Black Narcissus (1947) Script

Sita, go and tell Sister Clodagh I wish to speak to her.

Therefore, "X" is equal to 5...

or minus -

Reverend Mother wishes to speak to you, Sister Clodagh.


Continue the lesson.

Sister Clodagh... we may proceed with our plans at Mopu.

It will be called Saint Faith.

Saint Faith.

And you have been appointed to take charge of Saint Faith.

I, Reverend Mother? You.

You will be the youngest sister superior in our order.

Thank you, Reverend Mother.

The agent at Mopu is an Englishman.

He seems a difficult man.

You won't get much help from him.

Dear Madam. My name is Dean.

I am the agent of General Toda Rai at Mopu... and I am writing to you in that capacity.

I understand the general has offered you the old palace at Mopu... to make a school and a dispensary for the natives.

It's not the first time he's had such ideas.

He's asked me to tell you about the place and the people.

It's not a comfortable spot, and it's at the back of beyond.

First you have to get to Darjeeling... and then I have to find you ponies and porters to take you into the hills.

Mopu is 8,000 feet up.

The peaks on the range opposite are nearly as high as Everest.

The people call the highest peak Nangu Delva.

It means "the bare goddess."

I live down in the valley, out of the wind.

So does the general, and so do the people.

Mopu Palace stands in the wind on a shelf on the mountain.

It was built by the general's father to keep his women there.

It's called a palace, but there may be a slight difference... between your idea of a palace and the general's.

Anyhow, there it is.

The people are like mountain peasants everywhere - simple, independent.

They work because they must, they smile when they feel like it... and they're no respecters of persons.

The men are men - no better, no worse than anywhere else.

The women are women. The children, children.

Up on the mountain above the palace, we have our holy man... who sits there day in and day out in all weathers.

All the people around are very proud of him... and bring him food and little offerings.

The wind up at the palace blows seven days a week... so if you must come, bring some warm things with you.

Nobody has lived there for a long time, except Angu Ayah... who's always been there and stays on as caretaker.

As a caretaker, she's a bit of a failure... but she's a faithful, dirty old bird and goes with the place.

She lives there alone with the ghosts of bygone days.

Ayah! Ayah! Ayah! Ayah!

Ayah! Ayah! Ayah! Ayah!

Ayah! Ayah! Ayah! Ayah!



Ayah! Ayah!


Ayah! Ayah!

- That's Mr. Dean. Never mind Mr. Dean. He will find us.

Now listen, Ayah.

I have invited some ladies to stay here at the House of Women.

Ladies! Oh, that will be like old times!

It will not be in the least like old times.

They are not that kind of lady at all.

Then they won't be any fun. They are not coming for fun.

These are nuns.

Do you know what a nun is?

They kneel and pray all day like the monks you invited last year.

I am going to give them this house to make a school and a hospital for the people.

You know nobody here wants a school... and I'm sure they don't want a hospital!

How do they know what they want until they try?

The people have all kind of diseases.

- They have ringworm. They don't mind having ringworm.

Then they ought to mind. And it will all be free.

It was free last time, and nobody came.

They will this time. Mr. Dean!

You will receive them for me... and you will do everything for them that they want doing.

You too. You will engage servants for them... and you will both look after them until they care to look after themselves.

What do they eat? How do I know what nuns eat?

I have remembered that.

Do you see that crate?

Sausages. They will eat sausages.

Europeans eat sausages wherever they go.

They will eat them when they come... and until they can tell the cook what else they want to eat.

Now remember, Ayah.

If you give any trouble, you will be sorry.

I'm sorry now!

A convent in this house. What do you think of that?

The brothers only stayed five months.

Perhaps the sisters won't stay long, either.

The house is 9,000 feet up - very cold, but good air.

General Toda Rai, who has invited us to Mopu, has promised us every help.

He was a little afraid when he learned... that we are bound to our order only by yearly vows.

I explained this rule to him. Yes, Reverend Mother.

For more than a century... to serve voluntarily has been one of the glories of our order.

And our greatest strength.


He understands now.

Is there anything you would like to ask? Who am I to take with me?

Remember, a community is not a class of girls.

The sisters won't be easy to manage or to impress.

Now, let me see.

I'll give you Sister Briony. You'll need her strength.

Thank you, Reverend Mother.

Sister Philippa for the garden.

Sister Blanche. Sister Blanche?

