The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) Script

[Woman] ♪At last the glittering queen of night♪

♪With black caress kills off♪

♪Kills off the day♪

Mr. Chandos was a man who spent more time with his gardener... than with his wife.

They discussed plum trees... ad nauseam.

♪♪[Woman Continues Singing In Distance]

He gave his family and his tenants cause to dread September... for they were regaled with plums until their guts rumbled like thunder... and their backsides ached from overuse.

He built the chapel at Fovant... where the pew seats are of plum wood... so the tenants still have cause to remember Chandos through their backsides... on account of the splinters.

♪At last the glittering queen of night♪

♪With black caress kills off♪

♪Kills off the day♪ Some years ago, two gentlemen went back to Amsterdam... saying that Allhevinghay was just like home.

There was so much water, so many ornamental ponds... so many canals, so many sinks and basins.

There was even a wind pump.

What they had not realized was... my father had made his land into a pattern of reservoirs... because he was terrified of fire.

There was even a room under the front stairs... that housed 200 buckets... all of them filled with water.

I know because whenever I was taken short... my brothers and I used to rush in there and use them.

[Laughing]

[Sighs] Those buckets were filled before my mother died.

I expect them to be still there... with the same water of 30 years ago, I shouldn't wonder... mixed with a little of myself, of course.

I used to pee like a horse.

I still do. [Chuckling]

♪For those that walk♪

♪That walk♪

♪With hopeful step♪

♪In garden♪

♪In garden♪

♪In garden love to find♪ At Southampton, there is a house I have admired... because from the side it looks so flat.

It is of white Portland stone... and on a cloudy day, it looks as though it might be attached to the sky.

Especially in the evening. Its owner is a Miss Anterim.

She is a lady without a husband.

From the side, Miss Anterim is also a lady without significance.

Maybe that is why, unlike her house, the lady is unattached.

What with one flatness and another, Mr. Neville... as a painter and as a draughtsman-

You could be entertained, it seems.

[Together] Especially in the evening, from the side.

♪For those that walk♪

♪That walk♪ It is said that the Duc de Courcy invited his water mechanic... to the top of an elaborate cascade he had built... and asked him if he could build such a marvel for anyone else.

The man, after offering various thanks and pleasantries... finally admitted that with sufficient patronage he probably could.

The Duc de Courcy pushed him gently in the small of the back... and the wretched man plummeted to a watery death.

[All Laughing]

♪Their hope to find success♪

♪They're sure to make♪ Now, Mr. Noyes, do you have a ribald piece of gossip for me?

Madam, I am here to fulfill a role as entertainer... sol am sure that sooner or later I could find something for you.

Then you are here on merit- a characteristic that the rest of the company does not share... being here merely to express confidence in one another's money.

Madam, you are one of the company. My meretricious conduct-

[Man Laughing] in the company of Mr. Seymour has been my invitation.

I am strictly not of the company, but a part of its property.

Since that is what the company is here to discuss and to revel in... you should be well favored.

I would well favor you myself above two parterres and a drive of orange trees.

You are not extravagant in your compliments, Mr. Noyes.

As yet I'm not wealthy enough to offer you more, but I intend to be so soon.

In the present company of 13 that owns a fair slice of England... two parterres and a drive of orange trees is a beginning.

And being a lady of the, uh, Italian fashion, madam... you will appreciate the value of oranges.

They smell so sweet. They are so invigorating.

♪The very statues breathe♪♪

[Applause] Do you think your father will ask Mr. Neville to draw the house?

Why not improve Mr. Neville's chances, and yours, by inviting Mr. Neville yourself?

Oh, that is a too imaginative stratagem for me.

Your father would find it uncharacteristically bold.

Then you could surprise him... and perhaps surprise Mr. Neville as well.

And if that frightens you, Mother, we could lay the blame on Mr. Neville.

I hold the delight or despondency of a man of property... by putting his house in shadow orin sunlight.

Even, possibly, I have some control over the jealousy... or satisfaction of a husband... by depicting his wife, sir, dressed or undressed.

-♪♪[Harpsichord] Mrs. Clement asked me if I had a wife... which has a ring of impertinence.

She knows I have a garden. How come she does not know I have a wife?

Perhaps because you boast of one and not the other... but I suspect a sense of modesty is an impertinence to such a lady as Mrs. Clement.

Your mother takes a sense of modesty an unprecedented distance.

Why doesn't she come out more? She frets in the shadows.

She does not fret, Father.

Or if she does, you well know the cause is your indifference.

A house, a garden, a horse, a wife- the preferential order. Nonsense.

I am anxious, Mr. Neville, that you should draw my husband's estate.

Why is that, madam?

My husband is a proud man who is delighted to be associated... with every brick and every tree of his property... at every moment of his waking life, and no doubt in his dreams as well... though I have not been too well acquainted with his dreams since-

Madam, with such an excellent relationship as your husband has with his property... he surely, having the real thing, does not need a copy.

I do not take well to young men who preen.

Their vanity usually outweighs their prowess.

Mr. Neville has prowess enough, enough to charm where he cannot impress.

And he can charm and impress the wives of rich men.

That's not so uncommon, Mr. Seymour.

You come with me to Southampton tomorrow.

I'll show you how to impress a lady with a good drawing on.

My father's property, Mr. Neville... is a little more forward than humble.

And since humility in a building is not antithetical to you... perhaps I can prevail on you to draw my father's house?

Ah. The same proposition from a different quarter.

A concerted effort naturally intrigues me... but I feel, madam, things being as they are-

May I be bold? I do not think that you or your mother could afford my services.

♪♪[Continues] Why not enjoy our patronage?

Come and walk in Mr. Herbert's garden tomorrow.

Madam, I cannot say that I would not be delighted... but I fear, despite your persistence... that I have work to do up and beyond this coming apple season... and will be in the service of Lord Charborough... until next year's apples have all been drunk as cider.

Your mother, madam, is excessively keen to have this house down on paper.

Or perhaps it is you that is keen, and your mother is merely your surrogate.

I admit, Mr. Neville, to being a supplicant on my mother's behalf... but she does not want it for herself, but for her husband.

The supplication then has a long and diverse path.

I am flattered.

But may not Mr. Herbert himself do his own commissioning?

The point of the exercise, Mr. Neville, is to avoid that one thing.

You, Mr. Neville, are to be the instrument of a hopeful reconciliation.

Mr. Neville... how can I persuade you to stay with us at Compton Anstey?

You cannot, madam.

But you can be bought, Mr. Neville. How much will it cost?

More than you can afford, madam. ♪♪[Ends]

But I must confess, my prime reason is indolence. [Applauding]

I increase my price in proportion to my expectation of pleasure.

I do not expect great pleasure here, madam.

[fluttering] [Woman Laughing]

[Woman Cackling] [Man Laughing]

Madam, I'm to leave very early in the morning for Southampton.

I've come to take my leave of you now.

Do not order the hay to be cut.

Do not leave the estate, and do not drink my claret.

And do not expect me back until I am ready, which at the very least will be 14 days.

Good night, madam.

[Woman] ♪She loves and she♪ I have decided... that it is most important that you stay here... to make for me 12 drawings of my husband's estate.

My husband is to go to Southampton for at least 12 days.

Will that be enough time for you? First, madam, you make a demand... that suggests we have not discussed the proposition at all this evening.

Second, you increase your demand by at least 12.

Third, you add to the proposition a time limit.

And, fourth, you expect me to start at once.

Four factors, Mr. Neville, you have convinced us are well within your talents and capabilities.

♪♪[Continues]

Your terms are exorbitant.

So must mine be.

