The Age of Innocence (1993) Script


I didn't think the Mingotts would have tried it on.

Parading her at the opera like that.

Sitting her next to May Welland. It's all very odd.

Well, she's had such an odd life.

Will they bring her to the Beauforts' ball?

If they do, the talk will be of little else.

Good evening, Mrs. Welland. Good evening, May.


You know my niece, Countess Olenska.


I hope you've told Madame Olenska.


That we're engaged.

I want everybody to know.

Let me announce this evening it at the ball.

If you can persuade Mama.

Why should we change what is already settled?

But you can tell my cousin yourself. She remembers you.

I remember we played together. How this brings it all back to me.

I remember everybody in knickerbockers and pantalettes.

You were horrid.

You kissed me once behind a door.

But it was Vandy, who never looked at me, that I loved.

You have been away a very long time. Centuries and centuries.

So long, I'm sure I'm dead and this dear place is heaven.

It invariably happened, as everything did in those days... in the same way.

As usual...

Mrs. Julius Beaufort appeared, unaccompanied by her husband... just before "The Jewel Song."

And, again as usual, rose at the end of the third act... and disappeared.

New York then knew that a half-hour later... the Beauforts' annual opera ball would begin.

Carriages waited at the curb for the entire performance.

It was known in New York but never acknowledged... that Americans want to leave amusement... even more quickly than they want to get to it.

The Beauforts' house was one of the few in New York with a ballroom.

Such a room, shuttered in darkness 364 days of the year... was felt to compensate for whatever was regrettable in the Beaufort past.

Regina Beaufort came from an old South Carolina family.

But her husband, Julius, who passed for an Englishman... was known to have dissipated habits, a bitter tongue... and mysterious antecedents.

His marriage assured him a social position... but not necessarily respect.

Newland Archer hadn't stopped at his club, as young men usually did... but came directly to the ball.

He wanted the announcement of his engagement... to divert gossip away from the countess... and show his most ardent support for May and her whole family.

The Beaufort house had been boldly planned.

Instead of squeezing through a passage to get to the ballroom... one marched solemnly down a vista of enfiladed drawing rooms.

But only by passing through the crimson drawing room... could one see The Return of Spring... the much-discussed nude by Bouguereau... which Beaufort had had the audacity to hang in plain sight.

Archer enjoyed such challenges to convention.

He questioned conformity in private... but in public he upheld family and tradition.

This was a world balanced so precariously... that its harmony could be shattered by a whisper.

On the whole, Archer was amused by the smooth hypocrisies of his peers.

He may even have envied them.

Lawrence Lefferts, for instance... was New York's foremost authority on form.

His opinion on pumps versus patent-leather oxfords... had never been disputed.

On matters of surreptitious romance... his skills went unquestioned.

Old Mr. Sillerton Jackson was as great an authority on family... as Lawrence Lefferts was on form.

The mean and melancholy history of Countess Olenska's European marriage... was a buried treasure he hastened to excavate.

He carried, like a calling card... an entire register of the scandals and mysteries... that had smoldered under the unruffled surface of society... for the last 50 years.

Now, Julius Beaufort's secret was the way he carried things off.

He could arrive casually at his party as if he were another guest... and might leave early... for a more modest but comforting address in the East 30s.

He was intrepid in his business... but in his personal affairs, absolutely audacious.

Archer's fiancée was innocent of all these intrigues and of much else.

May Welland represented for Archer all that was best in their world... all that he honored. And she anchored him to it.

I've told my friends, just as you asked.

I couldn't wait.

I wish it hadn't been at a ball. But even here we're alone.

The worst of it is that I want to kiss you and I can't.

Did you tell Ellen as I asked you to?

I didn't have a chance after all.

She's my cousin. If others know before she does...

She's been away for so long. She's rather sensitive.

I'll tell her. But I didn't see her yet.

She didn't come at the last minute. At the last minute?

She thought her dress wasn't smart enough.

We thought it was lovely, but she asked to be taken home.

Oh, well.

Very handsome.

Very liberal.

In my time, a cameo set in pearls was thought to be sufficient.

But it's the hand that sets off the ring, isn't it?

The setting shows the stone beautifully.

But it looks bare to old-fashioned eyes.

I hope you don't mean mine, my dear. I like all the novelties.

My hands were modeled in Paris by the great Rochet. He should do May's.

Show me, child.

Her hand is so tempered.

These modern sports spread the joints.

But the skin is white.

When's the wedding?

Soon, if only you'll back me up, Mrs. Mingott.

We must give them time to know each other better.

Know each other?

Everyone in New York has always known everyone.

Don't wait till the bubble's off the wine. Marry before Lent.

I may catch pneumonia, and I want to give the wedding breakfast.

What a kind offer.

Even if she hadn't been May's grandmother...

Mrs. Manson Mingott would have been the first to receive... the required betrothal visit.

She was not only the matriarch of this world... she was nearly its dowager empress.

Much of New York was related to her... and she knew the remainder by marriage or by reputation.

Though brownstone was the norm... she lived magisterially within a large house... of controversial pale, cream-colored stone... in an inaccessible wilderness near the Central Park.

The burden of her flesh had long since made it impossible... for her to climb stairs.

So with characteristic independence... she had established herself on the ground floor of her house.

From her sitting room, there was an unexpected vista of her bedroom.

Her visitors were fascinated by the foreignness of this arrangement... which recalled scenes in French fiction.

This was how women with lovers lived in the wicked old societies.

But if she had wanted a lover... the intrepid woman would have had him too.

For now, she was content simply... for life and passion to flow northward to her door... and to anticipate eagerly the union of Newland Archer... with her granddaughter, May.

In them, two of New York's best families... would finally and momentously be joined.

Goodbye, Mama. Goodbye.


Beaufort, this is a rare favor.

Unnecessarily rare, I'd say.

I met Countess Ellen, and she let me walk home with her.

This house will be merrier now that she's here.

Thank you. Beaufort, pull up that tuffet.

I want a good gossip.

You already know about May and me.

She scolded me for not telling you.

Of course I know, and I'm so glad.

One doesn't tell such news first in a crowd.

Careful there.

Don't catch your ring on your sleeve.



Come and see me someday.

It's a mistake for Ellen to parade up 5th Avenue with Julius... at the crowded hour... the very day after her arrival.

He's so flagrant. Even his wife must know about Annie Ring.

Sillerton Jackson enjoyed his frequent visits to the Archer home... more than the actual dining.

Newland Archer's mother... and his sister Janey were both shy women and shrank from society.

But they liked to be well-informed and doted on their bachelor friend.

Certain nuances escape Beaufort.

Necessarily. Beaufort is a vulgar man.

Not in business. Most of New York trusts him with its affairs.

