A Delicate Balance (1973) Movie Script

[door opens]
[door slams]
[door opens]
[door opens]
[footsteps approaching]
What... What I find most astonishing...
...aside from that belief of mine,
which never ceases to surprise me
by the very fact of its surprising
lack of unpleasantness,
the belief that I might very easily,
as they say,
lose my mind one day.
Not that I suspect I am about to
or am even nearby.
There is no saner woman on Earth, Agnes.
[laughs] For I'm not that sort.
Merely that it is not beyond happening,
some gentle
loosening of the moorings
sending the balloon adrift.
And I think that is the only
outweighing thing.
Adrift. [sighs]
I'm becoming a stranger in the world.
Quite uninvolved.
But I never see It as violent.
Only a drifting.
What are you looking for, Tobias?
We'll all go mad before you.
[laughs] Me and the staff,
Thank you, darling.
What I find most astonishing,
aside, as I said, from that speculation...
[laughs] And I wonder, too, sometimes,
if I'm the only one of you to admit it,
not that I may go mad,
but that each of you wonders
if each of you might not.
Why on earth do you want the anisette?
[Tobias] I thought it might be nice.
Sticky. I'll do cognac.
It's supposed to be healthy.
The speculation...
or, the assumption, I suppose,
that if it occurs to you
that you might be, then you're not.
But I've never been much comforted by it.
Follows, to my mind,
that since I speculate,
I might, someday,
or early evening, I think more likely,
some autumn dusk, go quite mad,
then I very well might.
Some autumn dusk.
Tobias, at his desk,
looks up from all those awful bills
and sees his Agnes mad as a hatter.
[laughs] Chewing the ribbons on her chest.
- Cognac.
- Yes.
Agnes, sitting by the fire,
her mouth full of ribbons,
her mind aloft, adrift.
Nothing to do with the poor old thing
but put her in a bin somewhere.
Sell the house, move to Tucson, say,
and pine in the good sun,
and live to be 104,
Thank you, darling.
Tobias) Cognac is sticky, too.
Mm, but it's nicer.
Sit by me, hmm?
To my mad lady, ribbons dangling.
[Agnes laughs]
And, of course,
I haven't worn the ribbon dress
since Julia's remarried.
No, no, no, first.
Tom, not, uh...
Not, uh, uh, Charlie.
For a little.
What astonishes me most...
aside from my theoretically healthy fear--
No, not fear. How silly of me.
Healthy speculation that I might someday
become an embarrassment to you.
What I find most astonishing
in this world
and with all my years is Claire.
- Claire? Why?
- That anyone,
be they one's sister or not,
could be so, well,
I don't want to use an unkind word,
'cause we're, we're, we're,
we're cozy here, aren't we?
As the saying has it,
the one thing sharper
than a serpent's tooth
is a sister's ingratitude.
- The saying does not have it that way.
- It should.
Why are you moving?
- It's getting uncomfortable.
- [laughs]
Things get hot, move off, huh?
I'm not as young as either of us once was.
[Agnes] I'm as young
as the day I married you.
Though I'm certain I don't look it.
'Cause you're a very good husband...
most of the time.
But [ was talking about Claire,
or was beginning to.
Yes, you were.
161 were to list the mountain
of my burdens,
if I had a thick pad
and a month to spare,
that bending my shoulders most,
with 3, with a possible exception
of Julia's trouble with marriage,
would be your...
It must be instinctive, I think,
or reflex, that's more like it.
Your reflex defense
of everything that Claire--
Stop it, Agnes.
You gonna throw something at me?
A glass?
My goodness, I hope not.
That's awful anisette
all over everything.
- No.
- What then?
I shall sit very quietly.
- As always?
- Yes.
And I shall will you to apologize
to your sister
-for what I must in truth tell you--
- Apologize? To Claire?
To Claire?
I've spent my adult life
apologizing for her.
I will not double the humiliation
by apologizing to her.
One does not apologize to those
for whom one must.
Ha ha. Neat.
Ha ha, succinct,
but one of the rules of an aphorism.
An epigram, I thought.
An epigram is usually satiric, and you--
And I am grimly serious, yes.
I fear so.
[both laugh]
To revert.
from Claire to her effect.
What would you do
were 110 spill my marbles?
Put you in 2 bin somewhere,
sell the house, and move to Tucson.
Pine in the hot sun
and live forever,
[laughs] I bet you would.
- Hurry, though.
- Oh, I'll try.
Won't be a simple paranoia, though,
I know that.
I've tried so hard to.
You know how little I've dared it.
Goodness. I can't even raise my voice
except in the most spectacular of events.
And I find that, uh...
I find that both...
joy and sorrow work their wonders on me...
more evenly, slowly,
within, than most.
A suntan rather than a scalding.
There are no mountains in my life,
no chasms.
It is a rolling...
pleasant land.
Verdant, my darling.
Thank you.
We do what we can.
[laughs] Our motto.
If we should ever go downhill,
join things,
we must have that put in Latin.
Our motto:
"We do what we can."
On your blazers, over the mantel.
Maybe we can do it in the linen as well.
Do you think I should go to Claire's room?
Either she will be down or not.
I thought Claire was much better tonight.
I didn't see any need
for you to give her such a going over.
[Agnes] Claire was not better tonight,
honestly, Tobias.
I thought she was.
[Agnes] Well, she was not.
[Tobias] Still...
I've decided...
all things considered...
that I shall not induce
that all the years we've put up
with each other's wiles and crotchets
have earned us each other's company.
And I promise you as well
that I shall think good thoughts,
healthy ones, positive,
to ward off madness
should it come by uninvited.
You mean I have no hope of Tucson?
- None.
- Alas.
You have the hope only of
growing even older than you are
in the company of your steady wife,
your alcoholic sister-in-law,
and occasional visits
from our melancholy Julia.
That is what you'll have,
my dear Tobias.
Will it do?
It will do.
I've never doubted that it would.
[door opens]
Did I hear someone?
[footsteps approaching]
[Tobias] Ah, there you are.
I said to Agnes just a moment ago that...
I must apologize, Agnes.
I'm very sorry.
[Agnes] But, uh,
what are you sorry for, Claire?
That my nature is such as to bring out
the full force of your brutality.
Look now, I think we can do without--
If you come
to the dinner table unsteady,
if when you try to say, "Good evening,
and weren't the autumn colors
lovely today?"
you are nothing but vowels;
if one smells the vodka on you
from across the room,
and don't tell me again,
either of you,
that vodka leaves nothing on the breath,
if you're expecting it,
if you are sadly and wearily expecting it,
it does.
If these conditions exist, persist,
then the reaction of one
who is burdened by her love
is not brutality,
though it would be excused, believe me.
Not brutality at all
but the souring side of love.
If I scold,
it is because I wish I needn't.
11 am sharp,
it is because I'm neither less
nor more than human.
And if I am to be accused, once again,
of making too much of things,
let me remind you that it is my manner
and not the matter.
I apologize for being articulate.
Tobias, I'm going to call Julia, I think.
Ts it one or two hours difference?
I can never recall.
[Tobias] Three.
Ah, yes, well, be kind to Claire, dear.
She is injured.
[Tobias] Ah, well.
[door closes]
I never know whether to applaud or cry.
Or, rather, which would be
more appreciated.
You are a great damn fool.
Mm. Yes. Why is she calling Julia?
Do you want a quick brandy
before she comes back?
Not at all.
A public one.
Fill the balloon half full,
and I shall sip it ladylike.
And when she comes gliding in,
I shall lie on the floor,
balance the glass on my head,
which will give her occasion
for another paragraph,
and you, your ineffectual "Stop it now!"
You are a great damn fool.
[Claire] Is Julia having another divorce?
Hell, I don't know.
She's only your daughter.
Thank you.
I imagine, from what I have watched,
that it is come home time.
Why don't you kill Agnes?
Oh-ho-ho, no. I couldn't do that.
[both laugh]
Well, better still,
why don't you wait till Julia separates
and comes home all confused and sullen
and take a gun
and blow all our heads off.
Agnes first, through respect, of course.
Then poor Julia,
and, if you have the kindness for it, me.
You really want me to shoot you?
Shoot Agnes first and I'll think about it.
But it would have to be an act of passion.
Out of my head and all that.
I doubt I could stand around
with a gun smoking,
Julia locked in her room screaming,
and wait for you to decide
if you wanted it or not.
But if you don't shoot Agnes,
how do I know whether I want to live?
An act of passion.
Well, yes.
Oh, that is funny. [laughs]
I'm sorry.
No, I'm sorry, darling Tobias.
I just can't see you playing the role,
that's all.
Outraged, maddened into action.
Proceeding by reflex.
Standing there in front of the judge.
Stolid, predictable Tobias.
"It all went blank, Your Honor.
There I was, sitting deep in my chair,
sipping my..."
What is that?
Anisette? Really? Anisette?
-I like it.
- Sticky.
"There I was, Your Honor,
sitting in my chair, sipping my anisette,
and the next thing I know
they're all lying in separate rooms
with their heads blown off.
I have absolutely
no recollection of it."
[laughs] Can you imagine that, Tobias?
Of course, if you were all dead,
your brains lying around in the rugs,
there would be no one to say
that it wasn't an act of passion.
Leave me to last.
A breeze may rise
and stir the ashes.
Who Is that?
No one, I think, though it should be.
Why don't you go back to your...
thing, your alcoholics thing.
Because I didn't like the people.
What's it called?
- Anonymous.
- Yes, that. Why don't you go back?
Why don't you mind
your own hooting business?
I'm sorry, Claire.
It was better.
Be 2 good brother-in-law.
It's only the first one
I'm not supposed to have.
I thought it was better.
Thank you.
You mean Agnes thought it was better.
No, I thought so, too,
that it would be.
I told you, not our type,
nothing in common with them.
Do you remember
when you used to go off to business
before you became a squire
parading around in your jodhpurs,
-confusing the gardener--
-I have never done any such thing.
Before all that,
when you used to spend all your time
in town with your business friends,
your indistinguishable,
if not necessarily similar, friends.
What did you have in common with them?
Well, everything.
Our business, we all mixed well,
we're friends away from the office, too.
Clubs, our-- And environment, I guess.
But what did you have in common with them?
Even Harry.
