Restoration (1995) Script


-Dr. Merivel. -In a moment.

-Doctor! -In a moment!

-Merivel, we must move on. -I've sprinkled the lavell in to heal.

This will strengthen the hand. We must not allow the tendons to atrophy.

-Merivel! -I'll return this afternoon.

Old Mr. Parr is suffering from an extreme shortness of breath.

-What do you prescribe? -Let's try some syrup of sage flower.

-Doctor! Doctor! -Citron pills to relieve coughing.

-Doctor! -I shall be with you presently, Mr. Watchurst.

-I'm starving. -You can't be.

-I am. -You've already eaten.

I had a piece of bread and scarcely any cheese.

There's no time to eat!

For the five years we've worked here, there is never time to eat.

There is no time to drink. There is no time, even, to look after our patients.

Doctor! Doctor Merivel!

Samuel needs you.

Sam-Samuel! Samuel! Look... Look at me!

It's Robert. It's Robert. Quiet now. Be quiet. Be quiet.

Merivel! You must see to Parr. He'll only accept comfort from you.

Give him a complice for his head and some chamomile.

Mr. Parr!

Mr. Parr, tell me how you're feeling.

Is there hope I will get well again?

There is always hope.

You must rest and allow my medicines to do their work.

Dr. Merivel! Doctor!

I-I do what I can to treat them.

But our science gives us no hope of curing most of them, and I am frustrated!

No, I'm... frightened.

Of what?

Their faith and my ignorance.

That is why you prefer a life of debauchery.

Your mother died believing you were a man of honor.

And I beg her pardon every night, and I am at the hospital every day for her.

You mean your whoring is interrupted daily by the care of the sick.

You've not come to me for money to spend on your medicines.

Indeed I have, in a sense.

The five shillings I require are for... well, for a pawnbroker so I can redeem my case of instruments.

Father, I am sorry to confess it.

-You should be damned for it. -I should.

Look. Look at these hands. Look at them.

Worked to the bone for your case of instruments, for your teachers and for the books on your table.

Or have they been pawned too?

So that the son of a glove maker... should not be denied the use of those gifts... which marked you as a physician before you could spell "physic".

My gifts?

Your gifts, Robert.

Oh, yes, my gifts.

My first patient was a frog. I cured him of jumping.

Now I can cure people of breathing.

My gifts, Father, bring me to dark despair in dark rooms... so I can hear joy in the street.

The King is restored to us, the theaters are open, the tailors and wig makers are happy as whores... and rich men go to heaven again.

I would like to shake the King's hand.

Take the hand of your friend Pearce, Robert.

He is the example to follow.

He may dress like a crow, but he once infected himself with scarlet fever, the better to study the disease.

Well, in my own small way, I'm doing the same for the clap.

Look at this glove. Touch it.

This glove is for the King.

And that is the closest you will ever get... to touching the hand of the King of England.

Here are your five shillings.

Redeem your case of instruments.

And if you've a heart, redeem your gift, Robert.

Thank you, Father.

And don't spend the money on women.

Merivel! I must prevail on you... to come to the examining theater this instant.

I won't be a moment, Pearce.

Merivel!

He's probably fled because of your antics.

Pearce, you must not take my romping as an affront to you.

I simply answer the call of nature.

Yes, well, your nature, like mine, is very much fallen.

That awful truth ought to go somewhere towards discouraging your unsightly bouts of debauchery.

I suppose you're right. But I do very much enjoy them.

This is the fellow.

Shall I unbuckle?

Please, yes.

Good God!

A fracture of the ribs occasioned by a fall from his horse... was brought to a terrible suppuration.

The doctors feared it would never heal.

You can see the sconce of the old ulcer at the edge here.

Yes.

Merivel, we are witnessing a living, beating heart.

Might a man touch it with his hand?

No one has ever dared.

Yes. Yes?

Sir?

I cannot.

-Pearce, it's just... -Please! I mean... Just please...

Perhaps your friend.

Are you not afraid?

I'm beyond fear, sir. Are you?

You're touching the organ, sir?

Can you not feel my grip?

I feel nothing at all.

No pain?

Nothing.

Tell me, who is the young doctor?

Robert Merivel, Your Majesty.

You will summon him to the palace this very afternoon.

Watch where you're going, you fool!


Your stockings.

It's the young doctor, Your Majesty.

Do you know why I've summoned you here?

I...

A great heaviness hangs over me... causing me a most abject desperation.

Someone very close to me is dying.

Someone without whom I cannot live.

My doctors have bled her repeatedly; have tried, without success, lesions, emetics and purges.

Shaved the hair off her body in order to cup her.

But she does not rally.

You are my final hope, Merivel.

If you can cure her, I will offer you a place here as a court physician.

And if I fail?

You must not fail.

Her name is Lou Lou.

"Lou Lou", Your Majesty?

Your own name, by the way, has a very pleasing cadence.

Thank you, Sire.

Merivel. Very pretty to the ear.

Lou Lou?

Oh, my darling is not well.

Come, Merivel.

Call for any medicines, anything you deem suitable.

You will stay until the little creature recovers.

Of course.

Do not disappoint me, Merivel.

I shall not, Sire.