My Grandfather Newland always told Mother:

"Don't let that Beaufort be introduced to the girls."

At least he's had the advantage of association with gentlemen.

The Archers and the Mingotts were the sturdiest branches... of New York's tangled family tree.

Granny Mingott's family could embrace May's traditionalism... and tolerate Ellen's unconventionality.

But Archer's family held fast to the old ways.

His mother and sister relied on him for every security.

He would always be, Mrs. Archer assured May's mother:

"Their strong right hand."

Was our new cousin at the ball?

I appreciate the Mingotts' support of her, having her at the opera.

I admire their esprit de corps.

But why my son's engagement... should be mixed up with her comings and goings, I don't see.

In any case, she was not at the ball.

At least she had that decency.

Does she wear a round hat or a bonnet in the afternoon?

The dress she wore to the opera was so plain.

It was in better taste not to go. It wasn't taste.

May said Ellen decided her dress wasn't smart enough.

Poor Ellen.

We must always remember the eccentric bringing-up she had.

What can you expect of a girl who wore black satin at her coming-out ball?

It's odd she kept such an ugly name as Ellen when she married the count.

I'd have changed it to Elaine.


I don't know.

It sounds more...


It sounds more conspicuous. That can hardly be what she wishes.

Why shouldn't she be conspicuous if she chooses?

She made an awful marriage, but should she hide her head?

Should she slink around as if she disgraced herself?

She's had a sad life. That doesn't make her an outcast.

I'm sure that's the line the Mingotts mean to take.

I needn't wait for their cue, if that's what you mean.

I'm told she's looking for a house. She intends to live here.

I hear she means to get a divorce.

I hope she will.

Understandably, her marriage was intolerable.

There are the rumors too. I've heard them.

The secretary.

He helped get her away from the husband.

They say the count kept her practically a prisoner.

Certainly the count had his own way of life.

You knew him? I heard of him at Nice.

Handsome, they say... but eyes with a lot of lashes.

When he wasn't with women... he was collecting china.

Paying any price for both, I understand.

Then where's the blame?

Any one of us would have helped the countess, just as the secretary did.

He was still helping her a year later.

Somebody met them living together at Lausanne.

Living together?

Why not? She has the right to make her life over.

Why bury a woman alive if her husband prefers whores?

It's hardly a question of entombment.

The countess is here, after all.

Or do you believe a woman should share the same freedoms as men?

I suppose I do. Yes, I do.

Apparently Count Olenski takes a similarly modern view.

I never heard of him lifting a finger to get his wife back.

Three days later, the unthinkable happened.

Mrs. Manson Mingott sent out invitations... summoning everyone to a formal dinner.

Such an occasion demanded the most careful consideration.

It required the appropriate plate.

It called for three extra footmen... two dishes for each course and a Roman punch in the middle.

The dinner, read the invitation... was "to meet the Countess Olenska."

And New York declined.

"Regret, unable to accept."

And from our own family.

No one cares enough... to conceal their feelings about the countess. This is a disgrace.

They all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world.

The real thing was never said or done or even thought... but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.

Archer knew these signs. They were not subtle and were not meant to be.

They were more than a simple snubbing.

They were an eradication.

There was a single court of appeal.

He would plead their case before the van der Luydens.

And all this, you think, is due to some intentional interference by...

Larry Lefferts. I'm certain of it.

The van der Luydens dwelled above all the cities' families... in a kind of superterrestrial twilight.

Archer appealed to their exquisitely refined sense of tribal order.

And he spoke plainly.

Whenever poor Gertrude Lefferts begins to suspect her husband of something...

Larry makes some great diversionary fuss to show how moral he is.

It's the principle that I dislike.

I mean, if a member of a well-known family is backed by that family... it should be considered final.

We felt this slight on the countess shouldn't pass without consulting you.

We're giving a dinner for our cousin, the Duke of St. Austrey... who arrives next week on the Russia.

I'm sure Louisa will be as glad as I am... if Countess Olenska will let us include her among our guests.

The occasion was a solemn one.

But the countess arrived rather late... signaling a carelessness of which she was entirely unaware.

She entered, without haste or embarrassment... the drawing room in which New York's most chosen company... was somewhat awfully assembled.

Countess Olenska.

Good evening.

We're delighted you're here.

The Duke of St. Austrey. May I present Countess Olenska.

The Trevenna George II plate was out.

So was the van der Luyden Lowestoft from the East India Company... and the Dagonet Crown Derby.

Dining with the van der Luydens was, at best, no light matter.

Dining there with a duke who was their cousin... was almost a religious solemnity.

When the van der Luyden's chose, they knew how to give a lesson.

Excuse me.

It was not the custom in New York... for a lady to get up and walk away from one gentleman... in order to seek the company of another.

But the countess did not observe this rule.

I want you to talk to me about May.

You knew the duke before?

From Nice.

We saw him every winter. He's fond of gambling and came to our house often.

He wears the same suit every evening. He thinks it brings him luck.

He's the dullest man I ever met.

But he seems to be admired here.

May I tell you what most interests me about New York?

Not all the blind obeying of somebody else's tradition.

It seems stupid to make America a copy of another country.

Would Columbus have taken such trouble just to go to the opera with Lefferts?

If he'd known Larry Lefferts were here, he might never have left port.

And May? Does she share these views?

If she does, she'd never say so.

Are you very much in love with her?

As much as a man can be.

Do you think there's a limit?

If there is, I haven't found it.

It's really and truly a romance then.

Not in the least arranged?

In our country, we don't allow our marriages to be arranged.

Yes, I forgot. I'm sorry.

I sometimes make these mistakes.

I don't always remember that everything here is good... that was bad where I came from.

I'm so sorry.

But you know you are among friends here.

Yes, I know. That's why I came home.

You'll want to be with May.

She's already surrounded by so many rivals.

Then stay with me a little longer.


Mr. Urban Dagonet, the Countess Olenska.

How do you do, my dear? How do you do?

Tomorrow then, after 5, I'll expect you.


Excuse me.

It was good of you to devote yourself... to Madame Olenska so unselfishly, dear Newland.

I told Henry he really must rescue you.

I think I've never seen May looking lovelier.

The duke thinks her the handsomest woman in the room.

Mr. Archer.

So how do you like this odd little house?

To me, it's like heaven.

You've arranged it delightfully.

Some of the things I managed to bring with me.

Little pieces of wreckage.

At least it's less gloomy than the van der Luydens'... and not so difficult to be alone.

I'm sure it's often thought the van der Luydens' is gloomy... though I've never heard it said before.

Do you really like to be alone?

As long as my friends keep me from being lonely.

I see you've already chosen your corner.

Please, sit. Thank you.

This is the hour I like best.

Don't you?

I was afraid you'd forgotten the hour.

I'm sure Beaufort can be very intriguing.

