American Friends (1991) Movie Script

[knocking on door]
Open up.
Open up!
Deaf bugger.
[woman moaning]
[Haskell] The boy's frying
you up an omelet, sir.
[congregation singing]
Praise the Lord upon earth
Ye dragons and all deeps
Fire and hail
Snow and vapors
Wind and storm
Fulfilling His word
Mountains and all hills
Fruitful trees
And all cedars
Beasts and all cattle
Crawling worms
And feathered fowls
Kings of the earth
And all people
Princes, rulers
And judges of the world
Four flannel shirts,
six pairs of drawers...
[Gowers] How do I look?
You look an idiot.
Two pairs
of light trousers,
the thin waistcoat.
I think I look
quite a ladies' man.
Did you clean
his climbing boots
like I told you, boy?
I've got a girl now,
Mr. Haskell.
She's willing.
Shower-proof overcoat.
Alpaca jacket.
Butterfly net.
Prayer book.
Uh, guide book.
Didn't have to ask
for a kiss.
His bloody guide book.
Go and collect it
from Mr. Syme.
Kissing's all right,
isn't it?
Pocket compass,
so as he can find
his way home again.
[man] Cable.
Come on, let me in,
you silly tarts!
[boys laughing]
Come on, come on,
you've got nothing
to hide!
Hold him,
hold him!
What it is
to be young.
Are you absolutely
certain, President,
you will not
require my presence here
during the vacation?
A vacation
is for holidays.
Holiday is anathema
to me, as you know.
I shall be taking
plenty of work with me.
All work and no play
makes Jack a dull boy,
remember that.
Observe the past
and future of
the college, Anderson.
Ashby goes away
every year,
and every year
it's exactly the same.
Dreadful wringing of hands
and paroxysms of guilt.
Imagine what it
must be like,
living with the fear
that you might return
from foreign parts
and find that
a new soup tureen
has been purchased
without a full meeting
of the college council.
[knock at door]
I was told to come
for the guide book of
the Alps for Mr. Ashby.
Oh, yes.
I've marked out
some interesting routes
for him.
Hold it carefully.
A few precipices,
the odd chasm.
With your advice,
he'll be lucky to
come back alive.
He'll not only
come back alive,
he'll also come back
a world authority
on Alpine exploration.
"Good, my Lord.
You have begot me,
bred me, loved me.
I return
those duties back,
as are right fit."
As Vice President
of the college,
I'm fully aware
of my responsibilities,
should your...
Your health...
God forbid, should,
but, uh,
you do understand?
Ashby! Ashby!
I've found
my Cordelia.
[Ashby] Have you found
your King Lear?
Not yet.
One or two prospects.
Might have to
play the part myself.
You want a Lear?
Then you should search
among that sort of man
well steeped
in ambition,
betrayal and greed.
The head
of an Oxford college.
I'm your Lear.
There's a fellow
in Trinity
who's been allowed
to marry and
remain in college.
Sign of the times.
You're not proposing
to bring some
elderly widow
out of the cupboard,
are you, Groves?
You're fully aware
of my views
on the subject.
Firmly based
in ancient Greece.
[Groves] Not a bad
example to follow.
Well, farewell,
I wish I had
the time, Ashby.
I should gladly volunteer
to help you carry your bags.
In my experience,
there's rarely
a shortage of people
to carry one's bags.
This is rural Switzerland,
not Paris.
You'll be pestered
by mountain guides
every foot of the way.
But do take care.
Most of them
couldn't lead you
across their living rooms.
Well, there are incompetents
in all walks of life,
Mr. Syme.
I'm sure I can
recognize them by now.
For the vacancy
on the library committee,
I'd suggest Mr. Cornish.
Oh, very good.
[Syme] Oh, and do examine
the bed sheets carefully,
especially in mountain
guest houses.
[organ playing]
You have
my address.
I shall be
four and half days traveling.
I rely on you, Pollitt.
Look after the college.
[Caroline] "The largest
of the three summits
is the Finsteraarhorn,
14,032 feet
above sea level.
The area
is a well-known haunt
of the chamois,
a shy,
retiring antelope
that shelters
amongst the rocks
during the heat
of the day.
On a fine day,
the Matterhorn
may be glimpsed
between the twin peaks
of the Weisshorn
and Monte Rosa."
[Caroline] Yes.
What a pity
we didn't bring
our watercolors.
Oh, lead me to Thy path
All the time
Feed me
Till I want no more
[Elinor laughing]
[Caroline] Ellie.
[Elinor] Oh,
I can't help it.
[Caroline] You shouldn't listen
to other people's
The wife shouts
at the husband,
the husband shouts
at the boy,
and the boy
looks down at his shoes
all the time.
They might hear you.
And the wife
has a fainting spell
every evening.
[continues laughing]
[indistinct chattering]
Ja.Mmm-hmm. Ja.
All right, you.
Put the cushions
in the...
No, no, no,
nein, nein.
Please take the cushions
and then the bag.
Come along,
Miss Elinor.
I've come to
rescue you
from the mob.
I like the mob,
Dr. Weeks.
Yes, I've...
I've just been
making sure
our guides
don't forget anything.
We must have plenty
of drinking water.
We don't want to risk
sun-stroke, do we?
He nearly left
these two behind.
There'll be nowhere
to sit down up there.
My dear girl,
you're surely
not going to climb
in those boots, are you?
You'll have the most
dreadful blisters
by this evening.