There was a time she would've answered me.

What have they done to you?


My dear Pearce, by the time you read this letter my fate will be sealed.

This morning, my future never glowed so bright, and now it is sputtering out in the life of a sick spaniel.

If I save her, my life will be changed utterly.

If she dies, I may as well go with her.

I think of our great teacher, William Harvey.

Though I was often drunk at his lectures, I remember his cry:

"Trust in the power of nature".

Is that the best hope now, for Lou Lou and me?

To let her sleep and give nature a chance to work quietly within her?

But what if I'm wrong?

How will I explain this prescription to His Majesty?


This is well done. I like you, Merivel.

Yours is a curious and original mind.

And in this new age, originality is of great value.

We shall open our palace to you, Merivel... its treasures and temptations... and we shall see what you make of yourself.

Thank you, Sire.

You have been given an extraordinary opportunity for one of your rank.

Haven't I? I have...

-You must at every moment please the King. -That would mean...

-If you do not, suffice it to say, I shall be watching. -Good.

Now it is my task to lay out for you your life in this place.

This shall be your lodging.

The royal tailors will be continually at your disposal.

And these shall be your playfellows.

This paper sets forth the following duties for one Robert Merivel, physician:

The daily care and comfort of the 18 royal dogs... with, as required, the right to perform operations upon them.

It's ten years wasted. I'm warning you, your life will be undone.

No, not wasted, Pearce, for those years have brought me to this new life.

I'm to the palace, and that's an end of it.

My dear, we must be pleased for each other.

You must be pleased for my appointment... as I am pleased that you have, uh, given up drinking sack.

And found my peace in Quakerism.

Even so, Pearce. Even so.

My dear Pearce, a year has passed most profitably and pleasurably, leaving me no moment in which to write to you.

All day I am thick in the affairs of state, yet I manage to employ my medical knowledge... especially in anatomy... in the services of the King, who's particularly fond of my trick of farting at will.

I am Aeolius, King of the Winds!

That my dear departed father could see me now, for the King shows me a flattering affection... that stems, I suspect, from my ability to amuse him.


Our physician has become our fool.

What do you make of the preparations, Merivel?

Oh, sir. Most wondrous, Sire! What is it for?

-A wedding. -Ohh!

-A most lavish affair! -Yes.

-Who's to be married? -Celia Clemence.

Um... I understood she was your mistress.

Then you understood right, Merivel.

That is generosity indeed.

Merivel, let me explain.

Celia Clemence's presence in my bed... continues to be necessity.

So, too, does that of my grand amour, Barbara Castlemaine.

But her tantrums on the subject of Miss Clemence... are making me edgy.

So... Miss Clemence is to be married... and seemingly dispatched out of London with her husband, while, in fact, I secret her near the river in Kew, the better to sport with her unobserved.

And for her husband, I need a man... who is far too enamored of women in general... to make the mistake of loving one in particular.

Ah! Again, a most superior aspect of the plan.

And whom has Your Majesty chosen for this particular honor?

Yes, in fact I've decided that you should be the one to marry her, Merivel.

Marry, Your Majesty?

"Marry Merivel". The phrase is very pretty to my ear.

But, Sire, I do not wish to marry...

I'm not asking you to wish it. I'm asking you to do it.

Merivel, have I not done you very many favors in the past?

Yes, Sire, many favors, but...

-Voila. You owe me at least one in return.

I shall, of course, reward you for it.

Make you a knight, give you a most agreeable estate in Suffolk...

-and my second best bed. -I would prefer to stay at court.

No, no. You will go to Suffolk... and you will make something of the house.

And, perhaps, if the time is right, we shall favor you with a visit.

-Aye. -Go now.

Only remember this, Merivel: If she's over there with you, there will be no intimacy of any kind between you.

Though she is your wife, she is yours in name only.

You are to be a paper bridegroom.

Voila, mademoiselle.

Un, deux, troix.

"Sir Robert Merivel, Bidnold".

Nova vel noviter inventa.

Observationes proprias et alienas recensere... ad considerandum propriam opinionem... vel obsignatis tabulis... in aliis animalibus agere secundum Socratis regulam.

Unde observationes exoticas...

I've come to give you these.

-These are... These are your medical books! -I know.

-Your copy of Harvey. -I know.

I have resolved to abandon medicine.

The King has made other plans for me.

I have been given a knighthood, an estate and a wife.

This is my time of preferment, Pearce. This is my time.

What?

Nothing.

Merivel!

When you stood in this room... and put your hand around that man's heart... something I did not dare do that day... your vital flame was burning.

Now, you see, the light has gone out of your eyes.

No, my study of medicine has given me nothing... but a perpetual and visible awareness of mortality; that were I to continue, it would very shortly bring me to despair.

-Very well. -I must see to my dogs.

Very well!

Merivel!

Merivel!

Merivel!

Harvey revealed his work to us so that treading in the same path... we might discover very many things as yet unknown to others.

-You have a gift for healing, Merivel. -I do not!

Yes. Oh, yes, you do. For understanding sickness.

Death is a terrible thing, Pearce.

I need color and light, not darkness and death.

I feel I've had quite enough of dark things.

I want bright things and decorative things.