Your best friend in all the world,
as far as you know,
because you haven't met everyone.
You switching from anisette?
It doesn't go for a long time.
- All right?
- Doesn't matter to me.
Even your dearest friend, Harry.
Tell me, dear Tobias...
what did you have in common with him?
- Please, Claire.
- What do you have in common with him?
Outside of the coincidence
of having cheated on your wives
in the same summer with the same woman.
Girl? Woman?
What except that?
Hardly a distinction.
I believe she was upended
the whole of July.
If you'll forgive me, Claire,
common practice is hardly my--
Ah, that poor girl, whatever she was,
upended the whole
of that very hot, wet July.
The distinction would have been
to have not...
to have been the one or two
of the very, very,
oh, God, many similar...
who did not upend
that poor unfamiliar thing
that dry, very wet July--
Please, Agnes.
Of course, you only had the wanton once,
while dear friend Harry,
I have it from the horse's mouth,
was on top for good and keeps twice.
And a third try that wasn't so hot
in the gardener's shed
-amongst the mulch and whatever it is--
- Shut your mouth!
All right.
What was her name?
I don't remember.
Doesn't matter.
She's gone.
Would you give dear friend Harry
the shirt off your back?
I suppose I would.
He is my best friend.
How sad does that make you?
Not much. Some.
Not much.
No one to listen to Bruckner with,
no one to tell you that your sick of golf.
No one to tell you that, at times...
you're suddenly...
frightened and you don't know why.
All right.
Shall I tell you [sighs] what happened
the last time I... climbed the steps
to that fancy alky club?
Why I have not gone back
and what I have not in common
with those people?
-[Tobias] Sure.
- Oh, poor Tobias.
Sure. Light me a cigarette.
And then I shall have everything I need.
A sip, a smoke, and a good hard surface.
[Tobias] Comfy?
Do you remember the spring I moved out?
When I was so sick with this stuff?
Drinking like the familiar fish,
which was such an embarrassment
to everyone,
and you and Agnes moved me
to that apartment near the station?
And Agnes was so very good
about coming to see me?
-[exhales sharply]
- Sorry.
When will it all just go in the past,
forget itself?
When all the defeats are done, admitted.
When memory takes over and corrects fact,
makes it all tolerable.
When Agnes lies on her deathbed.
[Tobias] [scoffs] Do you know Agnes
has such wonderful control?
I haven't seen her cry in...
for the longest time. No matter what.
Warn me when she's coming
and I'll act drunk.
Pretend you're very sick, Tobias,
like you were with that stomach business.
But pretend your insides feel all green
and stink and mixed up
and your eyes hurt
and you're half deaf.
And your brain keeps turning off.
And you have peripheral neuritis.
And you can hardly walk.
And you hate...
you hate with the same stinking
green sickness.
You think your bowels have turned into...
yourself and everybody.
But, oh, God, you want love.
L-0-V-E, so badly.
Comfort. It's-- Snuggling
is what you really mean, of course.
But you hate.
And you notice with...
a sort of detachment that amuses you,
you think...
that you're more of an animal every day.
You snarl.
You grab for things.
Hide them.
Can't remember where you've hid them,
like not very bright dogs.
You wash less, prefer to be washed.
And, once or twice,
you've even soiled your bed.
And you lie in it...
because you can't move.
Pretend all that.
You don't like that, do you, Tobias?
I don't know why you want--
You want to know what it's like
to be an alky, don't you, boy?
- Sure.
- Well, then you pretend all that.
the guy you're spending your bottles with
Starts you going to old AA.
And you sit there in the alky club
listening to the better ones,
not recovered.
'Cause once an alky, always.
You better remember that.
Or you're gone
the first time you pass a saloon.
You watch the better ones
get up and tell their stories.
Once you drop,
you can come back up partway
but never really back again.
Always descend.
[Claire] Well, that's life, baby.
You are a great damn fool.
But I am not an alcoholic!
Tam not now and I never wast!
[Tobias] All the promise, all the chance.
It would be so much simpler if I were...
an alcoholic.
So, one night, one month sometime...
I'd had one martini.
It was a test to see if I could.
Which, given my...
stunning self-discipline...
had become three.
And I felt rather daring.
Nicely detached,
a little bigger than life.
Not snarling yet.
And [ marched...
more or less straight...
straight to the front of the room,
the hall...
and faced my peers.
I looked them...
all over...
50 hard...
grit and guilt failing.
Trying again and lost.
And [ had a moment's...
pity and disgust.
And I almost cried, but I didn't.
Like sister like sister, by God!
And I heard myself say
in my little-girl voice--
there were
a lot of different me's by then--
"I am a alcoholic.
My name is Claire,
and I am a alcoholic.
You try it.
My name is...
My name is Claire,
and I am an alcoholic.
A alcoholic!
A alcoholic.
My name is Claire...
and I am a alcoholic.
Now, I am supposed to go on, you know,
and tell them how bad I was
and didn't want to be
and how it happened
and what I wanted to happen,
and would they help me
to help myself?
But I stood there...
for ten seconds, maybe.
And then I curtsied.
I made my little-girl curtsy,
and then, on my little-girl feet...
I padded back to my chair.
Did they... laugh at you?
An agnostic in the holy of holies
doesn't get much camaraderie.
A little patronizing, maybe.
Oh, they were taken by the vaudeville,
don't misunderstand me.
One lady was nice.
She came up to me later
and she said,
"Well, you've taken the first step, dear.
Well, that was nice of her.
Ah, but she didn't say the first step
towards what.
Sanity? Insanity?
Revelation? Self-deception?
Change, sometimes, no matter what.
Count on you, Tobias.
Snappy phrase every time.
But it hooked me.
The applause, the stage presence.
That beginning.
No school tart had more gold stars
for never missing class.
I went. Oh, God, I did.
-[Tobias] But stopped.
- Until I learned...
being a slow student
in my young old middle age...
slowly, that I was not,
nor ever had been, a alcoholic,
or "an," either.
What I did not have in common
with those people
that they were sick...
and I was merely willful.
[Agnes laughs]
-[Agnes] I've talked to Julia.
-[Tobias] Ah, how is she?
My, what an odd glass
to put a soft drink in.
Tobias, you have a quiet sense of humor
after all.
- Now, Agnes.
- He has not.
Well, it can't be brandy.
Tobias is a grown-up, not--
Ah, here's to you, sweet sister.
Not health, persistence.
In good, hard brandy, age inconnu.
Serve you right, my dear Tobias,
if I were to go away, drift off.
You wouldn't have a woman left about you,
only Claire and Julia, not even people.
Would serve you right.
But I'm not an alcoholic!
[Tobias] She can drink a little.
I will not tolerate it!
I will not have you-- Oh, God!
I wouldn't mind for a moment
if you filled your bathtub with it,
lowered yourself in it, and drowned.
I rather wish you would.
Give me the peace of mind to know
you can do something well, thoroughly.
If you want to kill yourself,
then do it right!
- Please, Agnes--
- What I can't stand is the selfishness.
Those of you who want to die
and take your whole lives doing it.
Your wife is a perfectionist.
They're very difficult to live with,
those people.
She is not an alcoholic.
She says she can drink some.
I'm not an alcoholic!
Well, we think that's very nice.
[laughs] We shall all rest easier
to know that it is willful.
That the vomit and the tears,
the muddy mind,
the falls and the absences,
the cigarettes out on the tabletops,
the calls from the club
to come and get you, please,
that it is all willful.
If you are not an alcoholic,
you are beyond forgiveness.
But I've been there for a long time,
haven't I, sweetheart?
If we change for the worse with drink,
we are an alcoholic,
it is as simple as that.
- Who is to say?
[laughs] If we are to live
on Tobias's charity,
we are subject to the will of his wife.
If we were asked
at our father's dying--
Those are the ground rules.
Tobias? Nothing?
Are those the ground rules? Nothing?
Too dried up? Too settled?
All right.
Very well, Agnes, you win.
I shall be an alcoholic.
And what are you gonna do about it?
You will be unhappy to know it,
I suppose, or...
or have mixed emotions, certainly, but...
Julia is coming home.
-[Claire] Naturally.
-[Tobias] Yes?
She is leaving Doug,
which is no surprise to me.
[Tobias] But wasn't Julia happy?
- You never told me--
- If Julia were happy,
she would not be coming home.
I don't want her here, God knows.
-I mean, she's welcome, of course--
- Here we go.
Right on schedule, every three years.
This is her home.
We are her parents, the two of us.
We have our obligations to her.
And I have reached an age, Tobias,
when I wish we were always alone,
just you and [,
without hangers-on or anyone.
Well, I'm not going.
But if she and Doug are through,
and I'm not suggesting
that she is in the right,
then her place is properly here,
as for some, it is not.
Mm-hmm, one, two, three, four,
down they go.
- Well, I would like to talk to Doug.
-I wish you would.
If you had talked to Tom or Charlie--
- Yes, even Charlie, or--
- Phil.
Uh, Phil, might have done some good.
If you've decided
to assert yourself finally,
too late, I imagine.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Julia might, at the very least,
come to think her father cares.
And that might be a help,
if not a consolation.
Well, Tl...
- I'll talk to Doug.
- Why don't you invite him here?
And while you're at it,
why don't you bring all the others along.
You might talk to Julia, too.
You don't very much.
Phillip loved to gamble,
Charlie loved the boys.
Tommy went for women, Douglas--
Will you stop that!
Ah, I am here after all.
I do exist!
Why don't you go off on a vacation,
now that Julia's coming home again.
Why don't you go to Kentucky or Tennessee
and visit the distilleries.
Or why don't you lock yourself
in your room
or find yourself a bar
with an apartment in the back.
Or, Agnes, why don't you die?
If I saw some point to it,
some reason, chance,
if I thought I might break through to her
and say, "Julia."
But then what would I say?
"Julia," then nothing.
If we do not love someone...
never have loved them.
There can be silence,
even having...
Do you really want me dead, Claire?
Wish, yes.
Wank? I don't know. Probably.
Although, I might regret it if I had it.
Remember the serpent's tooth, Tobias.
The cat that I had.
-[Claire] Huh?
- Hmm? .
The cat that I had when I was--
a year or so before I met you.
She was very old.
I'd had her since I was a kid.
She must have been 15 or more.
An alley cat.
