you. Paul’s got her clinched. They’ve been goin’ together for two two weeks now.
JIM
        You can’t tell me nothin’ about Jen. I know her. Before that bird come along, she was eatin’ out of my hand.
He curses under his breath, then leaning across he brings his heavy fist down on the table.
JIM
        And before I’m through with her she’ll come when I whistle for her – see! With him out of the way --
KITTY (Fearfully)
        How you goin’ to get him out of the way?
Jim winks one eye.
JIM
        You leave it to me!
Kitty looks scared
        We go to the opposite side of the dance hall, and we see coming in Jen and Paul. They both look very nice. Jen is in a little shoddy dress, very short and very scimpy – also very pretty – a cheap edition of something late and ultra in style. Paul is wearing white trousers and a pull over sweater. He wears no hat. We get the impression almost immediately that they are in love. Some snappy dance music. We see Jen moving
19
to the motions and keeping time before they are even on the floor. She is dance mad, and the mere sound of the music gets in her blood. She cannot resist it. Her eyes quest Paul’s. Paul smiles – holds out his arms, and they are off. They assume one of the common attitudes – the girls’ arm almost encircling the man’s neck. She raises her face. They look at each other as they dance.
        Back to Jim and Kitty.
KITTY (Anxiously)
        Jim, you aren’t plottin’ to do any harm to Paul are you?
JIM (With scorn)
        Gimme credit for having a nut.
        (Knocks head)
        If you’ll keep your trap shut, I’ll tell you a thing or two.
KITTY
        Did I ever doublecross you, Jim?
JIM
        Now listen. He got a bad crack on his head that day he pulled the kid out of the water -- see.
KITTY
        Yes. I heard he’s been having headaches and laid him off.
JIM12
        I know all about that. I got the low down from the Service doctor.
        Now the doctor says to him: ‘You got to get to some quiet place and rest up. If you got to work, then get a job that’s not too strenuous and whatever you do – take it easy’.
20
KITTY
        How can he do that? He’s got to work.
JIM
        Hold your horses will you? I’m comin’ to that.
Back to the dance floor. Jen and Paul dancing.
JEN (As they dance)
        Paul?
PAUL
        Yes, Jen?
JEN
        Like dancin’ with me?
PAUL
        You betchu. It’s next door to bein’ in heaven.
JEN (Snugging closer and with blissful sigh)
        Isn’t it, though? Paul?
PAUL
        Yes Jen?
JEN
        You don’t care about dancin’ with other girls, do You?
PAUL
        There’s only one girl in the world for me.
JEN
        Who is she?
PAUL
        Guess.
JEN
        I can’t.
21
Paul gives her a squeeze. They almost stop dancing, to the amused irritation of couples around them.
PAUL
        The girl I love.
They collide against a couple. They are almost in the Seventh Heaven, but Jen still feels that there’s some reserve there.
JEN
        If you love her – why don’t you marry her?
PAUL (Joyously)
        I intend to.
JEN
        Sooner the better. We already got the license.
PAUL
        When they laid me off I felt I didn’t have the right to marry ‘till I was on my feet again.
JEN
        Well, it’s only for two weeks. You’ll soon be back.
PAUL
        No – I’ll not be back there, Jen. The season’s about over. But I got something better up my sleeve.
JEN
        What is it?
PAUL
        It’s a swell little job, Jen. It’ll be grand for a filler in, an’ until I’m O.K. again.
22
JEN
        Well, what is the job? Why don’t you tell me?
PAUL
        I promised the fellow that’s gettin’ it for me that I’d keep mum about it.
Jen looks petulant.
JEN
        That’s just too bad about you and him. Who is he, anyway?
PAUL (Hesitating)
        Jim Paine.
Jen stops dancing. Paul pulls her to one side. She stares up at him wide eyed.
JEN
        You aren’t thinkin’ of takin’ any favors from Jim Paine, are you?
PAUL
        Why Jen – he’s been darned friendly.
JEN
        Ye-oh?
She is sceptical and a bit worried. Jen and Paul dancing again. BACK TO Jim and Kitty now watching Jen and Paul dancing. There is murder in Jim’s13 soul.
KITTY
        They do dance well, don’t they
JIM
        They won’t be dancin’ much longer together.
KITTY14
        What do you mean?
23
JIM
        He’s going to a place where there ain’t no dancing. – Come on. –
Jim and Kitty are now also dancing.
        We show alternately the two couples. As Jen sees Jim coming, she deliberately maneuvers so that they keep out of reach of each other.
JEN
        Let’s have some fun. Let’s dodge ‘em. They’re tryin’ to catch up to us.
They swing further away as if not seeing Jim.
        Jim is forging his way through the packed floor, in that bull dog hoggish way of some type15 of big dancers.
        Jen feels vindictive.
PAUL
        Jen, just a minute. I got to get some word from Jim. He told me he’d let me know tonight.
JEN
        Are you dancin’ with me or him?
PAUL
        But listen, Jen, a lot depends on what he says. Don’t you see – if I get that job –
JEN
        Yes?
PAUL
        Then you and I –
Jen’s eyes brighten. She comprehends. Nods. Jim and Kitty are now right near them.
PAUL
        Hello there!
23a 16
JIM
        Hello yourself –
Jen and Kitty also wave and call across to each other.
The two couples are now dancing in a congested space.
PAUL (As they dance)
