Bedlam (1946) Movie Script

Come, Poll, do you know my friend,
Lord Mortimer?
Lord Mortimer.
Lord Mortimer.
Lord Mortimer is like a pig.
His brain's small and his belly big.
What's this hubbub?
It's one of the lunatics from the asylum,
I expect, milord.
- A prank? A jest?
- Go and see, John.
It does not look so merry a place, milord.
Never been there?
You'll have to pay Master Sims tuppence
to see all the loonies in their cages.
Maybe they'll teach you
some new tricks, Nell.
I have no need of their wit
to entertain you, milord.
They say, sir, that one of the poor devils
in there fell from the roof trying to escape.
Very regrettable. Well, drive on.
Your Lordship, it seems to me
the man was known to you.
I thought I saw him in your company
not a week gone by, sir.
Really? Well, let's have a look.
You, there. You with the light.
It is...
It is young Master Colby.
He fell trying to escape.
Some of our boos haven't sense enough
to keep safe behind their bars.
Where is Sims?
- Fetch him.
- He is dining out, milord.
Dining out with Colby's blood
on his hands.
- Do you know me?
- Yes, milord.
Then tell Master Sims to wait
upon me in the morning.
I have some few words
I wish to say to him.
Lord Mortimer is like a pig.
Will you remind Lord Mortimer
that I am waiting?
Well, Pompey, are you a pretty boy
this morning?
What are you trying to do, Pompey?
Milord, I want to look like
the visitor in the hallway.
Sims. I'd forgotten Sims.
You there, clear out.
Send in the good Sims.
First course for milord's rage.
To be eaten with a sauce of lightning,
and to the tune of thunder.
Send him in.
Quiet! I'll tell you why.
That you hated him, I knew.
That you envied him was known to all...
but that you would dare...
Dare to leave
that murderous window open...
to murder him from spite and envy.
Murder, milord?
There was no murder.
Colby was my guest.
He chose to leave by a window
before I could open the door for him.
And then that monstrous accident.
Master Sims is writing a new dictionary.
Are accidents contrived,
plotted, executed?
Exactly, Mistress Bowen.
This was a misadventure
contrived by the victim...
and executed by nature's law
that all who lose their grip on gutters...
must fall.
You stick to that story, Master Sims?
I could never invent one half so droll.
The characters of the tale...
two poets, Colby and myself.
But I am not only a poet,
but also, by your Lordship's favor...
the Apothecary General
of St. Mary's of Bethlehem Hospital.
My friend comes to discuss poetry.
I am absent.
My guards mistake him for a madman.
He tries to escape from them and is killed.
Like a romance, milord.
It's a romance that cost me 20 guineas
and a night of laughter.
How so, milord?
Lord Mortimer was foolish enough
to pay an advance...
for poetry promised in the future.
Colby was to write a masque
for the fete Lord Mortimer is giving.
If I might offer my humble talents.
Even at the hospital
I deal in wit and laughter, madam.
Are there any who have come to Bedlam...
and say the entertainment
is not worth the tuppence they paid?
You do not entertain me, Master Sims.
That is because you have a tender heart.
Most people laugh at my ugliness.
It offends me, sir.
To move a lady so beautiful in any way...
- He's gallant, too.
- I am as you wish, milord.
And I will make your fete
a frolic you will remember.
Sometimes the success of a play
belongs to the players.
What if the masque were performed
by my company of wits, the Bedlamites?
Have your loonies perform?
The opposition.
Not John Wilkes himself,
nor his whole Whig party...
could think of anything
as clever as that, eh, Nell?
You didn't think of it, either.
It's one and the same thing.
My friend here thought of it.
Let us say that you inspired
the thought, milord.
Do you hear that, Nell? I inspired him.
Let us say that you both inspired me.
Milord and the beloved of milord.
I think you misunderstand, Master Sims.
I am milord's protegee.
I entertain him and he has no more
freedom with me than any other man.
In any case...
if milord will but give me
the day and hour of the fete...
I will prepare a masque of madness
that will set you howling.
One week from today at the Vauxhall.
- The company assembles at 8:00.
- Thank you.
By your leave.
A merry notion.
The Lord Mayor will roll in the soup
with laughter.
A capital fellow, this Sims.
A capital fellow.
If you ask me, milord,
he's a stench in the nostrils...
a sewer of ugliness,
and a gutter brimming with slop.
But witty.
So he tells us.
Even if his wit is wanting...
his Bedlamites will set my guests roaring.
Everyone who goes to Bedlam
expires with laughter.
Why don't you go and see them, Nell?
You'll see how funny they are.
Perhaps I will.
Nice fresh toddies.
Ladies come and buy my lavender
My sweet scented lavender
Nice fresh toddies, all fresh.
Now's the time to scent your handkerchief
Ladies come and buy my lavender
Nice toddies...
Good morning, Master Sims.
There is a Quaker waiting for you, sir.
A master stonemason.
Will you have him in?
where is my rhyming lexicon?
I need a rhyme for Mortimer.
That Quaker, sir.
Whatever are you rattling on
about so, Podge?
I have an important commission.
A rhymed comedy for Milord Mortimer.
And you bother me
about some sniveling Quaker.
He's been waiting so long, sir.
- Waiting?
- Three hours, sir.
I waited four hours
before milord Mortimer...
would give me a dog's word.
Let him wait some more.
But he will not wait, sir.
He's a good workman.
And cheap, I'm told.
Let him in.
You may leave us, Podge.
My man tells me
you'll do the work cheaply.
With cut stone one foot thick...
and the best mortar,
I can do the work for 15 guineas.
What if I were to give you 18 guineas?
It would be too much.
Eighteen guineas and you are
to return to me two.
Then you'll have a better price,
and I'll have some reason to employ you.
My friend, I have forgotten
what thee has said.
If thee do not repeat it,
then I can believe no evil of thee.
What kind of cant is this?
I've asked you for a bribe, man.
Have you never been asked before?
This is simple business between us two.
My friend, about the stonemasonry...
