The Gilded Age (2022) s02e03 Episode Script

Head To Head



Mr. McAllister has written.
He's coming to my tea today.
McAllister is playing
a complicated game.
I'd like to be there
when Mrs. Astor finds out.
It's about to get more
complicated than he knows.
- Why do you say that?
- You'll find out.
By the way, he's bringing
Mrs. Winterton with him.
- You mean Turner?
- Yes.
Into our home? You'll allow that?
McAllister thinks some people
will take a box at the Met,
even if they already have one
at the Academy.
Wouldn't they be punished?
Isn't lending status to the
new house a serious crime?
The point is, we need the old crowd,
and Joshua Winterton
is a charter member.
If they take a box,
any number may follow.
And you don't object to
courting your former servant?
I can't afford to object,
even if it sticks in my craw.
But can she be trusted?
She won't want anyone to know
she was once a lady's maid.
I have the upper hand
where that's concerned.
The flowers are ready
for your inspection, madam.
Thank you.
Church, I should explain
that one of my guests today
may surprise you.
But please don't show it.
Of course, ma'am.

What are they up to today?
I'm not sure, but there is
quite a bustle of arrivals.
You mean of people?
Yes, people.
Well, with the Russells,
one cannot be certain.
I wouldn't be surprised if they hired
Barnum & Bailey's Circus
to perform in the hall.
It looks like it's mostly women,
so probably not the circus.
Hmm, I'd like to see the guest list
before I reach any conclusions.
Oh, Agnes.
Don't you miss parties?
Are you planning something?
I'd like to invite
the new rector for luncheon.
We have to listen to him
drone on all Sunday morning.
Can the Lord really want
more from us than that?
Your newfound piety may be
put to good use after all.
My faith is not new.
Yes, yes.
But Dashiell Montgomery
has written to me.
- And?
- I'm glad to say
he's taken a real interest in Marian,
and he wants me to promote his cause.
Have you spoken to Marian about it?
He may be a bit older,
but he's a good match,
and she ought to be grateful.
But she's stubborn.
She may dig in her heels.
We must manage her carefully.
I don't want to manage her at all.
We'll invite him to luncheon
with your reverend.
He's not mine.
Let's hope he finishes the sermon
before it's time for the cheese.


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Howard.
Mrs. Joshua Winterton.
- Are you all right?
I'm not sure, sir.
- I thought I saw
- You did.
So that was Miss Turner?
I'll manage here.
Go back downstairs to the kitchens.

[GRUNTS] What's the hurry?
She's here! I just saw her upstairs!
Who is?
Adelheid, you're shaking.
Calm down.
No, I must tell you.
Miss Turner, the mistress's
lady's maid, is here.
- Upstairs.
- Why?
- Does she want her job back?
- No!
She's here for Mrs. Russell's
opera tea, as a guest!
She came in and handed me her coat,
and Mr. Church announced her
as Mrs. Winterton.
- I don't understand.
- Neither do I.
Wake up. This is America.
You can be anything you want.
I should know.
I see you've all heard the news.
Is it really true?
That Miss Turner is here? Yes.
Mrs. Russell warned me,
but not of the specifics.
I'm as shocked as anyone,
but we've all got a job to do.
Joshua Winterton is a very rich man.
He has a fortune in property.
How do you know?
I read the papers.
It's not for servants to discuss
the guests of their employers.
But Miss Turner
is hardly just another guest.
Her name is now Mrs. Winterton,
and she is a friend of the mistress.
- But she's
- Listen to Mr. Church.
And there are some linens
that need to be put away,
unless you're still wanted upstairs.
It might be best
if she stayed down here.
I'll talk to her now.
Thank you.
- Oh, Mrs. Russell.
- Ah.
Excuse me. Mrs. Fish calls.
- Well, then you better answer.
Mr. Russell, how kind of you
to open your house.
It's for a good cause.
A cause that is disrupting
New York society.
I don't know if that's good or not.
Any cause of my wife's is good.
I'd like to thank you all for coming.
For some of you,
I know this took courage.
But for all of us,
our passion for the arts
has been curtailed by the narrow limits
of the Academy of Music until now.
We need the Metropolitan.
Not only for ourselves, but so
a great city like New York
can have the opera house it deserves.
Oh, and I thought you would
be interested to hear
we have decided to open our
season on the 22nd of October.
But that's the same date
as the Academy of Music.
I believe it is.
So the two opera houses
are to go head to head?
That's it.
Head to head, and
one will be the winner.
Now, I have invited Mr. Gilbert
to join us today.
He can answer any questions
about the task facing us.
I echo Mrs. Russell's welcome,
and I thought you might like to know
that she's accepted a place on the board
of the Metropolitan Opera.
And now, for those of you
who have questions
what is our program, how
you can secure a box
come and find me.
Ah, Mrs. Winterton.

