The Invisible Woman (2013) Script

Our boys' curriculum is very wide.

They perform a short play at the end of every term.

Theater's an abiding interest of my wife.

Ah, Mary, tea if you please. Yes, sir.

Through the open door.

Nelly, where were you?

Mr. Benham has been here since 3:00.

I'm so sorry.

Mr. Lambourne has been organizing the boys best he can.

I lost all sense of time.

Careful with those corners, boys.

Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.

Thank you, Mary.

Ah, Mrs. Wharton Robinson. At last.

I'm so sorry, Mr. Benham.

I just kept walking. Forgive me.

Dear boys, let's go from the third act.

Everyone get into positions.

Yes, ma'am. Thank you, Mr. Lambourne.

Mr. Benham must not see all our tricks quite yet or there'll be nothing left to show him tomorrow.

It is cold outside?

It is, but it clears the mind.

It would be good to decide on the readings before the end of term.

Of course. Perhaps later.

Laurenson and Tanner, are you ready? Yes, ma'am.

Geoffrey dear, don't forget, you come in on the final line.

Sit there.

Coates, Watson, take those.

Thank you, ma'am. Thank you, ma'am.

I recall no lion in Mr. Dickens and Mr. Collins' play, Mrs. Wharton Robinson.

A little dramatic license.

I'm confident that Mr. Dickens would have let it pass.

Yates, if you could drop the backing.

Yes, ma'am.

Musicians.

Is everyone ready? I think so.

Yes, ma'am.

Boys, remember your positions.

Let's begin.

Well, my lads, the day is breaking at last.

"Has broken," Hadley. Mr. Dickens was very particular.

Well, my lads, the day has broken at last.

What do you say to the weather now?

I am ready to cross the mountain with the gentleman, if the others will go with me.

I can see for myself there's a storm coming.

I smell the snow. I feel the hurricane in the air.

No money those gentlemen can offer will tempt me to cross the mountain with them today.

Tanner, your cue.

Well, are you ready at last?

My patience is at an end.

I'm sick and weary of all this doubt and delay.

I'm your man. I will guide you to your journey's end.

Say when. Now.

Are you ready? I'm ready.

Come along.

Pull it taut.

Upright like a brigadier.

And thread it through.

Thank you.

Were you on the beach again today?

Miss Brooke thought she saw you.

Yes.

Look. See? It is signed. Really?

Apparently he modeled the character of Lucie Manette on Nelly.

The families were very close when Nelly was a child.

I'm sure he drew inspiration from many people.

My wife adores his novels.

Of course, he's often very funny, but I find a little bleak.

One wonders what demons raged in his mind.

Indeed.

Thackeray, there's a writer.

George, you cannot compare them.

Oh, I agree. I am for Mr. Dickens.

There are times that I have envied Mrs. Wharton Robinson to have known him even as a child.

A writer.

Yes, at times bleak, but one who makes us laugh at our own absurdity.

We see ourselves clearly in all our folly.

He's been dead for some years, but yes, he is still with us.

Thank you, Mr. Benham.

Oh, it is a subject in which I sometimes run away with myself, as Mrs. Wharton Robinson knows only too well.

Run away. Run away.

I, for one, am determined to revisit him immediately.

Where would you suggest I begin?

Martin Chuzzlewit.

Any novel, but for brief pleasure, I would suggest browsing through a copy of Dickens' weekly literary magazine.

Oh.

Household Words.

A collection of many of his writings, and indeed, chapters of his novels.

And I'm sure Mrs. Wharton Robinson would not mind if you cared to borrow.

Of course.

My wife has nearly every edition.

We have run out of shelves.

Sir.

Ah, good. Thank you, Mary.

The Frozen Deep.

You have the text of Mr. Collins' play?

Yes. it is not a good play.

But I shall find you one.

- David Copperfield. David Copperfield?

For our readings. Oh, yes.

Will you walk again tomorrow?

Perhaps.

May I join you?

I walk at quite a pace.


Welcome. Welcome, Mrs. Ternan. Thank you, Charley.

Oh, dear.

Um, yes, do be careful now.

Oh, my!

Oh, Miss Maria. Come inside. Thank you.

Come inside. Thank you. Ooh!

Miss Ellen, welcome.

Oh, your glove. Thank you.

I'm Charley Dickens. Welcome to Manchester.

It's so wet.

My father is waiting.

The others are already here.

Nelly, look. See?

There we are.

Come on.

Look, Nelly.

Father. Ah!

At last we have a full company.

Mrs. Ternan, welcome.

What a beautiful theater you've built.

Thank you. I'm glad, we have tried.

Miss Maria, welcome. Thank you.

You had a good journey, I hope.

Yes, thank you, Mr. Dickens.

Quite comfortable. Good. Good. Good.

And you must be Miss Ellen Ternan? I am.

You've met my eldest son, Charley, of course?

He kindly rescued my glove, yes. Ah.

The gallant chevalier.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Miss Ellen who is helping us in our hour of need.

We wish your sister, Fanny, well.

Is it the Haymarket or the Phoenix Theater we've lost her to?

The Haymarket.

She's so sad not to be here.

No, Nelly will give you a wonderful performance.

I have no doubt.