I am, after all, a creature of the new age.

I shall pray for you.

Come along, Mr. Bung.

Your bride.


He filled your jar with spice!

To the wedding chamber!

-Bed her well, Merivel! Bed her well, Merivel!

Bed her well, Merivel!

Bed her well, Merivel! Bed her well!

Bed her well, Merivel! Bed her well, Merivel!

Bed her well, Merivel!

Fair thee well!

-I believe our kiss convinced them, Lady Celia.

Well done, Merivel.

Well done! We fooled 'em all.

You are a most useful fellow, Merivel. Most useful!

And at the moment you are most useful to me... in Suffolk.

Oh. Yes.

Your disguise is behind the pillar.


Pearce, this will make no sense to you, as it makes no sense to me, but the moment I saw Lady Celia I was captivated by her.

When I think of her, I feel faint, my heart aches... and I fear there is no cure for me, for I cannot stop thinking of her, even in my sleep.

Sir Robert!

Welcome to Bidnold.

Ah, Will Gates at your service.

You are alone, sir?

Yes. Lady Merivel desired that I act as a vanguard... and see the lay of the land.

I trust that the wedding went off as planned.

Yes, most well. Um, I shall now retire.

Oh, could you send up some strong liquor?

Yes, sir.

Good morning, Sir Robert.

Mr. Gates, I find the house induces in me... a most melancholy frame of mind.

And exceeding dark.

The King confiscated it from a Puritan.

Oh.

Mr. Gates.

I must be straight with you.

We shall not expect Lady Merivel's arrival for some time.

Well... one cannot stay in bed indefinitely.

What one needs is a diversion.

The King told me to make something of the house.

Oh! And you are monarch here.

We shall have color and light!

With purples and golds and crimsons and scarlets and carmines.

-What, all together in one place, sir? -Yes, Mr. Gates.

We will make this house so beautiful that if Lady Celia were to pay us a visit, she would never want to leave.

Ah, the Dutchman.

Yes!

All of it!

Yes!

Mr. Gates, to divert myself further... and to display our lavish decoration, I feel the urge for company.

Perhaps a visit from the neighbors... will restore my old uncontainable nature.

A pox on wisdom!

Let us all be mares and stallions.

Sir Robert, someone at the door.

What? At the door? Another man come to whinny in our festivities!

Why do you not have a turban?

Guy, supply Mr. Gates with a turban!

Sir Robert Merivel.

Oh, Lady...

Would you show me immediately to my rooms?

Yes, of course, and without delay.

Without delay.


Where am I?

I attempted to take you back to your room last night, sir, but you were most insistent to sleep here.

What... What's the bird?

A gift from Lady Violet.

Oh, Mr. Gates, I've just had a most extraordinary dream.

I dreamed that Lady Celia did arrive at Bidnold in the most foul humor.

I'm afraid she did, sir, and she has now repaired to the garden room.

All right, now, gently. Gently.

Careful! Careful!

I've got it.

Keep it to your left.

Lady Celia.

I have come to bid you welcome to Bidnold.

No, I do not desire to be made welcome.

-The King will very soon ask me back to him. -I'm sure he will.

I'm sure he has of late been most distracted by the foreign wars.

But in the meantime, if there's any comfort...

I might provide here at Bidnold for Your Ladyship...

No, there is nothing. Nothing.

Well... um, well, then together we shall wait... for the return of the King's love.

Love? You use that word?

The King and his love for me made use of you.

He looked around for the stupidest man he could find, and he found you.

I begged him not to marry me to such a fool.

I have brought a...

Stay away from me.

"Celia, my loneliness consumes me, but I see your unhappiness is as great as mine".


Well, come in, please.

I hope my playing isn't disturbing you.

No, it is I who am disturbing you.

I... No.

What is the bird?

I am told it is an Indian nightingale. It was a gift.

-From the King? -Yes, from the King.

-It's most beautiful. -Mmm.

-Only it does not sing. -No.

Perhaps it wants encouragement.

Now, if it were to hear you play, for your playing, as I recall, has about it an exceeding sweetness.

Would it be asking too much if I were to keep the bird in my room?

No, nothing would be too much. Will!

No, no. I'll...

And let the garden room be my private habitation, where I shall perhaps from time to time invite you.

Um...

I find much of the decoration here rather disturbing.

Yes, certain of the servants regularly complain of it.

Merivel, forgive me if I spoke before of matters that do not regard me.

We live in an age where many are made fools and many are deceived.

I, in my faith for the King's love, am probably as foolish as you.

Oh.

It's from my old friend, Mr. Pearce.

It seems he's now working in a hospital with his Quakers.

Will, will you sit down? Please.

Is there a Mrs. Gates?

Oh, no, sir.

The messy constellations I see through my telescope... offer me no clue to my destiny.

There is, I fear, a great deal about the world and my role in it... which, despite all my early learning, I have utterly failed to understand.

I must restrain my thoughts and do something altogether more constructive.

What is the matter, sir?

I have done the one thing forbidden by the King:

I have fallen in love with my wife.

Merivel, there is someone to see you.

This is Mr. Finn, a painter.

A painter?

A painter! Welcome!

