Miss Potter (2006) Movie Script

There's something delicious about
writing the first words of a story.
You can never quite tell
where they'll take you.
Mine took me here.
Looking back, the city and I
never much liked each other.
An unmarried woman, after all,
was expected to behave in
very particular ways.
Which did not include traipsing
from publisher to publisher
with a gaggle of friends.
Now, listen to me,
you must not be afraid.
And don't talk too much.
Friends who, sadly, others were
not so keen to meet.
I've been selling my drawings
for greeting cards, place cards,
etcetera for seven years.
Bunnies in jackets
with brass buttons.
How ever do you imagine
such things?
I don't imagine them.
They're quite real.
They're my friends.
Are you based the animal
characters on your friends?
No, the animals are my friends.
Before Peter Rabbit there was
Benjamin Bunny,
and then Sir Isaac the Newt.
I have their drawings as well,
if you'd like to see them.
That won't be necessary.
Unfortunately, Miss Potter.
It is 'Miss' Potter, is it not?
Yes. Of course. Silly of me.
Unfortunately, the market for
children's books...
Yes, of course.
I completely understand.
It was silly of me,
with no experience of these...
F. Warne and Company would like to
publish your little book, Miss Potter.
But best not to get overly hopeful.
I know publishing your book will
not sell a great number of copies,
but I think we can turn
a small profit.
My dear Mr Warne, well,
I'm pleased. Very pleased indeed.
I shall do everything possible to
ensure that you've not made a mistake.
Miss Wiggin, I believe we can go.
Thank you very much indeed.
Messrs Warne, for your time.
Our pleasure. My brother always
knows what he's doing.
Oh, I'm quite particular about
book size and price,
and I'd like to avoid that
dreadful Gothic typeface
your children's books usually have.
I'm sure everything will be
to your satisfaction.
Miss Potter.
Of course.
My portfolio.
Come along, Peter.
- Sir Isaac, the newt!
- You can't be serious, Fruing.
- That book won't sell ten copies.
- Of course not!
- However, the thought did occur to me...
- Norman!
We promised our little brother
a project.
If he makes a muck of it,
what will it matter?
I think Miss Potter may turn out
to be a Godsend.
Home, Miss Potter?
No, Saunders.
Drive me through the park.
Through all the parks.
- I beg your pardon, Miss Potter?
- Drive!
Walk on.
We did it!
Did you hear my heart?
It was a kettle drum.
You see? We cannot stay
home all our lives.
We must present ourselves
to the world.
And we must look upon it
as an adventure.
Faster, Saunders!
- Faster, Saunders, if you please!
- No, Miss Beatrix. No!
- Fast as you can, old boy.
- Go on!
Oh, I say!
Beatrix, where have you been?
It's after four o'clock.
I'm not a child. I can do things
without my mother's permission.
I was hoping to use the carriage
myself this afternoon.
Where were you?
I took a drive.
With my friends.
You don't have any friends.
Yes, I do, Mother.
Every time I draw.
Some of your paintings are
quite pretty, Beatrix,
but I'm not going to deceive you
as your father does
and call them great art.
Well, my friend,
when I am a published author
then we shall see.
Beatrix, Bertram,
time for good nights.
- I haven't finished yet.
- Come on, hurry up.
- Bertram.
- There! I got him.
- Bertram, you're barbaric.
- Come on, you two.
Hurry up. Down you go.
Hurry, Rupert! It won't do t
be late to the 'Hydes'.
Doesn't Mama look beautiful,
Being in a temper puts such
a rose into her cheeks.
When you grow up, Beatrix,
and have to run a household,
plan parties, keep a social calendar
and put up with a man
who's never been introduced to a clock,
your cheeks will glow too.
Look at this ribbon.
That's unsightly.
Change her into something decent.
And give this nightdress away.
Oh, this will never do.
I'm just all fingers and thumbs!
You're impossible, Rupert!
We are so late.
What have you drawn today, Beatrix?
Benjamin Bunny having a rest.
His ears are getting
better and better.
This shading here is very good,
Say your good nights now, children.
- Good night, Mother.
- Good night, Beatrix.
- Good night, Father.
- Good night, Beatrix.
- Good night, Mother.
- Good night, Bertram.
Good night, Father.
Now, hurry upstairs.
- Come on, mustn't make Mama and Papa.
- Later than they are.
- Oh, children.
- What now?
On my way home, I happened to
walke down Piccadilly.
And what do you think
jumped into my pockets?
Something very special for
the young entomologist.
And something very suitable for
the young lady
who's very soon to grow up
to run a fine home,
just like her mother.
- We'll open them upstairs. Come on.
- Thank you, Father.
- Thank you, Father.
- Come on.
- Late, late late!
- We are not late.
We will never be invited
to the Hydes' again.
Heaven's sake, Helen,
it's polite to be a little late.
Now get in the carriage.
This isn't polite late,
this is late, late.
Right, wee ones,
one story and then bed.
I want Beatrix to tell a story.
Hers are funny.
Indeed they are, and I know exactly
what it'll be about.
Tom Thumb and Hunker Munker.
Precisely. Tom, Hunker,
are you ready to play in a story?
Oh, yes. We're excellent actors.
Well, we shall see about that.
This will be your test.
Over there.
Once upon a time, those two excellent
housekeepers, Lucinda and Jane,
bought some shiny new porcelain
food which they set out
on their perfectly appointed
dining room table.
Then, they decided to go for a walk.
Suddenly, there came a scuffling
noise from the kitchen.
Tom Thumb and Hunker Munker crept out.
