Robert Emmet and Sarah Curran
[The following episode, from the "Famous Loves of History" series is written
by Katherine Seymour, assistant continuity editor of the National Broadcasting
Company. It is a good example of broadcast material built about actual
characters and incidents. The program was sponsored commercially and the
commercial announcements are included. The broadcast runs fifteen minutes.--
Peter Dixon, 1931]
ROBERT EMMET AND SARAH CURRAN
BY KATHERINE SEYMOUR
(Theme song is played.)
Another in the series of Natural Bridge Romances--a series of dramatic
sketches based on "Famous Loves"--is presented by the nation-wide distributors
of Natural Bridge Arch Shoes for the smart feminine foot. These shoes are
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(Theme music continues to end.)
NARRATOR: In many an Irish cottage, on many a night during the past century, a
favorite topic of conversation has been the brave lad Robert Emmet, a youthful
martyr to the cause for which he fought--the independence of his native land,
Robert Emmet, who lived during the latter half of the eighteenth century, was
a brilliant student at the University of Dublin, until he left college as a
protest against the political restrictions imposed by the English governors.
For three years he roamed on the Continent, meeting other exiled Irishmen, and
completing plans to free Ireland from the yoke of England. Finally, after an
interview with Napoleon, and a promise of French aid, he returned to Ireland
to carry out his plans, and also--to see again Sarah Curran, the girl he
This beautiful girl, daughter of the distinguished lawyer John Curran, had
twice rejected him, and after his return he lost all hope that she would ever
love him. Nevertheless he had always been a welcome guest in her father's
house, and although he was absorbed in secret plans for Ireland, he could not
forget Sarah nor could he resist dropping in from time to time to chat with
One afternoon in the early spring of 1803, Sarah was strolling in the garden,
as Robert Emmet opened the wicket gate and hailed her.
ROBERT. Good day, Sarah! May I stroll with you in the garden?
SARAH. Why, Robert! Is it not a glorious spring day? Do come in.
ROBERT. I scarce noticed the day, Sarah. You are more glorious than the first
flowers of spring.
SARAH. Robert, I fear you will not have the heart to flatter me when I tell
you the message my father bade me give you.
ROBERT. Message? Is it unpleasant?
SARAH. I fear it is--I do not understand it. ... Oh, please forgive me,
Robert, but he has asked me to tell you-- Oh, I cannot--I cannot tell you!
ROBERT. Please tell me his message, Sarah.
SARAH. He does not wish you to come to our house again, Robert. Oh, please
forgive me--I do not know the reason.
ROBERT. Do not be distressed, Sarah--please do not be troubled about me. I
shall not bother you or your father again, for I have come here to-day to say
farewell to you.
SARAH. Farewell? You knew then of my father's request?
ROBERT. No, Sarah, but I am in danger of arrest and--
SARAH. Danger of arrest! Oh, Robert!
ROBERT. Sarah! Does it matter to you--my life or death?
SARAH. Death? Oh, no--you cannot mean that!
ROBERT. Yes. At any hour I may have to flee from Ireland. My brother is in
America--I shall join him there. Oh, I am thankful now that you do not love
SARAH. Robert! Why are you in danger? Tell me.
ROBERT. Sarah! Your eyes are filled with tears! ... Ah, your sympathy is
sweet. When I am far away in America this shall be the happiest memory--a
picture of you here under these blossoming hawthorns--
SARAH. Robert! I--do not wish you to go so far away--I do not wish you to
ROBERT. You don't--love me? Oh, no--it is not possible, Sarah darling!
SARAH. Yes, Robert, I have this moment learned my own heart--when you spoke of
danger, I learned that I love you. ... Oh, Robert, do not say farewell!
ROBERT. You love me! Oh, no, it is not right now--my future is so dark--clouds
are gathering-- I thought that you could never love me and death has never
SARAH. Robert--you cannot die! I love you!
ROBERT. If I do not die, then I shall be an exile. How can I ask you to share
an exile's life?
SARAH. Robert, won't you tell me what danger threatens?
ROBERT. Your father has heard vague rumors--that is why he has ordered me away
from his house. On the night of July twenty-third I shall lead forth a
faithful band of United Irishmen to capture Dublin Castle and the artillery
SARAH. Oh, Robert!
ROBERT. If the attempt succeeds, Ireland will be free--if I fail, then I shall
be hanged for treason.
SARAH. Oh, Robert dearest, must you attempt this? Would it not be wiser to
abandon it and let Ireland continue to be ruled by England?
ROBERT. I have dreamed all my life of helping Ireland. All preparations have
been made--for many months we have been storing guns and ammunition in secret
places--the date is set for the attack.
SARAH. I shall pray that the attempt succeeds, but if it fails--then I shall
follow you into exile.
ROBERT. Darling, until to-day I felt uncertain of success--with your love and
your prayer, how can I fail?
["Wearing of the Green" is played.]
NARRATOR. Throughout the night of July twenty-third, Sarah Curran trembled and
prayed as she sat at her window, listening to the sounds of guns and the roar
From time to time horsemen rode past the house bearing news of an uprising,
but no definite report came.
As the first pink streaks of dawn colored the sky, some pebbles struck her
window. Then she heard--
ROBERT. [In hushed voice.] Sarah! Sarah!
SARAH. Oh, Robert! Thank God you are safe!
ROBERT. Darling--soldiers pursue me--every moment is precious, but I had to
come this way to see you.
SARAH. Oh, tell me---did your attempt succeed? What happened?