♪She loves, and she confesses to♪

♪There is then at last♪

♪No more to do♪♪ The conditions of the agreement, Mr. Noyes, are: my services as draughtsman for 12 days... for the manufacture of12 drawings... of the estate and gardens, parks and outlying buildings... of Mr. Herbert's property; the sites for the I 2 drawings to be chosen at my discretion... though advised by Mrs. Herbert.

For which, Thomas, I am willing to pay eight pounds a drawing... um, to provide full board for Mr. Neville and his servant... and, uh-

And, madam?

And to agree to meet Mr. Neville in private... and to comply with his requests concerning his pleasure with me.


[Neville] Curriculum for the execution of the drawings at Compton Anstey.

For drawing number one... from 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 in the morning... the whole of the back of the house... from the stable block to the laundry garden, will be kept clean

No person shall use the main stable yard gates whatsoever.

And no person shall use the back doom.

Or interfere with the windows or furniture of the back part of the house.

[Woman] "A" is for apricot.

"M" is for Marilla.

"C" is for Citrona.

Citrona.

"A" is for Ananas.

Ananas, [Girl] Ananas, [Woman] "P” is for pineapple, [Neville] For drawing number two... from 9:00 in the morning until 11:00.. the lower lawns of the house, including the formal garden...

Will be kept clean No window in the upper part of the house will be opened... closed or otherwise disturbed.

[Rapping]


[Man] Your Mr. Neville, Sarah... has the godlike power of emptying the landscape, It is a wonder the birds still sing.

If they stopped, I doubt whether Mr. Neville would appreciate the difference.

His attitude to nature is strictly material.

[Mrs. Herbert] Thomas, why is Mr. Neville interested in my sheets?

[Noyes] Madam, he is to draw them wet outside the laundry

[Mrs. Herbert] Wet? Why does he want them wet?

[Noyes] Madam, I cannot answer you that Perhaps he has ford memories of being a baby

[Neville] For drawing number three... from 11:00 in the morning until 1:00...

The back and north side of the house will be kept clean

This area that is used as a place for drying linen...

Will be left as asked for on an arrangement made... between the draughtsman and the laundress... who will take full responsibility... for the disposition of the linen.

Madam, I am delighted to see that you've loosened your clothing as I requested.

When your husband had the pear trees grafted... do you know if he asked for the advice of Mr. Seymour's gardener?

[Gasps] We-

[Groans] Sorry, madam, you do not speak very loud.

We- [Coughing]

We do not know Mr. Seymour's gardener-

-I see. Mr. Neville.

The trees have been poorly ca red for.

The angle between the branches and the main trunk is, uh, too steep.

But the original work is good. [Moans]

And what of the pears themselves, madam?

In season, are they presentable?

[Woman Speaking German]

[Continues In German]

[Gags]

[Neville] For drawing number four... from 2:00 until 4:00 in the afternoon... the front of the house that faces west will be kept clean No horses, carriages or other vehicles...

Will be allowed to be placed there...

And the gravel on the drive will be left undisturbed.

No coals are to be burned that will issue smoke from the front of the house.


[Neville] And hurry up!

[Neville] For drawing number five... from 4:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 in the afternoon... the hilltop prospect of the estate to the north of the house... will be kept clear of all members of the household staff and farm servants.

Such animals as are presently grazing in the fields... will be permitted to continue to do so.

Good day, Mr. Neville. [Neville] Mr. Talmann.

[Mr. Talmann Gasps]

I see you have selected a fine view for my son to inherit.

[Neville] I prefer, for the moment at least... to regard the view as the property of Mr. Herbert.

Thomas... see that Clarissa does not go to the laundry around noon.

[Mrs. Herbert] And come to my withdrawing room this afternoon with some ink.

I want to send to Mr. Herbert to know by which road he in tends to re turn.

Is it your intention to continue to stand there, Mr. Talmann?

I can see the view very adequately from here, Mr. Neville. Thank you.

Will you be wearing the same clothes tomorrow?

Why?

I have not decided.

♪♪[Whistling]

Depends on my servants.

Is it important?

Maybe I will.

[Neville] For drawing number six... from 6:00 in the evening until 8:00... the lower lawn of the garden by the statue of Hermes... will be kept clear of all members of the household.. staff horses and other animals.

Philip, go and ask those people to move.

And ask them nicely. Smile.

Don't trot.

[Chattering, Laughing]

[No Audible Dialogue]

[Chattering, Laughing Continue]

[No Audible Dialogue] [Man Laughing Loudly]

[Laughing] Go away.

Where?

Really? Not that I know.

Oh.

[Laughing]

[Noyes] Mr. Lucas was a man whose enthusiasms...

Were divided equally between his garden and his children.

Whenever his wire conceived Mr. Lucas planted fruit trees, [Sniffs] His wife seldom came to, um, a successful labor... and those children she was blessed with died before weaning Mr. Lucas threatened to cut his trees down, but he never did To date there are 11 trees in his fruit garden... and he knows them all by their Christian names.

-[Neville Chuckling] The English are not blessed... with the most appropriate fecundity at the moment.

They can raise colonies but not heirs to the throne.

It depends, Mr. Talmann, which colonies you are speaking of.

Some of England's oldest colonies have heirs in plenty.

Ah, Mr. Neville... do we have an indication of Scottish sympathies?

Madam, you would be reading far too much into what is simply a statement of fact.

If the best Englishmen are foreigners, Mr. Neville... and that seems to me to be a simple statement of fact... then the best English painters are foreigners too.

There's no English painter worthy of the name.

Would you agree, Mr. Neville... to be an English painter is a contradictory term?

Then Mr. Herbert shows some sense In encouraging Mr. Neville.

Mr. Herbert, madam, as we all know, is full of contradictions.

Contradictory enough, sir, to have invited you into this house... despite his being a man without airs and graces.

But not privy to whom his wire welcomes into his house madam, when my father is away, Louis...

My mother is at liberty to run his house as she feels fit.

And she has seen fit to invite Mr. Neville. A gracious speech, Mrs. Talmann.

[Mr. Talmann] To hide all manner of inconveniences.

How is that, sir? It is apparent, sir, is it not... from our meeting this afternoon, that your presumptory regime... not only extends to confining the household like animals in reservations... but directing us as to whether or not we should wear a coat... carry a walking stick or whistle.

When I met you in the garden this afternoon, you were doing all three of those things, sir.

If you intend being there tomorrow...

I would wish you to dress and to behave in the same way.

However, it's beyond my power to describe a whistle pictorially... whether it comes from an Englishman or from a German dressed as an Englishman.

-[Noyes Chuckling] And what do you do about the birds, Mr. Neville?

If you ignore their song, you can hardly prevent them... from flying across the field of your vision.

Madam, the prospect of12 fine-weather days... with clear skies and sharp shadows... is an excellent proposition, but not to be guaranteed.

So I am naturally anxious that time should not be wasted It would assist me greedy therefore, madam... if my instructions, which have been given great consideration, should be observed.

I'm painstaking enough to notice quite small changes in the landscape.

Once started, I make that a committal, madam...

Whatsoever ensues.

And I think you can surmise... that it is an attitude from which I obtain great satisfaction... and some entertainment.


[No Audible Dialogue]

Thomas, can you remember... when Mr. Herbert had his clothes packed, whether he took his French boots?

How is it, Mr. Neville, that you have contrived to make the garden so empty of people?

The authority for these drawings, Mr. Talmann, comes from Mrs. Herbert.

Do you think that she is a woman who enjoys having a crowd of people... kick her gravel around or move her earth like a pack of dogs in a herb garden?

I would seek peace and quiet in a garden... and noise and excitement at a carnival.

Carnem levare.

So, Mr. Neville, you would reserve your revelries for a religious occasion?