        Any word, Jim?
JIM
        Sure.
PAUL (Anxiously)
        Well?
JIM
        It’s O.K. You get the job.
PAUL
        Fine. Did you hear that Jen?
        Jim got me the job.
Jenny doesn’t answer.
        The couples swing apart and then come abreast again.
JIM
        You’re to report at eight tomorrow.
PAUL
        Great. I’ll not forget this. You’ve been one fine friend, Jim.
JIM (Out of corner of mouth)
        That’s O.K.
        Jen is trying to attract Paul’s attention and as the eager young fellow seems bent on talking with Jim, she pinches his hand to make him aware of her. He looks down at her. Laughs.
PAUL
        Isn’t that great news, kid? One Hundred per month and everything found. House, food, even uniform. You can’t beat it. It’s a swell chance.
24
JEN
        Paul, swing out, will you?
PAUL
        Don’t want to dance any more?
JEN
        No. Don’t let Jim and Kitty get wise to it – but let’s slip out. I got a plan.
They manage to edge away and are presently out of sight in the press of dancers. They now leave the dance floor. Jen is didging behind people. She doesn’t want Jim to see them. Paul of course, is at her elbow, or following. On the floor Jim is craning his neck. He scratches his head as he misses them.
A little street.
17
We do not need to show the whole of this street. The idea is to give the impression that it is a business street of a beach town
NOTE: Now in Geenwich, Conn., in Reno, Nevada and in some other places where divorce and marriage is a commercial enterprize, there are rows of shops with cards and signs and placards of Justices of the Peace in window.
I’ve seen illustrated placards, with turtle doves and clasped hands, above legends18 of this sort:
MARRY IN A MINUTE
        In other shops – the combined business of marriage brokers and jewelers flourish, and wedding rings are displayed conspicuously, on velvet cushions.
        Jen and Paul are looking in at the window of some such place. Jen has managed to lead Paul there.
25
JEN
        Aren’t those rings nice?
PAUL
        They look good to me.
JEN
They’re19 only Ten Dollars.
PAUL
        Cheap as dirt.
JEN (Cuddling cheek against his arm)
        And we already got the license.
PAUL (A bit anxious)
        But Jen – I ought to go ahead and look over the works. Mebbe you wouldn’t like it where I’m goin’ --
JEN
        I’d like any place where you are, Paul.
PAUL (Thinking)
        It’s powerful lonesome at times.
JEN
        Paul Whalen, I wouldn’t be lonesome with you, if we were at the North Pole. D’you understand?
        (As they talk we hear all the dizzy sounds and noises of a nearby pleasure resort – the carousel, the barker’s shouts and the screams of laughter and the rest).
        Jen tugs at his arm. Paul looks down gravely at her. Then he puts his arm manfully about her. They move to the door, enter.
        FADE OUT.
26
        Back at the Dance Hall Jim and Kitty are standing on the outside of the dancefloor. Jim is scowling.
JIM (Masking fury) Paul and Glen enter, etc20
        Where you been?
PAUL
        Just slipped out a minute.
Jen, now that she has hooked Paul, feels a bit pleasanter to Jim.
JEN
        Aren’t you and Kitty dancing?
JIM
        No. I was waitin’ for you. Thought you’d dance with me for a change.
JEN
        I’ve got a permanent dancing date, now, Jim.
JIM (Hoarsely)
        What ‘ya mean?
For answer Jen holds up her hand. We see the wedding ring. Jim takes this big. We see him grasping after control of himself.
KITTY (Joyfully)
        Jen! You and Paul aren’t married.
PAUL
        That’s just what we are. Want to see the marriage certificate?
He proudly shows it. Kitty kisses Jen. The two girls hug each other. Paul is too happy to realize the condition of Jim.
KITTY (To Jim)
        Come on, Jim. Be a sport. Wish them happiness.
27
JIM
        Sure.
Paul holds out hand.
PAUL
        Shake on that, Pal.
As they shake hands, Paul adds with real emotion:
PAUL
        If it wasn’t for you, Jim, I wouldn’t have had Jen. But when you got me that job, well we thought we could afford to tie up.
JIM
        That job?
He begins to laugh. His laugh is a strange croak.
JIM
        That job!
He swings around on Jen.
JIM
        YOU goin’ with him?
JEN
        I’ll say I am.
        Jim throws back his head and laughs more. Paul and Jen and Kitty stare at him. He masters himself and then starts roaring again.
PAUL
        What’s there so funny about it?
JIM
        I was tryin’ to feature Jen – in a lighthouse!
        He chokes.
28
        Jim’s diabolical mood has moved to another phase. He is looking at Jen.
JIM
        Well, how about it? Do I kiss the bride?
JEN
        Why not?
        Paul like most bridegrooms is reluctant to permit this but obliged to be reconciled.
PAUL
        O.K. with me, only don’t let me see you.
He turns his back.
Jim approaches Jen. For a moment their glances cross, and we see Jen’s eyes enlarged with something like fear. Jim has a savage grin21 on his face. Suddenly he seizes her, crushes her in his arms, and his mouth crashes down on hers in a fierce and furious kiss. A long moment; then almost he throws her from him. He turns on his heel and strides off. We should have a closeup of Jen’s face. She makes an unconscious motion with her hand as though to wipe or hold the kiss upon her bitten lips. Her eyes are shining. She is tingling from head to foot.
        FADE OUT.
29