ROBERT. It failed, Sarah, miserably. The hour came--I set out with but eighty
faithful men ... I found treachery at every point ... the few men I had
trusted with full knowledge of our plans betrayed me--
SARAH. Oh, Robert! How terrible!
ROBERT. Yes. Our revolution, planned to liberate Ireland, ended in an
unglorious street brawl.
SARAH. You did your best, Robert, I know that, and you look so brave and
handsome in your green and white uniform.
ROBERT. I fear it will be the last time green is worn in Ireland for many
years. Our poor country is not yet ready to throw off the English yoke.
SARAH. Where will you hide, Robert? Oh, I shall not be able to sleep or eat
until I know you are well out of Ireland!
ROBERT. Sarah, I shall never leave Ireland without you. I have word of a ship
which will take us away--I shall send letters to you--
SARAH. But the letters may betray your hiding-place, dearest!
ROBERT. I have one servant who can be trusted. Now I must go, but, Sarah, when
I send you word that the ship is under sail, will you flee with me to America?
SARAH. Yes, Robert, and may God keep you safe until next I see you!
ROBERT. Good-by, my darling! I go now to the mountains, where I must remain
until the hue and cry has died down.
SARAH. Good-by, Robert! ... I love you, darling!
NARRATOR. Robert Emmet remained safely hidden for several weeks, and there
were but two people who knew his hiding-place--one was his father's servant,
the other was Sarah Curran. Before long his servant was arrested and brutally
tortured, but she refused to betray her master. No one knew of Emmet's love
for Sarah Curran. Then, because there was no one to carry letters to Sarah,
Robert Emmet ventured from his hiding-place and returned to a cottage near
Dublin in order to be near her. One night he left his house by way of a secret
passageway to the garden of Sarah's house and Sarah fell, half fainting, in
SARAH. Robert! You should not have come here--but oh, how glad I am to see
ROBERT. Sarah, my darling, you are so pale, and wasted. Oh, what suffering my
love has brought you and I once hoped to bring you nothing but happiness! You
who deserve all the joy and happiness in the world.
SARAH. I have worried so much about you--I tremble every time my father comes
home, for fear lest he bring word that you have been discovered.
ROBERT. Sarah, my dear, please think of me kindly when I am gone--
SARAH. When you are gone? Why do you say that? When you leave Ireland I shall
go with you.
ROBERT. It is too late now, dearest--I shall never leave Ireland.
SARAH. Robert! What do you mean?
ROBERT. Sarah, my hiding-place has been discovered. When I left, soldiers
surrounded my house, and by this time are following me here. I escaped by a
secret passage, but this time I cannot reach the mountains.
SARAH. Robert! They will throw you in jail and then--Oh, no! ... They won't,
ROBERT. Yes, it is true-- I shall be hanged. ... But let us not think of
that--we have so few minutes to be together.
SARAH. Hanged! Robert! Say it is not true! ... You are not a criminal--you are
a hero! You tried to help Ireland--tried to make our countrymen independent.
ROBERT. Darling--I can remain here just a few minutes longer. Thank God you
have not been implicated! Your name has never been linked with mine--I pray
you may be spared that!
SARAH. Robert--they cannot hang you like a common thief!
ROBERT. Sarah dear, can't we forget for these last few minutes everything save
that we love each other? Shall we pretend that we are happy, that we are
planning our future home? I should like a cottage by the side of the river!
SARAH. [Weeping.] Oh, Robert, don't ... I can't pretend-- Oh, they can't take
you from me--there is not so much injustice in Ireland--
[Sound of hoof-beats fades in.]
SARAH. Robert! Hark! The soldiers!
ROBERT. Yes, dearest, they must not find me here. You must not be involved in
my trial. Farewell, my darling! Oh, I had hoped to bring you happiness and my
love has brought only sorrow and misery!
[Hoof-beats come nearer.]
SARAH. [Sobbing.] Robert! Oh, Robert! Don't go! They can't arrest you--oh,
they will kill you!
ROBERT. [From distance.] Good-by, sweetheart!
SARAH. Robert! Robert!
[Hoof-beats fade out. Irish music.]
NARRATOR. A letter which Robert attempted to send from jail to Sarah Curran
was intercepted. Soldiers broke into her house, but she was finally declared
innocent of conspiring against England.
Mercifully, she suffered a complete nervous breakdown and did not learn until
weeks later that her lover had been hanged for treason in September, 1803.
Robert Emmet died bravely, and the tomb of this "child of the heart of
Ireland" became a revered national shrine.
(Theme song is played.)
The central characters of next week's romantic sketch will be Andrew Jackson
and his wife Rachel.
This weekly series of Natural Bridge Romances, based on "Famous Loves" of
history, is presented by the distributors of Natural Bridge Arch Shoes for the
smart feminine foot. These moderately priced shoes are designed to protect the
natural loveliness of dainty feet--naturally. Natural Bridge Arch Shoes come
in all sizes and in all widths. Their slogan is "Good to the foot--good to the
eye--good to the pocketbook."
As a souvenir of this program, its sponsors would like to send you a beautiful
picture in full color of the Natural Bridge of Virginia, so attractive that
many of you will wish to frame it. To receive this picture, address a post-
card or letter to the Natural Bridge Shoemakers at Lynchburg, Virginia, or in
care of the station through which this program reaches you. The "Famous Loves"
program has come to you from the New York studios of the National Broadcasting
Originally broadcast: 21 February 1930