The two mice saw that
the dining table was set for dinner.
Tom Thumb leapt up and
took a big bite
from the first plate
and broke his tooth.
Who we expecting someone?
That's my publishers.
It's not a social call.
In fact, I'm rather dreading it.
I wish you wouldn't invite
trades people in to the house.
They carry dust.
Well, next time,
I shall go to their office.
Mr Norman Warne.
Miss Potter.
I hope you will forgive my intrusion
into your daily routine.
I was expecting one of the...
Ah, yes,
I am Harold and Fruing's brother.
I've recently joined the firm
and they have done me
the great honour of assigning
your book to me.
Thank you. It was most gracious
of you to invite me to...
- Tea.
- Yes, I would love some.
Yes, thank you.
Thank you.
Delightful and magical and
so beautifully drawn.
I am utterly, utterly speechless.
Perhaps we should discuss
our business, Mr Warne.
I put your drawings aside with
the greatest reluctance.
Your brother's letter makes
two proposals
which I find quite unacceptable.
First, they'd like the drawings
to be in colour.
I'm adamant they be
in black and white.
But Peter Rabbit's blue jacket
and the red radishes,
Surely you would like your enchanting
drawings reproduced as they are?
Well, of course I would prefer colour,
but colour will make the book cost
far more than little rabbits
can afford. I'm adamant.
Which brings us to
your brother's second point.
They wish to reduce the number
of drawings by nearly a third.
Totally unacceptable.
Let me explain.
The idea of reducing the number
of drawings was not my brother's
but my own.
If we can reduce the number
to 31 precisely,
then the illustrations for
the entire book could be printed
on a single sheet of paper using
what we call the three-colour process,
that you desire, and at a relatively
low level of cost. Yes?
I've given your book a great deal
of attention, truly.
I would like it to look
colourful on the shelf
so that it stands out
from ordinary books.
You have given it some thought.
Which other books have you
supervised, Mr Warne?
- Yes.
- This will be my first.
Miss Potter, I have recently
informed my brothers and my mother
that I am no longer content to
stay at home and play nursemaid
solely because I am the youngest son.
No. I would like a properjob,
working for my family's firm
and they have assigned me you.
Does that make things clearer?
In other words,
you have no experience whatsoever,
but because you've made
a nuisance of yourself,
demanding a chance,
they've fobbed you off on me.
Miss Potter, I know all too well
what my brothers intended,
giving me your, your 'bunny book',
as they call it,
but I find your book quite
enchanting, delightful,
and if they intended to fob me off,
as you say, then we shall show them.
We shall give them a bunny book
to conjure with,
In colours, mixed to your
satisfaction in front of
your very eyes at the printer.
At the printer?
Oh, I could never.
I will escort you there myself.
If you will allow me the the honour.
Why would I never?
Of course I'll go.
I'm a grown woman.
Miss Wiggin will be there.
I see absolutely no reason why
an artist shouldn't visit her printer.
Excellent, Miss Potter.
Jolly good. Thank you.
I shall make all the arrangements,
and I am, in every way,
my dear lady, at your service.
You and rabbits, extraordinary.
Excuse me.
Johnson, come and get
the charms, would you?
- Slowly, slowly. Put it there.
- I will be careful, ma'am.
One, two, three... ten.
When I was ten, my mother badgered
my father into spending the summer
in the Lake District,
as did other fashionable families.
Like an animal released from its cage,
I fell under its spell.
Mind your frocks now.
Come here!
The woods are full of fairies
and little folk that look for
children that get their
clothes dirty.
And when they find them,
they send the fairy beasts at night,
with sharp teeth and a ready
appetite for young flesh.
- I'm coming to get you, Bea!
- No
Bertram. Bertram!
Don't! They're farmers' children.
Their hands. Germs. Come on.
Bertram! Bertram!
Catch him, Bea!
There he is!
Oh, yes!
Out of the way!
There he is.
I don't think a thrashing
will be necessary.
I'll just leave the window
in the nursery unlatched tonight.
The fairy beasts will
take care of the rest.
No! I'll stay clean!
Really, Beatrix, What young man
is ever going to marry a girl
with a faceful of mud?
Well, I shan't marry,
so it doesn't matter.
Of course you shall marry.
All girls marry. I did.
Your grandmother did.
Even Fiona will one day.
- Well, I shan't. I shall draw.
- Oh, those silly drawings.
Then who will love you?
My art and my animals.
I won't need more love than that.
Perhaps not at 11, but let's see
if you still feel the same way at 18.
I drew Mama when we first met
and she married me.
And, Fiona, doesn't mud wash off?
Bertram, come along.
Die, you little devil!
Right. Prince Charming himself
couldn't resist
such a bonny, wee girl.
Not when he meets my brother,
Vlad the lmpaler.
- Got you!
- Bedtime my young reprobates.
Now, shall I leave a window
open, or?
No! I don't like fairy beasts.
Well, it is a well-known fact that
fairy beasts never eat a child
when he's tucked up in his own bed.
The fairies have been
in the north country
for hundreds of years,
and have had many adventures.
I told you about you
a changingly child?
Yes, several times.
I want to hear it.
Oh, go ahead, Fiona.
I'll tell myself a story.
Once upon a time,
there was a king and a queen.
Once upon a time,
there were four little rabbits.
Their names were...
Flopsy, Mopsy...
Cotton-tail and Peter.
'Now, my dears,
said old Mrs Rabbit one morning,
'you may go into the fields
or down the lane,
'but don't go into
Mr McGregor's garden.'