I had not looked forward to the pleasure...
of seeing you again so soon,
Mistress Bowen.
I have a curiosity to see
the loonies in their cages.
And so you shall.
So you shall.
Your riding crop, Mistress Bowen.
You must hang it here.
It's a law of the institute. No weapons.
In heaven's name, why?
In one of his plays, Dekker...
a second-rate dramatist
of the last century...
wrote of those in there:
"Fierce as wild bulls, untamable as flies
"And these have oft from strangers' sides
snatched rapiers suddenly
"and done much harm"
Strangely, here, one forgets
you are a man of letters, Master Sims.
Our hospital is ancient and well known.
Much written of.
I dare say, no man or woman
comes to London from the country...
who does not pay his tuppence.
Are they not witty, Mistress Bowen?
And look at the frolic
this one treats himself to.
All day long weaving nets
to catch peacocks for the royal dinner.
They're all so lonely.
They're all in themselves
and by themselves.
- They pay no heed to us.
- You noticed that.
They have their world and we have ours.
Like separate dreams.
Ours is a human world.
Theirs is a bestial world.
Without reason. Without soul.
They're animals.
Some are dogs.
These I beat.
Some are pigs.
Those I let wallow in their own filth.
Some are tigers.
These I cage.
And some, like this one...
are doves.
- I've seen enough.
- But you haven't seen the other cages.
I've seen enough!
But you have no idea
how merry they can be.
How much amusement they afford.
From that mad girl with her staring eyes?
If I have offended you, Mistress Bowen...
Thank you, sir.
My valet can plait a tress
or twirl a furbelow...
quicker than a handywoman...
but he has no knack with horses.
I was glad to do thee this little service.
I saw thee strike Sims.
Thee shouldn't have done that.
Do you think I'm afraid of him?
- Do you think he could harm me?
- Thee are able enough.
It is those poor ones in there
I'm thinking of.
Sims will make them suffer for that blow.
Are we lovers
that you "thee" and "thou" me?
- I've never seen your face before.
- He's a Quaker, Mistress Bowen.
My name is William Hannay.
I am one of the Society of Friends.
I've heard of them.
They turn the other cheek.
There is more to being a Quaker
than turning the other cheek...
and saying "thee" and "thou."
It is feeling pity for those in there.
As thee did.
Do you think I struck him
because I felt pity for the loonies?
- I saw it in thy face.
- Pity?
I had no such feeling, sir.
I struck the man because I wanted to.
Because he is an ugly thing
in a pretty world.
There are many ugly things
in this pretty world...
if thee would but see them.
Master Quaker,
I did not always wear velvet.
I had guessed that.
But where there is one like thee...
to wrest comfort from a hard world
with wit and cleverness...
there are 10,000 who cannot.
I have no pity for them.
Let them do as I did.
But those in there,
can they help themselves?
And I have no pity for them, either.
Animals without souls.
That is not thy thought.
Is it not?
Come a week hence to Vauxhall
in the evening...
and you will see me laughing
at these same loonies that you think I pity.
Thee will not laugh
at the poor and the afflicted. Not thee.
I've seen great ladies
and their hearts were like stone.
- But thee...
- My heart is a flint, sir.
It may strike sparks,
but they are not warm enough to burn.
I have no time to make a show
of loving kindness before my fellow men.
Not in this life.
I've too much laughing to do.
Flanked by lunacy...
and speaking with the voice of youth,
our golden age of Reason...
will tell you of its brightest adornment...
Lord Mortimer.
Come, Reason, you've wit enough
to say a word or two.
What say you to this, Wilkes...
a mad boy playing Reason?
That's a Tory joke for you.
And only the Tories will laugh at it.
The opposition wonders what the effect
may be on that poor sick boy.
The Tories care only for the jest...
but we Whigs have some concern
for the humanities.
Do you hear that, Nell?
Give them a jest
and they answer with a political tirade.
He said something about the boy.
- The effect.
- Go ask him.
He'll make you a speech on the matter.
"To this pretty world. Pretty world.
"To this pretty world...
"there came...
"heaven sent...
"divinely inspired..."
Good. The great voice of Reason.
"Blessing of...
"Of our age..."
Come on. I spent all morning
beating it into your head.
You see, milord...
Reason is overcome with emotion
when it must speak of you.
Prod him on, Sims.
Go on. A few more of those golden words
I taught you, lad.
Somewhere I heard that the human body
must breathe through its pores.
If you shut those pores...
"A man...
"like a jewel..."
Another word, good, gentle Reason.
"prince of men.
Duck him in the river.
A bit of canvas, a handful of coarse sand
would get the gilt off.
Master Sims, isn't that
harsh treatment for a sick lad?
They have to get the gilt off,
if he is to be well again.
So you know that.
Know what, Mistress Bowen?
You know that anyone painted over
as thick as that poor lad will die.
If I understand you properly...
this boy is dying...
This boy is dead because
his pores are clogged by the gilt.
Then, sweet Mistress Bowen...
since you are such a stickler
for the correct definition...
you will grant me the legal fact
that this boy died by his own exhalations.
You might say he poisoned himself.
Milord, have we not had enough of this?
Enough of that boring, dull man
and his cruelty.
But we're all laughing, Nell.
- I am not laughing, milord.
- He shall make you laugh.
Spare me that.
- But, Nell.
- A boy died tonight.
A boy who had no mind
to guide his thoughts or deeds.
Maybe there'll be some concern about that
among the Whigs.
Certainly none among the Tories.
You'll find they're laughing, too.
Liberty. That is a great word
you Whigs found somewhere.
But, just the same...
you'll end either with the pox
or on the gallows.
That, milord, depends on
whether I embrace your sweetheart...
or your politics.
Here is Alfrieda, Queen of the Artichokes.
She will sing for you.
Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen
Here's to the widow of fifty
Here's to the flaunting extravagant queen
And here's to the housewife who's thrifty
Master Hannay.
This is a strange place to see thee,
Mistress Bowen.
A little dull, perhaps.
But a good enough place
to ask the questions I want to ask.
