Possession (2002) Script

[ Birds Chirping ]

[ Man ] They say that women change.

'Tis so, but you are ever-constant in your changefulness.

Like that still thread of falling river, one from source to last embrace in the still pool.

Ever-anewed and ever moving on.

From first to last. "From first to last, a myriad water drops. "a myriad water drops.

"And you-- I love you for it-- are the force that moves and holds the form."

Now, ladies and gentlemen, you've just heard a snippet from one of only two copies of this poem by Mr. Randolph Henry Ash, poet laureate to Queen Victoria herself.

And this gorgeous ode to his nuptial bliss, written in his own hand, begins our bidding today.

May we start the bidding please at £40,000.

[ Bell Dings ]

Bit of an old monster. Yeah.

But an important monster. It's Randolph Ash's.

Yes. Who are you with again?

I'm, uh, Roland Michell. Who?

Professor Blackadder's research assistant. Isn't that Dr. Wolfe?

Was. Fergus got the lectureship at Saint John's... over me.

Of course he did.

Oh, yes, Dr. Wolfe mentioned you.

You're that American who's over here.

[ Scoffs ]

Well, I'm sure there are others.

I mean, after all, you are our favorite colony.

[ Man ] £10,000. Any further offers on £10,000?


So when do your little suffragist trinkets come up for the--

Look, Maud, it's Mortimer Cropper.

[ Maud ] Oh, yes. That's someone you should know.

You know him? Of him.

Suffered through a lecture or two. That sort of thing. Really.

Mm-hmm. He's a voracious collector from what I hear.

Yes. His penchant for conquests is well documented.

It's a very male quality. Mm.

I know it's vulgar, but I have to introduce myself.

Oh, all right.

Oh, uh-- Damn. Let's begin the bidding please at £4,000.

£4,000. £4,000. Excuse me. Sorry.

£4,500. Um, Professor Cropper, Fergus Wolfe.

Um, we spoke actually after one of your papers at, uh, at Trinity.

You wouldn't remember. I'm sorry, I don't. Nice coat though.

Oh, thank you. Uh, James Blackadder. You're with?

Ah, you're one of Blackadder's boys from the British Museum.

Hello. Hildebrand Ash, man of leisure. Oh, hello.

[ Cropper ] I don't know why Blackadder comes to these things.

[ Chuckles ] He hasn't got any money.

Well, he's Irish, you see. He enjoys feeling persecuted.

[ Randolph's Voice ] Dear Madame, Since our pleasant conversation, I have thought of little else.

I write with a strong sense of the necessity of continuing our talk.

Dear Madame, I know that you came only to honor Crabb-Robinson at his small, informal party because he had been of assistance to your illustrious father.

Excuse me, sir.

Meal is served.

Thank you.

Well, hello. Hello.

Ah, my tenant. Your evening sherry.

Thank you.

Candy, this is Roland. Roland, Candy.

Hello again. Be a love and check on the duck, eh?

Okay. So, coming in?

So how do you always know it's me?

I'm a solicitor. I know everything.

Candy, huh? Oh, no, no, no, please.

Candy's just a friend. Why, are you interested?

I told you I'm off women. Yeah, but... there's no reason to be off women.

Why do we always sit in your hall?

'Cause it's the best room in the house, really.

I bought this place for the hallway.

So, I found something today I think is pretty incredible in the London Library.

A place to sit. No.

I found something of Ash's. You know Randolph Ash?

Ash. Oh, doesn't he have some sort of celebration going?

It's the centenary of his love poems. Terribly mushy ones.

Found after his death or something, weren't they?

Is the table laid, darling?

[ Whispers ] Listen. What's it cost an hour?

No, no, Candy's a friend, I told you.

Not her, you.

What do you charge an hour, roughly?

Oh, uh, I don't know. Five hundred.

Pounds? Mm.

Jesus, no wonder you have a nice hallway. Thank you.

Okay, I wanna buy seven minutes of attorney/client privilege right now.

Step into my office.

Ash wrote those. They're not the originals.

Yeah. Oh, my God.

How much time we got left?

I've got to think of a defense for you.

They're practically love letters.

Rather racy, actually.

See, Ash... supposedly never even looked at another woman.

I mean, not even glanced at one his entire marriage.

Can you imagine what would happen if I could prove that Mr. Perfect Husband had this, like, Shakespearean-type dark lady thing going?

Darling, the duck's done.

Would you be a sweetheart and do the sauce?

Yes, yes.

Duck, huh? Yeah, Peking.

It's from around the corner. [ Snickers ]

Yeah, but that would be extraordinary.

It would be rewriting history, old chap.

Yeah, it would be.

[ People Chattering ]

Morning. Morning.

Ro-land. Professor.

I think I made a discovery.

It'll turn out to have been discovered 20 times already.

I don't think so. Surprise me.

Ash's copy of Vico in the London Library.

It's full of his own notes on loose bits of paper all the way through.

Useful? Very.

Better have a look. See what's what before Cropper turns up with his checkbook. I also found-- Professor.

He made a mockery over at Sotheby's yesterday. £1900 for a toothpick.

[ Scoffs ] Fergus. Where is Fergus?

He's supposed to be teaching. I'll come with you.

No need. The novice blunders on the discovery.

The scholar investigates.