Now, Mrs. Ternan, Maria, you've met everyone on our previous rehearsals.

Miss Ellen, may I introduce our family of actors?

We have Mr. Lemon. Delighted.

And Mr. Egg. Welcome.

And our composer, Mr. Berger. Hello.

And Mr. Pigott. Miss Sabine. Mr. Charles.

And I'd like to introduce our author, Mr. Collins, but as ever, he is late.

But here are some of my own family.

My daughters, Mamey, Katey.

My sister-in-law, Miss Georgina Hogarth.

Assorted sons, Frank, Alfred, Sydney, Henry.

And where is youngest boy?

Don't hide there, Plorn. Come here.

And that is it, I think.

Uh, yes, of course, and my wife.

And half an hour.

Is that time enough, ladies, for you to settle your bonnets?

I'd like to rehearse, but without our author, Mr. Collins, who is at last here.

Why am I always waiting, Wilkie?

Why must you always be late?

Because it irritates you, Charles.

And it amuses me to see you in bad temper.

Charles, I don't think we can afford to cut it.

But it's too long. It'll bore if it's too long.

It was too long in London, it'll be too long in Manchester.

Though it pains, Wilkie. Cut, cut, cut.

It is done.

You can tell Mr. Egg he's lost his last soliloquy.

No, you must do it as author. I shall not deny you that.

You are insufferable. And this?

And here and here.

Now, everyone, please be careful.

Our little theater's not yet complete.

Remember, we are rehearsing Miss Ellen in today, so let's be considerate.

Now I'm keen to review the last act, just the final entry of Wardour and Aldersly.

So places, friends.

Now, Maria. Maria. Yes.

We should have you just here, I think.

Then Mrs. Ternan and the girls. And Miss Ellen...

Mr. Dickens, may I suggest that the ladies are slightly further upstage?

Yes. Of course.

Have your officers trimmed to your satisfaction?

Yes, excellent, excellent. Very good.

Um, do you think I ought to stand a little wider for the entrance?

Yes, but not too much for it's your face and not mine that'll be holding the attention of our audience, I feel sure.

Uh, Wilkie, are you ready?

I need you standing at the back if I'm to carry you in.

Are you ready? No.

Yes, come on, come on. Yes, yes.

Charley. Just relax the arms.

Just a little less stiff.

Yeah? Hmm.

That's good, yes.

Should you not come? I cannot carry myself.

Yes, yes, of course.

Do I speak after the gun?

After the gun and you move downstage to the middle.

Frank! Frank!

Then my line, "Saved, saved for you."

Then you've put me down here. Yes, I have.

And I am footsore and weary, Clara, but I have saved him.

Yes. That's good. Then your line, Wilkie.

Where is Wardour? Help him. Never mind me.

Mark, that's when you come down.

Wardour. Dear Wardour.

Old friend whom I have wronged, remember and forgive me.

Very good, you're forgiven.

Don't be afraid to project. We have nearly a thousand seats.

Catherine, do say if you cannot hear us.

What? We can hear you very well, Charles.

Very good. Everyone speak up.

Then, Maria, that's when you come over here and take me gently in your arms.

Here. Sorry.

Richard. Richard, look upon your old playmate.

And then music...

No, Berger... Berger, not yet.

I'm just marking through the cues.

It plays until the curtain has fallen by which time we kiss, then gun.

Bang. Then I'm dead.

And then epilogue.

This is a tale of woe. This is a tale of sorrow.

A love denied. A love restored to live beyond tomorrow.

Lest we think silence is the place to hide a heavy heart, remember, to love and be loved is life itself without which we are nought.

And then the curtain closes. Loud applause.

Yet audible the crying of 2,000!

Thank you. Bravo. Bravo.

Ladies, gentlemen. Thank you, Maria.

Charles, your last speech I think could benefit from cutting.

You do? I do.

Shall we discuss it?

Uh, yes, yeah. Later.

She has something.

Come nearer.

Clara.

Kiss me.

Sister, kiss me

before I die. No.


William Thackeray!

No, no, no. it is not enough that we play before these mere mortals.

Friends, it is Manchester who has given us the highest accolade.

It is Manchester whose approval I have looked for, and it is Manchester who has bestowed tonight's success.

Friends, we are victorious!

Sir Roger de Coverley, Mr. Berger, please.

And again!

Strip the willow!

Back-to-back!

Gentlemen, change for the British Grenadiers.


Raise your arms higher like a bird.

And then, when you are ready, give me your hands.

It's remarkable.

Give me your hands.

There. Now you are safe with me.

One of his magic tricks.

Where are you?

I'm on my own.

You are an admirer of my husband's work, Miss Ellen?

Of course.

At the moment, I'm lost in Little Dorrit.

Until now, I thought Bleak House would be the novel that would stay with me the most.

It has this alarming spirit of unease.

Lady Dedlock haunted by her past.

I keep coming back to those pages again and again.

Yet there's so much that makes me smile.

'Tis a fiction designed to entertain.

Surely it's more than that. It changes us.

Now you are, you are back with us.

He will be up all night.

And cross all day.

Katey. Mamey.

Now, someone else. Who is next?

Hmm?

Who is next? Good night.

Hold the baby. Hold the baby. She's gone.