You know what the others call her? Sister Honey.

Yes - Honey. I think you'll need Sister Honey.

She's popular, and you'll need to be popular.

And Sister Ruth.

But Sister Ruth is ill. That is why I want her to go.

Forgive me for saying so, Reverend Mother... but do you think our vocation is her vocation?

Yes, she's a problem.

I'm afraid she'll be a problem for you too.

With a smaller community, she may be better.

Give her responsibility, Sister. She badly wants importance.

Do you think it's a good thing to let her feel important?

Spare her some of your own importance... if you can.

Mother, are you sorry that I have been appointed to take charge of Saint Faith?


I don't think you're ready for it, and I think you'll be lonely.

Never forget we are an order of workers.

Work them hard.

And remember - the superior of all is a servant of all.

I understand.

It was a good, good idea.

One thing about them, they keep good time.



The whole garden's so terribly overgrown, I don't know where to begin.

Please come and help the fat lady who asks questions.

Sister Briony? Ayah, you must learn our proper names.

Anyway, there aren't any patients yet.

Oh, aren't there? There are dozens waiting.

And more coming every minute.

Now tell them to go away and come and help me with the ones that are left.

Sister Blanche, these girls are to work in your lay school.

They were sent by the general.

Oh, don't they look nice.

But, Sister, you ought to see the children.

The schoolroom's full of them already.

The little ones are so sweet.

Some of them can scarcely do more than toddle.

Joseph Anthony has come.

Ayah, you must knock before you come in.

Who is Joseph Anthony? Who is Joseph Anthony?

He's the son of the general's cook. He's going to interpret for you.

He speaks English.

Come in.

Has the general sent you? Yes, lady.

She isn't a lady. She's a sister.

Say, "Yes, Lemini."

Yes, Lemini. I have my books and my bedding outside... because I shall live here with you.


Would you like to see my books and my bedding, lady?

Sister? Lemini?

Would you, Auntie? They are new.

How old are you? Six to eleven.

What did you say?

I can remember that I'm six... but my father married my mother 11 years ago... so that I may probably be about 10.

Sister, the schoolroom is overflowing with children.

We've nothing unpacked yet.

No one understands the language. There are too many of them, and they smell.

- I don't know what to do with them. Why don't you tell them to come back later?

Start with some of the older ones. They won't go away, Lemini.

Oh, why not? They were paid to come, and so they can't go away.


Sister, the general's clerk has orders to pay everybody who comes to my dispensary.

So of course, they all want to come.

Excuse me, Sister, may I suggest? Yes, Sister.

Wouldn't it be a pity to send the children away now they've come?

They were paid to come. Yes, but if they like it this time, they may come again.

What can you do with them? They look very stupid to me.

Remember, they can't speak a word of Hindustani or English.

Joseph can.

You'll help us, won't you, Joseph?

The brothers left a blackboard in the school.

I'll draw things on it in colored chalk.

And they can tell me their name for it, and I'll tell them the English.

I can take their names and ages and make a register.

You can hardly call that a lesson.

You can call it a very sensible idea. Thank you, Sister Blanche.

I suppose you know who I am.

You must be Mr. Dean.

I must.

And you must be the sister superior.

What curious feathers. Are they all from the birds that you've shot?

I don't shoot birds.

When you've shot everything, it palls, doesn't it?

I'm the general's agent. He welcomes you to Mopu.

Understood you wanted to see me.

We want to talk to you on business.

I didn't suppose you wanted to talk to me on anything else.

Sorry. Perhaps that wasn't fair.

Mr. Dean, you know that General Toda Rai... has given us this house for a new foundation of our order.

We very much appreciate it.

It's very generous of him.

Yes. You'd like the general, Sister.

He also is a superior being. Really!

I don't know why you are being so rude to me, Mr. Dean.

I have to talk business with you whether I like it or not.

Well, talk it then, and don't teach at me.

It's no place to put a nunnery, I can tell you that.

Difficult, but not impossible. Nothing is impossible -

Is yours a contemplative order?

I mean, do you live in meditation - whatever you call it? Do you keep solitude?

Our order isn't in the least like that. We're very busy people.

We're going to open a dispensary, a school for children and a class for girls.

Good. You'll be doing me a great favor when you begin to educate the local girls, Sister.

I have already been told, Mr. Dean, that you do not believe in solitude.

Do you know what the people call this place?