A painter! Most excellent.

-Did I send for a painter? -No, sir.

Never mind. I'm a keen painter myself.

I call it "Le Matin de Merivel I'Automne".

What do you make of it, honestly?

It is an excrescence.

Ah! Perhaps that is the word for it.

But to me it's a rather memorable rendering... of all the colors I have in my park.

You must not show this painting to anyone.

-You must, I think, burn it. -Oh.

Merivel, Mr. Finn has arrived with a commission.

A commission! From whom?

Robin Hood?

Robin Hood? Oh, yes. My Lincoln green.

How funny.

Now, if I may, this letter commands... the following commission by one Elias Finn, myself, a noble and beautiful portrait of Lady Merivel.

"An excellent painting will earn Mr. Finn a small place at court".

So, you see, not Robin Hood... the King.

Shall we go?

My imprisonment is over. The King means me to return.

-Aw, cherubs. -Uh-huh.

The King has often told me he cannot abide the cherub.

I would not depend upon this for your future, either of you.

-Why not, Merivel? -It is a commission from the King.

My dear Flinn... No, Finch...

-Uh, "Finn". -Oh.

Many portraits are commissioned by the King, and most of the poor artists are still waiting to be paid.

Yes, well, we shall have to make the painting too beautiful to be resisted.

And, Celia, there seems to be no mention of your returning to court.

-But why else would he ask for a portrait? -Souvenir, perhaps.

A letter, Sir Robert.

Mmm.

From the King.

If I may! If I may!

What mention does the King make of the painting in his letter?

Oh, it's... None.

I would frame some message to him, but I don't know what to say.

Celia, if I do not set sail now, I shall not reach London by morning.

And we both know the King regards a betrayal of time as a betrayal of faith.


...there is a void...

Ah, Merivel. Is it you?

It is me.

It-It is in fact I, Sire.

Time has changed you, Merivel.

As with many of my people, some vital part of you appears to be asleep.

Something has arrived, Merivel.

Something that may rouse even you from sleep.

The plague. La peste.

Deptford, four people have died. It will spread.

Some of us will be spared and some will die.

But all of us will awake.

Come along, Merivel. There is much to discuss.

You see, I have started work upon this toad.

-Ah. -Will you help me to dissect it?

Yes, if you wish me to, Sire.

Yes, I do wish you to, Merivel.

I have summoned you to talk about your wife.

Pin, Merivel.

When I married her to you, it was to hide her... from the intelligent gaze of my mistress, Lady Castlemaine.

Now, observe the sheen of the gut. It's like a jewel.

You may imagine, then, my fury when she commanded me... to end my liaison with Lady Castlemaine... and likewise to terminate my amours... with certain actresses of the playhouse.

So I banished her to Suffolk.

Now the grosser part of me... is uncommonly sensible to her absence.

The royal tool is waving about in search of her.

She is skillful and enthusiastic in these matters.

Merivel, I desire you to impress upon Celia... to be content with what she has.

Tell her to come to me in humility and she may have it all again:

Her house, servants, money and the King in her bed from time to time.

I desire her penitent return... when the portrait is finished.

Um... he's a slow painter, Your Majesty, what with all the cherubs.

What is a painting without cherubs? Hmm?

Precisely, Sire.

Make this clear, Merivel:

I expect her in my bed when the portrait is complete.

The King would give no promise whatsoever with regard to you.

But he must have said something.

He desired that you stay here at Bidnold... until you became aware of the changeful nature of all things.

But how long does he say this will take?

Months? Years?

Am I to grow old and see my beauty vanish... and all that once pleased him turn to decay?

I'm sure he does not intend that, but he has put the matter into your hands and into mine.

Into your hands?

Yes.

For I am to judge when you are ready.

And the King has promised to correspond with me regularly over the matter.

And how shall I arrive at this wisdom?

He has suggested, perhaps, that we together... exercise our gifts for music.

-Just arrived, sir. -Will, I need you to do something for me.

-Anything, sir. -You must forge a letter to me from the King.

Sir.

And, uh, the King makes no mention of a date... for me to have, uh, completed the painting?

-My dear Finch. -"Finn".

Ah!

He has no interest, it seems, in the painting whatsoever... but for his continued suspicion of cherubs.

So it seems to me that it is to music... that His Majesty owes his greatest affection.

-We are all mere pawns. -Mmm! Prawns, yes.

No, no, "pawns". "Pawns"!

Hmm.

Merivel, wake up. There is something I must tell you.

Celia!

The bird is ill.

The bird. The bird. Oh, the bird!

Please, we must do something.

Birds are not really my specialty...

But, Merivel, it is dying!

Merivel, why are you no longer a physician?

Um...

When I asked the King why he was marrying me to such a fool, he said that you had a great gift for healing.

Perhaps I should stay. We should watch over the bird together.

Yes, I would like that.


It's dead.

Are you not putting yourself at terrible risk, sir?

Forging the King's seal is a hanging offense.

I love her, Will. I must do all I can... to discourage completion of the portrait.

Sir Robert?

I'm sure your wife is greatly dismayed... at the loss of her favorite bird.

Inconsolable, I fear.

Which must, in turn, cause you much distress.