Stout boots.
[Weeks] Come along, John.
All hands to the pump.
[Mrs. Weeks]
I wonder what else
he's forgotten.
Have you
checked cushions?
[Weeks] Yes, the cushions
are in there.
-[Mrs. Weeks] Sun-shade?
-[Weeks] It's all there.
-[Mrs. Weeks] Picnic hamper?
-[Weeks] Yes, it's all here.
[Mrs. Weeks] Have you
the picnic hamper?
[Weeks] Yes, you have.
You have.
[indistinct chattering]
[John] Got it.
Do you always carry
this jar with you?
Yes. I want to be
an entomologist.
But my father
has other ideas.
Your father
seems fond
of giving advice.
[both chuckling]
I suppose
most doctors are.
There's one.
Oh, that's
just a hoverfly.
They're everywhere.
What your poor daughter
must make of all this,
I can't imagine.
Such a delicate,
pretty girl.
Your only daughter,
is she?
is it not,
that people come here
for their health,
and yet many
of the locals
seem to be riddled
with disease.
I've never seen
so many cases of
cretinism and goiter.
Terribly unsightly.
Bilberries can give
relief, they say.
I'm a great believer
in bilberries.
Many bilberries
in your part
of the world?
Not bilberry country.
Not her daughter.
I win!
Did I disturb you, sir?
No, no, no.
I was merely
enjoying the view
and the silence.
[John] It's all right for you.
You're not carrying
Oh, good morning, sir.
[Caroline exclaiming]
This is
quite beautiful.
Oh, good morning.
[Mrs. Weeks]
This was to have
been a rest.
Good morning.
[Mrs. Weeks]
A merciful relief
from traveling.
Why ever do people
come here?
It is the prettiest part
of the Alps, my dear.
If one were a goat
or an eagle, perhaps.
We're going back.
Talk to the guide.
I've lost my aphid.
Ah! Good morning.
Good morning.
Passing through?
Yes, yes.
We're hoping to make
the Altdorf Ridge.
My name is Weeks.
Dr. Weeks.
How do you do?
This is
my son John.
This is Miss Hartley
and Miss Hartley's...
Miss Elinor Hartley.
My name is Ashby,
of Oxford University.
[Weeks] Indeed?
There is a coincidence.
My practice is in Oxford.
[Mrs. Weeks]
Weeks, I persuaded him
to take us back.
[speaking German]
-They pay me.
-[Weeks] Yes, yes, yes, yes.
But we've hardly begun.
My wife's heart
is not too strong,
you understand.
It's an easy matter to return.
There's a path all the way.
My dear.
It was the arrangement,
Weeks, door to door.
It is his duty
to take us back.
Yes, yes,
of course, my dear.
Can't we go on?
Not if the guide
is going back.
Victor. My eyes.
Oh, good heavens,
I'll be your guide
and won't charge you
a penny for it.
[Weeks] John! John!
Your mother needs your help.
Come along.
[Mrs. Weeks whimpering]
Get home
as fast as we can.
That's all I ask.
Oh, my dear.
Help me up,
help me up.
All right, carry on.
Those guides
are such a disgrace.
They prey on people
who know nothing
and show them nothing.
[Caroline] You seem
very familiar with the route.
[Ashby] Oh, it's a simple
matter of preparation.
No great secret,
provided you've done
your homework.
Now, it's down
to the right.
Will that
take us back?
Yes, but by
a different route.
We should have
a splendid view of
the Steinhaus Valley,
one of the finest
in God's creation.
I mean, look at that.
Who could doubt the presence
of a divine hand
in all of this?
No, at the Breithorn
it should be, but it's...
That's over there.
Oh, dear.
We're lost.
We're lost!
[echoing] We're lost!
I don't think you're...
[stuttering] I don't
think she should be
shouting like that.
The human voice
has been known
to cause landslides.
Now, if you
wouldn't mind holding
onto this compass.
And keep the needle
pointing west.
We're still going west.
That's the village,
lies directly below us.
There should be
a perfectly
serviceable path.
Do be careful,
Mr. Ashby.
Don't worry.
I'm quite safe.
The only danger
lies in haste.
Mr. Ashby.
We've found the path.
-Mr. Ashby!
[Elinor] Mr. Ashby!
[Ashby screaming]
[knock at door]
[speaking German]
Does that mean
come in?
Yes, of course.
Miss Elinor.
I'm afraid
I'm being disobedient.
Well, my aunt didn't think
you would want visitors,
but I felt the accident
was all my fault.
If I hadn't wanted
to go on,
then you wouldn't
have fallen.
So I came
to say I'm sorry.
Oh, I see you've brought
my compass.
I was looking for that.
It's very handsome.
Was it a gift?
Yes, from some
students, I think.
Oh, I've brought
something else.
A present.
It's a guide
to the surrounding area.
I thought you might
find it useful.
It has clear maps
of all the mountain paths.
Of course, you already
have a guide book.
Oh, no. This one
was lent to me
by a friend.
So far, it's proved
woefully inadequate,
so thank you.
Thank you.
[children chattering]
[Caroline] Dr. Weeks,
have you seen Elinor?
We can't wait
any longer, I'm afraid,
Miss Hartley.
You must go and see
Mr. Ashby again.
Oh, his leg will
heal on its own.
Oh, not about his leg.
About John.
John's leg?
His admission
to the university.
It's an opportunity
not to be missed.