"'Why not, Mother?'
'Because your father had
an accident there.
He was put in a pie
by Mrs McGregor.'
Peter, who was very naughty,
ran straightaway to
Mr McGregor's garden,
and squeezed under the gate.
I like it.
But round the end of
the cucumber frame,
whom should he meet,
but Mr McGregor!
Peter was out of breath and
trembling with fright,
and he had not the least idea
which way to go.
- It's muddy, actually.
- One more, Mr Mortimer.
Lighten it up.
Mr McGregor caught sight of him
at the corner,
but Peter did not care.
He slipped underneath the gate
and was safe at last
in the wood outside.
Not quite. See here?
It's still a bit...
When Peter came home
his mother put him to bed
with a tablespoonful of camomile tea.
But Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail
had bread and milk
and blackberries for supper.
This book, it's changed things
for me, Mr Warne.
How so?
For one thing, it's given me
the chance to prove to my mother
that an unmarried woman of 32 can
do more than attend tea parties
- and smile at dull conversations.
- Yes, indeed.
You know, my family never wanted me
to get into publishing either.
We do make rather a good team,
don't you think?
Provided, of course,
we prove them wrong.
Mother, this is Miss Potter.
At last, we poor forgotten folk
in Bedford Square get to share
some of Norman's excitement.
Mrs Warne, it's so kind of you
to invite me.
Nonsense. It was the desperate
act of a woman who was beginning
to forget what her son looked like.
And this is my sister, Amelia.
Norman allowed us a peek at
Peter Rabbit, Miss Potter.
We found it utterly charming.
So we wheedled, cajoled,
and absolutely insisted that
Norman bring you round for tea.
I have decided that you and I
are going to be friends.
Have you?
Well, Norman tells me that
you're unmarried, as am I,
and that you're not
unhappy about it.
And I can't tell you how much
that pleases me.
Why can't you talk about
the weather like other girls?
Well, all the other unmarried
daughters in our circle,
and, believe me, there are many
they sit around all day,
gossiping and unaccountably
bursting into tears.
But you have done something.
You've written a book.
I warn you, I am prepared to
like you very much.
Well, in that case, I shall have
to like you too, Miss Warne.
Call me Millie, and that's to be
the last of Miss Potter too,
I'm afraid.
Absolutely. Beatrix, by all means.
Thank goodness, the tea!
I'm beginning to feel quite ill
with all this bonhomie.
Oh, do let's have tea
in the garden, Mother.
It's too beautiful a day
in every way not to share it
with the flowers.
Well, I love to garden.
Mother disapproves,
but I can't help myself.
I love flowers shockingly.
That's why you have
the hands of a greengrocer.
I do not!
Thank heavens Norman sometimes
deigns to read to me.
If I had to rely on you
for companionship,
I should expire of loneliness.
My mother's taste in books,
Miss Potter, and, I'm afraid,
in life, runs to the er...
Oh, nonsense.
I like good English biographies
and you know it.
I loathe silly romances, such as
the ones your brothers publish.
My brothers and I, Mother.
I am part of the firm now too,
you know.
A sweet-natured boy like you
does not need to work.
Your brothers provide quite well
for all of us,
and I need your smile here.
But then, no-one listens to
a crotchety old lady
in a wheelchair.
Indeed they don't, Mother.
My mother may be crotchety,
Miss Potter,
but she does have an eye
for beautiful things.
She was fascinated by your drawings.
Utterly unique.
Well, when I see something unusual,
I'm not contentjust to look at it.
I must capture it.
Last summer, in the farmyard,
I was drawing something
that was quite lovely in the sun,
and suddenly, I realised I was
drawing the pigs' swill bucket.
I had to laugh at myself.
I feel a bit of a chill, Norman.
Can you take me inside?
- Of course.
- Please excuse me.
It was delightful meeting you,
Miss Potter.
And you.
Do stay longer, and teach
Millie how to behave.
I think that means she likes you.
Did she say she likes to
draw swill buckets?
Indeed she did, Mother.
Indeed she did.
I think by Wednesday, you could
hang the lace curtains upstairs.
- Then at least it will look like summer,
even if it doesn't feel like it. -Yes, Madam
Oh, Beatrix. What is this stain
on your blouse?
Jane says it won't wash out,
and she's tried everything.
- Oh, it's ink.
- Ink?
I must have brushed against
something at the printers'.
Jane, I'm very sorry for causing
you extra work.
Jane, take the blouse away.
Give it to the poor.
This behaviour shows scant
regard for your father's money.
Well, one day, I shall make enough
money to buy my own clothes.
I'm far too old to be living off
the generosity of my father.
You're too old to be
spending so much time
in the company of a man
who takes you to printers!
Your father does not approve,
and neither do I.
Mr Warne is publishing my book.
Oh, that book! I can hardly wait
till it's finished and forgotten.
I don't understand you, Beatrix.
Your father and I have introduced
you to so many suitable young men
of your class, young men of fortune,
and impeccably good family.
Oh, certainly, like that charming
fellow, Lionel Stokely.
Lionel is a particular favourite
of his uncle, the earl,
whom we visit every summer
at Stokely Court.
Oh, and I do regret terribly that
I didn't accept Harry Haddon-Bell.
Harry's great-grandfather
went to Sandhurst.
Harry's grandfather
went to Sandhurst.
Harry's father
went to Sandhurst.
And so I went to Sandhurst.
Father and I and the gamekeeper often
go out riding in the morning...
Ashton's a crack shot.
But no, you're just
a pig-headed girl.