She didn't like people very much,
I think.
When people came,
she'd pick up and walk away.
She liked me,
or, rather, I could see that
when I was alone with her she was content.
I don't know if she was happy,
but she was content.
And how the thing happened
I don't really know.
She-- One day, she...
One day, [ realized
that she no longer liked me.
No, that's not right.
One day, I realized that she must have
stopped liking me some time before.
And one evening...
Twas sitting alone, home...
and I was suddenly aware of her absence.
Not just that she wasn't
in the room with me,
but that she hadn't been in rooms with me,
watching me shave, just about for...
And I couldn't place how long.
She hadn't gone away, you understand,
or, rather, she had,
but she hadn't run off.
I knew she was around.
I remember I'd caught sight of her
from time to time,
under a chair, moving out of a room.
And it was only when I realized
something had happened
that I could give any pattern
to the things that had--
that I'd noticed.
She didn't like me anymore.
It was that simple.
But she was old.
[Tobias] No, it wasn't that.
She didn't like me anymore.
I tried to force myself on her.
Well, what, what, whatever do you mean?
Tobias) Well, I closed her
in a room with me.
I'd pick her up.
I'd make her sit in my lap.
I would make her stay there
when she didn't want to.
It didn't work.
She'd abide it,
but she'd get down when she could.
Go away.
[Claire] Maybe she was ll.
No, she wasn't. I had her to the vet.
She didn't like me anymore.
And one night, I was fixed on it now.
I had her in the room with me
sitting on my lap,
for the what,
the fifth time the same evening?
She lay there with her back to me,
and she wouldn't purr.
And [ knew...
I knew that she was just waiting
till she could get down,
and I said to her, "Damn you, you like me!
Goddamn it, you stop this.
I haven't done anything to you."
And I shook her.
Thad my hands around her shoulders
and I shook her.
And she bit me, hard.
And she hissed at me.
And so I hit her.
With my open hand,
I hit her smack right across the head.
I hated her.
[Agnes] Did you, did you,
uh, hurt her badly?
Yes, well, no, not badly. She...
I must have hurt her ear some.
She shook her head for a day or so.
And, you see, there was no reason.
She and I had lived together,
we'd been, well, you know, friends.
And there was no reason,
and I hated her for that.
I hated her,
I suppose,
because I was being accused of something.
Of failing.
I hadn't been cruel to her by design.
And if I'd neglected her, well,
my whole life was...
And I resented it.
I resented having a...
being judged.
Being betrayed.
What did you do?
Thad her Killed.
[Agnes] Well-- [stammers]
You had her put to sleep.
She was-- She was old.
You had her put to sleep.
Thad her Killed.
I took her to the vet.
And he took her...
he took her in the back,
and he gave her an injection,
and he killed her.
Thad her Killed.
Well, what else could you have done?
There, there, there was nothing
to be done.
I might have tried longer.
I might have gone on
as long as cats live the same way.
I might have worn a hair shirt,
locked myself in the house with her,
done penance for something.
For what? God knows.
You probably did the right thing.
Distasteful alternatives.
The less ugly choice.
Was it?
[car approaching]
[engine stops]
Is that a car on the drive?
If we do not love someone...
never have loved someone--
[Claire] Oh, stop that.
Love is not the problem.
You love Agnes, Agnes loves Julia,
Julia loves me, and I...
love you.
We love each other.
We do. We all love each other.
- Yes.
- Yes.
To the depths of our... [sighs]
Self-pity and our greed.
What else but love?
[doorbell rings]
- Error?
- Hmm.
Quite possibly.
Love and error.
[Agnes] Edna! Harry!
What a surprise!
Why don't you take off your things.
Come in.
Tobias, it's, uh, it's Harry and Edna.
Harry and Edna.
- Why, Edna!
-[Edna] Hello, Tobias.
- Well, now.
- Harry.
- Hello, Edna.
- Hello there, Claire.
- Hello, Harry.
- Good evening, Claire.
We were just having a cordial.
Sit down.
Have you been out to the club?
I like this room.
To the club?
How are you, Harry?
Pretty well, Claire.
Not as good as I'd like, but--
Harry's been having
his shortness of breath again.
I can't breathe sometimes for just a bit.
Well, two sets of tennis, you know.
What have you done to the room, Agnes?
Oh, the summer things are out.
Of course.
Have you been to the club?
I was talking to Edna about having
our books done in leather bound.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Uh, the question,
unless I'm going deaf
from all the alcohol,
was have you all been to the club?
I'd wondered. [laughs]
- Why, no, no.
- Why, no--
But I thought, perhaps,
you do drop by here
on your way from there.
- No, no.
-[Agnes laughs]
Or, perhaps, that we were having a party
and I'd lost a day.
[laughs] No. We were just sitting home.
- Agnes--
- Just sitting home.
Ha! Well...
[laughs] Well, glad you're here,
party or not.
Good to see you, Tobias.
- How's Julia?
- Wrong question.
[chuckles] May I have
some brandy, please, Tobias?
She's, uh, she's coming home, I'm afraid.
Oh, not again.
Just can't keep that one married, I guess.
- Oh, Agnes, what a shame.
- Yeah, that's too bad.
Why'd you come, Harry?
Please, Claire.
We're glad you're here.
We're glad you came to surprise us.
We were sitting home,
-just sitting home--
- We're glad to see you.
What happened, Harry?
Claire, please.
I don't see why people have to be
questioned when they come for a friendly--
Harry wants to tell you, sis.
We were sitting home...
-[Tobias] Can I get you a drink, Harry?
I, uh...
We thought of going to the club.
But it's so crowded on a Friday night--
With the canasta party
and getting ready for the dance tomorrow.
We didn't want to do that,
and I've been tired.
- We didn't want to do that--
- Harry's been tired this whole week.
So we had dinner home
and thought we'd stay--
- Rest.
- Of course.
[Claire] Shh, shh, shh.
Twill not shin.
[Tobias] Go on, Harry.
So we were sitting...
Edna was doing that panel she works on.
My needlepoint.
And I was reading my French.
I've got it pretty good now.
Not the accent, but the words.
And then?
[Claire] And then?
I don't know quite what happened then.
We were...
It was all very quiet.
- We were all alone, and then--
-[Edna sobs]
Nothing happened, but...
Nothing at all happened, but...
[Edna cries] We got frightened.
[Harry] We got scared.
We were frightened!
There was nothing,
but we were very scared.
We were terrified!
We were scared.
It was like being lost, very young again,
with the dark, and lost.
There was no thing
to be frightened of, but...
We were frightened, and there was nothing.
We couldn't stay there.
So we came here.
You're our very best friends.
[crying] In the whole world.
Now, now, Edna--
We couldn't go anywhere else,
50 we came here,
Well, well, um, you did the right thing,
of course.
[Tobias] Sure.
Uh, can I go to bed now? Please?
- Bed?
- We can't go back there.
-[Harry] You're our...
-[Edna] I-I'm so tired.
...best friends in the world.
Of course we are, Harry.
Oh, oh, please.
Of, of course you can.
There's, uh... There's, uh, Julia's room.
Come with me, dear.
[Tobias] Edna.
There was no one else we could go to.
[footsteps receding]
I was wondering when it would begin.
When it would start.
You don't know yet?
You will.
[Julia] Do you think I like it? Do you?
[Agnes] Julia, please.
Do you? Do you think [ enjoy it?
[Agnes] Julia.
Think it gives me
some sort of martyr's pleasure?
- Do you?
- Will you be still?
There is a house full of people.
Oh, yes, what about that?
I come home,
my room is full of Harry and Edna.
I have no place to put my things.
They'll go into Tobias's room.
He'll sleep with me.
[scoffs] That'll be different.
What did you say, young lady?
I said, "That would be nice."
You did not say any such thing.
- You said--
- What are they doing here?
Don't they have a house anymore?
Has the market gone bust
without my knowing it?
-I may have been out of touch, but--
-[Agnes] Just let it be.
Why are they here?
They are frightened.
Haven't you heard of it?
They're what?
They are frightened.
Now, will you let it be?
What are they frightened of?
Harry and Edna? Frightened?
I don't, I don't know yet.
Well, haven't you talked to them about it?
I mean, for God's sake!
No, I haven't.
What have they done all day?
Stayed up in their room, my room?
Not come down? Locked in?
- Yes.
- Yes, what?
[laughs] Yes, they have stayed up
in their room all day.
- My room.
- Your room.
Now, let it be.
. -No!
[Agnes] Please!
Oh, I'm sorry, Mother.
I'm sorry for screeching.
[laughs] I am too old, as I remember,
to remember what it is like
to be a daughter.
If my poor parents
in their separate heavens will forgive me.
But I'm sure it's simpler
than being a mother.
I said I was sorry.
I don't recall if I asked
Ty poor mother that.
I do wish, sometimes,
that I'd been born a man.
- Not so odd.
- Their concerns are so simple.
Money and death.
Making ends meet until they meet the end.
[laughs] If they knew what it was like
to be a wife, a mother, a lover,
a homemaker, a nurse, a hostess,
an agitator, a pacifier,
a truth teller, a deceiver--
-[Julia laughs]
- There's a book out, I believe.
Anew one.
By one of the 30 million psychiatrists
now practicing in this land of ours.
A book which opines
that the sexes are reversing.
Or coming to resemble each other too much,
at any rate.
Simply read and disbelieved.
But it disturbs our sense of well-being,
if the book is right. [laughs]
And I suspect it is.
Then I would be no better off as a man,
would I?
No, not at all.
Oh, there is nowhere
to rest the weary head.
Or whatever.
How are you, my darling?
How are you, my darling?
How is your darling?
Well, Twas trying to tell you
before you shut me up with Harry and Edna
-hiding upstairs.
- You're wrong!
I will try to tell you, Mother,
once again,
before you turned into a man.
I shall try to hear you out.
But if I feel my voice changing
in the middle of your rant,
you will have to forgive
my male prerogative.
If I become uncomfortable,
look at my watch, or jiggle the change--
Where do you think you're going?
You go straight to hell!
Now, now, what's going on here?
Will you shut her up?
- Well, I--
- There you are, Julia.
Your father can safely leave the room now,
I think.
Hello, my darling.
Your mother has arrived.
Talk to him.
Your daughter's in need of consolation
or a great cuffing around the ears.