Where is she? Where is she? Is she safe? Please tell me she's safe.

And now you are back with us, Mrs. Ternan.

Back where? Mother.

Mother, I think you were remembering Fanny on the boat.

Oh. What did I say?

You were trying to save her, Mother. Oh.

I'm sorry, Mr. Dickens.

I think I may have strayed into some family history.

Oh?

My eldest daughter, Fanny, was, um, thrown from her cot.

My husband and I were traveling around America some years ago, and, um, our paddle steamer was rammed by another boat, and Fanny was thrown up into the air and saved, miraculously, by a mattress.

The angels were watching.

Yes. They were.

Extraordinary story.

I am done, Mr. Dickens.

As am I. I must go.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Good night, Wilkie. Good night.

5:00.

Bed. Or breakfast?

Good night.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Good night. Good night.

Maria, you broke all our hearts tonight.

Everyone was weeping.

I couldn't hold back the tears. You were so good.

I did try to console her in a hushed aside, but all she could say was, "Oh, so sad, so sad."

Such a good, dear, pale little face.

You won't find a better Clara.

Thank you, Mother.

I must get my angels to bed.

I'm too awake to sleep.

It's daylight. Nelly.

Everyone needs sleep, Nelly dear.

This is my favorite time.

When the day is creeping up on us and we must put in order the chaos of the night.

Stand guard once more, ready for life.

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is a profound secret and mystery to every other.

Until that secret is given to another to look after.

And then perhaps two human creatures may know each other.

Do you not think?

Yeah.

Has Mrs. Dickens gone to bed?

Some time ago.

Mmm, yeah, well...

She has terrible headaches.

Sleep.

Why must you do that?

Do what, Nelly?

Flaunt my connection?

It is dull.

Dull?

To have known Dickens?

I was a child.

Yet to refer to him as bleak.

It is a misconception.

What?

I do not understand what you are talking of, Nelly.

This constant agitation.


"As we struggled on, nearer and nearer to the sea

"from which this mighty wind was blowing dead on shore, "its force became more and more terrific.

"When we came within sight of the sea, "the waves on the horizon, caught at intervals above the rolling abyss, "were like glimpses of another shore with towers and buildings.

"As the high watery walls came rolling in, "and at their highest tumbled into surf, "they looked as if the least would engulf the town.

"As the receding wave swept back with a hoarse roar, "it seemed to scoop out deep caves in the beach, "as if its purpose were to undermine the earth.

"Ham watched the sea, standing alone, "until there was a great retiring wave.

"When, with a backward glance at those who held the rope

"which was made fast around his body, he dashed in after it.

"And, in a moment, was buffeting with the water, "rising with the hills, falling with the valleys, lost beneath the foam, "borne in towards the shore, borne on towards the ship.

"At last Ham neared the wreck.

"He was so near that with one more of his vigorous strokes, "he would be clinging to it

"when a high, green, vast hillside of water

"moving on shoreward from beyond the ship, "he seemed to leap up into it with a mighty bound.

"And the ship was gone."

Truly, Mr. Dickens, it is never so alive as when it is spoken by its author.

Thank you. Thank you. Will you excuse me?

Ah, Mrs. Ternan. Mr. Dickens.

It was remarkable.

Such control, such mastery in your performance.

Thank you. I am told these readings double sales.

It was quite brilliant, Mr. Dickens.

It was? Yes. Yes.

Absolutely. Miss Fanny.

We've missed you.

Well, not enough, it would seem.

Mrs. Dickens isn't here? Uh, no, not today.

Oh, what a pity to have missed it. Mmm-hmm.

Oh, such a storm.

We were quite blown off course.

So, it did not disappoint? No.

Well... Well?

Nelly has read every chapter twice.

I may have read every chapter twice, but I didn't really hear it until now.

Hearing it spoken, I felt I was in the storm.

I was there with Copperfield seeing his friend drowned.

It was unbearable.

Yes, I...

I am glad.

Charles, do please come and talk to these gentlemen.

I've been entertaining them for several minutes now, but ultimately I feel I am a poor substitute.

Wilkie, I am coming.

Where are you playing next?

They're engaged to play Doncaster for three weeks.

And what are you playing?

Uh, two tragedies and a farce.

Ah, a farce. What farce?

The Pet of the Petticoats.

The Pet of the Petticoats? What a terrible title.

Yes.

Well, um...

But very good races, Doncaster. Excuse me. Don't go away.

Catherine.

Yes?

Shall we sit together?

If you wish.

Well, no, if you'd prefer not, I, um...

I did not sleep well last night.

Perhaps I will go to bed now.

Yes, of course, yes.

Wilkie has an idea for Household Words.

A trip to the North.

He's calling it A Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices.

It might be a couple of pages in it.

Where will you start? Um...

Doncaster, I think. Hmm.

Turn up the lamp.

You cannot write in this light.


She won! She won!

Nelly, victory.

Nelly, you've won!

How much? 5 shillings.

5 shillings?

It was fixed. It was fixed.

I hope you're not a bad sport, Mr. Collins.

I am a very bad sport. Then you must win.

So, what will you do with your winnings, Nelly?

I shall spend it all at once.