Of course. I did all that I could.

Sir Robert, now that the painting is nearly complete, I feel it is my duty to thank you for your hospitality during my stay here.

Th-Th-The desire to finish the work... has perhaps made me less than an ideal guest.

-For that I am sorry. -No, matter, Finn. No matter.

I understand better than most the lure of court.

-Sir Robert. -Hmm?

May I be forward with you?

During my stay here, I-I've noticed... that a certain bond has formed... between yourself and Lady Merivel.

A-And that you are perhaps... although she has warmed considerably... unsure how to further the matter.

Perhaps i-i-i-if I were to broach the subject with her, her natural shyness might find some release?

My God, it's a most delicate situation.

But that might be the very thing.

I think. Well, I'll do what I can.

I will, of course, act most subtly.

Merivel!

I have spoken to Lady Celia, and my impression is... that your advances would not be unwelcome.


Voila! Venus! Uncommonly bright!

A good portent. Venus being the brightest of all the evening stars... and the reigning planet of earthly love.

Come and look.

Uh, uh... Here. Here.

Ah.

-You're right, Merivel. It really is a beautiful star. -Yes.

And it smiles on us from on high.

We are blessed.


Merivel?

Merivel!

No!

No! No!

Celia, you must think no more of the King.

If he is not weary of you now, he soon will be.

-You're wrong, Merivel. The King wants me back.

Do you think he will curtail his amours with the actresses of the playhouse? Never.

He is a loose fish! He cannot be held or kept.

I am your husband, and all that I ask is that you allow me to love you.


It just arrived from the palace, sir.

Mr. Finn has betrayed us.

I-I shall leave for court in the morning.

And, Will, pack one of our pineapples.

I shall take it as a gift to the King, though I fear that...

What, sir?

That no offering of this kind will be enough.

Ah, Merivel!

This is my new plan for our native city, Merivel.

Yes, come along, Merivel.

See how Fleet Street is thus straightened.

And there is here one straight view from Ludgate Circus... past St. Paul's and on to the Royal Exchange.

And here's another street from Smithfield down to the river... where, perhaps, the halls of the lesser companies... might be built along Thames Quay.

All for the beauty, ornament and convenience of the city.

Sit down, Merivel.

Ohh!

I-It is a brave new plan, Sire.

Now, I have...

Do you remember we once made a plan together, Merivel?

And in that plan, love was not asked of you.

Indeed, it was the only thing specifically forbidden of you.

By ignoring what we agreed, you have driven yourself out of paradise.

Out of paradise?

Well, yes. For what is your role now?

I had not intended to love Celia. I do not know how it happened.

It happened because you allowed it to happen.

By trying to be the thing that you were charged with pretending to be, you have rendered yourself useless to me.

I'm taking Bidnold from you.

What'll I do?

Hmm. What did you do before?

I was... I worked as a physician.

Ah, yes. In the hospital.

Well, you can use that skill again.

-I cannot! -Why not, Merivel?

Because I'm afraid.

Precisely. So, au revoir, Merivel.

I shall not say adieu, for who knows, perhaps in the future, history may have another role for you.

Your Majesty, you took me from the Royal College, gave me your dogs to look after, liked me for my foolishness.

No, Merivel.

I liked you for your skill, for then the two were in you... light and dark.

But now, your skill is fallen away... and you are one foolish, quivering mass.

The plague is coming, Merivel, and the plague rouses men from their sleep.


You know, Will, in my time at Bidnold...

I have grown uncommonly fond of you.

And I... if I may say so, sir... am uncommonly fond of you.

So you're off to Mr. Pearce and the Quakers, sir?

I've nowhere else to go.


Ah! How may I help you, friend?

I-I've come to visit my friend, Pearce.

You must be Robert.

Please, enter.

Daniel!

Ah, John told us one day you would like to join us.

-Ah, did he? -Get some oats for the horse.

I do not intend staying long.

I hate being housed up anywhere for too long, sir.

Robert!

Robert!

Pearce! Pearce!

-John. -John?

Here in Whittlesea, I'm John and you're Robert.

I'm bound, after all these years, to find that difficult.

Come on. Let's get you out of the wet and up to your room.

It's the size of one of my linen cupboards.

Here we give prominence to other things, Robert.

When I saw your life before among the terrible luxuries of the courts, I, uh... well, I prayed you would be taken out of it.

And yet I was uncommonly fond of it, Pearce.

This is our new friend Robert.

This is Ambrose, Daniel... and our dear sisters, Hannah and Eleanor.

Robert is well qualified to help us.

He claims to have forgotten medicine, but I know he has not.

-I have. Sadly, I have. -Not.

-Well, regrettably, but in fact... -Stop it.

Lord, send a light to show Robert the way.

Dear Jesus, be with Robert.

God in heaven, take Robert's hand.

Be at his side.

And even when night comes, still be at his side.

Amen.

The inmates are looked after in a series of barns.

This is the men's barn.

And in the women's barn, the invalid friends weave sailcloth.

The keepers must never enter the barns alone.

Yes, I certainly understand.

This is alarming.

This is our work now.

But how has madness undone so many?

By a hundred different ways.

Madness is a brother and sister to misfortune.