[laughs] I don't know which to recommend.
[Tobias] Have Harry and Edna...
No, they have not.
[Tobias] Well, I thought maybe...
Well, what was that all about?
As they say, I haven't the faintest.
- Oh.
- Evening papers?
- Yes, you want it?
- Anything happy?
My daughter's home?
Any other joys?
Sorry, no.
Small wars, large anxieties.
Our dear Republicans as dull as ever.
A teenage marijuana nest,
not far from here.
I never had marijuana...
in my entire life.
[Julia] Want some?
Wasn't fashionable.
[Julia] What the hell
do Harry and Edna want?
Just let It be.
Didn't you talk to them today about it?
I mean...
No, they weren't down
when I went off to the club.
- And--
- Good old golf.
Don't ride me, Julia. I warn you.
I've never had any marijuana either.
Aren't I a good old girl.
Either that or slow.
Great Christ!
What the hell did I come home to?
And why?
Both of you, snotty, mean--
There are some times
when it all gathers up too much.
Sure, sure.
Some times when it's gonna be
Agnes and Tobias,
not just Mother and Dad, right?
Some times when the allowances
aren't gonna be made.
What are you doing?
Biting off your fingernails now?
It broke off,
There are some times
when it's all too much.
I don't know what the hell Harry and Edna
are doing sitting up in that bedroom.
Claire's drinking.
She and Agnes are at each other
like a couple of, of...
- Sisters?
-[Tobias] What?
[Tobias] The goddamn government's at me
over some deductions.
- And you...
- And me, yes?
This isn't the first time, you know?
The first time you've come back here
with one of your goddamn marriages
on the rocks.
Four! Count 'em!
I know how many marriages
I've gotten myself into!
You expect to come back here
and nestle into being 15
and misunderstood each time.
You're 36-years old, for God's sake!
[Julia] And you are 100 easily!
Thirty-six, each time dragging your--
I was gonna say "pride"--
your marriage with you,
like some Raggedy Ann doll, by the foot.
You, you fill this house
with your whining--
I don't ask to come back here!
You belong here!
now that I've taken out
on my only daughter
the disgust of my declining years,
I'll mix a very good
and very strong martini.
-[door opens]
- Join me?
When I was a very little girl,
well, when I was a little girl,
after I'd gotten over my two year burn
at suddenly having a brother,
may his soul rest.
When I was still a little girl,
I thought you were a marvel.
Saint, sage, Daddy, everything.
And then, as the years turned
and I reached my somewhat
angular adolescence--
Five to one, or more?
Then, as the years turned,
poor old man, you sank to cipher.
And you've stayed there, I'm afraid.
Very nice, but ineffectual.
Essential, but not really thought of.
- Gray, non-eminence.
- Uh-huh.
And now you changed again.
Sea monster, ram, nasty, violent,
absolutely human man.
As you make it,
five to one, or better.
I made it about seven, I think.
Your transformation's amazed me.
How can I have changed so much?
Qr is it really you?
I told Agnes I'd talk to Doug.
If you think that would do any good.
By golly, Dad, that's a good martini.
You really want to talk to Doug?
You won't get anywhere.
The compulsives
you can get somewhere with,
or the illusion of getting.
The gamblers, the fags, the lechers--
- Of this world.
- Yes.
You can have the illusion
because they're after something.
A jackpot somehow.
Break the bank,
find the boy, climb the babe, something.
You do pick 'em.
[Tobias] Hmm?
Do I pick 'en?
Well, you may have been pushed on Charlie.
Yeah, poor old Charlie.
Oh, for Christ's sake,
if you miss him so much...
I do not miss him!
Well, yes, I do, but not that way.
Because he seemed so, like...
what Teddy would have been.
Your brother would not have grown up
to be a fag.
Who's to say?
[door opens]
- Do I breathe gin?
- Oh, darling!
- My sweet Claire.
- Oh, Julia.
Julia, oh!
I must say, the welcome-home committee
was pretty skimpy, you and Daddy gone.
I said, "Do I breathe gin?"
You do.
Well, you don't look too bad
for a quadruple amputee, I must say.
Are you gonna make me a whatever, Tobias?
Besides, my darling, it's getting to be
rather a habit, isn't it?
Yeah, I suppose so.
Then... [ shall make my own.
[Tobias] Sit down, Claire. I'll do it.
Well, I wouldn't want to tax you now.
Thad an adventure today.
I went into town.
Thought I'd shake 'em up a little.
So I tried to find me
2 topless bathing suit.
You didn't!
- Yes, I did.
I went into what's-the-name,
straight up to the, uh,
swimwear, as they call it, department.
Got me an 1890 school mistress type
who wondered what she could do for me.
And [, uh, felt like telling her,
"Not much, sweetheart."
[Tobias] Are you sure
you wouldn't rather have a...
But [ said, "Hello there.
I'm in the market for a topless swimsuit."
Really, Claire. [laughs]
[Claire] "I don't know what you mean,"
she said.
I said, "Oh, certainly you do.
No top, stops at the waist,
the latest thing, lots of freedom.
"Oh, yes," she said.
"I'm afraid we don't carry those."
"Well, in that case," I told her,
"Do you have any separates?
"Ah, those we carry.
Shall I bring it, or will you come for it?
You bring.
I said, "I said I'll buy the bottoms
of one of those."
And, uh...
she thought for a minute,
and then she said,
with ice in her voice,
"What shall we do with the tops?"
Well, now, "Well," I said,
"Why don't you save them?
Maybe bottomless swimsuits
will be in next year."
[Julia laughs]
And the poor sweet thing gave me a look.
I couldn't tell.
It was either a D minus,
or she was gonna send me home
with a letter to my mother.
And, uh, she said, sort of far away...
"I think you need the manager.
And off she walked.
What were you doing buying
a bathing suit in October anyway?
- Oh, Dad--
- No, no, no, no, that's a man's question.
That's a good martini.
Truth will get you nowhere, Why?
Well, maybe I'll go on a trip somewhere.
That would please Agnes.
[laughs] As few things would.
No, what I meant was,
maybe Toby will walk in one day,
trailing travel folders,
rip his tie off
and announce he's fed up to there
with the north, the east,
the suburbs, the regulated,
great gray dwindling life before him,
and has bought him
an island off Paraguay.
Which has no sea coast.
Yes. Way off.
Has bought him this island
and is taking us all to that
to hack through the whatever,
build us an enormous lean-to,
all of us.
Take us away.
To where it's always...
good and happy.
Would you, Dad?
It's, uh...
it's too late.
Or something.
Well, maybe I just simply wanted
2 topless bathing suit.
Well, then maybe
it's more complicated yet.
I mean, Claire couldn't find herself a man
if she tried.
And here comes Julia,
home from the wars.
- You could find a man.
- Oh, indeed, I have found several.
Briefly, and none my own.
Julia, don't you think Auntie Claire
could find herself a man?
[clears throat]
I don't like the subject.
And here comes Julia,
home from the wars,
four purple hearts.
Why don't you just have another drink
and stop it, Claire.
All right.
I have left Doug.
We are not divorced.
You cooking another batch, Tobias?
But you've come back home, haven't you?
- Didn't you with the others?
- Where else am I supposed to go?
[chuckles] It's a great big world, baby.
Hotels, new cities.
Mm, home is the quickest road
to Reno I know of.
You have such a lot of experience
in these matters, Claire.
Sidelines, good seats,
right on the 50-yard line.
Objective observers.
I swear, if I didn't love my sister so,
I'd say she got you hitched
-or the pleasure of getting you back.
- All right!
[Tobias] That will do now.
[Claire] Sorry.
They tell me in the kitchen,
they tell me,
we are about to dine in a bit.
Are we having a drink?
I think one might be nice.
It's one of those days
when everything is underneath,
but we are all together,
which is something.
- Quite a few of us.
-[Tobias] Any news from up there?
[laughs] No, no.
I dropped upstairs.
Oh, that doesn't make much sense, does it?
I happened upstairs,
and I knocked into Harry and Edna's, uh,
Julia's room door,
and after a moment [ heard Harry say,
"It's all right. We're all right."
Well, I didn't have the... [sighs]
[ Felt such an odd mixture
of embarrassment and irritation,
and apprehension, [ suppose,
and fatigue.
-I didn't persevere.
- Well, haven't they been out?
I mean, haven't they eaten or anything?
[laughs] Make me a thing, will you?
A martini.
I am told-- They tell me
that while we were all out
on our various whatever they may be's,
Edna descended,
asked them to make sandwiches,
which were brought to the closed door
and handed in.
Well, my God, I mean, like--
There is no point in pressing it.
There are very dear friends.
They will tell us in good time.
I had a glimmer of it last night,
thought I knew.
That which we see
in the bottom of the glass
is most often dregs.
Really? Truly so?
Are we having our dividend,
or are we not?
- All happy families are alike.
-[Harry] Well!
Well, look who's here!
[Tobias] Harry, just in time
for a martini.
No, no, we're--
Well, Julia, there you are.
Oh, Julia.
There's enough time
for 2 drink before dinner,
if my husband will hurry some.
No. We're going home now.
Oh. Yes?
Uh, yes.
Well, if we were any help at all, I--
To get our things,
our clothes and things.
-[Edna] Yes.
-[Harry] We'll be back in--
Well, after dinner, so don't...
Uh, an hour or two.
It'll take us a while.
We'll let ourselves out. Don't bother.
[door closes]
I want my room back.
I want my room.
I believe that dinner is served.
If any of you have the stomach for it.
That was, without question,
the ugliest dinner I've ever sat through.
What did you say?
Now, what can you mean?
Was the ragout not to your pleasure?
Did the floating island sink?
Watch what you say to your father.
He's proud of his wines.
No, you, sitting there
like a combination pope and--
"We will not discuss it."
"Claire, be still."
"No, Tobias,
the table is not the proper place.
Nanny! Like a nanny!
When we are dealing with children--
I must discover sometime
who you think you are.
You will learn one day.
No, more like a drill sergeant.
You will do this, you will not do that.
To keep in shape.
Have you heard the expression?
Most people misunderstand it.
Assume it means alteration
when it does not.
When we keep something in shape,
we maintain its shape,
whether we are proud of that shape or not
is another matter.
We keep it from falling apart.