[goats bleating]
[speaking German]
Mr. Ashby.
I... I've come
to rescue you.
I'm perfectly all right,
thank you.
[Mrs. Weeks] Disaster.
It's so hard to make
the guide understand.
No one understands.
Do you always
travel alone?
Whenever possible.
You don't
have a family?
I have a father,
that's all.
You're not married?
No, no,
I'm not married.
I'm not allowed a wife.
Not allowed?
The rules
of the college.
None of us
who are fellows.
None of us who teach
at the university
is allowed a wife.
Why not?
Well, because we have
the college to look after.
There's no time
to pat children
on the head.
Besides, I think families
are a mixed blessing,
don't you?
Oh, I only have
Aunt Caroline.
No brothers or sisters?
So your
aunt has devoted her life
to looking after you.
My aunt is always
very busy, Mr. Ashby.
She's occupied with
many deserving causes.
She's a trustee
for the Asylum
of Deaf and Dumb,
the Daughters
of Charity Homes
for Foundlings,
and she is a member
of the Society
for the Employment
and Instruction
of the Poor.
I'm only one of
her causes, Mr. Ashby.
[John] Oh, there she is.
-[Elinor] Goodbye.
Don't let Napoleon
march you too far.
That's strictly against
orders, Mr. Ashby.
I'm under
no one's orders,
Dr. Weeks.
[folk music playing]
[music playing
in the distance]
[man exclaiming]
Oh, Mr. Ashby.
Did you have
a good day?
Yes, thank you,
Miss Hartley.
I walked almost
as far as the ridge
with comparatively
little discomfort.
Well, what goings on.
It's the feast
of Saint Francisca.
She was a local farm girl
who saw the Virgin
in a cow shed.
So much ignorance.
What subject
do you teach,
Mr. Ashby?
My field of study
is the classics.
Latin and Greek.
Do you know Cuthbert Hartley's
on Greek Philosophers?
Yes, I... I seem
to recollect the title.
Adequate but uninspired.
How on earth
are you familiar with it?
My father
was the author.
Ah. Your father was
a classical scholar?
Cuthbert Hartley
of Harvard University.
Well, I must
re-read the volume.
Oh, dear,
it's the doctor again.
Probably to send me
straight to bed.
No, I'm afraid
it's me he's after.
Would you mind?
No, no, not at all.
Miss Hartley,
may I have the honor?
Mr. Ashby's
just asked me to dance.
Are you fit enough?
Um, yes.
[woman shouting]
[men shouting]
[music stops]
[all cheering]
[men exclaiming]
[music playing]
Here's another one.
Why are men
like telescopes?
I've no idea.
Because women
draw them out,
look through them,
and shut them up.
Uh, well,
I must be going.
Oh, do stay
a moment longer.
All right.
I shall
finish my wine.
[people chattering]
Mr. Ashby.
You didn't dance
with me.
Well, I...
I shouldn't have
danced with anybody.
I shall regret it
in the morning.
This is all
a new world for me.
I expect
you're always
at dances at home.
No, I... I'm alone
most of the time.
You should have
had brothers
and sisters, Elinor.
I did have
brothers and sisters.
I was born in Ireland,
you see,
at the worst of times.
I was the lucky one.
I survived.
They put me
on a boat to America.
I was five.
Miss Hartley saved me.
Look at the lights
out there.
It's like a fairy tale.
I feel almost
out of time here,
as if the mountains
were shutting off
the rest of the world.
I shall put this moment
away in my memory.
Keep it brilliant
and clear.
And what shall you
take back with you,
Mr. Ashby?
Ah. Mr. Ashby.
Can I talk to you
about John?
Elinor, do you know
why Mr. Ashby's
left so suddenly?
Mr. Ashby has gone?
Tell me, what did you
say to him last night?
I said nothing.
Elinor, I'm not a fool.
He would not leave
without a word
unless he had good reason.
Tell me the truth.
Mr. Ashby and I,
parted the best of friends.
Are you sure
you do not confuse friendship
with familiarity?
What do you mean?
That joke you told
is not suited
to mixed company.
Why ever not?
Why do you constantly
resist my best endeavors
on your behalf?
Because I have
a mind of my own.
But you lack sensitivity
to the feelings of others.
Why do you
always blame me?
Are you never at fault?
[Weeks] Another lovely day.
Yes, we have been
most fortunate.
Sad about our Mr. Ashby.
[Caroline] What?
Returned to Oxford
this morning.
Urgent college business.
I was the one who
brought the telegram.
Still, he's promised
to see the boy.
in three weeks.
[priest] We ask Thee
this day, O Lord,
in Thy infinite wisdom,
to grant to our dear president
the joys of a speedy recovery
or the mercies
of a swift deliverance
from his suffering.
We pray that Thou
who hast granted him
a long and happy life
will intercede
most mercifully for him
at this time.
[all] Amen.
And now hymn number 196.
[organ music playing]
I should have been
summoned earlier.
He wouldn't hear of it.
He won't believe
the doctors.
Insists it's only a chill.
Admirable, of course.
A day earlier
might have made
all the difference.
Guide me, oh
Thou great redeemer
Pilgrim through
This barren land
What a fuss.
[singing continues
in distance]
So how was
Switzerland, Ashby?
You fell, I believe.
Yes, sir.
It's nothing serious.
The wretched guide
left us to our own devices.
I fail to see the attraction
of such a steep country.