You get on with those wretched requests for Ellen's stuff.

I'll go straight from there to my class.

"Thank you, Roland. What a wonderful discovery.

They're magically delicious."

He's a meany. That's a very nice name for what he is.

Wretched requests, please.

[ Chuckles ] "How many jars of gooseberry jam did Ash's wife, Ellen, make in 1850?"

Hmm. This is not a job for a grown-up.


Cooking. Gooseberry jam.

Cooking, 142.

What about a small, informal party?


[ Ellen's Voice ] My headache last night prevented me from accompanying Randolph to dear Crabb-Robinson's for a dinner honoring the poetess Christabel LaMotte.

He was reluctant to attend without me, but I was persistent and finally persuaded him.

Ash, do you know Professor Spear?

I'm delighted.

Mrs. Jameson. Mrs. Jameson.


Miss Glover.

Oh, Miss Glover.

And Miss LaMotte. Miss LaMotte.

The highest pleasure.

[ Ellen Narrating ] Randolph reported the party went off very well indeed.

The discussion of poetry was animated, with Miss LaMotte speaking more forcibly than anyone expected.

Surprises me, Madame, that a lady who lives as quietly as you do wouldn't be aware of my modest success.

Oh, I'm very aware that the papers herald you weekly.

It is you, however, who surprise me.

And why is that? Judging from your work, I'm surprised you'd even acknowledge my existence, or any woman's for that matter, since you show us such small regard on the page.

You cut me, Madame.

I'm sorry.

I only meant to scratch.

Hey, Fergus.

[ Running Footsteps ] Ah, hello, Roland.

What is it you chaps always say, "How's it hanging?"

Well, we usually just say "hey." Unless you're gay.

Oh. Listen.

Let me ask you something.

Do you know a Dr. Maud Bailey?

Maud! Oh, yes, I know Maud very well.

She teaches gender studies at Lincoln.

Oh. Would she be helpful?

I'm checking out Christabel LaMotte.

She's a poet, writing around about 1859.

Yes, yes. Why would you be interested in her?

Oh, nothing. It's just I had some requests about Ellen Ash's papers.

But LaMotte's name came up, so--

God, the keeper of Ellen's flame.

I mean, that's the bottom of the food chain, old sport.

Yeah, but I got to stay on the food chain, old sport. That's why I do it.

Right. Well, "Publish or perish," as they say.

Or in your case, "Perish or perish."

So would she-- this Maud Bailey person?

Oh, yes, but I'd be careful if I were you.

Why? What's she like?

Well, she thicks men's blood with cold.

Oh, great. Or if you prefer the American vernacular, she's a regular ball-breaker.

♪ [ Headset: Jazz ]

Mr. Michell?

What? I'm sorry. Roland Michell.


You're Maud. Bailey. Dr. Bailey, yes.

There's nothing in my index. No mention of Ash at all.

Well, Ash and LaMotte definitely met.

Really? When? June, 1859.

At a dinner party given by Crabb-Robinson.

It's in his diary. [ Scoffs ]

And you jumped from that to the idea that they corresponded.

I found an unfinished draft of a letter in a book--

Addressed to LaMotte? No, just "Dear Madame."

But there were three women at Crabb-Robinson's dinner party, and out of the three it's likeliest to be LaMotte.

[ Roland ] So maybe there's something in LaMotte's letters.

There aren't many from the Richmond period-- the time you're interested in.

I'm descended from Christabel, actually.

I'm her niece, thrice removed.

Three grades. That's what "thrice" usually means.

Oh, maybe I shouldn't have come.

It does seem rather pointless.

[ Ding ]

Well, I suppose since you're here, you could have a look through Blanche's diary.

Who's Blanche? Blanche Glover.

Christabel's companion. Her lover.

Oh, you look surprised.

I didn't know she was-- Didn't know she was a lesbian.

No. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like lesbians.

Yes, well, unfortunately, they didn't have video cameras in those days, so you're out of luck.

Now I see why you think it's so unlikely.

Not from that point of view.

I mean, God, she could have been bisexual.

There's no evidence she was, but in theory--

Did you not do any reading before you came?

Is this like an oral exam? Yes, I suppose it is.

I mean, you don't know the first thing about her, and yet you make these leaps.

Hey, you're the one who called her a lesbian, not me.

[ Blanche's Voice ] Letters, letters, letters.

Not for me.

Letters I am not meant to know or see.

Thank you, Jane.

You do not have to hide them from me. I'm not hiding them.

You say they are not hidden, but they are.

Tucked away... as if they were from Cupid himself.

What does he want?

To be my friend. Friend.

They always try and give what they want a decent name.

Blanche, no. No, Blanche, listen.

What we have... is ours.

No one can change that.

'Tis already changed.

Find anything? Maybe.

So what are those bookmarks, then?

Blanche writes about letters.

Letters, letters that Christabel wrote and received.

And it nearly drove Blanche crazy.

Where are they?

Lost. Destroyed. Who knows? There's lots we haven't got.

Not one of Blanche's paintings has ever turned up, for instance.

So who do you think wrote the letters?

We've never been able to verify who he was, but Ash certainly isn't one of the candidates.

You've got nothing.

I mean, it's just a thought.

