"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"SENSE AND SENSIBILITY"

Screenplay by

Emma Thompson

Based on the novel by

Jane Austen



EXT. OPEN ROADS - NIGHT - TITLE SEQUENCE

A series of traveling shots. A well-dressed, pompous-looking
individual (JOHN DASHWOOD, 35) is making an urgent journey
on horseback. He looks anxious.

EXT. NORLAND PARK - ENGLAND - MARCH 1800 - NIGHT

Silence. Norland Park, a large country house built in the
early part of the eighteenth century, lies in the moonlit
parkland.

INT. NORLAND PARK - MR DASHWOOD'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

In the dim light shed by candles we see a bed in which a MAN
(MR DASHWOOD, 52) lies his skin waxy, his breathing laboured.
Around him two silhouettes move and murmur, their clothing
susurrating in the deathly hush. DOCTORS. A WOMAN (MRS
DASHWOOD, 50) sits by his side, holding his hand, her eyes
never leaving his face.

MR DASHWOOD
(urgent)
Is John not yet arrived?

MRS DASHWOOD
We expect him at any moment, dearest.

MR DASHWOOD looks anguished.

MR DASHWOOD
The girls--I have left so little.

MRS DASHWOOD
Shh, hush, Henry.

MR DASHWOOD
Elinor will try to look after you
all, but make sure she finds a good
husband. The men are such noodles
hereabouts, little wonder none has
pleased her.

They smile at each other. MRS DASHWOOD is just managing to
conceal her fear and grief

MRS DASHWOOD
But Marianne is sure to find her
storybook hero.

MR DASHWOOD
A romantic poet with flashing eyes
and empty pockets?

MRS DASHWOOD
As long as she loves him, whoever he
is.

MR DASHWOOD
Margaret will go to sea and become a
pirate so we need not concern
ourselves with her.

MRS DASHWOOD tries to laugh but it emerges as a sob. An older
MANSERVANT (THOMAS) now enters, anxiety written on every
feature.

THOMAS
Your son is arrived from London,
sir.

MR DASHWOOD squeezes his wife's hand.

MR DASHWOOD
Let me speak to John alone.

She nods quickly and he smiles at her with infinite
tenderness.

MR DASHWOOD
Ah, my dear. How happy you have made
me.

MRS DASHWOOD makes a superhuman effort and smiles back. She
allows THOMAS to help her out. She passes JOHN DASHWOOD as
he enters, presses his hand, but cannot speak. JOHN takes
her place by the bed.

JOHN
Father...

MR DASHWOOD summons his last ounces of energy and starts to
whisper with desperate intensity.

MR DASHWOOD
John you will find out soon enough
from my will that the estate of
Norland was left to me in such a way
as prevents me from dividing it
between my families.

JOHN blinks. He cannot quite take it in.

JOHN
Calm yourself, Father. This is not
good for you.

But MR DASHWOOD continues with even greater determination.

MR DASHWOOD
Norland in its entirety is therefore
yours by law and I am happy for you
and Fanny.

JOHN looks torn between genuine distress and unexpected
delight.

MR DASHWOOD
But your stepmother my wife and
daughters are left with only five
hundred pounds a year, barely enough
to live on and nothing for the girls'
dowries. You must help them.

JOHN's face is a picture of conflicting emotions. Behind
them is the ominous rustling of parchments.

JOHN
Of course

MR DASHWOOD
You must promise to do this.

A brief moment of sincerity overcomes JOHN's natural
hypocrisy.

JOHN
I promise, Father, I promise.

MR DASHWOOD seems relieved. Suddenly his breathing changes.
JOHN looks alarmed. He rises and we hear him going to find
the DOCTOR.

JOHN
Come! Come quickly!

But it is we who share the dying man's last words.

MR DASHWOOD
Help them.

EXT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - LONDON - DAY

Outside the house sits a very well-to-do carriage. Behind it
waits another open carriage upon which servants are laying
trunks and boxes.

FANNY (V.O.)
'Help them?'

INT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - DRESSING ROOM - DAY

JOHN is standing in mourning clothes and a traveling cape.
He is watching, and obviously waiting for, a pert WOMAN (FANNY
DASHWOOD) who is standing by a mirror looking at him keenly.

FANNY
What do you mean, 'help them'?

JOHN
Dearest, I mean to give them three
thousand pounds.

FANNY goes very still. JOHN gets nervous.

JOHN
The interest will provide them with
a little extra income. Such a gift
will certainly discharge my promise
to my father.

FANNY slowly turns back to the mirror.

FANNY
Oh, without question! More than
amply...

JOHN
One had rather, on such occasions,
do too much than too little.

A pause as FANNY turns and looks at him again.

JOHN
Of course, he did not stipulate a
particular sum.

INT. LAUNDRY - NORLAND PARK - DAY

A red-eyed MAID (BETSY) plunges a beautiful muslin frock
into a vat of black dye.

INT. NORLAND PARK - MRS DASHWOOD'S BEDROOM - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD is rushing about, mourning ribbons flapping,
putting her knick-knacks into a small valise. The room is in
chaos. A young WOMAN (ELINOR DASHWOOD) looks on helplessly.

MRS DASHWOOD
To be reduced to the condition of
visitor in my own home! It is not to
be borne, Elinor!

ELINOR
Consider, Mamma! We have nowhere to
go.

MRS DASHWOOD
John and Fanny will descend from
London at any moment, followed no
doubt by cartloads of relatives ready
to turn us out of our rooms one by
one do you expect me to be here to
welcome them? Vultures!

She suddenly collapses into a chair and bursts into tears.

ELINOR
I shall start making inquiries for a
new house at once. Until then we
must try to bear their coming.

INT. JOHN AND FANNY'S CARRIAGE - DAY

JOHN and FANNY are on their way out of London.

JOHN
Fifteen hundred then. What say you
to fifteen hundred?

FANNY
What brother on earth would do half
so much for his real sisters--let
alone half-blood?

JOHN
They can hardly expect more.

FANNY
There is no knowing what they expect.
The question is, what can you afford?

INT. NORLAND PARK - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

A beautiful young WOMAN (MARIANNE DASHWOOD) is sitting at
the piano playing a particularly sad piece. ELINOR enters.

ELINOR
Marianne, cannot you play something
else? Mamma has been weeping since
breakfast.

MARIANNE stops, turns the pages of her music book and starts
playing something equally lugubrious.

ELINOR
I meant something less mournful,
dearest.

EXT. ROADSIDE INN - DAY

JOHN and FANNY are waiting as the OSTLERS make the final
adjustments to their carriage. The LANDLORD hovers, waiting
for a tip.

JOHN
A hundred pounds a year to their
mother while she lives. Would that
be more advisable? It is better than
parting with the fifteen hundred all
at once.

He displays some coins in his hand. FANNY removes one and
nods.

FANNY
But if she should live longer than
fifteen years we would be completely
taken in. People always live forever
when there is an annuity to be paid
them.

JOHN gives the coins to the LANDLORD.

EXT. NORLAND PARK - MARGARET'S TREE-HOUSE - DAY

ELINOR comes to the foot of a large tree from which a small
staircase issues.

ELINOR
Margaret, are you there? Please come
down. John and Fanny will be here
soon.

A pause. ELINOR is about to leave when a disembodied and
truculent young voice stops her.

MARGARET (V.O.)
Why are they coming to live at
Norland? They already have a house
in London.

ELINOR
Because houses go from father to
son, dearest not from father to
daughter. It is the law.

Silence. ELINOR tries another tack.

ELINOR
If you come inside, we could play
with your atlas.

MARGARET (V.O.)
It's not my atlas any more. It's
their atlas.

CLOSE on ELINOR as she ponders the truth of this statement.

INT. JOHN AND FANNY'S CARRIAGE - DAY

JOHN and FANNY joggle on.

JOHN
Twenty pounds now and then will amply
discharge my promise, you are quite
right.

FANNY
Indeed. Although to say the truth, I
am convinced within myself that your
father had no idea of your giving
them money.

JOHN
They will have five hundred a year
amongst them as it is--

FANNY
--and what on earth can four women
want for more than that? Their
housekeeping will be nothing at all
they will have no carriage, no horses,
hardly any servants and will keep no
company. Only conceive how comfortable
they will be!

INT. NORLAND PARK - SERVANTS' HALL - DAY

The large contingent of SERVANTS who staff Norland Park are
gathered in gloomy silence as ELINOR addresses them.

ELINOR
As you know, we are looking for a
new home. When we leave we shall be
able to retain only Thomas and Betsy.

CAM holds on THOMAS and BETSY, a capable woman.

ELINOR
We are very sorry to have to leave
you all. But we are certain you will
find the new Mrs Dashwood a fair and
generous mistress.

EXT. NORLAND PARK. DRIVE - DAY

JOHN and FANNY's carriage approaches Norland.

FANNY (V.O.)
They will be much more able to give
you something.

INT. JOHN AND FANNY'S CARRIAGE - DAY

JOHN and FANNY are about to get out.

JOHN
So we are agreed. No money but the
occasional gift of game and fish in
season will be very welcome.

FANNY
Your father would be proud of you.

INT. NORLAND PARK - DINING ROOM - EARLY EVE

The entire family, with the exception of MARGARET, is present.
BETSY is serving food in an atmosphere of stiff silence.
Cutlery clinks. JOHN chews loudly. MARIANNE is rigid with
resentment. MRS DASHWOOD maintains a cool, removed dignity.
ELINOR tries to play hostess.

ELINOR
How is Mrs Ferrars?

FANNY
My mother is always in excellent
health, thank you. My brother Robert
is in town with her this season and
quite the most popular bachelor in
London! He has his own barouche.

In the brief silence which follows this, FANNY surreptitiously
checks the hallmark on her butterknife.

ELINOR
You have two brothers, have you not?

FANNY
Indeed, yes. Edward is the eldest
Mamma quite depends upon him. He is
traveling up from Plymouth shortly
and will break his journey here.

MRS DASHWOOD looks at ELINOR pointedly. JOHN notices.

JOHN
(to MRS DASHWOOD)
If that is agreeable to you, of
course.

MRS DASHWOOD
My dear John this is your home now.

FANNY looks about, barely able to conceal her satisfaction.

INT. NORLAND PARK - ELINOR'S BEDROOM - DAY

ELINOR is sitting with a little pile of parcels. She puts a
shawl into some paper and ties it with ribbon as MARIANNE
thunders in, looking mutinous.

MARIANNE
Fanny wishes to know where the key
for the silver cabinet is kept.

ELINOR
Betsy has it, I think. What does
Fanny want with the silver?

MARIANNE
I can only presume she wants to count
it. What are you doing?

ELINOR
Presents for the servants. Have you
seen Margaret? I am worried about
her. She has taken to hiding in the
oddest places.

MARIANNE
Fortunate girl. At least she can
escape Fanny, which is more than any
of us is able.

ELINOR
You do your best. You have not said
a word to her for a week.

MARIANNE
(truculently)
I have! I have said 'yes' and 'no'.

INT. NORLAND PARK - BREAKFAST ROOM - DAY

FANNY, MRS DASHWOOD, ELINOR and JOHN are at breakfast.
MARIANNE enters. ELINOR catches her eye and indicates FANNY
with a slight motion of her head. MARIANNE makes a face.

MARIANNE
(very polite)
Good morning, Fanny.

FANNY is rather startled.

FANNY
Good morning, Marianne.

ELINOR is relieved.

MARIANNE
(to Fanny)
How did you find the silver? Is it
all genuine?

ELINOR rushes in before MARIANNE gets any further.

ELINOR
Pray, when may we expect the pleasure
of your brother's company?

FANNY
Edward is due tomorrow. And my dear
Mrs Dashwood, in view of the fact
that he will not be with us for long,
I wondered if Miss Margaret would
mind giving up her room to him the
view is quite incomparable from her
windows and I should so much like
Edward to see Norland at its best.

MARIANNE slams her cup down and throws a furious look at
ELINOR.

INT. NORLAND PARK - MARGARET'S BEDROOM - DAY

ELINOR and MARIANNE are removing MARGARET's toys.

MARIANNE
Intolerable woman!