SEQUENCE III.

        LONG SHOT of a Light House on rocks. It is dusk. We get the effect of utter isolation. Waves dashing against rocks, roar of the surf sea-gulls flying about the tower, etc.
        Dissolve into the living room of the lighthouse. It is a bare, rough plastered circular room with windows like port holes on a ship.
        A large solid door (Center) swinging inward, discloses when open, a narrow crone platform, and beyond it the upper strakes of a dory swung from davits.
        At right a spiral iron stair leads through an open well from below and winds up through the ceiling to the higher regions of the tower.
        Another door opens into the bedroom. Detailed description later.
        At first it seems as if no one were in the room. Then presently we concentrate on the single figure at the window. It is a young woman – her back to the camera. We get the effect of moodiness and depression. It is a subdued and changed Jen. Withal her listlessness, there is something tense and rebellious about her, as though she has never resigned herself to her fate.
Go now to the LAMP TOWER.
        This is another circular room, showing the huge lamp of the lighthouse in center – the platform surrounding the lamp; the windows on all sides giving to the sea.
        Paul is lighting the lamp. He does this very methodically and expertly. In contrast to Jen’s mood, he seems to be quite
29a22
cheerful, for as he lights the lamp he is whistling.
        However, once it is lit, he squints up at it uncertainly, and the whistling wavers. Apparently his mind is distracted by something. He leaves the tower, and starts down the spiral
3023
stairs, resuming his whistling.
        CUT NOW to the Interior of the bedroom of the lighthouse. This is rudely but not uncomfortably furnished. Detail description later.
        Show little Paulie, a child of about two, in the cot alongside the main bed in the room.
        Paulie is a pretty child but delicate. She has been put to bed but is peevish and restless and keeps tossing the covers off.
        BACK to living room.
        Jen is still looking out of the window. We hear Paul’s whistling outside door. Jen does not stir. Paul comes in. The door bangs to behind him. Paul sets down his lantern, goes to Jen. He puts his arm about her. He looks out.
        A marvelous sunset is making the sky a sea of Mother of Pearl and gold. We hear the low rumble of the waves. A wind blowing –
PAUL
        What you doin’ darling?
JEN (Listlessly)
        Nothing.
PAUL
        Lookin’ at the water? Looks great, doesn’t it?
JEN
        I wasn’t lookin’ at the water.
PAUL
        Isn’t that sunset wonderful Jen?
3124
JEN
        Don’t talk to me about sunsets. I don’t care if I never see another one again.
PAUL
        But I thought that was why you were lookin’ out of the window. There’s nothing else to see but the water – and the sunset.
JEN (With bitter laugh)
        Nothing else is right. I wasn’t looking at neither of them. I was trying to see the lights of the city. --- Sometimes on clear nights you can see them – or their reflection. The lights of New York!
        Paul, very grave, looks at her without speaking. Jen is a prey to the most restless and tormented of moods. She begins to pace the narrow confines of the room.
JEN
        You talk of your water and your sunsets. She stops in her pacing and smites her fist on her breast.
        What do I care for water and sunsets. I like people – I like things! I – I--
PAUL
        I know it dear, and I never meant that we’d stay here so long – three years now –
        (brightening)
        But it won’t be much longer. Jim’s promised me my transfer for shore duty.
        Jen swings around, her eyes narrowing with an almost furious sneer.
JEN
        Don’t make me laugh. Jim Paine’s got us just where he wants us. He put us here in the first place – and he’ll take care that here we’ll stay. Don’t tell me anything about Jim Paine.
3225
PAUL
        That’s hardly fair, Jen. After all Jim’s been a darned good friend.
        Jen laughs harshly.
Paul brushes hand nervously across brow.
        The Bedroom.
        Little Paulie is sitting up in bed.
PAULIE (Calling)
        Mummie! Mummie!
She keeps on calling.
PAUL
        Paulie’s calling, Jen.
JEN
        Ye-oh – I hear her.
She moves listlessly to door. Opens it.
JEN
Now you lie right down and go to sleep.
PAULIE
        I want a dink of milk, Mummie.
JEN
        All right.
        She goes back into living room. Little Paulie clambers out of bed and barefooted, comes out into room.
        Jen has opened a cupboard. She forages on the shelf and brings out a bottle with the dregs of some stale milk. She looks at it, pours some into cup, tastes it.
JEN
        Sour of course.
        She thrusts the bottle roughly back. Turning she sees the baby.
33
JEN
        What’re you doin’ out here, you bad girl? You get right back into bed.
PAUL
        Here! Come to Daddy.
        I’ll hold her while you fix the milk, Jen.
        Jenny takes out can of condensed milk. Prepares it with water. Brings it to Paulie. Paulie tastes, makes a wry face and pushes it from her.
PAULIE
        Don’ like!
        Jenny stares at her. The milk is dripping from the can. We can see that Jenny’s strange mood is mounting. She violently throws the can on the floor.
JEN
        Who would like it? Who – I ask you? Milk! Milk! In a nasty old can. Milk – for a baby -- look at her – peaked and sallow.
        Pau’s eyes are straining. As Jen speaks he stands up, the baby in his arms. Paulie begins to howl, as a baby will when a grown up is raging. Her cries mingle with the torrent that comes from Jen, and the blowing of the wind – the beating of the waves. Jen, like many another mother, is wild at the crying.
JEN
        Keep still! Will you? What are you bawlin’ about, I say –
        Paul soothes the sobbing child, carries it to bed room. As he moves with baby in arms across the room, we get the first impression that he is almost uncertain of his direction.
34
        Jen, still in her wild mood, leans against the wall, a prey to tormenting thoughts.
INSIDE THE BEDROOM
        Paul lays the baby in the bed. It’s little arms go about his neck. He tucks her in.
PAUL
        There, there, baby. Don’t cry. We’ll have nice fresh milk for you in the morning.
LIVING ROOM
        Paul comes out. We see him fumbling along the wall. He makes his way uncertainly across the room to his seat at table.
JEN
        It’s a joke on us about the milk, isn’t it?
Paul doesn’t answer.
        A joke that we got to do without it like we got to do without everything else – on a lighthouse.
Paul does not answer.
JEN
        We’re like trapped things in a cage – that’s what we are. Trapped! Trapped! trapped!
        (She is nearly hysterical)
        Well, why don’t you say something? Why don’t you speak, instead of starin’ at me like a dummy.
PAUL
        I was just thinkin’ Jen.
JEN
        You’re great on thinkin’ ain’t you.
35
PAUL
        I was thinkin’ how soon we could arrange for you and Paulie to go back to the land.
Jen becomes strangely quiet. She looks at Paul questioningly. Now that she is about to have her way, she begins to feel nervous about it.
JEN
        You’re talkin’ through your hat. There’s no chance for us to get away.
PAUL
        We might be able to arrange it.
        A vertical line comes between his eyes. We see they are straining painfully, as though he were trying to see Jen.
JEN (Contritely)
        Don’t mind me Paul – I didn’t mean anything. All women get the nerves sometimes.
PAUL
        What you said is true. A woman’s got to be with people – have pretty things.
Jen chokes back a sob.
PAUL
        And then there’s Paulie. I expect a lighthouse is no place for a child – though I was born and raised in one myself.
JEN
        But you was strong – and Paulie’s delicate.
        (In Outburst)
        Oh Paul! She needs a real place to run around and play in – like the streets of New York. Gee! They’re just swell with all the kids scuttling round and the noises and the organ grinders and the hurdy-gurdies and – They say the kids stand under the fire hoses now – just think o’ that! It must be all kinds of fun ---
3626
She breaks off. Her breath comes in a gasping sob.
PAUL
        I had thought maybe we could wait until Jim got me my transfer.
JEN
        Quit kiddin’ yourself about Jim Paine.
Paul passes his hand wearily over his eyes.
PAUL
        Jim’s Inspector of Lighthouses on this line now. That’s a powerful fine job.
JEN
        Ye-eh, it’s powerful all right.
Paul is thinking hard. He looks pathetic.
PAUL
        Jen, d’ you remember that kid I pulled out of the water, the first day we met?
JEN
I remember.27
JIM
        Well, the kid’s father gave me his card.
        He fumbles around in a bill fold, fingering a number of cards; picks out one, passes it to Jen. She gives him a queer look.
PAUL
He told me if I ever wanted a favor to come to him. See – he’s got a big business eh, so I’ve written him a letter and--
JEN (Handing back card)
        That ain’t his card.
        Paul takes the card. His eyes strain. He holds it nearer to his eyes.
3728
PAUL
        Guess I got the cards mixed.
JEN
        What’s the matter with you Paul?
PAUL
        Why nothing.
        She watches him as he fumbles in bill fold. His fingers seem all thumbs. His hands are trembling. Jen stares at him. She does not quite comprehend what is happening, but a sickening premonition that something is wrong begins to dawn on her.
JEN
        Whatever’s the matter with you?
PAUL
        It’s nothing. Light the lamps Jen. It’s getting pretty dark.
        A long pause. Jen stares at him with unmasked fear now.
JEN
The lamps are lit!
        There is a deep silence. In the pause we see Paul pass his fingers before his eyes. Jen is now nearly frantic. She realizes what has happened and smites her mouth with her clinched fist.
JEN
        Paul! Paul!
PAUL(Half rising)
        That’s funny – I – I – I can’t see.
        Jen screams, and then quickly muffles it. She is holding now with both hands to the table. Paul is staring out blindly. In the dead silence he suddenly speaks.
38
PAUL
        Jen! – Where are you?
JEN (Inarticulate whisper)
        I’m – here. Don’t you see me?
PAUL
        No! (A pause, and then) – Jen! – I’ve gone – blind!
        Jen leaps to him. She throws her arms frantically about him, tries to take him bodily in her arms, like a child. She gets his head on her bosom. Over her waves of remorse and contrition are rolling
JEN
        Paul! Paul! Oh, my baby! Paul – my Paul -----
        FADE OUT.
3929

SEQUENCE IV.