Of course, I've thrown out a lot of thoughts today, and you've pretty much shot them all down, so--

Yes, well, it seems like a bit of a wild-goose chase to me.

I'd like to do some more reading.

[ Sighs ] I suppose you'll wish to stay here overnight, then?

Well, I can't really afford to stay overnight.

Unless you want me huddled downstairs in your doorway.

I suppose I could put up with you for one evening, couldn't I?

No doubt you know Fergus Wolfe then.

I'm sorry. Uh, yeah, we're in the same department.

I imagine that he told you that we're occasionally on together.

No, he didn't. What did he--

Did he say anything... about me?



Right. I'll use the bathroom first. Get out of your way.

Please. I'm just sort of a brush and flush kind of guy, so--

Forget I said that.

Maud. [ Clears Throat ]

Can I show you something?

Are these-- How did you get-- Those are the originals.

I took them. I sort of stole them. Took them?

Where from? The London Library.

How could you do that? It was on impulse.


Right. I've seen that take-what-you-want attitude in other--

What, in other Americans?

[ Scoffs ] God, what is it with you people and Americans?

Look, I know that I shouldn't have taken them. I know that.

But, Maud, I want to find out what happened.

Did he or didn't he send the letter?

You might not buy into my theory, but to me Blanche's diary suggests that it's possible.

Wouldn't someone have unearthed a thing like this?

That's what makes it so big. Potentially so big.

Well, no one has. Probably because those were never sent.

Are you doing your homework?

No, I'm just... writing stuff.

Stuff for me. It's nothing.

You're a closet poet. Uh... more like basement, really.

I'm just, uh, just fooling around.

Is that what you want to be when you grow up?

No, I'm gonna be safe and teach like everybody else.

Besides, there's no such thing as poets anymore.

Well... poet, do you want to see Christabel's family home before you go?

Michell's late again.

Roland asked for another day off, Fergus.

Oh, really? Where's he gone?

I didn't ask, and he didn't say.

He's an American, for God's sake.

He's probably off trafficking drugs.

Did his new discovery lead to anything?

Ash's Vico-- are you dreaming?

Vico? No, no, this had something to do with Christabel LaMotte.

He went to see Dr. Bailey in Lincoln-- a woman.

LaMotte. Hmm. No.

Well, it probably came to nothing then. Exactly.

Or he would have told you.

Wouldn't he?

Seal Court's over there.

So how long did Christabel live at this Seal Court place?

Ages. The last 20 or so years of her life.

Excuse me. Sorry.

"To a dusty shelf we aspire."

You should drop by Seal Court before the train.

And what do you do in London, Mr. Michell?

Are you a teacher as well? No, not yet. I'm doing a fellowship.

Which means what, exactly? On the dole.

[ Chuckles ] [ Chuckles ]

Um, my field's Victorian poetry.

We had a sort of poet in this house once.

Terrible, sentimental stuff about God and death and the dew and fairies.

Why don't you show this young man Christabel's room, Maud?

And why don't you stay tonight?

You're under no obligation to stay, of course.

It's just Joan's way. Misses our daughter.

Quite a drive back, actually. No, we're fine.

Oh, well.

Hardly ever come up here.

With the wheelchair, of course, we bunk down on the ground floor.

I haven't been up here since I was a child.

Maud, is this the photograph at your house?

Yes, that's Christabel's niece, May.

That's my great-great-grandmother.

Christabel wrote dozens of poems about this place.

[ Maud Reading ] "What are they who haunt our dreams

"and weaken our desires and turn us from a solid face."

"And in the depth of wintery night, they slumber in the night and bright."

"Dolly keeps a secret safer than a friend.

Dolly's silent sympathy lasts without end."

"No rush of action, this is our doom.

To live a long life out in a dark room."


It's pretty incredible, huh?

Fergus, it's me.

I-I'm out of town tonight on business.

I've stumbled onto a connection between Christabel and Randolph Ash and have a few questions for you.

Call me on 015-2263-2416.


Roland. [ Groans ]

Roland. Roland. No!

Roland, it's me. It's Maud.

What is it? Listen.

"Dolly keeps a secret safer than a friend.

Dolly's silent sympathy lasts without end."

[ Sighs ] God.

I was so sure.

Sympathy. Sympathy.

Sympathy, meaning what?

Mutual affection or understanding.

Favor, pity, or even accord. But that's not it, is it?

That's not it at all.

She uses silent sympathy in a more classical context.

Like structural support. Dolly conceals it.

Yes, but not within, beneath.

There's a door. There's a door.

I can't believe it. Let me see.

Be-Be careful. They're very precious. I'll be very careful.

Oh, God, we shouldn't be doing this.

What do you mean, we shouldn't be doing this?

Why'd you drag me up here, then?

What are you doing? I'm going to read.

Stop. We've got to ask the Baileys.

You ask, and the next time you see these is under glass in New Mexico.

Stop it. Stop. Stop. Stop.

All right. All right.

Put-- can we please at least do it properly?

Let me run downstairs and get some note cards and some pencils.

All right. Go, go! Hurry!

Look at this. We've got Ash and Christabel's letters here.

Look. Come here. Listen. What?

"Dear Miss LaMotte, "It was a great pleasure to talk to you

"at dear Crabb-Robinson's party.

"May I hope that you too enjoyed our talk, and may I have the pleasure of calling on you?"