Poverty and abandonment are prime causes.

This is Robert! He's come to help us in our work.

Say the name to yourselves... and keep it precious because he is your friend.

-Robert. -Robert.

We have one here, a young Irish woman... Katharine.

She was abandoned one night by her husband.

And now, she will not sleep.

Are you another man sent to do me injustice?

Katharine, this is our new friend Robert. He won't hurt you.

Red may now, having passed under the hoop, endeavor to roquet black.

May we not play a little croquet here, Robert?

Um. No. No. The sight of a croquet hoop... would produce in John a most extraordinary reaction.

What is she doing?

She calls it her leaving step.

That's some kind of dance?

-Hello, Robert. -Hello.

Every man on earth has his leaving step.

If my husband had been a small man, he would not have been able to leave.

He was a large man. Stepped over me as I slept, in one giant stride.

The king, too, being plagued by fools from whom he wishes to walk away, has perfected his leaving step to a walk of unsurpassed elegance.

Show me then that walk.

Um...

Well, sort of...

Uh... I cannot.

My imitation is too poor. The shoes are all wrong and, uh...

But you, too, are a man. Have you not your own leaving step?

No. It is others who leave me.

Lunacy is a devilish liquid thing.

It can only be coaxed out by blood, vomit or feces.

Do you not smell the choler?

See. She's quiet now.

Of course. She's lost a lot of blood.

Do you honestly believe that the bleeding is necessary?

I hope to make her sleep. Sleep is the best thing for her.

Is there not some other way?

Robert, you've not seen the nature of her madness.

She marches up and down at night, shouting and crying.

-What does she shout? -That she is not mad.

Perhaps she is not mad.

On two occasions she tried to take her own life.

Mightn't that be despair?

What you and I would feel were we locked away with the mad.

Why do you tear your clothes?

I'm making windows for my limbs to see through.

Clothes make me blind and I must be watchful at all times, lest someone come to hurt me again.

This is for you. The robe of sleep.

To comfort you, as you comfort your doll.

Robert.

I shall be along shortly.

Why are you afraid to sleep?

Once I fell asleep, but the evil in me was wakeful.

And I let slip my little girl.

Your daughter?

My man was an English soldier. One of Cromwell's.

He was good to my family.

And I was green as a goose.

And fair looking.

It was he who took you to London?

A little girl was born to us and lived three years before she was taken.

She liked to see the boats.

We watched the river and the river watched us... until one day I closed my eyes... and the river took her for drownin'.

You must be watchful always, Robert.

Do not sleep.

We will be watchful for each other.

You can sleep. I will take the first watch.

I cannot.

Across the sea, in the Land of Mar... there is a valley where are kept all the things lost on earth.

Lost kingdoms, lost riches, lost hours, lost loves.

The people go there to discover their lost days and lost deeds.

And often they are surprised to come across a few of their lost wits.

Simply because they'd never in the least missed them.

Robert, if you're seen to be overattentive to one, you'll be seen to be less than attentive to the others.

I helped her to sleep. So perhaps I was near a cure for her.

That is somewhat arrogant.

Cures are not performed by us. Only Jesus cures.

We are merely His agents.

But may we not, as His agents, look to ourselves?

To our own experience to aid in a cure?

When I am ill, I will seek out... at the first sign or footstep of that illness... the services of a physician to help me to a cure.

And the insane man, on the contrary, is not brought to any bedlam or hospital until the disease is far advanced.

For all our inmates there was a time before.

When there was no madness in them.

We should try to ask each one of those in our care... to try to remember how it was to be in the time before.

And to return them there.

Perhaps as sleep returns Katharine to her time before, in times of joy, and in this way we might discover... the imprint of the steps to madness.

There, just under the surface, there could be cures by dancing and laughter.

I see Daniel playing a tarantella.

I see the women dancing like happy children.

I see... I see...

all the things lost on earth.

Robert!

This is not the Court Masque.

I know that!

But you cannot banish joy, for that is the road to madness.

And, and all this... has come to me from the Lord...

I suspect.

Today, instead of walking round the tree, we're gonna dance.

Or skip. Or gallop. Anything.

And your keepers will dance with you.

Um, this is a twirling dance... so why do you not twirl and turn and dance?


Hello, Robert.


One, two and three and four.

Yes! Yes!

Ha ha!

-Dance with me! -Oh, I cannot.

Robert cannot, for he is the music.

Perhaps, uh, John will ask you to dance with him.


Come on!

Why was this music not always with us?

Aha!

John?

John.

Robert.

For a month now, and I'm telling this to you and nobody else, I've felt certain symptoms come upon me.

First, you must rest.

Only then, Pearce, can I prescribe my remedy.

-John. -Ah, John, then, but you'll be neither one nor the other if you allow yourself to die.

I cannot stay in bed, there's so much work to do...

Please do not make me lose my temper!

Have I not a hundred times since we've met allowed you to command me... and done this or that thing at your bidding?

I have. So do not even consider contradicting me!

What do you prescribe?

Syrup of roses to warm your blood and soothe your coughing.

A burdock poultice for your head.

-And for the slime in the lung? -Sal ammoniac.

And a balsam.