The House of Women.

The general's father used to keep his ladies here.

From now on, it will be known as the House of Saint Faith.

Sister, will you have that picture taken down?

I give you till the rains break.

Oh, dear. Oh, dear.

Who is it?

Sister Briony.

I can't sleep.

Anything wrong, Sister?

It's Sister Ruth. I've just seen her.

How is she? She's sick.

She has violent pains in her joints, a boil on her finger... and headaches.

It's this wind.

And we all seem so tired.

It's the altitude.

Our dispensary is more crowded than ever.

This big house to look after and all the unpacking still to be done.

And the plumbing's broken down again.

What do you think, Sister? Perhaps Mr. Dean could -

Certainly not. We can manage without Mr. Dean.

Yes, of course.

Are you all right, Sister? Of course I'm all right.

Show me your arm. I'm perfectly all right.

So you've got them too. What have I got?

Spots. I've got them. Every one of us has got them.

There must be something in the water here that's very unhealthy.

The natives drink it. They get sick themselves.

Ayah says the general's heir - the young general - is very ill.

Those drums are beating for him.

They beat all night while he's ill.

If you hear them stop, he's dead.


How do you do?

What are you doing here?

Excuse old Feltie. I haven't a hand to take him off.

I've come to mend a loose joint in your pipe.

You must send a plumber. The nearest one's Darjeeling.

I count plumbing among my other gifts. That's not the point -

I swear to you, Sister, it's only the pipe I'm interested in.

I must see Sister Clodagh about this. All right.

I forbid you to stay in there.

All right.

We have to build a workroom and a school and, later on, a chapel.

Somebody's got to put locks on my cupboards. I daren't unpack a thing.

And the windows don't open and the doors don't shut and the - the plumbing won't work.

Come in, Mr. Dean.

May I go now, Sister?

Please sit down, Mr. Dean.

Would you like some coffee, Mr. Dean? Can you make it decently?

Can I make coffee! Can she?

Full of grit.

Mr. Dean, Joseph tells us the people are still being paid to come to us.

Ah, the general's a wise man. It's only till it becomes a habit.

Let it become a habit for them to come... and they won't remember the time when they didn't.

Then gradually he'll leave off paying them.

And gradually it'll become a habit with them not to be paid.

They're like children.

He told me he was going to order them to come.

They don't know what an order is.

They should learn. - Why?

We all need discipline. You said yourself they're like children.

Without discipline, we should all behave like children.

Don't you like children?

Thank you, Sister Briony.

Talking of medicine, Sister Briony, if you get a bad case - one that seems to you as though it might be dangerous or even serious - don't take it.

But that would be - It would be wise.

If you got a bad case and some of your people died, you'd have all the people up against you.


Well, you must remember, they're primitive people and like - like children.

Unreasonable children.

They've never seen medicine before. They'd think it was magic, a new kind of magic.

So remember, I've warned you.

By the way, how are you feeling, all of you?

Not very well. Sister Ruth is the worst.

I think the water must be bad. Ayah says it's the water.

On the contrary. The water's too good. It's Darjeeling tummy.

I'd better get that plumbing fixed.

Sister Clodagh!

What has happened, Sister?

Oh, Sister. Sister, they brought in a woman.

Our first bad case. She was covered in blood.

I've never seen such a sight. She must've cut a vein or an artery.

I had such a time stopping the bleeding. I've never seen bleeding like that before.

I didn't know what to do at first, but at last I managed to stop it.

A minute would've fetched Sister Briony who would've stopped it at once.

What were you doing there? I told you to stay in bed.

I was only trying to consider you, Sister Briony.

It might have been better to have considered the woman... who by your accounts was bleeding to death.

Shall I wait? We are coming in a moment.

I think you'd better go back to your room.

Good-bye, Sister. I hope your patient does well.

Who is she?

It sounded like "Samuel," but it couldn't be, could it?

Oh, Samell. She's a good old soul.

One of my best workers. I'm very much obliged to you.

Thank you.

Now the old place is a pukka convent.

Hello, Sister Ruth. Going for a walk?

It's time to ring the bell.

You're slipping.

Quarter of an hour early.

Thank you.

I came to ask Mr. Dean to wait in the blue room.

How did you know he was here? I saw him from the schoolroom.

I've brought something for you.

Her name is Hasanphul, but we call her Kanchi.