ELINOR
There is but one consolation if Edward
is anything like Fanny, we shall be
only too happy to leave.

EXT. NORLAND PARK - DRIVE - DAY

A very capable HORSEMAN (EDWARD FERRARS) canters up the gravel
drive.

CLOSE on his face as he gazes up at the elegant fašade.

INT. NORLAND PARK - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

Everyone except MARGARET is present. EDWARD has just shaken
bands with ELINOR. He behaves with great respect to the
DASHWOODS and seems embarrassed by FANNY's pro prietorial
air.

FANNY
But where is Miss Margaret? I declare,
Mrs Dashwood, I am beginning to doubt
of her existence! She must run
positively wild!

MRS DASHWOOD
Forgive us, Mr Ferrars. My youngest
is not to be found this morning. She
is a little shy of strangers at
present.

EDWARD
Naturally. I am also shy of strangers
and I have nothing like her excuse.

MARIANNE
(dangerous)
How do you like your view, Mr Ferrars?

ELINOR glances at her warningly but EDWARD replies with
careful consideration.

EDWARD
Very much. Your stables are very
handsome and beautifully kept, Mrs
Dashwood.

FANNY
Stables! Edward--your windows overlook
the lake.

EDWARD
An oversight, Fanny, led me to the
wrong room. I have rectified the
situation and am happily settled in
the guest quarters.

MARIANNE and ELINOR look at each other in surprise. FANNY
looks furious.

MRS DASHWOOD smiles warmly at EDWARD.

CLOSE on ELINOR. She is impressed.

INT. NORLAND PARK - STAIRCASE - DAY

FANNY is walking with EDWARD, who looks at the pictures with
interest.

FANNY
They are all exceedingly spoilt, I
find. Miss Margaret spends all her
time up trees and under furniture
and I have barely had a civil word
from Marianne.

EDWARD
My dear Fanny, they have just lost
their father their lives will never
be the same again.

FANNY
That is no excuse.

INT. NORLAND PARK - LIBRARY - DAY

FANNY leads EDWARD in. She sniffs with distaste.

FANNY
I have never liked the smell of books.

EDWARD
Oh? No. The dust, perhaps.

As they speak, EDWARD notices a large atlas retreating
apparently all by itself across the floor. Someone is
obviously under the table, pulling it out of sight. He
registers it and immediately moves in such a way as to shield
it from FANNY. He turns back, searching for something to
divert her.

EDWARD
I hear you have great plans for the
walnut grove.

FANNY
Oh yes! I shall have it pulled down
to make room for a Grecian temple.

There is a stifled wail from under the table, which EDWARD
covers with a cough.

EDWARD
How picturesque. Will you show me
the site?

And he ushers FANNY out, flicking a quick glance over his
shoulder at the fugitive's foot.

INT. NORLAND PARK - VELVET ROOM - DAY

ELINOR, MRS DASHWOOD and MARIANNE are sitting round a table
with a pile of letters. ELINOR is handing one back to her
mother.

ELINOR
Too expensive. We do not need four
bedrooms, we can share.

MARIANNE
This one, then?

ELINOR reads the letter quickly.

ELINOR
Marianne, we have only five hundred
pounds a year. I will send out more
inquiries today.

There is a knock on the door. Hesitantly, EDWARD appears.

EDWARD
Pardon my intrusion, but I believe I
have found what you are looking for.

MARIANNE and MRS DASHWOOD are puzzled by his elliptical manner
but ELINOR immediately understands and rises, in smiling
relief.

INT. NORLAND PARK - ENTRANCE HALL OUTSIDE LIBRARY - DAY

EDWARD is standing outside keeping a discreet lookout. The
door is half open and he can hear ELINOR trying to coax
MARGARET out. FANNY walks by with a BUTLER to whom she is
giving instructions. EDWARD pretends to examine the mouldings
and she passes on unsuspecting.

ELINOR (V.O.)
Won't you come out, dearest? We
haven't seen you all day. Mamma is
very concerned.

More silence. EDWARD thinks hard. He makes a decision.

INT. NORLAND PARK - LIBRARY - DAY

EDWARD walks in loudly.

EDWARD
Oh, Miss Dashwood! Excuse me I was
wondering do you by any chance have
such a thing as a reliable atlas?

ELINOR looks up at him in astonishment.

ELINOR
I believe so.

EDWARD
Excellent. I wish to check the
position of the Nile.

EDWARD appears to be utterly sincere.

EDWARD
My sister says it is in South America.

From under the table we hear a snort. ELINOR looks at him in
realisation.

ELINOR
Oh! No, no indeed. She is quite wrong.
For I believe it is in--in Belgium.

EDWARD
Belgium? Surely not. You must be
thinking of the Volga.

MARGARET
(from under the table)
The Volga?

ELINOR
Of course. The Volga, which, as you
know, starts in...

EDWARD
Vladivostok, and ends in...

ELINOR
St Albans.

EDWARD
Indeed. Where the coffee beans come
from.

They are having such a good time that it is rather a pity
the game is stopped by the appearance from under the table
of MARGARET who reveals herself to be a disheveled girl of
eleven. She hauls the atlas up and plonks it in front of
EDWARD.

MARGARET
The source of the Nile is in
Abyssinia.

EDWARD
Is it? Good heavens. How do you do.
Edward Ferrars.

MARGARET
Margaret Dashwood.

EDWARD shakes MARGARET's hand solemnly and looks over her
head at ELINOR. They smile at each other, a connection made.

INT. NORLAND PARK - DRAWING ROOM - ANOTHER DAY

JOHN is reading a newspaper. MRS DASHWOOD sits across from
FANNY, who thumbs through a fashion-plate magazine. ELINOR
is at a desk by the window writing a letter we see the words
'of course we should like to leave as soon as possible'.
Suddenly she hears a commotion outside. MARGARET runs past
the window brandishing a stick. EDWARD follows, and proceeds
to teach her the first principles of sword-fighting. They
feint and parry, EDWARD serious and without a hint of
condescension, MARGARET concentrating furiously. EDWARD
suddenly turns, as though feeling ELINOR's gaze. She smiles
but looks away quickly.

INT. NORLAND PARK - VELVET ROOM - ANOTHER DAY

EDWARD comes into the doorway and sees ELINOR who is listening
to MARIANNE playing a concerto. ELINOR stands in a graceful,
rather sad attitude, her back to us. Suddenly she senses
EDWARD behind her and turns. He is about to turn away,
embarrassed to have been caught admiring her, when he sees
she has been weeping. Hastily she tries to dry her eyes. He
comes forward and offers her a handkerchief, which she takes
with a grateful smile. We notice his monogram in the corner:
ECF.

ELINOR
(apologetic)
That was my father's favourite.

EDWARD nods kindly.

ELINOR
Thank you so much for your help with
Margaret, Mr Ferrars. She is a changed
girl since your arrival.

EDWARD
Not at all. I enjoy her company.

ELINOR
Has she shown you her tree-house?

EDWARD
Not yet. Would you do me the honour,
Miss Dashwood? It is very fine out.

ELINOR
With pleasure.

They start to walk out of shot, still talking.

ELINOR
Margaret has always wanted to travel.

EDWARD
I know. She is heading an expedition
to China shortly. I am to go as her
servant but only on the understanding
that I will be very badly treated.

ELINOR
What will your duties be?

EDWARD
Sword-fighting, administering rum
and swabbing.

ELINOR
Ah.

CAM tilts up to find MRS DASHWOOD on the middle landing of
the staircase, smiling down at them. CAM tilts up yet further
to find FANNY on the landing above, watching EDWARD and ELINOR
with a face like a prune.

EXT. NORLAND PARK - GARDENS - DAY

EDWARD and ELINOR are still talking as they walk arm in arm
in the late afternoon sun.

EDWARD
All I want--all I have ever wanted
is the quiet of a private life but
my mother is determined to see me
distinguished.

ELINOR
As?

EDWARD
She hardly knows. Any fine figure
will suit a great orator, a leading
politician, even a barrister would
serve, but only on the condition
that I drive my own barouche and
dine in the first circles.

His tone is light but there is an underlying bitterness to
it.

ELINOR
And what do you wish for?

EDWARD
I always preferred the church, but
that is not smart enough for my mother
she prefers the army, but that is a
great deal too smart for me.

ELINOR
Would you stay in London?

EDWARD
I hate London. No peace. A country
living is my ideal a small parish
where I might do some good, keep
chickens and give very short sermons.

EXT. FIELDS NEAR NORLAND - DAY

EDWARD and ELINOR are on horseback. The atmosphere is
intimate, the quality of the conversation rooted now in their
affections.

ELINOR
You talk of feeling idle and useless
imagine how that is compounded when
one has no choice and no hope
whatsoever of any occupation.

EDWARD nods and smiles at the irony of it.

EDWARD
Our circumstances are therefore
precisely the same.

ELINOR
Except that you will inherit your
fortune.

He looks at her slightly shocked but enjoying her boldness.

ELINOR
We cannot even earn ours.

EDWARD
Perhaps Margaret is right.

ELINOR
Right?

EDWARD
Piracy is our only option.

They ride on in silence for a moment.

EDWARD
What is swabbing exactly?

INT. NORLAND PARK - DRAWING ROOM - EVE

Dinner is over. JOHN and FANNY are examining plans of the
Norland estate, looking for somewhere to build a hermitage.
EDWARD is reading out loud. ELINOR embroiders and listens.
MRS DASHWOOD and MARIANNE make up the rest of the audience,
the latter in a state of high impatience.

EDWARD
No voice divine the storm allayed No
light propitious shone, When snatched
from all effectual aid, We perished
each alone: But I beneath a rougher
sea, And whelmed in deeper gulfs
than he.

MARIANNE jumps up and goes to him.

MARIANNE
No, Edward! Listen.

She takes the book from him and reads the stanza with
passionate brio.

MARIANNE
Can you not feel his despair? Try
again.

Rather mortified, EDWARD starts again, but not before
receiving a sympathetic look from ELINOR which seems to
comfort him a little.

INT. NORLAND PARK - MORNING ROOM - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD is ruminating sadly. MARIANNE rushes in holding
a letter.

MARIANNE
Mamma, look. This has just arrived.

MRS DASHWOOD
(reading from the
letter)
'I should be pleased to offer you a
home at Barton Cottage as soon as
ever you have need of it' why, it is
from my cousin, Sir John Middleton!

MARIANNE
Even Elinor must approve the rent.

MRS DASHWOOD looks at the letter again and thinks.

MRS DASHWOOD
Has Elinor not yet seen this?

MARIANNE
No I will fetch her.

MRS DASHWOOD
Wait. No. Let us delay.

MARIANNE
Why?

MRS DASHWOOD
I think--I believe that Edward and
Elinor have formed an attachment.

Marianne nods, a little reluctantly.

MRS DASHWOOD
It would be cruel to take her away
so soon and Devonshire is so far.

MRS DASHWOOD makes her decision. She takes the letter and
hides it in the pocket of her gown. MARIANNE looks on
frowningly.

MRS DASHWOOD
Why so grave? Do you disapprove her
choice?

MARIANNE
By no means. Edward is very amiable.

MRS DASHWOOD
Amiable but?

MARIANNE
But there is something wanting. He
is too sedate his reading last night.

MRS DASHWOOD
Elinor has not your feelings, his
reserve suits her.

MARIANNE thinks for a little.

MARIANNE
Can he love her? Can the ardour of
the soul really be satisfied with
such polite, concealed affections?
To love is to burn to be on fire,
all made of passion, of adoration,
of sacrifice! Like Juliet, or
Guinevere or Heloise.

MRS DASHWOOD
They made rather pathetic ends, dear.

MARIANNE
Pathetic! To die for love? How can
you say so? What could be more
glorious?

MRS DASHWOOD
I think that may be taking your
romantic sensibilities a little far.

MARIANNE
The more I know of the world, the
more I am convinced that I shall
never see a man whom I can truly
love.

MRS DASHWOOD
You require so much!

MARIANNE
I do not! I require only what any
young woman of taste should a man
who sings well, dances admirably,
rides bravely, reads with passion
and whose tastes agree in every point
with my own.