        Dialogue will disclose that it is about a month later.
LIVING ROOM OF LIGHTHOUSE.
        Paul is sitting by window. Jen comes in from the spiral stairs. She casts a nervous glance at Paul. Then goes to him, puts her hand gently on his arm, turning him back toward the desk-table. He rests his head back against her a moment. His smile is pathetic.
JEN
        Jim’ll be here any moment now. I’ve just seen his boat from the tower.
Paul nods.
PAUL
        Don’t worry dear. Everything will be all right.
JEN
        Yes – but watch your step, Paul.
        She guides his hand to the several articles on the table.
JEN
        Here’s your writing paper – right here, in front of you.
        Here’s your pen – here’s the ink.
        Your pipe’s right here---and the tobacco.
        Let me see you do it now.
        Jim reaches for pipe and tobacco. Fills pipe. He fumbles a bit for pen and dips it in ink. Pretends to write.
JEN
        Fine. He’ll never suspect, and keep your face turned sideways like this, when you’re not writing.
PAUL
I know about where everything is on the30 table.
40
        We see his hand marking the articles. It closes about a sun visor. He snaps it on to his head.
JEN
        Now I must hustle. I got to get dressed.
        She exists into bedroom.
EXTERIOR OF LIGHTHOUSE
        Detail description later.
        It is about four o’clock in the P.M.
        A motor boat is chugging toward the Lighthouse, and has almost reached the ledge.
        Jim Paine, in the boat, stands up, cups his hands and calls:
JIM
        Ahoy! Ahoy! There aboard the light!
LIVING ROOM
        Jen comes hurrying out of the bedroom. She is all dolled up and looks very pretty. There is a look of eager expectancy about her. Jim’s impending visit has excited her. As she hears the call from below, she becomes electrified into action. She opens the window. Paul sits uncertain what to do. He is a prey to nervous apprehension now.
JEN (In whisper)
Answer him!
Paul puts head out of window and calls:
PAUL
        Ahoy! There below! All’s well aboard the light.
41
Jen runs about the room, setting things to rights.
        Presently there is a loud thump upon the heavy wooden door. Jen opens it, with assumed gaiety. Jim Paine comes in. He has packages in his arms. He seems hale and hearty and in fine humor.
JIM
        Hello, hello, Hello! How’s everyone?
        He beams at Jen. Throws a bunch of mail and packages down on table.
PAUL (Half rising and extending hand in direction of Jim’s voice)
        How are you, Jim?
JIM
        Fine as silk. Well, well Jen!
He looks her over, admiringly.
JIM
        Durned if you don’t get prettier every time I see you.
        This flattery warms the soul of Jen. She tosses her head with something of her old coquet.
JIM
        And where’s little Paulie?
JEN
        We sent her on a visit to my mother.
JIM
        Well, well – I toted her out a present. Thought she’d like something like this.
Opens package, and dumps out a lot of blocks.
JEN
        She’ll love them, Jim. How good of you.
42
JIM
        Here’s your mail – Paul
Paul takes the package. He fumbles at the string.
JIM (To Paul)
        Hadn’t you better run out and stow them supplies the boys are unloadin’.
        Jim half arises but Jen says quickly:
JEN
        There’s no hurry – Paul’s not feeling well. We’ll stow them away after you’re gone.
JIM
        Not feelin’ well? What’s the matter this time?
PAUL
Why31 it’s nothing. Jen’s overanxious.
Jim gives him a sharp glance.
JIM
        So long as it doesn’t interfere with your tendin’ the light.
PAUL
        Don’t worry about that. The Light’s always tended to.
        Jim takes newspaper from coat pocket, throws it across to Paul.
PAUL
        There you are – this morning’s paper. You’ll get the latest on the fire at Hartford.
        Paul’s shaking hands on paper, which he opens out, an pretends to read.
        Jen watches him with tense apprehension and we see that Paul is holding the paper upside down. Jen in her effort to dis-
43
tract Jim only gets him wondering. Something is wrong somewhere. He hasn’t quite got the hang32 of it yet.
        Paul with pretended carelessness reaches for his pipe. Puts it between teeth. Reaches again for tobacco. Fumbles about – finds it – spills it, but manages finally to fill his pipe. He has some trouble finding the matches, and Jen’s heart is in her mouth, as he lights a match and tries to light pipe.
        Jim is watching him and his glances goes to Jen. He can see that she is in a state of disturbance.
EXTERIOR OF LEDGE A man calling up:
MAN (Hollering)
Hey Jim! How soon you comin?
BACK TO LIVING ROOM.
        Jim calls out of window:
JIM
        Just a minute!
        Jim is now right opposite Paul
PAUL (Pretending to read)
        Well, that was some fire all right.
        Jim sees the paper is upside down.
JIM
        What you wearin’ the eye shade for?
        Jen presses her hands together. She is breathless with encroaching fear.
PAUL
        Well – just – for the light.
JIM
        There ain’t no light. Pretty grey day. Looks like a storm’s brewing.
44
        Paul takes off eye-shade.
PAUL
        That’s right – it is grey out.
        Clean forgot the thing was on my head.
He stands up, and with careless deliberation starts to move33 across the room. Then, as if changing his mind, he sits back at desk. Pulls pad of paper toward him, reaches for pen. Jim is watching him intently. He sees Paul dip his pen into the sponge bowl.
        Now an amazed, an almost diabolical look comes on Jim’s face. He begins to comprehend that Paul has gone blind. To make sure he leans across and deliberately waggles his hand back and forth before the eyes of Paul. The latter stares blankly. Jen stifles a moan. Jim pinions her with his glance. His lips form but do not pronounce the words:
JIM
BLIND AS A BAT
        This is a whispered question to Jen, who in agony, nods.
        Jim is taking this immensely. Then he hitches up his breeches, tramps to window and calls down:
JIM
        Keep clear of the rocks there. I’ll be here a little spell.
        We now see that Paul is a prey to intense nervousness. He lifts his head with a motion as if listening. His eyes have that strained look, blank and fearful, of the blind. Jim is opposite him at table. Before him is the heap of blocks he had brought for the baby.
JIM
        Ever thought of getting out of the service, Paul?
45
        As he speaks his sly glance goes from the man to Jen. Jen puts up a hand, as if to implore mercy. Paul tries to smile carelessly. Pen in hand, he looks up as if interrupted at his writing.
PAUL
        Well – no – for the present, I’d like to stay here.
        Resumes writing. Jim leans over and a grin spreads over his face. Though supposed to be writing, the sheet before Paul is naturally blank since his pen has not contacted with the ink, but goes each time to the sponge well.
        Jim exchanges glances with the agonized Jen. The he looks at the blocks and an idea comes to him. He indicates them to Jen who is puzzled. She watches, fascinated as his hands go to work at the blocks. Meanwhile, Jim continues to speak to Paul.
JIM
        Ain’t it kind of lonely here, Paul?
PAUL (Very much absorbed in his “writing”)
        Oh, I don’t know about that. You get used to it.
        Jim winks at Jen and with his big forefinger, points to blocks. Jen looks at them and her breath is almost taken away as she reads:
KISS ME JEN
        Jen stands petrified with fear and yet in a way she is fascinated. Jim is beckoning to her commandingly with his finger. Paul continues to write unheeding. As Jen does not move,
46
Jim says:
JIM
        I’m just wondering whether you’re strong enough to –
        Jen takes a step forward, stops, retreats – goes forward again. Jim, smiling, continues to beckon. For the third time he points to the blocks. In the silence that ensues Paul half arises. He shows some slight distress.
PAUL
        Why, I’m as strong as they make ‘em –
        Jim looks at Jen and then at the blocks. He is still wagging his finger. He continues to wink and smile meaningly. She is panic-stricken as he says:
JIM
        Well, I’m not so sure –
        Jen makes a little rush toward him – pauses – and:
JIM
        Strikes me that your health ain’t nothin’ to brag about –
        Jen succumbs at that. Goes swiftly to Jim. He seizes her in his arms. His lips are on hers.
PAUL
        Don’t you worry about my health – why I’m fit as a fiddle.
        He stands up, pretends to stretch himself and yawn. Jen has broken away from Jim. She backs with her hands on her lips. But Jim is not through with her by a long shot. He gives a loud cough. She looks at him like a fascinated bird. His hands
47
are busy again. He is adding another word. It is: “Again,” and now the blocks read:
KISS ME AGAIN JEN
        Jen shakes her head. Jim shows his teeth, his eyes narrowing as he glares at her. He is about to speak, as sheshe turns toward Jim, when with a rush, she is back to him. Now again she is in his arms, limp – yielding. He covers her face with kisses.