Pollitt and I spent
a delightful weekend
in the Fens
with a party of
young men from Corpus.
Splendid swimming.
Much horseplay.
You stayed the course
longer than I expected.
In Switzerland,
all that time.
Whatever did you
find to do?
I went to Switzerland,
I came back.
Switzerland is over, Butler.
It's over.
Now, if you don't mind,
I have some work to do.
Thank you.
[door closes]
They say the brain is
affected by high altitude.
Lack of oxygen
in the blood supply.
I rather think
he has more
on his mind
than mountains
at the moment.
The presidency.
Oh. What happens
when the old man drops?
There will have to be
an election, I presume.
Well, hardly necessary,
I would think.
Elections are cumbersome,
expensive affairs.
To be avoided
if at all possible.
But provided for
in the statutes.
But what's the point?
The point is
there are some of us
who have in mind
an alternative candidate.
One who would present
different views,
propose new ideas,
let fresh air
into the college.
Who on Earth would
challenge Ashby?
[piano playing]
[woman singing in German]
[Syme] An avalanche
of applause,
envious looks
from besotted
and a modest bow
from the accompanist.
Talking of modesty,
what are these rumors
I hear of
your proposed exultation?
has plans for me.
And will you
fall in with them?
[Syme] How do the godly
readers of Genesis
justify the recent
geological discoveries?
They would have us believe
that there had been
no gradual modification
of the surface of the earth,
no slow development
of the organic forms.
But that...
When one catastrophic
act of creation took place,
the world
presented instantly
the structured appearance
of a planet on which
life had long existed.
It is no easy task
to change
or even to re-examine
sincerely held beliefs.
And yet we shall
achieve nothing
if we cannot adapt
as a species
to new ideas.
Oh, nuncle,
court holy-water
in a dry house
is better than
this rain-water
out o'door.
Good nuncle...
-[Pollitt] Mr. Maynard.
Do you think
at this moment you
might caper a little?
Yes, caper.
Invent something fanciful.
Throw your arms
in the air.
Well, you are a fool.
Oh, nuncle,
court holy-water
in a dry house...
a dalliance.
Surely I'm allowed
a dalliance?
Come on,
take it seriously.
Seriously. Seriously,
you're suggesting
that nothing short
of total abstinence
will secure me
the presidency?
That intellectual energy,
freshness of approach,
and impeccable
liberal attitudes
all count for nothing?
Syme, remember
you will be up against a man
with no known moral blemish.
[Maynard] Lear!
"Heraclitus recognizes
the inalienable
and indivisible powers
of the deity
which nevertheless offers
to mankind a human choice."
[Ashby] Ah, human choice.
Is that all?
Well, sir, the...
The apparent
contradiction between
the indivisible power
and a degree of choice is--
Yes, yes, I'm aware
of the contradiction.
But could you elaborate
on the nature of the choice?
Yes, sir. The...
[clears throat]
Well, it is free will.
In that it allows
some degree
of latitude, but--
Free will, but of
a paternalistic nature.
Yes, sir.
That is correct.
But not in the essay.
Sorry, sir.
It's just I have been
rather distracted recently.
I was rather hoping
for your advice,
actually, sir.
And I can do the work.
I want to do the work...
but I'm afraid
I've been rather foolish.
[Anderson] If you want
my support, Syme,
those are the terms.
I promise I shall abstain
and look without desire
on any female
until I've become
president of this college.
It might help
if you confine yourself less
to extracurricular activities
and more to
the lecture rooms.
You're a persuasive speaker
when you make the effort.
People do listen to you.
[Cable] We belong to
the same choir, you see?
This term, we're doing
songs of Schumann.
I know she knows because
I find her eyes catch mine.
She's married.
She's twice my age
at least, but...
But I adore her.
[knock at door]
-The door, sir.
Oh, yes. Come in.
Sorry to bother you
with a trifle, sir.
But two ladies
entered the college
without my authority,
asking for you,
and claiming to be
acquaintances of yours,
which I regard
as highly unlikely.
They tried to insist
on seeing you.
But I made it clear to them
college is closed
to unaccompanied visitors
and asked them
to withdraw to the lodge.
Yes, indeed, Hapgood,
those are the rules.
It happens
every now and then, sir.
I'll deal with them.
This way, ladies.
Oh, you do
remember us.
Of course.
I'll deal with this,
Miss Elinor,
Miss Hartley.
We were
on our way home
via Liverpool,
but Elinor was adamant
a visit be made
to Oxford on the way.
You were the one who said
my education wouldn't
be complete without it.
Were we awfully remiss
in coming here?
I pleaded
we were Americans,
but that seemed to
make matters worse.
No, no, no, no, no.
Take it away.
I am told that
there were ladies
on college premises
in the middle
of the morning.
[clears throat]
Yes, they were guests
of mine, President.
Well, acquaintances,
no more than that.
We met in Switzerland,
a mutual interest
in climbing.
They were passing
through Oxford and
came to pay their regards.
How old's the girl?
I've absolutely no idea.
She's a pretty thing.
The rules of the college
are very clear
on this matter.
I don't need to
tell you that, Ashby.
Of course,
they're only here briefly
and will not be
setting foot in college.
One would hardly expect
those on a tour of Europe
to give up the chance
to encounter a university
of world renown.
The elder of the two ladies
is a most cultivated woman.
She's the daughter
of Cuthbert Hartley.