No, I may spend a half a shilling on a copy of Household Words just to be sure the two apprentices returned safely from their lazy tour.

They did, though they did not want to go home.

But what of their families?

Well, they missed them of course, but they did so enjoy being away.

Charles Dickens.

Charles, you've been rumbled.

Mr. Dickens.

Hello. Good day. Yes. Thank you.

How very unexpected.

Thank you. Thank you.

Welcome to Yorkshire. Will you write a book about us?

Mr. Dickens, great talking to you.

Miss Ellen.

Mr. Dickens. Thank you.

I've read all your stories. Thank you.

Through there, please.

Watch it! Yes, ma'am.

Give me that, Maria dear.

Thank you, Mother.

Nearly there.

Oh, home.

Home.

That's yours.

Does that need washing, do you think? I'll put it in.

This will not stretch to another season.

I cannot mend another sleeve again.

The cuffs are still good.

And there's lace on the collar I can save.

Yes, I'll unpick it.

Maria, also this hem.

Thank you. Look.


I'm collecting washing.

Here.

This signed?

A souvenir. Where are my scissors?

They're in the drawer.

It's to be treasured.


Oh, Catherine.

Um, excuse me.


Why are you up so early?

I must go to London. Now?

There will be no train.

Well, then I shall walk.

It will take you all day.

Then it will take me all day.


So, here's perverseness.

No, no, 'tis Charles only whom you would prefer.

'Tis evident his vices and follies have won your heart.

I have obeyed you, both in neither seeing nor corresponding with him.

Yet I cannot think it culpable if, though my understanding severely condemns his vices, my heart professes some...

Suggests some pity for his distresses.

Egad, we'll have the wedding tomorrow morning.

Thank you, dear uncle.

What, you rogue, don't you ask the girl's consent first?

I have done that a long time...

A minute ago and she looked... Be hard to believe she was so bad.

Yes. For shame, Charles.

I protest, Sir Peter. There has not been a word.

Because we can't hear a word!

Well, then the fewer the better.

May your love for each other never know abatement.

And may you live as happily together as Lady Teazle and I intend to do.

That was very good, Nelly.

Really, Mother?

There is such clarity in your performance, Nelly.

Oh, thank you, Fanny.

You looked so beautiful. Thank you, Maria.

Mr. Dickens, why didn't you tell us you were coming?

A last minute impulse.

Mr. Dickens. My dear Buckstone.

Always a pleasure to have you grace our theater.

Thank you. A memorable night.

Miss Ellen, you were simply splendid.

Oh, thank you, Mr. Arnott. As were you.

And how is the writing, Mr. Dickens?

My writing is ferocious.

I'm up at 7:00, cold bath before breakfast, then I blaze away until 3:00.

I fight not to be distracted.

Won't you sit?

No, I don't think.

It's very late. You must be tired, Mr. Dickens.

There's so much to do, I don't know whether my head is on or off.

Nelly, you must come and meet my very good friends.

Thank you. Yes, Mr. Arnott, I'd be delighted to.

This is Ambrose. Hello.

She is much in demand. Mmm, indeed.

Come through. Come through.

Thank you, Mrs. Ternan.

Fanny, Maria, we need to feed our guest. Yes, Mother.

Please do not trouble yourself, Mrs. Ternan.

There is some meat in the larder.

And some fruit. And bread.

Nelly, would you bring a drink for Mr. Dickens?

This is enchanting.

Ah, I see you have Mr. Keene as the Moor.

I played his Desdemona. May I take your coat, Mr. Dickens?

I know. Thank you, Mrs. Ternan.

And my husband was Iago.

Indeed. "Farewell the tranquil mind."

Thank you. Uh, would you sit?

It is the only chair in the house that doesn't sag should you shift in search of comfort.

Well, I am warned. Thank you.

We have ham and plums.

And some bread and some cheese.

This is charming.

And Wine.

Then I shall never leave.

Oh, watch the... Sorry.

And I didn't know how I could get rid of him.

And then what did you say?

Well, what I should have said was, "Mr. Andersen, though your Ugly Duckling has delighted, "you've slept in this room for five weeks now and you must go home."

But you did not. I did not.

Why didn't you?

He doesn't understand English.

He only speaks Danish, and I'm not sure he understands Danish.

I was tempted to learn his language so I could say to him, "May you never outstay your welcome so long again."

And now it seems that I have done the same.

No, never.

I will thank you, ladies, for a pleasurable night.

Life is nothing without good company.

Congratulations, Nelly, on your performance.

Thank you.

Good night, ladies. Ladies, good night.

Good night. Good night.

This is a very pretty cottage.

Thank you. If a little small.

The rewards of our profession are rarely monetary.

But I would have it no other way.

No one is entirely useless in this world if they may lighten the burden.

I didn't know he was going to be there.

My daughters are fine young women.

Sometimes, I'm anxious for their future.

I understand.

If I may be of assistance in any way?

I cannot risk Nelly's reputation.

I hope that nothing I could offer would compromise her.

Good night, Mrs. Ternan.

Good night, Mr. Dickens.

Good night, ladies.

Good night.


Come on out.

Shilling a blow, sir? Shilling a blow?

I shall give you 5 if you go home safely tonight.

