The Swan (1956) Script

[Bell jingles]

[Blows]


Open the door, please.

[Gargling]

Breakfast, your highness, and a telegram.

[Coughing]

[Clears throat]

Are you quite sure the doctor said that gargle should be swallowed afterwards?

That's what you said, your highness.

Did I? Sometimes I think that doctor's a little too progressive.

I can't believe it.

Elsa, my smelling salts.

No, no. Dress me at once.

No, no, never mind. Send for Caesar.

I must speak to him immediately.

In here, your high-- yes, yes!

Have their highnesses breakfasted?

Oh, well, it doesn't matter. It makes no difference.

Oh, very well, then, downstairs, but hurry, hurry.

Caesar.

Your highness, good morning.

I want to see everyone. We haven't a moment too many.

Everyone?

Yes. The Butler, the housekeeper, the head gardener, the head groom, the chef-- particularly the chef-- oh, and the huntsman and the head gamekeeper, but I won't wait while you hunt for those.

Get on with your work.

Yes, Mr. Caesar.

Auntie.

Auntie!

Aunt Symphorosa.

Aunt Symphorosa.

Oh! Beatrix. I was bicycling.

It's happened, just when I'd given up all hope.

What is it, dear? Someone died?

It's a telegram.

"His royal highness will honor you

"with a 4-day visit beginning 23rd.

"No other guests.

"Train arrives 2:30 A.M. no reception.

Will meet family next day."

He's coming to see Alexandra.

Not Albert.

Albert.

It took him 2 years to answer the invitation.

He must have looked at every girl in Europe, but he's coming.

I knew he was in Lisbon, but I wasn't worried about the infanta.

She's 6 foot 2.

And with the crown, another 7 1/2 inches.

But I thought he was going to Dresden.

He must have seen a photograph of Maria Teresa, and that finished her.

[Bird chirping]

Coming. I always said dear Alexandra would have her opportunity in the end.

Have it and take it.

Alexandra a queen.

Oh, if only her father could have lived for this.

It's so awkward without a man in the house.

A man can help in so many ways.

So many ways.

I shall wire Karl.

Have you a pen somewhere or a pencil?

It must go at once.

It will be nice to see dear Karl, but didn't it say no guests?

Karl? He's your nephew and my brother.

How can he be a guest?

Oh! I'm inside out.

Oh! Must you still write with a feather?

This is the 20th century.

I don't like the 20th century.

Man: For the purpose of the experiment, the wall isn't there.

Now, if I take this one and flip it-- good morning.

Boy: Good morning, mother.

Your highness.

Mother, aren't you going to dress today?

I'm looking for a pencil, and what exactly did I find going on here?

Oh, I was just teaching their highnesses some elementary statics and dynamics.

Those are statics and dynamics?

No, your highness. Marbles-- a game the peasant children play, I believe.

Oh, the professor's an absolute fizzer at it. Show mother, professor.

Beatrix: George. Professor Agi, I must ask you again to confine yourself to the normal kinds of education, and I want the boys particularly well up in their studies.

We're to be honored within the next day or two by a visit from his royal highness crown prince Albert.

Prince Albert!

[Trumpeting]

George!

I know. He wants to look at Alexandra.

Arsene.

Prince Albert is your cousin, and he hasn't seen us for many years.

He's coming here purely and simply to visit the family.

Now, get on with your lessons so you won't disgrace us, and put on your coats.

The pencil, your highness.

Thank you.

Professor Agi, did you write that name up there?

Yes, your highness.

I don't want that man's name mentioned in my house.

Arsene: Why not, mother?

Napoleon was a genius. He beat almost everybody.

He won the battles of Marengo and Austerlitz and Borodino.

But not the battle of Waterloo.

He was an upstart. Please remember what I tell you.

You're here to give the boys an education, not to fill their heads with a lot of historical gossip.

[Door closes]

Your highnesses had better pick up the statics and dynamics.

Do you know why mother hates Napoleon?

It was through him that we lost our throne and had to come and live here.

George: We won't much longer, I'll bet. Will we, professor?

We're going to practice some vulgar fractions. Get out your exercise books.

Couldn't we do it with marbles?

I'm afraid not.

Arsene: Mother probably wouldn't approve of vulgar fractions either.

George: Not with a queen in the family.

We haven't got one yet.

Well, cousin Albert's a crown prince, isn't he?

So Alexandra will be a crown Princess.

So one day she'll be a queen.

As for the menu, I want details submitted for all meals by tomorrow morning.

They must not only taste delicious, they have to match the services.

The gardens--I notice the roses are already beginning to bloom.

They're just at their best, your highness.

I don't want them at their best till the day after tomorrow. Hold them back.

Caesar will let you know the exact time. Next, the carriages. I--

Alexandra.

You sent for me, mother?

Yes, dear, I sent for you.

Caesar, there's very little time.

Please get everything started.

Yes, your highness.

Alexandra, wonderful news--

Albert is coming day after tomorrow.

A wire this morning.

There will hardly be time to see to everything.

Albert.

Yes, mother.

Oh, I hope so much that you'll like him.

I'm sure I will.

I haven't seen him since he was 10, of course, but they say he's charming, quite charming.

Doesn't take after his mother at all.

And he's been all over Europe, looked at every Princess and turned down every one of them, and now he's coming here to you.

I expect he can't bear the site of another Princess by now.

Alexandra, this is the most important moment you'll ever have to face.

My dear, you're not going to be nervous?

No, mother. I hope not.

Hoping's not enough. You must tell yourself not to be.

Oh, my dear child. This is the one thing, the one opportunity that all your life I've been praying for-- for you to become a queen.

Yes, mother. I know that.

You must prove to Albert in these 4 days that you have all the qualities he's looking for in a wife, a wife who'll share his throne one day.

You must be gracious and dignified, warm and charming and amusing.

Oh, I know he's seen a great deal more of life than you, but you can make that an advantage, too.

Let him see how sweet and unspoiled you are, and, darling, you must try your hardest not to be shy.

Men don't like it, especially a man like Albert.

After all, that's one of the first duties of a queen.

She always puts other people at their ease.

You remember my telling you that?

Yes, mother, I remember it.

Albert's the law unto himself, they say, but don't let that frighten you.

Look on it as a challenge, and never forget that first impressions are everything.

Of course, you must be natural, too. That's more important than anything, but above all, don't be nervous.

No. I--I... No. I know, mother.

You do? You sure you do, all these things?

Yes, of course I do, but if you keep telling me, it's just going to make me more...

It's time for my fencing lesson now.

May I go?

Don't worry, mother.

[Door opens]

Your highness.

You're late this morning.

Forgive me, your highness.

To speak the truth, I supposed your highness would be too busy this morning.

Busy?

With the visit of his royal highness.

I thought there would be no more fencing lessons...

For the next few days, at all events.

What--what I meant, your highness-- should the lessons be discontinued at any time, you will be notified.

Yes, your highness.

En garde.

En quarte.

Allongez Le bras. Defendez-vous.

Coup droit.

Battement droit.

Marchez, marchez.

Rompez, rompez, defendez-vous.

It's too low. It should be here.

Point. Left foot flat.

Regardez ainsi.

In retreat. Parry prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, sixte, septime, octave.

Good. En garde en sixte.

Un, deux, trois.

Doublez.

Doublez.

Good.

Triplez.

Much too low. Once more.

Fine. En quarte.

En marchant. Battement dans la ligne opposee.

Coup droit, parry, riposte. Up.

George: Alexandra!