Of course. Yes, I do agree with you.
I'm sorry I'm late.
I stayed to help rearrange a classroom.
So you're moving furniture, now?
Has your meeting started yet?
As you can see, we're waiting for
Mrs. Astor and Mr. McAllister.
I've asked Miss Scott to take notes.
I'm glad you're here.
I want to ask you to the opening
of a new play by Oscar Wilde.
And there's a reception afterwards.
It's next Tuesday.
Will your employer allow you
time for such frivolities?
Yes, and I'd love to. Thank you.
Maud Beaton will be there.
She wants to know you better.
Maud Beaton from Newport? Why?
Well, it might have
something to do with Oscar.
You mean my Oscar, not the playwright?
Yes, yours.
Maud Beaton. What do we know about her?
Her mother was a Stuyvesant.
You should ask Mrs. Fish's husband.
His grandmother was a Stuyvesant.
Is there any money?
Really, Agnes.
Isn't it a little soon for that?
Well, we're all family here.
And I think we know Oscar's priorities.
I believe there's a great deal.
Well, then, she meets the requirements.
I should leave it to Oscar to decide.
Have you ever known me to do that?
- Mrs. Astor.
Lina, how nice to see you.
Well, if you don't mind my saying
- Mr. McAllister.
- Mr. Russell.
- Well done.
- Thank you.
I can't stay. I'm meeting Mrs. Astor.
Thank you for bringing Mrs. Winterton.
Are you sure it's wise to open
on the same night as the Academy?
Aren't you asking for trouble?
I'm asking for something.
I was hoping to go to both.
And now you'll have to choose.
I should leave. Goodbye, my dear.
Uh, do you have a carriage waiting, sir?
Uh, no. It's so lovely.
I think I'll just walk.

Careful there. Carriage coming, madam.
Hey, watch it! Watch it!
- Careful, sir!
- Oh!
I confess that Mrs. Russell
is even more of a fighter
than I had realized.
You mean you thought she
would not fight against you.
No. Not so bitterly, at any rate.
After all, didn't I make her
what she is today?
Gratitude is not a natural
instinct in that class.
- Agnes.
- Mr. Ward McAllister.
How kind you were to let me summon you.
Did you have to come far,
Mr. McAllister?
Eh, not very, no.
I want to talk about Mrs. Russell,
and how to handle her.
And you well, you know her
better than any of us.
Well, I've just heard some
news that may be of interest.
Don't keep us in suspense.
I'm told she has persuaded
Henry Abbey and the others
at the Metropolitan
to open on the same night
as the Academy of Music.
- What?
- Are you serious?
- Mm-hmm.
- Oh, my.
How dare they try to steal
the Academy's thunder.
Our date is sacred.
I suppose, in a way, this
makes it a cleaner fight.
Well, everyone will have to
choose which side they're on.
Why was that necessary?
Thank heavens we are
all united in this house.
There must be room for two opera houses
in a city like New York.
Nonsense. Now what can we do?
Give us orders.
In your letter, you said
you had a task for me.
Agnes, I would like you to
write to the older members.
Say that you've heard a rumor
that if any of them
are thinking of taking a box
at the Metropolitan,
their box at the Academy
will be removed.
- Goodness.
- Seriously?
I can't do it, as that would
make the threat official.
But you can.
Have got all that, Miss Scott?
Every word.
We'll begin the letters at once.
Won't we, Miss Scott?
- Of course.
- Thank you.
I think I'll take my leave
before you start handing out weapons.
If only it were that simple.
Well, Mrs. Astor's
really looking for a fight.
I heard her.
I wouldn't say
Mrs. Russell has a chance.
I knew Mrs. Van Rhijn was right.
Things must be heating up
if Mrs. Astor's paying calls
to get people on her side.
Miss Marian supports the Met.
- So do I.
- And where will that get you?
It's what I think, that's all.
You only think that because
Miss Adelheid Weber does.
The mistress has got Miss Scott
writing to all the Academy members,
to make sure they hold firm.
She can't write letters
to that sort of people.
Why not?
When a fight is big enough,
everyone gets sucked in.
So Henderson is traveling today?
He is, and we have reserved
a suite at the Brunswick.
And a carriage for tomorrow?
Hope it doesn't make him think
he has power over us.
He's not the first man I've dealt with
who has exaggerated ideas
of his own importance.
I humor him to get him
to reveal his price.
Suppose he hasn't got one?
Oh, he has.
He may tease us a little
so we raise our offer,
but every man living has a price.