She's 17, she's an orphan... and it's high time she was married.

Every evening when I come home, I find her sitting on my veranda.

She dresses herself up and puts flowers in her hair.

It's becoming an absolute nuisance.

If she's cloistered for a few months, her uncle will marry her off.

But she's been behaving so badly that no one wants her.

I don't think we want her, either.

Why did you bring her to us?

Isn't it your business to save souls?

You are not to speak to me like that, Mr. Dean.


Can't she go into some sort of service?

She'd set any house by the ears.

I thought no one would have patience with her except you.

Would you ask Sister Briony to come here, please?



You're sure there's no question you're dying to ask me?


You wanted me, Sister?

Sister, I have agreed to have this girl with us for a while.

Can you find somewhere for her to sleep?

What is she to do? Sister Honey can take her into the lay school.


Tell Ayah to give her some housework, keep her busy.

Come along.

Well, thanks. I've heard about the young general's death.

Is the general grieving? Never tell with these people.

What's the new young general's name? Dilip. Dilip Rai.

He was going to Cambridge, but now he'll be a warrior and marry young.

It'll suit him all right. These Rajputs are a fighting race.



War-ship War-ship.

- Bay-o-net. Bay-o-net.



Gun. - Gun.

You know, Nima, we may have to mix something with it.

Here, let me have a look.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed is the fruit of -


Did you hear the bell?

This morning in chapel, I suddenly had the feeling you were not with us.

I try hard enough. Try what?

I used to forget everything in chapel.

I used to feel light and happy and near God.

Let me help you. What is worrying you?

I remember things before I joined our order... things I wanted to forget.

I never thought of them until now.

I've been 21 years in the order, and now they come back to me.

I think you can see too far.

I look out there, and... then I can't see the potato I'm planting.

And after a bit, it doesn't seem to matter whether I plant it or not.

It's this place with its strange atmosphere and new people.

Stay with me tonight after chapel, and we will pray together.

And work, Sister. Work hard.

Work until you're too tired to think of anything else.

Oh, isn't it a grand day, Con?

Con. Isn't it a grand day?


What's wrong?

- Everything. What especially?

Oh, nothing. You wouldn't understand.

Is it money, Con?

Whatever else is it?

Desmond's well out of it in Michigan.

I heard from him last week.

He's been made a partner.

And just because I'm the eldest son, I have to stay here in Ireland all my life... and hang around waiting for... this.

I'll have a little money, Con, when I marry.

It isn't a little money it wants. It's a fortune.

Then it would be a waste.

Clo, don't you sometimes itch to get away?

No, I don't want to go away.

I want to stay here like this for the rest of my life.

Ayah! Angu Ayah!

Ayah! Angu Ayah!

Salaam, My Little General.

I want to see the reverend sisters.

Why are they called The Servants of Mary?

Is the superior sister called Mary?

Ask her. Here she comes.

Go now. I will speak to her alone.

Good morning. Good morning.

I want to see the superior sister. I am the sister superior.

Oh. I want to be a student here with you.

I want to study a lot of learning.

I want to study mathematics, history, poetry and languages.

I have a note from my uncle to ask you to encourage me.

I'm very sorry. We only teach children and young girls.

Why? Convents don't teach men pupils.

That's not very polite to men.

We don't mean it that way. It's the custom.

Convents are for girls. The brotherhoods are for men.

Jesus Christ was a man.

He took the shape of a man.

But you don't need to count me as a man.

I'm only interested in studious things.

Please, Sister. I've written out my timetable. May I read it to you?

"5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. - algebra with the mathematical sister.

"8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - religion, especially Christianity, with the scriptural sister.

"10:00 a.m. - art.

"1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. - French and Russian with the French and Russian sisters, if any.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. - physics with the physical sister."

Please wait in here, General.

Aren't you afraid, with the young general, that you've let a cuckoo into your nest?

We didn't want to offend the general. He might turn us out.

Oh, he wouldn't do that.

You may have trouble with Kanchi.

Kanchi? She'd never dare.

After all, he is a prince, and she is what she is.

Still, I expect she knows the story of the prince and the beggar maid.

440 - 41, 42...

43, 44, 45, 46...

47, 48, 49 -

When the general gave us the deeds... our boundary line was to be 500 yards around the building.

That's right.

So the holy man is living on our ground. He was here first.

Yes, but, Mr. Dean, I find all these things very distracting.