Alexandra!

Have you heard it?

Alexandra, have you heard the news?

Yes, I heard it.

Your highnesses will sit down, please.

I shall take you in a few minutes.

Your highness, this morning we're going to practice the art of making a feint-- the sham attack followed by a genuine one in another quarter.

The offenser is always in danger of revealing his intentions to his adversary, and that he must never do.

His opponent must never know from one moment to the next what he is thinking.

Like everything else, it's a question of practice.

No one ever knows what Alexandra is thinking anyway.

That can never be said of you, Arsene.

Alexandra, are you going to fence with cousin Albert?

Of course she isn't. She might cut his head off.

I don't know what mother would say to that.

There goes our crown.

[Boys laughing]

Be quiet, both of you, or else I shall cut your heads off.

[Yells]

Prince George, prince Arsene, sit down.

[Laughing]


Well, thank you, brother Sebastian.

All right. I can manage.

I'll wire father guardian when I need to be rescued.

God bless you, father.

You, too, and you, Beulah, girl. Caesar.

Your highness. What a pleasant surprise.

Well, how's the rheumatism, eh?

Did the lemon juice work?

Oh, it didn't do any harm, but, then, I don't believe in miracles, your highness.

Caesar, after all this time, do I have to remind you that I'm not "your highness" anymore?

No, your father-- Uh, father.

Beatrix!

Beatrix!

Caesar: All right.

Get on with your work.

Beatrix!

Beatrix: Karl.

Oh, Beatrix, dear.

Your manners are a disgrace.

Karl, dear, I thought I heard you.

Aunt Symphorosa. You're looking well, both of you.

We're a little exhausted.

What do you suppose? I couldn't tell you in the wire.

Such wonderful news.

I know all about it.

You do?

The whole countryside knows.

And what are they saying?

Not out here.

Excuse me, father.

Thank you, my son.

That's not all your luggage.

When you renounce the world, Beatrix, I'm happy to say you renounce luggage along with it.

Later. Later. Do you mind?

Karl: Quite enough people.

Karl, I--Karl, if all goes well, my life's ambition will be realized.

You don't know what such a moment means to a mother.

[Choked up] If I could be sure Alexandra would sit on a throne, I'd willingly die this minute.

I very much doubt if heaven wants you on those terms.

And where do I come into it?

Oh, you'll be such a help, Karl. I know you will.

You must go through the wine cellars with the Butler.

Yes. He stays down there sometimes, and it isn't good for him.

And I want you to talk to the chef.

He's so accustomed to planning just for us.

Look at these menus-- or have you forgotten what real food is?

No. I partially tamed my spirit some years ago, but my stomach is still holding out.

And Alexandra--how is she in the midst of all this?

Oh, Karl, one can't help but be proud of her.

Ah.

Remember how her poor father used to call her his swan?

Mm-hmm.

"My proud, white swan," he used to say, and that's how she is, so dignified, so silent, so regal.

And the boys?

Same as ever--savages.

Except for Arcturus, they're the 2 most brilliant stars in the northern sky.

Now, we should be able to see them more clearly tonight than any other time of the year.

Let me see.

First we're going to look at Vega.

Karl: What are you reading?

Almanac.

On an evening like this?

Mother wants me to know all about Albert's relations.

All about all of them?

There's some she's crossed out.

I'm not surprised.

Come outside and get a little air.

Can you see it?

It's the one with the bluish light.

It doesn't look very big.

That's only because of the distance.

A great many of those stars that you see up there are larger and more brilliant than our own sun, but they're so far away, it's almost impossible to re-- to realize it.

Would your highness care to see?

Scoot, your highness.

That's Vega, star of the first magnitude of the constellation Lyra.

Can you see it, your highness?

I can see several.

Allow me.

There. That's better.

It's the brightest, in the very center.

Alexandra: It's moved right across.

How fast it's going.

It's we who are going so fast.

Oh, it's gone.

You see, the earth, your highness, we are going through space at over 68 miles an hour.

68?

68,000. Forgive me.

Karl, I wondered what had become of you.

Oh, what a day. I'm utterly exhausted.

Alexandra, what became of your dear little photograph, the one in the sailor blouse? There's only the frame.

I don't know, mother. It was awful anyway.

No, it wasn't. I want to put it in Albert's bedroom.

George: To make him seasick?

George, Arsene, up to bed now.

Both: Oh, no, mother-- professor. And you, too, Alexandra.

Don't forget, you have to look your very best in the morning.

We all do.

Good night, boys.

Boys: Good night, uncle Karl.

[Whistle blowing]

[Horse neighs]

[Cows mooing]


Soldier: Attention! Eyes right!

I thought there was to be no reception.

They wouldn't count a guard of honor, sir.

[Cows mooing]

[Clears throat]

Yes, captain?

Does your royal highness wish to decorate the engine driver?

[Cow moos]

Mounted inspection.

[Horses snorting and whinnying]

[Train whistle blows]


[Ah-choo]

Gesundheit.

This way, your royal highness.

Let's hope there's a bed at the top, however, after 2 nights on that train, I'm prepared to sleep even on pink marble.

[Birds chirping]


I'm hungry.

It isn't good for anyone to sleep as long as this, but, of course, he was traveling all yesterday.

[Knock on door]

Yes?

Not yet. Bring them after dinner.

3:30.

Just time for a nap, and we'll have to start putting on our tiaras.

Shall we go out?

Ah.


I don't understand it at all.

Perhaps he's ill.

Perhaps he's dead.

Caesar, in a case like this, what would you do?

Eat.

[Sighs]

Karl: Oh, thank you, my son.


For what we are at last to receive, the lord make us truly thankful. Amen.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

How can I eat? I already have indigestion.

Really, this is quite intolerable.

Why does he think he was invited here in the first place?

Mother, please. I'm sure there's some good reason.

If he tries to make any excuses, I shan't speak to him. I couldn't.

I've never been so humiliated in my life.

[Door opens]

Oh, my dear boy.

You look splendidly well, and what a change from the little Albert I remember.

Captain Wunderlich, your highness.

His royal highness sends word he will be down in a few moments.

Caesar, we shall start again. Come to the salon.

Oh.

Auntie.

Yes, captain?

[Indistinct whispering]

[Laughs]

I'm flattered.

May I show you?

George: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.

[Object clatters on floor]

Here, let me try it.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Ha! You didn't even get started.

Whose turn now, professor?

Mine.

Arsene: Are you with cousin Albert?

George: When is he going to wake up?

He has. My cousin Arsene, I'm willing to bet.

Yes, cousin Albert.

And my cousin George.

Yes, cousin Albert.

And this is professor Agi, instructor in languages, mathematics, history, geography, geology, astronomy, fencing, riding, marbles.

How do you know all that?

That's what aides are for, young man, and that's one pleasant thing about being crown prince-- no more lessons.

The aide learns all the lessons and passes them on in small doses as required, but this he didn't mention. Now, what particular science-- we were just passing the time, your royal highness.

A thing I often have to do myself. May I?

Certainly, cousin Albert.

This must be a new game. I've never seen it before.

Hasn't your aide seen it either?

Touche.

This boy's going to be something in the world...

Probably an assassin.

It's an old game, cousin Albert.

It's a game that children play in the villages.

The professor made it for us.

He did? Carpentry, too? Remarkable. How did you do it?

You need only a penknife, sir, and a little Patience.

Just the same as an assassin. Now.

George: The professor did 86.

Then we must do better.

George: 1, 2, 3...