All right.
The first tier has all been claimed.
However, there are a few boxes
Where's Mr. Russell?
At his office. He slipped away.
Is he enjoying the opera war?
Well, he'd like to know if
you're going to take a box.
So would I.
You need more of the old
crowd in your audience.
Recruit a few of them, and I'll see.
Now, where do the Wintertons stand?
She may be new, but her
husband's money is not,
and her social standing
is gathering pace.
They spent their wedding
journey in England,
courting the aristocracy.
Thank you for having me today.
I wish we could sign you up.
I'm afraid we're very happy
at the Academy.
At one time, I knew a woman
who was really desperate
to get on their list, so I feel
it would be most ungrateful
for me not to enjoy it.
Did your friend ever
get their box at last?
But like so many others who failed,
she now supports the Met.
I was just telling Mrs. Russell
of all your friends
you made in Europe, not least
the Duke of Buckingham.
Mr. Winterton has many
friends in England,
the Duke of Buckingham among them.
He entertained us while we were
there at his place in Devon.
How interesting.
And now he's coming to America.
Yes, we are to receive him in Newport.
Oh, would you excuse me?
I want a word with Mrs. Wilson
before she leaves.
But when I get back, can I
please see your ballroom?
Of course.
Mrs. Fish.
Oh, Alice. I'll join you in the hall.
I heard you were able to fill
that ballroom after all.
It was a special night,
as you'd have seen if you'd stayed.
Though you would have been
there in a different capacity,
of course.
Well, I hope you'll think
of joining our ranks.
Would you, if you were in my place?
[SCOFFS] I understood
the earlier reference.
But you could have a box in both houses.
Why, when it will take the Met years
even to begin to compete?
It's a second-rate project,
and it will be second-rate
for both our lifetimes.
Or are you threatening me with exposure?
[SCOFFS] I have no wish to make trouble.
Because if you make trouble
for me, I will respond in kind.
- I don't understand.
- If I were you,
I would discuss it with George
before you decide
- to stir things up.
- George?
You mean Mr. Russell.
So he never told you about us?
Funny, I thought that was
why I was sacked.
- Because you were jealous.
- Jealous of what?
You should ask your husband.
Oh, Mrs. Russell.
I'm ready for my tour.
I still can't believe it.
I had to see her for myself.
So, Miss Turner is now
a great lady in New York.
It makes you think.
If she can do it, anyone can.
I wonder how she managed it.
How do you think?
She saw what she wanted,
and she went for it.
Peter, how do you know that?
She told me.
Have you kept up with her
since she left here?
From time to time.
So Mr. Winterton was a marked man.
Why do you think she chose him?
Mm. I can answer that.
He's been in the newspaper a lot lately
as one of the greatest donors
to the new Museum of Art.
He gave millions.
That's what she was looking for.
I wonder how she pulled it off.
She wrote,
praising his taste and his philanthropy,
his culture and his wisdom,
and she hoped that one day
they might meet.
And that's all it took? One letter?
That's not quite all it took.
Oh, Miss Scott.
I may be away for a while,
so I've written down some ideas
for you to work on while I'm gone.
Where are you off to?
Booker T. Washington
is opening a dormitory
at the Tuskegee State Normal School,
and he's invited me to cover the event.
You know everyone.
Well, I met Mr. Washington
when he was here last year
raising money.
Tell me about him.
Well, he's intelligent and driven,
and quite adept
at getting large donations.
Alfred Haynes Porter
funded this dormitory,
so our angle will be
how white Brooklyn money
is building a colored
institution at Tuskegee.
No one would ever know that.
Which is why we're doing the story.
[LAUGHS] Well, good for Mr. Washington.
Oh, I suppose now they can
take students from anywhere,
- with the new dormitory.
- Well, that's the idea.
But I don't know why
a colored student from New York
would go all the way to Alabama
just to learn how to be a farm laborer.
Well, I read that
Mr. Washington also trains
the students in teaching.
I know they promise
to be teachers for two years
when they finish, but after that's done,
it seems they only get offered
the kind of jobs
white people want to give them.
Perhaps Mr. Washington sees
what he's doing as the first step.
Well, that's what I need to ask him.
[LAUGHS] I envy you.
I'd love to write a story like that.
Where will you stay?
With Mr. Washington and his wife.
He wants publicity for the school,
so he's excited for me to come there.
When were you last in the South?
Not for many years.
And when I lived there, I was a slave.
Oh. I see.
No, you don't. Because you can't.
But somehow, I have
to put that behind me.
When Booker T. Washington
calls, I must go.
Well, I hope you'll consider
his point of view.
So you like the idea
of our highest ambition
being to milk a cow?
I'll tell you what I do like
when colored people open doors,
when they help others to earn a living.
I like independence and self-reliance.
And even if it's not perfect,
this Tuskegee school seems like
a step in the right direction.
I'll tell Mr. Washington you said so.
I wish I could tell him myself.
You know it would be highly unusual
for us to travel together.
Because I'm a woman?
We must live in the real world.
But I became a journalist
to cover stories exactly like this.
I'll think about it.
- Is that a yes?
- Not quite.
All right.
I should get back to work.
Do you have a cruel mistress
who never allows you time off?
She's an absolute tyrant,
take it from me.
Well, then kiss me again.
I command it.
As you wish, but this will only delay
the completion of the work.
[CHUCKLES] Then you'll be around longer.
And when it is done,
I'll find something else.
You alone are
a full-time job, Mrs. Blane.
But one I'd gladly undertake.
How are your parents enjoying
their first Newport summer?
Actually, they're in New York.
They left after Mr. McAllister's party.
You didn't tell me they were leaving.
She hadn't planned to.
But things changed, and
she stayed on in the city
to give a tea party
for the new opera house.
But they'll be back?
Mother will be.
She means to spend
most of the summer here.
Then we must learn to be careful.
I saw the way she was looking at me.
I don't care what she thinks.
- I don't care what anyone thinks.
- I do.
I mean to have a lot of fun this summer,
and to pay no price for it.
My motto has always been
to have my cake and eat it.
What about the servants?
Well, Trent has them under control.
But who keeps Trent under control?
Don't worry about that.
My butler and I have been
together a long time.
[CHUCKLES] I won't worry at all.
Because I'm mad about you,
and I want to shout it
from the housetops.
Then you must learn
to restrain yourself,
in the sure and certain knowledge
that I will reward you.