We do not attempt the impossible.
We maintain, we hold.
I shall keep this family in shape.
I shall maintain it, hold it.
Yes, sir.
[Agnes] And if I shout,
it is merely to be heard
above the awful din of your privacies
and shouts.
All of you.
I'm not being an ogre, am I?
[Tobias] No. No, very reasonable.
If I am a stickler on certain points,
a martinet, as Julia would have it--
weren't you not sweet.
In fact, if I'm a stickler
on points of manners,
timing, tact,
the graces are most blushed to call them,
it is simply that I'm the one member
of this reasonably happy family
blessed and burdened
with the ability to view a situation
objectively while I am in it.
What time is it?
And if I must be the fulcrum...
I think I shall have a divorce.
A what? A what?
No fear. Merely testing.
Everything is taken for granted,
and no one listens.
- Have 2 divorce.
- No, no.
Julia has them for all of us.
Not even separation.
That is taken care of,
and, in life,
the gradual demise of intensity.
The private preoccupations,
the substitutions.
They become allegorical,
my darling Tobias,
as we grow older.
The individuality we hold so dearly
sinks into crotchet.
We see ourselves repeated
by those we bring into it all,
either by meddle or rejection,
honor or fault.
I'm not a fool.
I'm really not.
[Julia] What's Claire up to?
Really not at all.
[Tobias] No, really not.
Well, how would I know
what she's up to?
Well, you are the fulcrum
and all around here.
The double vision,
the great balancing act.
I daresay... she's in her room.
At least she has one.
Why don't you run upstairs
and claim your goddamn room back!
Barricade yourself in there,
push your bureau in front of the door.
Take Tobias's pistol while you're at It.
Arm yourself.
[accordion music]
Barricades? Pistols? Really? So soon?
Claire, will you take off that damn thing.
They laughed when I sat down
to the accordion.
Take it off? No, will not.
This is gonna be a festive night,
by the smell of it,
and Sister Claire wants to do her part.
Pay her way, so to speak, justify.
[Agnes] You're not gonna play
that dreadful instrument in here.
[lively tune]
- Tobias, do something about that.
- Calm down, Agnes.
Ma used to say, "Claire girl." [chuckles]
She had an uncle named Claire,
so she always used to call me Claire girl.
[Agnes] That is not so.
"Claire girl," she used to say,
"When you go out into the world,
get dumped out of the nest,
or pushed out by your sister."
Even in her teens,
your Auntie Claire had her own
and very special ways.
Was very advanced.
[Claire] Thad a ball, same as you.
You know, your mommy got her pudenda
scuffed a couple of times herself
'fore she met ol' Toby there, you know?
Only [ wasn't puce
with socially proper remorse every time.
Your what?
My pudenda.
You can come on all forgetful
in your old age,
if you want to, but just remember--
I'm not an old woman.
Am I?
[Tobias laughs]
Well, you're my old lady.
[Claire] What'll it be?
[lively accordion music]
Save it for Harry and Edna.
Save it for Harry and Edna?
Save it for them?
-[accordion music]
- Please.
[accordion squeaks]
All right.
I'll unload.
We're waiting, aren't we?
The room, the doctor's office.
The beautiful unconcern,
the intensive study
of the dreadful curtains,
the absorption in Field & Stream.
Waiting for the biopsy.
Don't know what [ mean?
- What about Harry and Edna?
- We don't want to talk about it.
- If they come back--
- If?
If they come back, we will.
You only have two choices, Sis.
Take them in or throw 'em out.
Ah, how simple it is from the sidelines.
We'll do neither, I imagine.
Take in, throw out.
Well, yes, they're just...
-passing through.
-[Claire laughs]
-[car approaching]
- As they have been all these years.
Well, we shall know soon enough.
- They're back.
-[Tobias] Yes?
[Julia] I think I'll go up.
You'll stay right here--
-I want to go to my room.
It is their room for the moment.
Among Doug's opinions,
you might like to know,
is that when you and your ilk
are blown to pieces by a Chinese bomb,
the world will be 2 better place!
Isn't "ilk" a lovely word?
Oh, come on now.
Well, it'll be a less crowded one.
You choose well, Julia.
Well, that's what he says.
Have always.
Did he include you as ilk as well?
Will you be with us
when the fatal mushroom comes,
as those dirty boys put it?
Are we to have the pleasure?
- I'll be right here.
- Agnes.
Would you like to know
something else he says?
- No, Julia.
- Daddy?
Not right this minute, Julia.
Claire, you?
Oh, come on, you know
I'd like to hear about it, I'd love to,
but Toby and Ag have got an invasion
on their hands.
We have no such thing.
And maybe you'd better wait
for Harry and Edna, too.
It does not concern Harry and Edna.
Best friends.
- Where, what will [ do with everything--
- Ch, for God's sake, I'll do it.
What do they want, Harry and Edna?
-[Claire] Hmm?
- You'll make Mother mad.
Harry and Edna, what do they want?
- Succor.,
- Pardon?
A special room with a night-light.
Or the door ajar so they can
look down the hall from the bed
and see that Mummy has her door open.
That's my room.
It's their room.
Happens you were in it.
You're a visitor as much as anyone now.
But I know that room.
You home for good now?
You home forever?
Back from the world to the sadness
and reassurance of your parents.
You come to take my place?
This is my home.
We are not the communal nation, dear.
Mm, giving, but not sharing.
Outgoing, but not friendly.
We submerge our truths
and have our sunsets on untroubled waters.
Come on in, Edna.
[Claire] Do you think we can walk
on the water, Edna,
or do you think we sink?
[Edna] We sink.
And we better develop gills, right?
I didn't see you come in.
Oh, we drove around the back.
Harry's helping Agnes and Tobias
get our bags upstairs.
Don't you mean that Agnes and Tobias
are helping Harry?
If you like.
What were you two up to?
[Claire] I think
Julia's home for good this time.
I say, Claire.
[Edna] Oh? Is it come to that?
[Claire] I always said she would finally.
It's family business.
[Edna] Yes, but I don't think that Agnes
and Tobias have seen it as clearly.
I do wish Agnes
would have those chairs re-covered.
Perhaps now that--
Why don't you call the upholsterers,
now that you're living here!
[Claire] All in the family.
You're not a child anymore, Julia.
You're nicely on your way to 40.
And you've not helped wedlock's image any
with your shenanigans.
You are a guest in this house!
And if you have decided to return forever,
then it's a matter of some concern
for quite a few people--
You are a guest!
[Claire] As you.
For quite a few people
whose lives are... moved,
if not necessarily touched,
by your actions.
Claire, where does Agnes
have her upholstery done?
- Does she use--
- No!
Manners, young lady.
Julia, why don't you ask Edna
if she'd like something?
You have no right here.
I'll have a cognac, Julia.
My husband and I
are your parents' best friends.
We are, in addition, your godparents.
- Does this give you rights?
- Some.
Some. Rights and responsibilities.
- Some.
-[footsteps approaching]
Hello, Harry. Come on in.
Julia's about to fix us something.
What would you like?
Tl do it.
Don't trouble yourself, Julia.
No! No, don't you come near it!
Don't you take a step!
[Julia pants, whimpers]
- Julia.
- No!
Let her do it, Harry. She wants to.
I don't want to!
Then I'll do it, Julia.
- Mother? Mother!
- Oh, honestly.
- Julia?
-[Julia moans]
Will you let me do it?
May I get the drinks?
Stay away from it.
All of you!
Now, Julia.
-[Julia] Mother?
- Oh, come on.
- Now, Julia.
-[Julia moans]
[Edna] Let her go, Harry.
Mother! Father! Help me!
- Julia, you're shouting!
-[Julia] Help me!
[Julia] M-Mother.
What is it, dear?
- They, they want--
- Forget it, Julia.
Yes, for God's sake, forget it.
- They want.
- Perhaps you had better come upstairs.
[Julia] Yes, where? What room?
Come up to my room. Lie down.
Your room?
No, you can lie down in our room
if you prefer.
Your room? Your room! Mine! Mine!
- God!
- Don't you go near that!
- Julia!
-[Julia] I want.
[Edna] What do you want, Julia?
-[Harry] Jesus.
-[Julia] I want what is mine!
Well, then, my dear, you'll have to
decide what that is, will you not?
Daddy? Daddy!
- Daddy?
-[door slams]
I do believe that's the first time
she's called on her father in...
since her childhood.
- When she used to skin her knees.
- Yes.
And she would come home bloody.
I assumed she was clumsy, but...
it crossed my mind 3 time or two
that she was religious.
Praying on the gravel? A penance?
Teddy had just died, I think.
And it was an unreal time
for a number of us.
For me.
Poor little boy.
-[Edna] Yes.
-[log clatters]
It was an unreal time.
I thought Tobias was out of love with me.
Or, rather, was tired of it
when Teddy died,
as if it had been the string.
[Harry] Would you like something, Edna?
[Edna] Mm-hmm.
Things I doubted then, that I was loved,
that I loved, for that matter...
Teddy had ever lived at all.
My mind, you see.
That Julia wouldn't be with us long.
I think...
I think I thought Tobias
was unfaithful to me then.
- Was he, Harry?
-[Edna] Oh, Agnes.
Come on, Agnes. Of course not. No!
Was he, Claire?
That hot summer,
with Julia's knees all bloody?
And Teddy dead.
Did my husband cheat on me?
You got me, Sis.
And that will have to do.
- Poor Julia.
- Julia's a fool.
Make me a drink, will ya, Harry?
Since you're being Tobias. A scotch.
[Harry] Sure thing. Claire?
Why not?
Claire could tell us so much
if she cared to, could you not, Claire?
Claire, who watches from the sidelines,
has seen so very much.
Has seen us all so clearly,
have you not, Claire?
- You were not named for nothing.
- Lay off, Sis.
What do you want?
I don't know what you mean.
- What do you really want?
-[Claire] You gonna tell her, Harry?
I don't know what you mean, Claire.
Scotch, was it, Agnes?
-{Agnes) I said--
Yes, but I don't remember.
Don't talk to Harry like that.
I-I'm so-sorry, Edna.
I forgot that, um,
you're very frightened people.
- Don't you make fun of us!
- My dear Edna!
- I'm not making--
- Yes, you are!
You are making fun of us!