[ Gasps ]

She says, "No, but you may write.

"Would you rather not have a letter, however imperfect, "than a plate of cucumber sandwiches, "however exquisitely fine cut?

Know you would, and so would I."

[ Roland ] "I was entranced and moved by your brief portrait of your father."

"I write nonsense, but if you can't write again, "you shall have a sober essay on what you will.

"Yours to command in some things.

[ Roland ] "Where I was born, Christabel LaMotte."

"was a small place too.

"Not like this. Not bare.

[ Roland And Randolph ] "A brilliant, dusty hutch of mysteries..."

[ Randolph ] ...a cabinet of curiosities.

What did my eyes first light on?

[ Christabel ] I am a creature of my pen.

My pen is the best part of me.

I send you now two more poems.

[ Randolph ] I eagerly read your mythic tales of mire and found them both charming and sad.

Your verse is rich, but perhaps the metaphor is richer.

[ Christabel ] Dear Mr. Ash, I live circumscribed and self-communing.

It is best so, not like a princess in the thicket, more like a spider in her web.

"Inclined to snap at visitors or trespassers, "not perceiving the distinction until too late.

Thus, it is unwise to call."

[ Randolph ] I know you live very quietly. but I could be very quiet.

I only want to discuss Dante and Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Coleridge and Goethe.

Not forgetting, of course, Christabel LaMotte and the ambitious fairy project.

[ Man, Indistinct ]

[ Christabel ] Oh, sir, things flicker and shift.

All spangle and sparkle and flashes.

I have sat all this long evening by my fireside, turning towards a caving in, the crumbling of the consumed coals, to where I am leading myself-- to lifeless dust, sir.

[ Randolph ] My dear friend-- for I may call myself a friend, may I not?

I speak to you as I would speak to any person who possesses my true thoughts, for my true thoughts have spent more time in your company than in anyone else's these last few weeks.

Where my thoughts are, there am I in truth.

"My dear friend, it has been borne in upon me that there are dangers in our continued conversation."

[ Christabel ] The world would not look well upon letters between a woman living in shared solitude as I do and a man... even if that man were a great poet.

And if one is to live in this way, it is imperative to appear respectable in the eyes of that world and your wife.

It is a sealed pact.

It is a chosen way of life in which I have been wondrously happy and not alone in being so.

"I have chosen a way, dear friend.

"I must hold to it.

"Be patient. Be generous. Forgive.

"May I also request that you return my correspondence to me.

"In this way, at least our letters will remain together.

"I have known incandescence

"and must decline to sample it any further.

"This now goes to the post.

Forgive its faults and forgive me. Christabel."

[ Randolph ] My dear Christabel... your letter came as a shock to me, I will confess.

I was at first not only shocked, but angry that you should write so.

As you've asked about my wife, however, I will tell you.

I love Ellen, but not as I love you.

There are good reasons which I cannot discuss why my love for you may not hurt her.

I do not feel I have been a proper wife to you, Randolph.

Without children, without ever any kind of physical--

Nonsense, Ellen.


There are many types of love.

All sorts.

And ours are good between us.

It has been most profound.

[ Randolph ] I must say to you what is in my mind.

I have called you my muse, and so you are.

I could call you with even greater truth... my love.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What? What? Don't do that. What?

So he sends his response. He sends her more letters.

She doesn't answer them. She ignores them.

[ Scoffs ] Typical.

No. She-She chose her life with Blanche.

It's not typical. It's remarkable.

"I shall hope against hope that this note is the dove

"which will return with the wished-for olive branch.

My letters are like Noah's ravens-- they have sped out across the Thames."

[ Randolph ] They have sped out across the Thames and yet have not returned.

I send this note by hand in the hope that you might receive it.

Where are the letters?

They're gone.

I tore them up. I burned them.

And the others from my desk?

The same.

I beg for us to be as we were, Christabel.

Sweetheart, please.

[ Christabel ] This house, so happy once, is full of weeping and wailing and black headaches.

I ask myself to whom I may turn and think of you, my friend-- the unwitting cause of all this grief.

[ Randolph ] I shan't forget the first glimpse of your form... illuminated as it was by flashes of sunlight.

I have dreamt nightly of your face and walked the landscape of my life with the rhythms of your writing ringing in my ears.

[ Christabel ] I shall never forget our shining progress towards one another.

Never have I felt such a concentration of my entire being.

I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you.

No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.

You mind reading that last part out one more time?

"I cannot let you burn me up, "nor can I resist you.

"No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed."

That? Yeah.

Thank you, and--

"And I took your hand. Mine rested in yours with trust and relief."

Do you have regrets?

I should regret venturing out to Crabb-Robinson's party that evening.

I should regret it, but I do not.

Not even in that most sensible corner of my heart.

What are we to do?

[ Roland ] "I do not wish to damage your life.

"Nonetheless, I shall be in the church at noon tomorrow

"with what strikes me as the holiest of prayers

"that you should join me on a journey to Yorkshire and journey out of time beyond our lives here on Earth."

This is unbelievable. That was the last one.

You're kidding me. No.

Well, did she go with him or not? Hands up!

You two?

What's this then? [ Joan ] There's been no harm done, George.

How do we know if harm's been done?

I think it was very clever of Maud to find your treasure.