George and Albert: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15...

Albert, my dear boy.

Uh, Albert?

Cousin Beatrix...

I'm willing to bet.

Albert, my dear, such a pleasure to see you-- you've no idea-- after so long.

23 years, I believe.

I'm delighted to pay a return visit.

86? Are you quite sure?

I'm afraid so, sir.

Oh. Remarkable.

It hardly seems possible, does it?

I beg your pardon?

Oh, where are they?

They went to bed. I hope you slept well.

I'm afraid I did.

I'm so happy to hear that.

And how good a country breakfast tastes.

When one's in town, one always forgets.

Breakfast?

I had it in my room a half an hour ago.

I shouldn't have liked you to wait dinner.

How thoughtful.

And here is the family so very eager to see you.

This is-- no, no. You mustn't tell me.

Well, now, the face is cousin Karl, I'm willing to bet, but the remainder...

I changed my uniform 15 years ago.

Lucky fellow. I change mine every 15 minutes.

How are you?

This is-- and this is aunt Symphorosa, I'm quite sure.

Albert, dear.

As Beatrix says, so utterly unlike your mother.

And this is...

This is our dear Alexandra.

So happy, cousin Albert.

Well, who can hit the target every time, eh?

Well, not if the target moves.

Speaking of my mother, I ought to tell you, cousin Beatrix, she'll be here on Thursday to pick me up.

The queen here?

Purely informal. No fuss, please.

Why don't you sit down?

Delightful boys you have. I found them quite charming.

Too good of you.

I'm afraid I'm ridiculously proud of all my children.

I'm sure you are. And the tutor.

The tutor?

Naturally.

Cousin Albert appreciates that the pupils are bound to reflect the qualities of the tutor.

C'est ca.

And vice-versa.

Auntie, you look tired.

Tired?

Yes, dear. You're usually in bed by this time.

I should be quite all right when I've had something-- when you've had some sleep? I'm sure you will, and I'm sure Albert will forgive you.

Naturally.

But, Beatrix, we haven't-- good night, dear.

Albert, dear, if I might have your permission to retire.

Certainly, aunt Symphorosa.

I'm sorry to go rather early, but I'm so very hungry.

Sleepy is what I meant.

The air here is extremely conducive to sleep.

I noticed that myself.

Yes, when one's new to it.

Karl, for instance, arrived only 2 days ago, and he's very tired.

Hmm? Oh, uh, Albert, if you'll allow me.

It's a peculiar thing, but I feel the need of a little late supper.

I suppose that's the air, too.

You've been fasting too much. I accuse you of it.

Guilty. Have I your permission to retire?

Certainly, cousin Karl.

Beatrix: Dear Karl.

Those boys, I'm never quite certain they've gone to bed until I make sure. Will you forgive me, Albert?

By all means, cousin Beatrix.

Here in the country, I suppose the family retires early.

Yes, they do.

But when you're out of the country, later?

We're seldom out of the country.

You're seldom out of the country.

Very seldom.

May I offer you some wine?

Thank you. I don't drink it.

Neither do I...

At least, not just after breakfast.

The guard of honor at the station was provided by the 45th regiment.

The regiment served with great distinction at Solferino.

Did you know that?

Yes.

The carriage you drove in has a very interesting history.

It was used by your great uncle Frederick the day he was shot at.

Did you find it comfortable?

Thank you. Yes.

You're occupying the blue suite, I believe.

Yes. It is blue.

A few days ago, I was in Lisbon, a beautiful city.

Over 350,000 inhabitants, and the river Tagus runs through the middle.

Have you ever been there?

No.

No. Of course. Seldom out of the country.

I should have remembered.

It's a beautiful evening.

Yes, it is.

Do you suppose it's chilly outside on the terrace?

Oh, not more so than here...

At this time of year.

It might even be warmer.

Shall we try?


Full moon...

And a great many stars.

It's hard to believe that some of them are even larger than the sun, that they look like that only because of the distance.

Remarkable.

I was looking at one through the telescope the other night.

It was called Vega.

You know their names?

Only a few.

I was never introduced.

[Awkward laughter]


It isn't a great deal warmer, is it?

Would you prefer to go in again?

[Sighs]

This air of yours is like a sleeping draft.

If I'm not careful, I shall sleep the whole 4 days.

What would you like to do?

Well...

When in Rome, I think one should do as the Romans do, eh?

With your permission, I shall give myself permission to retire.

Poor child. She was very upset for the moment, but I told her, "one skirmish lost? That's nothing."

She'll win the next. There. That makes a 14-hour day and every minute of it arranged for.

What time does it start?

10:00, and out of that, Alexandra will be with him for 13 hours and 15 minutes.

Judging by yesterday, you're a little optimistic.

Don't judge by yesterday. He's not going to sleep all day today.

If he wasted all last night, I didn't.

[Band playing loudly]

They should have played the national anthem.

Then he would have to get up.

His father once slept through a 41-gun salute.

[Band muffled]

[Tinkle]

Andrew, how could you?

[Knock on door]

Beatrix: Yes?

His royal highness has rung for a tray.

[Playing softly]

I wonder mother isn't conducting it herself.

That's enough for music, your highnesses. Time for algebra.

If the band doesn't get him out of bed to see Alexandra, mother's going to use a gun.

Cousin Albert's not afraid of guns. He's only afraid of Alexandra.

All right. That's enough.

He's going to stay in bed all day every day till it's time to go home.

Unless she goes up and pulls him out-- silence, both of you. You forget your manners, and you forget that his royal highness is not only the crown prince, he is a guest of this house. You should have more respect.

And this one-- don't tell me. Never tell me.

His majesty king Henry of transdenubeer.

My dear Henry's grandfather.

No question of it. King Henry I, I believe.

Symphorosa: And the last.

For the time being.

His son, a very retiring man.

Yes, indeed. He died when he was barely 30.

[Sniffs]

And this, of course.

Of course. Of course.

What do you think of it, captain?

An excellent likeness of his late highness prince Henry, sir.

I think so, too. Excellent.

My poor dear Henry.

Your father and he were closer than brothers.

How many hours they spent here talking, and always of their children.

They had only one ambition-- to be grandfathers.

Yes. Grandfathers of the same children.

Their dearest wish was that one day the families would be united.

And who is this?

King Henry's wife-- Queen Elena.

Yes. What was it they used to call her?

She's the image of Alexandra, eh, isn't she?

They called her what?

I can't quite remember.

Yes, you can, dear--Elena the iceberg.

[Door opens]

Alexandra, dear.

Good morning, cousin Albert.

Did you tell the boys?

Yes, mother.

They're so anxious to show off their fencing.

At 11:15.

I shall be charmed.

It'll take them a little time to change.

In the meanwhile, let's see, now...

The rose garden.

Splendid suggestion.

Alexandra takes the greatest pride in her roses.

Your roses?

Yes.

The rose garden is mine.

You planted it yourself?

Well, not exactly, but I take care of it.

Remarkable. Don't you prick your fingers?

Yes, quite often.

You should wear gloves.

I do... But my fingers get pricked just the same.

Then you should wear thicker gloves.

I suppose so. I shall try that.

That's life, n'est-Ce pas?

One must defend oneself.

How charming of you to take such an interest, and how right you are.

Oh, well, one's had a certain amount of experience.

Now, I know you're impatient to see them.

Delightful.

And they're at their very best today. Isn't that fortunate?

Yes, captain?

Well, I'm sure your royal highness would be most interested, too, in the dairy.