        Paul is showing some apprehension. He wants to escape from Jim’s scrutiny. He is disturbed without knowing what is the matter.
PAUL
        Well, I believe I’ll take a look aft. (Not sure of that word for him)
        With assumed casualness and deliberation he moves along the side of the room, making toward the big door. He passes within a foot of Jen and Jim, in each other’s arms. Jen is now yielding. Her lips cling lingeringly to Jim’s. Her closed eyes show the sensual effect upon her.
        Paul finds his way to the door, opens it and steps out. A big gust of wind blows in.
        Jim’s face turns craftily. We see his foot reach out and he closes the door behind Paul34 It bangs to.
        Paul is now out on the platform. Jen and Jim alone in the room. The wind is heard and the beat of the waves against
48
the ledge.
        If desired we cut to Paul, leaning on the railing of the ledge supposedly looking down at the men in the motor boat, who are unloading the supplies.
        As the door bangs to, Jen breaks from Jim’s arms. She is still under his spell, but some other passionate emotion is fighting within her.
JIM
        Blind, heh?
        Jen nods, unable to speak.
JIM
        How long?
JEN
        Almost a month.
Jim throws back head. A hoarse chuckle comes from him.
JIM
        Well if that don’t beat the Dutch? A blind lighthouse-keeper!
JEN
        But I’ve been ‘tendin’ the light. I’m not blind.
JIM
        Nor neither are you a lighthouse keeper.
Cut back to Paul on platform. One of the men calls up to him.
MAN (Hollering)
        Ask him when he’ll be comin’.
Paul opens the door, calls:
PAUL
        Hey Jim! They want to know below, how long before you’ll be comin’.
49
JIM
        Tell ‘em to keep clear of the rock. I’ll be down in a jiffy.
        Paul’s face shows relief.
        He relays the message to the men in the boat below.
We hear his voice, while the scene continues with Jen and Jim.
JIM
        I’ll have to report this, Jen.
        Jen returns to him, grasps his arm, shaking it pleadingly.
JEN
        No – no – you wouldn’t do that Jim. You wouldn’t put us out.
        Jim is enjoying his position. In a judicial tone he questions her. Jen goes wandering about the room.
JIM
        How’d it happen?
JEN
        That blow he got when he saved that kid three years ago. The doctor said a blood clot formed --
JIM
        And he’ll be like that till – he dies, heh
JEN (Despairingly)
        Like as not. (with a bit of hope) Though the doctor said mebbe some day he might see again all of a sudden like – if he got a shock or – something happened –
        She sinks into chair at desk. Jim looks sceptical and Jen shows that her hopes are based on the frailest of chances. Jim comes and stands beside her.
5035
JIM
        Well, that’s just too bad. I had already sent up the recommendation for him to go on shore duty.
JEN (Fiercely)
        Why didn’t you do it before? Why didn’t you do it before?
        Jim meets ferocity with ferocity.
JIM
        Why should I? Answer me that?
Their eyes meet; his enraged; hers36 full of agony. Jim has worked himself up to a frenzy.
JIM
        You turned me down for him – didn’t you?
She shrinks in the chair.
JIM
        Well – didn’t ya?
JEN
        But that’s all in the past.
JIM
        No! It’s in the living present! I never changed – neither did you.
JEN (Falteringly)
        What do you mean, Jim?
JIM
        I mean that you loved me better’n you loved him even when you married him.
        Jenny shakes her head in dumb denial. She rises, tries to move across the room. Jim seizes her by the arms, turns her around. He is holding her by either arm now, so that their faces are opposite.
5137
JIM
        You did love me best – Jen! You did! And by heaven – you love me still!
        She starts to shake her head again but she is swept off her feet by his violence. He drags her into his arms and kisses her heavily upon the lips.
        She pushes back from him, her two hands upon his breast. He stands gloatingly above her, as again she sits, her arms coming out along her lap, and staring out haggardly before her.
JIM
        He took you from me. Now I’m takin’ you from him. You’re comin’ with me girl.
        A breathless sob escapes her. She dumbly shakes her head.
JIM
        Think what I can do for you. Life ashore – friends – gay times – pretty things – dances -- jazz – everything you was always crazy about, Jen.
        Jen is visualizing the old delights. We see her reacting to the temptation of his words.
JIM
        What’s he ever given you – answer me that?
JEN
        Bitterly, yet with an element of passion:
        He’s given me – sunrises and sunsets – and the wind – the wind – and the waves breakin’ against the ledge – snarling like wild dogs at our door – the water – water -- water – all around us, Jim --
JIM
        You’re goin’ with me. You and me – we’ll have lovin’ and dancin’ days together yet.
        He takes her by arm. She makes no effort to resist him.
5238
Her hat and cap hang on wall. She looks at them. Jim takes them, wraps the cape about her. Jen puts up her hands, adjusting hat on her head. (Let her wear some little woolen beret – something like that). Even while she moves with Jim, she stops. Looks back and toward the door, behind which Paul is on the platform.
JEN
        No – no – I’ve not the nerve to go. I haven’t the heart to leave him.
JIM
        Come along now --
JEN
        But the light – what’ll we do about the light?
JIM
        Soon as we get ashore I’ll send a man to relieve him. It ain’t more ‘n four o’clock now.
JEN
        Oh Jim – I don’t want to hurt Paul.39
JIM
        You won’t be hurtin’ him. He’s blind, ain’t he? Well then he’s got to be taken care of proper by some institution, and he’ll never be the wiser about you.
        The door opens. Paul stands framed in doorway. Jim doesn’t see him but Jen does and she is panic stricken.
JIM
        What a man doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
PAUL
        What did you say, Jim?
JIM
        Oh it was nothin’. Guess I’ll be goin’ along!
5340
        He makes a sign to Jen, pointing to the door that leads down below. Then he steps on to the platform right alongside of Paul. He calls down to the men in motor boat.
JIM
        Tender ahoy! Haul up! Look alive, will you? Alongside!
Turns back.
JIM
        Well, so long Paul. I’m on my way!
Paul holds out hand. They grip. Jen seeing this, sways slightly. Jim comes down. He sweeps her along with him. They go out down the stairs. Paul turns back to the rail.
CUT TO BOAT
Jen and Jim are both in it. The motor boat is beginning to chug. Jen, her eyes very wide, is looking up. There is an expression of intense agony on her face.
CUT TO PAUL
He is leaning over the railing. He has cupped his hands about his mouth. Little dreaming that his wife is in the boat below he calls:
PAUL (Calling)
        Ahoy—down there! Give our best to the folks ashore!
Back to the boat. Jim’s face has a broad, complacent grin. He, in turn, cups his hands and bellows back:
JIM
        Sure thing. I’ll tell them you’ll be seeing them soon!
He waves. The boat pulls away.
5441
THE LIVING ROOM
The door is opening. Paul stands a moment at top. He is smiling. He speaks to Jen whom he thinks is in the room.
PAUL
        Well thats over, eh?
Comes down a few steps.
        Put it across pretty nicely!
        We’re set now for awhile. It’ll be another month before Jim makes his next tour of inspection.
He keeps on talking, as he walks across the room.
        “And by tye way Jen, there was one scary moment there, when he got talking about my health. I kinda began to think he was on to us. So I says to myself—I’ll slip on out on to the platform where he won’t be noticin’ me. Did he say anything to you about it---about my health?”
There is no reply.
        Jen---did’nt you hear me?
No repy. He looks puzzled. His hand sweeps his forehead vaguely. He raises his voice sharply.
        Jen!
        Jen---I say!
He stumbles about the room.
        Jen-----Jen----!
He stands stock still a moment, muttering something. We know that he is now overcome with a tremendous fear. Jen has gone!
5542
        Now we see him make a scrambling dive toward the wall. He feels along it, slapping his hands against it. He is feeling for some special place. Now he has found it. It is place where Jen’s coat and hat have hung. We see his hand clutched around the nail. He stares out blankly. His lips moves soundlessly. And then: in a loud whisper:
PAUL
        What a man don’t know won’t hurt him! That was what he said.
He is overcome with frenzy. Once more, in a loud terrible voice he calls:
PAUL
        JEN!
This time he is calling up toward the tower. He moves toward the spiral stairs. His hand clutches the bannister. He goes up and up, but as he goes we see he is nearly beside himself, and suddenly the hand on the bannister loosens its grasp. His knees fail him. We see his feet slipping under him. He falls face forward, his head smiting the iron stair.
Fade.
5643