And what of Gethsemane? A wild sort of garden, I shouldn't wonder.

Certainly, Mr. Talmann, there would be no geometric paths and no Dutch bulbs.

Well, we have a cedar of Lebanon and a judas tree.

Perhaps we could cultivate a tree of heaven.

The gardens of England are becoming veritable jungles.

Such exotics are grossly unsuitable, If the Garden Of Eden was planned for England God would have seen to it.

The Garden of Eden, Mr. Talmann, was originally intended for Ireland... for it was there, after all, that Saint Patrick eradicated the snake.

The only useful eradication that ever happened in Ireland, Mr. Neville... was performed by William of Orange four years ago on my birthday.

And happy birthday to you, Mr. Talmann.

And if you are not too old to receive presents... perhaps the gardener and I can find a snake for your orangery.

What?

Good day to you, Mr. Neville. Good day, madam.

[Neville] Philip.

I see the company is assembled, madam.

And what are we to be spectators of?

You must not be surprised, Mr. Neville. We are here at your request.

I did not request an audience, madam, nor a dinner on the grass.

Ah, perhaps we are to applaud the view.

The scribbler is never satisfied. He is as insatiable as a-

You have said that Mr. Talmann should be here... dressed as you asked and carrying a gold-topped cane.

We have taken you at your word.

There was another instruction, but conveniently I have forgotten it.

Whistling, Sarah. So much for convenience.

You do not catch me in the best of tempers, Mr. Neville, wearing yesterday's clothes.

And I give you 2O minutes only. I have a horse to exercise.

[Neville] Then, sir, please take your place.

I will take a walk. Come with me, Maria.

We have a dog to exercise.

[Neville] A little to the left, sir, if you please, And puff out your cheeks.

Why should I do that? Because last time, sir, you were whistling.

A tune perhaps not readily recognizable, even by its own composer.

[Neville] Look, madam.

[Chuckles] This man has no head- a typical German characteristic.

Mr. Neville... you're talking about my son-in-law.

By the grace of God, madam, you are to have a grandson by him... someday.

-[Sighs] Is that not a better thing to talk of?

Then you mock my money and my person to draw caricatures.

With my memory, three pictures in the house... and your personal knowledge of the subject...

I intend to place the head of Mr. Herbert on these shoulders... as a fitting and appropriate acknowledgement of your husband and his property.

[Mrs. Herbert] if he should return, Why, madam, what a strange thing to say.

If he should return home to me.


[Crying]

Mother.

[Sniffles, Gasps]

So...

I am grieving... because Mr. Herbert is away.

Yes, Mother.


The contract is void, Mr. Neville.

I cannot meet you again.

Mrs. Herbert, sit here. Move your head into the shade.

Do you not think the gardeners have excelled themselves?

You should not continue to draw, Mr. Neville.

I no longer feel able to continue the terms of our contract.

The fee is yours, as is the hospitality.

I was about to say that despite all my satisfaction... at the prospect of continuing the commission under such delightful circumstances... the peak of my delight, madam... is obtained in those short minutes when we are together.

I would regret losing them.

Besides, I do not need to remind you... that the contract was made between two people.

It will take the consent of both signatories to make it void.

And now, madam, I feel that from this position...

I cannot adequately see what I am supposed to be seeing... and I must therefore request that you find some other resting place.

At least until 4:00, when our next meeting is to be consummated as arranged.

Madam, who is this child who walks the garden with such a solemn look on his face?

That is my husband's nephew, Mr. Neville.

He attracts servants like a little midget king.

What is his patrimony, madam?

His father was killed at Ausbergenfeld.

His mother became a Catholic, so my husband had him brought to England.

To be reared as a little Protestant.

He was an orphan, Mr. Neville, and needed to be looked after.

An orphan, madam, because his mother became a Catholic?

[Bell Tolling in Distance]

[Neville] Philip, find out what's happening

Mr. Neville, sir, I'm sorry about the coat.

It was not I that put it there.

Is that so, madam?

And who did? I'll ask, sir No. No, don't ask. Leave it there.

Someone's getting careless. The garden is becoming a robe room.

I wonder what they keep in their clothespress-plants perhaps.

[Footsteps Approaching]

Who will be your husband's direct heir after you?

A future grandson, Mr. Neville, though not after me.

Mr. Herbert does not believe in a woman owning property.

And what about your daughter and her husband?

Well, they would be guardians on the grandson's behalf.

Do you intend to study legal matters, Mr. Neville?

[Chuckles] You must forgive my curiosity, madam, and open your knees.

To have possession, sir, of my person... is not an excuse to be privy to my husband's will.

Your loyalty is exemplary, madam.

But what will happen to the estate if your daughter has no heirs?

I do not like to think of it.

[Sighs] The estate was my father's.

Mr. Herbert obtained it through marriage to me.

[Gasps, Shouts]

It is imperative, Augustus, that in representing me...

You ask of yourself the very best... and you do not fraternize with whomsoever you choose.

And chasing sheep is a tiresome habit best left to shepherds.

If Mr. Neville chases sheep, he is not to be emulated.

Drawing is an attribution worth very little... and in England, worth nothing at all.

If you must scribble, I suggest that your time would be better spent in studying mathematics.

I will engage a tutor.

And who knows? One clay you, Augustus... may add the Talmann name to the Royal Society.

Augustus!

Your tutor, of course, must be German.

There are already far too many English influences on your life as it is.

[Mr. Talmann] Mr. Neville is our resident draughtsman.

He is making one or two drawings of Mr. Herbert's house and estate.

[Man] I've heard of your prowess, Mr. Neville.

Indeed I've heard more than that. I've heard you're not a conventional man.

Mr. Neville has planned his stay here like an officer in an hostile billet.

We have orders to appear and disappear... to wear cocked hats, to eat meals in the open air... and to prepare furniture for inspection.

And yet, Louis, I hear that you are not averse... to exchanging exercise on a new horse... for standing to attention in the hot sun like a halberdier

[Man] What control you must exercise, Mr. Neville.

It sounds as if you might be better employed as a military man... rather than as someone who merely draws a landscape, [Guests Laughing] Mrs. Herbert, whatever is the price you must pay... to capture this general who leads the wheat by the ear?

[Neville] Gentlemen, Mrs. Herbert pays no price she cannot afford And thanks to her generosity, I am permitted.. to take my pleasure without hindrance on her property...

And to enjoy the, uh, maturing delights of her country garden.

And, gentlemen-

[Chuckles] there is much there to be surprised at, and applauded.

[Flapping]


[Snaps Fingers] Board.

[Rooster Crows]

[Chuckling]

Good afternoon, Mr. Talmann. Good afternoon, Mr. Neville.

You are late. I heard the clock strike 4:00 some several minutes ago.

That is indeed true. I met Mr. Porringer.

I'm becoming Mr. Porringer's taster of vittles.

Does the same thing happen to you?

Today, it was raspberries.

I congratulate you on today's raspberries but not on yesterday's damsons.

They were tasteless- geschmacklos-- like your coat, Mr. Talmann.

There is no way, Mr. Neville, that I was going to wear that coat a third day.

We are indeed, Mr. Talmann, losing the novelty of this situation.

First, I was graced with the presence of Mrs. Talmann... two servants, a maid and a meal served on silver plate.

Now what have we? Yourself dressed in the wrong clothes.

Mr. Neville, enough. Your enthusiasm for complaint knows no limit.

For a fee of eight pounds, your impertinence is too expensive!

Would you have me be impertinent for nothing, sir?

For nothing, Mr. Neville, I would have you run off my property! Good clay!

Your property, Mr. Talmann? [Chuckling]

Mr. Talmann. Ah, you've forgotten your riding boots.

[Exhales] They are not mine, Mr. Neville.