-I assure you, Edna--
- Here's your drink.
I-I assure you!
Well, I think it's time
for a little music, don't you, kids?
We don't want music, Claire.
I yodel a little, too, nowadays,
-if anybody--
- You yodel?
-[Claire yodels]
-[Harry] She yodels.
What would you like, Harry?
A chorus of "take me to the greenhouse
and lay me down"?
-[Agnes] Claire.
-I wonder if,
before the concert,
one of you wouldn't mind telling me
why on earth my daughter
is upstairs in hysterics?
Envy, baby! She don't sing or nothin'.
-[Tobias] Please!
-[Agnes] What was she--
Now, will any of you tell me why?
-[Agnes] What's she doing?
-I told you. She's in hysterics.
That is a condition.
L inquired about an action.
-{Edna) Poor Julia.
-I don't understand that girl.
An action? Is that what you want? Okay.
How about pressed against the corner
of the upstairs hall.
Arms wide, palms back, eyes darting wide.
How about tearing
into Harry and Edna's room,
ripping the clothes from closets,
hangers and all on the floor.
The same for the bureaus.
-[Agnes] I see.
- More?
[Agnes] All right.
Went into your room next.
Twisted on the bed, lots of breathing,
the great wide eyes.
The spread gathered under her,
your big lace pillow
in her arms like a lover.
Eyes wide open, no tears now.
Though if you go near the...
Sounds start,
and you think she'll scream
if you touch her.
- How's that?
-[Claire] Pretty good.
[Agnes] And accurate, I imagine.
You're damn right! Now, why?
I was making myself a drink,
for God's sake.
I asked her to make me something.
[Tobias] Come on now!
That sounds incomplete to you, Toby?
[Agnes] Julia has been through
a trying time, Tobias.
- Suppose we did upset her some.
-[Edna] Of course.
Don't you think you should go tend to her?
She will be down, or she will not.
She will stop, or she will go on.
[Tobias] Oh, for God's sake, Agnes.
I haven't the time, Tobias.
I haven't time for the four-hour talk,
the soothing recapitulation.
You don't go through it, my love,
the history.
Nothing is calmed
by a pat on the hand,
a gentle massage,
or slowly, slowly combing the hair.
The history, Teddy's birth,
and how she felt unwanted, tricked.
His death,
and was she more relieved than lost.
All the schools we sent her to,
and did she fail in them
through hate or love?
And when we come to marriage, dear,
each one of them,
the fear, the happiness,
the sex, the stopping, the infidelities--
- All right, Agnes--
- The comings-home, the new resolves,
departures. [laughs]
Oh, my dear, Tobias,
my life has gone through more than hers.
I see myself growing old each time,
my own life passing.
No, I haven't time for it now.
At midnight, maybe,
when you're all in your beds,
safely sleeping.
Then I shall comfort our Julia
and lose myself once more.
I tell you,
there are so many martyrdoms here.
[Agnes] No, one to a person.
That is the usual.
Though I do believe there are some
with none,
and others who have known Job.
The hopeless are the cruelest lot of all.
They shift their burdens so.
You interviewed a camel,
he'd admit he loved his load.
I wish you two
would stop having at each other.
Hell yes, let's have a drink.
- Tobias?
- Huh?
[Harry) What can I make you, buddy?
[Claire] Dear,
you've actually spoken your mind!
What can you make me?
I do, sometimes.
Sure, I'm here.
When an environment
is not all that it might be.
Oh, uh, yeah, scotch.
Is that for you to say?
[Claire] Here we come.
Stop it, Claire, dear. I said...
is that for you to say?
Oh, we must be helpful
when we can, my dear.
That is the responsibility,
the double demand of friendship,
is it not?
But... when we are asked.
Not only.
It seemed to me, well, to us,
that since we are living here...
Living here?
Living here?
- That's my cue!
-[lively tune]
[Julia] Get them out of here, Daddy!
Get them out of here!
Get them out of here!
Get them out of here!
Get them out of here!
- Get them out of here!
-[accordion squeals]
Get them out of here, Daddy.
All right.
Julia, baby.
[Julia cries]
Let's, let's have it now.
Get, get, get them out of here, Daddy.
[Julia whimpers]
Come on now.
Get them out of here, Daddy.
[Agnes] You ought to be horsewhipped,
young lady.
- All right now.
- Do it, Daddy.
Or give it back.
[Agnes] How dare you come
into this room like that.
How dare you embarrass me and your father.
How dare you frighten--
- Are you going?
-[Tobias] Julia, please.
[Julia] Are you?
No, we are not going.
[Harry] No.
-[Julia] You see--
- Coming down here with a gun like that.
You return to your nest
from your latest disaster,
dispossessed, and suddenly dispossessing.
You scream the house down,
claw at all of us.
- Stop her!
- Willful, wicked, wretched girl!
You are not-- You have no rights!
We have rights here. We belong.
- Mother.
- We belong here, do we not?
Forever? Have you come to stay forever?
- If need be!
Sorry. A godmother's duty.
If we come to the point,
if we are at home one evening,
and the...
terror comes, descends,
if all at once we... need...
we come where we are wanted,
where we know we are expected,
not only where we want.
We come where
the table has been laid for us
in such an event,
where the bed is turned down and warmed
and has been ready should we need it.
We are not...
like some.
[Julia] No.
You have come to live with us, then?
Why, yes.
We have.
Well, then...
perhaps it is time for bed.
- Julia?
- Mother?
Come upstairs with me.
Let me... comb your hair...
rub your back...
and we shall soothe
and salve and fall to sleep.
Well, I think it's time for bed.
[Tobias] Well, yes, yes, of course.
We know the way.
Friendship is something like a marriage,
is it not, Tobias?
For better and for worse?
We haven't come to the wrong place,
have we?
Have we, Toby?
No. No, of course you haven't.
Good night, dear Tobias.
- Good night, Claire.
- Night, you two.
- Good night, old man.
- Good-- Good night, you two.
[footsteps receding]
Full house, Tobias.
Every bed, every cupboard.
Good night, Claire.
You gonna stay up, Tobias?
A sort of night watch, guarding?
I've done it.
The breathing as you stand
in the quiet hall, slow and heavy.
The special warmth and permeation
of a house asleep.
When the house is sleeping.
When the people are asleep.
Good night, Claire.
And the difference...
the different breathing in the cold
when every bed is awake all night.
Very still, eyes open,
staring into the dark.
You know that one?
Good night, Claire.
Good night, Tobias.
[door opens]
[door closes]
Ah, there you are.
7:30 am. All is well.
I guess.
[Agnes] So odd.
There was a stranger
in my room last night.
- Who?
- You.
It was nice to have you there.
Les temps perdu.
I've never understood that.
Perdu means lost, not merely passed.
But it was nice to have you there.
Though I remember when it was a constancy.
How easily I would fall asleep,
pace my breathing to your breathing.
[sighs] And...
if we were touching,
oh, what a splendid cocoon that was.
But last night...
what a shame, what sadness.
You were a stranger.
And I stayed awake.
- I'm sorry.
- Were you asleep at all?
I would go half, then wake.
Your unfamiliar presence, sir.
I could get used to it again.
- Yes?
- I think.
Didn't have your talk with Julia.
- No.
- Your all-night lulling.
No, no, she wouldn't let me stay.
"Look to your own house,
is what she said.
You stayed down long?
- When?
- After. Before you came to bed.
Almost went to my room by habit.
By mistake, rather.
And then I realized that your room
Was my room,
because my room is Julia's,
because Julia's room is--
And, uh, I was awake
when you left my room again.
You could have said.
I felt shy.
- Hmm?
- Did you go to Claire?
I never go to Claire.
Did you go to Claire to talk?
I never go to Claire.
We must always envy someone we should not.
Be jealous of those who have so much less.
You and Claire
make so much sense together,
talk so well.
I never go to Claire at night
or talk with her alone save publicly.
[laughs] In public rooms, like this.
[Tobias] Yes.
Have never?
I shall start missing you
when you move from my room again.
If you do.
Thad stopped, I believe.
[scoffs] Oh, you're an honest woman.
Oh, well. We need one in every house.
It's very strange
to be downstairs in a room
where everyone has been and is gone,
very late, after the heat is gone.
The furnace and the bodies.
The hour or so before the sun comes up,
the furnace starts again.
It's rather godlike, if I may presume,
to look at it all reconstruct
with such detachment.
See yourself, you, Julia,
look at it all, play it out again.
No, that's being in it. Watch.
And if you have a drink or two...
[Agnes] Did you?
Mm-hmm. And if you have a drink or two,
very late, in the quiet, tired,
the... mind
lets loose.
[Agnes] Mm?
And you watch it as it reasons.
And all with a kind of grateful delight,
and at the same time sadly,
"cause you know
that when the daylight comes,
the pressures will be on.
And all the insights
won't be worth a damn.
[Agnes laughs]
And what did you decide?
You can sit and watch,
you can have so clear a picture,
see everyone moving
through his own jungle,
and insight into all the reasons,
all the needs.
Good. And what did you decide?
Why is the room so dirty?
Can't we have better servants?
Some help who help?
They keep far better hours than we,
that's all.
They're a comment on our habits.
A reminder that we are out of step.
That is why we pay them
So very, very much.
Neither a servant nor a master be,
I remember when--
When you were very young
and lived at home,
and the servants were awake
whenever you were.
Six a.m. for your breakfast
when you wanted it,
five in the morning
when you came home drunk and 17.
[chuckles] Washing the vomit from the car,
and you telling no one.
Stealing just enough each month
by arrangement with the stores
to keep them in a decent wage.
Generations of them,
all just blind and always dying.
The cook, who did a better dinner drunk
than sober.
Those servants.
Those days when you were young
and lived at home.
Mm. [chuckles]
Well, my darling, you are not young now,
and you do not live at home.
Where do I live?
In the dark sadness. Yes?
What are we gonna do?
What did you decide?
- Nothing.
- Well, you must.
Your house is not in order, sir.
It's full to bursting.
Yes. You've gotta help me here.
No, I don't think so.
- No?
I thought a little last night, too,
while you were seeing everything
so clearly here.
I lay in the dark
and I revisited our life.
The years and years.
There are many things a woman does.
She bears the children,
if there is that blessing.
Blessing? Yes, I suppose.