INT. NORLAND PARK - ELINOR'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

ELINOR is in bed, deep in thought. MARIANNE enters in her
nightclothes, carrying a book of poetry. She reads, teasingly.

MARIANNE
Is love a fancy, or a feeling? No It
is immortal as immaculate truth 'Tis
not a blossom shed as soon as Youth
Drops from the stem of life for it
will grow In barren regions, where
no waters flow Nor ray of promise
cheats the pensive gloom--

She jumps onto the bed. ELINOR smiles somewhat suspiciously.

MARIANNE
What a pity it is that Edward has no
passion for reading.

ELINOR
It was you who asked him to read and
then you made him nervous.

MARIANNE
Me?

ELINOR
But your behaviour to him in all
other respects is perfectly cordial
so I must assume that you like him
in spite of his deficiencies.

MARIANNE
(trying hard)
I think him everything that is amiable
and worthy.

ELINOR
Praise indeed!

MARIANNE
But he shall have my unanswering
devotion when you tell me he is to
be my brother.

ELINOR is greatly taken aback and does not know how to reply.
Suddenly MARIANNE hugs her passionately.

MARIANNE
How shall I do without you?

ELINOR
Do without me?

MARIANNE pulls away, her eyes full of tears.

MARIANNE
I am sure you will be very happy.
But you must promise not to live too
far away.

ELINOR
Marianne, there is no question of
that is, there is no under standing
between...

ELINOR trails off. MARIANNE looks at her keenly.

MARIANNE
Do you love him?

The bold clarity of this question discomforts ELINOR.

ELINOR
I do not attempt to deny that I think
very highly of him that I greatly
esteem that I like him.

MARIANNE
Esteem him! Like him! Use those
insipid words again and I shall leave
the room this instant!

This makes ELINOR laugh in spite of her discomfort.

ELINOR
Very well. Forgive me. Believe my
feelings to be stronger than I have
declared but further than that you
must not believe.

MARIANNE is flummoxed but she rallies swiftly and picks up
her book again.

MARIANNE
'Is love a fancy or a feeling?' Or a
Ferrars?

ELINOR
Go to bed!

ELINOR blushes in good earnest. MARIANNE goes to the door.

MARIANNE
(imitating Elinor)
'I do not attempt to deny that I
think highly of him greatly esteem
him! Like him!'

And she is gone, leaving ELINOR both agitated and amused.

INT. NORLAND PARK - BREAKFAST ROOM - DAY

FANNY is standing by the window looking out. We see her POV
of ELINOR and EDWARD walking in the garden.

MRS DASHWOOD enters, pauses for a moment and then joins FANNY
at the window. FANNY pretends not to have been watching but
MRS DASHWOOD looks down at the lovers and then smiles sweetly
at her.

MRS DASHWOOD
We are all so happy that you chose
to invite Edward to Norland. He is a
dear boy and we are all very fond of
him.

FANNY does a bit of quick thinking.

FANNY
We have great hopes for him. Much is
expected of him by our mother with
regard to his profession

MRS DASHWOOD
Naturally.

FANNY
And in marriage. She is determined
that both he and Robert will marry
well.

MRS DASHWOOD
Of course. But I hope she desires
them to marry for love, first and
foremost? I have always felt that,
contrary to common wisdom, true
affection is by far the most valuable
dowry.

FANNY
Love is all very well, but
unfortunately we cannot always rely
on the heart to lead us in the most
suitable directions.

FANNY lowers her voice confidingly.

FANNY
You see, my dear Mrs Dashwood, Edward
is entirely the kind of compassionate
person upon whom penniless women can
prey--and having entered into any
kind of understanding, he would never
go back on his word. He is quite
simply incapable of doing so. But it
would lead to his ruin. I worry for
him so, Mrs Dashwood. My mother has
always made it perfectly plain that
she will withdraw all financial
support from Edward, should he choose
to plant his affections in less...
exalted ground than he deserves.

It is impossible for MRS DASHWOOD not to get the point. She
is appalled and furious.

MRS DASHWOOD
I understand you perfectly.

She sweeps off.

INT. NORLAND PARK - MRS DASHWOOD'S DRESSING ROOM - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD, breathless with rage, is searching through her
wardrobe for the gown which contains SIR JOHN's letter. Frocks
fly hither and thither. Finally MRS DASHWOOD plunges her
hand into the right pocket and withdraws the letter. She
looks at it, suddenly concerned and anxious.

INT. NORLAND PARK - DINING ROOM - EVE

The entire family is present. Everyone is watching MRS
DASHWOOD, who has just made her announcement.

EDWARD
Devonshire!

He is devastated. FANNY is thrilled. MRS DASHWOOD looks at
him with compassion and then at ELINOR, who is trying to
keep calm.

MRS DASHWOOD
My cousin Sir John Middleton has
offered us a small house on his
estate.

JOHN
Sir John Middleton? What is his
situation? He must be a man of
property.

MRS DASHWOOD
He is a widower. He lives with his
mother-in-law at Barton Park and it
is Barton Cottage that he offers us.

FANNY
Oh, a cottage! How charming. A little
cottage is always very snug.

EDWARD
But you will not leave before the
summer?

MRS DASHWOOD
Oh, my dear Edward, we can no longer
trespass upon your sister's good
will. We must leave as soon as
possible.

MARGARET
You will come and stay with us,
Edward!

EDWARD
I should like that very much.

FANNY
Edward has long been expected in
town by our mother.

MRS DASHWOOD ignores FANNY.

MRS DASHWOOD
Come as soon as you can, Edward.
Remember that you are always welcome.

INT/EXT. NORLAND PARK - STABLES - DAY

ELINOR has come to say goodbye to her HORSE. She strokes the
soft face sadly. Then she senses someone and turns to find
EDWARD standing nearby.

EDWARD
Cannot you take him with you?

ELINOR
We cannot possibly afford him.

EDWARD
Perhaps he could make himself useful
in the kitchen?

ELINOR tries to smile. EDWARD looks at her for a long moment
and then comes closer.

EDWARD
Miss Dashwood--Elinor. I must talk
to you.

The use of her Christian name--and in such a loving tone--
stops ELINOR's breath altogether.

EDWARD
There is something of great importance
I need... to tell you--

He comes closer still. The HORSE breathes between them. ELINOR
is on fire with anticipation but EDWARD looks troubled and
has less the air of a suitor than he might.

EDWARD
--about--about my education.

ELINOR
(after a beat)
Your education?

EDWARD
Yes. It was less... successful than
it might have been.

EDWARD laughs nervously. ELINOR is completely bewildered.

EDWARD
It was conducted in Plymouth--oddly
enough.

ELINOR
Indeed?

EDWARD
Yes. Do you know it?

ELINOR
Plymouth?

EDWARD
Yes.

ELINOR
No.

EDWARD
Oh--well--I spent four years there--
at a school run by a--a Mr Pratt--

ELINOR
Pratt?

ELINOR is beginning to feel like a parrot.

EDWARD
Precisely--Mr Pratt--and there, I--
that is to say, he has a--

As EDWARD flounders, a familiar voice cuts through this
unexpected foray into his academic past.

FANNY
Edward! Edward!

They turn to find FANNY powering down upon them, waving a
letter. EDWARD steps back, glancing almost guiltily at ELINOR,
who is as confused as we are.

FANNY
I have been all over for you! You
are needed in London this instant!

EDWARD
Fanny, I am leaving this afternoon
as it is--

FANNY
No, no, that will not do. Family
affairs are in chaos owing to your
absence. Mother is quite adamant
that you should leave at once.

FANNY is determined. She obviously has no intention of leaving
him alone with ELINOR. EDWARD turns to ELINOR, frustration
in every muscle, his jaw set tight.

EDWARD
Excuse me, Miss Dashwood.

FANNY drags EDWARD off, leaving ELINOR to gaze sadly after
them.

INT. THE LADIES' CARRIAGE - OPEN ROAD - RAIN - EVE

The DASHWOODS are on their way. The mood is very sombre.

MARGARET
Edward promised he would bring the
atlas to Barton for me.

MARIANNE looks at ELINOR, pleased.

MARIANNE
Did he? Well, I will wager he will
do so in less than a fortnight!

MRS DASHWOOD looks at ELINOR with satisfaction.

EXT. THE LADIES' CARRIAGE - OPEN ROAD - EVE

The carriage rolls on.

MARGARET (V.O.)
Are we there yet?

EXT. ROAD TO AND FROM BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

In comparison to Norland, Barton Cottage has the air of a
damp shoebox. it sits low and bleak in the grey lonely
countryside.

From one side we can see the DASHWOODS' carriage drawing up
at the gate. From the other, a much grander vehicle, from
which loud whooping can be heard, is approaching.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN PATH - DAY

As the exhausted DASHWOODS alight, they converge with a ruddy-
complexioned MAN in a redingote (SIR JOHN MIDDLETON) and a
rotund, equally roseate LADY (MRS JENNINGS) who have fallen
over each other in their haste to get out of their carriage.

MRS DASHWOOD
Sir John!

SIR JOHN clasps her hands and starts to help her up the path,
followed by ELINOR, MARIANNE and MARGARET, who is clearly
fascinated by his bouncy companion.

SIR JOHN
Dear ladies, dear ladies, upon my
word, here you are, here you are,
here you are!

MRS DASHWOOD
Sir John, your extraordinary kindness--

SIR JOHN
Oh, none of that, hush, please, none
of that, but here is my dear mamma-
in-law Mrs Jennings.

MRS JENNINGS
Was the journey tolerable, you poor
souls?

SIR JOHN
Why did you not come up to the Park
first and take your ease? We saw you
pass--Like many people who live rather
lonely lives together.

SIR JOHN and MRS JENNINGS talk incessantly, interrupt each
other all the time and never listen.

MRS JENNINGS
--but I would not wait for you to
come to us, I made John call for the
carriage--

SIR JOHN
She would not wait, you know.

MRS JENNINGS
--as we get so little company.

They reach the front door and BETSY's smiling welcome. In
the confusion of milling people and THOMAS carrying the
lighter luggage, MARIANNE contrives to slip into the house
alone. We follow her but hear the conversation continuing in
V.O. MARIANNE looks about the parlour, where a dismal fire
is smoking. She starts up the stairs, expressionless.

MRS JENNINGS (V.O.)
But I feel as if I know you already--
delightful creatures!

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
Delightful! And you know you are to
dine at Barton Park every day.

MRS DASHWOOD (V.O.)
Oh, but dear Sir John, we cannot--

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
Oh, no no no no no no no, I shall
not brook refusals. I am quite deaf
to 'em, you know--

MRS JENNINGS (V.O.)
--deaf--

MARIANNE enters a small bedroom. She sits on the bed. Then
she goes to the window and opens it. Voices float up.

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
But I insist!

ELINOR (V.O.)
Let us only settle in for a few days,
Sir John, and thank you--

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
Oh, no thankings, no, please, can't
bear 'em, embarrassing, you know--

MARIANNE closes the window and crosses the corridor to another
bed room--similarly stark. She sighs and turns back down the
stairs.

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
We will send game and fruit as a
matter of course--

MRS JENNINGS (V.O.)
--fruit and game--

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
--and the carriage is at your beck
and call--

MARIANNE joins the group, who are now in the parlour.

MRS JENNINGS
--call--and here is Miss Marianne!

SIR JOHN
Where did you disappear to?

MRS JENNINGS
I declare you are the loveliest girl
I ever set eyes on! Cannot you get
them married, Mrs Dashwood? You must
not leave it too long!

SIR JOHN
But, alas, there are no smart young
men hereabouts to woo them--

MRS JENNINGS
--not a beau for miles!

The strain of exhibiting joy and gratitude is beginning to
tell on MRS DASHWOOD who is sagging visibly.

SIR JOHN
Come, Mother, let us leave them in
peace.

MRS JENNINGS
But there is Colonel Brandon!

SIR JOHN is dragging her down the path.

SIR JOHN
Excellent fellow! We served in the
East India Regiment together.

MRS JENNINGS
Just wait till he sees you! If we
can persuade him out to meet you!

SIR JOHN
Reclusive individual. But you are
fatigued. I can see that you are
fatigued.