I felt sure that they were yours.


[Neville] Why doesn't your husband have the moat cleaned out?

He doesn't like to see the fish. Carp live too long.

They remind him of Catholics.

Besides, from his window the duckweed could be mistaken for lawn.

[Neville] Can he swim?

[Mrs. Herbert] I've never seen him swim,

[Snoring]


Ah, good morning, Mrs. Herbert.

This morning I'm progressing well.

I am beginning to enjoy myself.

Madam, would you be so good as to sit?

It's a little chilly perhaps, but I think you tremble too much.

It is not easy for me this way to use your person as I would like to.

Madam, would you stand?

The ladder, madam, as you can see, has now become... a meretricious vertical...

But I forgive you for standing it there, What use have I for the ladder, Mr. Neville? It does not go anywhere,

Madam, would you be so good as to kneel?


Kneel, madam.

[Neville] If you have any influence over your son-in-law... could I suggest that he travel over to Mr. Seymour's... to see what can be done with limes by doing as little as possible,

Limes, madam, can smell so sweet.

Especially when they are allowed to bloom without hindrance,

And it will shortly be time to bloom.

Is it true, Mr. Noyes, that you would wish to see Mr. Herbert dead?

I've no great love for Mr. Herbert.

Goodness, Mr. Neville, a provocative question. [Neville] Then why stay?

Mr. Noyes has a great attachment to my mother, Mr. Neville.

[Noyes] I'm employed by Mr. Herbert as estate manager Mr. Herbert is very often away, and I believe I can make myself useful to Mrs. Herbert

[Neville] In more ways than one I presume, But is it not that way which is most important?

Your questions, Mr. Neville, are far too imprudent and provocative in this company.

Then you would rather I asked them behind your back, Mr. Talmann?

Mr. Noyes' position in this house is well known to us all, Mr. Neville.

[Neville] It is a- a difficult position.

I'm surprised that you all concur in it.

[Noyes] The organization of this house is Mr. Herbert's affair My father and Mr. Noyes were once great friends. [Neville] And then?

My mother was at one time promised to Mr. Noyes.

Ah. Your position, Mr. Noyes, is then a consolation, You overstep your privileges in being a guest in Mrs. Herbert's house!

Sit down, Mr. Noyes. I merely pursue an inquiry.

It may help me to understand what is happening in the garden.


[Mrs. Talmann] That shirt, Mr. Neville, is prominent enough in your drawing Would it be possible, do you think, to disguise its presence?

Madam, I try very hard never to distort or to dissemble, Would that always be your method of working Mr. Neville?

It would.

Well, let me make a little speech.

In your drawing of the north side of the house... my father's cloak lies wrapped around the feet of a figure of Bacchus.

In the drawing of the prospect over which my husband turns an appreciative gaze... you will have noticed that there is unclaimed a pair of riding boots.

In the drawing of the park from the east side... it is possible to see leaning against my father's wardroom... a ladder usually put to use for the collecting of apples.

And in the drawing of the laundry... there is a jacket of my father's slit across the chest.

Do you not think that before long you might find the body that inhabited all those clothes?

I am thinking very hard, madam, about the drawing you've left out.

And you, madam, were in that drawing.

Are you sure, Mr. Neville? Well, the sound of you was in the drawing.

You were playing the spinet.

I thought, Mr. Neville, that we had discussed... the pictorial equivalents of noise without conclusion.

Perhaps it was not me playing the spinet. Have you thought of that?

Then who, madam, was it? You see, Mr. Neville... you are already beginning to play the game rather skillfully.

Four garments and a ladder do not lead us to a corpse.

[Clicks Tongue] Mr. Neville, I said nothing about a corpse.

Madam, you are ingenious.

It is as if you had planned it.

Your father is in Southampton. He would not miss his clothes or notice the ladder.

Is my father in Southampton, Mr. Neville?

My mother told you that.

And you must realize that she is a lady of few words... and not incapable of a few stratagems.

Have you not thought how hard she persuaded you to be her draughtsman- to draw her husband's house while her husband was away?

Her explanation for that can be supported.

Perhaps, Mr. Neville, you have taken a great deal on trust.

I look forward, Mrs. Talmann, to the eventual purpose and outcome of this ingenuity.

My last six drawings will be redolent of the mystery.

I will proceed step-by-step to the heart of the matter.

Perhaps to the heart of my father, Mr. Neville.

Lying crimson on a piece of green grass?

What a pity, Mr. Neville, that your drawings are in black-and-white.

You rush ahead, Mrs. Talmann.

The items are innocent.

Taken one by one, they could so be construed.

Taken together, you could be regarded as a witness to misadventure.

Misadventure, madam?

What misadventure? There is no misadventure.

More than a witness, Mr. Neville- an accessory to misadventure.

Madam, you are fanciful.

Mr. Neville...

I have grown to believe that a really intelligent man... makes an indifferent painter... for painting requires a certain blindness... a partial refusal to be aware of all the options.

An intelligent man will know more about what he is drawing than he will see.

And in the space between knowing and seeing... he will become constrained... unable to pursue an idea strongly... fearing that the discerning... those who he is eager to please, will find him wanting... if he does not put in not only what he knows... but what they know as well.

You, Mr. Neville, if you are an intelligent man... and thus an indifferent painter... will perceive that a construction such as I have suggested could well be placed... on the evidence contained in your drawing.

If you are, as I have heard tell, a talented draughtsman... then I could imagine that you could suppose... that the objects I have drawn your attention to form no plan... stratagem or indictment.

Indictment, madam?

[Chuckles] You are ingenious.

I-I am allowed to be neither of the two things that I wish to be at the same time.

[Chuckles] I propose... since I am in a position to throw a connecting plot... over the inconsequential items in your drawing... an interpretative plot that I could explain to others... to account for my father's disappearance.

And there is no word now of my father having arrived in Southampton.

I propose that we could come to... some arrangement... that might protect you and humor me.

I suggest that we come to a similar arrangement... as you have struck with my mother.

I would like you now to accompany me to the library... where I know that Mr. Noyes is waiting for us.


[Mrs. Talmann] And for each remaining drawing, to agree-

[Neville] And for each remaining drawing, to agree-

[Mrs. Talmann] to meet Mrs. Talmann in private-

[Neville] to agree to meet Mrs. Talmann in private- and to comply with her requests... concerning her pleasure with me.

And to comply with her requests concerning her pleasure with me.

[Neville] Drawing number seven. From 7:00 in the morning until 9:00... the whole of the front prospect of the house will be kept clean, of members of the household, household servants... horses and carriages,

Drawing number eight. From 9:00 in the morning until 11:00...

The gardens in front of the bathhouse building will be kept clean No coals will be burnt to cause smoke to issue from the bathhouse chimneys.


From 11:00 in the morning until 1:00...

The yew tree walk in the center of the lower garden... will be kept completely clear of all members of Mr. Herbert's family...

Members of this household staff and animals.


It is time, Mr. Neville.

[Neville] From 2:00 in the afternoon until 4300... the back of the house and the sheep pasture on the eastern side... will be kept free of all members of the household and farm servants.


The reason I suggested you come here... is because I have borrowed this painting from the house.

Madam, would you stand?

Are you not intrigued by it?

I confess I have paid it little attention.

Your husband surprises me with his eccentric and eclectic taste.

While most of his peers are content to collect portraits... mostly of an edifying family connection...

Mr. Herbert seems to collect anything.

Perhaps he has an eye for optical theory... or the plight of lovers... or the passing of time., What do you think?

Perhaps, madam, he has- and I would stand by him in this- an interest in the pictorial conceit.

Can you see why your husband had reason to buy it?

It is of a garden. That is probably reason enough.