And now I should really go and check
what the workers are up to.
[LAUGHS] Yes, you should.
I have to pack anyway
for my own trip to New York.
- You're abandoning me as well?
- Not for long.
I have to settle some property
of my late husband's.
Well, perhaps I should travel with you.
I'm due in New York next week.
Would that be wise?
Well, anyway, we should get
together while we're there.
You know I'm always ready
to get together with you.
Leave us.
Of course, madam.
Is something wrong?
You tell me.
I'm not in the mood for riddles.
I've had some bad news
from Pittsburgh, and
Well, I had some bad news, too.
What about?
It's to do with Turner.
The new Mrs. Winterton.
Did you persuade her to change sides?
She has no intention
of giving her support
to the Metropolitan.
She only came here to taunt me.
Taunt you? With what?
What happened between you and Turner?
What did she tell you?
Just answer the question.
[SIGHS] Nothing happened.
Except what?
She came into my room one night.
At first, I thought it was you,
but the lamp revealed that I was wrong.
Was it just your room, or your bed?
My bed.
Was she clothed?
Answer me!
But I would never betray you.
You already have.
Nothing happened.
As soon as I knew it wasn't
you, I got out of bed.
Did she?
Not immediately.
So I ordered her to leave.
But you never told me.
Because there was nothing to tell.
It seems to me there was
a great deal to tell.
She didn't matter to me in the least,
and there was no chance
anything was going to happen.
- But I knew you depended on her.
It didn't make sense
to blow up the house
because of her stupid mistake.
So you allowed me to be waited on,
to have my hair arranged,
my clothes chosen,
my bath run by a woman who'd
been naked with my husband?
It's disgusting!
I'm sorry if it was a bad decision.
Decision? I call that betrayal!

Start at the beginning.
It's easily told.
I came to New York as a banker
with some success.
I got married and Flora was born.
Then things started to go wrong.
My wife's father wanted her
to get rid of me
before she inherited his fortunes.
He arranged that I should suffer
the indignities of a divorce.
And you let him?
They were stronger than I was.
Anyway, I gave my wife
a large settlement
and retired to lick my wounds.
And what happened next?
I proved her father's
instincts had been correct
when I lost everything soon after
in the Panic of '57.
And you never contacted them again?
My former wife was not keen
to maintain a connection.
I can imagine.
I kept track of Flora's school,
of where they lived, and so on.
I saw the marriage announcement
in the "Times".
Was there no possible return to banking,
or business, at any rate?
I'd been declared bankrupt, so no.
I was a failure, and it was official.
I had no money, no home.
For a time, I was almost on the streets.
But the one job I understood
was a valet's.
I'd had my own valet.
I knew what the work consisted of,
so I found a place and learned the rest.
Flora said she saw you in the street.
I kept an eye on her for years.
I shouldn't have revealed myself.
She called me over, but
I should have resisted.
I was not aware that
you knew the Russells.
Why would you be?
I ought to have kept silent.
But you didn't, Mr. Collyer.
And there we have it.
I am a banker, my wife is a hostess,
and her father is a valet.
It seems to me that we are
in a pretty kettle of fish.

Can I remind you that Henderson,
the man who works at my steel
mill, is coming to luncheon?
Have you warned Church?
We're rolling out
the red carpet for him.
Isn't he your enemy?
If he is, I'll be ready for him.
But I need your help with him.
- And you did promise me.
- That was before.
Bertha, my business doesn't
stop when we fall out.
You're being jejune.
You know nothing happened.
Am I really to be held responsible
for Turner's actions?
You're responsible
for your own inaction.
- What is it?
I can come back later.
No. Say it now or never.
Larry and I have been invited
to a play by Mr. Oscar Wilde.
There's to be a reception afterwards.
- Who has invited you?
- Aurora Fane.
Though I'll be escorted by John Adams.
May I go?
If you wish.
So I can go? Just like that?
Yes. Is there anything else?
I suppose not.
Thank you.
I'll be down in a few minutes.
What's the matter?
Your mother's very tired.

If it interests you,
I do know that I
made a mistake.
A misjudgment. An error.
But I do not know what else
I can say on the subject.
Mr. Church, may I ask your advice?
Of course.
It's about Mr. McNeil.
- Your son-in-law.
- Exactly.
He has made me an offer.
How was the luncheon? Was he rude?
No. He was very polite.
You surprise me.
If his tone was friendly,
his offer is not.
What did it consist of?
Well, to start with, a generous pension.
I believe he's a rich man.
He's certainly a successful one.
He wants me to move to the West Coast,
to San Francisco.
San Francisco is a long way away.
I would consider it,
but I am also to swear
I will make no effort
to see my daughter or her children
for the rest of my life.
Goodness me.
McNeil will inform me of their news.
I'm not to answer his letters
or seek to correspond with Flora.
But you would be taken care of?
An apartment will be purchased.
A bank account will be opened.
I'll have a manservant and a cook.
So yes, I will be taken care of.
I suppose that's not unreasonable,
given their position in New York.
No, it's not exactly unreasonable.
Could even be called generous.
But it is heartless all the same.