I can play house, sir.

Want me as your wife, sir?

Where is your mother?


Last night, I sat next to a gentleman at dinner, and he asked me in some fury why it was that our city should help those who do not help themselves.

By "those" he meant the many fallen women that we see around us every day, and their offspring, many who rely on this hospital today.

I replied, "The two grim nurses, poverty and sickness, "bring these children before you and preside over their births, "rock their wretched cradles, "nail down their little coffins, "pile up the earth above their graves.

"Their unnatural deaths form one third

"of the annual deaths in this great town."

"But what of God?" he piously replied.

"What Of him?" I said.

"I feel sure God looks leniently on all vice

"that proceeds from human tenderness and natural passion."

I hope we will, too, and give generously tonight.

Thank you.

Thank you, ma'am. Good night, sir.

Thank you, ma'am.

Good night. Thank you, My Lord.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Good night. Thank you.

Oh, I'm sure you can do better than that, sir.

Maria. Fanny. Nelly. Have we fleeced them?

With every ounce of our souls, Mr. Dickens.

Thank you. Thank you.

I did not believe we would raise so much money.

Where does one begin?

They'll take some counting.

Yes. Yes.

Such an achievement.

We must celebrate.

Yes! We must!

We shall.

Here we are. Please, Mrs. Ternan, come through.

Are you moving in or out, Mr. Dickens?

I'm thinking of letting it.

My wife prefers to live outside of the public glare.

London tires her and Gad's Hill is where she likes to retreat with the children.

Gad's Hill near Rochester?

Indeed, very close. Walking distance.

Nelly was born in Rochester.

Ah, I was schooled in Chatham.

But my earliest memories are of Newcastle.

Newcastle I do not know so well.

Please, sit down. Make yourselves at home.

We have champagne.

Thank you, John. Please, on the piano.

Now did you ever see Mr. Keene's Corsican Brothers?

Interesting. I saw that melodrama many, many years ago...


Nelly.

Thank you for your hospitality, Mr. Dickens. We must leave you.

Fanny has an audition in the morning and must rest her voice.

But, of course, of course.

Uh, we have a wager, Mr. Dickens, on how much we collected tonight.

I think 400 pounds, but Fanny thinks more.

Then I shall count it right away.

It must be banked tomorrow.

You'll be up all night.

Well, I don't sleep well anyway.

Why don't we help you?

Together it will take us no time.

We have a rehearsal in the morning. No.

I could stay and help, Mr. Dickens, with Nelly.

If you have no objection. No, I...

Well, yes, thank you. Thank you.

Well, then, I shall walk home with Fanny.

Very well. Thank you, Mr. Dickens.

Thank you. Good night, Maria. Good night, Fanny.

We shan't be long.

507 pounds, six shillings and thruppence.

We are rich. Yes.

And they will be delighted until the next time.

Do you like this life?

Constantly on show.

Constantly watched.

Well, it is not always of my own making, but...

I do not think I would.

Well, I have my work.

It is a great foil.

They try, but they cannot always find you there.

"They"?

Mmm, the hawkers, the men who need to make money who look to trip you up.

And then there are the admirers.

Those who wish you to be more than you can possibly be.

And what is that?

Good, I suppose.

My father was sent to a debtor's prison when I was 12.

I worked in a blacking factory thereafter, sealing bottles and sticking labels.

It was hateful.

Were you fond of your father? Well...

He was my first audience.

I honed my comic lines on him.

Mmm...

I've told you too much.

You're too good at this. You, now, you.

My father was an actor.

The son of a Dublin grocer. Also in debt. Also dead.

When I was seven.

In an asylum.

I had a brother.

He died at 10 months.

Though how a boy would have fit with three girls.

She is devoted to us.

Our life is unpredictable.

You are...

What?

You are so free.

She will sleep all night if we leave her.

I will ask John to bring the carriage around.

Nelly?

Nelly?

Tell me a secret.

What kind of secret?

Anything.

Something that you've never told anyone or perhaps never even thought of telling.

My middle name is Lawless.

Now your turn.

Hmm.

Ellen Lawless Ternan.

That is my secret.

She's barely 18.

I've never had to concern myself about you and Maria.

There's always a tour for you and your younger sister.

Mr. Buckstone's already enquired if Maria is free for pantomime.

But Nelly...

Nelly is different.

Her talent lies elsewhere.

I love her.

I love her dearly.

Charles Dickens is not merely some opportunist, some adventurer.

I am thinking about what this life can offer her.

I'm thinking about her future.

What future would that be, Mother?

Our profession is hard enough, even if you have talent.


Go away, Fanny.

I will stay out here all day if I have to.

Nelly.

Did no one think of telling me? Nelly.

You are the truest person I know in life, but you are not an actress.

And what other arrangements have been made which I do not know about?

It's only because we care so.

Do you love him?

He is married.

That has not stopped him falling in love with you.

We discussed Hard Times, but it just doesn't feel quite right.

I don't know. They're quite lost.

So I thought Great Expectations might be a choice for our readings.

David Copperfield is, of course, a contender, but for me, Great Expectations wins out in the end.

Do you agree?

'Tis a fine novel.

Mrs. Wharton Robinson, I see you are soulful, distracted.