Even with the sadness.
She runs the house,
for what that's worth.
Makes sure there's food,
and not just anything,
and decent linen.
Looks well.
Assumes whatever duties are demanded
if she's in love or loves.
And plans.
I know, I know.
But there are things we do not do.
- Yes?
- Yes.
We don't decide the route.
- You are copping out, as they say.
- No, indeed.
- Yes, you are!
-[Agnes] Don't you yell at me.
- You're copping out.
- We follow.
We let our men decide the moral issues.
You've never done that in your life.
Always, my darling.
Whatever you decide, I'll make it work.
I'll run it for you.
So you'll never know there's been a change
in anything.
[Tobias] No, no.
So, let me know.
I know I'm tired.
I know I've hardly slept at all.
I know I've sat down here and thought.
And made your decisions?
But I have not judged. I told you that.
Well, when you have, you let me know.
- You'll wake the house.
- I'll wake the house!
This is not the time
for you to lose control.
I'll lose control!
I've sat down here in the cold,
in the empty cold,
I've sat here alone.
I've looked at everything, all of it.
I thought of you, Julia, and Claire.
- And Edna and Harry?
- Well, of course. What do you think?
I don't know, I'm listening.
I don't suppose, uh...
Shall [ make some coffee?
Why don't you do that, darling.
Morning, Julie.
Sorry about last night, Daddy.
Oh, well, now.
I mean,
I'm sorry for having embarrassed you.
[Agnes] Coffee.
Aren't you sorry for embarrassing me, too?
Well, isn't it nice
that Julia's making coffee?
No? If they help her out?
Isn't it nice to have a daughter
who can put a pot to boil?
"Aren't you sorry
for embarrassing me, too?"
You have a problem there with Julia.
I? I have a problem?
But at least you have your women
round you,
crowded round full of warm support.
That must be a comfort to you.
Most explorers go alone,
don't have their families with them.
Pitching tents, tending the fire,
shooing off the antelopes
or the bears or whatever.
"Aren't you sorry
for embarrassing me, too?"
- Are you quoting?
- Yes.
Next, we'll have
my younger sister with us.
Another porter for the dreadful trip.
Claire's never missed a chance
to participate in watching.
She'll be here, we'll have us all.
You'll all sit down
and watch me carefully,
smoke your pipes and stir the cauldron.
- Watch.
-[laughs] Yes.
You who make all the decisions,
who really rule the game.
That's an illusion you have.
You'll all sit here,
too early for anything,
on this stupid Sunday,
all of you, and dare me when it's
just as much your choice as mine.
Each time that Julia comes,
each clockwork time,
do you send her back, do you tell her,
"Julia, go home to your husband.
Try it again.
Do you? No.
You'll let it slip.
- It's your decision, sir.
-It is not. I--
And I must live with it, resign myself.
One marriage more
and wait and hope that Julia's motherhood
will come one day, one marriage.
I'm almost too old to be a grandmother.
As I'd hoped, too young to be one.
Oh, I'd wanted that.
The youngest older woman on the block.
Julia's almost too old
to have a child properly,
will be, if she ever does.
If she marries again.
You, you could have pushed her back
if you'd wanted to.
It's very early yet.
That must be it.
-I have never heard such--
- Or Teddy.
No stammering here.
- You'll let this pass.
- Please.
When Teddy died...
we could have had another son.
We could have tried.
But no.
Those months--
- Or was it a year?
- No more of this.
I think it was a year
when you spilled yourself on my belly.
I said, "Please, please, Tobias."
But no. You wouldn't even say it out.
"I don't wank another child,
another loss."
"Please, please, Tobias."
And guiding you, trying to hold you in.
Agnes, please.
"Don't leave me then like that, not again.
Tobias, please. I can take care of it.
We won't have another child,
but, please, don't leave me like that."
Such... silent, sad...
disgusted love.
I-I-I didn't wank you to have to...
-I didn't want you to have to, you know.
-Oh, that was thoughtful of you.
Like a pair of adolescents
in a rented room, in the family car.
- Doubtless you hated it as much as L.
- Yes.
- But wouldn't let me help you.
- No.
Which is why you took
to your own sweet room instead.
The theory being pat
that half a loaf is worse than none.
That you are racked with guilt, stupidly,
and I must suffer for it.
Well, it was your decision, was it not?
And I have made the best of it.
Have lived with It.
Have I not?
What are we going to do about everything?
Whatever you like. Naturally.
[Claire] Morning, kids.
All I can do is run it for you
in full cast.
[Tobias] Morning, Claire.
[Agnes] Julia's in the kitchen.
Making coffee, Claire.
Which means, I guess,
I go watch Julia grind the beans
and drip the water.
I tell you, she's a real pioneer,
that girl.
Coffee pot in one hand
and pistol in t'other.
Claire's a comfort in the early morn,
I've been told.
-[Tobias] Yes.
- That is what I've been told.
Shall I ask them to leave?
- Who?
- Harry and Edna.
For a moment,
I- thought you meant Julia and Claire.
No, Harry and Edna.
Shall I throw them out?
Harry is your very best friend
and an old--
Yes, and Edna is yours. Well?
You'll have to live with it either way.
Do or don't.
Well, then,
why don't I throw Julia and Claire out?
Why don't I throw the whole bunch out?
[laughs] Or get rid of me.
That would be easier.
Rid yourself of the harridan.
Then you can run your mission,
take out sainthood papers.
I think you're stating an opinion,
a preference.
But if you do get rid of me...
you'll no longer have your life
the way you want it.
But that's not my--
that's not all the choice I've got, is it?
Well, I don't, I don't care very much
what choice you've got, my darling.
Tam concerned with what choice you make.
[Julia] Ready!
[Agnes] Ah, here are the helpmates.
What would we do without them?
The coffee's instant, I'm afraid.
Couldn't find a bean.
Help must lock them up
before they go to bed.
Let's clear away some of the debris, huh?
[Agnes] It's true!
We cannot drink our coffee
amidst the sea of last night's glasses.
Tobias, do be a help.
I didn't have to do a thing.
Thank God for pre-squeezed orange juice.
There, that's much better, isn't it?
[Tobias] Whatever you say, Julie.
Now, I'll play waiter. Sis?
Uh, thank you, Claire.
Little Julie?
Just put it down beside me, Claire.
I'm pouring, you can see.
- Pop?
- Thank you, Claire.
Well, yours is here, daughter,
when you've done
with playing early-morning hostess.
Thank you, Claire.
Now, one for little Claire.
Why don't you have some vodka in it,
Claire, to start the Sunday off?
Now, all of you! Sit down. Shut up!
I want to talk to you.
- Did I give you sugar, Mama?
-[Tobias] Be quiet, Julia!
- My darling, yes--
-[Tobias] I want to talk to you.
Well, go on, Tobias.
You too, Claire, please.
Now, something happened here last night.
And I don't mean Julia's hysterics
with the gun--
-[Julia] If you were--
- Be quiet, Julia.
[Tobias] Although [ do mean that in part.
I mean, Harry and Edna coming here.
- Hmm.
- Yes, do you want to say something, Julia?
I came down here...
and I sat all night, hours.
And I did something rather rare
for this family.
I thought about something.
I'm sorry, Tobias, but that's not fair.
I thought.
I sat down here and thought about
all of us and everything.
Now, Harry and Edna have come to us
and asked for help.
- That is not true.
- Be quiet, Julia.
That is not true!
They have not asked for anything.
Please, Julia.
They have told.
They've come in here and ordered.
Just like the family.
If you're begging
and you've got your pride.
If you're begging,
then you may not have your pride.
I don't think that's true, Julia.
Oh, Julia wouldn't know. Ask me.
Those people have no right!
[Tobias] No right? All these years?
We've known them ever since--
For God's sake, Julia,
these people are our friends!
Then take them in.
Take these intruders in.
Look, baby, didn't you get the message
on rights last night?
Didn't you learn about intrusion,
what the score is, who belongs?
You bring those people in here, Father,
and I'm leaving.
[Tobias] Yes?
I don't mean coming and going, Father.
I mean as family.
Harry and Edna are our friends.
They are intruders!
Crisis. Sure brings out the best in us,
eh, Tobe?
Family circle.
Julia standing there,
asserting, perpetual brat!
Maybe ready to pull a Claire.
And poor Claire.
Not much help there, either.
And look at Agnes, talky Agnes,
ruler of the roost, maitre d',
and licensed wife.
All cozy, coffee.
Thinking of the menu for the week.
Poor Tobe.
I was merely waiting until I'd heard
and thought a little,
listened to the rest of you.
I thought someone should sit back,
especially me.
Ruler of the roost,
licensed wife, midnight nurse.
And I've been thinking
about Harry and Edna.
About disease.
About what?
- About disease.
- Oh, for God's sake.
About disease,
or, if you like, the terror.
Yes. The terror or the plague.
They're both the same.
Let me tell you something about disease.
Mortal illness.
You either are immune to it
or you fight it.
Ten centuries ago, and even less,
the treatment was quite simple.
Burn them.
Burn their bodies, burn their houses,
burn their clothes,
and move to another town...
if you were enlightened.
But now, with modern medicine, we,
we merely isolate, we quarantine,
we ostracize
if we are not immune ourselves,
unless we are saints.
So your midnight vigil, darling,
your reasoning in the cold, pure hours
have been over the patient
and not the disease.
It is not--
Edna and Harry, who have come to us,
dear friends, it is a disease.
Oh, for God's sake, Agnes,
it is our friends.
What am [ supposed to do?
Say, "Look, you can't stay here, you two.
You've got trouble.
You're friends and all,
but you come in here clean.
Well, I can't do that, no.
Agnes, for God's sake,
if that is all Harry and Edna
have meant to us, then what about us?
When we talk to each other,
what have we meant? Anything?
When we touch, when we promise,
or say yes,
or please...
with ourselves...
have we meant, "Yes, but only if"?
If there's any condition, Agnes, then...
it's all been empty.
But blood binds us.
Blood holds us together
when we've no more deep affection
for ourselves than others.
I'm not asking you to choose between
your family and our friends.
[Tobias] Yes, you are.
Tam merely saying
that there is disease here.
And Task you,
who in this family is immune?
I am, I've had it,
and I'm still alive, I think.
Claire is the strongest of us all.