He took me to see some houses.

I'm told I must move, even though this street seems perfectly respectable.

Yes, but it's not fashionable. Fashionable?

Is fashion such a serious consideration?

Among people with nothing more serious to consider.

Perhaps I've been too independent.

All I really want is to feel cared for and safe.

The van der Luydens do nothing by halves.

All New York laid itself out for you last night.

It was so kind. Such a nice party.

Cream or lemon?

Lemon, please.

The van der Luydens are the most powerful influence in society.

They very seldom receive because of Cousin Louisa's health.

Perhaps that's the reason then. Thank you. The reason?

For their influence. They make themselves so rare.

But of course you must tell me.

No, it's you telling me.

Then we can both help each other.

But I need help so much more.

There are so many people already... to tell you what to do.

I think they're all a little angry with me for setting up for myself.

Still, your family can advise you, show you the way.

Is New York such a labyrinth?

I thought it was all straight up and down, like 5th Avenue.

All the cross streets numbered... and big honest labels on everything.

Everything is labeled... but everybody is not.

I must count on you for warnings too.

All the older women like you. They want to help.

I know. As long as they don't hear anything unpleasant.

Does no one here want to know the truth, Mr. Archer?

The real loneliness is living among all these kind people... who only ask you to pretend.

No, you mustn't.

Madame Olenska.


Does no one cry here, either?

I suppose there's no need to.

Oh, Mr. Archer, good evening.

We didn't see you and weren't sure whether to send Miss Welland...

Lilies of the valley. Let's make it a standing order.

Very good, sir.

And those yellow roses. I'll give you another address.

Very good.

Mr. Archer. Two separate orders.

They'll go at once? At once.

It's wonderful to wake with lilies of the valley.

It's like being with you.

They came late yesterday, I know. Time got away from me.

But still, you always remember.

I sent roses to Ellen too. Was that right?

Very right.

She didn't mention it at lunch today, though.

She got some wonderful orchids from Mr. Beaufort... and a hamper of carnations from Henry van der Luyden.

She was so very delighted. Don't people send flowers in Europe?

I know you consider it a long time. Very long.

But the Chivers were engaged for a year and a half, the Lefferts for two.

Mama expects something customary.

Since you were little, you've had your way. You're almost 22.

Just tell your mother what you want.

I can't refuse her the last thing she'd ask of me.

Can't we just strike out for ourselves?

Shall we elope?

If you would, why not?

You do love me, Newland. I'm so happy.

Well, why not be happier?

I couldn't be happier, dearest.

I showed Ellen the ring. She thought it was the most beautiful setting.

She said there was nothing like it in the Rue de la Paix.

I do love you, Newland.

Everything you do is so special.

I want to call on your legal skills for a rather delicate matter.

Countess Olenska wants to divorce her husband.

It's been suggested she means to marry again... although she denies it.

I beg your pardon, but because of my engagement... perhaps another member of the firm could consider this.

Precisely because of your prospective alliance... and considering members of the family asked for you...

I'd like you to consider it.

It's a family matter. Perhaps it's best settled by the family.

Their position is clear.

They're entirely and rightly against a divorce.

But Countess Olenska still insists on a legal opinion.

But, really, what's the use of a divorce?

She's here.

He's there.

The whole Atlantic's between them.

As things go, Olenski's acted generously.

He's returned some of the money without being asked.

She'll never get a dollar more than that.

Although I understand she attaches no importance to the money.

Considering all that, the wisest thing is to do as the family say.

Just let well enough alone.

I think that's for her to decide.

Have you considered the consequences if the countess decides for divorce?

Consequences for the countess? For everyone.

I don't think the count's accusations are anything more than vague charges.

It will make for some talk.

I've heard talk about the countess and the secretary... even before I read the legal papers.

It's certain to be unpleasant.


Divorce is always unpleasant, don't you agree?


Then I can count on you?

The family can count on you to use your influence against a divorce?

I can't promise that. Not until I've talked to the countess.

I don't understand you.

You want to marry into a family with a divorce hanging over it?

I don't think that has anything to do with the case.

Can someone take this to the countess?

You refuse such an invitation on threat of death.

Is it so bad?

Not if you have a taste for slow agony.

I've neglected to cultivate that. Three days with the van der Luydens!

Take your fur and a hot-water bottle. Is the house that cold?

No, but Louisa is. Mr. Archer.

Come to Delmonico's on Sunday. I'm having an oyster supper in your honor.

Private room, congenial company, artists and so on.

That's tempting. I haven't met a single artist since my arrival.

I know some painters I could bring to see you.

Painters? Are there any painters in New York?

Thank you, but I was really thinking of singers, actors, musicians... dramatic artists.

There were always so many at my husband's house.

May I let you know tomorrow? It's too late to decide tonight.

Is this late?

Yes, because I still have to talk business with Mr. Archer.

Of course, Newland... if you can persuade the countess to change her mind... you can join us too.

You know painters, then? You live in their milieu?

Not exactly. But you care about such things?

Immensely. When I'm in Europe, I never miss an exhibition.

I try to keep up.

I used to care immensely too.

My life was full of such things.

But now I want to cast off all my old life to be an American... and be like everyone else.

I doubt you'll ever quite be like everybody else.

Don't say that. I want to put all the old things behind me.

I know.

Mr. Letterblair told me.

Mr. Letterblair?

Yes, I've come because he asked me to. I'm in the firm.

You mean it'll be you who'll manage everything for me?

I can talk to you. That's easier. Yes, I'm here to talk about it.

I've read all the legal papers.

And the letter from the count.

It was vile.

But if he chooses to fight, he can say things that might be un...

That are disagreeable to you. Say them publicly... so that they could be damaging even if...


Even if they were unfounded.

What harm could accusations like that do me here?

Perhaps more harm than anywhere else.

Our legislation favors divorce, but our social customs don't.


Well, not if the woman... has appearances... in the least degree against her, has exposed herself... by any unconventional behavior... to offensive insinuations and...

Yes. So my family tell me.

Our family. You'll be my cousin soon.

And you agree with them?

What could you possibly gain that would make up for the scandal?

My freedom.

But aren't you free already?

It's my business to help you see these things... the way people who are fondest of you see them.

If I didn't show you how they judge such matters, it wouldn't be fair.

No, it wouldn't be fair.

Very well.

I'll do as you wish.

I do want to help you.

You do help me.

Good night, cousin.

For mercy's sake, don't cry so bitterly.

Forget what I've done! On one condition.

I accept it, whatever it may be.

Never speak a word of love to me again.


On my honor.

Heaven bless you.


It's fascinating.

Every season, same play, same scene, same effect on the audience.

Remarkable, isn't it?

I'm enjoying this more than in London.

Do you see this play when you travel? I'd travel to get away from it.