Yes. Well, must take advice, Joanie.

How long before Sir George takes advice?

He'll dither around for a while, but not long.

Blanche's diary has nothing for that period.

What about Ellen Ash? Did she keep a journal?

Yeah, in London, but it's mostly just boring housewife stuff.

God is in the boring housewife stuff. We should check it.

[ Touch-Tones Beeping ]

Bailey here. Bailey.

Is that Dr. Heath?

No. Um, I'm a friend of Maud Bailey's.

I was wondering, is she there?

No, she isn't. Could you get off the line? I'm expecting the doctor.

Oh, um, have you seen Roland Michell?

Not since this morning, no.

But his work went well, did it?

The fairy poem? I haven't the foggiest idea.

Do you mean Christabel LaMotte?

Get off the line! [ Hangs Up ]

I looked in Ellen's diary. There's nothing.

But, uh, this should cheer you up.

It's in her correspondence.

I'm not going to ask if this is the original.

I wouldn't.

"Dear Mrs. Ash, "I'm at present totally unknown to you, "but I have something to impart to which

"closely concerns both of us and is in my case a matter of life and death.

"May I trespass on your time and come to see you?

"You would do wrong to keep this evidence which I send to you now.

"It is not mine; it is also not yours.

"What I say is true and urgent as you will come to see.

Yours sincerely, Blanche Glover."

Mrs. Ash.

[ Maud ] Maybe Blanche didn't tear the letters but kept them and showed them to Ellen.

[ Roland ] It all fits beautifully.

Well, perhaps, um, both of our departments should work on this together.

Is that what you want? I don't know. Do you?

No. I wanna go after them. I wanna find out what happened.

I wanna go to Yorkshire and follow their trail. I need to know.

I thought you were mad when you came to Lincoln with your stolen letter.

Now I feel exactly the same.

[ Maud ] I haven't really thanked you.

I mean, properly, for all of this.

I have difficulty with compliments and such.

Giving or receiving?

Both, actually.

Well, I won't tell you you're amazing-looking then.

You're probably sick of hearing it. Thank you. It's--

I'm the last guy who'd act on it, with Fergus and all.

What does "and all" mean? Nothing.

Just a little problem that I have... socially.

Do you take anything for it?

It's not that kind of a problem.

It's just relationships on the whole. They're not really for me.

Anyway-- Yes...

Anyway... thank you.

You're welcome.

Thank you for agreeing to meet me, Professor.

Well, you made me rather curious. Drink, sir?

Scotch with just a dash of soda.

Sir? Thank you. Uh, I'll have the same. Thank you.

Um, I wanted to learn of the connection between Ash and Christabel LaMotte.

LaMotte and Ash? There isn't any.

Well, Roland Michell has made a discovery with a colleague of mine, Maud Bailey.

I'm sorry. Who the hell is Roland Michell?

Oh, Blackadder's research assistant. American.

Blondish. Well, anyway, he seems to know you.

And he thinks it's important.

And does Blackadder agree?

I don't believe he knows anything about it.

Do you wish to be lunched separately?

Respectably, elsewhere from me?

I want to be with you. [ Train Whistle Blows ]

I understood that was what we had decided.

These four weeks only are ours but ours alone.

Oh, I, uh--

I hope you will accept this ring.

I have brought a ring too.

You see?

Proof of my resolution.

You take my breath away.

Not yet.

No. Not yet.

Shall we go out, then, to explore?

There's your bathroom.


Your lovely view.

And, of course, the bed.

We'll look for another hotel.

But this is where Ash stayed.

Then we'll have to share a room.

I can bring up a folding bed for one of you, if that's your problem.

[ Both Chuckle ]

We work together, actually. It's not--

We were expecting two rooms. Right.

I'm sure it's more complicated than I can imagine.

[ Birds Squawking ]

That's a lovely brooch you're wearing, miss.

I reckon it could be one of Issac Greenberg's designs.

I'll, uh, get the book and see if I can tell.

Where did you get this?

I've had it for ages. It was in the family dress-up box.

Don't you see? Ash bought the brooch for Ellen.

The clasped hands. Here in Whitby. We know that.

And this for Christabel. Oh, right.

So while he was buying this, he said, um, "Yes, I'll have the eternal embrace for my wife."

No, he wouldn't have said anything.

He would have just bought the brooch.

Christabel would have seen.

It was accepted between them.

Are you writing fiction now?


I'm having fun.

Are you?

Yes, I suppose I am.

Don't grimace when you say it. It's more convincing.

I suppose I can be a touch... empirical at times.

Just a touch.

Hey, you wanna go for a walk or something?

I mean, out in the hills.

[ Clerk ] For sure it's earlier than the death of Victoria's Albert.

Probably late '50s. 1860s maybe.



I think we're getting near Thomason Falls.

Cropper mentions it-- Mortimer Cropper?

Yeah, Ash's biographer. All-purpose asshole.

He's literally trekked every step of Ash's life.

He's happy to tell you that too. More than happy, I'm sure.

You know him, huh? [ Groans ]

That is beautiful. [ Sighs ]

Maud. What?

I think Christabel did come here.


"Three elements combined to make the fourth.

"But above the water and the light, together made a halo in the darkened cave."

That poem's dated 1859, July.

See if there's a cave behind it.