Distracting? Yes, disturbing.

This clear air and the wind always blowing.

And the mountain, and the holy man sitting there day in, day out.

And the people coming to see him.

They climb the path by the house, and they stop and sit and stare at us.

What do you want to do about it?

I want you to ask the general to ask the holy man to move.

Couldn't do that. It wouldn't be polite. I don't suppose the general even knows he's there.

Oh, yes he does. That old man worries him quite a bit... particularly when he's in the middle of his dinner... or when he's trying on a new frock coat from London.


Well, I suppose he feels he ought to go and do likewise.

Then he wouldn't turn him out?

It'd be a bit awkward for the general to turn out his own uncle.

His uncle?

General Sir Krishna Rai, K.C.V.O., K.C.S.I., C.M.G.

He has several foreign decorations too.

He lent our general the money to buy this place.

I've never heard him talk. They say he speaks perfect English.

Several other European languages too.

Does he never speak at all? I've never heard him.

When does he eat or sleep? No one knows.

He's always in his place under the tree. People come miles to see him.

Well, I really don't know what to do.

What would Christ have done?

Morning, General. Good morning, Sister Honey.

Good morning, Sister Ruth.

Do you like it, Sister Ruth? It's called Black Narcissus.

Comes from the Army-Navy Stores in London.

Black Narcissus. I don't like scent at all.

Oh, Sister, don't you think it's rather common to smell of ourselves?

Have you seen the young general today? - What's the latest?

Emeralds. Beautiful emeralds.

The deepest, most beautiful green I've ever seen.

At that hour in the morning, they make me bilious.

Have you seen his coats? He must have a different one for every day in the year.

Lucky he doesn't have to do his own laundry.

Yesterday he had a coat the color of ripe corn, patterned with flowers, in damask.

His earrings were amethysts three inches long, and his rings were turquoise.

Today he's all jade and emeralds... and his coat is the most wonderful pattern of pale violet stripes... worked entirely in petit point just like my grandmother's footstool.

Oh, Granny!

Turn 'round.

These emeralds are for you, my darling, when you marry.


There's Con. Good night, everybody.

Not too late, darling.

Oh, dear, I hope they get something settled by the winter.

Where are you, Con?

He said it was called Black Narcissus... and he got it at the Army & Navy Stores.

Black Narcissus.

That's what I'm going to call him. It's a wonderful name for him.

He's so vain, like a peacock. A fine black peacock.

- He's not black. They all look alike to me.

General, please conjugate s'asseoir.

Je m'assieds.

Tu t'assieds.

Il s'assied?

Um -

Nous -

Nous nous asseyons.

Vous vous asseyez.

Ils s'asseyent?

Future tense.

Something for you. For me?

Christmas present. Go on, take it.

Oh, Con!

Sister Clodagh.

Sister, may I congratulate you on the birth of Christ?

Thank you, General.

I hope you don't mind my coming tonight.

I am very much interested in Jesus Christ.

Have I said anything wrong?

No, but we don't usually speak of Him so casually.

And you should.

He should be casual and as much a part of life as your daily bread.

How dare you come here like this!

How dare you come to our service tonight!

You're - You're unforgivable!

You're objectionable when you're sober and abominable when you're drunk!

I quite agree.

If you have a spark of decency left in you, you won't come near us again!

Happy Christmas!

I do like his voice.

It's so nice and loud.

I think it's lovely, don't you?

- Good night, General. Good night, Sister Clodagh.

Come in.

I want to talk to you. Come and sit down.

I've been worried about you for some time.

I feel that things are not right with you.

In what way?

You look so ill, and you've got so terribly thin.

I know that you're trying to keep up for all our sakes... but I feel that you really must go in with Sister Briony and see the doctor.

I shan't see the doctor! I'm perfectly well. You know it.

You're just trying to make out that -

I didn't mean to be rude.

I haven't been sleeping. That's all.

If you haven't been sleeping, there must be some reason for it.

Can't you tell me?

Is something worrying you?

Yes. Yes, that's it.

I'm worried.

Don't you think you could tell me about it?

I'd like you to tell me, if you can.

I can't speak of it... to anyone.

Won't you try? You know you can trust me.

You didn't want me to come here. None of you have ever wanted me here.

Don't you think you're letting things run away with you?

I think you have let yourself fall... into thinking too much of Mr. Dean.