So far I have found thee more ready
with answers than with questions.
Don't worry,
my questions are pert enough.
First, do you think me
a woman of kind heart?
- I have told thee so.
- Why?
I saw thy face at Bedlam.
It had kindness and compassion.
I have never seen that in my mirror.
But let's say I grant the fact.
Let's say I saw things
that moved me to pity.
What then, Master Quaker?
Perhaps God sent thee here
that thee might find guidance.
- From you?
- I have not said so.
Well, from whom, then?
Perhaps he sent thee here
so we might speak together.
I have seen things tonight
I have no liking for.
My friends laughing at sorry idiots
brought out from Bedlam to amuse them.
- A poor boy.
- Thee need not tell me.
It's a bad time for the poor,
and the people suffer...
the ones with wit and the ones without.
And if you feel sorry for them?
- What do you do about all this?
- I do what I can.
I am a stonemason.
- How does that help people?
- I build well.
Let others build as well, and soon this city
will become a clean and decent habitation.
But what of me? What can I do?
I'm only a jester to bring laughter
to Lord Mortimer's dinner table.
Perhaps even
in the amusement of Mortimer...
there is a way that thee can help
the poor people in Bedlam.
Is not Mortimer a member of the council?
Good. You're not such a fool
as I thought you.
But why don't you take off your hat?
Have you no liking for me?
It is a rule among the Friends
to uncover only before God.
Milord will see you now, Master Sims.
- Good morning, Mistress Bowen.
- Good morning.
There, Sims. Sit down and wait a bit.
I have news for you.
I trust you enjoyed the fete.
You will hear presently
how much I enjoyed it.
Sims, you have no idea
what we've decided.
Nell has a splendid notion.
She wants to turn Bedlam upside down
and make all the loonies happy as linnets.
Mistress Bowen is very kind.
You can't imagine
what a clever vixen she is, Sims.
Thought it all out herself
before she even spoke to me.
Beds, blankets.
Some to sew, some to bake.
Good food.
A practical lass.
I can quite understand
what Mistress Bowen wants.
We've needed good beds, good food
in Bedlam for a long while.
You forgot to mention
good treatment, Master Sims.
That, too. I'm sure we could afford that.
You can't imagine the gratitude
I bear you, Mistress Bowen.
These reforms you propose...
will make my name stand out
in the history of Bedlam.
- We knew you'd agree.
- I'm overjoyed, milord.
Good. You see, it's done, Nell.
- Not a bit of trouble.
- There is but one small point.
The trifling matter of money.
Milord has already thought of that.
Of course. The council will vote the funds.
That's generous of you, milord.
Very generous.
How so, Sims?
What sort of generosity?
Does not milord
have property in Moorfields?
A dozen dwelling houses,
a warehouse, two inns.
You see, Sims, I know my accounts.
And I know your properties.
They are taxable by the institute.
Therefore, milord, this reform
will cost you not less than...
five hundred guineas in additional taxes.
But what is that to you, milord,
a mere bagatelle.
Some little gift you'd gladly give
to Mistress Bowen.
I will relinquish that little gift,
Master Sims.
I gave you no gift, Nell.
She's merely speaking of a gift
she's not going to have.
Now take Master Wilkes.
He'd never be so generous.
He would say, "Loonies don't vote."
But that's true.
There's nothing to be had from them.
You were going to do this
as a good deed, milord.
Five hundred guineas.
There'd be so much
I would have to do without.
Nell, we'll have to forget
this whim of yours.
It is not a whim, milord.
It is the first thing I've ever asked of you.
But milord has to keep up appearances
at court.
You've no idea what an expense
that is to a man.
That's true. You have no idea, Nell...
what a great responsibility it is to be rich.
- What an expense.
- It's simply this, milord.
I've asked you to do a good deed...
and you find the very thought of it
too expensive.
You have no right
to speak to me that way, Nell.
I've all the rights of having put up
with you for nearly a year, milord.
Trying to make you laugh.
And then listening to that
fat laugh of yours...
as it comes rumbling out
of your fat throat.
- Put up with me. Put up with me?
- I said so.
Look what I've done for you.
You'd be camping in the rain
on Strathmore Common...
with the other strolling players,
if you hadn't caught my eye.
Do you call that weak and watery vessel
your eye?
I would not want to look at the world
through it.
I would not want to be a dull man
forever in need of amusement.
I would not want to bribe and be bribed...
to fawn upon the king
and kick the commoner.
In short, milord,
I would not want to be Lord Mortimer.
- You would not want?
- Nor do I want to be with you.
Not for an instant longer.
Maybe being rich and great
and powerful is infectious.
It's a disease I don't want to catch.
Goodbye, milord.
Such angry words.
Of course, as I pointed out to you, milord,
you have every right to take legal steps.
You've been very helpful, Sims.
But it grieves me, milord,
to have been the cause of this quarrel.
It's not your fault. She quarreled with me.
She insulted me.
May I guide you to the door, Master Sims?
You know Lord Mortimer's signature?
Is this not it?
I can recognize a pig's tracks
when I see them.
Then you know I have the right to remove
the furniture which he loaned you.
Loan, does he call it?
He and that loathsome Sims.
It's all legal. All by order.
Take the things and get out.
That's not Lord Mortimer's.
Leave Poll alone.
She's no present to be given
and taken back.
She's been with Mistress Bowen
since she played "Aurora" in The Rivals.
We were very good in that.
Serves me right, Varney.
- A kind heart butters no parsnips.
- But what shall we do, Mistress Bowen?
We've got nothing but the clothes
we wear and poor Poll.
Poll's enough.
Remember, my dear, if gin is offered,
you must take wine.
It's more genteel.
But I like gin.
Makes me merry.
You'll be merry enough on wine.
You told me Lord Mortimer
likes a witty girl.
Best leave the wit to me.
I'll make you seem witty.
I can crack a joke well enough.
Not in good company, my dear niece.
You're not accustomed to it, you know.
I have known some gentlemen.
But this is a lord.
A man from whose largesse
many blessings...
can come to the family of Sims.