That might be all the proof we need.


I know this is an awfully repressed sort of English thing to say, but what the hell are you doing?

There's only one way to find out.

Of course, we could have just asked someone.

[ Whooping, Laughing ]

Whoo! Maud! Maud!

[ Laughing Continues ] I found it!

Your hands are shaking.

Are you afraid?


A little.

[ Roland ] "These are and were there.

"The garden and the tree, the serpent at its root.

"The fruit of gold, the woman in the shadow of the boughs.

"The running water and the grassy space.

They are and were there."

I don't mind that.

See, you could grow to like Ash.

[ Laughs ] Yes.

He's sort of a soft-core misogynist.

[ Laughs ]

Why do you always tie your hair up like that?

It has to do with Fergus Wolfe mostly.

Fergus? How to do with Fergus?

When we met, he drove me mad quoting Yeats.

"Who could love you for yourself alone and not your yellow hair?"


And then I was accused once by my sister feminists at a conference of dyeing it to attract men.

Really? Yes.

So I shaved it off, all of it.

[ Laughs ] And did he?

Did who what? Fergus love you without your yellow hair?


We fought about it.

We drive each other mad. I don't even like him, but I can't seem to-- Freud.

"On the other side of attraction lies repulsion."

Or was that Calvin Klein?

[ Laughing ]

Do you believe that? Uh, I wouldn't know.

I don't really allow myself to do that Ash/Christabel grand passion kind of thing.

Allow? Yeah.

Jealousy, obsession, all that. Not anymore.

You're lucky then.

It all gets so-- just such a tangle.

It's a tangle most people want.

Not me though.

My antics made a lot of people unhappy.

One horribly so.

For me... whenever I feel anything for anyone, I--

I go cold all over.

What makes you do that? Fear, I suppose.

Fear of being burned up... by love.

[ Sighs ] Listen to us.

Yes. Aren't we just maudlin? [ Laughing ]

Maud, you should let your hair out.

You should let it breathe. And don't do the ice thing, 'cause you have nothing to worry about from me.

Christabel said, "Fear all men."

Well, Christabel didn't know me.

I don't want to take anything from you.

So, then, we're both... perfectly safe.


How can we bear it?

Every day we will have less.

[ Shuddering ]

Would you rather have had nothing?


I thank God that if there had to be a dragon it was you.

Wait. Wait.

No. I was just trying to get out from under the covers. No. No.

This is-- We shouldn't be doing this. It's dangerous.

Well, I really-- No, because I like you. I like you a lot.

I just don't want to blow it here, and--

Well, it doesn't matter to me, honestly.

What do you mean it doesn't matter?

Sorry. I think we're probably just--

[ Sighs ] In these cramped quarters. It was a mistake.

Maud. Maud!

[ Door Closes ]

I didn't mean that.

Let's not beat the thing dead.

It happened, it's over, and we're adults.

Speak for yourself.

I can't imagine what you're like after you actually sleep with someone.

[ Sighs ]

Maud, I think that you are very--

You know?

No, I don't know.

So, what, we're friends now, is that it?

Yeah. That's a lot.

No, I agree. It's fine.

Yeah. It's perfect.

Anyway, we're getting off the track here.

We came to investigate them, not us.

[ Sea Gulls Squawking ]

So, what ever happened to Blanche? Blanche drowned.


Where was Christabel? We don't know where she was.

The year before's a bit blank too.

You don't know where she was that entire year?

There's some speculation that she went to France, but I have nothing to support that.

Okay, so...

Christabel comes here with Ash and then disappears, on paper, at least.

Yes. And Blanche suicides.


What are you doing? [ Sighs ]

It's a poem. I've been writing it as I've watched you.

You're not pleased with it?

On the contrary. I think it perfectly expresses the joy I have felt with you.

Then why that?

These feelings-- I want them to survive.

I know I can never declare all this-- this love.

There. I've said it. I know it cannot be declared to the world.

What I may do is scatter these words from the train and hope that they somehow take root.

They will flourish. I swear it.

[ Train Whistle Blows ]

[ Train Chugging ]

[ Sighs ]

So... what next?

I mean, for you.

I suppose I'll check through the archives and see if there's any clue at all where Christabel might have been that year.


I guess I'll just, uh-- hell, I don't know-- go look up shit on the microfiche.

Suffer over you.


See ya.

Lost your way? Don't do tours here.

Sir George Bailey? Who wants to know?

Professor Mortimer Cropper, curator of the Stan Collection, Robert De Leon University, Harmony City, New Mexico.

And this is Dr. Wolfe. Good morning.

I'm a busy man. My wife's ill.

I can quite understand that, sir.

Sources have led me to believe that you may be in possession of some documentation by Randolph Henry Ash.

Whoa. Don't shoot, please.

Get off my land.

Do you have any idea what we're talking about here?

Do you? Do you have any idea how much such pieces, if they existed, how much they would be worth?


Do you mind if we swing past the university?

Bit of unfinished business.

Miss Bailey, I presume. The accomplice.

The very same.

[ Man ] Good God, you're like Bonnie and Clyde.

Come on. I need a picture of her.

I've never seen you like this. Just go.

Take the Porsche and go.

[ Engine Starts ]

[ Doorbell Buzzes ]

Fergus, what?