Sister, don't you realize what you're doing... what you're running the risk of losing in yourself?

Sister, you must - I must make you see before it is too late.

All the same, I've noticed you're very pleased to see him yourself!

If that was in your mind, it's better said I think you're out of your senses!

Listen to me. I don't know - I can't decide now what to make of you.

I shall have to think, and I want you to think too.

As for Mr. Dean -

In spite of his charm and kindliness, he is not a good man.

You must take him for what he is and not try to glorify him into something he is not.

When he came to chapel on Christmas night, he was drunk.

Can I go?

I want you to write to Reverend Mother.

I shan't look at the letter, and her reply will be your own business.

Am I to write two or three pages?

Would you rather I did it now, or shall I finish my class work first?

You may go.

That parcel is mine. Give it to me.

I can't, Lemini. I must give all the mail to Sister Clodagh.

It's mine. Give it to me, you little fool. Can't you see it's addressed to me?

Look, I ordered it myself from Calcutta.

It's nothing to do with anyone else.

Sister Briony, do you know what's happened to the other gold chain off this censer?

No. It was there when we had it out at Christmas.

Well, it isn't here now. Ask Kanchi if she's seen it.

And that for stealing in my house!

That for stealing a brass chain which is only worth two annas!

That for stealing it in such a silly way!

And that... is for getting found out!

What has the girl done? She's a thief!

She stole a brass chain from the church room to put around her dirty neck!

Finish the beating, My Little General Bahadur.

You're going to be a great man.

Not like your uncle. Oh, dear, no.

Like your grandfather! Ha, ha!

He was a man!

Finish the beating and begin to be a man!

Get up.

Forget-me-not. Forget-me-not.

Sweet pea. - Sweet pea.

- Daff-odil. Daff-odil.

Jap-anese pe-ony.

Jap-anese pe-ony.

Chi-nese Li-ly.


Honey-suckle. - Honey-suckle.



- Del-phin-i-um. Sister Honey.

Will you find Sister Philippa for me, please?

And the cabbage patch? Foxglove.

And the runner beans? Honeysuckle.

And the onions? Tulips.

And the potatoes? All flowers?

No, not the little round bed.

And there are some more vegetables down by the stables where they won't show.

But what on earth came over you, Sis -

Would you like to sit down?

Sister, I want to be transferred.


Yes, I want you, if you will, to write and ask for my transfer at once.

If you will, at once.

But why?

I was becoming too fond of the place.

I was too wrapped up in my work. I -

I thought too much about it.

I'd forgotten - - Forgotten what?

What I am.

I was losing the spirit of our order.

I've been thinking it over, you see, and...

I must go at once.

I don't see that at all.

Now that you know and you realize the danger, you needn't go.

Surely now is the time to stay.

I daren't stay.

I think there are only two ways of living in this place.

Either you must live like Mr. Dean, or - or like the holy man.

Either ignore it or give yourself up to it.

Neither would do for us.


Well, we are here, and I don't think it will help matters if we run away.

You know, if I ask for you to be transferred, it'll be a bad mark against you?

That's all the better.

That's what I need.

Ayah! Ayah!

What did she say, Ayah?

"Lemini, give him something."

It's Om's little brother.

Shall we give him magnesia?

Or some of the paraffin emulsion.

Hundred and three!

That's not much in a baby, is it? They go up and down easily, don't they?

He's been like that three days, Lemini.

This morning he wouldn't wake, so she brought him.

Let him sleep. Take him home and put him on your bed and let him sleep.

Aren't you going to give him anything?

There's nothing I can do.

But there must be something we can do.

At least bathe his eyes or relieve his tummy with a little oil.

I daren't touch him, Sister. I don't think he feels any pain.

You've only got to look at him to see how it must hurt him!

You're afraid! You're thinking of what Mr. Dean said!

You'd give up his little life - That's enough, Sister!

I won't have any hysteria from you. I know what I'm doing.

The best and kindest thing you can do is to make her go home... where she'll be amongst her own people.

Lemini. Lemini.

Sister Ruth.

Everyone's very late this morning.

I do hope nothing's happened.

Joseph, go down the path and hurry them up.

Well, go on. I don't want to.

You don't want to? Why don't you want to?

How dare you answer me like that! Go at once!

No, I won't go. Joseph!

Now stand still.

Tell me what's the matter. Do you hear? Don't frighten him.