Yes, we shall try several dissolved in boiling water and inhaled.

It's all come back to you then, Robert?

The right knowledge at the right time.

Perhaps. We shall see.


Tell me more tales of the Land of Mar.

In the woods there lived great families of badger.

And people liked to bring their children there to see them.

The children are always told that if they are very quiet, they will see them.

As far as I know, they are never quiet enough.


This shall be our meeting place.

Yes.

And I'll wait for ya.

And you'll come to me.

I will.


Merivel?

Why had you go out?

Oh, when I cannot sleep, sometimes I walk... in the air at night.

Let's see.

Hmm.

You're burning up.

You called me Merivel.

Since this fever I've...

I've forgotten your other name.

Robert.

Robert. That's it.

What I do remember is... how I witnessed the beating heart.

Yes, I remember.

You put your hand in and touched it, but I could not.

I remember.

And yet the man felt nothing.

No, he felt nothing.

Pray for me that I might become that man and feel no pain.

I shall.

It is not the plague then?

No. It's his lung. A potent consumption.

Let us pray for our friend John in his time of trouble... that his pain may be the less.

Stay with me.

The pain is less when you stay with me.

Blessed be the name of the Lord... from this time forth and forever more.

From the rising of the sun... and the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised.

It troubles me to take with me to my grave so much that I do not know.

I'd rather you did not talk about the grave, John.

Of course you would.

There are many matters, ever since I met you, upon which you would prefer me to remain silent.

But it has never been my way.

Here.

Your copy of Harvey.

You have a gift, Merivel. Use it.

Robert!

Robert!

Robert is my lover!

Robert!

He is my lover!

Robert!

He is my lover!

Farewell, my friend.

When the time is right, Robert shall leave us.

And he will take Katharine with him.

Why?

Because, Daniel, she is carrying his child.

-Good-bye, Hannah. -Good-bye, Robert.

-Good-bye, Ambrose. -Good-bye, Robert.

Walk on.

He will never teach me croquet now.

Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross To see a fine lady ride on her white horse With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes And she shall have music wherever...

Are you content now?

Why should I not be?

Will you be Quakerish all the way to London?

You know, in Ireland, a man with a horse, a cart, and a book he knows how to read is the catch of the county.

Well, perhaps when we have made fire of the cart, and eaten the horse, wiped our asses with the book, you'll have become acquainted with what you have caught.

Oy! Hop it!

Find the lady.

She's here, she's there, you seek her everywhere.

She's floating in the air.

Where is she? Find the lady.

That was my sixpence if I had played.

-Here is our chance of money. -Here's your chance

-to be shorn like a sheep. -Ho, fellow!

Move on or you'll lose your breeches.

Thank you, but I'm not one of your bog-dwelling Irish bumpkins.

I have had some traffic with the affairs of men.

We must have money.

There's money inside my skirt.

Sarah!

She is simple.

We are doctor and patient.

I am the doctor.

Show me the cards.

Find the lady.

I have lost everything.

Not quite everything, sir.

I cannot. That was a gift from the King.

Pity.

Once more.

"Sir Robert Merivel.

Master of Bidnold".

Show me the cards.

Find the lady.

She's here, she's there, she's floating in the air.

Find the lady.

Nooo!

Oh, I've made her mad again.

Ah, gold!

Heavy as a hen egg against everything he's lost.

-And breakfast. -She's simple.

It's gold. Even-Stevens, then.

And breakfast.

Oh, shame. To rob an idiot girl.

That's not kind, Robert.

Find the lady.

No!

Ha!

But, how?

Simple.

Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross To see a fine lady ride on her white horse With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes She shall have music wherever she goes


Hello?

Hello?

Hello!

I once lived here.

Put your hand on my belly.

I'm frightened that something might happen to take it away.

We'll build him a big strong castle in the Land of Mar, and put him in a high tower where he will be safe.

Where he will feel none of the unkindness of the world; scheming, ugliness.

And should he pass through the valley of lost things, nothing of him will ever be lost.

And we shall call him John.

No one will ever be able to take him from you.

Do not enter, sir.

I've come looking for work.

I, uh, I attended the college.

That ward is struck, and once a ward or a house is struck, then all the people therein are quarantined for 40 days.

-Both sick and well? -Both together.

What happens?

We leave them. Mostly they die.

-What about the physicians? -All fled.

Physicians have become the men most despised.

Perhaps you'd like that, sir.

Physicians used to wear them to purify the air against the plague.

Well, you can keep it.

The physician who wore it comes here no more.

Nor does he go anywhere.

Nor has breath.


John.


You have a gift, Merivel. Use it.

For the child.

Why do you stay with me?

Because the child has weaved our lives together.

I know you don't love me as you've loved others.

Um, perhaps I do not recognize love, Katharine. I'm not a wise man.

In the Land of Mar, which lies just above Africa...

To help you sleep.

You must sleep, Robert, if you are to heal others as you've healed me.

It's all right. It's all right.

We can only wait and pray.

And then, if she should start to slip away?

Then there is only one thing can be done.

Katharine. Katharine.

The baby is large.

You cannot push it out of you.

Is there nothing can be done to save it?

I must cut into the womb.