Now he is pushing her into the carriage.

MRS JENNINGS
Of course she is fatigued!

SIR JOHN
Come along, Mother, we really must
leave them to themselves.

MRS JENNINGS
You must get your maidservant to
make you up some camphor--it is the
best tonic for the staggers!

SIR JOHN
Send Thomas to us for the carriage
when you are ready!

They take off, waving wildly. MARGARET goes down the path to
watch them and turns back to her slightly stunned family.

MARGARET
I like them.

MRS DASHWOOD
(weakly)
What generosity.

ELINOR
Indeed. I am surprised they did not
offer us their clothing.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

MARIANNE and ELINOR are getting undressed for bed. it's very
cold. They keep their underclothing on and get in, shivering
at the bony chill of the linen.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - KITCHEN GARDEN - DAY

BETSY is pinning out laundry.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN - DAY

MARGARET tries to climb an impossible tree. Her petticoats
snag and tear.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - DAY

MARIANNE looks out of the window at the wild countryside.
Uncon sciously, one hand plays up and down on the sill as
though it were a keyboard.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

ELINOR sits at a little desk counting money and making notes.
BETSY enters to clean out the fire. She notices the money.

BETSY
Sugar is five shilling a pound these
parts, Miss Dashwood.

ELINOR
(lightly)
No more sugar then.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - EVE

CLOSE on MRS DASHWOOD looking out of the window, thinking.
She remembers MRS JENNINGS's words:

MRS JENNINGS (V.O.)
Not a beau for miles.

MRS DASHWOOD turns into the room to look at her brood. ELINOR
and MARIANNE are mending MARGARET's petticoats. CLOSE on the
mother's anxious expression--what is to become of them?

EXT. BARTON PARK - EVE

Establishing shot of SIR JOHN's house--a very comfortable-
looking country seat with fine grounds.

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
Where can Brandon be, poor fellow? I
hope he has not lamed his horse.

INT. BARTON PARK - DINING ROOM - EVE

CLOSE on an empty chair and place setting. Pull out to reveal
the DASHWOODS at their first dinner with SIR JOHN and MRS
JENNINGS.

MRS JENNINGS
Colonel Brandon is the most eligible
bachelor in the county--he is bound
to do for one of you. Mind, he is a
better age for Miss Dashwood--but I
dare say she left her heart behind
in Sussex, eh?

MARIANNE flashes an unmistakable glance of alarmed concern
at her sister, which MRS JENNINGS notices.

MRS JENNINGS
Aha! I see you, Miss Marianne! I
think I have unearthed a secret!

SIR JOHN
Oho! Have you sniffed one out already,
Mother? You are worse than my best
pointer, Flossie!

They both laugh immoderately. ELINOR tries to stay calm.

MRS JENNINGS
What sort of man is he, Miss Dashwood?
Is he butcher, baker, candlestick-
maker? I shall winkle it out of you
somehow, you know!

SIR JOHN
She's horribly good at winkling.

MRS JENNINGS
You are in lonely country now, Miss
Dashwood, none of us has any secrets
here--

SIR JOHN
--or if we do, we do not keep them
for long!

ELINOR tries to smile. MARIANNE looks furious. MARGARET is
staring at MRS JENNINGS as if she were some particularly
thrilling form of wildlife.

MRS JENNINGS
He is curate of the parish, I dare
say!

SIR JOHN
Or a handsome lieutenant!

MRS JENNINGS
Give us a clue, Miss Dashwood--is he
in uniform?

ELINOR starts to change the subject, but MARGARET interrupts
her.

MARGARET
He has no profession!

SIR JOHN and MRS JENNINGS turn on her with screams of delight.
ELINOR, MARIANNE and MRS DASHWOOD look at each other
helplessly.

SIR JOHN
No profession! A gentleman, then!

MARIANNE
(with daggers)
Margaret, you know perfectly well
there is no such person.

MARGARET
There is! There is! And his name
begins with an F!

ELINOR looks hard at her plate.

MRS DASHWOOD
Margaret!

MRS DASHWOOD is appalled at her youngest's relish for such a
vulgar game. SIR JOHN and MRS JENNINGS are cock-a-hoop.

SIR JOHN
F indeed! A very promising letter.
Let me--F, F, Fo, Fa... Upon my word,
but I cannot think of a single name
beginning with F--

MRS JENNINGS
Forrest? Foster? Frost? Foggarty?

MARIANNE suddenly stands up. SIR JOHN and MRS JENNINGS are
so surprised they stop talking. Everyone stares at MARIANNE.

MARIANNE
(controlled fury)
Sir John, might I play your
pianoforte?

SIR JOHN
Of course, yes--my goodness. We do
not stand on ceremony here, my dear.

For once, ELINOR is grateful for her sister's rudeness as
everyone rises and follows MARIANNE out.

EXT. BARTON PARK - FRONT STEPS - EVE

A soldierly MAN of about forty (COLONEL BRANDON) is
dismounting from his horse. From within we hear MARIANNE's
song begin. His head snaps up to the windows. An expression
of pained surprise comes into his melancholy, brooding eyes.

INT. BARTON PARK - MUSIC ROOM - EVE

Everyone watches MARIANNE as she plays and sings. Behind
them we see BRANDON entering. But he stays in the shadow of
the door and no one notices him. CLOSE on his face. He gazes
at MARIANNE with an unfathomable look of grief and longing.
He breathes in deeply. Suddenly, ELINOR feels his presence
and looks around at him. After a few moments, she turns back,
slightly puzzled. The song finishes. Everyone claps. The MAN
ventures out into the light and SIR JOHN springs from his
seat.

SIR JOHN
Brandon! Where have you been? Come,
come and meet our beautiful new
neighbours!

MRS JENNINGS
What a pity you are late, Colonel!
You have missed the most delightful
singing!

BRANDON bows to the company and smiles slightly.

COLONEL BRANDON
A great pity, indeed.

ELINOR looks at him, even more puzzled.

SIR JOHN
Mrs Dashwood, may I present my dear
friend Colonel Brandon? We served
together in the East Indies and I
assure you there is no better fellow
on earth--

MARGARET
Have you really been to the East
Indies, Colonel?

COLONEL BRANDON
I have.

MARGARET
What is it like?

MARGARET is quivering with fascination.

SIR JOHN
Like? Hot.

But COLONEL BRANDON knows what MARGARET wants to hear.

COLONEL BRANDON
(mysteriously)
The air is full of spices.

MARGARET smiles with satisfaction.

SIR JOHN
Come, Miss Dashwood--it is your turn
to entertain us!

ELINOR
Oh no, Sir John, I do not--

SIR JOHN
--and I think we can all guess what
key you will sing in!

SIR JOHN and MRS JENNINGS are bursting with their new joke.

SIR JOHN/MRS JENNINGS
F major!

They fall about.

INT. SIR JOHN'S CARRIAGE - NIGHT

The DASHWOODS are returning home. A row is in progress.

MARIANNE
(to Margaret)
As for you, you have no right, no
right at all, to parade your ignorant
assumptions--

MARGARET
They are not assumptions. You told
me.

ELINOR stares at MARIANNE. MARIANNE colours and attacks
MARGARET again.

MARIANNE
I told you nothing--

MARGARET
They'll meet him when he comes,
anyway.

MARIANNE
That is not the point. You do not
speak of such things before strangers--

MARGARET
But everyone else was--

MARIANNE
Mrs Jennings is not everyone.

MARGARET
I like her! She talks about things.
We never talk about things.

MRS DASHWOOD
Hush, please, now that is enough,
Margaret. If you cannot think of
anything appropriate to say, you
will please restrict your remarks to
the weather.

A heated pause.

MARGARET
I like Colonel Brandon too. He's
been to places.

EXT. POND NEAR BARTON PARK - DAY

In the background, SIR JOHN, ELINOR and MRS JENNINGS pack
the remains of a picnic into a basket. MRS DASHWOOD and
MARGARET examine a foxhole. In the foreground, MARIANNE is
cutting bulrushes for basketwork. Her knife is blunt and she
saws impatiently.

COLONEL BRANDON materialises at her side and wordlessly offers
her his hunting knife. Oddly nervous, MARIANNE takes it. She
turns back to the rushes and cuts them with ease. The
COLONEL's gaze follows her movements as if held by a magnet.

INT. KEEPER'S LODGE - BARTON PARK - DAY

SIR JOHN and BRANDON are cleaning their guns in companionable
silence--a habit left over from army days. SIR JOHN eyes
BRANDON roguishly.

SIR JOHN
You know what they're saying, of
course...

No answer.

SIR JOHN
The word is that you have developed
a taste for--certain company.

BRANDON stays resolutely silent. SIR JOHN is emboldened.

SIR JOHN
And why not, say I. A man like you--
in his prime--she'd be a most
fortunate young lady--

BRANDON cuts across him.

COLONEL BRANDON
Marianne Dashwood would no more think
of me than she would of you, John.

SIR JOHN
Brandon, my boy, do not think of
yourself so meanly--

COLONEL BRANDON
And all the better for her.

SIR JOHN subsides. BRANDON is clearly as angry with himself
as he is with SIR JOHN.

EXT. POND NEAR BARTON PARK - ANOTHER DAY

BRANDON strides along in hunting gear, a gun slung under one
arm, his dog trotting behind him with a duck clamped between
its jaws. The bulrushes catch his eye and he slows, then
stops. He stands for a moment deep in thought. Then he takes
his hunting knife, cuts one and walks off contemplatively.

EXT. BARTON PARK - GARDENS - DAY

An outdoor luncheon is in progress. COLONEL BRANDON is talking
to MRS DASHWOOD. Occasionally he looks over towards MARIANNE,
who is playing bilboquet with SIR JOHN and MARGARET. MRS
JENNINGS nudges ELINOR hard and gestures to BRANDON.

MRS JENNINGS
(stage whisper)
Besotted! Excellent match, for he is
rich and she is handsome.

ELINOR
How long have you known the Colonel?

MRS JENNINGS
Oh, Lord bless you, as long as ever
I have been here, and I came fifteen
years back. His estate at Delaford
is but four miles hence and he and
John are very thick. He has no wife
or children of his own, for--

MRS JENNINGS lowers her voice to a stentorian whisper.

MRS JENNINGS
--he has a tragic history. He loved
a girl once--twenty years ago now--a
ward to his family, but they were
not permitted to marry...

ELINOR is intrigued.

ELINOR
On what grounds?

MRS JENNINGS
Money. Eliza was poor. When the father
discovered their amour, she was flung
out of the house and he packed off
into the army. I believe he would
have done himself a harm if not for
John...

ELINOR
What became of the lady?

MRS JENNINGS
Oh, she was passed from man to man--
disappeared from all good society.
When Brandon got back from India he
searched for heaven knows how long,
only to find her dying in a poor
house. You have seen how it has
affected him. Once I thought my
daughter Charlotte might have cheered
him up, but she is much better off
where she is.

ELINOR is silent with amazement at this unexpected history.

MRS JENNINGS
Look at him now, though. So attentive.
I shall try an experiment on him.

ELINOR
Oh no, please, dear Mrs Jennings,
leave the poor Colonel alone.

MRS JENNINGS
No, no, it is just the thing--all
suitors need a little help, my dear

MRS JENNINGS winks at ELINOR and rubs her hands as though
about to perform a magic trick.

MRS JENNINGS
(trillingly)
Colonel Brandon!

BRANDON looks up.

MRS JENNINGS
We have not heard you play for us of
late!

COLONEL BRANDON
For the simple reason that you have
a far superior musician here.

He indicates MARIANNE, who smiles absently.

MRS JENNINGS
Perhaps you did not know, Miss
Marianne, that our dear Brandon shares
your passion for music and plays the
piano forte very well.

MARIANNE looks at BRANDON in some surprise.

MRS JENNINGS
Play us a duet!

BRANDON looks at MRS JENNINGS warningly but she ignores him.

MRS JENNINGS
I'll trow you know quite as many
melancholy tunes as Miss Marianne!

Her tone is so knowing that MARIANNE frowns uncomfortably.

MRS JENNINGS
Come! Let us see you both side by
side!

MARIANNE rises impatiently.