Mr. Henderson, I believe.
Will you come this way?

Mr. Henderson.
Hello, Mr. Russell.
Mr. Henderson. Thank you for coming.
My dear, may I present Mr. Henderson,
who has traveled all the way
from Pittsburgh to see me.
Happy to know you, ma'am.
I want to welcome you to the house.
It's good of you to come.
It's good of Mr. Russell to ask me.
I've never visited
a house like this before,
and I don't suppose I ever will again.
Then I hope you enjoy yourself.
Was your hotel comfortable?
I've never been so comfortable before.
Our luncheon is ready,
so let us go in and eat it.
I might be going away for a few days.
Oh? Where are you going?
Tuskegee, Alabama.
Mr. Fortune and I are doing
a story on a school down there.
I've already asked
Mrs. Van Rhijn's permission.
You said might be. So it's not definite?
[SIGHS] Mr. Fortune hasn't
officially decided,
but I've made a good case for myself.
I don't believe he'll refuse.
Who else is going?
Well, he didn't mention anyone.
Well, you can't go
all the way to Alabama
alone with a man.
I've told you.
It is a professional trip, and
Mr. Fortune is my employer.
He's also a man, and a married one.
Be careful. That's all.
Have you always lived in Pittsburgh?
No. I was born in New Jersey,
but I moved there for the work.
But my wife's from Pittsburgh.
How long have you been married?
23 years.
We have six children to show for it.
Six! Heavens.
We have all we can handle with two.
[LAUGHS] No, Susie works as well.
She's a dressmaker.
Mm. I admire her.
Well, we have to make ends meet.
Why not take Mr. Henderson
through to the library?
You can speak more freely there.
- It's true.
And the worst thing is
that Marian has shown up
Frances's other teachers.
In her opinion, they are wrong.
Only Miss Brook can do right.
Frances is an adorable child.
But I must ask her to be more tolerant.
I wish you success, as she may insist
you take all her lessons,
and not just watercolors.
You paint in watercolors?
She does. And very well.
- Thank you.
- How pleasing.
The showy oil paintings of the masters
normally get all the attention,
but watercolors have a champion in me.
Oh, me too. I just love them.
Really, Ada? I'd never
heard you say that.
Which watercolorist
do you especially favor?
[LAUGHS] I know you
mean to catch me out,
but it happens that I admire
the German painter Adolph Menzel.
A marvelous fellow.
He works in such a range of styles.
Aren't they mounting
a Menzel exhibition here?
What is this?
Soup? At luncheon?
Wasn't it George IV who decreed
that no gentleman drinks soup
in the middle of the day?
This is New England clam chowder.
I thought it would be a surprise.
And so it is. How did
it get on my table?
I conspired with Mrs. Bauer.
And why was that, Aunt Ada?
The Reverend mentioned
that he was in search
of an authentic bowl of chowder
here in New York.
I believe I did.
So I set our cook to the task.
We went through quite a few receipts.
I hope you agree with her choice.
It smells delicious.
Well, if we discuss the soup any longer,
it won't be fit to drink.
Quite right, Mrs. Van Rhijn.
I'm looking forward to the
evening with Oscar Wilde.
Oh, I've read nothing about the play.
But we know him a little from
one of our visits to England.
He's such an entertaining man.
And Miss Beaton will be in the party.
I'm glad. I like her.
And I think she likes you.
But you must promise me
not to break her heart.
You have a very poor opinion of me.
Are there more New England
treats waiting in the wings?
No. Just the soup.
- How kind of you, Aunt Ada.
- I agree.
And it is kindness that does
the most good in the world.
Well said, Reverend.
- More wine, ma'am?
- Definitely.
Where shall we start?
Why not begin with the simple facts?
Your average steel man
works 12 hours a day,
six days a week, and all for a pittance.
When the bell sounds their release,
they're too broken for anything
more than a mouthful of food
and sleep.
It's an existence. It's not a life.
You know I cannot pay my workers
more than the normal rate.
- Why not?
- It would upset the markets,
which would not benefit anyone.
I dare say, in time, wages will rise.
But you must let these things evolve.
And working conditions, hmm?
Must they evolve too,
while men are maimed and killed
through bad practice?
Life is a dangerous business,
Mr. Henderson.
I'm a patron of the Brooklyn Bridge,
and more than 20 men have died
in its construction.
Would you rather it had not been built,
and New York was forever a divided city?
- No.
- No.
We cannot make the world a padded cell,
even for the comfort of your workers.
Things are changing, Mr. Russell.
Unions are stronger, now.
They will grow stronger still,
and you will have to deal with them.
I am a man of business.
And I have jobs to offer in my mills,
in my factories, and on my railroads.
And I pay the going rate.
If your men don't want to work for me,
then I suggest they step aside
and make way for the many who do.
Is that all you have to say?
Did I come to New York to hear that?
Not quite.
What if I offered you
a job in management?
Is there any chance
that you might take it?
[SCOFFS] Why would I?
To see your children healthy,
well fed, and in the best schools.
To let your wife give up her
sewing, if she so wishes.
To be a figure in the community,
valued and admired.
So it would be to my own advantage?
Indeed it would.
And how would that help the workforce?
Oh, I see how it is.
You are Saint Michael
with a flaming sword,
and I am just a greedy robber baron.
[CHUCKLES] You used the phrase.
Not I.
You're very good, you know.
They were right to send you
as their spokesman.
All we're asking is for you to do
the right thing, Mr. Russell.
I pay you the compliment of being sure
that you know what
the right thing would be.
I hope you believe me.
I believe in your sincerity,
Mr. Henderson, I do.
But do you believe workers
can win against capital?
Of which I blush to say
I have a great deal.
Now I understand why
you brought me here.
But you're wrong, Mr. Russell.
You have miscalculated.
The future is on our side.
And now I should go.