Was it a dinner? A reception at Mrs. Struthers'... given on the Lord's day... but with champagne and singing from the tabletops.

People say there was dancing.

It was a French Sunday then?

Dissipation can be wonderfully energizing in the early stages...

Do you think her lover will send her a box of yellow roses tomorrow morning?

I was thinking about that too.

The farewell scene.

Yes, I know.

It touches me as well.

I usually leave after that scene, to take the picture away with me.

I had a letter from May from St. Augustine.

They always spend the winter there, on account of her mother's bronchitis.

And what do you do while May is away?

I do my work.

I do want you to know what you advised me was right.

Things can be so difficult sometimes... and I'm so grateful.

The next day, Newland Archer searched the city in vain for yellow roses.

He sent a note to Madame Olenska... asking to call that afternoon and requesting a reply by messenger.

There was no reply that day or the next.

And when yellow roses were again available...

Archer passed them by.

It was only on the third day that he heard from her by post... from the van der Luydens' home.

"Newland, I ran away the day after I saw you at the play... and these kind friends took me in.

I wanted to be quiet and think things over.

I feel so safe here. I wish that you were with us.

Yours sincerely."

He had received an invitation from the Lefferts for a weekend on the Hudson.

He hoped it was not too late to reply.

Their house was not far from the van der Luydens'

I came to see what you ran away from.

I knew you'd come. That shows you wanted me to.

May wrote she asked you to take care of me.

I didn't need to be asked. Why?

Am I so helpless and defenseless?

Or are women here so blessed they never feel need?

What sort of need?

Oh, please, don't ask me. I don't speak your language.

Henry left the patroon house open for me. I want you to see it.

When you wrote me, you were unhappy.

Yes, but I can't feel unhappy when you're here.

I shan't be here long.

I know.

If you really wanted me to come...

if I'm really to help you...

you must tell me what you're running from.

Is he what you're running from?

Or what you expected?

I didn't know he was here.

Hello, Beaufort.

This way. Madame Olenska was expecting you.

You've certainly led me on a bit of a chase.

All this way just to tell you I've found the perfect house for you.

It's not on the market yet, so you must take it now.

Well, Archer. Rusticating?

That night he did not take the customary comfort... in his monthly shipment of London books.

The taste of the usual was like cinders in his mouth.

There were moments when he felt as if he were... being buried alive under his future.

Newland, come late tomorrow. I must explain to you. Ellen.

Has anything happened? Yes.

I found I had to see you.

What is it?


Tell me what you do all day.

There are a few very pleasant people... from Philadelphia and Baltimore picnicking at the inn.

And the Merrys are setting up a lawn tennis court... but nobody here has really heard of the game yet, so...

I have my racket and so does Kate Merry...

I came here because I thought I could persuade you to break away from that.

To advance our engagement.

Don't you understand how much I want to marry you?

Why should we dream away another year?

I'm not sure I do understand.

Are you not certain of feeling the same way about me?

What on earth do you mean?

Is there someone else?

Someone else?

Between you and me?

Let's talk frankly, Newland.

I've felt a difference in you, especially since our engagement.

What? If it's untrue, it won't hurt to talk.

And if it is true, we should talk. You might've made a mistake.

If I'd made a mistake, would I be asking to hurry our marriage?

I don't know. You might.

It'd be one way to settle the question.

In Newport, two years ago... before we were promised... everyone said there was someone else for you.

I saw you with her, sitting together on a veranda at a dance.

When she came into the house, her face looked so sad...

I felt sorry for her. Even after, when we were engaged...

I could still see how she looked...

Is that all you've been concerned about?

It's long past.

Then is there something else?


Of course not.

Whatever it may have been...

I can't have my happiness made out of a wrong to someone else.

If promises were made, or if you feel pledged to this person... even if it means her divorce, don't give her up because of me.

There are no pledges.

There are no promises that matter.

That's all I've been trying to say. There is no one between us, May.

Which is precisely my argument for getting married... quickly.

He could feel her dropping back to inexpressive girlishness.

Her conscience had been eased of its burden.

"It was wonderful," he thought...

"how such depths of feeling could coexist... with such an absence of imagination."

And did you succeed? No.

I'd still like to be married in April, with your help.

Now you're seeing the Mingott way. Is this really so difficult?

The family is difficult. Not one of them wants to be different.

And when they are, they end up like Ellen's parents.

Nomads. Continental wanderers.

Dragging Ellen about.

Lavishing on her an expensive but incoherent education.

Out of them all, there's not one that takes after me but my little Ellen.

You've got a quick eye. Why in the world didn't you marry her?

For one thing, she wasn't there to be married.

No, to be sure.

And she's still not.

The count, you know... wrote to Mr. Letterblair.

He wants her back.

On her own terms.

The count doesn't defend himself, I will say that.

And Ellen will be losing a great deal if she stayed here.

There's her old life: gardens at Nice... jewels, of course, music and conversation.

She says she goes unnoticed in Europe.

But I know her portrait's been painted nine times.

All this, and the remorse of a guilty husband.

I'd rather see her dead.

Would you really?

We should remember marriage is marriage, and Ellen is still a wife.

Ellen! See who's here!

Yes, I know. I went to see your mother to ask where you'd gone.

Since you never answered my note, I was afraid you might be ill.

He was in a rush to get married, that's why.

Off the train and straight here. He wants me to use my influence... to marry his sweetheart sooner.


Surely between us we can persuade the Wellands to do as he wishes.

Newland, you see? Right to the problem, like me.

I told him he should've married you.

And what did he say?

Oh, my darling, I leave you to find that out.

I wish I didn't have to leave. I'll see you soon, I hope.


I'll see you out.

When can I see you?

The Struthers are sending the carriage at 7.

Good evening.

Who's so ridiculous to send a bouquet?

I'm not going to a ball, and I'm not engaged.

Nastasia. Some people are always ridiculous.

Take these to that nice family down the street.

Well... in almost everything she says there's something true... and something untrue.


What has Granny been telling you?

She believes you might go back to your husband.

I think she believes you might at least consider it.

A lot of things have been believed of me.

But if she thinks I'd consider it, it also means she'd consider it for me.

As Granny is weighing your idea of advancing the marriage.

May and I had a frank talk in Florida.

It's probably our first.

She wants a long engagement to give me time.

Time for what?

She thinks I want to marry her at once... to get away from someone... that I care for... more.

Time to give her up for another woman?

If I want to.

It's very noble.


It's ridiculous.


Because there is no other woman?


Because I don't mean to marry anyone else.

This other woman. Does she love you too?

There is no other woman. The person May meant was never...

That must be your carriage.


I suppose I should be leaving soon.

To Mrs. Struthers?


I must go where I'm invited or I should be too lonely.