True, true. But what of the events that are happening within it, hmm?

Shall we peruse it together?

Do you see, madam, a narrative in these apparently unrelated episodes?

There is drama, is there not, in this overpopulated garden.

What intrigue is here?

Do you think the characters have something to tell us?

Would you know, madam, if your daughter... had any particular interest in this painting?

Madam, could you put a season to it?

Madam 9 Do you have an opinion?

What infidelities are portrayed here?

Do you think... that murder is being prepared?

[Mrs. Talmann] Did you hear that a horse had been found at Strides?

Which is about three miles from here on the road that... if followed long enough, could lead you to Southampton.

I will stay dressed, Mr. Neville. You will not.

Mr. Clarke says the horse has been badly treated.

[Neville] It could be said that all roads can lead to Southampton... if the traveler on horse is ingenious enough.

I've heard of a horse that found his way to Dover... and boarded a ship taking hay to Calais.

The French, madam, do not treat horses kindly.

They eat them.

Was your horse partly eaten, madam?

May I leave my hat on?

[Mrs. Talmann] Your chair looks insignificant out there, Mr. Neville.

[Neville] What significant assumption are we to make, madam... of a wounded horse belonging to your father... found on the road to Southampton?

The first assumption is that the horse has no business being there without my father.

And why is it wounded? And what does that imply for my father?

And the second assumption will no doubt implicate me... since a saddleless horse has now found its way into this morning's drawing.

Mrs. Talmann... why don't you now leave the window and come to the basin?

Don't worry. Your position of superiority will not be diminished.

I will still have to look up to you.

Since I have taken valuable time to fill this basin with a little water... why not share it with me?

[whimpering]

[Neville] You have a curious mole Mrs. Herbert... and it is ideally placed.

Does your gardener catch moles, Mrs. Herbert?

No. He says they are to be encouraged for good luck... and the destruction of one's enemies, They trip up horses, Mrs. Herbert.

You will not persuade Mr. Porringer to persecute them, A curious man and ideally placed.

Ideally placed for what?

Why, for persuading a fine white horse from Southampton to go lame in the leg.

[Mrs. Herbert] You have nothing to fear from Mr. Porringer, Mr. Neville.

He... watches you for his own amusement.

As I do you, madam.

You seem nonetheless to be curiously keen to protect your gardener. [Bird Chirping]

It is not you, madam, but his breeches that are his best defense.

A man in red breeches could scarcely be considered an inconspicuous conspirator, madam... unlike that other fool who behaves like a statue when you least expect.

Away from the house, Mr. Neville, I-

I feel I grow smaller in significance.

[Bell Tolling In Distance]

Madam,what signifies does not grow smaller for me.

Your significance, Mr. Neville, is attributable... to both innocence and arrogance in equal parts.

Ah, you can handle both with impunity, Mrs. Talmann.

But you will find that they are not symmetrical.

You will find that one weighs heavier than the other.

Which do you think is the heavier, Mrs. Talmann?

Your innocence, Mr. Neville, is always sinister.

So I will say that the right one is the heaviest.

[Neville] Madam, your dexterity is admirable.

You spend too much time with Mr. Neville.

How is that? The man is a pariah.

He eats like a vagrant and dresses like a barber.

[Chuckles] What compliments. I think he would be amused.

As for his servant, he looks like a fleece with a foot disease.

[Chuckling]

Do you not think Mr. Neville is knowledgeable?

About what?

About what, madam?

Madam, I could take your silence as provocation.

Why, sir, should I wish to provoke you?

To excite me to think that you might wish to compliment Mr. Neville... with more than praise for his knowledgeability.

The complexity of your speech does you credit, Louis... but it far exceeds the complexity of any relationship...

I might have with Mr. Neville, which is indeed very simple.

He is a paid servant of my mother's, bound by a contract. That is all.

I'm encouraged by my mother to see him honor it.

Is his pleasure in your encouragement so necessary?

Although Mr. Neville has qualities, he is neither as intelligent... nor, for that matter, as talented as he thinks.

Both characteristics you have observed from the start, Louis... though I admit more by prejudice than by observation.

I understand that you will be leaving us tonight, Mr. Neville.

With Mrs. Herbert's permission, I will be leaving after the arrival of Mr. Herbert... after he has passed an opinion on the drawings of his house.

If my servant has obtained a vehicle, I will be leaving in the morning.

And of course, Mr. Neville, the sooner the better- as you no doubt expected me to say.

You, sir, have acquainted me with your opinion on drawing, on horticulture... the Roman Church, childbearing... the place of women in English life... the history and politics of Lübeck and the training of dogs.

Sol am in a fair position to anticipate your opinion as to my departure.

And is Radstock to greet you with such devoted hospitality?

Mr. Talmann, sir, I have been treated... with as great hospitality as I could wish for in Mrs. Herbert's house.

[Man] Your drawings are full of the most unexpected observation, Mr. Neville... and looking at them is akin to pursuing a complicated allegory.

Are you sure this ladder was there? Indisputably.

And what is this? It looks like a- Whatever it is, it was there.

Mrs. Talmann will confirm it. How is that?

How will my wife confirm it?

Mr. Neville is probably too encompassing in his statement.

I can, however, confirm the sighting of a ladder It is propped against my father's withdrawing room.

It is indeed, madam. You have an exact knowledge.

As exact a knowledge as though, madam... you had placed it there yourself, would you say?

[Mrs. Talmann] Mr. Neville, if ever I had such a mind to...

I would have found it impossible to have lifted it.

It would have taken... two men. Halt!

Away! [Murmurs]

[Mr. Talmann] What do you want, Mr. Clarke?

Can you come with me, sir? It's important.

[No Audible Dialogue]


Madam, it is most important that I speak with you.

I cannot now, Thomas. I'm in a position to insist.

Thomas, after what has happened, I refuse to speak to you just now.

You must take care of affairs yourself, or, in the last resort, you must ask Mr. Talmann.

Telling Mr. Talmann what is on my mind will not help you.

What do you mean?

I mean, madam, that I am sure I'm shortly to be accused of the murder of your husband... and I am determined to confront that eventuality well protected.

And who will accuse you?

Firstly, I think, will be your son-in-law... abetted and witnessed probably by his servants.

How can that be? I need your assistance.

To what end... if my son-in-law believes that you're guilty of the murder of Mr. Herbert?

Leave me.

Maria! Calling your servants is not going to help.

What do you mean? Maria!

I mean the draughtsman's contract, madam. What of it?

Maria, call Mr. Talmann.

I mean your contractual obligations to Mr. Neville.

What of them?

Madam, you are disingenuous beyond words.

Maria, don't bother to call Mr. Talmann. Fetch me instead a-

Fetch me nothing. I'm not thirsty just at present.

Now, Mr. Noyes, what are you inferring?

I am to be unjustly and unscrupulously accused of the murder of your husband.

On what grounds?

That I was the most likely person to have done it.

That I was the only person, with the exception of your servants... to know of Mr. Herbert's return on Friday.

That I am culpable because of my known feelings towards your husband.

That is ridiculous. There was-

And, madam, I am the only person in the group of people you are about to mention... who was not at home awaiting the arrival of Mr. Herbert.

And, further, madam, because of my known feelings towards you.

Is all that sufficient reason? There is more.

[Noyes] Mr. Herbert's study is mysteriously littered with papers... and my gloves are there.

Now against this conspiracy, I need your protection and more.

[Mrs. Herbert] If you're guilty Thomas, you shall have neither

[Noyes] With Mr. Neville's contract, madam, I shall have them both.

For your protection and for 700 guineas...

I will trade you the contract of your infidelities.

I have no money. 700 is a calculated sum.

I will trade you the contract for the drawings.