MARIANNE
I do not know any duets. Forgive me,
Colonel.

She moves away. MRS JENNINGS chuckles.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - LATE AFTERNOON

The DASHWOODS returning. MARIANNE is taking her bonnet off
so furiously that she simply gets the knot tighter and
tighter. Despite them selves, ELINOR and MRS DASHWOOD are
amused.

MARIANNE
Oh! Are we never to have a moment's
peace? The rent here may be low but
I think we have it on very hard terms.

ELINOR
Mrs Jennings is a wealthy woman with
a married daughter--she has nothing
to do but marry off everyone else's.

BETSY pokes her head out from the dining room.

BETSY
There's a parcel arrived for you,
Miss Dashwood!

MARGARET
A parcel!

They all crowd into the dining room to find a large package
on the table, which MARGARET is permitted to open. In the
meantime ELINOR comes to the rescue with the bonnet and
MARIANNE stands shifting like a spirited mare as ELINOR
patiently unravels the knot.

MARIANNE
It is too ridiculous! When is a man
to be safe from such wit if age and
infirmity do not protect him?

ELINOR
Infirmity!

MRS DASHWOOD
If Colonel Brandon is infirm, then I
am at death's door.

ELINOR
It is a miracle your life has extended
this far...

MARIANNE
Did you not hear him complain of a
rheumatism in his shoulder?

ELINOR
A slight ache' I believe was his
phrase...

MARIANNE smiles and ELINOR laughs at her. Then MARGARET opens
the parcel to reveal--her atlas. The atmosphere alters
immediately as MRS DASHWOOD and MARIANNE look at ELINOR in
consternation.

MARGARET
But Edward said he would bring it
himself.

There is a letter on top of the atlas. CLOSE on the address
'To the Dashwoods'. MRS DASHWOOD picks it up, looks at ELINOR,
and opens

MRS DASHWOOD
'Dear Mrs Dashwood, Miss Dashwood,
Miss Marianne and Captain Margaret--
it gives me great pleasure to restore
this atlas to its rightful owner.
Alas, business in London does not
permit me to accompany it, although
this is likely to hurt me far more
than it hurts you. For the present
my memories of your kindness must be
enough to sustain me, and I remain
your devoted servant always. E. C.
Ferrars.'

A silence greets this brief epistle. ELINOR struggles to
contain her bitter disappointment.

MARGARET
But why hasn't he come?

MRS DASHWOOD
He says he is busy, dear.

MARGARET
He said he'd come.

MARGARET is genuinely upset. ELINOR quietly hangs up
MARIANNE's bonnet.

MARGARET
Why hasn't he come?

MRS DASHWOOD looks beseechingly at MARIANNE, who nods and
grasps MARGARET's hand.

MARIANNE
I am taking you for a walk.

MARGARET
No! I've been a walk.

MARIANNE
You need another.

MARGARET
It is going to rain.

MARIANNE shoves her bonnet back on and drags MARGARET out.

MARIANNE
It is not going to rain.

MARGARET
You always say that and then it always
does.

We hear the front door slam behind them. There is a short
silence.

MRS DASHWOOD
I fear Mrs Jennings is a bad
influence.

She approaches ELINOR.

MRS DASHWOOD
You must miss him, Elinor.

ELINOR looks very directly at her mother.

ELINOR
We are not engaged, Mamma.

MRS DASHWOOD
But he loves you, dearest, of that I
am certain.

ELINOR looks down. She speaks slowly, choosing her words
with care.

ELINOR
I am by no means assured of his regard
for me.

MRS DASHWOOD
Oh, Elinor!

ELINOR
But even were he to feel such a...
preference, I think we should be
foolish to assume that there would
not be many obstacles to his choosing
a woman of no rank who cannot afford
to buy sugar...

MRS DASHWOOD
But Elinor--your heart must tell you--

ELINOR
In such a situation, Mamma, it is
perhaps better to use one's head.

She clears her throat, rises determinedly, picks up the
accounts book and opens it. MRS DASHWOOD is silenced.

EXT. FIELDS NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

MARIANNE walks very briskly, dragging an unwilling MARGARET
behind her.

EXT. DOWNS NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

It has started to rain. Mists are gathering around the two
figures walking against the wind.

MARIANNE
Is there any felicity in the world
superior to this?

MARGARET
I told you it would rain.

MARIANNE
Look! There is some blue sky! Let us
chase it!

MARGARET
I'm not supposed to run.

MARIANNE runs off down the hill into the heart of the mist.
MARGARET stumbles after her, grumbling. We follow MARIANNE
in her headlong descent and suddenly, dramatically, she trips
and sprawls to the ground, letting out a sharp cry of pain.

MARGARET
Marianne!

MARIANNE
Help me!

She tries to get up, but the pain in her ankle is too great.
She sinks back to the ground. MARGARET is very alarmed.

MARIANNE
Margaret, run home and fetch help.

The mists have thickened. They can no longer see where they
are. Despite her rising fear, MARGARET squares her shoulders
bravely and tries to sense the direction.

MARGARET
I think it is this way. I will run
as fast as I can, Marianne.

She dashes off. As she goes into the mist we hear the thunder
of hooves.

CU Margaret's terrified expression. They seem to be coming
from all around. She wheels and turns and then--Crash! Through
the mist breaks a huge white horse. Astride sits an Adonis
in hunting gear. MARGARET squeals. The horse rears. Its rider
controls it and slides off. He rushes to MARIANNE's side.

THE STRANGER
Are you hurt?

MARIANNE
(transfixed)
Only my ankle.

THE STRANGER
May I have your permission to--

He indicates her leg. Decorous, perhaps faintly impish.

THE STRANGER
--ascertain if there are any breaks?

MARIANNE nods speechlessly. With great delicacy, he feels
her ankle. MARGARET's eyes are out on chapel-hooks. MARIANNE
almost swoons with embarrassment and excitement mixed.

THE STRANGER
It is not broken. Now, can you put
your arm about my neck?

MARIANNE does not need any encouragement. He lifts her
effortlessly and calls to his horse: 'Bedivere!' It trots
obediently forward. The STRANGER smiles down at MARIANNE.

THE STRANGER
Allow me to escort you home.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - DINING ROOM - DAY

Rain is thudding against the window from which MRS DASHWOOD
turns, looking very worried.

MRS DASHWOOD
Marianne was sure it would not rain.

ELINOR
Which invariably means it will.

But we can see she is trying to conceal her anxiety from her
mother. There are noises in the hall.

MRS DASHWOOD
At last!

MARGARET runs into the room dripping wet.

MARGARET
She fell over! She fell down--and
he's carrying her!

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD and ELINOR rush to the front door. They see the
STRANGER carrying MARIANNE up the garden path, his scarlet
coat staining the monochrome rain.

MRS DASHWOOD
Marianne!

The STRANGER reaches the door. This is no time for
introductions.

ELINOR
In here, sir--this way. Margaret,
open the door wider. Please, sir,
lay her here. Marianne, are you in
pain?

They move into the parlour.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

MARIANNE is carried in, surrounded by ELINOR, MRS DASHWOOD
and MARGARET.

THE STRANGER
It is a twisted ankle.

MARIANNE
Do not be alarmed, Mamma.

The STRANGER deposits MARIANNE on the sofa. They look straight
into each other's eyes. Electric.

THE STRANGER
I can assure you it is not serious.
I took the liberty of feeling the
bone and it is perfectly sound.

ELINOR raises her eyebrows at MARIANNE, who blushes to her
roots.

MRS DASHWOOD
Sir, I cannot even begin to thank
you.

THE STRANGER
Please do not think of it. I'm
honoured of be of service.

MRS DASHWOOD
Will you not be seated?

THE STRANGER
Pray excuse me--I have no desire to
leave a water mark! But permit me to
call tomorrow afternoon and inquire
after the patient?

MRS DASHWOOD
We shall look forward to it!

He turns to MARIANNE and smiles. She smiles back gloriously.
He bows, and sweeps out of the room.

MARIANNE
(hissing)
His name! His name!

MRS DASHWOOD silences her with a gesture and follows him out
with all the solicitous charm she can command while MARGARET
pokes her head around the door to watch. ELINOR is removing
MARIANNE's boot and trying not to laugh at her.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD calls out after him.

MRS DASHWOOD
Please tell us to whom we are so
much obliged?

The STRANGER mounts Bedivere and turns to her.

THE STRANGER
John Willoughby of Allenham--your
servant, ma'am!

And he gallops off into the mist--we almost expect Bedivere
to sprout wings. CLOSE on MRS DASHWOOD's excited expression.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD runs back into the parlour, jittering with
excitement and anxiety.

MARIANNE
Mr John Willoughby of Allenham!

MRS DASHWOOD
What an impressive gentleman!

MARIANNE
He lifted me as if I weighed no more
than a dried leaf!

ELINOR
Is he human?

MARIANNE hits ELINOR. MRS DASHWOOD tends to her ankle.

MRS DASHWOOD
Tell me if I hurt you.

ELINOR
(regarding Marianne's
ecstatic expression)
She feels no pain, Mamma. Margaret,
ask Betsy to make up a cold compress,
please.

MARGARET
(leaving reluctantly)
Did you see him? He expressed himself
well, did he not?

MRS DASHWOOD
With great decorum and honour.

MARIANNE
And spirit and wit and feeling.

ELINOR
And economy--ten words at most.

From below stairs we can hear MARGARET wailing Wait for me!

MARIANNE
And he is to come tomorrow!

ELINOR
You must change, Marianne--you will
catch a cold.

MARIANNE
What care I for colds when there is
such a man?

ELINOR
You will care very much when your
nose swells up.

MARIANNE
You are right. Help me, Elinor.

MARGARET comes back with the bandages.

MARGARET
What has happened?

ELINOR
We have decided to give you to the
Gypsies.

ELINOR and MARIANNE go upstairs. MARGARET whispers to MRS
DASHWOOD.

MARGARET
Will they be married before Edward
and Elinor, do you think, Mamma?

MRS DASHWOOD
Margaret, you are worse than Mrs
Jennings.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - MORNING

The rain has cleared. SIR JOHN's horse munches grass
contentedly by the side of the road.

SIR JOHN (V.O.)
Mr Willoughby is well worth catching,
Miss Dashwood--Miss Marianne must
not expect to have all the men to
herself!

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - MORNING

The DASHWOODS are having a frustrating time winkling
information about WILLOUGHBY out of SIR JOHN, who is in turn
only anxious to protect BRANDON's interest. MARIANNE has her
bandaged foot up on the sofa and is fast losing patience.

MARIANNE
But what do you know of Mr Willoughby,
Sir John?

SIR JOHN
Decent shot--and there is not a bolder
rider in all England.

MARIANNE
But what is he like?

SIR JOHN
Like?

MARIANNE
What are his tastes? His passions?
His pursuits?

SIR JOHN
(mystified)
Well, he has the nicest little bitch
of a pointer--was she out with him
yesterday?

MARIANNE gives up. MRS DASHWOOD takes over.

MRS DASHWOOD
Where is Allenham, Sir John?

SIR JOHN
Nice little estate three miles east.
He is to inherit it from an elderly
relative--Lady Allen is her name.

Now they are getting somewhere. MARIANNE is about to ask
another question when they hear a horse galloping up. Everyone
is electrified. MARGARET runs to the window and turns back
in disappointment.

MARGARET
It is Colonel Brandon. I shall go
outside and keep watch.

MARGARET runs out of the room.

SIR JOHN
You are all on the lookout for
Willoughby, eh? Dear me, poor Brandon.
You will none of you think of him
now.

BRANDON is admitted by BETSY. He is carrying a large bunch
of hothouse flowers.

COLONEL BRANDON
How is the invalid?

He hands MARIANNE the flowers with a smile.

MARIANNE
Thank you so much, Colonel.

She rather absently hands the flowers to ELINOR, who goes
for a vase. SIR JOHN gestures at BRANDON with bluff
insensitivity.

SIR JOHN
Miss Marianne, I cannot see why you
should set your cap at Mr Willoughby
when you have already made such a
splendid conquest!

MARIANNE
I have no intention of 'setting my
cap' at anyone, Sir John!