Author of Hartley's
on Greek Philosophy.
[Ashby] Mr. Weeks,
you have prepared
a passage, I believe,
from the
Historia ecclesiastica.
Yes, Mr. Ashby.
[speaking Latin]
[Ashby corrects in Latin]
[speaking Latin]
[corrects in Latin]
[speaking Latin]
[Ashby correcting in Latin]
Genitive singular.
[speaking Latin]
Mr. Weeks, the college of
which you wish to be a part
is a place of learning,
a place of scholarship,
a place of
intellectual endeavor.
I think you will find
yourself better suited to
less arduous surroundings.
[Caroline] So kind
of you, Mr. Ashby.
[Ashby] No, no, no.
I have plenty of time.
Well, I have an hour.
Well, almost an hour.
Sadly, the holidays
are over.
They will be
for us very soon.
Now this is something
that you were asking.
[indistinct chattering]
Well, well,
Miss Elinor.
Dr. Weeks!
How long have you been here?
Is Miss Hartley with you?
I shall organize
a tour for you.
Oh, we're already
Dr. Weeks.
[Weeks] Miss Hartley.
What a surprise.
I see you've chosen
your regular guide.
I think Mr. Ashby's still
suffering from the shock
of seeing us here at all.
He's not the only one
to be in a state of shock.
[Caroline] Has your wife
been unwell again?
No, no, no,
my wife is well.
My son has suffered
a considerable blow.
Yes, well,
good day, Dr. Weeks,
if you'll excuse us,
we have much to see.
I like the Greek gods.
They have human appetites
and weaknesses.
Of course,
the female form,
you'll notice,
was rarely portrayed
without drapery
before the
Hellenistic period,
at which time
the Greek civilization
began its decline.
That sounds exciting.
On a recent tour of Italy,
I was shown a paving stone
reputedly stained
with the blood
of some long dead martyr.
On tasting it, gentlemen,
I found it was the urine
of a species of chiroptera.
Mere bat's piss,
[all laughing]
Bat's piss.
Cadman, pass me the jar
and the embalming fluid.
You may not have a brain,
but at least you'll learn
how to pickle one.
[all chuckling]
[organ playing]
They tell me Dr. Butler's
anatomy classes are
becoming very popular.
The poor girl was lost.
And who was
in charge of her?
Good night,
Mr. Pollitt.
Good night, Padgett.
By what earthly rule
is one prevented
from showing friends
around Oxford?
Friends now, eh?
What else should
one call them?
Two unmarried women, Ashby,
don't you forget that.
One of whom is
little more than a girl
and the other...
The other
who's the daughter
of one of the more
distinguished figures
in American scholarship.
[laughs] Oh, yes.
Hartley's Commentaries.
Remind me to see
if I can find a copy
in the library.
[Ashby] So, you leave tonight?
Six o'clock, I believe.
The train seems
to stop everywhere.
[Ashby] Well, why put yourself
to all that discomfort?
Stay in Oxford.
Travel in the morning.
I fear we have
already overstayed
our welcome.
Though I am sad
not to have seen
more of your college.
I do have a suggestion.
It may not meet
with your approval,
but if you're
at all interested.
[Fool] Oh, nuncle,
court holy-water
in a dry house
is better
than this rain-water
out o'door.
Good nuncle, in...
[thunder rumbling]
...ask thy
daughters' blessing.
Here's a night
pities neither
wise men nor fool.
[King Lear]
Rumble thy bellyful!
Spit, fire!
Spout, rain! Nor rain,
wind, thunder, fire,
are my daughters.
I tax you not--
It isn't that bad.
[sobbing] To think
our John could have been
a part of all this.
[King Lear] O! 'Tis foul!
He that has a house
to put's head in...
...has a good
The cod-piece
that shall house...
"Before the head
has any."
...before the head
has any.
[Pollitt] "The head
and he shall louse."
[Fool] The head and he
shall louse
so beggars marry many.
[thunder rumbling]
The man that...
That will house...
Oh, no!
The head and so...
...shall louse and
beggars marry many.
The man that will house
what he his heart
should make
shall of a corn
cry woe.
And turn his sleep
to wake.
The man
makes his toe...
I believe we haven't yet
been formally introduced.
Oh, this is my colleague,
Mr. Syme.
Miss Caroline Hartley
from Philadelphia.
No relation
to Cuthbert Hartley,
by any chance?
Author of
Hartley's Commentaries
on Greek Philosophers?
He was my father.
[Pollitt] Ashby,
lend a hand, will you?
Oh, yes. President.
Was the thought of King Lear
too dark and doom-laden
for your young companion?
Oh, yes.
Elinor decided to rest.
She was rather tired
after all the sightseeing.
Yes, Oxford
can be very grueling.
But should you decide
to come and visit again,
do let me know.
I have a small cottage
by the river,
away from everything.
I'm always looking
for someone
to make use of it.
[Caroline] Ellie.
My dear,
do you know the time?
I'm not going.
Now, have you rested?
Yes, thank you.
Well, then you must
finish dressing.
We're to be collected.
I'm not going.
Well, whatever
is the matter?
I don't feel
comfortable here.
Life is suddenly
so complicated.
First we are to leave,
then we are to stay.
Have we to go home,
or haven't we to go home?
Now, don't let us argue.
Mr. Ashby's taken
considerable trouble
for us.
For you.
It's clear that you enjoy
the same things.
He talks to you,
but rarely to me.