And just for a little laughter.
That's all he wants...
to be amused.
A fine lord, indeed.
Mocked by a parrot.
But this parrot is our key
to open milord's friendship to you.
Now remember, you were offended.
You offered money. You...
Milord, a dreadful thing...
Pardon, milord, this is my niece, Kitty.
A charming person.
She does you honor, Sims.
But have you heard the latest news
of my lady?
Brave Mistress Nell.
- What a jest she's hit upon.
- You mean the parrot, milord?
It is because of that, that we are here.
A great bit of japery, Sims.
What a vixen!
I hardly thought
to find you in such humor.
It's only a jest.
Nell has the bird for sale
in the marketplace.
Letting it scream that silly ditty...
"Lord Mortimer is like a pig.
"His brain is small and his belly big."
All London's come to laugh at the bird.
So they have.
And it does you no good, milord.
That joke can make your proud name
a mockery.
The bird won't sing too long.
I've sent Pompey to buy it.
That girl holds the bird
at a high enough price.
My niece, knowing of my affection for you,
tried to buy the bird.
She offered 20 guineas and was refused.
Mistress Bowen wants more honey
on her bread than that, Sims.
Pompey has a purse
with a 100 guineas in it.
- A 100 guineas for a bird?
- Will you have some wine, Mistress Sims?
Wine is too French for me, milord.
It's the way I feel about men.
I like men to be as big as beer
and as strong as gin.
Beer has a head on it, you know...
and you can't say that for wine.
And gin has muscle in it.
And you can't say that for wine, either.
Bless me. I have never heard
anyone put it that way before.
There is much to be said
for our national institutions.
Come in.
She refused?
- She said it was not enough.
- What sort of game is this?
Mistress Bowen told me to tell you...
the bird will remain for sale...
and that you could sell
every property you owned...
and not have money enough to buy it.
So that's the way the wind blows, milord.
Malign me!
The girl digs her spurs too deep.
Milord, we can always make her my guest.
At Bedlam?
She's as sane as you and I.
Was Colby mad? He was my guest.
We've been good comrades, Nell and I.
- I'll not do that.
- As you wish, milord.
Here, milord.
Confusion to your enemies.
It's a shrewd trick.
You can't restrain a parrot from slander.
You can't exercise the right of privacy
against a bird.
But I think I have a way, milord.
Another drink, milord.
It'll make you a lion.
I'm an angry man.
There are laws
against the depredations of livestock.
Is not a parrot livestock?
Are you not suffering great loss?
You know that...
he who steals my purse,
steals trash, but he who...
Why, I heard that at the playhouse.
What do you suggest?
We can swear out a writ of seizure...
send a bailiff for the parrot
and have it here within the hour.
- We could do that.
- Indeed we can.
Arrest a parrot?
I'll drink on that, milord.
All right. Come along.
I told thee no good would come of it.
Thee cannot mock thy friends this way.
Mock him? He'll wish I'd only mocked him
when I've finished.
I swore I'd wring its neck.
Give me that bird, Varney.
Your gifts you can take back, milord...
but the parrot was mine, is mine,
and remains mine as long as I want.
Thee must be careful of other's property.
Curse you, man.
You shall fight me for this.
- Draw, man, draw!
- Thee can see I carry no weapon.
I do not fight nor brawl with other men.
- You shall fight me.
- I cannot.
Fight or I'll run you through.
- Will you fight?
- Milord.
My friend, thee has no quarrel with me.
Let me go!
Thee must not mock thy friend.
Lord Mortimer.
Thee can earn an honest living for thyself.
I had to sew my costumes
when I was on the stage.
Two shillings a week
and all found for a seamstress.
One can live well on that if one is frugal.
What would I do with Varney?
Who'd have him?
Thee has not strength enough
for a mason, Varney.
- You see?
- Just the same, I'll give Varney work.
He shall sweep up the dust here.
He has strength enough for that.
He sweeps and I sew.
All very fine, but not very exciting.
What do you think about it, Varney?
I like a merry life, Mistress Bowen.
And so, by blazes, so do I.
Everyone makes his living
with his own tricks.
My tricks are not yours,
Master Stonemason.
If I may say a word, Mistress Bowen...
you still have many friends.
That I have.
There's Captain Stafford.
But he's always talking about Fontenoy.
There's Armiston and Wilkes.
There's Wilkes.
That Devil Wilkes.
So far as I am concerned,
dear Mistress Bowen...
you need not teach your parrot
any special phrases for my benefit.
Am I to understand from that,
Master Wilkes, that you're not interested?
Not in Bedlam nor in me?
I did not mean that.
I meant only that I am a different sort
of man from Lord Mortimer.
I am not easily pleased.
I think you expect too much,
Master Wilkes.
I offer more.
You want to fight the nastiness
and corruption of Bedlam.
I offer you political alliance
with John Wilkes...
whom his gracious majesty
has pleased to call "that Devil."
Bring me the evidence
and I'll be pleased to take it to court.
Let us say that puts a brighter face
on matters, Master Wilkes.
One gives a girl a kiss
to seal a certain kind of bargain, Nell.
This is a rather public place,
Master Wilkes.
But one shakes hands
with a comrade and a friend.
This is a real blow at Wilkes.
That is a blow I'll leave you to administer.
I have one of his to ward away.
And so you see, Mistress Bowen, milord...
thought it would be best
to make friends again.
On your advice, I suppose,
and for some purpose of your own.
Milord, speak to the girl.
Every word he says is true
and better put than I could say it.
So, we're friends again.
You go your way and I go my way.
But friends are not that off-handed
with each other, Mistress Bowen.
Milord would like to be kind to you.
I'm duly warned. Go on.
Milord thinks you've been looking
rather pale of late.
Perhaps the waters of Bath, a rest.
Milord, you know that I have a contempt
for certain kinds of money.
How deep that contempt is,
I am about to show you.
The Bank of England thanks you
for 300 pounds.
Tomorrow, after the
Commission for Lunacy examines her...
she'll strike no more blows,
not at you nor at me.
Here. You sign here.