COLONEL BRANDON
Mr Willoughby--Lady Allen's nephew?

BRANDON's light tone betrays no emotion. ELINOR comes back
in with the flowers and puts them on the table next to
MARIANNE.

SIR JOHN
Aye, he visits every year for he is
to inherit Allenham--and he has a
very pretty estate of his own, Miss
Dashwood, Combe Magna in Somerset.
If I were you, I would not give him
up to my younger sister in spite of
all this tumbling down hills.

Suddenly MARGARET runs in screaming 'Marianne's preserver!'
at the top of her voice. Everyone starts to move at once.
MARGARET is silenced. BRANDON looks at MARIANNE, whose
incandescent expression makes her feelings all too clear.

SIR JOHN
Here is the man himself. Come, Brandon--
we know when we are not wanted. Let
us leave him to the ladies!

ELINOR
Marianne! Sir John and the Colonel
are leaving.

MARIANNE looks up, suddenly self-conscious.

MARIANNE
Goodbye, Colonel. Thank you for the
flowers.

ELINOR sees them out. We hear WILLOUGHBY's voice outside.
CLOSE on MARIANNE's radiant anticipation.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

WILLOUGHBY is shaking hands with COLONEL BRANDON and SIR
JOHN.

WILLOUGHBY
How do you do, Colonel?

SIR JOHN
How does he do? How do you do, more
like. Go on in, they're waiting for
you!

BRANDON looks at WILLOUGHBY for a moment. He bows. WILLOUGHBY
bows. Then BRANDON and SIR JOHN exit.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

ELINOR leads in WILLOUGHBY. MRS DASHWOOD greets him with
outstretched arms.

MRS DASHWOOD
Mr Willoughby! What a pleasure to
see you again!

WILLOUGHBY
The pleasure is all mine, I can
asstire you. I trust Miss Marianne
has not caught cold?

MARIANNE
You have found out my name!

WILLOUGHBY
Of course. The neighbourhood is
crawling with my spies.

He suddenly produces a bunch of wild flowers from behind his
back and offers them to MARIANNE with a courtly, humorous
bow.

WILLOUGHBY
And since you cannot venture out to
nature, nature must be brought to
you!

MARIANNE
How beautiful. These are not from
the hothouse.

WILLOUGHBY sees BRANDON's flowers.

WILLOUGHBY
Ah! I see mine is not the first
offering, nor the most elegant. I am
afraid I obtained these from an
obliging field.

MARIANNE
But I have always preferred wild
flowers!

WILLOUGHBY
I suspected as much.

ELINOR takes the delicate flowers from WILLOUGHBY.

ELINOR
I will put these in water.

MRS DASHWOOD
Our gratitude, Mr Willoughby, is
beyond expression--

WILLOUGHBY
But it is I who am grateful. I have
often passed this cottage and grieved
for its lonely state--and then the
first news I had from Lady Allen
when I arrived was that it was taken.
I felt a peculiar interest in the
event which nothing can account for
but my present delight in meeting
you.

He is merry, spirited, voluble--a breath of fresh air. ELINOR
brings back WILLOUGHBY's flowers and places them next to
BRANDON's on the side table.

MRS DASHWOOD
Pray sit down, Mr Willoughby.

She indicates a chair but WILLOUGHBY sees a book lying on
MARIANNE's footstool, picks it up and--to her great delight--
sits down on the stool at her feet.

WILLOUGHBY
Who is reading Shakespeare's sonnets?

Everyone answers at once.

MARIANNE/ELINOR/MRS DASHWOOD
I am. / We all are. / Marianne.

MRS DASHWOOD
Marianne has been reading them out
to us.

WILLOUGHBY
Which are your favourites?

It is a general question but MARIANNE gaily commandeers it.

MARIANNE
Without a doubt, mine is 116.

WILLOUGHBY
Let me not to the marriage of true
minds Admit impediments. Love is not
love Which alters when it alteration
finds, Or bends with the remover to
remove--then how does it go?

MARIANNE
'0, no! it is an ever-fixed mark.'

WILLOUGHBY joins in the line halfway through and continues.
ELINOR and MRS DASHWOOD exchange glances. Clearly, their
contribution to this conversation will be minimal.

WILLOUGHBY
'That looks on storms'--or is it
tempests? Let me find it.

WILLOUGHBY gets out a tiny leatherbound book.

WILLOUGHBY
It is strange you should be reading
them--for, look, I carry this with
me always.

It is a miniature copy of the sonnets. MARIANNE is delighted,
and, mutually astonished at this piece of synchronicity,
they proceed to look up other favourites, chatting as though
they were already intimates.

MRS DASHWOOD smiles at ELINOR with satisfaction. ELINOR,
amused, picks up her sewing. MARGARET stares. WILLOUGHBY and
MARIANNE are oblivious to everything but each other.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN PATH - DAY

WILLOUGHBY is leaving. He has a flower from MARIANNE's bunch
in his buttonhole and is on his horse, looking about as virile
as his horse. Everyone has come out to say goodbye, MARIANNE
supported by ELINOR and MRS DASHWOOD.

WILLOUGHBY
Till tomorrow! And my pocket sonnets
are yours, Miss Marianne! A talisman
against further injury!

MARIANNE
Goodbye! Thank you!

He gallops off. They all wave. MARGARET follows him down the
road for a while.

ELINOR
Good work, Marianne! You have covered
all forms of poetry; another meeting
will ascertain his views on nature
and romantic attachments and then
you will have nothing left to talk
about and the acquaintanceship will
be over.

MARIANNE
I suppose I have erred against
decorum. I should have been dull and
spiritless and talked only of the
weather, or the state of the roads.

ELINOR
No, but Mr Willoughby can be in no
doubt of your enthusiasm for him.

MARIANNE
Why should he doubt it? Why should I
hide my regard?

ELINOR
No particular reason, Marianne, only
that we know so little of him--

MARIANNE
But time alone does not determine
intimacy. Seven years would be
insufficient to make some people
acquainted with each other and seven
days are more than enough for others.

ELINOR
Or seven hours in this case.

MARIANNE
I feel I know Mr Willoughby well
already. If I had weaker, more shallow
feelings perhaps I could conceal
them, as you do--

Then she realises what she's said.

MRS DASHWOOD
Marianne, that is not fair--

MARIANNE
I am sorry, Elinor, I did not mean

ELINOR
I know. Do not trouble yourself,
Marianne.

ELINOR turns back into the house.

MARIANNE
I do not understand her, Mamma. Why
does she never mention Edward? I
have never even seen her cry about
him, or about Norland.

MRS DASHWOOD
Nor I. But Elinor is not like you or
I, dear. She does not like to be
swayed by her emotions.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - DAY

CLOSE on Edward's handkerchief. We can see the monogram ECF
clearly.

CLOSE on ELINOR staring out of the window. Tears stand in
her eyes but she presses the handkerchief to them before
they fall.

INT. BARTON PARK - DRAWING ROOM - EVE

After dinner. Tea has been served. ELINOR, COLONEL BRANDON,
MRS DASHWOOD and MRS JENNINGS play at cards. In a far corner
of the room, MARIANNE is concentrating as she draws a
silhouette.

WILLOUGHBY's profile glows behind the screen in front of
her, She looks up and stops, gazing, bewitched, at his beauty.
The lips move--a whisper: Marianne. Then, louder: Haven't
you finished? He moves out from behind the screen, eyes full
of laughter. They look at each other.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

ELINOR and MRS DASHWOOD are at the accounts. WILLOUGHBY and
MARIANNE are on the other side of the room in the window
seat, whispering together. Clearly, he is already part of
the family.

MRS DASHWOOD
Surely you are not going to deny us
beef as well as sugar?

ELINOR
There is nothing under tenpence a
pound. We have to economise.

MRS DASHWOOD
Do you want us to starve?

ELINOR
No. Just not to eat beef.

MRS DASHWOOD is silenced but sighs crossly. ELINOR looks
over to the lovers and sees WILLOUGHBY in the act of cutting
off a lock of MARIANNE's hair, which he kisses and places in
his pocket-book. ELINOR is transfixed by this strangely erotic
moment. WILLOUGHBY senses her gaze and looks over. She snaps
her head back to her sums and is astonished to find that she
has written 'Edward' at the top of the sheet. Hastily she
rubs it out and writes 'Expenses'.

EXT. BARTON CHURCH. DAY.

MRS JENNINGS is talking to the elderly CURATE. Other
PARISHIONERS exit the church as WILLOUGHBY's curricle (the
eighteenth-century equivalent of a sports car) goes flying
by. MARIANNE sits by his side, the picture of happiness. MRS
JENNINGS nudges the CURATE and whispers. The PARISHIONERS
stare after them and comment to each other.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN PATH - DAY

MARIANNE and ELINOR are coming down the path together.
MARIANNE is dressed to go out. The argument has evidently
started indoors and is being continued here.

MARIANNE
If there was any true impropriety in
my behaviour, I should be sensible
of it, Elinor--

ELINOR
But as it has already exposed you to
some very impertinent remarks, do
you not begin to doubt your own
discretion?

MARIANNE
If the impertinent remarks of such
as Mrs Jennings are proof of
impropriety, then we are all offending
every moment of our lives--

The conversation is halted by the arrival of COLONEL BRANDON
on horseback.

COLONEL BRANDON
(dismounting)
Miss Dashwood! Miss Marianne!

ELINOR
Good morning, Colonel!

COLONEL BRANDON
I come to issue an invitation. A
picnic on my estate at Delaford--if
you would care to join us on Thursday
next. Mrs Jennings's daughter and
her husband are traveling up
especially.

ELINOR
Thank you, Colonel, we shall be
delighted.

At that moment, WILLOUGHBY's curricle hoves into view and
MARIANNE's face lights up.

COLONEL BRANDON
(to Marianne)
I will of course be including Mr
Willoughby in the party.

Even MARIANNE is a little embarrassed and recollects her
manners. She smiles kindly at BRANDON.

MARIANNE
I should be delighted to join you,
Colonel!

The COLONEL helps her into the curricle, exchanging nods
with WILLOUGHBY, who is regarding him with some suspicion.

WILLOUGHBY
Good morning, Miss Dashwood; good
morning, Colonel.

MARIANNE
The Colonel has invited us to
Delaford, Willoughby!

WILLOUGHBY
Excellent. I understand you have a
particularly fine pianoforte, Colonel.

The undercurrents of this conversation are decidedly tense.

COLONEL BRANDON
A Broadwood Grand.

MARIANNE
A Broadwood Grand! Then I shall really
be able to play for you!

WILLOUGHBY
We shall look forward to it!

MARIANNE smiles her perfect happiness at him and he whips up
the horses. They drive off, waving their farewells.

BRANDON looks after them for a silent moment, and then
collects himself and turns to ELINOR, who is less than
satisfied with their behaviour.

COLONEL BRANDON
Your sister seems very happy.

ELINOR
Yes. Marianne does not approve of
hiding her emotions. In fact, her
romantic prejudices have the
unfortunate tendency to set propriety
at naught.

COLONEL BRANDON
She is wholly unspoilt.

ELINOR
Rather too unspoilt, in my view. The
sooner she becomes acquainted with
the ways of the world, the better.

COLONEL BRANDON looks at her sharply and then speaks very
deliberately, as though controlling some powerful emotion.

COLONEL BRANDON
I knew a lady like your sister--the
same impulsive sweetness of temper--
who was forced into, as you put it,
a better acquaintance with the world.
The result was only ruination and
despair.

He stops, and briskly remounts his horse.

COLONEL BRANDON
Do not desire it, Miss Dashwood.

EXT. BARTON PARK - DRIVE - DAY

People and carriages fill the drive, the sun shines and the
atmosphere is pleasantly expectant. SIR JOHN is organising
the provision of blankets and parasols and COLONEL BRANDON
is busy furnishing the DRIVERS with their routes. There are
three new faces a pretty, blowsy WOMAN (CHARLOTTE PALMER), a
stony-faced MAN (MR PALMER) and an exceedingly good-looking
GIRL (LUCY STEELE), who are standing with ELINOR, MARIANNE,
MARGARET, MRS JENNINGS and MRS DASHWOOD.