Well, I've never been
west of the Mississippi.
I'd like to see the Pacific Ocean.
I read that the California
winter is like our fall,
except the leaves
don't change their color.
I think I'd miss that.
You'll go to San Francisco, then?
[SIGHS] I'm still undecided.
It's a strange thing,
to be forced out
of your child's life twice.
Of course, when I first left,
she was just a little girl.
It wasn't her fault.
So you think she had a hand
in this proposition, then?
Well, I can't imagine that he would
banish her own father to the
other side of the country
without consulting her.
I suppose.
Maybe it was her idea.
He just served as the executioner.
I don't have children,
so I can't speak to how it must feel.
But you are still, and
will always be, her father.
No one can change that.
But they are certainly trying
to erase any reminder of it.
How did it go, Mr. Church?
Well, I'm not used to serving
horny-handed sons of toil,
but it seemed to go fairly well.
Did the mistress turn up in the end?
Oh, yes.
Cool as a cucumber.
Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.
What's the argument about?
I don't know, but she
hasn't forgiven him.
- Not yet.
- She will.
Has the union man gone?
Yes, and good riddance.
All unions do is make everything
worse than it was before.
I'm not sure that's quite
the whole picture, Mr. Church.
What if they started a servants' union?
Would you join it?
I'd rather be struck dead by lightning.
I take it that's a no.
Thank you for today.
He hasn't backed down.
I can only hope I've given him
something to think about.
Are you going up to dress?
No. I'll have a tray in my room.
Will the children dine with me,
or have you made other plans?
This is our quarrel, not theirs.
But they're both going
to the theater tonight,
so you'll eat on your own.
How long will it be like this?
I don't know, George.
Betrayal is not like
a case of influenza.
No, it feels more like a death sentence.
Won't you allow me
to make things up to you?