Elinor, that's nonsense.
We do everything together.
He has no choice.
Besides, I'm tired of
museums and fine historic
architecture and--
Elinor, are you aware
of how lucky you are?
Why must you always refer
to my good fortune?
"How lucky you are, Elinor,
to have gone to the best
school in New England.
How lucky you are to live
in a well-appointed house.
How lucky you are
to travel to Europe.
How lucky you are
to be alive at all."
Elinor, how can you
say such things?
I know
it's all true, but...
I have only
your best interests
at heart.
And I'm sure
Mr. Ashby would agree.
Don't try and tell me
what Mr. Ashby does
or does not think about me.
Oxford can be
very grueling.
I do understand.
I feel that you have done
so much for us, Mr. Ashby.
You've been
so attentive.
I've enjoyed it.
Indeed. Elinor was
just saying tonight...
What was she saying?
Do tell me.
That you have been
almost too attentive.
Too attentive?
Too attentive.
Too attentive to me,
I mean,
rather than to her.
She's a strange girl.
[Caroline] The Elinor
I know is very different
from the one
you've met, Mr. Ashby.
I tell you this
in absolute confidence,
of course.
Of course.
Well, some months ago,
she left me.
She left you?
She tried to leave
for New York
on some fruitless search
of what she imagines
to be her past.
It was both dangerous
and foolish.
You must have been
dreadfully upset.
This is why
we've come to Europe.
But there are so many
new impressions here
that one must have
some experience of life to
extract the most from them.
Which of course
is what dear Elinor lacks.
[indistinct chattering]
[woman laughing]
Miss Elinor.
My name is Cable.
Mr. Ashby is my tutor.
[gasps] What on Earth
are you doing here?
Well, I might ask
the same of you,
Mr. Cable.
[chuckles] You know,
you really shouldn't
be here all by yourself.
Oh? Why not?
[policeman] Hey!
You, sir! Stop!
-Quick, run.
They'll take you for a tart.
-[whistle blows]
You'll get locked up.
[blowing whistle]
[whistle blowing]
[dog barking]
What are you doing?
Elinor, just run.
Keep going.
[whistle blows]
I remember arriving
at the orphanage.
My heart was pounding
with excitement.
I'd thought so long and hard
about adopting a child.
And then,
when I saw Elinor,
looking so frail and eager,
my heart went out to her.
I was moved by her courage.
You can't imagine
how frightened she was
when she first came to me.
She was always
putting me to the test.
I sensed her asking,
"Am I still wanted?"
I've learned so much
this evening.
[chuckling] What could I
possibly teach you?
How shall I put it?
Our conversation's
made me aware of...
of lives
beyond the confines
of the college.
You Englishmen make things
so difficult for yourselves.
You seem to avoid
your true feelings.
Maybe that is true.
I wonder how you ever
manage to fall in love.
You're always
so careful and wise.
[laughing] Forgive me.
I'm beginning
to sound like Elinor.
Good heavens.
She'll be wondering
where I am.
Thank you,
Mr. Ashby.
It's been the most
perfect evening.
Oh, the pleasure
was entirely mine.
Goodbye, Miss Hartley.
Mr. Ashby.
But... I thought
you were unwell.
[door opening]
Quick. Come in here.
[Ashby] Take one of
the blankets off the bed.
What is it?
Founder's port.
Forty-six years old.
Bottled the year
I was born.
I suppose
I could develop
a taste for it.
[knock at door]
Do you want
your fire stoking, sir?
No, thank you.
I'm feeling
a little off color.
I think I shall
go directly to bed.
It's going around, sir.
high temperature,
You're not
the only one.
They say it's the sanitation,
but I blame the bed-makers.
Dirty women, sir.
Well, I think sleep
is all I need.
Half of them
work at the meat market
before they come here.
Yes, thank you, Haskell.
Dirty women.
[chuckles softly]
This is absurd.
Have you any idea
what would happen
if someone found you here?
Disgrace, I suppose.
for all parties.
Raised voices,
wagging fingers,
black looks.
And those with most to lose
will lose most.
Like you.
I would lose
my fellowship,
my position
as senior tutor,
and any chance
of becoming president
of the college.
I would gain
some drafty parish church
on the Welsh borders,
a congregation
of farmers' wives
and demented old men.
Perhaps we should
never have met.
Why did you wake me?
It's two o'clock
in the morning.
Your aunt will be distraught
if she finds
you're not in your room.
She'll have gone
straight to bed.
She's very concerned
about you.
We talked of you
all evening.
I wish you would tell me
in plain English what
you really feel, Mr. Ashby.
You looked after me here.
You put the blanket around me.
You made me feel warm.
How else
should one behave?
Have you forgotten
I must take you
back to the hotel.
It must be nice
to be part of a college,
to have all these
familiar things around you,
all these books
arranged by author
from A to Z.
Beautiful furniture,
always in the same place.
Founder's port,
old stones,
old inscriptions,
your friends
in rooms all around you.
Mr. Haskell.
Everything you want.
Isn't it?
I may not be able to
come to the station
tomorrow to see you off.
You won't say anything to
Aunt Caroline about tonight,
will you, Mr. Ashby?
No. Of course not.
[Weeks] Good evening.
Mr. Ashby.
Miss Elinor.
[knock at door]
What do you make
of this, Mr. Haskell?
A ladies' handkerchief.
Aren't you going to ask me
where I found it?