Mr Warne is asking for you
at the door, Miss.
Mr Warne? He's not expected.
Unannounced. Perfection!
Come on, here.
Two sold while we were
at the booksellers.
That amounts to 40 in a week.
- Which is 160 in a month.
- Good gracious!
I'm trying to remember
my twelve-times table.
1,920 in a year.
- I can't breathe.
- That's just in one shop.
My dear Miss Potter,
you are an author.
We have achieved
what we set out to do.
We have created a book.
What's the matter?
A cloud just passed across your face.
You've been very generous
with your time, Mr Warne,
Shown me things that
I never would have seen.
Printing houses!
- I shall miss your company.
- Are you losing my company?
It just occurred to me
that the book is out
and our association is
coming to an end.
Miss Potter.
I had hoped that you might
have other stories.
Do you know, I recently remembered
one I thought I had forgotten it.
About a duck...
a very stupid duck.
Based on one of your friends?
It's based on myself, I think
It's a story I told a friend once.
My family summers in the Lake District,
and there was someone there,
the grounds man's son, who was
always interested in my stories.
Miss Beatrix. Are you skulking?
No such thing, Willie Heelis. No.
I was drying off my sketch book.
Not bad, Miss Beatrix.
Do you have any animal
stories for me today?
I don't. Sorry. Nothing new.
That's Jemima.
She doesn't have a story yet.
Not a proper one.
- Jemima Duck?
- Jemima Puddle-Duck.
And a stupider duck
the world has never seen.
She goes looking for a safe
place to lay her eggs
and meets a charming gentleman
with a long bushy tail
and very sharp teeth.
The gentlemen offers her his shed
and Jemima is surprised to find
that there are so many feathers in it.
But then, as I told you,
she is a very stupid duck.
I like it.
I'd love to paint every view
in this valley,
but I'm not very good at landscapes.
Wait too long and it won't be
here to paint, Miss Beatrix.
- Really, that's ridiculous.
- No, I'm serious.
The large farms are being broken up
into small plots and sold off.
Well, you can't stand
in the way of progress.
So they say.
But I say beauty's
worth preserving.
I know you do, Willie.
But nobody could disagree
with you about that.
Well, I'll see you soon, then.
Perhaps not, Miss Beatrix.
I'm leaving for Manchester next week.
To study the law?
Yes, indeed. I have to better
myself somehow.
- Good luck.
- Send me some drawings.
I will.
He encouraged me to take
my writing seriously.
We must get started on
the new story straight away.
Jemima Puddle-Duck.
I think the public should like that,
and Tom Thumb and Hunker Munker.
What do you think?
Well, if you, if you think.
Your book has been very
important in my life.
You have been very
important in my life.
And you in mine, Mr Warne.
- And we must do it again and again.
- And again!
I promise you,
I intend to be a nuisance.
When did you decide
you wouldn't marry?
Just before my 20th birthday.
Mother came to my room and
announced that Lionel Stokely
was to marry Gwendolyn Alcott and
they were to live at Stokely Court,
which Lionel had just
inherited from the earl.
And I knew right then that
she would bring me no more suitors
and that I would never marry.
And that shocked me.
But I felt relieved.
And that shocked me.
So I went into the garden and filled
an entire notebook with sketches.
Men are bores.
They're useful for only
two things in life
financial support and procreation.
You say outrageous things!
- Ah, but the price.
- What price?
Domestic enslavement.
Childbirth. Terrifying.
No, unmarried women have
a better life.
I swear it's true.
No houses, no babies, no husbands
demanding things all the time.
As long as one's lucky enough
in life to have a good friend.
I'm so glad Norman found you, Beatrix.
I was missing something
I didn't even know.
Dear Miss Potter,
I enclose with great pleasure
the latest in what I hope
will be a long line of tales.
Yours affably, Norman Warne.
Mr Warne.
Would you and Millie like to
come to a Christmas party?
My parents hold one every year,
and I think it's high time
that I invited someone.
Yes, we'd be delighted to attend.
Thrilled, in fact.
Be still, little imps!
Peter, you naughty boy!
Look what an example you're setting.
That's better. Any more of that
and I'll paint you out.
Your father is home.
How was your day at the club, Father?
Interesting, as always.
Rupert, we seem to have a situation.
We need your resolution.
I want to invite Norman Warne and
his sister to our Christmas party.
With Lady Armitage?
With Sir Nigel and Sybil?
A tradesman, Rupert!
How will anyone have fun?
He's the gentleman
who publishes my books, Father.
- Rupert.
- I have something here, Beatrix.
I went into Hatchards bookshop and
I purchased this with good money.
Hugh Whitteford bearded me in
the club and rattled on for hours.
You know old Hugh, jowls all aflutter.
Wife's bought three of
your girls' books
for her granddaughter's nursery.
Sending more by ship
to chums in Bombay.
Very soon, the whole club was
telling me of some purchase
that they had made of
our daughter's creation.
So I thought it was time
that I bought one.
So I went straight into Hatchards,
put my shilling onto the counter.
I would have given you one.
But I wanted to buy one
like everyone else.
Now, I owe you an apology, Beatrix.
When you showed me your books,
all I saw was my little girl
bringing me clever drawings
for me to comment on.
You're not a little girl anymore.
You're an artist.
The genuine article.
I would have been proud to use
that word about myself,
and now, I'm proud of you, Beatrix.
Thank you, Father.
So I don't see any reason why
we cannot make a little social effort
to welcome the gentleman responsible
for this blessing into our home.
Thank you, Father.
Thank you.
I think it will be good
for all of us.