Why not come with me?

May guessed the truth.

There is another woman.

Only not the one she thinks.

Don't make love to me. Too many have done that.

I never have. I'd have married you had it been possible.

It's you who made it impossible. I've made it?!

You made me give up divorcing.

You talked to me, in this house, about sacrifice... and sparing scandal!

For you and May, I did what you asked!

The things in your husband's letter... I had nothing to fear from that.

I was just afraid of scandal for the family and you and May.


Nothing's done that can't be undone.

I'm still free.

You can be too.


Can I marry May now? Do you see me marrying May now?

I don't see you asking May that, do you?

I have to. It's too late to do anything else.

You say that because it's the easiest thing to say, not because it's true.

I don't understand you.

Because you don't realize how you've changed things for me.

You don't know all that you've done. All I've done?

All the good things you've done for me that I never knew.

Going to the van der Luydens because people refused to meet me.

Announcing your engagement at the ball... so there would be two families behind me instead of one.

I never understood how dreadful people thought I was.

Granny blurted it out one day. I was stupid. I never thought...

New York meant freedom to me. Everyone seemed so kind... and glad to see me.

They never knew what it meant to be tempted, but you did. You understood.

I'd never known that before... and it's better than anything I've known.

Newland, you couldn't be happy if it meant being cruel.

If we act any other way, you'll act against what I love in you most.

And I can't go back to that way of thinking.

Don't you see? I can't love you unless I give you up.

"Ellen, Granny's telegram succeeded. Mama agreed to marriage after Easter.

Only a month. I will telegraph Newland.

I'm too happy for words and love you dearly. Your grateful cousin, May."

There had been wild rumors... until the wedding that Mrs. Mingott would actually attend the ceremony.

She had sent a carpenter to measure the front pew... in case it might be altered to accommodate her.

But this idea, like the great lady herself... was unwieldy, and she settled for giving the wedding breakfast.

The Countess Olenska sent her regrets. She was traveling with an aunt.

But gave the bride and groom an exquisite piece of old lace.

Two elderly aunts in Rhinebeck offered a honeymoon cottage.

Since it was thought "very English" to have a country house on loan... their offer was accepted.

When the house proved suddenly uninhabitable, however...

Henry van der Luyden offered... an old cottage on his property nearby.

May accepted the offer as a surprise for her husband.

She'd never seen the house, but her cousin Ellen had mentioned it.

She had said it was the only house in America... where she could imagine being perfectly happy.

They traveled to the expected places, which May had never seen.

In London, Archer ordered his clothes. They went to the National Gallery... and to the theater.

I hope I don't look ridiculous. I've never dined out in London.

English women dress like everyone else in the evening.

How can you say that when they're at the theater in old ball dresses?

Maybe they save their new dresses for home.

Then I shouldn't have worn this. You look very fine.

Really, quite beautiful.

In Paris, she ordered her clothes.

There were trunks of dresses from Worth.

They visited the Tuileries.

May's hands were modeled in marble at Rochet's studio.

And occasionally, they dined out.

But tell me, you were saying you were actually advised by Maupassant?

Unfortunately, I was advised not to write.

Archer embraced his new marriage... even as he reverted to his old ideas about matrimony.

It was less trouble to conform with tradition.

There was no use trying to emancipate a wife... who hadn't the dimmest notion that she wasn't free.

In London we only managed one day at the National.

We were taken up by a Mrs. Carfry and Mrs. Harle.

We had a good talk.

He's interesting. We talked about books and many different things.

I thought I'd invite him to dinner.

The Frenchman? Yes.

I didn't have much chance to talk to him, but wasn't he a little common?


I thought he was clever.

I suppose I shouldn't have known if he was clever.

Then I won't ask him to dine.

With a chill, he knew that in future... many problems would be solved for him in this same way.

The first six months of marriage were said to be the hardest... and after that... they would have nearly finished polishing down all the rough edges.

But May's pressure was already wearing down... the very roughness he most wanted to keep.

As for the madness with Madame Olenska, he trained himself... to remember it as the last of his discarded experiments.

She remained in his memory simply as the most plaintive... and poignant... of a line of ghosts.

She's very deft.

That's the only kind of target she'll ever hit.

No one could ever be jealous of May's triumphs.

She gave the feeling that she would've been just as serene without them.

But what if all her calm, her niceness... were just a negation... a curtain dropped in front of an emptiness?

Archer felt he had never yet lifted that curtain.

Quite stunning, isn't it?

It's Julius Beaufort who donates the club's prizes, isn't it?

This looks like him, of course. It will make quite an heirloom.

You should leave it to your eldest daughter.

What? Will there be no daughters?

Only sons? Can't I say that either? Look at her blushing.

Ellen! Ellen! Are you upstairs?

She's over from Portsmouth, spending the day.

It's such a nuisance. She won't stay in Newport.

Insists on putting up with those... What's their name? Blenkers.

But I gave up arguing with young people 50 years ago.

I'm sorry, ma'am. Miss Ellen's not in the house.

She's left? I saw her going down the shore path.

Run down and fetch her like a good grandson.

May and I will have a gossip about Julius Beaufort.

Go ahead. She'll want to see you both.

Is it true Beaufort has given Annie Ring a diamond bracelet?

I hear he even plans to bring her to Newport.

He'd heard her name often during the year and a half since they'd last met.

He was even familiar with the main incidents of her life.

But he heard all these accounts with detachment... as if listening to reminiscences of someone long dead.

But the past had come again into the present... as in those newly discovered caverns in Tuscany... where children had lit bunches of straw... and seen old images staring from the wall.

He gave himself a single chance.

She must turn before the sailboat crosses the Lime Rock light.

Then he would go to her.

I'm sorry you didn't find her, but I've heard she's changed.


So indifferent to her old friends. Summering in Portsmouth.

Moving to Washington. Sometimes, I think we've always bored her.

Perhaps she'd be happier with her husband after all.

I've never heard you be cruel before. Cruel?

Even demons don't think people are happier in hell.

Then she shouldn't have married abroad.

Let me.

Walk on.

The Blenkers?

A party for the Blenkers?

Who are they?

The Portsmouth people. The ones Ellen is staying with.

"Professor and Mrs. Sillerton request the pleasure Wednesday afternoon... at 3:00 punctually to meet Mrs. and the Misses Blenker.

Red Gables, Catherine Street."

I don't think we can decline.

I don't see why, really. He's an archaeologist...

And he's Sillerton Jackson's cousin.

Of course. Some of us will have to go.

I'll go over. Janey, why don't you come with me?

I'm sure Ellen will be there. You'll have a chance to see her.

Newland, you can find a way to spend your afternoon, can't you?

I think for a change I'll just save it instead of spending it.

Maybe I'll go see about a new horse for the brougham.