Confound me, Sims, I can't sign this.
She's not mad.
She's not a danger to herself and others
as it says here.
Sign, milord. She's a danger
to my position and your properties.
Alone she means nothing...
but with Wilkes behind her,
she's more dangerous to us...
than any madwoman.
Well, gentlemen, here is your lunatic.
You're Nell Bowen?
I'm 23 years of age. Born at Rye.
My parents are dead,
and I have no husband or child.
What more would you wish to know?
The Commission of Lunacy will frame
the questions for you, Mistress Bowen.
Ask away.
Do you know your alphabet?
I know A from Z...
and I can read and write as readily
as any man I see before me.
Perhaps a little better.
Do you know the difference
between right and wrong?
What is right for me is wrong for you,
that much I know. And vice versa.
Oh, don't fool yourselves.
A merry answer
does not make me a fool, gentlemen.
Ask me a sensible question
and you shall have a sensible answer.
Mistress Bowen,
is it true that some days past...
you refused the sum of 100 gold guineas
for a parrot not worth five shillings?
I had my reasons. It was a jest.
You know your sums?
If two and two make four, I do.
Knowing that one number added
to another makes a greater number...
I presume you know a large sum of money
from a small sum.
I only know that I like large sums
better than I like small sums.
Then, why did you refuse 100 guineas
for a parrot worth five shillings?
I have told you, it was a jest.
Knowing the value of money,
Mistress Bowen...
can you explain
why it was you ate a banknote?
For a jest.
Master Sims knows why I ate the money.
To show my contempt for it.
- Is that how one shows contempt?
- No.
But at that moment
it was the only way to show contempt.
I was angry and it was
the first thing that occurred to me.
Do thoughts like that always occur to you
when you are angry?
Surely everyone does
foolish things sometimes.
- At a whim, for a prank.
- Is it wise to eat money?
But it was a jest.
Gentlemen, would you permit me
to communicate with Master John Wilkes?
He will speak for me.
This is not a court.
You are not in need of any witnesses
but your own sanity...
and we shall judge the worth of that.
Mistress Bowen...
you have asked for voluntary commitment
to enter St. Mary of Bethlehem's asylum.
The charges for your care and keep
to be borne by Milord Mortimer.
I have here the commission's approval
of your request.
The commission has adjudged you insane.
But I made no petition to enter Bedlam.
Perhaps you did it as a jest,
Mistress Bowen.
You're not going to put me in Bedlam?
Not for a little joke. Not for playing a trick.
Milords, gentlemen, please listen.
I am of sound mind. I know what I do.
I know what I say.
I did not ask for admission to Bedlam.
Here in Bedlam, my dear...
we can't feed you banknotes.
Try chewing on this.
- I want a biscuit. Polly want a biscuit.
- Polly want a biscuit?
You see, Varney, now that he's mine...
I've already taught him
a new and original trick.
- Yes, milord.
- But Mistress Bowen must have been here.
Now, my love,
and how did you spend the night?
- Going on a voyage, milord?
- Voyage? No, not a voyage.
Just a trip to the country to ride.
To smell the innocent air.
To listen to the twitter of the birds.
- To rusticate.
- I see. To rusticate.
I would invite you, my dear,
but it's a bachelor affair.
Sports, you know. Manly things.
I see.
All good things must end, milord.
I'll have a bit of the gin.
And another little sip
to get rid of the dry taste of piety.
I thought there was
precious little of that in this house.
There's a Quaker out there
who wants to see you.
Pompey is sending him about his business.
Such a person has never been known
in this household.
Come now.
Thee must know that to be an untruth.
Mistress Bowen had tea with milord
only yesterday.
Your young lady was the one
who was telling tales.
There's been no woman in this household
but Mistress Sims since I can remember.
So they tell me.
Well, never mind.
- Where is the Quaker?
- He's been and gone.
- He must have just left.
- That's likely.
Apples, apples
Apples a penny, apples
Master Hannay.
I'll tell you where she is, Master Hannay.
I'll tell you where she is.
- They put her in Bedlam.
- In Bedlam?
Yesterday they summoned her.
She's there now.
Friend, thee must come with me.
We shall go to Bedlam.
No, I can't go with you.
I'm employed by milord.
You see, Master Stonemason,
I have to live.
And you yourself said I didn't have
enough muscle for honest work.
It's enough that thee
is an honest man, Varney.
That thee ran all this way
to tell me where she is.
Nell Bowen.
Is that your name they call?
- How do they know I'm here?
- They don't know.
Some of our poor companions spend
their days looking out the window.
If they hear a new cry, they repeat it.
Then others take it up and so it goes.
But my name? How do they know it?
Someone must have shouted in the street.
Perhaps someone trying to reach you.
Thank you.
You can't come in.
- By George Sims' order, I suppose.
- Even so.
May I see Sims?
And quickly, too.
- I have been refused admittance.
- That is unfortunate.
- A new ruling. You understand.
- I understand only that I am a free man.
That I have money in my hand.
Thee has no legal right to deny me entry
to a place...
- where others have been admitted.
- Quite true.
- Well?
- The warder will take your tuppence.
And now if you will leave your arms
at the arms rack.
But I have no arms.
I am of the Society of Friends.
Then I'm afraid
we must return your tuppence.
But why?
Did you not quote the law to me?
Let me then quote the law to you.
It is a rule of our institute
that all who enter the main hall...
- must hang their arms upon that rack.
- But I have no arms.
Since you have none,
I cannot let you enter.
Thee cannot deny me entry for such cause.
I must.
Save yourself a walk, Quaker. It's locked.
It's a rule, Master Quaker,
and I break no rules.
Blast me.
Brother Hannay sauntering
as if it were a holiday.
On my own business, friend Smith,
and without profanity.
And without this good job of work
that we have, Hannay.
- I bid on it.
- And found Master Sims' way...
of doing business a little strange?
We've the work. We've the will.
Let's at it, boys.
But thee hasn't the knack of it.
Thanks, Hannay.
Maybe you'd give us a hand.