Merry Christmas, Rupert.
Glenys, don't serve Sir Nigel
the punch with brandy
- unless he demands it.
- Yes, madam.
And after dinner, he'll take port.
Come and give me a little signal
after he's had four glasses.
The house shimmers, my darling.
You've done it again.
- Good evening, sir.
- Good evening.
- Mr Warne, Millie,
- how wonderful!
Thank you, Jane.
Thank you. Thank you.
Mother, Father,
I would like you to meet
Miss Amelia and Mr Norman Warne.
How charming of you
to be so punctual!
Go on, one wouldn't hurt.
I think Wiggin is under strict
orders never to leave our side.
How festive!
Such scintillating conversation.
Oh, mine as well! The weather
in Amsterdam in July.
Could I interest you ladies
in an after dinner coffee?
Some of the gentlemen would like
to play a few hands of cards,
but they're short of a fourth.
I don't suppose you play whist,
Mr Warne?
I'm afraid I've never had
much aptitude for cards.
- Oh, that is a pity.
- I play.
This is to play with Sir Nigel,
Miss Warne.
Sir Nigel takes his whist
very seriously.
I play rather well, actually.
Do you, Millie?
Well, I'm sure you two have
plenty to talk about without me,
and if they can't play
without a fourth...
Come along, Miss Warne.
Carols in the music room, my dears.
Perhaps I could show you
your Christmas present.
It's upstairs.
I will bring the coffee.
- Mrs Wiggin.
- Miss.
Miss Wiggin. I have taken
the liberty of adding
a splash of brandy to our coffees.
Well, it is Christmas.
Is this where you paint, Miss Potter?
Yes, and it's where we shall
find your Christmas present.
Oh, my!
I think, other than Bertram and Father,
you are the first man ever
to set foot in this room.
- Would you like me to leave?
- No, no, no. Wiggin is here.
And if this is the best I can do
for scandal at my age,
I'm hardly worthy of my reputation
for creativity.
My, but it's beautiful!
Is it the new story?
Miss Potter, is it the new story?
- Is it?
- I'm not going to tell you.
Come over here.
That's Jemima Puddle-Duck.
It's the first drawing I ever did
of Jemima. I was eight, I think.
Jemima, stop that!
Stop what?
Just some silliness.
- And what's this?
- Oh, it's a music box.
My father gave it to me
for my sixth birthday.
He did the painting himself.
So your father is an artist too?
No. He always wanted to be an artist,
but the family disapproved.
So, he took up law.
The joke is I've never once
heard him discuss a case.
He goes to his club every day,
and never his office.
So, I don't really know
what he does.
- Oh, dear.
- Wiggin is fallible.
I'm afraid, Miss Potter, your
reputation is now officially dented.
'Let me teach you how to dance'.
Do you dance, Miss Potter?
No. Well, not well.
I make a terrible hash of it too
when I try,
but the words are very sweet.
You know the words?
Will you sing the words?
Well, er...
@ Let me teach you how to dance
@ Let me lead you to the floor
@ Simply place your hand in mine
@ And then think of nothing more.
@ Let the music cast its spell
@ Give the atmosphere a chance.
@ Simply follow where I lead
@ Let me teach you how to dance.
Miss Potter.
I know you have decided not to marry.
All my life, I thought that
I would not marry either
but something has happened that
has caused me to change my mind.
No, please, let me go on,
for if I do not say
what I have to say it now,
I fear I never will.
Miss Potter,
I would like you to consider...
Mr Warne.
Doing me the honour, and I do not
expect an immediate answer.
I was just showing Mr Warne
his Christmas present.
I'm an impeccably genteel,
unmarried lady, Mother.
I haven't begun to invite
men to my room.
Mr Warne?
What is the picture, Beatrix?
I've written and drawn
little children's books,
which have been published.
The man who published them is here.
Mr Norman Warne.
To thank him for his assistance
and generosity...
Well... I'm...
I'm writing him a Christmas story.
- Can we hear it?
- It isn't finished, so...
Oh, go on.
I suppose, before we part
for the evening,
I could share a glimpse of
the unfinished tale of
'The Rabbits' Christmas Party'.
One particularly snowy Christmas Eve,
a young rabbit and
his fearsome older brothers
and fiercely brave sister
set out on a journey they make
every year to celebrate
with their friends.
Now, rabbits are highly sociable
creatures, and legend has it that
wherever they find themselves
on Christmas Eve,
they get together and
throw a jolly party!
Now, I know such a legend exists
because I made it up.
The rabbits travel through
the woods to the well-appointed
burrow of their cousins where
a warm fire is waiting for them.
They take off their frosty coats
and the party begins!
Now, I know on this night
that they will eat and talk
and dance and laugh and
roast apples on the fire!
But I'm not certain
how the story ends,
because I haven't made
that part up yet.
But, in any case, Mr Warne will
have to read it first,
as he is my strict censor,
and, well, it is his present.
Merry Christmas, Mr Warne.
Thank you, Miss Potter.
It's so beautiful.
There'll be no problem with presents
for the grandchildren next year,
- I dare say.
- You must be very proud, Helen.
It's just a children's story.
- Can I talk to you?
- Of course.
What is it?
Is there something wrong?
No. As my confidante.
You have something to confide?
How delicious!
Your brother has asked me
to marry him,
and I feel, quite irrationally,
that I may say, 'yes'.
I'd like your approval.
My approval?
Beatrix, don't be a fool.
Marry him.
Tomorrow. Don't waste a moment.
How could you hesitate?
You're not upset?