At least the Jacksons didn't pick the day of the Cup Race for their party.


I'm sorry, did you ring? I've been asleep in the hammock.

I didn't mean to disturb you.

Are you Miss Blenker? I'm Newland Archer.

I've heard so much about you.

I came up to look for a new horse. I thought I'd call, but no one's home.

Yes, they're all at the party.

Everyone's there but me with my fever and Countess Olenska.

Oh, you found my parasol!

It's my best one. It's from the Cameroons.

It's very pretty.

The countess was called away?

Yes, a telegram came from Boston. She said she might be gone two days.

I do love the way she does her hair, don't you?

It reminds me of Sir Walter Scott.

You don't know... I have to be in Boston tomorrow.

Do you know where she's staying?

I'm here on business. I just got here, actually.

Your hair is different. My maid's not with me.

She stayed in Portsmouth. I'm here only two days. It's not worthwhile.

You are traveling alone?

Yes. Why? Do you think it's a little dangerous?

Well, it's unconventional. Yes, I suppose it is.

I just did something so much more unconventional.

I refused to take back money that belonged to me.

Someone came with an offer?

What were the conditions?

I refused. Tell me the conditions.

Nothing unbearable, really. To sit at the head of his table now and then.

And he wants you back at any price?

Well, it's a considerable price.

At least, it's considerable for me.

So you came to see him?

My husband? Here? No, of course not.

He sent someone.

His secretary?


He's still here. He insisted on... waiting in case I changed my mind.

You haven't changed, Newland.

I had changed until I saw you again.

Please don't.

Just give me the day. I won't speak unless you tell me to.

All I want is some time with you.

Is that man coming to the hotel?

At 11:00, just... We must go now.

I must leave a note at the hotel. Write on this.

I have the paper. You see how everything is predestined?

And these, have you seen this? The new stylographic pen.

It's like jerking down the mercury in a thermometer.

Try that.

It's not working.

That should do it.

Shall I take it in? I'll be only a moment.

Why didn't you come to the beach for me the day I was at Granny's?

Because you didn't turn around.

I swore I wouldn't call you unless you turned around.

But I didn't look around on purpose.

You knew?

I recognized the carriage when you drove in.

So I went to the beach.

To get as far away from me as you could.

As I could, yes. It's better we face each other.

I only want to be honest with you. Isn't that why you admire Beaufort?

He's more honest than the rest of us. We've no character... no color, no variety.

Why don't you just go back to Europe?

I believe that's because of you. Me?

I married one woman because another told me to.

You promised not to say such things today.

I can't keep that promise.

What about May? What about how May feels?

If you're using my marriage as some victory... then there's no reason why you shouldn't go back.

You gave me my first glimpse of a real life... and then you told me to carry on with a false one.

No one can endure that.

I'm enduring it.

I know you'll go back. I won't.

Not yet. Not as long as we both can stand it.

This is not a life for you. It is.

As long as it's part of yours.

You won't go back?

I won't go back.

He would see her again... at the theater or a reception.

Perhaps he might be seated next to her.

Perhaps they might have another time alone somewhere.

But he could not live without seeing her.

Mr. Archer, I think?


My name is Riviere.

I dined with you in Paris last year.

Yes, I'm sorry. I didn't quite recall.

I had the advantage. I saw you in Boston, yesterday.

I came here on Count Olenski's behalf because...

I believed in all good faith that she should return to him.

Forgive me, monsieur... but I really don't understand your purpose in coming to see me.

She's changed, monsieur.

You knew her before?

I used to see her at her husband's house.

The count would not have entrusted my mission to a stranger.

This change that you mentioned...

It may be my seeing her for the first time... as she is, as an American.

She made her marriage in good faith.

It was a faith the count could not share.

Could not understand.

So her faith was...



Returning to Europe would mean a life of some comfort... and considerable sacrifice... and I would think, no hope.

I will fulfill my obligation to the count and meet with the family.

I will tell them what he suggests and wishes for the countess.

But I ask you to use your influence with them.

I beg you, do not let her go back.

When old Mrs. Baxter Pennilow died, they found her standing order...

48 Worth dresses, still wrapped in tissue paper.

When her daughters left off their mourning... they wore the first lot to the symphony... without looking in advance of the fashion.

He had written to her once in Washington.

Just a few lines, asking when they were to meet again.

And she wrote back, "Not yet."

I think Julius Beaufort started the new fashion... by making his wife wear her new clothes when they arrived.

I must say, it takes all Regina's distinction not to look like...

Her rivals? Like that Annie Ring.

Careful, dear. Everybody knows.

Indeed. Beaufort always put his business around.

Now that his business is gone, there will be disclosures.

Gone? Is it really that bad? As bad as anything I ever heard of.

Most everybody we know will be hit one way or another.

Very difficult for Regina, of course.

And it's a pity that Countess Olenska refused her husband's offer.

Why, for God's sake?

To put it on the lowest ground, what will she live on now?

Now that Beaufort...

What the hell does that mean, sir?

Most of her money's invested with Beaufort... and the allowance she gets from the family is cut back...

I'm sure she has something. A little.

Whatever remains, after sustaining more debt.

I know the family paid close attention to Riviere... and considered his offer carefully.

If everyone rather she be Beaufort's mistress than a wife... you've gone about it perfectly.

She won't go back.

That's your opinion?

Well, no doubt you know.

She might soften Mrs. Mingott, who could give her any kind of allowance.

But the rest of the family don't want to keep her here.

They'll simply let her... find her own level.

Thank you.

The lamp is smoking again. The servant should fix it.

I'm sorry.

I may have to go to Washington for a few days.


Tomorrow. I'm sorry, I should have said it before.

On business?

There's a patent case coming up before the Supreme Court.

I just got the papers from Letterblair.

Never mind. It's too complicated. I have enough trouble with this lamp.

Let me try that.

The change will do you good.

And you must be sure to go and see Ellen.

This came for you while you were out.

Do something about this, will you? Certainly, sir.

Granny's had a stroke.

A stroke?


I told them all it was just an excess of Thanksgiving.

Dr. Bencomb acted most concerned and insisted on notifying everyone... as if it were the last reading of my will. You're dear to come.

But perhaps you only wanted to see what I'd left you.

Granny, that's shocking!

It was shock that did this to me. No, thank you.

It's all due to Regina Beaufort.

She came here last night... and she asked me...

She asked me... She had the effrontery... to ask me to back Julius.

"Not to desert him," she said.

"To stand behind our common lineage in the Townsend family."

If you back Julius, you can see the family through.

If you don't... we will all... everyone of us, fall into dishonor.

I said to her: Honor's always been honor... and honesty's always been honesty in the Mingott house... and will be till I'm carried out feet first.

And then she said, if you can believe this, "But my name, Auntie."