I saw it yesterday, sir.

The cows are milked by vacuum.

By vacuum? Like carpets?

The same principle, sir.

Oh, fantastic. Where is it?

I must certainly see that.

By vacuum. Did you have it installed yourself, cousin Beatrix?

Yes, I did. If I may say so, Albert, the dairy is quite a distance.

In that case, we ought to go at once.

Whatever you wish. We'll go to the dairy.

Please. I wouldn't think of dragging everyone.

The captain knows the way. He'll take me.


You've changed your mind, your highness.

The program has been changed.

There'll be time beforehand for my usual practice, that's all.


Et la!

Touche. Good.

Et la!

Touche. Good.

Et la!

Touche. Very good. Wonderful.

Get it now, George!

All right. I'm getting you on this one.

Oh, come on. Over this way.

Oh, no, you won't. I'll teach you.

Come on. I've got it.

Certainly you haven't.

Oop!

Ooh!

Albert and the family at this end-- oh, that tutor. He has no control over the boys whatsoever.

Nor the ball either.

Beatrix: Karl, stop that.

Do you have to behave like a child?

Now, stop that. You'll hit something.

[Symphorosa laughing]

Goal!

Oh, auntie! Really!

Haven't I enough to contend with?

Aw!

Albert's last day here, and where is he?

Out again somewhere with that captain.

The whole of the first day in bed.

The next, he wouldn't leave those wretched cows.

I should think that machine's quite worn out, to say nothing of the cows.

All yesterday duck shooting.

Well, at least he's a splendid shot.

Splendid. We shall be eating duck for the rest of our lives.

Beatrix: Yes, captain?

If I might have the football, your highness...

Uh, for his royal highness.

And today he has to play ball.

I just can't understand it.

He came to see Alexandra. There's no doubt of it, and now that he's here, it's as if she didn't even exist.

There's only the ball tonight, and then he'll be gone.

It will be our last chance, the last chance for our whole family.

Alexandra won't be young forever.

I... Oh, I know I shouldn't talk this way.

Beatrix, you're usually so calm and collected.

In time of peace, yes, but this is war.

Look at him. He's even fallen in love with the tutor.

At least he's a good judge of character.

Better than you are, my dear.

That tutor is quite impossible, and Albert's spent more time with him than he has with Alexandra.

Perhaps Alexandra should spend more time with the tutor.

Then she'd see something of Albert.

Aunt Symphorosa, if you can't even be sensible...

Perhaps you're not so stupid as you sound.

Why not, dear?

Of course, it's a dreadfully overworked plan of attack, but there it is. Beggars can't be choosers.

Beatrix, when you talk like that, all I can say is don't do it.

My mind is made up.

Alexandra.

Alexandra, what are you doing? You're not well?

I'm quite well, thank you, mother.

Well, then, what are you doing?

It's enough he's spent half his time in bed. You don't have to start.

Suppose he were to ask for you?

He won't ask for me.

Darling, I know so well how you feel, but don't be discouraged.

Any little hurt to your pride will soon heal.

After all, roses are more beautiful than cows, whatever he may think.

Oh, mother.

We've had a few little setbacks, but tonight we're going to put everything right.

Mother, what use is it? What more can I do?

Get out of bed, for heaven's sake, to begin with.

Haven't I been humiliated enough?

Must it be in front of all the guests this time?

Alexandra, you have my blood in your veins, and you can't have that for nothing.

Your whole life, your whole upbringing, has been devoted to just one thing--to make you fit to be a queen.

A queen can't afford to be shy.

She can never be humiliated.

She's above it and beyond it.

Oh, my darling.

I know you'll do what has to be done unflinchingly.

Do what, mother?

My darling, I know it's a dreadful thing to ask, so banal, but believe me, in this desperate extremity, your mother knows best, and you won't hate me for it, darling.

You must love me all the more. Promise me you will.

Yes, mother. All right. But what is it?

We're going to invite the tutor to the ball tonight.

Professor Agi?

Or rather, you're going to invite him.

I can't invite him.

My dear, I know he's not one of us, but god will forgive you, I'm sure, and god will forgive me, and I shall never forgive the tutor.

But why, mother? It seems so strange.

It will look as if suddenly I have some interest in him.

Is that so terrible, especially if it looks the same to Albert?

Albert?

My dear child, how do you suppose I came to marry your father?

You don't think a man just gets an idea into his head and asks a woman to marry him? Of course not.

All your father ever cared for was horses.

He wouldn't even look at me, so I looked once or twice at the riding master.

Your father proposed the very next afternoon on horseback.

Well, I don't have to go on, do I?

You do understand, don't you?

Yes, mother, I understand.

I would have sent to Vienna for a Duke, but there wasn't time. A Duke wouldn't have been as good anyway.

Alexandra, you're not going to be upset.

All right, mother. I shall invite him to the ball.

But not in that tone of voice.

Of course not.

And you'll allow him to dance with you?

Well, you'll be wearing gloves, darling, long ones.

After all, he's just as much one of god's creatures as we are...

Or nearly.

[Humming]


Your highness.

Am I disturbing you?

Certainly not.

I was just making up the list of acceptances for tonight.

The ball tonight is in the nature of a farewell.

His royal highness is leaving tomorrow.

I understand that in the evening, you seldom go out, that you study in your room.

When the 2 young princes have gone to bed, yes, your highness.

What is it you study? Astronomy?

Among other subjects. I'm only at the beginning of most things.

One evening, then, won't make so much difference.

Your highness?

You will have to forego your studies tonight.

As your highness wishes.

I...

I have expressed my desire to invite you to the ball.

I'm so deeply honored.

It will be a somewhat formal evening, I'm afraid.

I hope you won't find it stupid.

With your highness present?

You should talk to me about the stars.

With the greatest of pleasure.

So we shall expect you, then?

Your highness, I don't need to say I'd be delighted, but...

What is it?

My clothes--I have nothing suitable.

Oh, I'm sure Caesar will attend to it.

At 9:00, then.

You are most kind, your highness.

No, professor...

No, not at all.

[Band playing]


I'll meet you at the other end.

Ah, the professor. I'm delighted.

[Whispering] What's he doing here?

Shh!

Won't you join us, professor?

Oh, professor, please.

[Guests talking indistinctly]

[Guests murmuring]

[Playing a waltz]


Cousin Beatrix, may I have the privilege?

Thank you, Albert.


You promised to tell me about the stars.

You remember?

Yes, your highness.

It's difficult even to visualize them at this moment.

You were talking the other evening about Vega and some companion star.

Tell me about the other.

Capella. Yes, your highness.

But they are barely companions-- many millions of miles apart.

See, Capella is in the constellation Auriga, the charioteer...

A golden-colored star of the first magnitude.

The constellation is in the shape... Of a pentacle.

Beatrix: You seem to have opened the ball.

Thank you, Albert.

Albert: * bum bum bum * would you mind now if we...

Oh, have we finished?

I'm afraid dancing is really for you young ones.

Oh, by all means.

You may ask me to dance.

Thank you so much, Albert.

Where's Alexandra?

She's dancing with the professor.

So she is.

Ahh, so she is.

Karl, look at the way he's holding her.

If he has to go to the slaughter, at least let him enjoy it.

Beatrix, have you seen them?

I have, yes.

Aunt Symphorosa is so proud of Alexandra's dancing.

Dances like a queen.


Will you excuse me, Beatrix?


It's always the same, your highness.

When his royal highness sees one, he just can't resist it.

When he does want to hug something, it has to be the bass viol.