SEQUENCE V.

        Show a small harbor. Maybe around Bath Beach. A place where a number of small boats are anchored. Rowboats, motor boats, sail boats.
        Not a yacht club – but some public anchorage along the Sound.
        It is just before twilight. The waters are rough. An ugly wind is blowing. The sky is grey.
        A motor boat puts into the shore landing. Jim Paine helps Jen to step out. We see her looking back. During the following action, and as they move toward the wharf, Jen continues to turn her head back toward the sea. Jim, all concern and attention, leads her along, but she goes slowly, step by step.
JIM
        Just about made it in time. Looks like a storm’s blowin’ up.
        She does not answer. She keeps turning and looking back. We show her face --- a mask of frozen woe. There is no joy in her sin.
JIM
        Come along, sweetness. I got a car parked back of the wharf. We’ll go straight into town.
        Jen’s hand tries to list his that is on her arm.
JEN
        I’m not goin’ with you.
JIM
        What d’ you mean – not going?
JEN
        Just that. I’m not going!
5744
        She suddenly wrenches her arm free. We see that she is almost breathless. A strange light is in her eyes. A radiant fury seems to animate her face. Jim stares at her puzzled, not knowing what to make of her.
JIM
        Why what’s the matter – what’s eatin’ you, Jen?
JEN
        I tell you I’m not goin’ with you! I’m not goin’!
JIM
        WHAT!
JEN (With driving fierceness)
        I hate you!
        I hate you worse’n the wind and the water – and everything else I’ve hated.
JIM (In a white fury)
        You do, heh? So that’s the kind of dame you are? Think you’ll fool me twice, heh?
        His ugly brutal chin is thrust out. His teeth gleam. He looks like a gorilla as he glares at her.
JIM
        I’ll learn you – I’ll learn you a thing or two.. You come along with me!
JEN
        No!
        He grasps her roughly. There is a struggle, Jen fighting like a wildcat. Suddenly we see her small fist doubled like a little rock. She has broken away space from Jim, but now she springs and smites him squarely between the eyes. He is so astonished that he staggers and before he can come out of his stunned
5845
amazement, Jen is running like a wild thing down toward the beach.
        Jim stands a moment, stunned, looking after her. Then a short harsh laugh escapes him and his glace sweeps the water – the tossing boats upon it – the darkening sky-line. He knows there is no escape for her that way.
        Taking his time he tramps down to the beach.
        Jen is not making for the motor boat. With the superhuman courage of a half daft woman, she has clambered over the ropes and flung herself into a big rowboat. We see her seizing the oars, pull out into the rough waters.46
        FADE OUT.
5947

SEQUENCE VI.