He knows something, the little idiot. Joseph, why haven't the children come?

The girls, Joseph - where are they? He knows why. Tell us.

I don't want to. Lemini; don't make me tell!

Joseph, you must tell us. Please, Joseph, dear.

Tell us. The little baby is dead!

- Oh, no! Our little brother is dead!

And they said that this man and Lemini killed him.

Sister Clodagh!

There's nobody in the dispensary. None of the children have come.

There are no gardeners. Kanchi has gone.

So has the young general. There isn't a servant in the place.

We're all alone. There's no one in the house.

It was my fault.

Because I loved him, because I couldn't bare to see him die.

I did it! I killed him!

I gave her a bottle to take away and some of our cotton wool and one of our spoons.

I killed him! I killed him!

Ayah. Ayah, how much of this is true?

All true, Lemini. The people are very angry.

We must explain. Somebody must tell them. We must find the young general.

Surely he hasn't run away from us. No. He's run away with Kanchi.

Ayah, will you take a message to the village?

Me? Oh, no. Well, can Joseph?

He can go, but they won't let him come back. I'll go.

It's not safe for any of you to go outside the garden.

You can't go, Sister. It's far too dangerous. It's all right. I'm not going down.


Tova, my pony, quickly.

Well, who was it?

Oh, you.

Mr. Dean, do you think it's serious? Don't you think they'll come back?

Sister Clodagh, the agent before my time was riding down to the factory one day on his pony.

He let it kick an umbrella that was lying open in the path.

There was a child asleep under it, and it was killed.

It was just an accident, but they murdered him that night.

I'm not trying to frighten you, but I want you to see that it may be serious.

I've been down to the village. Everything seems quiet enough.

Did they say anything? Nothing.

They listened to me and said nothing.

I saw the woman. I drank the stuff that Sister Honey was foolish enough to give her.

You drank it?

I wanted to prove to them that I wouldn't drop down dead.

It was only castor oil.

None of you must go out of the garden.

Try to behave as though nothing had happened.

I'll go down now and come back this evening.


What's that for? For you, Lemini.

Who sent it - Sister Clodagh?

Do you notice a change in us since we came here?

I notice a change in you.

Am I very different?


You're much nicer. Nicer?

Mmm. You're human.


Yes, we're all human, aren't we?

When I was a girl, I loved a man.

We were children together in Ireland, where I come from.

A little place called Liniskelly.

I thought - everyone thought - we should marry.

But he was ambitious... and I found out he was going to America to his uncle... and he didn't intend to take me.

He didn't think he was doing anything wrong.

I don't think he ever thought of us marrying.

But in a little place like that -

And I had shown I loved him.

I had to get away first.

And that's why you entered the order?

And being you, you wouldn't go back.

It was a strange way of bringing me in, but God works in strange ways.

I had work to do, and I had the life.

No one outside can possibly know what that means.

It came to be my life.

I had forgotten everything until I came here.

The first day I came, I thought of him for the first time for years.

I seem to go back to the first time I loved him, when we were children.

The young general reminds me of him too.

The world comes thrusting in behind him.

I've been drifting and dreaming... and now I seem to be living through the struggle and the bitterness again.

Here. It's quite clean. I washed my hair this morning.

Don't take on so. There's a good girl.

It'll all blow over. There's nothing really wrong.

Sister Philippa is leaving... and this morning I had a letter from Reverend Mother.

Sister Ruth is giving up the order.

She has not renewed her vows.

I'm sorry.

And you - Ever since we came here... over all our troubles, it's been...

"Ask Mr. Dean. Ask Mr. Dean."

There was just no one else you could ask.

But I had to take the young general.

I couldn't turn out the holy man.

I couldn't stop the wind from blowing and the air from being as clear as crystal... and I couldn't hide the mountain.

Look, you must get away from here, all of you, at once.

Run away? - Yes, if you've got any sense.

What, leave all this work, like the brothers?


I told you it was no place to put a nunnery.

There's something in the atmosphere that makes everything seem exaggerated.

Don't you understand? You must all get away before something happens!

And drive from us all the snares of the enemy.

May thy holy angels dwell here and keep us in peace.

Sister, are you there?

Sister, do you want me to wake the others?

You can't order me about. You have nothing to do with me anymore.

I know what you've done. I know that you've left the order.

I only want to stop you from doing something you'll be sorry for.