- There are but three of us.
- I'd just as leave.
You call.
One, two. Heave, all.
- Call.
- One then two. Down we go.
- Thanks, Hannay.
- Thee is welcome.
Now you're here, Hannay. You can see all
of Bedlam without paying your tuppence.
- Can't he, lads?
- That he can.
All the wonders of Bedlam,
and for nothing.
- That I would like to see.
- This corridor leads to the main room.
It's a little dark maybe, but if you get to
the end of it, you'll get an eyeful.
If thee don't mind, I'll go and look.
Nell. Nell Bowen.
Nell Bowen.
- Nell Bowen.
- Nell Bowen.
- Nell Bowen.
- Nell Bowen.
- Nell Bowen.
- Nell Bowen.
Over here, Nell.
Come, Nell.
- You've come to take me away?
- No.
- There is no way.
- Find Wilkes.
- Wilkes will get me out of here.
- I had thought of that.
I'll seek him out, but until he can free thee,
thee must be patient.
Patient? How can I be patient?
I'm terrified.
- These people are like beasts.
- So thee has that same thought.
- The same thought as Sims.
- No. But they frighten me.
They're dirty, savage, mindless.
- Disgusting.
- Thee wanted to help them.
That's why they put thee here,
for trying to aid them.
I still want to aid them, but I cannot here.
Not here where they're all about me.
All I want is release
or a weapon to defend myself.
Thee has thy kindness and thy courage.
They can be sword and buckler to thee
in this place.
I want better weapons.
I want something more than
my naked hands...
to help me if there should be trouble.
- Give me a weapon.
- Thee knows I carry no sword.
I carry nothing that would harm
my fellow creatures.
Your trowel.
- That is to build with.
- It has a point. It has a handle.
Would you have me maimed,
scratched, scarred?
My face.
The Lord will not let it happen.
Give me the trowel
and I'll not let it happen.
Look at my face again.
Look close.
Shall it be scarred?
God forgive me for what I do.
Forgiven or not,
at least I can defend myself.
Now get to Master Wilkes.
Wilkes will have me out of here like that.
- I haven't seen Wilkes in the last week.
- He's never at home.
He's electioneering.
- Where?
- Anywhere in the kingdom.
But it's a matter of import, grave import.
A woman's reason hangs on it.
I must see him.
He's ordered pamphlets
and posters from me.
He must come here and when he does,
I'll tell him.
I'll come back tomorrow.
We might ask her, Master Todd.
She seems quite ladylike. Quite sane.
Or as I might express myself
before the bar...
compos mentis en lex.
Then I shall ask her.
We can have Dan
and the four of us can play Paroli.
Madam, would you care to join us?
We are going to play Paroli.
That's kind of you. But I have no money.
Money? We play on our word.
I have a wealth of words. I don't cheat.
But I warn you, I'm not above amending
the mistakes of fortune.
This, Mistress Bowen, is Oliver Todd.
He won't speak to you nor to me,
but there's no harm in him.
And he writes and reasons well.
And this is Dan.
Sometimes he fancies himself a dog.
But he has no malice in him.
And he remembers how to play cards.
I am Long.
Sidney Long, the crown solicitor.
Whose enemies will not let him practice
at the bar.
I, the most skilled of them all.
I have many enemies.
Many, many enemies.
I understand.
I shouldn't have told you that.
But believe me, we who are near
this pillar are the safe ones.
The good ones. The wisest.
That's why they let us have the candle.
But the rest...
You must be careful of the rest.
I am careful.
Let's begin the play.
Now, I will hold the bank.
Twenty thousand pounds.
Five pounds for a card.
Five pounds.
Five whippets, ten bassets,
one gazehound.
Anyone wish another card?
Five pounds.
Anyone else?
- Paroli.
- Fortune smiles at your first play.
- What card?
- Knave of spades.
You win.
- Eight bulldogs.
- What's that?
A poor wretch.
Sims gave him a dose of iron this morning.
The chains are scruffing his flesh.
Will the warders not help him?
They've heard too many groans to bother.
But what about you?
Don't you ever help the others?
Why should we help?
We are the people of the pillar.
A card?
Wait. I can't play with that going on.
- May I have the candle?
- Be careful of the straw.
Do your chains hurt you?
Where does it hurt?
Would it help if I put a bit of cloth there
to ease your arm?
He's quiet now. That was kind of you.
It's just that I don't care for sad music
with my game of Paroli.
- A card?
- Five pounds.
Ten whippets.
- Any others?
- Fifteen pounds.
Anyone else?
A very pleasant group you make,
dear people.
It's so nice to find you here amongst
the upper classes, Mistress Bowen.
But that's exactly
where I expected you to be.
It's a law of physics. The lighter elements,
like scum, rise to the top.
Thank you, Master Sims.
A delicate compliment.
I see you've joined
what little we have of society.
The group around the pillar.
Is this the brotherhood
your Quaker friend preaches?
Or perhaps you're afraid
amongst the others.
- I'm not afraid.
- Then you have forgotten.
Forgotten what?
Forgotten that you were going
to reform Bedlam.
Cleanliness. Soft beds for the delight
of the patients. Good treatment.
You've been here a week, Mistress Bowen,
and your only friends are these.
Our nobility.
The brotherhood of man.
Give me clean straw,
I'll make beds for them.
Bandages, I'll bind their wounds.
- Water and soap...
- That I would delight to see.
You shall have water. You shall have soap.
You shall have straw enough.
- I hope you make good use of them.
- I will, never fear.
I leave you to dream
of these Augean labors.
And may your dreams be sweet
and cleanly.
Hot rolls
But where is it?
You promised a chapter for today.
I appeal to you, Master Long. Is it fair?
I support his family, feed his children.
Even pay my tuppence to come in
and get my script, and it is not ready.
We've been busy.
We've been helping Mistress Bowen.
Mistress Bowen? Who is she?
A new female warder.
- Now about the next chapter...
- No, not a warder, Master Gray.
An inmate like ourselves who does
all she can to help her fellow sufferers.
- But what can she do?