No doubt
somewhere where you
shouldn't have been.
In Mr. Ashby's bedroom.
I told you not to
go in there.
He's ill.
No, he's not.
He's gone out.
First time in 27 years.
Most agitated.
Most agitated.
[Rushden muttering]
Most agitated.
Just burst in.
This was delivered
by hand to the president
this morning.
It's damned lucky
I was there
to intercept it.
Now, what on Earth
is happening, Ashby?
This is blackmail.
Seen at two o'clock
in the morning
in the high street
in the company
of a young lady?
And who is this
fellow Weeks?
I met him
in Switzerland.
He is a thoroughly
malicious gossip,
to get his son
into the college.
Well, is there a scrap
of truth in it?
The Visigoths are
at the gates of Rome.
I think it better
if you leave the college
for a few days.
Just in case.
Make yourself
scarce somewhere.
I did try to warn you.
Is there anything
I can do for you?
Well, there is
one thing, of course.
You must give me
a solemn undertaking
never to see
these American friends
of yours again.
Of course.
You have my word.
Guard the college
with your life.
Of course
it wasn't inconvenient.
I was delighted
to hear from you.
[Syme] It's not a palace.
More of a watery grave.
But it can be
quite fun
at this time of year.
Don't you make
use of it?
[Syme] I bought it in a moment
of romantic intoxication.
Well, what do you think?
Oh, it's lovely,
Mr. Syme.
So hidden away.
I imagined myself here,
laboring on a great work
of scholarship.
The low evening mist
creeping in
over the water,
only the moorhens
for company.
But I soon found out
that college doesn't
take kindly to hermits.
The college likes to know
where its fellows are.
If they start missing
their suppers,
they could be getting up to
all sorts of mischief.
Well, this is
Hartslock Cottage.
It's enchanting.
It's exactly
what it ought to be.
It's perfect.
Well, if you
should decide
to stay in Oxford,
it's yours
for the summer.
We could invite
Mr. Ashby here.
[Caroline] Dear Mr. Ashby.
My dear Mr. Ashby,
I write to tell you
that we have decided
to stay a while in Oxford.
True sentiments
are often hardest to...
I find myself
thinking of your kindness
towards us.
Is it too much
to hope that we could
perhaps meet again?
[Ashby] My dear Elinor...
Dear Elinor,
I hope your journey
home was safe
and the Atlantic
in one of
her friendlier moods.
I too have
returned home
for a moment's peace
before the coming election.
I find myself still thinking
of our time together
in Switzerland
and wondering
if I could ever...
If I could ever
be as happy again.
[Syme] Help! Help!
Mr. Syme,
are you all right?
She went down
with all hands,
I'm afraid.
I'm the sole survivor.
But I did manage
to salvage some wine.
I'm sorry to intrude,
but I promised
Miss Hartley I'd drop in.
I understand
you have fire
without wood
and a three-legged table
and other problems
that a laggardly landlord
should have seen to.
Well, my aunt isn't here.
She went out for the day.
On private business,
she said.
Miss Hartley.
Is anything the matter?
I had some business
to do nearby.
Papers to be sorted out,
mailed to America.
Elinor is
not with you?
No, she's at
the cottage.
I thought
you were gone.
Mr. Syme
has lent us the most
enchanting little house.
Oh, uh, Miss Hartley,
this is my father.
How do you do?
We met in Switzerland.
We climbed together.
Not exactly a vocation
for young ladies.
Do you know
he nearly lost his life
on one treacherous ridge?
We tried to save him,
but he slipped.
Thank you.
Where did you
learn to sing?
County Tipperary.
Well, then,
let's drink.
To you.
-To me?
And your conquest
of Europe.
I suppose
I could develop
a taste for this.
The river is full of hazards
for the sailor, my dear.
You're just one of them.
Not a mile upstream
is Parson's Pleasure,
where by long tradition
fellows may bathe naked.
Does Mr. Ashby?
[laughs] No.
Mr. Ashby does not
bathe naked.
How do you know?
My dear,
Mr. Ashby even sleeps
in his college gown.
I should like
to see one of these
strange creatures.
Purely for
scientific interest.
Of course.
The mallet is held
thumbs downward, thus.
I feel I'm about
to make a fool of myself.
That would be
most unlike you.
I'm relieved that
you don't remember
our last night
in Oxford as clearly as I do.
Oh, good shot.
I do remember.
Any fault
was entirely mine.
[Ashby Senior] You've given
me a chance to croquet you.
On the contrary.
You were kind enough
to pay me a compliment.
[Ashby Senior] Look out!
Much too hard.
-Wait for me there.
-Oh, that's all right.
-Be careful, Elinor.
Mr. Syme!
Come here.
Give me your hand.
Oh, I've ruined my dress.
-I must get you
in front of a fire.
What fire?
Our landlord
keeps forgetting to
bring us any wood.
Callous brute.
[both laughing]
Oh, I'm freezing.
-Oh, thank you.
Oh, God.
Put it around you.
Thank you.
When it all
comes together,
that's a miracle.
Mr. Ashby.
If I should settle
here in England...
I know
it's not a woman's place
to say such things,
but would you
consider it possible
or even desirable that
you and I might...
It's not that...
It's just that
I've given my word.
I cannot
go back on that.
[Caroline] Elinor.
Yes, Aunt Caroline.
Oh, my dear.
I'm so glad
to see you.
Did you expect not to?