Sister Philippa is going back in a few days' time. I want to send you with her.

That's what you would like to do - send me back and shut me up.

That's what you would all like to do!

You know that isn't true.

Why should we want to keep you here against your will?

Because you're all jealous of me, especially you!

At least wait till the morning.

Wait till the morning, and I'll wait with you.


Ayah, wake up! - Oh, what is it? What is it?

What's happened?

It's Sister Ruth! Stop her! She's gone mad!

Oh, it's my fault! Nonsense! It's nothing to do with you.


You can't stop mad people. You should leave them alone.

She may kill herself. If she is really mad, that won't matter.

Quick, all of you, search the house! We must stop her! Sister Ruth.

Sister Ruth! Sister Ruth!

We must get lanterns.

Sister Ruth!

Sister Ruth! Sister Ruth!

- Sister Ruth! Sister Ruth!

Sister Ruth!

Joseph, ask him if he's seen her!

Oh, no, Lemini; we couldn't do that.

But, Joseph, anything may have happened to the Lemini. She may be hurt.

That would be a very little thing to him, Lemini.

He wouldn't notice it.

Good evening.

Sister Ruth?

I can't stand it any longer. I left the order.

I gave up my vows. I've finished with them up there.

I see.

Well, I can arrange for you to stay at the rest house.

I'll send my boy over now.

In the morning, I'll get ponies and portees to take you to Darjeeling.

I love you. You -

Well, if you do, you can forget about it.

I'm sorry, Sister Ruth. Very sorry, but -

Look, let me take you back to the palace.

It isn't too late. Sister Clodagh is your friend.

She spoke to me about you last night. She wants to help you.

She hates me. They all hate me.

You're the only one that's ever been kind to me.

I? I've hardly spoken a word to you. Yes, you have.

The first time is when I stopped the old native woman from bleeding to death.

You said you were grateful. Did I?

And then when you stopped me that day in the hall, you said -

Well, whatever I said, it didn't mean a thing!

Ever since you came here, you've all gone crazy.

Well, drive one another crazy, but leave me out of it!

Are you going to Darjeeling or not? No!

Then you must go back to the palace. No.

You'll go back if I have to carry you back.

Go and talk to Sister Clodagh. She brought you here. She can get you back again.

Sister Clodagh! Sister Clodagh!

Do you know what she says about you? Whatever she said, it was true!

You say that because you love her! I don't love anyone!

Clodagh! Clodagh!

Clodagh! Clodagh!

Feel better now?

All right, I'll go.

That's a good girl. Try and get some sleep.

In the morning you'll wake up and be sorry you made such a fool of yourself.

- Come on. I'll come with you. I'll go alone.

You'll do nothing of the sort. I'll go alone or not at all.

Suit yourself.

It's morning, Lemini.

Oh, yes, Joseph, it's morning. What time is it?

5:45 by Auntie's watch.

Fine day, Lemini.

The people call it the - the flowering of the snows.

Joseph, if Sister Briony asks for me, I'll be in the chapel.

Hail Mary, full of grace... blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

What do you want, General?

Sister, you know I have not been here lately... and I'm deeply sorry about Sister Ruth.

Thank you. Is there anything else?

You're cross with me. Please do not be cross with me.

I've done a very wrong thing, but I didn't mean to do it.

Isn't it rather late to tell me about that?

Yes. Yes, it is, rather.

I don't mean to do anything wrong again.

I'm going to give up being clever and famous.

I'm going to be exactly like my ancestors.

They were warriors and princes.

They were modest and brave and polite... and they never did anything cheating.

That is why I came to you as soon as I thought of it... to tell you what I have done.

Must you tell me now?

- Please, Sister. Well, what have you done?

Sister Clodagh, I didn't know how to tell you, so I asked Mr. Dean.

And he said to tell it was the story of the prince...

and the beggar maid.

You said you'd give us till the rains break.

They haven't broken yet.

What will they do with you down there?

I shall be sent to another convent with less responsibility.

I shall be superseded as sister in charge.

Will you be able to stomach that - stiff-necked, obstinate creature like you?

It's what I need.

I expect I shall have to remind myself of it a hundred times a day.

I can't change in a minute like the young general.

But I shall have my ghosts to remind me.

You're leaving me with more than one.

Will you do one last thing for me?

I know you'd rather not do it.

Of course I'll do it.

Will you look after the grave?

All right.