- Look, I'll show you.
What can she do, you ask?
She can feed those who haven't wit
enough to feed themselves.
She can wash the helpless.
Cheer the despondent.
She can be...
She is an angel in this darkness.
Very interesting. But this book you have.
Those drawings?
The pictures?
You don't know half their wonder,
Master Gray.
If I could only get a light
behind these pages...
I could throw them large as life
upon the wall.
Aye, that's not a bad notion.
One could charge admission.
You could even tell the story
Todd's writing that way.
But, you forget.
It's because of these pictures
that I'm here.
That and because
I'm the best lawyer in England.
- I, the most skilled of them all.
- Yes, of course.
And you, Oliver...
you'd best finish that chapter
by tomorrow...
or I shall withdraw my support
from your family, understand?
Dan, did you chance to see a trowel?
A trowel?
I'll build you a wall, a wall that high.
Master Long, have you seen a trowel?
I beg your pardon?
A trowel. A mason's instrument.
I mislaid it some days ago. I'd like it back.
Yes. A trowel.
I'm not mad, Master Long. I had a trowel.
Certainly, Mistress Bowen.
We'll help you find it.
You think I'm mad.
Sometimes, I think I've gone mad myself.
Scrubbing and making beds...
and all for people who don't even know
I'm trying to help them.
They know.
Good morning, Mistress Bowen.
What a happy place this has become.
Everything is so much cleaner.
The idiots even have their faces washed.
Such a little time
and this wonderful change in Bedlam.
What wonders will you not accomplish
in a lifetime?
Madam, you are to be congratulated.
- What do you want?
- I want only to reward you.
Did you not ask for
a separate sleeping apartment?
I'd like to sleep in peace.
- The main room is noisy at night.
- And I have a room for you.
A pretty chamber.
If you will come with me?
Unfortunately, you will have to share this
comfortable apartment with one other.
- But I'm sure you won't mind that.
- Better one than 100.
This is your new chamber, my dear lady.
Won't you enter?
You've not driven me mad yet, Sims.
I would not go in there.
And I wanted so much to please you.
Wait. This was to show you...
that all those mawkish theories
you learned from the Quaker are lies.
Men are not brothers.
Men are not born good and kind.
Even the mindless ones are savage
and must be ruled with force.
I know your thoughts on the matter, Sims.
They do not interest me.
The others, yes. You can prove
the little value of gentleness.
But look at this man. Look at him
and tell me that kind words...
and tender deeds can rule him. Look.
I am looking. It proves nothing.
But you don't dare enter the cage
with him. That proves much.
That proves the falsity of all that
you've come to believe.
- It does not.
- Then enter the cage.
Gentle him with a word.
Conquer him with kindness.
Or admit that your Quaker lies.
You would enter?
My friend, you do not wish to hurt me,
nor I you.
Perhaps you'd like to talk.
I will listen to you.
I know, you're trying to remember.
Someday you will.
You will remember.
You will remember.
Someday you will remember.
And the bailiff came
and she went with him to Bedlam.
Apparently, Sims fears an investigation.
Men have rid themselves of unwanted
wives by that sweet expedient.
But it takes Sims to forestall criticism
with imprisonment.
I shall not believe such ill, even of him.
But she is there. I've spoken with her.
She is as sane as thee or me.
Mistress Nell with that bright,
quick mind of hers...
saner than either a politician or a Quaker.
This is still England, Hannay.
And we have laws here.
Laws of right and justice.
And I shall see
that Sims feels their full weight.
We'll have Nell out of Bedlam in a twinkle.
Never fear.
"Let Hull, house of Hull rejoice with Subis
a bird called the Spight
"which breaks the Eagle's eggs"
That's not right.
"Let Scroop, house of Scroop
rejoice with Fig-Wine
"Palmi, primarium vinum
"That's not so. Palmi-primum is the word"
That's not right.
"Let Hollingstead, house of Hollingstead
rejoice with Sissitietaeris
"herb of good fellowship
"Praise the name of the Lord
September, 1762"
That's not the word of truth.
The word of truth is peace.
Wallace, Betty. Stop.
We were fighting over truth.
Wiser people than you
have fought over it, Betty.
Mistress Bowen.
A word with you. I have good news.
You are to have a new hearing
before the Commission.
- When?
- When it pleases the Commission.
It will please them to hold your hearing
tomorrow afternoon.
I'm delighted for your sake.
Indeed, I am so pleased...
I want to do everything possible to make
sure that your hearing is a success.
- That you will be released.
- Thank you.
In fact, I have ordered
my most beneficent remedy for you.
- A remedy, Master Sims?
- Have they not told you?
It's my own invention. A cure.
Specific for the lax and wandering mind.
Look at him.
When he came here,
he had but one concern...
to remember something he had forgotten.
I tried to help him with my remedy...
- but perhaps I was not drastic enough.
- I need no cure.
- Just to be sure, Mistress Bowen.
- No.
I've given you an invitation.
Now I must speak as your physician.
Come with me.
I'll take my chances
with the commissioners. I need no cure.
As the Apothecary General of Bedlam,
I order you.
- No.
- Lf you insist upon it, I must force you.
Force me? Here? Look around you.
- Do you think your friends will help you?
- I have helped them.
You expect them to band together
and overwhelm me?
If they could reason so,
they would not be here.
I warn you, Sims. They know me.
They know I've helped them,
been kind to them...
And so they love you and will aid you.
Again that Quaker nonsense.
- Let go of me.
- Hold him.
- Warders, help! Warders!
- Shout away, Master Sims.
Your men are used to Bedlam
and its noises.
They've heard too many cries
to pay attention to one.
As for me, I'll just borrow your keys,
Master Sims.
No, Mistress Bowen. Not that way.
There's a warder in the hall
and another at the front door.
But you heard him threaten me
with the treatment. I cannot stay here.
There's a little window
that is left unbarred.
I think I know that window, Master Todd.
You must be mad if you think I'd climb
through that window as Master Colby did.
- And others before him, I dare say.
- I'm not mad, Mistress Bowen.