That's the last straw.

And the last hope of rescue gone for the professor.

Do you have to keep harping on him?

I suppose Alexandra's happiness, the whole family's, means nothing to you.

My dear, you've seen me so long in this rig out, you forget the meaning of it.

All that matters to me is the peace of a man's soul, and any woman who can play so lightly with that...

Well, my dear sister, she certainly needs to have a cast-iron conscience.

Ohh...


Your highness.

I'm sorry. I...

I don't care to dance any longer.

I want to drive a little. May I borrow this?

Your highness, it's a pleasure.

No. I'll drive myself.

There's no need for you to come.

Your highness can't go alone.

Forgive me.

You don't think they're going to stay out there.

Go and signal her and do something.

You put your money on a horse, Beatrix.

Let it run.

Ohh...


My brothers are always boasting that you can speak on any subject under the sun.

Is that only in school hours?

I'm sorry, your highness.

I think I was afraid to speak, lest the mirage disappear.

The mirage?

Have you never seen a mirage, your highness?

No, I've never seen one.

I was born in the lowlands.

People see them quite often in that part of the country.

I saw one myself once.

We were traveling on the open plain, and suddenly, there it was:

A whole city shimmering in the sun...

A thousand church spires...

And it was very close...

So close, it seemed, and so real that you could swear to it.

Another time, it might be something beyond imagining, the shapes and colors like nothing in this world, like something in a dream...

And so beautiful that no words can possibly describe it.

You go towards it eagerly, and all the time, you seem to be getting closer and closer and closer...

And then it's gone...

And you can never see it again, just that same vision.

Never.

So when you see a mirage like that, you're afraid to turn your head or blink your eye or even to speak.

Don't say anything more.

I have to get back.


Dear aunt Symphorosa, always looking for wallflowers.

The little botanist.

Yes, captain.

Captain: Your royal highness hasn't forgotten...

There was a memorandum to be sent.

Albert: So there was, so there was.

Um, Beatrix, if you'll forgive me un petit moment...

The palace, a memorandum.

Naturally.

And don't worry about Alexandra.

I'm sure she's still with the professor.

A memorandum.

There can be only one destination for that--the queen-- and only one message--no.

You're jumping to conclusions.

He wouldn't wire her, anyway.

She'll be here in the morning.

Yes, here.

The last few hours, and Alexandra isn't even trying any longer.

Where is she?

And where's that awful young man?

I think I'm going to faint.

Beatrix, I forbid you to.

You have a ballroom full of people.

Not the people I want and--

Alexandra's gone and so is Albert.

If you go, too, there will really be talk.

Now, pull yourself together.

All right, Karl. All right.

Just find me some smelling salts.

Here's the memorandum, sir.

Albert: I thought we'd never get to it.

May I?

Thank you.

Oh, um, by the way...

Where did they go?

Sir?

One has to admire such courage, sir, for a lowlander like the professor to tackle Mont Blanc.

Permission to retire.

Your royal highness.

Princess...

If I may ask, don't go in for a moment.

There's nothing that needs to be said.

But there is something.

There have been times when a man thought what he saw was a mirage...

And it was the real thing.

Before tonight, everything you've said to me has been curt and sharp, official.

Even your politeness was a formality.

It was only your indifference that was genuine.

But now, all of a sudden, everything has changed.

For the first time, you look at me as if I were a man, as-- no, no. Don't say anything more.

No. I must say it.

Every day since I've been here, you've seen someone whose face, whose voice, whose whole manner has been composed and official, too, while in his heart, there's been a raging fire.

All this time, I've kept a discipline over myself, but now...

I didn't want it to be like this.

A thing can't always be helped, can it?

I'm so ashamed.

Is it so shameful?

If there is something you can tell me, won't you tell it?

I wouldn't have said a word if I hadn't seen that something was troubling you, too.

Never mind what happens afterwards.

Give me that much happiness.

You don't understand.

How could you?

Professor: But if it's happened, that's all that matters.

There is something...

But it's not what you think.

I must tell you.

If I don't, I'll never respect myself.

You serve our family.

I serve it, too...

And the family-- My mother-- has but one aim in life-- to make me the wife of the crown prince, to regain the throne that was lost.

But so far, it doesn't seem as if anything...

As if it will happen.

Oh, can't you see how difficult this is for me?

How shameful it is?

The prince paid no attention to me, and so my mother thought that if there was someone else, another man, that it might have some effect.

I never hurt anyone in my life before, not knowingly.

You're the first person, and I wouldn't have hurt you either.

Why do you think I was always cold and curt to you?

Just because I always suspected, I always felt that somehow, with me, you weren't at ease, but I was weak.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've never said no to my mother.

It was my mother who suggested I invite you this evening.

If I had known what that would mean...

If I had known how a man's eyes can look when he feels like this or that anyone could look at me as you have...

I don't ask you to forgive it, but...

Can't you respect me a little for having told you?

Haven't you anything to say?

Oh, won't you please say something?

You only did what you were told.

I had no right to blame mother.

That was hateful.

I'm guilty, too.

I want to be a queen.

Then I can go.

The decoy must have done its work by now.

The rest of the evening is for making the kill.

Don't reproach me.

Why should I?

We all have our place in the scheme of things.

Have I hurt you so much?

No. It was just a box on the ear.

I respect you, and I want you to forgive me.

Will you?

No, your highness.

Don't go through like an express train.

We have missed you.

Princess-- and here's the professor, of course.

You look much better for the fresh air.

What's been going on-- some outdoor tuition?

The professor's been telling me about the stars--

Vega and Capella.

His talents run in so many directions, one's quite overwhelmed.

[Chuckles]

Are you an expert on roses, too?

Roses?

Oh, apparently not.

You should get the Princess to teach you.

Since you live here and her rose garden is so available, you shouldn't miss the opportunity.

But we're keeping you. We mustn't do that.

[Door opens]

Albert, I-- well, here we all are.

Splendid!

Some of us have just come back from a little visit to the heavens.

Yes. Back to earth.

And poor cousin Albert was resting.

After all, the bass viol is really quite strenuous.

Alexandra!

I hope you didn't have too much fresh air.

Symphorosa: Beatrix...

Oh, thank heaven.

Albert, we're serving a little aperitif now and then supper.

I thought you'd prefer it privately, just the family.

The family circle. Delightful.

Give me circles every time.

Triangles are such a bore, eh?

Shall we go in?

I'm very much honored.

Albert: I always wish I had an appetite like the bourbons.

You know, Louis xv once ate 10 cutlets at a sitting.

Or was it Louis X and 15 cutlets?

Professor...

I'll have some supper sent up to your room.

You get up so early, I expect you're tired.

I'm not tired.

Symphorosa: If you want to go to bed, don't be afraid to admit it.

Bed, your highness?

I just woke up, barely 5 minutes ago.

Those two...

Something's happened.

I knew it!

I don't think Albert likes it.

And you know nothing at all about music?

Then I must congratulate you on your courage.

I fail to see why, your royal highness.

Do you?

I doubt if many a practiced performer would try to take part in a duet, a trio, and a full orchestra all at the same time.

Thank you.

Alexandra: I think cousin Albert feels quite triumphant, mother.

At last he's found a subject where he knows more than the professor.

Karl: And that's not so easy, after all.

Alexandra, I have a complaint to make.

You haven't looked my way the whole evening.

Professor: Perhaps I have learned one thing on the subject.

The greatest musicians aren't always the ones who blow their own trumpets.

Huh.