Uh, if Fergus went out to get Indian food, I'm gonna-- I'm gonna feel really stupid.

[ Laughs ] No, he didn't.

India wouldn't be far enough away, actually.

[ Chuckles ]

Come inside. I'll explain.

You sure? I mean, about me coming in.

Yes, very. [ Laughs ]

So I left Fergus a message from Seal Court, which apparently put him on our trail, and he came here looking for answers-- he and Cropper from the sound of it.

So that was Cropper's car outside?

I think Fergus has found something.

He's been spooking around the museum, sending out a bunch of faxes.


I wouldn't be so quick to do that.


The British Museum fax log sheet.

"To University of Nantes from Fergus Wolfe.

"Subject: Christabel LaMotte. Information on LaMotte genealogy.

Request loan of journal of Sabine de Concasse."

Unfortunately for Fergus, we have to log our faxes.

You're shameless.

[ Sighs ]

So what are we gonna do now?

We gonna try to beat 'em to France, or--

or are we just gonna stare at each other?

That is the question, isn't it?


I have another one for you. What's that?

What are you really doing here?

Well, I, uh--

I needed to see your face.

I just want to let you know that whatever happened in Whitby, which unfortunately was not much...

It's not because anything that you did.

Not at all.

I just didn't want to jump into something.

I mean, I did and I do... want to.


I just didn't want to mess this up.

And I just want to see-- [ Clears Throat ]

I want to see if there's an us in you and me.

Would-Would you like that?

I'll take that as a yes.

[ Woman Speaking French ]

Ah, oui. Excusez-moi. Nous sommes confrères. [ Continues In French ]

When will she be back?

Could you check for us?

She will return on Thursday. Okay.

Au revoir. Merci.

You and your shoplifting, huh? I can't take you anywhere.

"Dear Professor Wolfe: Since I wrote to you last, I've made another discovery.

"Amongst Sabine's papers was her journal

"in which she writes about LaMotte's visit to Brittany in 1859 and the subsequent arrival of a mysterious visitor."

[ Man Speaking Latin ]

I know how things are. I wish to help you.

You know how things are, do you? Tell me, Cousin Sabine, how do you think things are with me?

I'm a grown woman. You are a girl.

I do not desire any help from you.

[ Sabine's Voice ] Christabel's condition became worse after she received word from London that her close friend had died.

She left England because she was pregnant, and Blanche committed suicide.

What happened to the baby?

It must have been stillborn.

Or died.

Maybe it was taken in by nuns or a local family.

And brought up here.

I'd like to think that, but I wonder.

You wonder what? I don't know. I just--

She comes here alone, hears that Blanche has killed herself.

She's pregnant, distraught.


I mean, I've no evidence for it.

Can you imagine how she must have felt?

Yes, I can.

So when do we see Christabel next?

Autumn, 1860, in her references to the Vestal Lights.

It was a group of women who used to meet with mediums on a regular basis.

Really? You know, Ash hated spiritualists. Pretty openly.

You think that's a connection worth tracking down?

I don't know.

Please, make a circle with your hands.

Close your eyes.

White earth. Valley.

A waterfall.

A child. Love.

Two people. Deception.

Letters. Two people.

Words. Death.

What have you done?

A field.

Where is the child?

What have you done with the child?

You have made a murderess of me.

[ Roland Reading ] "I understood at the time that Mr. Ash was inquiring

"after the spirit of a departed child of his own, "but I am told that this could not be the case as Mr. Ash is childless."

Was there any mention of Heloise in your research?

I don't know... nor do I care.

[ Sighs ] Look, I've got to get back.

What's going on? Nothing. I'm just tired, that's all, so I should--

Come on. What's wrong, seriously?

I don't actually want to discover anything else about them.

You know?

I'm finding things out that are just--

It's horrible when you think about it really-- men and women together.

[ Sighs ]

She gave up her life, didn't she?

A perfectly decent life that I've always admired. And for what? For nothing.

No. Not nothing.

Oh, really? For what then? A child who died, a lover drowned, and to what end?

She and Ash, my own parents and every relationship I've ever had--

It's all doomed. We can't seem to help but just tear each other apart.

Well, what about us? You didn't include us. What about that?

Look, I--

I can't think about anything right now.

[ Sighs ] So, okay.

So this is the, uh-- this is the icy pull-back part then, huh?

What? You know, you get close, you pull away, you get--

I mean, this is part of the pattern, right?

What are you talking about? Your fear of men mantra from Yorkshire.

That's what I'm talking about.

No, I get it. It's cool.

That's the way you play it.

Do you honestly believe that?

Is that what you think this is to me? A game? Is it?

[ Scoffs ]

Well, finally, then, all this talk of us really comes to nothing, doesn't it?

Yes, I guess you're right. It's nothing.

[ Door Slams ]

[ Sighs ]

[ Sobbing ]

[ Roland's Voice ] Dear Professor Blackadder:

I did try to tell you about my discovery before but found that I couldn't.

Please read these two letters, and you will begin to understand.

I'm sorry for deceiving you.

Sincerely, Roland Michell.

[ Creaking, Clattering ]

And it's well documented that Ellen Ash set a box on Ash's coffin-- a kind of sealed container.

We'd always imagined it was just trinkets, but in the light of Michell's discovery, who knows what treasures might be buried there.