Well, why would I be upset?
Well, both Norman and I.
You'll be alone.
You have a chance for happiness,
and you're worrying about me?
I wouldn't worry about you if,
if someone came along
who loved me and whom I loved,
I would trample my mother.
- Do you love Norman?
- Yes.
Then marry him. Don't you dare
think about anyone else.
But what about all
the blessings of being alone?
What else is a woman on her own
supposed to say?
You have a chance to be loved.
Take it.
And leave me happy,
knowing that the two people
that I love are happy.
That is the most thought
you should ever have for me.
There you are, Beatrix!
The guests.
Yes, Mother.
What is going on tonight?
Why do I feel like a stranger
in my own home?
You have a clever daughter, Rupert.
You must be very proud.
- Of Beatrix? Yes, we are.
- To write and draw like that!
Beatrix should meet my niece, Anne.
She makes pots.
- Ceramics, Nigel.
- Look like pots to me.
As for you, madam,
I suggest you take up knitting.
Merry Christmas.
What was all that about?
Sir Nigel disapproves of the way
I play whist.
I'm afraid I won two guineas from him.
Mr Warne!
- Your painting.
- Oh, yes. My Christmas present.
- Goodbye, Mr Warne.
- Goodbye, Mr Warne.
I have an appointment to see
Mr Rupert Potter in the Eagleton Room.
- He's expecting you, sir.
- Thank you.
Come along, Norman,
it's only her father.
Come in.
Thank you very much, Mr Potter,
for taking the time
out of your very busy day.
Goodbye, Mr Warne.
If you will not accept our advice
in this decision,
then we will have to impose
that advice.
Respect our knowledge and
the worth of our opinions, Beatrix.
Oi! Get over there!
I said that I'll do it and I will.
Norman Warne is a tradesman, Beatrix.
No Potter can marry into trade,
- and that's final.
- And what are we?
Father's money comes from
Grandfather's printing works
in Lancashire.
A trade, Mother.
And if Grandfather hadn't
run for parliament,
we'd still be living
in the shadow of his factories.
Your legacy came from Grandfather
Leech's cotton trade.
When did we become
so high and mighty?
We're parvenus, Mother.
Social climbers.
Your father and I We will not
allow this marriage for your own good,
and there is no reason to
become insulting!
It's not an insult!
It's the truth!
Our lives are pretension and
social aspiration.
Sir this and Lady that!
Norman Warne is a gentleman
of comfortable means,
and not one bit beneath us,
and I intend to marry him.
Not if you expect to take
one penny of your inheritance!
You haven't disinherited Bertram
for running off
with a wine merchant's daughter.
Happily, I am a published author.
I have means of my own.
This discussion is over.
Come in, Father.
Why is it that after any difficult
situation, she always sends you?
Mama didn't send me.
I don't like tension in my home.
I want to resolve this matter.
Well, you can't.
I've made my decision.
Your mother wants what is
best for you, as do I, Beatrix.
An impulsive and inappropriate
marriage is something that
you would ultimately regret.
You can't allow me to
marry and leave.
With Bertram moved away,
who would take care of you?
You surely do not think
we would deny you happiness
just simply because we needed
a nursemaid?
That is a knife in my heart.
Well, then, what is it, Father,
because I cannot understand.
You cannot make us the villains,
Your mother trotted out countless
suitors all of them acceptable.
- You rejected every one of them.
- I know that, Father.
I didn't want to be a silly woman
marrying a man simply
because he was acceptable,
or rich enough to take care of me.
But does that mean that
I'm never to be loved?
Wiggin, wait here, please.
I'd like to enquire about my
royalty earnings, Mr Copperthwaite.
And whether I might, at some stage,
afford a house of my own
in the country.
You have enough to buy an estate.
Several estates, and a house in town.
You're quite a wealthy woman,
Miss Potter.
Am I truly?
Yes, the income has become
quite regular.
If your fortune continues to grow,
you should have no financial worries
for the rest of your life.
Beatrix, come and sit with us,
- I'd rather not, Father.
- We have something to discuss.
A proposition.
And, for heaven's sake, Beatrix.
Let the servants carry your dishes.
- Tea?
- No, thank you.
Nonsense. You always take tea.
Contrary to what you think and
what you have so vehemently
expressed, your mama and I
want you to be happy.
We simply doubt that
this marriage will do the trick.
Helen, please.
Sit down, Beatrix.
What we don't want is for you
to rush into something
which you may later wish
to reconsider.
I won't want to reconsider.
- We are not convinced.
- Helen, please.
We are not convinced.
Yet, neither have we hearts of stone.
Therefore, this is what we propose.
You may accept Mr. Warne,
but it must remain a complete
secret even from his own family.
Now, this summer, yourself,
Mama and I will go,
as always, to the Lake District.
If, at the end of the summer,
you still wish to proceed,
then we will announce
your engagement
and you can marry with
our blessing and our love.
Why must no one know?
So there'll be no public
embarrassment when you change.
- If, If you change your mind.
- Lf.
Now, Beatrix, if you care for
this man as much as you say you do,
then in a few months the ardour
will still be there.
If your mother, and I, are correct,
and this emotion cools with time,
then we will have protected you
against humiliation and unhappiness.
- It will not cool.
- Beatrix, listen to me.
A woman at your age must
consider very carefully...
Mother, the only thing true
at my age is that at my age,
every day matters.
Very well, Mother, Father,
I accept your terms.
Norman and I may decide to
wait in any case.
But make plans.
There will be a wedding
in this house by October.
They're beautiful.