MARIANNE is standing slightly apart, looking out along the
road, impatient for WILLOUGHBY.

MRS JENNINGS
Imagine my surprise, Mrs Dashwood,
when Charlotte and her lord and master
appeared with our cousin Lucy! The
last person I expected to see! 'Where
did you pop out from, Miss?' says I.
I was never so surprised to see anyone
in all my life!

LUCY STEELE smiles shyly and looks at the ground. MRS JENNINGS
continues sotto voce to MRS DASHWOOD.

MRS JENNINGS
She probably came on purpose to share
the fun, for there are no funds for
such luxuries at home, poor thing.

LUCY
I had not seen you for so long, dear
Mrs Jennings, I could not resist the
opportunity.

CHARLOTTE
Oh, you sly thing! It was the Misses
Dashwood she wanted to see, not
Delaford, Mamma! I have heard nothing
but 'Miss Dashwood this, Miss Dashwood
that' for I don't know how long! And
what do you think of them now you do
see them, Lucy? My mother has talked
of nothing else in her letters since
you came to Barton, Mrs Dashwood. Mr
Palmer--are they not the very
creatures she describes?

MR PALMER regards his wife with a less than enchanted
expression.

MR PALMER
Nothing like.

CHARLOTTE
(laughing gaily)
Why, Mr Palmer! Do you know you are
quite rude today? He is to be an MP,
you know, Mrs Dashwood, and it is
very fatiguing for him for he is
forced to make everybody like him--
he says it is quite shocking--

MRS PALMER
I never said anything so irrational.
Don't palm all your abuses of the
language upon me.

MRS JENNINGS
(to Mrs Dashwood)
Mr Palmer is so droll--he is always
out of humour.

MR PALMER does indeed have the air of a man under siege.
WILLOUGH BY suddenly appears in his curricle. MARIANNE waves
to him with a radiant smile. MRS JENNINGS nudges CHARLOTTE
and points to MARIANNE.

MRS JENNINGS
Here he is! Now you shall see,
Charlotte.

WILLOUGHBY drives up as close to MARIANNE as possible, making
her laugh.

MRS JENNINGS
How now, Mr Willoughby! You must
greet my daughter Charlotte, and Mr
Palmer--

WILLOUGHBY
How do you do?

MRS JENNINGS
And my little cousin, Miss Lucy
Steele.

WILLOUGHBY
Welcome to our party, Miss Steele!

LUCY bobs demurely. WILLOUGHBY inclines his head politely,
leaps from the curricle and hands MARIANNE in. MRS JENNINGS
coos and chuckles at them. CHARLOTTE nudges ELINOR.

CHARLOTTE
I know Mr Willoughby extremely well--
not that I ever spoke to him but I
have seen him forever in town. Your
sister is monstrous lucky to get
him. Mamma says Colonel Brandon is
in love with her as well, which is a
very great compliment for he hardly
ever falls in love with anyone.

ELINOR smiles politely. WILLOUGHBY moves the curricle out to
the front of the drive. CHARLOTTE points after them and laughs
with MRS JENNINGS. LUCY edges up beside ELINOR.

LUCY
May I beg a seat beside you, Miss
Dashwood? I have so longed to make
your better acquaintance! I have
heard nothing but the highest praise
for you.

ELINOR is relieved to change the subject.

ELINOR
I would be delighted. But Sir John
and Mrs Jennings are too excessive
in their compliments. I am sure to
disappoint.

LUCY
No, for it was from quite another
source that I heard you praised and
one not at all inclined to
exaggeration.

LUCY speaks in a knowing, confidential undertone, as though
not wanting anyone else to hear. At that moment a HORSEMAN
thunders up the drive towards them. Everyone turns to face
the new arrival.

SIR JOHN
What can this be?

It is a MESSENGER who has obviously had a long, hard ride.
He asks for COLONEL BRANDON and hands him a letter, which
BRANDON tears open. MRS JENNINGS is puce with suppressed
curiosity.

COLONEL BRANDON
My horse! Quickly!

SIR JOHN
What is the matter, Brandon?

COLONEL BRANDON
I must away to London.

SIR JOHN
No! Impossible!

Everyone gathers round BRANDON, who is, naturally, mortified.
A SERVANT brings up the COLONEL's horse.

COLONEL BRANDON
Imperative.

There is a murmur of disappointment from the party. SIR JOHN
is embarrassed and protests again.

SIR JOHN
But Brandon, we are all assembled.
We cannot picnic at Delaford without
our host! Go up to town tomorrow.

WILLOUGHBY
Or wait till we return and start
then--you would not be six hours
later.

COLONEL BRANDON
I cannot afford to lose one minute.

As he speaks, he is mounting his horse. His grave urgency
silences all protest and he gallops off, leaving everyone
stunned and, of course, deeply curious. Then they all start
to talk at once. LUCY is still next to ELINOR.

LUCY
Oh, Miss Dashwood, I cannot bear it!
Just when I was to have the
opportunity of speaking with you.

EXT. MEADOW NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

Having been denied their trip, the DASHWOODS and WILLOUGHBY
have set out an impromptu picnic. WILLOUGHBY is wandering
restlessly about.

The weather is sublime.

WILLOUGHBY
Frailty, thy name is Brandon!

MARIANNE
There are some people who cannot
bear a party of pleasure. I think he
wrote the letter himself as a trick
for getting out of it.

MRS DASHWOOD
(indulgently)
You are a very wicked pair, Colonel
Brandon will be sadly missed.

WILLOUGHBY
Why? When he is the kind of man that
everyone speaks well of and no one
wants to talk to.

MARIANNE
Exactly!

ELINOR
Nonsense.

MRS DASHWOOD
Colonel Brandon is very highly
esteemed at the Park.

WILLOUGHBY
Which is enough censure in itself.

ELINOR
(half laughing)
Really, Willoughby!

WILLOUGHBY
(imitating Mrs Jennings
perfectly)
Come, come, Mr Impudence--I know you
and your wicked ways--oh!

He gives a little shriek and waddles about the garden doing
her walk. He comes up to ELINOR and puts his head on her
shoulder.

WILLOUGHBY
Come, Miss Dashwood, reveal your
beau, reveal him, I say! Let's have
no secrets between friends! Let me
winkle them out of you!

ELINOR hits him on the nose with her teaspoon and he waddles
off to MARIANNE.

WILLOUGHBY
(as Mrs Jennings)
I declare, Miss Marianne, if I do
not have you married to the Colonel
by teatime, I shall swallow my own
bonnet.

MARIANNE laughs. WILLOUGHBY drops the parody suddenly.

WILLOUGHBY
As if you could marry such a
character.

ELINOR
Why should you dislike him?

There is indeed an edge to WILLOUGHBY's raillery. He flicks
ELINOR an almost alarmed glance and then sweeps MARIANNE to
her feet and starts to dance around the garden with her.

WILLOUGHBY
Because he has threatened me with
rain when I wanted it fine, he has
found fault with the balance of my
curricle and I cannot persuade him
to buy my brown mare. If it will be
of any satisfaction to you, however,
to be told I believe his character
to be in all other respects
irreproachable, I am ready to confess
it. And in return for an
acknowledgement that must give me
some pain.
(he is slowing down)
You cannot deny me the privilege...
(slower still)
of disliking him...
(and stopping)
as much as I adore...

He and MARIANNE are standing looking at each other. The
expression on WILLOUGHBY's face is heart-stopping. MARGARET
has stopped eating and is staring with her mouth open.

ELINOR glances at MRS DASHWOOD but she is gazing up at them
with almost as many stars in her eyes as MARIANNE.

Suddenly WILLOUGHBY breaks the mood by swinging away from
MARIANNE and gesturing to the house.

WILLOUGHBY
--this cottage!

The tension is broken. MARGARET starts to chew again.

MRS DASHWOOD
I have great plans for improvements
to it, you know, Mr Willoughby.

WILLOUGHBY
Now that I will never consent to.
Not a stone must be added to its
walls. Were I rich enough, I would
instantly pull down Combe Magna and
build it up again in the exact image
of that cottage!

ELINOR
With dark, narrow stairs, a poky
hall and a fire that smokes?

WILLOUGHBY
Especially the fire that smokes!
Then I might be as happy at Combe
Magna as I have been at Barton.

He looks at MARIANNE, who has gone to sit at her mother's
feet.

WILLOUGHBY
But this place has one claim on my
affection which no other can possibly
share.

MARIANNE is so irradiated with happiness that she looks like
an angel.

WILLOUGHBY
Promise me you will never change it.

MRS DASHWOOD
I do not have the heart.

ELINOR
Or the money.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN PATH AND GATE - DUSK

MARIANNE is seeing WILLOUGHBY off.

WILLOUGHBY
Miss Marianne, will you--will you do
me the honour of granting me an
interview tomorrow--alone?

MARIANNE
Willoughby, we are always alone!

WILLOUGHBY
But there is something very particular
I should like to ask you.

There is something about his formal tone that makes her feel
shy.

MARIANNE
Of course. I shall ask Mamma if I
may stay behind from church.

WILLOUGHBY
Thank you. Until tomorrow then--Miss
Marianne.

He mounts Bedivere and leaves. MARIANNE looks after him, her
eyes shining. He is coming to propose.

EXT. LONDON TENEMENTS - NIGHT

A district of extreme poverty, populated by the LOWLIFE of
LONDON: FOOTPADS, dogs, rats and SCAVENGERS of all kinds. In
the distance a tavern belches forth drunken REVELLERS who
sway and reel into the night.

A hooded HORSEMAN pulls up his exhausted steed at the entrance
to a slum. He dismounts and looks up at one of the windows.
The rags hanging there twitch as if someone is watching for
him. He strides inside.

INT. TENEMENT STAIRS - NIGHT

Stepping over a supine BEGGAR at the foot of the stairs, the
HORSEMAN flings back his hood--it is BRANDON, hollow-eyed
and dropping with weariness. We follow him up the stairs to
a door which is opened by an OLDER WOMAN.

INT. TENEMENT ROOM - NIGHT

He enters a bare room partitioned with filthy rags hung from
the ceiling and lit with stinking tallow lamps. At the window
stands the slight figure of a VERY YOUNG WOMAN. She turns.
BRANDON reacts with a tender smile which stiffens into an
expression of deep shock. We see her silhouette. She is
heavily pregnant. She bursts into tears and runs into his
arms.

INT. BARTON CHURCH - DAY

Amongst the small CONGREGATION listening to the sermon drone
on, we see the excited faces of ELINOR, MARGARET and MRS
DASHWOOD.

MARGARET
Do you think he will kneel down when
he asks her?

ELINOR
Shhh!

MARGARET
(with satisfaction)
They always kneel down.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN PATH - DAY

The DASHWOODS return from church to find THOMAS grooming
Bedivere at the garden gate. Their excitement mounts.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

They all enter the cottage, talking nonsense loudly in order
to signal their presence. MARGARET giggles. Suddenly, MARIANNE
bursts out of the parlour sobbing, and disappears into the
room opposite. ELINOR and MARGARET stand by the door in utter
consternation, while MRS DASH- WOOD goes to MARIANNE.

MRS DASHWOOD
What is wrong, my dearest?

MARIANNE shakes her head and waves them away.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

ELINOR, MARGARET and MRS DASHWOOD enter to find WILLOUGHBY
standing in a frozen attitude by the fireplace.

MRS DASHWOOD
Willoughby! What is the matter?

WILLOUGHBY
I--forgive me, Mrs Dashwood. I am
sent--that is to say, Lady Allen has
exercised the privilege of riches
upon a dependent cousin and is sending
me to London.

He cannot look any of them in the eye.

MRS DASHWOOD
When--this morning?

WILLOUGHBY
Almost this moment.

MRS DASHWOOD
How very disappointing! But your
business will not detain you from us
for long, I hope?

WILLOUGHBY
You are very kind--but I have no
idea of returning immediately to
Devonshire. I am seldom invited to
Allenham more than once a year.

MRS DASHWOOD
For shame, Willoughby! Can you wait
for an invitation from Barton Cottage?