You have I 2 drawings, and Mr. Neville has a reputation.

What, for 12 drawings executed privately?

Consider, madam. The drawings could be construed as an embarrassment to you... and the original purpose and significance of the drawings... as a gift to your husband is absolved.

Those drawings, Mr. Noyes, have cost me too much already.

They may cost you a great deal more.

They may cost you possibly everything.

An adulteress with a dead husband is no reputation to relish.

[Mrs. Herbert] And Mr. Neville? What of Mr. Neville? He's gone to Radcot.

What part has he in this stratagem? He is not a part of my stratagem.

He could be party to a future arrangement with the same intent.

You paid him a fee, madam... and you offered him full board on your property during the commission.

To the prying eye, that is as much as he is usually worth.

With the contract in your hand and destroyed... why should the world think you've offered him more?

Where is that contract now?

I have it here, madam. Where are the drawings?

What would be said if I no longer had the drawings?

That you destroyed them... for, without your husband, they were valueless to you.

What would happen if it were known that they were for sale?

Your stratagem is weak.

That you sold them in order to afford a memorial to your husband... or, alternatively, that you sold them in order to rid the house of something... which pains you each time you look at them.

You once asked me, Mrs. Pierpoint, if I could supply you with a ribald piece of gossip.

And I remember your friendly gesture at the time.

[Chuckling] Ah, madam... you Romans know how to be charitable.

I can supply you with a little more than gossip.

I'm in a position to invite you to help me... elaborate and decorate such an item- an entertaining item.

We need not work too hard, for the rump of the matter has been well laid.

And what real benefit do you think I might gain from this exercise?

Amusement and a certain delight in a symmetrical stratagem... and the satisfaction that our betters might be seriously discomforted.

And who knows? Perhaps two parterres and a grove of orange trees...

[Chuckling] if Mrs. Herbert is generous.

And why Mrs. Herbert?

Because I think you will find she is mistress of strategy.

And if you do not benefit from her directly, I think that, by and by... if you wait a few years, then you will achieve them from me... as a token of my esteem.

From the same source?

Madam, I think you have understood me.

[Man] A monument would need a designer.

Would a certain pecuniary draughtsman be eager to sign another contract?

As far as I am aware, sir, the idea is Mrs. Herbert's... though the expenses might be laid at Mr. Neville's door.

An about-face.

It is his drawings that are to be sold, not more of his talent.

By Mr. Neville's growing reputation, 12 drawings could be profitably sold... to furnish a more solid and enduring monument.

It is said that Mr. Neville is to be invited to the Hague.

Aha. If I had the wherewithal...

I would advance Mrs. Herbert 100 guineas straightaway- for capital audacity, for bravura in the face of grief.

Mr. Herbert is no especial excuse for such generosity... but how publicly directed is the gesture?

How could posterity doubt her affection? -just so.

I shall offer 300 guineas- not my own money, you understand.

My father-in-laws. He can afford it.

He collects- has no perspicacity, no knowledge.

I shall tell him that they are Italian.

Guido Reni, uh, Modesta. [Seymour Laughing]

[Laughs] He shall hang them in a dark room somewhere... and they shall never be seen again.

That is a great pity, for they are full of illuminating details.

Mr. Neville moves forward in Mrs. Herbert's susceptibilities... like a man pressing a lifework by slow stages.

Would there perhaps be an idea in Mr. Neville's imagination... for a certain contract to cap them all?

On horseback- a dashing Saint George, looking like a jacobite with, um-

With a palette for a shield and a quiver full of brushes... and a pen held crosswise in his teeth.

With ink-stained fingers.

What is in his fingers?

Unmentionable.

Another pen? It's like a pen.

Is it a pen? -A little pen.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

We will forward 400 guineas to this scabrous monument to a pen.

And our receipt will be Mr. Neville's drawing in the bathhouse.

The one with the little dog. Mmm.Wagging its tail.

[Mr. Talmann] Mrs. Herbert does well to sell them. How much will they bring?

[Noyes] They are worth what those who buy them wish to pay.

Mr. Seymour has tentatively offered 400 guineas. [Mr. Talmann] Huh!

[Noyes] I am inclined to think that he makes his offer generous to Mrs. Herbert... in order to interest her in a larger and a- a grander sale.

What other sale? Why, of course, of the house.

Well, that was very forward of him.

[Noyes] I tested his ambition... by suggesting that he might buy a set of distinguished drawings of it.

Either way is a useful way to help Mrs. Herbert to a- a more profitable bargain and thereby to help her demonstrate her loss... in the knowledge that a larger sum... would make for a larger monument for her husband.

Mr. Herbert, one way or another, stands to benefit by Mr. Neville's industry... as do we all, sir.

I fail to see, for a start, my benefit or, for that matter, yours.

[Chuckling] Mr. Talmann, you are disingenuous.

You, sir, as, by your leave, your future son's future guardian... stand in an enviable position.

And consider the neatness of it, sir.

The estate would have an endurable memorial which is part of the landscape... instead of 12 perishable items which are mere representations of it.

I fail to see why Mr. Seymour's presumption should gain him a part of my son's inheritance.

[Noyes] Maybe there again Mr. Seymour will be doing you a favor, sir.

What do you mean?

[Noyes] By taking away the possibility of your son ever seeing them- when you have one, as I'm sure you will.

[Mr. Talmann] Why should he not see them?

Because, sir, he might perceive the allegorical evidence in them... which you might, sir, be stubborn enough to deny.

Mr. Neville had no use for allegory... and I am unlikely to miss what my son would appreciate.

[Noyes] An allegorical meaning, sir, that might involve his mother.

What? My wife? How is that?

It is fancifully imputed, sir... that Mr. Neville saw you as a deceived husband.

How was I deceived?

I've been convinced, Sarah, that you have been deceiving me!

What is the matter with your voice? Damn my voice!

If you did, it would scare me less.

What's the matter with your face? Your face, Louis, is very red.

No redder than your backside, madam, when Mr. Neville had finished with it!

[Mrs. Talmann] When your speech is as coarse as your face, Louis... you sound as impotent by day as you perform by night.

Night and day, madam, your behavior has been coarse... and is now down in corresponding black-and-white... for all the world to peer at... whether the sun shines or the wind blows hot or cold.

Your speech, Louis, is becoming meteorological.

You must explain your conceit.

It is no conceit, madam, but Mr. Neville's drawings.

I was sure you believed Mr. Neville incapable of complicated meaning.

What has he done now?

It is mostly what he has undone. It seems to be your person.

I have no control over Mr. Neville's drawings.

He draws what he pleases.

He is not paid to draw for his own pleasure nor, madam, for yours.

What makes you think he has done that? Probably the way it looks.

How does it look? The way the world sees it.

The world? There cannot be that many people who have seen these drawings.

Who are these people that represent the world?

Seymour, Noyes, the Poulencs. Ah! And what do they see?

Enough, madam, to delight them, to exercise their tongues... to discuss patrimony.

Or the lack of it.

They see then what they have long been searching for, do you think?

And that means?

Opportunity to upbraid you for not producing an heir.

Woman, it takes two.

It does indeed, sir.

You amaze me.

And what has that to do with Mr. Neville? I could ask you that, madam.

You did not. You asked Mr. Noyes. It was he who pointed it out to me.

With his long nose, he could point you in anyway he wishes.

Madam, you will look at those drawings and you will explain to me... why a pleaching ladder is conveniently placed under your window... and why your revolting little clog is outside the bathhouse... and why your walking clothes casually decorate the bushes of the yew walk.

Your inventory, Louis, is unlimited- like your long, clean, white breeches.

But there is nothing of substance in either of them.

Let me ask you.