There is some...

As if...

...a part of you is absent.

I do not wish to intrude.

You talk, I am sure, to your husband.

No.

Not all wives do.

To confide in the person you love the most, well, sometimes that is hard.

George is a good man.

A very good man. Of course.

But you are troubled.

Comes and then it goes.

But it returns.

I wish to help you.

I hope I can be someone you can trust.

Really, I'm quite well. You are not.

Please, Mr. Benham.

I will listen without judgment.

I am always here.

Come on, boys.

Come on, Plorn.

The whole point of the third leg is to give you more speed.

Oh!

Useless boy.

It's time to get you undone.

What's happened here?

Do you have enough to eat?

Thank you, Mr. Dickens. Good.

More gossip in The London Diary?

You could not keep it quiet forever, Charles.

No matter. You must deny it.

Rumors can always be denied.

Do not worry, it will pass.

And then you must stop this.

What if I do not want to?

Don't be foolish.

You cannot keep her a secret.

Yes, I can.

Plorn! We'll do a hopping race.

Mamey. Katey. Come on. Come on.

One leg. Come on, are you ready?

Come here, come here, come here.

Come on. Quickly, come on, Plorn. You're so slow.

And ready, steady, go!

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Ladies, can I interest you in some of this?

Close your eyes. Don't turn around, Nelly.

Don't turn around.

Close your eyes.

Keep them closed until I say...

Open your eyes! Happy birthday.

Happy birthday.

That's lovely. Oh, look.

Ma'am, there's a Mrs. Dickens to see Miss Ellen.

Mother.

I shall cut the cake.

And he never went home again.

And that was the first and last time.

Mr. Ambrose? Have you ever took to the stage?

Mrs. Dickens.

I thought this was the right house.

Won't you sit?

Such attention to detail.

It's all just paste and glass.

You find us in disarray.

I'd heard that he'd found you somewhere close on the square.

My mother and sister are to go to Italy.

Fanny is to be a governess to the Trollope family.

Really?

Mr. Dickens, um, kindly made the introduction.

My husband's always been very generous.

Mmm.

Happy birthday, Miss Ternan.

Won't you open it?

It is a gift from Charles.

It was mistakenly delivered to me.

The jewelers naturally believing.

Charles insisted that I delivered it to its rightful recipient.

He is fond of you.

And you of him?

Silly question.

He is Mr. Charles Dickens.

In those early years together, I could not fail to be impressed.

But you will find that you must share him with his public.

They will be the constant.

And, in truth, you will never absolutely know which one he loves the most.

You.

Or them.

I do not believe he knows himself.

I'm interrupting your party.

I'm far too old for parties.

There's not a soul under 20 in attendance.

Well, Charles will be here soon.

And he's nothing if not youthful.

Keep these for later.

Ah.

Good evening. Happy birthday.

Are we too late? We're too late.

You've missed Maria's cake.

Oh, no! Say it's not so. We haven't missed all the fun, have we?

We thought you might provide the fun.

Well, then there's only one thing for it.

We must whisk the birthday girl away.

Yes.

Nelly.

Say you'll come.

Where are we going?

Come through. Come in, come in.

Caroline?

Nelly, follow me.

Caroline.

We have visitors.

Wilkie, why did you not say?

We are celebrating a very special birthday.

Caroline, may I present Miss Ellen Ternan?

It's her birthday today.

Happy birthday. I've heard only good things.

Caroline!

A new painting.

It's unusual. It's quite slap-up.

Is The Butler about?

Yes, yes, she's about. Ah, here she is.

Squeals. There she is.

Squeals. And she squeals.

May I take your wrap and gloves?

Thank you. I prefer to keep them on.

Please.

What a lovely home.

Yes. Yes.

Wilkie found it.

Charles christened her "The Butler" on their first meeting.

It is all a game with him.

She's very dear.

Does this offend you, Miss Ternan?

Wilkie despises marriage, and as a widow, this suits me well.

We live very happily.

But you do disapprove, I see.

We have fallen in love with men of standing, Miss Ternan.

I am not in love.

The giant's coming.

It is late. Really.

It is too, too late. I must leave.

Please excuse me, Miss Graves.

Charles, will you stay for dinner?

Nelly?

Mmm.

And still she is silent.

Mr. Buckstone has offered me The World and The Stage.

It has a ridiculous plot.

A titled lady saved from debt by her sister, an actress.

Yes, but a very amusing final scene.

And it was you that secured me the role.

Did you mean to deliberately humiliate me tonight?

You did not like Miss Graves?

You cannot expect me to associate with a woman living so openly with a man outside of marriage.

Oh, Nelly... Nelly... Nelly! Entertaining guests as if she“.

I do not wish to appear ungrateful.

You have been generous.

Some might say too generous to my family.

But I did not realize that I was to be your whore.

Nelly.

Nelly.

Nelly, it was a mistake.

Did you send Catherine to me? Yes.

She is the mother of your children.

How could you be so cruel to her?

And for that, I shall always be grateful, but I do not love her.

She comprehends nothing.

She sees nothing.

I thought if she saw you, then she would understand that I have nothing with her.

I wanted her to see it. "It"?

What is "it," Charles?