But my name, Auntie!

My name's Regina Townsend! I said to her:

Your name was Beaufort when he covered you with jewels... and it's got to stay Beaufort now that he's covered you with shame.

Then I gave out.

Simply gave out.

And now family is arriving expecting a funeral... and they'll have to be entertained.

I don't know how many notes Bencomb sent out.

If there's anything we can do. Well, Ellen is coming.

I expressly asked for her.

She arrives today on the train, if you'd fetch her.

If May sends the brougham, I'll take the ferry.


Fine. Thank you.

There, you see, Granny, everyone will be settled.

Thank you, dear. Bless you.

I didn't want to worry Granny... but how can you meet Ellen if you have to go to Washington today?

I'm not going. The case is postponed. I heard from Letterblair this morning.

Postponed? How odd.

Mama had a note from him this morning too.

He was concerned about Granny but had to be away.

He was arguing a patent case before the Supreme Court.

You did say it was a patent case?

The whole office can't go. Letterblair decided to go himself.

Then it's not postponed?

No, but my going is.

He knew it was two hours by ferry and carriage... from the Pennsylvania terminus in Jersey City to Mrs. Mingott's.

All of two hours and maybe a little more.

You didn't expect me? No.

I nearly came to Washington. We would've missed each other.

Granny Mingott sent me. She's much better.

You know, I hardly remembered you. Hardly remembered?

I mean, each time is the same.

You happen to me all over again.

Yes, I know.

For me too.

Ellen, we can't stay like this. It can't last.

We must look at reality, not dreams. I want us to be together.

I can't be your wife. Is it your idea I should be your mistress?

I want us to find a world where words like that don't exist.

Oh, my dear.

Where is that country? Have you ever been there?

Can we be happy behind the backs of people who trust us?

I'm beyond caring about that. No, you're not.

You've never been beyond that.

I have.

I know what it looks like. It's no place for us.

Why are we stopping? This isn't Granny's.

I'll get out here.

You were right, I shouldn't have come today.

What are you reading?

It's a book about Japan.


I don't know.

Because it's a different country.

You used to read poetry.

It was so nice when you read it to me.

You'll catch your death.

Of course.

But then he realized, "I am dead.

I've been dead for months and months."

Then it occurred to him that she might die.

People did. Young people, healthy people did.

She might die and set him free.

Ellen, I have to see you.

I didn't know when you were leaving. I'm not leaving.

Granny's asked me to take care of her.

Then we must talk now. I'm due at Regina's.

Granny lent me her carriage.

Granny says Beaufort's a scoundrel, but so is my husband... and the family wants me to return to him.

Only Granny understands. She's even seen to my allowance.

I must see you somewhere alone. In New York?

Where we can be alone.

The art museum in the park. 2:30 tomorrow.

I'll be at the door.

You came to New York because you were afraid.

Afraid? Of my coming to Washington.

I thought I would be safer.

Safer from me?


Safer from loving me?

Shall I come to you once and then go home?

Come to me once then.



The day after.

I'm sorry I'm late. You weren't worried, were you?

Is it late? It's past 7.

I stayed at Granny's because Ellen came in.

We had a wonderful talk. She was so dear.

Just like the old Ellen. Granny was so charmed by her.

You can see how the family's been annoyed with her at times.

Going to see Regina Beaufort in Granny's carriage.

Are we dining out tonight?

You haven't kissed me today.

It was the custom in old New York for brides to appear... in their wedding dress during the first years of marriage.

But May, since returning from Europe... had not worn her bridal satin until this evening.

May, I'm sorry.

My head's bursting. Please don't tell anyone. Come home with me.

Shouldn't you rest?

My head's not as bad as that.

And there's something important I must say to you right away.

There's something that I've got to tell you... about myself.

Madame Olenska...

Why should we talk about Ellen tonight?

Because I should have spoken before...

Is it really worthwhile?

I know I've been unfair to her at times. Perhaps we all have.

You understood her better than us, but does it matter now that it's over?

How do you mean, "over"?

Why, since she's going back to Europe so soon.

Granny approves and understands. She's disappointed... but she's arranged to make Ellen financially independent of the count.

I thought you would have heard today at your offices.

It's impossible. Impossible?

She could stay with Granny's money, but I guess she's given us up.

How do you know that?

From Ellen. I told you, I saw her at Granny's yesterday.

And she told you yesterday?


She sent me a note this afternoon.

Do you want to see it?

I thought you knew.

"May, dear: I have at last made Granny understand... that my visit to her could be no more than a visit.

And she has been as kind and generous as ever."

She sees now that if I return to Europe, I must live by myself.

I am hurrying back to Washington to pack up, and I sail next week.

Be very good to Granny when I'm gone.

As good as you've always been to me.

If friends wish to urge me to stay, tell them it'd be utterly useless.

"...tell them it'd be utterly useless."

Why did she write this?

I suppose because we talked things over yesterday.

What things?

I told her that I was afraid I hadn't always been fair to her... and hadn't always understood how hard it must have been for her.

I knew she could always count on you... and I wanted her to know that you and I were the same in our feelings.

She understood why I wanted to tell her this.

I think she understands everything.

My head aches too.

Good night, dear. Good night.

It was, as Mrs. Archer said, a great event for a young couple... to give their first dinner. It was not to be undertaken lightly.

There was a hired chef, two borrowed footmen, roses from Hendersons...

Roman punch, and menus on gilt-edged cards.

It was a particular triumph that the van der Luydens... at May's request... stayed in the city to be present at her farewell dinner... for the Countess Olenska.

Archer saw all the harmless-looking people at the table... as a band of quiet conspirators... with himself and Ellen the center of their conspiracy.

He guessed he had been, for months... the center of countless silently observing eyes... and patiently listening ears.

He understood that, somehow... the separation between himself and the partner of his guilt was achieved.

And he knew that now the whole tribe had rallied around his wife.

He was a prisoner in the center of an armed camp.

Regina's illness doesn't stop Beaufort... from devoting as much time to Annie Ring as he can.

Best thing for Beaufort... would be to go stay at Regina's place in North Carolina.

He could breed trotters.

And the key to his release had been returned the day before... by mail, unopened.

He may stay here as a challenge to the outrage he's created.

Perhaps he'll run for office.

Then will Annie Ring be his first lady?

Was your trip from Washington tiring?

The heat on the train was dreadful... but all travel has its hardships.

They're worth it, just to get away.

I mean to do a lot of traveling soon.

What about a little adventure, Philip? Athens and Smyrna, maybe.

Maybe even Constantinople. Possibly.

Possibly. But not Naples.

Dr. Bencomb says there's a fever.

Oh, really? A fever in Naples.

There's always India. You need three weeks for India.


Beaufort may not receive invitations, but he maintains a certain position.