Perhaps you can explain what your boots were doing in the sheep field.

They were not my boots.

And why was your undershirt idling on a hedge near the statue of Hermes?

It was not my shirt.

Can you not see the drift of this domestic inquisition?

You are answering me as I could answer you.

You cannot deny it is your dog.

[Sighs] And whereas, with your final accusation... you pursue the ambiguity of an abandoned sunshade... you, sir, are complete on paper... in a borrowed hat and a borrowed coat... and a borrowed shadow, I shouldn't wonder.

Posing, sir, with your knees tucked in and your arse tucked out... and a face like a Dutch fig... and a supercilious Protestant whistle, I shouldn't wonder... on your supercilious, smug lips.

And, Louis, you have always said that Mr. Neville has no imagination.

He draws what he sees.

Whose patrimony were you aping then- my father's?

And the world knows that he is dead... and is not certain who killed him.

The world might peer at those drawings... and ask what conspiracy of inheritance did Mr. Neville have for you.

You are disreputable, madam... and you side with a tenant-farmer's son against your husband.

You have married the granddaughter of an army victualler.

And there is nothing that I have said that suggests I side with Mr. Neville.

But I hope you will agree that he has been useful to us all.

What have you done with his drawings?

I've bought them for 600 guineas, I plan to destroy them.

Oh, it would be a pity to destroy them.

[Yelps] You are concerned that posterity will know of your duplicity!

Louis.

They contain evidence of another kind... a kind more valuable than that seized upon... by those titillated by a scandal that smears your honor- evidence that Mr. Neville may be cognizant to the death of my father.


[Person Coughing]

[Neville] Good morning madam, [Mrs. Talmann] Mr. Neville.

Good morning, sir.

[Mrs. Talmann] Good morning.

Though the summer suddenly seems past and the weather less than good.

What, Mr. Neville, has brought you back to Anstey so soon?

I thought our humble estate had seen the last of you.

I am staying, madam, at Radstock with the Duke of Lauderdale... and have come at the invitation of Mr. Seymour... to find that curiously he is out and most of his house is shut up.

Mr. Seymour, I understand, is in Southampton with my husband.

The funeral was three days ago, and they are discussing property.

It would seem then that my visit is poorly timed.

Madam, may I ask after the health of your mother?

Although my mother was understandably disturbed by my father's death... she is now, in the knowledge that her affection for my father... can never be reciprocated, at ease.

And what of yourself, madam?

I am very well, Mr. Neville, and we are thriving.

Mr. van Hoyten is to consider for us... a new management of the grounds in an entirely fresh approach.

He has come at our request to... soften the geometry that my father found to his taste... and to introduce a new ease and complexion into the garden.

Mr. van Hoyten has worked in the Hague... and he has presented Mr. Talmann with some novel introductions... which we will commence next spring.

He is a draughtsman too.

[Speaking Dutch]

[Dutch]


Mr. Neville has come, Mother, as we both believed he might... and he has brought with him a rare gift from Radstock- three pomegranates from Lauderdale's gardener... reared in English soil under an English sun.

But with the help, madam, of 100 panes of glass... and half a year's supply of artificial heat.

Thank you, Mr. Neville.

We must see what we can do for you in return.

[Mrs. Talmann] I was about to take Mr. van Hoyten to the river.

He has plans to make a dam and flood the lower field.

I will no doubt see you later, Mr. Neville.

Flooded fields, madam?

Do you intend to join Anstey to the sea?

[Mrs. Talmann Chuckling] We are to have an ornamental lake.

My son-in-law has ambitions for his countrymen.

It is probably you, Mr. Neville, that has opened his eyes...

To the possibilities of our landscape.

[Neville] Why is this Dutchman wagging his arms about?

Is he homesick for windmills?

[Laughs] Who knows?

He's a man with new ideas. New ideas demand new methods perhaps.

How was Radstock?

Fine enough, madam... but dull after the excitements of Anstey.

Ah, and have you now come here to renew those excitements?

Oh, madam, that would be presumptuous.

It would indeed, sir.

All contracts have, after all, been honored... and the body has been buried.

Madam, that was blunt.

I remember, sir, that you were blunt in your dealings with me.

I was glad to see Mrs. Talmann... and, in all truth, put as much a possibility as I could... to see that a meeting with yourself might occur.

I confess that I was curious to see the house and gardens again... to see what appearance they'd put on after this week of changing weather.

But I admit, madam, that it was out of curiosity to see you... that was behind the reason for my wishing to be invited to Mr. Seymour's house.

Curiosity does not sound a very respectful reason to visit a lady... even one you've had the pleasure of.

And is it really myself that is the center of your interest and not my daughter?

Yes, madam. Ah.

How's that?

My former contractual obligations, madam, tied us together to my advantage.

And at your husband's death, it was again I who gained and you who lost.

You're very confident of that, Mr. Neville.

And I must confess that, in losing, you have excited my curiosity further.

[inhales Deeply]

How do you imagine my losses, Mr. Neville?

Humiliations, madam- each one exceeding the other.

Is losing a husband a humiliation, Mr. Neville?

[Whistles, Clicks Tongue]

[Sheep Bleating]

Madam, in making my arrangements here...

I concluded with the possibility of 13 sites... one of which had to be rejected to comply with the I 2 drawings as commissioned.

The site that was rejected was, as you will recall, to the south of the house... and included the monument to the horse.

It is the site where your husband's body was found.

It was that irony, Mr. Neville, that was uppermost in inquiring minds... at the discovery of Mr. Herbert's body.

The 13th site, madam, was rejected for no clear reason.

It contained no view of the house.

Then that was true of several other of the drawings.

Possibly it was the least characteristic of the garden's viewpoints... and was most powerful at the least advantageous times of clay.

And that is why, madam, with your permission...

I would like, if I may... to attempt to accomplish that drawing this afternoon.

That is, if you have no objection.

Mr. Neville, your approach is full of hesitant pleasantries.

Madam, that is because I am still unable... to fully judge your present feelings as to past events.

[Footsteps Approaching]

Mr. Neville, suffice it to say that the object of my life has changed.

I am a widow, whereas I was a wife.

It could be construed that I was a widow whilst being a wife.

I have only exchanged a false position that made me unhappy... for a true position that has left me without any emotion.

Mr. Neville, I propose to eat.

And, uh, I propose that you should eat with me.

And when we are ready, I will show- along with my gardener, Mr. Porringer- what we at Anstey are capable of cultivating.

It will be by way of returning your gift in kind.

And who knows? It may be that we could revive... one more time... a liaison, outside of a contract... to our mutual satisfaction.

And then you must accomplish your 13th drawing. ls all that acceptable to you?

Madam, it is as if you'd planned it.

I'm surprised, delighted.

Madam, I am overwhelmed.

Mr. Neville, I will take all three states of your satisfaction into consideration.

I have, quite legitimately, a freedom to exploit... and I might as well exploit it with you... considering our past experience.


A pomegranate, Mr. Neville- gift of Hades to Persephone.

Madam, my scholarship is not profound.

Unusual of you, Mr. Neville, to profess to an ignorance of a subject... which, before, you would be anxious to have us believe... was an essential prerequisite to an artist's vocabulary.

Maybe, madam, I am hesitating to acknowledge an unintended allusion.

By eating the fruit of the pomegranate, Mr. Neville...

Pluto kept Persephone in the underworld.

Oh, a symbolic fruit, Mrs. Herbert.

And you've brought me three.

That was all, madam, that Mr. Clancy would spare me.

Maybe Mr. Clancy is a contriver of allusions.

How- How is that, Mrs. Herbert? Are you acquainted with the man?

Having been tricked into eating the fruit of the pomegranate, Mr. Neville...