I'm not like the others here.
I have been placed here by my family...
to keep me from drink,
so that I may write and support them.
I know that little window is dangerous.
Designed for a death trap.
But those who tried before
were men of small strength.
- I'm no Hercules.
- Tom could lift you through that window.
You have more reason than the rest.
I expect more of you.
You know what I can do, don't you?
Then go to the door.
Call the warders for me.
Do as I say!
But the rest, what will they do to me?
Don't be afraid of their vengeance.
They can't think far enough ahead for that.
They're lunatics. They've been tried
and found incompetent by fair trial.
Quo warranto.
Corpus delicti cum grano salis.
Yes, I'd forgotten you were a lawyer.
A lawyer, sir? I am a judge.
I am a judge.
I, the most skilled of them all.
And you shall be judged.
Judged, I say. Bailiffs, hold this man.
- He disturbs the court.
- You can go through that door.
- Try him.
- A fair trial for Master Sims.
- A fair trial.
- Mistress Bowen, speak to them.
- Please speak to them, I beseech you.
- Give Master Sims a fair trial.
Tom, you must get up on the roof.
You're to go first,
and then you are to pull me up.
Up. You understand?
I am Solomon the Wise. Split him in two.
Split him in two.
And so we have brought
this man before you...
to answer for these crimes.
These crimes,
which I shall number for you:
- Neglect.
- Yeah.
- Cruelty.
- Yeah.
Whippings. Beatings.
Dirty straw to lie upon.
- Yeah.
- Chains.
Starvation. Stealing our food.
For all these crimes,
milord and gentlemen of the jury...
I ask justice.
Kill him.
No. Let me speak.
Please, my friends, I beg of you.
Let me speak, let me speak.
- William.
- This is God's house.
- I broke free from Bedlam.
- But thee should not have run from there.
Thee were to have
a new hearing tomorrow.
If I had lived until then.
He had some treatment
he was to give me.
A treatment that made even
the maddest of them shudder to hear.
- I ran and they have him now.
- Who has him?
The loonies. They have seized him
and are trying him in mockery.
They will kill him.
It is what he deserves.
Thee should not speak that way
of any man.
- They will. They will kill him.
- Then thee must go to him.
Thee must speak to the poor afflicted ones
and save him.
- Save him?
- Can one know what is in his mind?
Can one know what sickness lies in it?
As thee were kind to those in Bedlam...
so thee must be kind to those
whose sickness...
- forces them to hurt their fellow man.
- But Sims?
Has not Sims a madness
that thee can pity?
Come, we'll get Wilkes. He'll help us.
- But why, Sims, why?
- I did not want to hurt you.
I did not want to put chains on you,
to steal from you, to starve you.
But you did. And now it's our turn.
You will not dare harm me.
They'll load you with chains,
scourge you with the cat.
Then you shall really know
what cruelty can be. I warn you.
Your vengeance isn't our present concern.
What you have done concerns us.
- Why you did it.
- I've told you, because I had to.
Even as you do things
because you have to do them.
- Even as you drink.
- But why?
I was frightened.
Did you beat us out of fright, Sims?
Did you starve us out of fear?
Split him in two.
Is that why you still threaten us
if harm comes to you?
- The rods, the chains. I warn you.
- You spoke of your fear.
- Fear of what? Speak quickly.
- Of the great world.
The great world of this age that gave me
my place. The comforts and the authority.
What little I have of riches.
What that world thinks, I must think.
What they do, I must do.
But you know better. You're a scholar.
A man of letters.
What I know means nothing.
I've had to fawn and toady,
and make a mock of myself...
till all I could hear was
the world laughing at me.
But once I had what I wanted...
- This, my place here...
- You were afraid to lose it?
I could not.
I had to please those to whose favor
I owed everything.
- I was afraid.
- You had to strike us?
Yes. Can't you understand?
- I understand.
- And our punishment?
Let me go and there will be
no punishment.
He is sane. There is a fear within him.
A fear that strikes out, that claws
and tears at the world like a singed cat.
- He is sane.
- He will not punish us.
- He is sane.
- The man is sane.
- Split him in two.
- No, wait. Wait, I say.
This man has been judged sane.
He has no place here. He must leave.
You cannot harm him. No.
It is the order of the court that he is sane
and that he shall be free.
Bailiffs, release the prisoner.
They will punish us for this. All of us.
The Apothecary General is dead.
We must hide him somewhere.
We must hide him,
so that they will never know.
And when we got here, Master Wilkes,
he had gone.
Long said he just left.
- Disappeared.
- Yes, that's all I could get out of Long.
But I know they must have killed him.
It's so preposterous, Master Wilkes.
A man like Sims doesn't just disappear.
And that's precisely why he disappeared.
They tried him...
found him guilty of sanity, then let him go.
Can you imagine what was in his mind?
The mind of this man who had sworn...
by all that was holy
to aid and protect these people.
Can you imagine his feeling of guilt?
I think that's what drove him to run away.
No. They killed him.
Killed him and hid his body somewhere.
You can't prove that
without finding his body.
We shall find it and we shall punish them.
Yes, I know. The chains, the beatings.
I tell you it's no good.
What you need here is a better man
to fill the post that Sims has fled from.
And after him a better man. And so on
until things here are as they should be.
All kindness and care
for these poor, sick people.
You're not going to tell them?
You must know what it will mean
to those people in there.
Is it not worth a little silence
to save them suffering?
- I must tell the truth.
- But no one has asked you.
I have heard
there was much rejoicing in heaven...
for the lost lamb that returned to the fold.
Silence can win you a lost lamb,
Master Hannay.
That's a fundamentalist theory.
I do not care what it is.
I'm only asking you not to add
to the burden of those poor people.
- You, who profess to love them.
- Do thee think that I would tell?
These people are not guilty under the law.
Not answerable for what they do.
Why should I add to their burdens?
I should never have thought that of thee.
I should have known that thy hand would
not add to the weight that they must bear.
Thee has too much heart for that.
Are we lovers
that you "thee" and "thou" me?