Alexandra, see that Albert tries some of the salmon canapes.

I insist on that.

If you don't feel well, professor, I'm sure we can excuse you.

I feel splendid.

To the beautiful daughter of the house.

Health and happiness.

Quite a healthy gulp, too.

Prosit.

Why, son, this is a heavy wine, and one shouldn't take it that way.

It's a wine to be sipped.

I must confess something to you, father.

That was the first glass of wine I ever had in my life.

It was?

Yes, it was.

But tonight, anything can happen.

Beatrix: Alexandra!

Alexandra.

Karl: That was a little foolish, my dear.

I just explained that one shouldn't drink this too quickly.

I think she felt obliged to keep the professor company.

Beatrix: It was quite unnecessary.

You're not accustomed to wine.

No, mother.

So tonight I've had a new experience, too.

I should like to drink another toast.

To yourself?

To Napoleon...

Who made kings and destroyed them.

And who also made that profound contribution to thought--

"an army marches on its stomach."

Oh, how very uncomfortable.

He was a genius, and he knew that even the smallest detail was important.

In astronomy, I've learned that, too.

One should never despise even the smallest specks in the universe, those little specks in the sky.

Each of them is an immense world of its own.

Albert: Each of them?

Each one.

Don't you think some of them merely imagine it?

I'm sure it's difficult for the rulers of this earth to appreciate.

They speak of their 10 million population or their army of 2 millions.

It never occurs to them that each single one of all those millions is a sovereign world...

A world that is not to be destroyed.

Karl: I am quite sure, my son, that none of us wants to destroy any of your worlds.

Symphorosa: Oh, I'm sure not.

Why don't you have a canape?

There are women who can do it...

With a single smile.

Don't you like what I say, your highness?

Perhaps I do.

I'm afraid her highness doesn't.

I'm a little unaccustomed to anything of the kind-- very unaccustomed-- and I do not care for it.

Albert: I think he talks delightfully.

They're meaningless phrases, most of them, but charming-- every star a sovereign world.

Not every one.

No?

No.

A planet, for all the importance of its title, has no light of its own.

It shines only with the reflected glory of the sun, the imperial sun.

I'm sure you're right, professor.

I hardly know about such things.

No, your royal highness, you don't know, and you don't want to know.

This is wonderful...

A man who dares to tell me there is something I don't understand.

No, you don't.

Beatrix: Professor!

Albert, I must apologize-- for 20 years, I've been waiting for a turn of voice like that.

At last a man who talks to me as an equal.

I'm enchanted with the professor.

Whether you're enchanted or not doesn't interest me.

And such candor, delightful.

I'm having an unforgettable evening.

Albert, perhaps you'd like to go to bed.

Beatrix: Ohh...

Karl: Beatrix, use your smelling salts.

No use! Beatrix!

Alexandra: Mother, what is it?

Oh, go away, go away.

What's the matter, cousin Beatrix?

Tu Te trouves mal?

Ma tete. Tout d'un coup, ma tete.

Beatrix, dear. I'll take you to your room.

No, no.

I want Albert. His French is better.

Albert.

I'm here, cousin Beatrix.

Ici est Le prince.

Merci. Merci, Albert.

Non, Symphorosa. Allez-vous-en!

Oh, Beatrix.

Beatrix: Ne me laissez pas, Albert.

Ne me laissez.

No, my son. Wait.

Karl, how can you stand there? It may be genuine.

My dear aunt Symphorosa, the genuine trouble is still in this room.

I saw it coming at the very start of the evening.

Oh!

Please.

Well, my boy...

Have you had enough of madness for one night?

It's my fault. I'm to blame for every--

Karl: All right, my dear. Now, don't get excited.

Let's take this quietly. That's why I stayed behind.

I couldn't stand it any longer, father.

I couldn't.

God knows I meant to keep a hold on myself, but I'm a man, and I'm in love.

How could I stand there and listen to him?

How could I let him-- are you angry with me, too?

No, father.

Then why do you shout at me?

I cannot only hear what you say.

I understand it.

Can you understand how anyone could be such a simpleton, how anyone could be fool enough to believe in that invitation, believe that a miracle could still happen?

When I found that it hadn't, something in me...

I had to do what I did.

I needed it. I need even more.

More?

Yes! More!

This is our serious, studious young professor.

Well, my dear. How do you like this?

Oh, uncle Karl.

I like it very much.

Why, this is even worse than I thought.

If only he'll forgive me.

I'll forgive you for him.

Oh, don't be ashamed, my dear.

These things happen.

We can't help them.

That's not why I'm crying.

Why, then?

I'm so sorry for him.

I had no idea how much he was hurt, much more than I thought.

When he looks at me, I...

I feel so...

How do you feel, Alexandra?

Tell me.

I asked him if I had hurt him so much, and he said, "no. It was just a box on the ear."

The way he said that, I suddenly saw him as a little boy down on the plains where he used to live in those little low-roof cottages with wide acacia trees and the mother who loved him and was so proud of him...

Even when she had to box his ears, and somehow I felt the same way about him, too.

What do you say to that, uncle Karl?

I ought to box your ears.

Oh, darling.

[Chuckles]

You see, I understand women.

I don't...

But I don't care.

Poor mother. I'd better get up to her.

Karl: You'd better do nothing of the sort.

What your mother did was very cruel.

Yes, she was cruel, and I was cruel, and out of it, I'm so happy.

Oh, uncle Karl.

How is it you understand so well?

My dear, you don't think I was born in these robes.

Oh!

A fine position your mother put me in.

When the horses shied, she jumped clean out of the carriage.

Now, I suppose, it's up to me to take the reins.

It-- don't look at me so tragically.

How can I be severe with you?

I look at you-- Both of you-- and how can I say anything to you as you stand here?

Two children in such a desperate predicament, and yet so happy.

You'll never again be as happy as you are now.

Perhaps it's started to go already.

By the time we feel it, it's gone.

I know because I once had to face it myself.

And now you're going to take leave of each other, quietly and sensibly, like 2 intelligent people, and forgive each other and say good night.

God be with you.

What's your first name?

Nicholas.

How old are you?

27.

And your village, what was it called?

Siglette.

Princess, at last we're alone for a few moments, and you ask me for facts and figures.

I want to know you.

I want to know everything about you all at once.

I--

I don't know where to start.

But this may be the last time we can ever see each other.

If you love me...

Tell me.

If it's love...

Then it's very like once when I was little with the emperor.

I had seen so many pictures of him in his robes with a golden crown on his head, all splendor and magnificence.

And when he came to visit us in an ordinary suit, I...

I didn't know him.

You're so sweet...

And so beautiful.

Don't come any closer, Nicholas.

I--I've never seen a man in love, and he happens to be in love with me.

Are you so afraid of me?

Oh, if I am, then I want always to be afraid.

I want to be so good to you.

Oh, I want a hundred things.

I want to tell you everything that's in my heart, all my secrets.

I adore Napoleon, too.

Little Princess.

I want to hear you call me by my name.

Alexandra.

Alexandra.

I want to be everything to you.

I want to look after you and spoil you.

Eat something.

I'm not hungry, Alexandra.

I'm thirsty.

You want some wine?

I'm thirsty for your lips, for your eyes, for that moment when we can't even speak.

You mustn't talk like that or...

Or look at me like that.

Alexandra...

I want to. I...

I want to look into your eyes, deep into your eyes, and see the lashes close.

Please. You're...

You're frightening me.

I never dared to think that you could give your love to me.