Which carriage, Rupert?
Four carriages down.
This way.
- This is the Potters' for Windermere.
- Right you are, sir.
Here and those two.
Mr. Warne!
Oh, I do apologise.
- Miss Potter!
- Mr. Warne!
I was beginning to fear
you wouldn't come.
You're soaked.
It wasn't raining
when I left the office.
I brought you the proof of
the new book for your trip.
- Oh, you'll catch cold.
- I couldn't miss seeing you off.
You know nothing would stop me.
This is going to be the longest
summer I've ever spent.
- It's only the summer. That's all.
- Yes.
And this time is not for us.
It's for your parents.
How can they know what we're feeling?
They've never felt it.
We can afford them
this three months.
I suppose.
This is not how I wish
to say goodbye to you.
Goodbye, Miss Potter.
I look forward to your speedy return.
As do I, Mr. Warne.
Quickly. Here.
Goodbye, Miss Potter.
Goodbye, Mr. Warne.
Goodbye, Norman.
My dear, dear Norman,
this absurd forced separation
is surely a kind of madness,
most notably, that of my mother,
but you are here, my dear, for me.
The beauty of this place seems
magnified somehow,
with you in my mind.
In my occasional lonely moments,
I imagine conversations between us,
and yesterday startled a duck with
my declaration of love for you.
All of my thoughts are with you,
my darling.
I know that you find Harold
and Fruing terribly boring,
but, in fact, I'm having
what I could almost describe
as wild enjoyment working
with them.
You may wake up, one day,
to find yourself married
to a businessman.
Praise the day when I can wake up
to find you beside me.
I took one of the boats out
onto the lake at sunset
to watch the water hens feeding.
They made noises like kissing.
I closed my eyes and pictured you.
I find I love my heart more now,
because that is where I know
I can find you.
Amelia sends her fond love and
wishes for us all
to be together again,
as do I, multiplied a hundredfold.
Sir... Hill Top Farm.
May I ask,
is it a working farm?
Aye. Another great one falls,
but this one breaks your heart.
Really? Why?
Now, miss, a body would have to
be a poet, which I certainly am not.
Excuse me, but I'd swear you
were someone I once knew.
Good heavens, Willie Heelis!
Miss Beatrix! Miss Potter!
- Is that you?
- How good to see you!
Well, hello!
I see you've given up on the law.
Have you decided to make
an honest living?
Ah, yes, the law.
Well, not exactly. No, no.
A country solicitor needs to
be proficient in many skills.
And it suits me to be out of
the office now and again.
Now, I could show you Hill Top,
if you have the time.
Yes. Yes.
Time is exactly what I have.
- Not a bad outlook, Miss Potter.
- It's sublime.
By chance, I met an old friend
today who showed me
a beautiful farm that's for sale.
It would be a perfect country home,
and though I know we'll live
mainly in the city
I'm very keen to share
my favourite places with you.
The post has arrived and, once again,
no letter from your Mr. Warne.
Is it time for me to start getting
just a little hopeful?
He did mention he might take
a few days' holiday.
The post is no doubt slow
from wherever he's gone.
But there is something that
appears to be from
that interesting sister of his.
Millie? How delightful!
Excuse me.
Norman is ill.
- I'm Beatrix Potter.
- Please come in, miss.
- Ah, Miss Potter.
- Hello.
- Please, come in.
- Thank you.
- I came as soon as I heard.
- Yes. It's very kind of you.
Very, very kind indeed.
How is he?
I'm too late.
He was so happy.
He sang songs.
He made me dance with him
in the parlour.
He laughed all the time,
everyone noticed the change in him.
Only I knew the reason.
But all summer, he had a cough,
and then the cough got worse,
and in one night, he was gone.
It was so sudden. I keep thinking
that it hasn't happened.
I keep expecting to see him
in the garden.
When's the funeral?
It was yesterday.
It was only the immediate family,
and I...
Well, I couldn't think of a reason
to ask them to delay it for you.
It was considerate of you to come
and pay your respects, Miss Potter.
Our mother is particularly moved,
and is sorry she isn't well enough
to come down to greet you.
I'll be taking over our late brother's
business affairs, Miss Potter.
I want to assure you that F Warne
and company will do everything
in its power to ensure that
our tragic loss causes you
the least possible inconvenience.
Please accept the gratitude
of the entire family.
- They want me to go.
- I'm sorry.
Miss Beatrix!
What are you doing in London?
- Is something wrong?
- A friend died.
I'm sorry, miss.
Was she a close friend?
Miss Beatrix?
Miss Beatrix?
I'll leave your dinner outside
the door, then, miss.
Saunders is here, Miss Potter,
to take you to the station.
I shan't be going back to the Lakes.
Can I get you anything, then?
Nothing, Hilda.
Very well, Miss Potter.
Beatrix, it's Millie.
Look, I know I'm unannounced,
but they sent back all my messages.
Please, please, please, let me in.
We've got to get you out of here.
Come on. Come on.
Let's get you washed and dressed
and out of this room.
Go and find something to wear.
I can't.
I can't!
I've been torturing myself.
I should never have encouraged
you with Norman.
I'd have saved you all
this terrible grief.
I loved him.
I loved him too.
But he's gone.
I must leave this house.
I will leave this house.
Congratulations, Miss Potter.
You are now the proud owner
of Hill Top Farm.
Thank you, George.
Well, I'm sure you'll be
very happy at Hill Top.
I spent some time there
as a child.
Is that so? I did have other
plans for it, but...
I'm sure that I will love it
in any case.