        Show Jen in the row boat. She is pulling heroically against a terrific sea. The sky is getting darker – though it is not by any means night yet.
SHOW EXTERIOR OF LIGHTHOUSE
        The waves are high and beating against the ledge. The wind sounds like the long calling moan of some creature in labor. It is almost human. We get the effect of intense desolation.
        No light shows from the tower, though darkness if falling.
        We see Jen’s boat, pulling to the landing. She makes it fast, steps out upon the ledge. The long row across the water has not feazed her. She seems driven by some terrific purpose. Her cape and her hair blow wildly about her as she stands on the ledge. We see her cup her hands to mouth, and she calls up.
JEN
        Ahoy! Ahoy! On the light!
        The wind and the roaring sea seem to carry her voice away, though its shrill music seems to reverberate like a fine echo. There is no answering call from the Lighthouse above. She hurls herself in through the door, and begins to mount the spiral stairs. As she climbs she keeps on calling cna calling:
JEN
        Paul! Paul! Paul! Paul!
        Now in the darkness of the stairs she is at the heavy door that opens into the living room of the lighthouse. She thrusts it open – bursts into the room, still calling:
6048
The moon is in semi-darkness. Twilight.49
JEN
        Paul! Paul! Where are you Paul?
        She looks around the room, frantically. It is empty. She runs into the bedroom – the little kitchen, and all through the place – all the time calling:
JEN
        Paul! Paul!
        A dreadful thought obsesses her as she pauses by the window. We see her looking out, stretching her arms, as the fear that Paul has jumped out from there takes possession of her. All the time she is calling him by name.
        Now from the window, we see that it is becoming dark. Across the water, we see the lights of a ship. Gradually a tense stillness sweeps over Jen. As she looks off, there comes to her a comprehension that ships are out there – that the night is dark, a storm brewing.
SOMEONE MUST TEND THE LIGHT!
Hearts may break; those we love may die – but the light must go on!
As she turns from the window, she is muttering:
JEN
        The Light! The Light!
        She stumbles out of the room.
        We follow her up and up to the tower.
THE TOWER ROOM
        Jen comes out upon the platform. Suddenly we see her stand still. She is staring at a figure – Paul
ing the lamp’
During the scene that follows, we show the great light, burning and burning. Let it be symbolic in a way, of the light that is within their tortured souls.50
6151
        He turns around. He sees Jen. Although she believes him to be blind, she shrinks back like one who has committed a crime.
JEN
        Paul! What are you doing up here?
PAUL
        I’m lighting the lamp!
JEN
        But you can’t – you are blind!
PAUL
        Not so blind as you are, Jen.
JEN
        I left you – went away! Did you know that?
PAUL
        Yes.
JEN
        But I’ve come back. I had to.
PAUL
        Why?
JEN
        Oh, Paul – I couldn’t live without you!
        There is a deep pause. Jen’s face is alight – it is very beautiful. She is pressing her two hands together. Then she parts them, tentatively holding out her arms, which she longs to put around him. Paul watches her gravely.
62
JEN
        Don’t you understand Paul. I love you.
Paul does not speak.
JEN
        And then---there was another thing. It was the light Paul. It seemed to draw me back. I guess I got lighthouse sense now. It’s inside me. The feeling that no matter what happens ---even if our hearts are breaking-----someone must tend the light!
Paul’s head drops. He is all breaking up, fighting to keep back the impending tears. Jen’s face has an exalted look. Her hands are stretched out toward him.
PAUL (In a deep, shaken voice)
        Why Jen, don’t you know that I can tend the light myself now. I’m no longer blind!
She looks at him with mingled joy and almost terrorterror. She can scarcely believe it. An inarticulate cry escapes her. She springs at him. Her two hands go to either side his face. She looks and looks into his eyes. Then with a cry:
JEN
        Paul! Oh my love!
Fade.
52 63
FADE IN
THE LIVING ROOM
The lights have not been lit as yet. Only the dim light of the fading day. The effect of dusk.
We want it almost dark, but not so dark but what we can see the blocks on the table, with the words spelled out clearly:
        KISS ME AGAIN JEN!
No one is in the room. Jen and Paul come down the spiral stairs. His arm is about her. He carries a lantern in the other hand.
        They move toward table. Jim sets the lantern down on table, and its light spreads out. At first he does not see the blocks. It is Jen who sees them. Jen who is overtaken with panic and guilt and fear. Beside herself, she interposes between Paul and the blocks. She tries to laugh but her laugh is hysteric. Paul looks at her in puzzlement a moment. and then as his glance turns toward table she screams:
JEN
        Don’t look at the blocks----Don’t look at the blocks!
6453
        He puts her aside with his arm, and we see the words in livid type on the screen.54
        KISS ME AGAIN JEN
JEN (In a strange, imploring voice)
        Don’t look at them! Don’t! Don’t!
        Now we see Paul’s hand resting on the word:
        KISS
        His eyes seen burning in his face as he turns them in terrible question on his wife.
PAUL
        Did you, Jen?
        She meets his stern gaze and we see her nod. Her voice is a husky whisper:
JEN
        Yes – I did! –
        Show the blocks once again and this time we see Paul’s hand as it crashes against them and they are swept from the table to go clattering down on to the floor.
        An intense silence prevails in the room. Paul and Jen look at each other without speaking for a time. Paul has the look of one who has received his death word. Jen has but one passionate desire – to put her arms around him. To pour out her heart to him.
JEN
        He made me do it! I didn’t dare to disobey. I was afraid you’d lose your job – and when he wrote with the blocks --
PAUL
        I understand!
6555
JEN
        No – no – only a woman could understand.
PAUL
        I sensed it.
JEN (Wildly)
        Did you sense then that the second time I – gave myself freely – willingly?
        He does not reply.
JEN (Swept by some fierce frenzy)
        Oh! I was like a starving woman – gone mad. All these months and days and years – hearin’ and seein’ nothin’ but the waves and the wind and the wind and the waves –
She throws out her arms wide with a primitive savage gesture.
JEN
        I was made with loneliness – sick to have pretty things – pretty words – cravin’ – cravin’--
6656
PAUL
        Cravin’ Jim Paines’ kisses?
JEN
        Yes—Yes---anyones—Jim Paines’----anyone’s, I tell you. Sometimes a woman goes out of her head. She does’nt know what she’s doing-what she wants!
PAUL
        Jen, I’m not blamin’ you. The likes of you and the likes of me should never be tied together. I’m blind no longer.
JEN
You were never so blind as you are now. We have both been blind. We are all blind in this world. 57 We only see what we most desire when we have lost it. Paul!
She reaches out a timid, beseaching hand.
PAUL (Hoarsely)
        Yes Jen?
JEN
        It all came flooding over me suddenly--- just like a revellation from God. I know that there was only one thing on earth that mattered. Do you know what that was?
PAUL (Tremulously)
        No Jen.
JEN
Love. Your love ----my love for you!
With smuffled cry, he reaches out and takes her into his arms.
PAUL
        My little Jen!
6758
After a moment, Jen raises her head. She is listening to something. Her face is alight. It is beautiful.
JEN
        Listen to the wind! Is’nt it immense? Sounds like a trumpet---blowing!
He kisses her.
JEN
        And listen to the waves. They sound just as if they were dancing---laughing! Oh! is’nt it all gorgeous.
PAUL
        Theres a letter there Jen, from the man who’s kid I saved. He’s got a job waiting for me ashore.
JEN (snuggling contentedly)
        I don’t want to go ashore. I want to stay here---alone with you! It’s HOME!