Horizontal, I hear.

If this continues, we'll see our children... socializing with swindlers and marrying Beaufort's bastards.

Has he got any?

Careful there, gentlemen. Draw it mild.

Society has a history of tolerating vulgar women, after all.

Up to a point.

Have you ever noticed it's the people with the worst cooks... who always yell about being poisoned when they dine out.

Lefferts used to be a little more adept, I thought.

But then, grace is not always required... as long as one knows the steps.

I've never heard Lefferts so abound... in the sentiments that adorn Christian manhood.

Indignation lends a scathing eloquence almost as effective as fear.

The pressure at home must be unrelenting.

I never expected to hear such a paean to the sanctity of the home.

The silent organization... which held this whole small world together... was determined to put itself on record.

It had never for a moment questioned... the propriety of Madame Olenska's conduct.

It had never questioned Archer's fidelity.

And it had never heard of, suspected or even conceived possible... anything at all to the contrary.

From the seamless performance of this ritual...

Archer knew that New York believed him to be Madame Olenska's lover.

We were discussing the ball.

We have it during Easter week, to benefit the blind.

And he understood for the first time... that his wife shared the belief.

You must come visit me when you do.

I'll write to you when I'm settled and let you know where I am.

That would be lovely.

Shall I see you to your carriage?

We're driving dear Ellen home.



I'll see you soon in Paris.

Oh, if you and May could come.

Shall we make our way to the carriage?

Delightful evening. Good night.

Good night, Sillerton, Larry.

It did go off beautifully, didn't it? Oh, yes.

May I come in and talk it over? Of course.

But you must be very sleepy. No, I'd like to be with you.


If you feel up to it, May... there is something I want to talk to you about.

I tried to talk to you the other evening.

Yes, dear, something about yourself. About myself, yes.

It's difficult to find the right words.

It's just that I feel so terribly tired at the moment... and I think... each day a little more so.

It would be better for everyone if I were to make a break.

You mean, give up the law?

Certainly that would be a part of it, and also just... to get away.

I'd like to do some traveling.

To Europe or...

Perhaps even farther.

How far?

I don't know. I thought...

India or Japan.

As far as that.


I'm afraid you can't, dear.

Not unless you take me with you.

That is, if the doctors let me go. I'm afraid they won't.

I've been sure since this morning, and I've been longing to tell you.

Oh, my dear.

You didn't guess?

No. I mean, of course I hoped but...

Have you told anyone else?

Only Mama and your mother... and Ellen.

I told you we had a long talk, and how wonderful she was.

Did you mind my telling her?

Mind? Why should I?

That was two weeks ago, wasn't it?

I thought you just said you weren't sure till today.

I wasn't sure then, but I told her I was.

And you see...

I was right.

It was the room in which most of the real things... of his life had happened.

Their eldest boy, Theodore... too delicate to be taken to church in midwinter... was christened there.

I baptize thee in the name of the Father... and of the Son... and of the Holy Spirit.

It was here that Ted took his first steps.

And here that Archer and his wife... always discussed the future of all their children:

Bill's interest in archeology.

Mary's passion for sports and philanthropy.

Ted's inclination toward art that led to a job with an architect... as well as some considerable redecoration.

It was in this room that Mary announced her engagement...

I'm so happy for you. to the dullest and most reliable of Larry Lefferts' many sons.

And it was in this room too that her father kissed her... through her wedding veil before they had motored to Grace Church.

He was a dutiful and loving father and a faithful husband.

When May died of infectious pneumonia after nursing Bill safely through... he honestly mourned her.

The world of her youth had fallen into pieces... and rebuilt itself without her ever noticing.

This hard, bright blindness... her incapacity to recognize change... made her children conceal their views from her, just like Archer.

She died thinking the world a good place... full of loving and harmonious households like her own.

Newland Archer, in his 57th year... mourned his past and honored it.

Yes, hello?

Chicago wants you.

Dad? Is that you, Ted?

Dad, my client wants me to look at some gardens before I start designing.

Sounds fine. Where?

Europe. Gracious.

I'll sail next Wednesday on the Mauretania.

And miss the wedding?

I'll be back on the 1st. Our wedding's not till the 5th.

I'm surprised you remembered the date.

I was hoping you'd join me. What?

I'll need you to remind me of what's important.

Our last father-son trip. I appreciate the invitation...

Wonderful. Can you call the Cunard office tomorrow?

I'd need to cancel my...

I won't hear it. The Atlantic is calling us.

I'll be in New York on Monday.

You'll be in...? On Monday.

I'll see what I can do.

I can't promise anything. I'll see what I can do, all right?

I'm going to Versailles with Tourneur. Will you come?

I'm going to the Louvre.

I'll meet you there later. Countess Olenska expects us at 5:30.

What?! Didn't I tell you?

Annie made me swear to do three things in Paris:

Get her the score of the last Debussy songs... go to the Grand Guignol and see Madame Olenska.

She was good to Annie when Mr. Beaufort sent her to the Sorbonne.

Wasn't the countess friendly with his first wife?

Mr. Beaufort said that she was.

In any case, I called the countess this morning...

...introduced myself as her cousin... Did you tell her I was here?

Of course. Why not?

She sounds lovely. Was she?


I don't know.

She was different.

Whenever he thought of Ellen Olenska... it had been abstractly, serenely... like an imaginary loved one in a book or picture.

She had become the complete vision of all that he had missed.

I'm only 57.

Did Mr. Beaufort really have a bad time when he remarried?

No one wanted to give him an inch.

Perhaps because he'd already taken so much.

As if anyone remembers anymore.

Or cares.

Well, Annie Ring and he did have a lovely daughter.

You're very lucky.

We're very lucky, you mean.

Of course that's what I mean.

Considering how that turned out and all the time that's passed... how can you resist?

I had some resistance at first to your marriage...

I mean resist seeing the woman you almost threw everything over for.

Only you didn't.

I didn't?


But Mother said she knew we would be safe.

The day before she died, she asked to see me alone, remember?

She said she knew we were safe with you and always would be... because once when she asked you to... you gave up the thing that you wanted most.

She never asked.

She never asked me.

After a little while he did not regret Ted's indiscretion.

It seemed to take an iron band from his heart to know... that after all, someone had guessed and pitied.

And that it should have been his wife, moved him inexpressibly.

The porter says it's the third floor.

Must be the one with the awnings.

It's nearly 6.

I think I'll just sit for a while.

Do you mean you won't come?

You really won't come at all? I don't know.

She won't understand.

Go on, Ted. Maybe I'll follow you.

What will I tell her?

Don't you always have something to say?

I'll say you're old-fashioned and insist on walking up... instead of taking the elevator.

Just say I'm old-fashioned.

That should be enough. Go on.