But if I do, I shall lose you.

And I don't want to lose you, Katharine.

You must save the child.

Are you not afraid?

You're leaving me, I fear.

Nothing else.

Be with me now, Pearce.

Now, help me. Hold back the flesh... while I gently lever the child out.

Ah! Oh! Huh!

Katharine.

Katharine!

There's nothing more I can do.

Sir!

Robert.

It is no John, it is our little girl.

We shall call her Margaret.

Margaret.

I love you, Robert.

I love you.

Keep her safe.

I will.


Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of resurrection to eternal life... the Lord, Jesus Christ who shall...

I write this for you, dear Margaret, to tell you something of my life.

Whatever is good in it I owe to two people... whom I could not save.

Your mother loved you and gave her life for yours.

She was the bravest spirit I ever knew.

The most compassionate was my friend John Pearce.

Now I know I must return to our work in the hospital, and take on the role that was always meant for me.

I have arranged for your safekeeping.

For if I become ill, I will not return.


But they are tied to the bed.

Those already affected with the plague are tied... to prevent them going into the streets like madmen and infecting other people.

But the sick and the well must be separated.

Open it!

I can't, sir. The proclamation. The plague!

Then I shall open it.


The sick and the well they keep quarantined together.

If I were merely to separate them, a great many lives would be saved.

Who do I have to thank for this kindness?

One John Pearce.

The sick I can offer no cure.

But my presence among them may bring with it some hope.

Fear is our greatest enemy.

And hope our best weapon against the disease.

They have mistaken me for John Pearce.

A mistake to which I have contributed.

I allow them to continue to honor my friend.

Dr. Pearce.

Excellent.

There you are. Mary will show you out.

Margaret.

-Dr. Pearce. -Who calls?


Pearce.

I give her into your hands.

Call for any medicines. Anything you deem suitable.


Why have they sent another doctor to me?

You must want to live, Lady Celia.

No.

Not in so wretched a state.

Tell me, Doctor, why is it that those that we love... do not love us in return?

I once loved a woman who did not love me.

Yet I believed that she did.

Is it not equally possible... to mistakenly feel unloved?

I am one of many.

I know no special place in the King's heart.

The King does love you, Lady Celia.

Why would he reveal such intimacies to you and not to me?

He told me nothing, but I recognized in him... the very feelings I myself have known.

How may I arrive at such an understanding?

I used to look to the constellations for some explanation... in mysterious times of my own life.

But the stars hold only part of the answer, Lady Celia.

Now I look toward myself and those who believed in me and loved me for the man I was.

Now I know we have the power to shape our own destiny.

Your voice sounds familiar.

Perhaps from some other time in my life, when I was a child.

Yes.

Perhaps when we were children.

Sire, I am familiar with the many symptoms of the plague.

Lady Celia suffers from a different illness, a fever, which I have treated and from which she will recover.

And something else... She is with child.

Good Doctor, you have made my heart exceeding glad.

But she is still haunted by a profound melancholy.

It can be relieved only by some assurance of love.

I do believe I understand you.

I believe I do.

And now you must remove your headdress... and make yourself known to us.

That, if Your Majesty will forgive me, I cannot do.

I only hope I've proved useful.

A large part of the city is on fire.

Boatsman!

Go in!

All right.

I must find my daughter.

Now, go in closer!


-Am I not near Cheapside? -Save yourself, sir.

Cheapside is gone.

-Where am I? -Get away from me!

-What street is this? -I don't know!

Margaret!

Margaret!


Someone in there.


Where am I?

You have come back to Bidnold.

Will.

I remember the journey.

I think not, sir.

You were asleep for the most part of it.

They found you 15 miles from here.

Stuck fast under a tree.

Margaret?

No word of Margaret?

Sir?

I wish you might have known her, Will.

I had a little daughter. A most beautiful little girl.


I feel as though old age has come upon me in the space of a moment.


I fear I'm dreaming.

No, Merivel. You are awake.

-Lady Celia has recovered. -She was ill, Sire?

Yes, and I was led to believe that a colleague of yours, a certain John Pearce, was responsible for her recovery.

However, Celia thinks differently.

And her suspicions were confirmed... when a midwife carrying a very young child... came to our palace in search of one...

Robert Merivel.

Your child, I believe.


Merivel.

I am not mistaken, am I, Merivel, about your love for this place? -No, Sire.

There are here in Bidnold certain combinations of color...

I do not think exist anywhere else in the world.

Yes, quite.

Yes, your man Gates sent to us and told us that... you had returned to your house.

My house, Sire?

Yes.

I am giving you Bidnold... until my reign is over and another age comes.

What was taken from you is restored to you... in return for the lives you've saved... and the man that you have become.

It is your house, Merivel.

And I shall never take it from you.

And I have commissioned a portrait of you.

And it shall be called "A Physician".

The fire in its fury has consumed the great plague.

Misfortune may leave behind unlooked-for blessings, none dearer than you, my little Margaret.

I will return to the city to my work as a doctor, and the rebuilding of the King's hospital.

The stars that once confused me... seem now to light a path that is clear, that I have in truth been traveling for all these days.

Where I met what came and left behind my sorrows.

And I'm traveling still.