Notes

1
Eaton has crossed out the typed word “Treatment” and handwritten in “Screen Story.”
2
Eaton has handwritten this note onto the page.
3
Eaton has handwritten in the word “of.”
4
Eaton has corrected from a period.
5
Eaton has crossed out a sentence that followed: She is a rather full plump girl.
6
Eaton has crossed out the word, “Kid,” which previously ended the sentence
7
Eaton has handwritten these directions on the page.
8
Eaton hand corrects typo from “geacher.”
9
Eaton has handwritten this line in to replace “You can have one if you want.”
10
Eaton has handwritten this line in to replace “Can I?”
11
Eaton has handwritten this line as an addition to the typed text.
12
Eaton handwrites “They” next to Jim’s name.
13
Eaton has crossed out “his” and added “Jim’s” here
14
This says “Mary” in the manuscript, but there is no character with that name elsewhere in the script.
15
Eaton has corrected the typo “eypes” here.
16
Eaton has listed page 23 twice. In previous instances, she has hand corrected this to include the letter “a” following the number. For consistency, I have followed that editorial style here.
17
Eaton has supplied handwritten editorial marks indicating the start of a new paragraph.
18
Eaton has handcorrected from “legend legend.”
19
Eaton has handcorrected from “Theu’re.”
20
Eaton has handwritten these stage directions on the page.
21
Eaton has corrected from “grinn.”
22
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
23
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
24
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
25
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
26
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
27
Eaton has edited this line from “I remember the rescue.”
28
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
29
Eaton has crossed out this page number but supplied no alternative.
30
Eaton has handwritten “the” as an edit.
31
Eaton has edited from “What.”
32
Eaton has edited from “hand.”
33
Eaton has edited from “more.”
34
The manuscript says “Jim,” but it is likely an action that should be performed by Paul.
35
Eaton has edited from “49a.”
36
Eaton has edited from “her.”
37
Eaton has edited this page from “50.”
38
Eaton has edited this page from “51.”
39
In the manuscript, Kitty says, “I don’t want to hurt Jim,” but she is speaking to Jim, so she is likely talking about Paul.
40
Eaton has edited this page from “54.”
41
Eaton has edited this page from “52” and “53.”
42
Eaton has edited this page from “53” and “54.”
43
Eaton has edited this page from “54.”
44
Eaton has edited this page from “55.”
45
Eaton has edited this page from “56.”
46
Eaton has crossed out the final line of this paragraph, “One of the men from the motor boat, an old tobacco chewing sea-dog, comes up to Jim.”
47
Eaton has edited this page from “57.”
48
Eaton has edited this page from “58.”
49
Eaton has handwritten this note on setting onto the page.
50
Eaton has pinned in a typed note that has also been handcorrected. The original note reads: All during the forgoibg [sic] scene, we show the great light, burning and burning. Let it be symbolic in a way, of the light that is within their tortured souls.
51
Eaton has edited this page from “59.”
52
The note pinned to page 60 appears to have been torn from the bottom of this page.
53
Eaton has edited this page from “62.”
54
Eaton has crossed out the preceding sentence, which read, “Her words only arouse his wonder.”
55
Eaton has edited this page from “63.”
56
Eaton has edited this page from “64” and “65.”
57
Eaton has edited this from “We all are blind in the world.”
58
Eaton has edited this page from “65” and “66.”

Contribute

If you'd like to write a headnote for this text (that would be peer-reviewed before publication), please contact the Project Director Mary Chapman to discuss.

Technical Feedback

If you have noticed a bug, typo, or errors on the site or if you have any other feedback, please contact us.

People Mentioned

Axel Kong

Axel Kong is a contributor to this project.

Transcriber

Mary Chapman

Mary Chapman is the Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive, a Professor of English, and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at University of British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning monograph Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford UP) and of numerous articles about American literature and women writers. She has also edited Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (McGill-Queen’s UP) and published essays on the Eaton sisters in American Quarterly, MELUS, Legacy, Canadian Literature, and American Periodicals. Her current research project is a microhistory of the Eaton family. For more information, see http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/mchapman/.

Winnifred Eaton

  • Born: August 21, 1875
  • Died: April 08, 1954
See the Biographical Timeline for biographical information on Winnifred Eaton.

Pseudonym used in this text

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and a Developer at Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). He is a graduate of the M.A. program in English at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in Indigenous and diasporic literature, science and technology studies, and the digital humanities.

Organizations Mentioned

Universal

American film studio founded in 1912. Initially located in Chicago, later moved to New York and Hollywood. Eaton assisted with scriptwriting and adaptation on select films.
Written by Samantha Bowen

Published

Winnifred Eaton Reeve Fonds

Collection of Winnifred Eaton’s papers and unpublished manuscripts, which were transferred to the University of Calgary in 1982. The finding aid for this material is located here: https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/winnifred-eaton-reeve-fonds
Written by Joey Takeda

Published