What is it that we are?

When your wife asked me if I was fond of you, I could not honestly reply.

I wanted to say no!

Can I be of assistance, sir?

Is this young lady troubling you, sir?

Uh, thank you. She is not troubling me at all. All is well.

Very good. Good night, sir.

Nelly?

Nelly.

May I come in?


Nelly.


I used to walk from the Aldwych to Highgate, then back to Westminster, then on to Millbank.

You've London in your blood.

I do. I walk at quite a pace.

Good day. Good day.

And I'd walk to Putney and...

I've done that walk. Yes.

You don't believe me?

Father.

Charley.

What are you doing here?

I walk this way if I've taken an earlier train.

You remember Miss Ellen?

Of course.

Charley, you look well.

I am quite well. Thank you, Miss Ternan.

Charley is working in the city.

How clever. Not really.

It's a friend of Father's.

I still have the glove which you rescued for me.

I would have been most unhappy to have lost it.

They're my favorite pair.

I am sure you would have found another.

Well, I am already late...

Yes, yes.

Father.

Will we see you at home?

Yes.

Good day, Charley.

Charley.

What is it?

It's a letter in The Times.

It's from Father.

I can't read it.

Would you read it?

Read it to me.

"There is some domestic trouble of mine, "longstanding, "on which I will make no further remark, "it being of a sacredly private nature.

"However, "it has lately been brought to an arrangement

"which involves no anger or ill will of any kind.

"My wife, Catherine, and I have decided to separate.

"The whole origin, "progress and surrounding circumstances

"have been throughout within the knowledge of my children.

"It is amicably composed, "and its details have now but to be forgotten by those concerned in it.

"I most solemnly declare that all the lately whispered rumors

"touching upon my association

"with a certain young lady are abominably false.

"Upon my soul and honor, "there is no one on earth more virtuous

"and spotless than this young creature.

"And whoever says otherwise, after this denial, "will lie as willfully and as foully as it is possible

"for any false witness to lie before heaven and earth."

Thank you.


He's an honorable man.

And you, Nelly, are a beautiful...

Mother. ...clever, wonderful young woman.

But he cannot marry me. No.

He cannot.

But I have been married,

and it is at times the loneliest place.

What do I do?

Um...

Fanny and I leave for Italy at the end of the month.

You could come with us.

Um...

I can arrange a passage. It's easily done.

He's burnt a lifetime's correspondence, Nelly. Nelly, listen.

He's even asked me to burn all our correspondence.

There is an insanity to his behavior.

No, he's not insane. He's distraught.

And I am not?

You have a choice.

You can distance yourself from him.

You could find a new life, a different life.

A different life?

What different life?

What life is there for me?

He is a good man...

Trying to be a good man.

But he is a great man.

You see him, Nelly.

I watch you together. You see him, he sees you.

What more does one want in life?

Wilkie. I'm coming.

We have to break these conventions.

Smash them up.

We're the pioneers.

Pioneers?

You men, you live your lives while it is we who have to wait.

You see a freedom which I do not see.

Wilkie.

The Butler will not sleep if I don't read to her.


My name is whispered with yours.

Yet I have nothing.

Nelly.

I have no regrets. Charles...

I have broken something which needed breaking.

I have finished it.

Yes, it is finished.

No, no, no. The book.

I have finished the book. Here.


You do not like it?

No.

I like it.

I like it very much.

Wilkie thinks I should change the ending.

No, you must not.

To bring Estella and Pip together at the end but not to unite them.

She is changed. That is enough? Yes.

It is a sad ending, but Estella finds her heart.

She finds an understanding at last. Exactly.

And at times...

Pip is not heroic.

He is filled with the vanities, the ambitions, the flaws in all of us.

Yes.

I know what I have done, but to stay as it was, I cannot when my heart...

Nelly.

In an earlier chapter, Pip said, "You are part of my existence, part of myself."

I remember.

"You have been in every line I have ever read.

"You have been in every prospect I have ever seen, "on the river, on the sails of the ships, "on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, "in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, "in the sea, in the streets.

"You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy

"that my mind has ever become acquainted with.

"Estella.

"To the last hour of my life,

"you cannot choose but remain part of my character.

"Part of the little good in me.

"Part of the evil."

Let us go away.


"'Now, touch my face with yours

"'in case I should not hold out till you come back.

"'I love you, Mortimer."'

"The discovery was hers.

"'Observe, my dear Eugene, "'while I am away, you will know

"'that I have discharged my trust..."'

"'...so much, John dear, and since you do, "'I am sorry that these shoes are a full size too large.

"'But I don't want a carriage, believe me.


I have agreed to 50 more readings.

In Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin.

And I've been asked to give a reading in Paris.

Shall I come with you? Well...

There are whisperings, Nelly.

Where? In Paris.

And if they're in Paris, then they will soon be in London.

I've been out of circulation.

Then you must go.

Yes. It is what I am.

No, I shall not go.

No, you shall. No, no, no.

My mind is made up. I shall not go. No, you will.


Sorry, ma'am. I didn't see you there.

It is quite all right, Mary.

I will do it.

Is there anything else, ma'am?

The guests will be arriving shortly.

That is everything. Thank you, Mary.