Yes. If you need any other
assistance or help...
Thank you very much, Mr Heelis.
Good day.
Good day, Miss Potter.
What I don't understand, Beatrix,
is how you're going to pay
for this farm.
I'm a writer, Mother.
People buy my work.
Our daughter is famous, Helen.
You are the only person
who doesn't know it.
What I don't understand is
why you find it necessary
to leave your home.
It is not a choice, Father.
Beatrix, if I could undo anything...
There's nothing to undo.
This has nothing to do
with you or Mother.
I must make my own way.
So you must.
So you must.
Everybody out.
You see?
I told you we could not know
where ourjourney would lead.
It has led us here.
This is your new home.
No tears!
It's wonderful to see you!
Oh, this place is perfect.
What have you brought?
I thought it best not to
bring this, but then...
itjumped into my hand
as I walked out the door.
I'm sorry.
Thank you.
It's getting easier.
- It's getting etasier for me too.
- Good
I'm painting again.
My mind's going mad with the story.
I've got pigs running amuck up there.
Well, it's this place, isn't it?
Who'd want to be cooped up in London
when they could be up here?
- I'm so glad you came.
- Me too.
I've been so lucky with visitors.
First, my brother Bertram,
then my mother.
You think that's lucky?
Your mother is a monster!
No, its fine. My mother and I have
come to an understanding.
We've agreed to not
understand each other.
Look, if some city slicker wants to
offer me a half-decent price
for a derelict property and then
pay me and my lads good money
to knock the damn place down.
Let him build what he likes.
If we allow these city developers
to buy up our land,
there'll be no more farming.
And all you're left with is
a ruined landscape and no community.
Miss Potter!
Ah, Mr Heelis.
I see you've found me.
I played here so often as a child.
I know your farm very well.
I swam in the stream,
played hide and seek in the woods
with Cousin Charles.
I brought you the executed deed
for the farm.
At last.
Thank you very much, Mr Heelis.
- Busy.
- Yes.
Yes, I've asked Mr Canon to stay on
and run Hill Top as a working farm.
I'm learning a great deal.
I wish everyone who bought
land up here could be so...
You've bought a farm,
you've kept the workers on,
you're working the land and
you're preserving this place.
Yes. It makes me happy.
Mr Cannon says the two farms
adjoining mine are for sale.
I'd hate to see the developers
get hold of them.
Do you know anything about them?
- Morning, Mr Canon.
- Miss Potter.
My, they've grown!
- Handsome lot, wouldn't you say?
- Yes.
Have you named them?
We don't often give them names,
Miss Potter.
Makes it a bit hard,
come slaughtering time.
Hello, Miss Potter!
Hello yourself, Mr Heelis.
To what do I owe this pleasure?
I've come with a message.
Mr Hubbard is ill
and will be unable to show you
the neighbouring farms today.
- Oh, dear. It's not serious, I hope?
- Chronic illness, I'm afraid.
Recurs several times a month.
Usually after a night
at the Rose And Crown.
I see.
Mr Hubbard wondered if I might
show you the properties instead.
I'd be pleased to have
so knowledgeable a guide.
I'll just get my shawl.
Well, it's prime land.
There's a lot of profit
in building houses on it.
But more value as
a working farm, surely?
Spoken like a true
Lakes woman, Miss Potter.
Indeed, Mr Heelis.
You do realise I've never
been to an auction.
It's simple enough.
Don't bid too early and
stick to your limit.
I know my limit, Mr Heelis.
Craven's Mill Farm,
40 acres of splendour.
1,100 anywhere?
1,100 I'm bid.
Come along, gentlemen.
Splendid little farm, this.
Lots of development potential.
1,200 anywhere?
1,300 anywhere?
Bidding, madam?
Seated at 1,300.
Seven hundred.
Eight hundred.
At 1,900.
2,000 at the back. 2,000
Any more at 2,000.
- Rich Bastard!
- Thank you, sir. 2,300.
At 2,300.
Any more, then, at 2,300?
The lady at 2,500.
Against you, sir,
at 2,500. 2,800.
Miss Potter, you've bid more
than that farm is worth.
3,000, at 3,000 seated,
with the lady. Against you, sir.
Are we all done at 3,000?
Going once,
Going twice,
Sold to the lady, 3,000.
Sir, you should control your client.
She has allowed her emotions
to get the better of her.
She has squandered any possibility
of profit from that farm.
It was prime development land.
This place, this community
is an inspiration.
It should be conserved for
future generations,
and not destroyed.
It deserves protection.
Madam, your observations are
woefully inadequate...
Please, sir. I am no longer
in the habit of being lectured to,
and, thankfully, I do not require
your approval or anyone else's.
So, if you'll excuse us?
Mr Heelis?
I hope you're not going to make
a habit of this, Miss Potter.
Do you know, Mr Heelis,
I think I might.
Now, will you have time tomorrow
to show me those other farms?
- I certainly will.
- Excellent!
Come in.
Oh, my!
Goodness me!
I'll be just a moment.
Now then young man, how are you
taking to your new home?
I know it's not London,
but Hill Top might suit
a young rabbit better.
He seems to be taking
to the place.
As am I, Mr Heelis.
- Now, the road.
- Oh, yes.
Yes, of course, Miss Potter.
How would you feel about
calling me William
instead of this infernal Mr Heelis?
I sound like an undertaker.
Of course, William.
And I believe Beatrix might be
perfectly appropriate as well.
There's something delicious about
writing the first few words of a story.
You can never quite tell
where they're take you.
Mine took me here.
Where I belong.