[ Sir George ] That box is mine, isn't it? It's my property.

[ Cropper ] Once you get it from Lord Ash, it's absolutely yours.

Until then, we keep it a secret.

Any discovery amongst Lord Ash's things, and, uh-- and I purchase it from you.

It's all above board, no one the wiser.

Cropper, are you absolutely sure of that?

Listen. Uh, where is it?

Yeah. "I place this letter in his hands, "and if ghouls dig it up again, then perhaps justice will be done when I am not here to see it."

[ Christabel's Voice ] Dear Madam: We are older now and my fires at last are out.

I know that you are more than aware of my name, but I find you must see it in print one last time.

It has been made known to me that your husband is near to death, so I have writ down, for his eyes only, some things.

I find I cannot say what things and have sealed the letter.

If you wish to read it, it is in your hands, though I must hope that he will see it first and decide.

I have done great harm, though I meant none to you.

I'll see they get back, no questions asked.

You're more enterprising than I gave you credit for.

Was there a compliment in there somewhere?

Hmm? Yes, probably. [ Laughs ]

What I can't believe is Fergus Wolfe conniving with Cropper.

I thought I was a better judge of men.

Well, see, that's where you went wrong.

You gave him credit for being one.

[ Whispering ]

Thank you.

Hi. Hi.

Thank you for coming. Sure.

I believe that may be her.

I, uh-- I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry.

No, listen. I lost it totally. It wasn't you.

So, why don't we all talk some strategy?

Let me introduce you to, uh-- All right.

[ Clears Throat ] Professor Blackadder, Paola, this is Dr. Bailey.

Maud. Maud.

How do you do?

So, do we really think that Cropper's capable of something like this, of robbing a grave?

[ Man Grunting ]

It's creepy, the idea of opening a grave.

Let's just keep going.

[ Sighs ] Jesus.

The moping owl does to the moon complain. Complain.

Are you ready?

Yeah. Hold the light up.

[ Grunting ]

[ Thudding ]

Fergus! Fergus! [ Fergus ] Is that it?

Yes. It's gotta be.

I found it, Fergus. I found it.

Oh, my God. I found it, Fergus.


Hey, Cropper! Cropper!

This has nothing to do with you people.

Wait! Get off of me! Get off of me!

No you don't! [ Grunts ]

Traitor! Bloody conniver! Please!

[ Grunting Continues ]


What are you doin'? [ Grunts ]

[ Chuckles ]

[ Gasping ] Oh, shit.

[ Maud ] Are you sure we should be doing this?

[ Roland ] I told Blackadder we'd just take a look before we handed it over to the museum.

Can you hold that there?

Maud, look at this.

It's her handwriting.

[ Clears Throat ]

"My dear, my dear:

"They tell me you are very ill.

"Perhaps I am wrong to disturb you at this time

"with unseasonable memories, "but I find I have, after all, a thing which I must tell you.

"You will say it should have been told 20 years ago, "but I could, or would, not.

"You have a daughter...

"who is well and married

"and the mother of a beautiful boy.

"I've sent you a picture.

"You will see she resembles both her parents, "neither of whom she knows to be her parent.

"When I said at that terrible séance that you had made a murderess of me, "I was speaking of poor Blanche, who then torments me daily...

"and I thought, 'Let him think so then...

"'if he knows me so little.'

"I had a secret fear, you see.

"I was afraid that you would wish to take her--

"you and your wife-- for your own.

But I could not let her go."

Over here.

[ Christabel's Voice ] And so I hid her from you and you from her.

She loves her adoptive parents most deeply.

Me, she does not love.

So I am punished now, living at Seal Court with them and watching her grow.

I have been angry for so long with all of us, and now, near the end, I think of you again with clear love.

Did we not--

Did you not flame and I catch fire?

Was not the love that we found worth the tempest that it brewed?

I feel it was. I know it was.

"If you are able or willing, please send me a sign that you have read this.

"I dare not ask if you forgive.

Christabel LaMotte."

Ash had never read this.

He never knew he had a child.

You're descended from both Christabel and Ash.

My God. [ Sobbing ]

All these clues, they're for you.

For us.

You're so beautiful.

[ Randolph's Voice ] There are things that happen, not spoken or written of.

A poet walked out one summer's day seeking forgiveness from a love long lost.

He found something else instead.

This is how it was.

Morning. Good morning.

What's your name?

May Bailey, but I have another name I don't like.

Do you? What's that?

Maya Thomason Bailey.


Maya was the, uh-- the mother of Hermes, and I know a waterfall called Thomason.

A waterfall? Really? Yes.

In Yorkshire. With a lovely cave hidden behind it.

Where do you live?

I live in that house down there.

And my mother lives there and my father and my two brothers.

Oh, and my Aunt Christabel too.

Yes, I think I know your mother.

You have the true look of her.

No one else says that. I think I look like my father.

You look like your father too.

Can you make daisy chains?


Yes, I'll make you a crown.

But, um... will you give me a lock of your hair?

Like fairy story.

Just so.

Now, would you take this note... to your aunt.

Tell her that you saw a poet who was coming to meet her but met you instead.

I'll try to remember.

Thank you.

[ Boys Laughing ]

♪ [ Man Singing In Italian ]