Can you blame me now if I want to take it?

If I want to take you and carry you off into the darkness out there?

Close your eyes.

Stop your lips.

Nicholas, Nicholas.

[Door opens]

[Man coughs]

[Man coughs]

[Fingers snapping]

Ahh, Alexandra.

Your poor dear mother has gone to bed, but she's better.

And we had quite a little talk.

Very illuminating.

Well, I shall say good night.

Sleep well.

Oh, the professor.

That little discourse of yours...

Very interesting.

Original, too.

Something quite new-- astronomical impertinence.

Albert!

He took a modest drink with us, and the first thing we knew, he lifted us soaring up into the sky, stayed there himself, and let me drop back to earth with a thud.

Albert, you're not being fair. He's not like us.

I've noticed that.

He comes of a freer world than ours.

Obviously.

He isn't bound by our conventions.

My dear, you're altogether too generous.

Your mother has told me everything-- how you have been the innocent target for these unpleasant attentions.

Alexandra: That isn't the truth.

You don't understand.

It's never easy to understand a bad joke.

Man: Your royal highness, supper is served.

Albert: Your tolerance does you credit, but however charmingly you defend his bad manners, it doesn't alter them. He remains an insolent upstart.

Your highness--

Alexandra: I won't let you call him that!

I do call him that.

I call him a great deal more than that.

He's a snob of the worst kind-- the upside-down variety.

Just an ill-bred astronomer who hopes to hitch his peasant cart to a star and drag you down with him into the mud.

Nicholas, don't answer him!

I forbid you to! Nicholas!

Ohh...

That's another matter.

Quite another matter.

In that case, professor, I apologize.

Good night.

He called him a peasant and said he just wanted to drag me in the mud.

[Alexandra sobbing]

Karl: Shh.

[Crying]

Woman: You haven't touched your breakfast, your highness.

It doesn't matter.

Lisa...

Yes, your highness.

Do all the indoor staff live in?

Yes, your highness. In the servants' wing.

Even Caesar?

Yes.

Or, for instance, the professor?

You go along the main corridor and through the staff door.

Then turn right, and the professor's door is the first on the left.

Thank you. It was just a matter of interest.

[Horn honks]

What is that?

[Horn honks]

It's the queen.

Captain: It's her majesty, sir.

It can't be.

It is, sir.

There's no question about it.

At 9:00?

Dear mother.

How she loves to catch people on the wrong foot.

In this case, no feet at all, sir.

What will happen when she finds out?

Now you know.

Beatrix, you've seen?

I have. 2 hours early.

Typical! But she's still going to be too late.

What's all that for?

She's going to the black sea without any breakfast.

And you're going downstairs to Dominika.

Beatrix, you can't escape this now.

Oh, can't I?

As that woman comes in the front, I go out the back.

Now, listen, my dear.

You've been sitting snug in a monastery. You don't know her!

She's never let our family forget that the wittenburgs gave us a home in exile.

Our poor little home. Where's my hat?

She'll take it away so fast, we'll barely have time to save our belongings. Oh!

Karl, if you don't stop her, I shall jump straight out of that window!

She'll walk in over my dead body.

All right, my dear.

Just keep her long enough. That's all I ask.

Don't cry, dear. The good lord will help us.

He's the only one now who can!

Why, Karl, you aren't even dressed yet.

Oh, I forgot. You never are.

Your royal majesty, you bring honor and glory to this house.

I also bring some of my pickled beet root.

It's very good for Beatrix’s complexion.

Uh...

You can stop bowing and go to work.

At the palace, I stopped half the bowing and replaced it with elbow grease.

Where is Beatrix?

Uh, well, uh-- countess, get me out of this cocoon.

Caesar, I should like a cup of good strong bouillon with some Sherry in it.

If I know my son, he's still asleep.

Have his royal highness roused and sent to me.

Isn't she down yet?

Well, uh, no, she isn't. She-- well, I'll go up.

Oh. Oh, no, please. Cousin Dominika, you mustn't do that.

This morning, I am a cousin. It's a family affair, and no ceremony.

Oh, Dominika, please.

Why don't you go in the salon, wait for your bouillon?

Karl, don't dictate to me. I don't like it. But-- and don't keep interrupting. I like that even less.

You all have wonderful news. I know that.

Beatrix is bursting to see me.

Albert is delighted, I know.

I shall stay for 2 hours, and then we shall have to go.

She's coming!

Dominika: Alexandra is a dear child.

I remember her well.

I shall tell Beatrix to bring her to town in 6 weeks' time.

Beatrix!

Where are you?

Is that you, cousin Dominika?

Indisposed?

Yes, very.

Beatrix, you're seedy.

Now stop squirming. It's quite impossible to curtsy in bed.

Why didn't you tell me?

Well, it's all been rather sudden.

Perhaps he thought she'd gone.

Gone?

She can't be as bad as that.

What is it?

Oh, it's nothing. Just a little infectious rash.

Infectious? Hmm.

Nonsense. Let me look at it.

Beatrix: And a chill, Dominika.

I always get the two together.

Well, it runs in the family.

I know exactly how to deal with it-- hot water bottle for the chill.

Cold compress for the rash. Fetch them.

It's nervous excitement, of course.

Now, don't look so guilty, Beatrix.

When a dearly beloved daughter takes such a step as this, you're entitled to a chill and a rash.

You know all about it?

Of course I know, ohh...

And I'm delighted!

You are?

Karl: Why don't you run away and get some breakfast?

Well, we can all have some now now that dear cousin Dominika is such a brick about what happened.

What happened?

What happened?

Beatrix, you're hiding something from me.

What is it?

Karl?

Symphorosa?

May I come in?

Albert?

Good morning, mother.

Cousin Beatrix, better, I hope.

Albert, something has transpired here.

What?

What?

[Chuckles] What, indeed?

Bertie!

Uh...

Well, mother...

What exactly do you know?

I know just one thing-- that I'm to be told everything in the next 30 seconds.

[Beatrix moans loudly]

I think it will be easier in there.

Up to last night, cousin Alexandra and I, we hadn't met.

Cousin Alexandra was, uh...

Well, um... She was something of an icicle, and I was, um... What was I?

A fish. Hmm?

Fish?

Yes, I suppose I was.

Mind you, one that we're all devoted to.

An icicle and a fish.

Not much chance of warmth there.

Of course, it was very painful to me, and it was painful, too, I suppose, to Alexandra and cousin Beatrix.

I should think so. Much more painful.

So there we all were, suffering.

I suffered.

Alexandra and cousin Beatrix suffered.

So did cousin Karl and aunt Symphorosa.

So did the boys and, uh... The professor.

What professor?

Now, that's just the point.

There's a professor with the boys.

[Beatrix moans loudly]

Oh, stop groaning!

This professor, he's young, he's charming, and he suffered more than anybody.

I don't see why.

Oh, you will.

4 days went by, and the icicle didn't melt, and the fish was still...

Cousin Beatrix was quite in despair, and you know what desperation leads to.

In this case, it led to the professor.

How did you know that?

Captain Wunderlich is a very experienced aide.

Well, what about this professor?

Cousin Beatrix had the notion of injecting a little competition into the affair, but, unhappily, there was one thing she overlooked.

You see, the professor, this studious, young man-- ha ha! It sounds absurd, I know, but he was secretly in love with Alexandra.

[Beatrix moans]

And Alexandra with him?

Mother, you're interrupting.

So there he was, this poor fellow, just a means to an end, a worm to catch a fish, and so humble through it all, so silent in all his suffering.