Mr. Tringham, I am sorry.

Even when they are perfectly developed at birth, it happens.

I need a signature.

It is necessary.

Will he have a burial?

Yes, of course.

Certificate of Death


Nelly, have you left the keys on the table?

I believe an English family wish to take the house for the winter.

Nelly?

Say something.

Say something!

We shall miss our train.


All passengers arrived from France. This train for London.

I think we're in the last compartment here.

It's Mr. Dickens.

Thank you. We're in here, I think.

Mr. Dickens, sir.

My wife says she should marry Rokesmith and be done.

Perhaps the next chapter. I'll tell her.

That's for you. Thank you very much.

Thank you.


Sleep, Nelly, and when you wake, we shall be home.


Gentlemen, please. Someone open these carriages here.

And your wife? Is anyone else in this carriage?

Excuse me.

Help! Over here!

Please, they are hurt. Help!

Take the weight on your other leg.

Sir?

Sir?

We're asking everyone able-bodied if they could help with the most injured.

We need all the hands we can get.

Nelly.

Nelly.

Sir?

Excuse me, sir.

Could you come and assist me?

Is it Mr. Dickens, sir? Yes.

Were you traveling alone, sir?

Go.

Mr. Dickens.

Were you traveling alone? Go.

Go. Go.

Sir?

Yes, quite alone.

This woman is in need of assistance.

We are dealing with the most injured first.

Yes, I'll do what I can, but you must attend to this young woman.

Madam, I will get one of these ladies to attend to you.

Ladies, please. This way, sir.

Yes, we're with her. Please, will you attend to her?

We're with her. I have brandy here.

Uh...

Sir? Don't worry. Stay here.

Check who's inside.

Ah.

Sir, press down as hard as you can to stop the blood flow.

Sir, this is brandy.

We will find assistance for you as soon as possible.

Porter, we need to release all passengers from the train above so they may help with the injured.

All able-bodied gentlemen, bring their hats to this tree.


Ellen Ternan?

Yes.

That was my name.

You have always known this?

Suspected.

Things you said.

Comments.

Memories of Mr. Dickens that were not a child's memories.

I saw him read once.

It was magical.

One forgets that he was more than writer, more than actor.

I have lived my life in the pages of those novels.

I should not have expected their author to have lived so quiet a life.


The house is to your liking?

Yes.

I'm happy to see the castle from the window.

There's a fire in every room.

And I've taken the liberty of employing a nurse who will attend to you.

She's a local woman but of good kind.

It's a sleepy market town with a very fine butchers.

And the church is newly restored, which you must visit.

The fast train from Paddington takes 18 minutes.

Or alternatively, there's a train to Windsor from Victoria or Waterloo, which also serves well.

Nelly?

It's as if it's floating.

You will come to see me?

Yes. Of course.

Weekly?

Mmm, twice weekly. More.

And if I should need anything?

You need only ask.

And should I expect you at weekends and holidays?

Yes, but my family... Of course.

When you can.

Yes.

And shall we keep Tringham?

Yes.

Then this is how it is to be now.

Whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do it well.

Whatever I've devoted myself to, I...

Don't, Charles.

Don't explain.

There's nothing to say.

Everyone has their secret.

And this is ours.

Yes.


I was not a child when I met Mr. Dickens-

I was 18.

It wasn't easy, our friendship.

Yet there were days of such joy, such celebration.

And we'd talk and laugh together.

He knew he'd leave me first.

That he would die first.

Charles understood that however painful it is,

we're alone.

Whoever we're with, we are alone.

He was right.

Great Expectations.

He wrote an ending. it was his first instinctive ending.

A good ending.

Pip and Estella do not come together.

Pip sees that she will never be his.

Later they wanted him to change it.

Some people thought it too brutal.

So instead...

Pip's final words are...

"I saw the shadow of no parting from her."

He ends the book in shadows.

In uncertainty.

In haunting.

And that is where I have been living.

Do you see?

Yes.

I will not live there anymore.

Nelly.

You're late. It's nearly dark.

Where have you been?

George.

I am here.

I am here.

Are you quite well?

Yes, George.

Are you sure?

I walked with Mr. Benham today.

We talked about Mr. Dickens.

Yes.

George...

The memories of a child, Nelly.

Geoffrey.

Oh, Geoffrey.

You will frighten our guests.

I think he was trying to frighten his mother.

Geoffrey.

Go on, take your place. Yes, Mama.

Nelly.


Well, my lads, the day has broken at last.

What do you say to the weather now?

I say the weather will do.

I say doubtful.

I can see for myself there's a storm coming.

I smell the snow. I can feel the hurricane in the air.

No money those gentlemen can offer will tempt me to cross the mountain with them today.

Well, are you ready at last to cross the mountain with us or not?

I say yes, if the others will say yes, too.

I say no!

I am mountain boy.

I know the pass up there as I know my ABC.

You know the mountain. If you risk it, I will.

I'm your man. I will guide you to your journey's end.

Say when. Now!

Are you ready?

I am ready. Come along.


This is a tale of woe.

This is a tale of sorrow.

A love denied, a love restored, to live beyond tomorrow.

Lest we think silence is the place to hide a heavy heart, remember, to love and be loved is life itself