Open in the name of the Emperor!
Brothers, be masked, all of you!
Have you not noticed
the proclamation, fellows?
Nay, sir.
Let me see who you are.
Take off those players' masks.
Stand back, I say, General Kotemkin!
His Imperial Highness, the Tsarevich!
Is this the most boring play
in the world,
or just in New York?
You'd better think
of something to praise
when we meet the playwright later.
That's rather testing.
I wonder why he thinks he can write.
He does know how to talk.
I met him at a dinner
when he was here last year,
and I was in stitches.
He may be witty, but clearly
he hasn't learned how to harness it.
I'm not sure that's the
compliment we're looking for.
Well, good night, Your Highness.
Good night.
Good night, General!
Saved! And by you!
Brothers, do you trust me now?
Shall I fetch you a drink of something?
- We've got time.
- No.
Let's just stay here.
Are you going on to the party later?
Well, Aurora has asked me,
so I suppose so.
Unless I take you back to your house.
No one would know.
Or is that a wicked suggestion?
That's certainly a tempting one.
I don't think too much of this play.
Do you?
What on Earth are we going
to say to Mr. Wilde?
Would you mind terribly
if I didn't come?
To the party, I mean.
We don't have to stay
for the second act
- If you'd rather not.
[CHUCKLES] But is everything all right?
Oh, Frances had a difficult day.
Well, she seemed fine in class.
Yes, but as you know,
the school is putting on
a mother-daughter tea.
And as her mother is
I understand.
My own mother died
when I was very young.
I fool myself that we're
doing so well, Frances and I.
And then all of a sudden,
life catches us out.
I'm sorry to burden you.
May I propose something?
Of course.
I'm hardly a substitute,
but I'd be glad to accompany
Frances to the tea,
if it would help.
It would help a great deal.
And Frances would be delighted.
Thank you.
Now I am twice in your debt.
What do you mean?
The tennis wager.
- I haven't forgotten.
Where is young Mr. Russell? Has he gone?
He's taken Mrs. Blane home.
She had a headache.
Oh, how convenient. And what fun.
Oh, no, no. It's nothing like that.
Mr. Oscar Wilde.
How very kind you are, Mrs. Fane,
to let me throw off the chains
of the theater
so that I may step into society,
as if I were not damaged goods.
Oh, nonsense, Mr. Wilde.
You honor us with your presence.
We are delighted to celebrate you.
And how I love being celebrated.
Now let me introduce you
to some of our guests.
This is Miss Maud Beaton.
And your namesake,
my cousin, Oscar van Rhijn.
We Oscars must stick together.
How do you find America?
Well, I can manage almost everything
but the food and the wallpaper.
Were you pleased with how the play went?
An audience is seldom pleasing.
It's a bonus if they don't disappoint.
But what's your verdict?
It was interesting.
- Interesting
- Mm-hmm.
Is a weasel word, and generally used
to avoid giving a real opinion.
I liked Marie Prescott.
Yes. She's, uh she's glamorous enough
to take our minds off the text.
But I don't think it'll run.
Well, you will run, Mr. Wilde.
As long and as far as you care to.
And you are?
John Adams. How do you do?
And uh, this is our new
friend, Miss Gladys Russell.
I hope you enjoyed the play,
Miss Russell.
Is "enjoy" the right word
when a tsar is murdered,
and the evening ends with
the heroine stabbing herself?
Oh! So young, and already a critic.
So you've met the charming Miss Beaton?
I suppose it was only a matter of time.
I like her very much.
Are you here with Gladys Russell?
As a friend.
What if she wants more from you?
She'll be disappointed,
as I'm already spoken for.
Have he and I met?
But I'll introduce you soon.
Are you happy with him?
Oscar, I'm happy with me.
That's as much as I need or hope for.
I rather envy you.
Who is Miss Russell?
One of your famous heiresses, I suppose?
How clever you are, Mr. Wilde.
Yes, one of the greatest of her year.
Well, it seems we're in
a room full of young heiresses.
Which is your cousin sounding out?
I shouldn't admit it,
but of course you're right.
He has his eye on Miss Beaton now.
And the young man with him?
John Adams. He's an
old friend of Oscar's.
Is he, indeed?
Yes, I can see that
getting rather complicated.
I don't know what you mean.
Nor should you. You're
far too well brought up.
Have you not heard of the opera battle
that's being waged at the moment?
No, indeed, I have.
Though it seems strange to me to wage
a war over that yellow brick brewery
on Broadway and 39th Street.
Is that fair?
No, you're quite right.
If it were actually a brewery,
someone might hope
to get some pleasure from it.
We're proud of our opera, Mr. Wilde.
It has been my experience
that you are proud of many things
that would not translate
to the old world.
- Hmm.
- But is the old world better?
Not better, exactly.
Just more tested by time.
You're back so soon.
I thought you were
in Newport all summer.
I went with Mr. Church and Mr. Watson,
the master's valet.
But we all came back much sooner
than Mr. Church expected.
What's the Newport house like?
Gracious and grand.
They called it a cottage.
It's not like a cottage to me.
I like the town, though.
We'll go back soon.
We're only here for
the mistress's tea party.
How'd it go?
Do you know about Miss Turner,
the lady's maid?
She turned up at the party as a guest.
- What?
- It's true.
She's married a rich old property man,
and now she's the talk of the town.
What does Mrs. Russell say to that?
There's not much she can say,
but I don't think she likes it.
Not one bit.
Mrs. Van Rhijn wouldn't like it much
if Miss Armstrong left and
came back as Mrs. Rockefeller.
- Anyway.
I'd better get back.
Hurry now. Don't let that fall.
I have some contributions
for the rummage sale.
In there? Thank you so much.
- I understand.
- Not one bit.
Miss Brook!
Is everything all right?
Oh, Mr. Dawson had a low opinion
of how we give out communion.
What part of it was he criticizing?
The part where I offer communion
to those he deems undeserving.
What you must have to put up with.
Let's just say some of God's
children can be very tiresome.
[LAUGHS] Are you allowed to say that?
Can't I, to you?
Of course you can.
We're friends.
- Good.
I enjoyed luncheon.
And I was truly touched that you had
your cook prepare the chowder.
Oh, I'm happy if you enjoyed it.
I think everyone did, except
possibly Mrs. Van Rhijn.
Oh, my sister.
Pleasing her can be
little short of a miracle.
Well, I'm in the miracle business.
Do you remember when we
talked about watercolors,
you mentioned Adolph Menzel?
I do.
I found the exhibition
of his work that I mentioned.
It's at the Ross Gallery on West 42nd.
I thought maybe we might go together.
I'll be there on Saturday at 4:00,
in case you can join me.

Because I believe I could
make the story better
better for your paper,
better for your readers.
That's all I have to say.
I won't bother you anymore about it.
A train ticket?
We leave on Monday.
Pack light.
It's humid in Alabama.

I've been waiting for you to get back.
Why, particularly?
I need an excuse to leave the house
for a couple of hours on Saturday.
Are there any errands I could run?
[SIGHS] None that I can think of.
Well, I might just go anyway, by myself.
If Agnes wonders where I am,
you could say Bloomingdale's.
Well, this all sounds very
cloak and dagger, Aunt Ada.
What's going on?
You mustn't say a word to Agnes,
or even Miss Scott.
But the Reverend Mr. Forte
has invited me
to meet him at an art gallery
on 42nd Street.
How intriguing.
Then again, there may be nothing to it.
Perhaps I shouldn't go.
Nonsense. Of course you must go.
I want to.
But Agnes will ask, and then
I'll stumble all over myself.
- Why don't I go with you?
- Would you?
- Mm-hmm.
I won't stay.
I'll just accompany you to the gallery,
to throw Aunt Agnes off the scent.
And if she asks where
we're going, let me speak.
You would do that for me?
Look who's scheming now, Aunt Ada.
- Oh, stop!