The walking wounded,
off and on, the least susceptible.
But think about the rest of us.
Are we immune to it?
The plague, my darling,
the terror sitting in the room upstairs.
Well, if we are, then on with it.
And if we are not, well,
why not be infected?
Why not die of it?
We're bound to die of something soon,
or in a while,
shall we burn them out?
Rid ourselves of it all
and wait for the next invasion.
You decide, my darling.
- Good morning.
-[Agnes] Ah!
- You're up.
-[Claire] Good morning, Edna. Harry.
Harry would like to talk to Tobias.
I think they should be alone, perhaps.
Of course. Uh, um...
Why don't we go in the kitchen,
make a proper breakfast.
No, you don't need to.
Yes, yes, we want you to have your talk.
- Tobias?
-[Tobias] Uh, yes.
We'll be nearby.
Uh, did you sleep well, Edna?
Did you sleep at all? [snorts]
I've never had that bed,
but I know that when--
-[door slams]
- Well, look at them go.
They got out of here quick enough.
You'd think there was a...
Morning, Tobias.
-[Tobias] Morning, Harry.
- Know what I'd like to do?
Something I've never done before
in my life,
except once when I was about 24.
[Tobias] No, what?
Have a drink before breakfast.
- Is it all right?
-[Tobias] Sure.
-[door closes]
- Will you join me?
Tobias) I guess so, yes.
There isn't any ice.
Well, uh, then just whiskey, neat.
- Uh, brandy.
- Oh, God, no. [laughs]
- Whiskey, then.
- Yes, thank you.
- Well, here's to youth again.
- Yep.
Doesn't taste too bad in the morning,
does it?
No, but I've,
I've had some before.
Earlier. Oh, 3:00 or 4:00,
while you all were asleep,
or whatever you were doing.
Hmm, you were awake, huh?
- Yes.
-I slept a little.
- God.
- What?
You know what I did last night?
I got out of bed,
and I crawled in with Edna.
She held me, let me stay a while.
Then I could see she wanted to,
and I didn't, so... [ went back.
[laughs] It was funny.
Do, uh...
you, uh...
like Edna, Tobias?
Why, sure, I like her, Harry.
Now, Tobias.
About last night...
and yesterday and our coming here.
- I was talking to Edna about it,
-I sat down here and thought about that.
I said-- Sorry.
I said I sat down here
and thought about it,
and I talked to Agnes, too,
before you all came down, and...
God, [ don't know, Harry.
We can make it if you want us to.
I can. I mean, I think I can.
No, we're...
We're going, Tobias.
I don't know what help.
I don't know how--
-I said we're going.
- Yes, but...
- You-You're going?
- Sure,
But, but...
You can try it here. Or we can.
No, Harry, you can't go back there.
You've got to--
Got to what? Sell the house?
Buy another? Move to the club?
You came here.
Do you want us here, Tobias?
You came here.
Do you want us here?
You came here.
Do you want us here?
Edna and I...
Oh, there's so much over the dam.
So many disappointments, evasions.
[ guess lies, maybe.
So much we remember we wanted once.
So little that we've settled for.
We talk. Sometimes, mostly no.
We don't like. Sure, we like, but...
I've always been a little... shy, gruff.
You know, shy.
Edna isn't happy. I suppose that's it.
We like you... a-and Agnes.
Well, and Claire and Julia, too, but...
I guess I mean...
I like you, and you like me, I think.
And you're our best friends.
But I told Edna upstairs, I said...
what if they had come to us?"
And she didn't say anything.
And I said, "Edna...
if they had come to us like this...
and even though we don't have Julia
and all that...
I wouldn't take them in.
I wouldn't take them in, Edna.
They don't have any right."
She said...
"Yes, I know, they...
wouldn't have the right."
I wouldn't let you stay.
You don't want us, do you, Toby?
You don't want us here.
What do I want?
Do I wan?
Oh. [laughs]
Do I want you here?
You come in here,
you come in here with your wife
and with your terror.
And you ask me, "Do I want you here?"
Yes. Of course I want you here.
I built this house.
I want you in it.
I want your plague.
You have some terror with you?
Bring it in.
Bring it in!
You got the entre, buddy.
You don't need a key.
You got the entre, buddy. Forty years.
And you don't need to ask me, Harry.
[chuckles] Want, ask.
You come for dinner, don't you?
Come for cocktails.
See you at the club on Saturdays,
and you talk and lie and laugh with us
and pat old Agnes on the hand
and you say, "Don't know what old Tobe
would do without her.
And we've known each other
all these years,
and we love each other, don't we?
[laughs] Don't we?
Don't we love each other?
Doesn't friendship grow to that? To love?
Doesn't 40 years amount to anything?
We've cast our lot together, boy.
We're friends.
We've been through lots of thick
or thin together.
Which is it, boy?
Which is it, boy? Thick? Thin?
Well, whatever it is,
we've been through it, boy.
[laughs] You don't have to ask.
I like you, Harry. [ like...
I really do.
I don't... like Edna, but that's
not half the point. I like you fine.
I find my liking you has limits,
but those are my...
limits, not yours.
The fact I like you well enough,
but not enough,
that best friend in the world
should be something else,
more, well, that's my poverty.
bring your wife, bring your terror,
Bring your plague.
- Bring your plague!
-[door opens]
I don't want you here.
You asked.
No, I don't!
But, by Christ, you're gonna stay here.
You've got the right. The right.
You know the word?
The right.
You've put nearly 40 years in it, baby.
So have I.
And if it's nothing, I don't give a damn.
You've got the right to be here.
You've earned it.
And, by God, you're gonna take it!
Do you hear me?
You bring your terror
and you come in here...
and you live with us.
You bring your plague and stay with us.
I don't want you here.
I don't love you.
But, by God, you stay!
Please stay?
Stay. [cries]
Harry, will you bring our bags down?
Maybe Tobias will help you.
Will you ask him?
[Harry] Sure.
Would you help us with the bags, old man?
Poor Harry, he's not a callous man,
for all his bluff.
He came to my bed last night,
got in with me. L...
I let him stay and talk. I...
I let him think I wanted to make love.
It pleases him, I think,
to know he would be wanted if he...
He said to me...
He lay there in the dark with me,
this man, and he said to me,
very softly, like a little boy, rather...
"Do they love us?
Do they love us, Edna?"
I let a silence go by.
as much as we love them,
I should think."
The hair on his chest
is very gray and soft.
"Would we let them stay, Edna?"
Almost a whisper, then still again.
Well, I hope he told Tobias
something simple.
Something to help.
We mustn't press our luck, must we?
It's sad to come to the end of it,
isn't it?
Nearly the end.
So much more of it gone by than left,
and still not know,
still not have learned the boundaries,
what we may not do,
not ask for fear of...
looking in a mirror.
- We shouldn't have come.
- Ah, Edna.
No, for our own sake, our own lack.
It's sad to know
you've gone through it all,
or most of it, without...
That the one body
you've wrapped your arms around,
the only skin you've ever known
is your own.
And that it's dry... and not warm.
What will you do, Julia?
Will you be seeing Douglas?
I haven't thought about it.
I don't know. I doubt it.
Time happens, [ suppose, to people.
Everything becomes too late, finally.
You know it's going on up on the hill.
You can see the dust and hear the cries.
But you wait.
And time happens.
When you do go, sword, shield, finally...
there's nothing there...
but rust...
And the wind.
I'm sorry about the coffee, Edna.
The help must steal the beans.
The maids-- Or take them with them
when they-- when they go to bed.
[Edna] Oh, coffee and wine,
they're much the same with me.
I can't tell good from bad.
[Agnes laughs]
Would anybody, besides Claire,
care for a drink?
Oh, oh, really, Claire.
- Edna?
- Oh, good heavens, Claire, thank you, no.
All right, Twill. Thank you.
[Edna] I think I hear the men.
[Tobias] We'll just take these down
to the car now.
[Edna] Thank you, Agnes.
You've been, well... Just thank you.
We'll be seeing you.
Oh, yes, well, don't be strangers.
[Edna] How could I be?
Our lives are the same.
Julia, think a little.
Hmm. I will, Edna. I'm fond of marriage.
Darling Claire.
- Do be good.
-[Claire] I'll try to be quiet.
[Edna chuckles]
I'm going into town on Thursday, Agnes.
Would you like to come?
Well, I-I-I don't think so, Edna.
I've so much to do.
Well, perhaps another week.
Oh, yes, we'll do it.
-[Tobias] All done?
-[Harry] All set.
[Agnes] Harry, my darling.
- Take good care.
- Thank you, Agnes, and--
You too, Julia.
You... be good.
Good-bye, Harry.
Bye, Harry. See you around.
Sure thing, Claire.
[Edna] Bye, Tobias.
[Edna, Tobias laugh]
- Thank you.
- Bye, Edna.
Thank you, old man.
Please stay.
See you at the club.
Well, Edna?
Drive carefully.
- It's Sunday.
-[Edna] Bye!
-[Harry] Thank you!
-[car engine starts]
[car engine rumbles]
[Agnes] Well, here we all are.
You all right, my darling?
Your daughter has taken to drinking
in the early morning,
- I hope you'll notice.
- Oh. [laughs]
Thad one here somewhere,
one with Harry.
Oh, here it is.
I would seem to have
three early-morning drinkers.
I hope it won't become a club.
We'd have to get a license,
would we not?
Just think of it as very late at night.
All right, Twill.
I tried.
Twas honest.
Didn't I?
Wasn't I?
You were very honest, Father,
and you tried.
Didn't I try, Claire?
Wasn't I honest?
Sure you were. You tried.
I'm sorry. I...
What I find most astonishing,
aside from my belief that I will one day
lose my mind, but when?
Never, I begin to think,
as the years go by.
Or that I'll not know if it happens
or maybe even has.
What I find most astonishing, I think,
is the wonder of daylight,
of the sun.
All the centuries, millenniums,
all the history.
I wonder if that's why we sleep
at night.
Because the darkness still frightens us.
They say we sleep to let the demons out,
to let the mind go raving mad,
our dreams and nightmares,
all our logic gone awry,
the dark side of our reason.
And when the daylight comes again,
comes order within.
Edna and Harry.
they're safely gone.
And we'll all forget quite soon.
Come now.
We can begin the day.