Pathetic.

And then I insulted him.

Insulted him? You had no right to do that.

What a woman.

Not only all brain. All heart, too.

Why did you insult that poor boy?

Ah, why?

Why?

Because you were... Jealous.

Of course.

Of course.

Dominika: Ohh...

Oh, that motorcar.

Shall I?

Yes, yes.

Dominika: So then what happened?

So there he was, this poor fellow, his romantic dream in ruins, a martyr, and all for the sake of the family.

I appeal to you, mother.

Don't you think such a young man worthy of high praise?

The highest possible.

Do you think such a young man deserves to be punished?

Certainly not.

Does he deserve to be disgraced, despised, discharged, perhaps?

Heaven forbid.

Does he even deserve to be reprimanded?

No, of course he doesn't.

Why, on the contrary.

I think he deserves--

I don't know, but I think he deserves to be...

He deserves to be kissed.

Well, that's exactly what happened to him.

What?

What do you mean, that's what happened to him?

What you said. Alexandra kissed him.

Alexandra?

Just exactly as you said.

I said?

I said...

Oh, yes. Yes, yes.

Yes. Wasn't it awful?

She couldn't bear to watch him suffer any longer.

A sweet, warm-hearted girl like her.

So she kissed him.

What could be more natural? Nothing.

No. I suppose not.

And there were you, cousin Beatrix, worrying yourself into bed about something which mother found perfectly natural.

Didn't you?

Dominika: Well, yes.

Yes.

That is the most extraordinary nightgown I've ever seen.

Well, I-- well, one can't always believe one's eyes.

Or even one's ears sometimes.

I want to see Alexandra.

I'll get her for you.

Uh-uh-uh-uh. I'll fetch her.

Together: Mother!

Arsene: Mother, professor Agi's leaving!

George: Why is he going, mother?

He's leaving this morning.

Silence!

Boys, behave yourselves.

This is not a Republic.

Now, come and greet me.

Dominika: I am your sovereign and also your aunt once removed.

You should respect them both.

Now, what was all the shouting about?

Why is this professor leaving?

Has he been discharged?

George: It's because of Napoleon!

I bet it is!

Napoleon?

Arsene: Mother and he don't agree on the subject.

Beatrix, you don't approve of that man!

Approve?!

My dear, I have a book. I shall send it to you.

It's most comforting.

It proves conclusively that Napoleon never existed.

Albert, you're not just a prince.

You're a gentleman.

I'm a liar, too.

I may also be an idiot.

Where is she?

[Karl knocks on door]

Alexandra?

Alexandra?

[Knock on door]

I'm almost ready.

Nicholas...

I'm going with you.

Your highness has no need to carry things that far.

What do you mean?

With all respect, your highness shouldn't have come here.

Nicholas, what is it? What's happened?

Nothing.

Nothing has happened at all.

Well, then why are you like this?

What makes you talk like that?

The respect of a tutor...

For a Princess.

Oh, Nicholas. Didn't you understand?

I've made up my mind.

I've been thinking the whole night, and no one's going to stop us-- the family, no one!

I belong to you. Oh, my darling.

Did last night mean so little, or have you forgotten it?

Nicholas, I know why you're behaving like this.

The way I behave and my departure this morning...

Well, they are simply my answer to the kiss your highness gave me, that kiss which had all your pity in it and all your contempt.

Contempt?

It meant that I wasn't even a man.

I was just a pet dog that somebody kicked, so you consoled him with a pat on the head.

Oh, is that how you took it?

If I could have taken it any other way...

Yes?

Then I would have returned it.

I am sure your highness understands that.

Yes, I understand. I--

I'm glad you're so clear in your head about it.

It's easy to be clearheaded in the morning when the sun is shining.

And not the stars?

Not the stars.

I'm glad. It's-- it's better like this.

Yes, much better.

The boys will miss you.

They'll soon forget me.

[Knock on door]

Alexandra...

I said you should make your farewells last night.

We did.

I was just foolish enough not to realize it.

The chapter is closed, eh, my boy?

Yes, father. Completely closed.

I wasn't mistaken in you.

Well, I shan't say good-bye.

You'll be hearing from me.

[Alexandra sniffling]

He said it was contempt-- contempt and pity.

How could he say that?

It wasn't.

It wasn't. I know my own feelings.

Do you?

My dear, you forget...

All your life has been spent learning to suppress them.

When they suddenly come to the surface for a moment, it's very easy to make a mistake.

I kissed him out of pity.

Is that what you really think, uncle Karl?

I think that one day, you'll decide for yourself that it must have been that.

Now, dry your eyes and come along.

Perhaps we can find your answer in here.

Albert: Don't be alarmed.

It's not a duel to the death, and it's not the guillotine.

What is it, then?

Your future...

And my part in it.

I haven't any future.

And even if I had, I wouldn't want to share it with anyone who behaves as you do.

You've insulted me and my whole family, even before you came-- sending my mother a telegram with 2 days' notice, arrive here in the middle of the night and don't come down till the middle of the next.

True. I can't dispute any of that.

And when you did, you might just as well have stayed upstairs.

You behaved like a...

Like a fish.

You treated me as if I was some sort of... Not even that.

As if I were invisible.

Perhaps you were, to begin with.

And now, when your mother's here and you can't help yourself any longer, you want to put everything right.

Perhaps I can.

Mother's already survived part of the earthquake.

The rest will merely bring down a few more pillars.

I don't know what you mean.

I mean, take your professor, Alexandra.

Marry him, for better or worse.

It can't be worse than the alternative.

As a husband, I should be neither ornamental nor clever.

And my jokes aren't even amusing.

He has a few faults, too, but, uh...

If you love him-- and I think you do-- you won't notice them.

I'm sure if his hand touches yours, you won't jump 10 feet.

So, uh...

Go with him...

And with my blessing, if no one else's.

Uh, when I'm the monarch, I'll, uh, see you're both allowed to come back from, um...

Wherever you go.

And if there's a law against that, I'll get parliament to pass a new one, eh?

Thank you, Albert, but...

There's nothing parliament can do.

[Door opens]

I beg your highness' pardon.

Don't go, professor...

At least not without what you came for.

Alexandra: Yes. Come and get your books.

I must say, I admire you for being so calm and so self-controlled.

I just wonder why you couldn't have been like that last night, that's all...

Why you had to play on my feelings and my inexperience, carry me along through it all till I was ready to do anything, go with you anywhere, never mind if the whole world collapsed.

And all you wanted was a little excitement for one night.

You're right. He is an upstart and selfish.

You don't care one thing about me or what happens to me!

Don't answer her, Nicholas. I forbid you to.

My dear fellow, I'm still somewhat in the dark, but all the same, it's been an education to know you.


George: Professor!

Arsene: Professor, wait a minute!

[Boys shouting]


Your father used to call you his swan.

At least I'm told.

I think that's a good thing to remember.

Think what it means to be a swan...

To glide like a dream on the smooth surface of the lake and never go on the shore.

On dry land, where ordinary people walk, the swan is awkward...

Even ridiculous.

When she waddles up the bank, she painfully resembles a different kind of bird, n'est-Ce pas?

A goose.

I'm afraid so.

So there she must stay...

Out on the lake...

Silent, white...

Majestic.

Be a bird but never fly...

Know one song but never sing it...

Until the moment of her death.

And so it must be for you, Alexandra-- head high...

Cool indifference to the staring crowds along the bank.

And the song...

Never.

Take me in, Albert.