I didn't know you were coming home.
I need more of my summer clothes.
I suppose that means you'll
be staying on 61st Street
through the end of the summer?
But I need the clothes to visit
the new colored school
in Tuskegee, headed by
Mr. Booker T. Washington.
Tuskegee in Alabama?
Is there another one?
W-Why do you have to go there?
Mr. Fortune gave me an assignment.
We're covering the opening
of a new dormitory.
It's a real opportunity.
I understand that, but
Then what's the matter?
The matter is that
you have never been south
of the Mason and Dixon line.
We're staying with
Mr. Washington and his wife.
They have a big house,
and some of the teachers
from the school live there too.
- It'll be all right.
- It's dangerous.
Mother. [SIGHS]
We came to New York
for a different kind of life
a life that colored people
can't have down there.
Does your father know
where you're going?
No, ma'am. It all just happened.
But you don't seem to understand
that once you cross that line,
you are no longer human.

Now, you must promise me
to always stay with your group.
Never go out alone.
I can promise that.
Do not make eye contact
with any white folks.
And don't speak to them.
Even the slightest gesture
or look can be misconstrued.
You're telling me to be subservient?
I'm telling you how to stay alive.
And if it were up to me,
you would not be going at all.
Well, I have to go.
I need this.
I need to show the world
that there are young colored people
really making something of their lives.
It gives me a purpose.
And if I can put
my whole self into my work,
then I won't have a spare second
to think about my poor boy!
Oh, my darling girl. I know.
- I know. I know.
- [SOBS]
I am so sorry
you are going through this.
But listen to me.
The South is no place to find refuge,
and I wish you would reconsider.
Apparently, this Duke
is arriving in two weeks' time
aboard the RMS Servia,
one of the Cunard ships.
You have contacts at Cunard.
A couple.
This is the Duke of Buckingham?
Can you find out where he'll
be staying when he gets here?
What reason would I give?
Can't you say it's business?
But it's not business, is it?
If word got back to him
and I couldn't justify it,
how would that make me look?
What do we know about him, anyway?
We know he's a real duke,
and Turner means to use him
to dazzle Newport.
What else do we need to know?
I still don't understand.
I want to put Turner's nose
out of joint.
You have to trust me.
I do trust you.
More than you trust me, I think.
Then prove it.
There must be someone at Cunard
who could help.
And if I succeed,
will I be forgiven for my failings?
Find the Duke, get me an introduction,
and then we'll talk.
Very well.
I'll do my best.
I told him he was wrong about us.
I told him we're united,
and that we'll stand together,
- no matter what.
- Here, here.
But did he listen to you?
Oh, he thought I could be bought off.
But I think he knows now
that won't happen.
So what's next?
All right, his first objective
will be to divide us.
- He'll offer some of us money.
- Exactly.
No doubt Mr. Clay will
come up with more money
for the catchers and roughers,
and more for the American-born
- over the immigrants.
- Yeah.
They'll do anything they can
to split us into factions.
And they'll use that to destroy us.
No, they won't.
'Cause we won't let them succeed.
Does Mr. Russell know
we're prepared to strike?
- Is he ready for that?
- He knows we could strike.
But he won't be gentle in his arguments,
I can promise you that.
Mr. Russell is not a weak man,
and there's no point
pretending otherwise.
Then we should prepare.
And when the time comes,
we must be ready to strike.
- Right.
- Ready to fight.
- Exactly.
And if it comes,
we have to be ready to die.
- That's right.
- Yeah.
That's right.
[GASPS] He's here.
I'll go for a walk outside
while you enjoy the exhibition.

Miss Brook. How lovely to see you.
I'm sorry I'm late.
But you're not. You're right on time.
I just started to look
at the pictures because
I wasn't certain you'd come.
I like this one, don't you?
It's so vibrant and busy.
Menzel is quite
a solitary man, you know.
Very short, literally 4'6",
with a large head, which
may have made him shy.
[CHUCKLES] He certainly never married.
But we mustn't hold that against him.
You make me wish I'd known him.
He's still alive, but quite old now.
Maybe too old to make new friends.
Especially single ladies
from Fifth Avenue.
His hero is Frederick the Great,
that military genius, which seems odd
- Mm.
- Really, but Frederick figures
in many of his pictures.
I so enjoy your knowledge,
if that doesn't sound too forward.
I take it as a great compliment.
What did your sister make of
your agreeing to meet me here?
Oh. Well, you've met Agnes.
She always has an opinion at the ready.
I hope she has a good opinion of me.
Of course.
We're both so grateful
you were appointed.
Really, we couldn't be more pleased.
I I'm grateful too, Miss Brook.
For several reasons.
Oh, look at this one. Isn't it lovely?
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