Persephone was forced to spend a period of each year underground... during which time, as even Mr. Porringer will tell you...

Persephone's mother- the goddess of fields, of gardens and of orchards- was distraught, heartbroken.

She sulks, and she refuses- adamantly refuses- to bless the world with fruitfulness.

Now... my Mr. Porringer and your Mr. Clancy... try hard to defeat the influence of the pomegranate... by building places like these, don't you think?

And having built them and stocked them and patiently tended them... what do they grow?

Why, the pomegranate.

And we are turned full circle again.

Certainly a cautionary tale for gardeners, madam.

And for mothers with daughters, Mr. Neville.

But, who knows, madam? Pomegranates grown in England... might not have such unhappy allegorical significance.

[Door Clatters]

Plants from the hothouse, according to Mr. Porringer... are seldom fertile.

Fertile enough, Mrs. Talmann, to engender felicitous allusions... if not their own offspring.

And of course, there are more.

More of what, madam?

Mr. Neville, we well know your delight in the visual conceit.

The juice of the pomegranate... may be taken for... blood... and in particular the blood of the newborn... and of murder.

Then thanks to your botanical scholarship... you must find it cruelly apt that I was persuaded to bring such fruit.

Oh, Mr. Neville, I suspect that you were innocent of the insight... as you have been innocent of much else.

[Scoffs] Innocent, madam?

By impute, I was convinced you thought me guilty- certainly of opportunism, probably of murder.

What I do think you guilty of I do not at all reproach you for.

In our need of an heir... you may very likely have served us well.

Madam?

We had a contract, did we not?

You do not think I would have signed so much for pleasure alone?

[Sighs] Madam, that was ingenious.

Since when has adultery been ingenious?

Mr. Neville, you are ridiculous.

[Mrs. Talmann] And why should you have murdered Mr. Herbert?

For what reason? Mr. Talmann believes I had reason enough.

Yes. Mr. Talmann is in Southampton... still trying to find or invent some responsibility for you in the matter

[Mrs. Herbert] He will not forgive your indiscretion with Sarah... but he will not disown his wife for then, you see, he would lose Anstey.

I am sure that Mr. Talmann is not in Southampton... for did I not see him on the carriage drive here this afternoon?

[Mrs. Talmann] Why I think not.

He is in Southampton with Mr. Seymour

[Neville] I do not think that Mr. Seymour can be in Southampton... for he stopped my servant this morning at Radstock to ask after me.

And on the understanding that I had some hope of seeing you... was, according to my servant, more than pleased.

I am convinced that we will see him this afternoon.

I confess I am surprised, Mr. Neville, if that is the case.

I will inquire.

Sarah.

Ask Mr. Porringer to get Mr. Neville a chair.

He intends to make a drawing for me in the garden by that horse.

And, Sarah.

Ask Mr. Porringer to bring Mr. Neville a pineapple, a small one.

They're sweeter.

You would care to try a pineapple, would you not, Mr. Neville?

[Neville] Madam, I would be delighted. -[Door Closes]

[Bell Tolling In Distance]

[Mr.Talmann] Good evening, Mr. Neville.

Good evening, sir.

And why, Mr. Neville, do we find you here so late?

Surely the light is now too poor to see adequately.

That is true. I am finished.

Good.

Perhaps I could see it.

If we had light, that might be possible.

I'm sure we can find some light.

[Mr. Talmann] But it is not finished Mr. Neville.

No, Mr. Talmann, it is not.

You may successfully hide your face in the dark... but in England, at least, it is not easy for you, surely, sir, to hide your accent.

I did not think to hide my identity for long, Mr. Neville... which even in the eyes of the English is no especial crime... compared with the identity you care to assume with such ease.

And what identity might that be, Mr. Talmann?

The identity of a man of some little talent, some dubious honor... a proper dealer in contracts- the identity of a man with an eye to the improper pursuit of dishonor to others.

You talk, Mr. Talmann, like one who has learnt abroad... an archaic way of speaking that became unfashionable in England... when my grandfather was a young man.

My speech is in no way dependable on your view of fashion, Mr. Neville.

We all know that in the field of deeds and of talent... you in your field are an innovator.

That must be some sort of flattery, Mr. Talmann.

Have your companions also come to flatter?

[Seymour] We have come merely as curious observers, Mr. Neville... to wonder why, after so much has happened... you return to continue to fix Mr. Herbert's property on paper... and chose to draw this particular site.

I might be inclined to answer those questions, Mr. Seymour... if I did not feel that the truthful answers I would give... would in no way be of interest to you.

[Mr. Talmann] It is our belief, Mr. Neville, that in returning here... you are seeking a codicil to your original contract... a codicil of a more permanent nature than the last one- a lasting contract with a widow.

You speak, of course, Mr. Talmann, like a disinherited man... uninterested in painting or draftsmanship- uninterested even in the prospect of the estate you covet from this position.

An ideal site for a memorial perhaps.

[Seymour] Do you think Mr. Herbert would have appreciated the prospect of his estate?

Oh. As a landowner yourself, Mr. Seymour, I leave you to judge.

For a man of property, it is a view that might be enviable.

Though I think you are wrong to ascribe those enviable thoughts to me.

Perhaps, I would suggest, they should be ascribed to my friend Mr. Noyes...

Who is I think standing beside me.

A custodian of contracts... a man who was given custody of private agreements in black-and-white.

[Noyes] And how do you feel, Mr. Neville... that Mr. Herbert felt about these black-and-white contracts?

[Scoffs] As his agent, his bailiff, his notary... his one-time friend, the close- though not close enough- confidante of his wife...

I would have thought you would be the best person to answer that.

It is curious, gentlemen, that you persist in asking me questions... which you are the most suitably situated to answer.

It has, of course, occurred to me that you, Mr. Noyes... might have advanced Mr. Herbert the information... that was so discretionably set down in black-and-white.

Whether he could have appreciated what it stood for is another matter.

He was blind to so much- certainly blind to considerable unhappiness.

Your understanding of Mrs. Herbert's unhappiness... could in no possible way be considered profound or relevant.

I had access to some considerable observation of her state of mind.

And you will not forget, sir, that I was helped in that respect by her daughter- your wife, sir- and was persuaded- and was persistently persuaded by both ladies... to undertake the commission in the first place.

[Seymour] And they persuaded you, sir... with a view that you might reconcile differences, sir, and not plunder them, I am in no way responsible for Mr. Herbert's death.

The affair is a mystery to me... though I have strong suspicions, Mr. Talmann, Mr. Seymour, Mr. Noyes... and, if they were here, indeed of Mrs. Herbert herself and Mrs. Talmann- ladies who both, after all, entered willingly into their contracts.

Is that why, Mr. Neville, you have just abused Mrs. Herbert further?

Ah.

What a pity.

That was clever.

[Mr. Talmann] We now have a contract with you, Mr. Neville... and under conditions of our choosing.

[Noyes] The contract concerning our present pleasure, Mr. Neville... has three conditions.

It will be best served, sir, when you have removed your finery.

Take off your hat, sir.

[Laughs] My hat, gentlemen... has no contractual obligations with anyone.

[Noyes] The contract's first condition, Mr. Neville- and there is no need to write it down for you will never see it- is to cancel your eyes.

[Neville Screaming]

[Mr. Talmann] Since we have now deprived you of your access to a living... the shirt on your back will be of no value to you.

[Noyes] It may well dress a scarecrow to frighten the crows.

[Seymour] Or be scattered about an estate... as ambiguous evidence of an obscure allegory.

And the third condition of your contract, concomitant to the other two-

And legally binding... And efficiently undertaken... for what is a man without property- and foresight- is your death.


[Water Splashes]


[Water Splashes]