It was wrong of me
to leave you alone all day.
I... I wasn't
alone all day.
No, Mr. Syme called.
Did he stay long?
Mmm, just a brief visit.
So, what did you do?
What do you mean,
what did I do?
You make it sound like
you're trying to make me
confess something.
I was merely inquiring.
How was your day
with Mr. Ashby?
What did you do?
How did you know
I was with Mr. Ashby?
I found the letter.
The one
you didn't post.
That was
a private letter.
It was lying
on the desk.
You had no business
reading it.
What could you have been
thinking of?
So you were with him.
Did Mr. Syme
say when the logs
would be delivered?
No. I mean, yes.
Did Mr. Ashby say
when he was coming
to see us?
I don't think
he will come to see us.
[choir vocalizing]
[Groves] We are
gathered here today
to mourn the passing
of William Granger Rushden.
You've heard
about Syme?
Well, apparently,
he has made his rather
pretty country cottage
available to your
American friends.
Yes, I was
aware of that.
Yes, but evidently,
it isn't a conventional
landlord-tenant arrangement.
Of course
we can't be too sure
about these things.
But rumor has it...
What does rumor have?
That Syme and
the young lady...
I cannot believe
a thing like that.
Yes, well,
let's just hope
it's true, hmm?
For all our sakes.
[Groves] ...and blessed
with his foresight.
Let us give thanks
for a life lived to the full.
We shall not
look upon his like again.
[indistinct chattering]
Now, I think possibly
that I am the only one
still living
who can remember
coming up for
the last college election.
This is Mr. Cave.
An old Danish name.
Meant a carver, I'm told.
Are you
the one who wants to
change everything?
I'm glad of
the opportunity
to speak with you.
[Pollitt] Ashby!
Canon Harper
from Bridport.
Went down in '33.
Great friend
of the old president.
I was so sorry
to miss the funeral.
[Ashby] What are you
doing here?
I've come to
cast my vote.
I must speak
to you, Ashby.
A delicate matter.
Was it well attended?
Would you excuse me
a moment, please, Canon?
I... I want to repay
a debt of thanks
for the exemplary way
you dealt with my son.
He's much happier now.
at the museum.
This is not the place
to hear your
family history, Weeks.
And by way of thanks,
to pass on
some information
which I think
you should have
as soon as possible.
We have nothing more
to say to each other.
It does
concern you directly.
Miss Elinor
is expecting a child.
Do you ever get down
to Dorset, Ashby?
I said do you ever
get down to Dorset?
[Caroline] You must eat
something, Elinor.
I'm not hungry.
Why do our friends
treat us this way?
Why does
no one talk to us?
Mr. Ashby hasn't
been to see us
in over a month.
Mr. Ashby is engaged
in a contest.
The election of
a new college president
is a very serious matter.
I don't understand
the English.
They seem able to place
their friends and their lives
into separate
I think it's time
for us to go home.
Big day
tomorrow, sir.
Never been
a president's scout
before, sir.
[door closes]
If she's expecting a child,
that's wonderful news, Ashby.
It's Syme revealed
in his true colors.
The college is ours.
That man is ruined.
And Elinor Hartley's
conveniently forgotten.
Come on now, Ashby.
Miss Hartley?
What's a silly
little American hussy
compared to the college?
This is our day, Ashby.
I never realized
how much
you wanted the college.
No more than you.
In the end, more than me.
[Ashby] And as for
Miss Elinor?
Charming girl.
She's to have a child.
They're ready
for you now, gentlemen.
[indistinct chattering]
What an
extraordinary thing.
From Mr. Ashby, sir.
[Ashby] Miss Hartley.
Mr. Ashby, I...
I didn't expect
to see you.
It's most kind of you
to spare the time.
I'm sorry.
I've been busy.
I'd heard
about the election.
It must be upon you
very soon.
I understand
you have a rival.
Yes. Mr. Syme.
Never one who struck me
as an ideal candidate
for the president.
[Ashby] Oh, he is popular
with the younger fellows.
Youth is not always
a sound judge of character.
[Ashby] Miss Hartley,
are you leaving?
[Caroline] Elinor's not well.
[man] Miss Hartley.
-Excuse me.
-[man] Excuse me, ma'am.
[door opens]
Mr. Ashby.
Please go away,
Mr. Ashby.
Doctor Weeks
came to see me.
Is it true?
[Elinor] There's nothing
you can do.
I'm afraid I've made
a terrible mess of things.
I didn't love him.
I didn't even like him.
But when I saw
that Aunt Caroline
went to see you
and I realized
that you loved her
and not me--
No, no.
That's not true.
Then why have you come?
Do you know
the first time
I saw you?
Oh, yes.
I remember exactly
what you said.
"Did I
disturb you, sir?"
No, no,
it was before that.
Never was
a truer word spoken.
You looked
so cool and carefree.
What were you singing?
The brown trunk can stay.
The rest
will go to the station.
Mr. Ashby
in his rooms?
No, sir, he left.
They left
first thing
this morning.
Did he say where?
Gone abroad.
Best thing for it
in the circumstances,
I'd say.
I can tell you,
the fellows of this college
are not best pleased.
A senior tutor,
and he did it
under their very noses.
I still can't believe it.
Crafty old bugger.
She was beautiful,
Mr. Haskell.
And in my rooms, too.
Are you all right?
Be careful.
Thank you.
Saved again.
[choir vocalizing]