WILLOUGHBY
My engagements at present are of
such a nature--that is--I dare not
flatter myself--

The atmosphere is thick with tension. WILLOUGHBY flicks a
glance at the three WOMEN staring at him in mute astonishment.

WILLOUGHBY
It is folly to linger in this manner.
I will not torment myself further.

He rushes past them and out of the cottage. They follow him
to the door.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

The DASHWOODS cluster round the door.

MARGARET
Willoughby, come back!

She is silenced by ELINOR as WILLOUGHBY seizes Bedivere's
reins from THOMAS, mounts up and rides off at a furious pace.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

They all rush back into the parlour.

ELINOR
Meg, dearest, please ask Betsy to
make a cup of hot tea for Marianne.

MARGARET nods dumbly and goes. MRS DASHWOOD has her arms
around MARIANNE.

MRS DASHWOOD
What is wrong, my love?

MARIANNE
Nothing! Please do not ask me
questions!

MARIANNE struggles free.

MARIANNE
Please let me be!

She runs off upstairs and we hear her bedroom door slamming.
There is a moment of stunned silence.

ELINOR
They must have quarreled.

MRS DASHWOOD
That is unlikely. Perhaps this--Lady
Allen--disapproves of his regard for
Marianne and has invented an excuse
to send him away?

ELINOR
Then why did he not say as much? It
is not like Willoughby to be
secretive. Did he think Marianne was
richer than she is?

MRS DASHWOOD
How could he?

She gestures to the room and then looks at ELINOR with a
frown.

MRS DASHWOOD
What is it you suspect him of?

ELINOR
I can hardly tell you. But why was
his manner so guilty?

MRS DASHWOOD
What are you saying, Elinor? That he
has been acting a part to your sister
for all this time?

MRS DASHWOOD is getting defensive. ELINOR pauses to think.

ELINOR
No, he loves her, I am sure.

MRS DASHWOOD
Of course he loves her!

ELINOR
But has he left her with any assurance
of his return? Cannot you ask her if
he has proposed?

MRS DASHWOOD
Certainly not. I cannot force a
confidence from Marianne and nor
must you. We must trust her to confide
in us in her own time.

ELINOR
(shaking her head)
There was something so underhand in
the manner of his leaving.

MRS DASHWOOD
You are resolved, then, to think the
worst of him.

ELINOR
Not resolved--

MRS DASHWOOD
(cold)
I prefer to give him the benefit of
my good opinion. He deserves no less.
From all of us.

She stalks out of the room and starts up the stairs. ELINOR
follows her.

ELINOR
Mamma, I am very fond of Willoughby--

MRS DASHWOOD goes into her bedroom and shuts the door. ELINOR
is halfway up the stairs. She meets a wet-eyed MARGARET coming
down with a cup of tea.

MARGARET
She would not let me in.

ELINOR takes the cup and MARGARET runs out into the garden
in tears.

The sound of sobbing also comes from MARIANNE's room, and
now from MRS DASHWOOD's as well. ELINOR sits down helplessly
on the stairs and drinks the tea.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - RAIN - DAY

The rain has settled in. The cottage looks cold and bleak.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - UPSTAIRS CORRIDOR - DAY

BETSY carries another uneaten meal from MARIANNE's room. She
looks at the food and tuts in anxiety.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - DAY

MARIANNE is sitting by the window looking out at the rain
through tear-swollen eyes. WILLOUGHBY's sonnets are on her
lap.

MARIANNE
How like a winter hath my absence
been from thee, the pleasure of the
fleeting year! What freezings have I
felt, what dark days seen! What old
December's bareness everywhere!

EXT. BARTON PARK - RAIN - EVE

Smoke issues from every chimney in the place.

INT. BARTON PARK - DRAWING ROOM - EVE

Dinner is over. MARIANNE sits listlessly by the window. MR
PALMER is hiding behind a newspaper. SIR JOHN and MARGARET
are looking at a map and discussing routes through China.
LUCY, CHARLOTTE, MRS DASHWOOD and MRS JENNINGS are at cards.
ELINOR is reading.

CHARLOTTE
Oh! If only this rain would stop!

MR PALMER
(from behind the paper)
If only you would stop.

MRS JENNINGS and CHARLOTTE laugh at him.

MRS JENNINGS
'Twas you took her off my hands, Mr
Palmer, and a very good bargain you
made of it too, but now I have the
whip hand over you for you cannot
give her back!

The heavy silence behind the paper attests to the unhappy
truth of this statement.

MRS JENNINGS
Miss Marianne, come and play a round
with us! Looking out at the weather
will not bring him back.

CHARLOTTE
(sotto voce)
She ate nothing at dinner.

MRS JENNINGS
Mind, we are all a little forlorn
these days. London has swallowed all
our company.

CHARLOTTE and MRS JENNINGS start to gossip about the
disappearances of BRANDON and WILLOUGHBY. LUCY walks over
and sits by ELINOR, who politely puts aside the book.

LUCY
(low)
Dear Miss Dashwood, perhaps now we
might have our--discussion.

ELINOR
Our discussion?

LUCY looks around at MRS JENNINGS and lowers her voice still
further, so that ELINOR is obliged to move her chair nearer.

LUCY
There is a particular question I
have long wanted to ask you, but
perhaps you will think me impertinent?

ELINOR
I cannot imagine so.

LUCY
But it is an odd question. Forgive
me, I have no wish to trouble you--

She looks away coyly as if deciding whether to speak.

ELINOR
My dear Miss Steele--

CHARLOTTE
(interrupting)
Miss Dashwood, if only Mr Willoughby
had gone home to Combe Magna, we
could have taken Miss Marianne to
see him! For we live but half a mile
away.

MR PALMER
Five and a half.

CHARLOTTE
No, I cannot believe it is that far,
for you can see the place from the
top of our hill. Is it really five
and a half miles? No! I cannot believe
it.

MR PALMER
Try.

ELINOR
You have my permission to ask any
manner of question, if that is of
any help.

LUCY
Thank you. I wonder, are you at all
acquainted with your sister-in-law's
mother? Mrs Ferrars?

ELINOR sits back in deep surprise.

ELINOR
With Fanny's mother? No, I have never
met her.

LUCY
I am sure you think me strange for
inquiring--if I dared tell--

MRS JENNINGS
(shouting over)
If she tells you aught of the famous
'Mr F', Lucy, you are to pass it on.

ELINOR tries to ignore MRS JENNINGS, who is keeping a curious
eye on them.

LUCY
Will you take a turn with me, Miss
Dashwood?

LUCY rises and takes ELINOR's arm. She guides her as far
away as possible from MRS JENNINGS and CHARLOTTE.

ELINOR
I had no idea at all that you were
connected with that family.

LUCY
Oh! I am certainly nothing to Mrs
Ferrars at present--but the time may
come when we may be very intimately
connected.

ELINOR
(low)
What do you mean? Do you have an
understanding with Fanny's brother
Robert?

LUCY
The youngest? No, I never saw him in
my life. No, with Edward.

ELINOR
Edward?

ELINOR stops walking.

ELINOR
Edward Ferrars?

LUCY nods.

LUCY
Edward and I have been secretly
engaged these five years.

ELINOR is frozen to the spot.

LUCY
You may well be surprised. I should
never have mentioned it, had I not
known I could entirely trust you to
keep our secret. Edward cannot mind
me telling you for he looks on you
quite as his own sister.

ELINOR walks on mechanically. Disbelief has set in.

ELINOR
I am sorry, but we surely--we cannot
mean the same Mr Ferrars?

LUCY
The very same--he was four years
under the tutelage of my uncle Mr
Pratt, down in Plymouth. Has he never
spoken of it?

ELINOR
(awareness dawning)
Mr Pratt! Yes, I believe he has.

LUCY
I was very unwilling to enter into
it without his mother's approval but
we loved each other with too great a
passion for prudence. Though you do
nor know him so well as I, Miss
Dashwood, you must have seen how
capable he is of making a woman
sincerely attached to him. I cannot
pretend it has not been very hard on
us both. We can hardly meet above
twice a year.

She sniffs and produces a large handkerchief which she holds
to her eyes so that the monogram is clearly visible. ECF.

ELINOR, seeing the copy of the handkerchief she has held so
dear, moves quickly to a chair and sits down.

LUCY
You seem out of sorts, Miss Dashwood--
are you quite well?

ELINOR
Perfectly well, thank you.

LUCY
I have not offended you?

ELINOR
On the contrary.

MRS JENNINGS has been watching. Now she rises, unable to
contain herself.

MRS JENNINGS
I can stand it no longer, I must
know what you are saying, Lucy! Miss
Dashwood is quite engrossed!

MRS JENNINGS starts to bear down on them. LUCY whispers with
real urgency.

LUCY
Oh, Miss Dashwood, if anyone finds
out, it will ruin him--you must not
tell a soul! Edward says you would
not break your word to save your
life! Promise me!

ECU on ELINOR's face.

ELINOR
I give you my word.

MRS JENNINGS looms over them.

MRS JENNINGS
Well, what can have fascinated you
to such an extent, Miss Dashwood?

CHARLOTTE
Tell us all!

ELINOR cannot speak but LUCY glides smoothly in.

LUCY
We were talking of London, ma'am,
and all its--diversions.

MRS JENNINGS
Do you hear, Charlotte?

MRS JENNINGS claps her hands delightedly.

MRS JENNINGS
While you were so busy whispering,
Charlotte and I have concocted a
plan!

CHARLOTTE
It is the best plan in the world.

MRS JENNINGS
I make for London shortly and I invite
you, Lucy, and both the Misses
Dashwood to join me!

ELINOR cannot hide her dismay. MARIANNE springs from her
seat.

MARIANNE
London!

MARGARET
Oh, can I go! Can I go?

MRS DASHWOOD
You know perfectly well you are too
young, dearest.

MRS JENNINGS
I shall convey you all to my house
in Berkeley Street and we shall taste
all the delights of the season--what
say you?

MARGARET
Oh, please can I go? I'm twelve soon.

CHARLOTTE
Mr Palmer, do you not long to have
the Misses Dashwood come to London?

MR PALMER
I came into Devonshire with no other
view.

ELINOR exerts herself.

ELINOR
Mrs Jennings, you are very kind, but
we cannot possibly leave our mother...

LUCY's calculating eyes turn to MRS DASHWOOD with alacrity.

LUCY
Indeed, the loss would be too great.

A chorus of objections goes up, particularly from MRS
DASHWOOD, who is both delighted and relieved to see MARIANNE
with a smile on her face.

MRS JENNINGS
Your mother can spare you very well.

MRS DASHWOOD
Of course I can!

CHARLOTTE
Of course she can!

SIR JOHN
And look at Miss Marianne--it would
break her heart to deny her!

MRS JENNINGS
I will brook no refusal, Miss
Dashwood!

MARIANNE claps her hands, her eyes ablaze with joy. MRS
JENNINGS takes ELINOR's hand.

MRS JENNINGS
Let you and me strike hands upon the
bargain--and if I do not have the
three of you married by Christmas,
it will not be my fault!

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - ELINOR/MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

We are in ELINOR and MARIANNE's bedroom. ELINOR is in bed.
She is lying on her side with her back to MARIANNE. We are
CLOSE on her face. MARIANNE is running around excitedly,
pulling out ribbons, looking at dresses, etc.

MARIANNE
I was never so grateful in all my
life as I am to Mrs Jennings. What a
kind woman she is! I like her more
than I can say. Oh, Elinor! I shall
see Willoughby. Think how surprised
he will be! And you will see Edward!

ELINOR cannot reply.

MARIANNE
Are you asleep?

ELINOR
With you in the room?

MARIANNE laughs.

MARIANNE
I do not believe you feel as calm as
you look, not even you, Elinor. I
will never sleep tonight! Oh, what
were you and Miss Steele whispering
about so long?

CLOSE on ELINOR's expression as she struggles with the
impossibility of unburdening herself to her sister without
breaking her promise to LUCY. After a pause--

ELINOR
Nothing of significance.

MARIANNE looks at ELINOR curiously, then returns to her
packing.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN GATE - DAY

MRS DASHWOOD and MARGARET are waving MRS JENNINGS's carriage
off. MARIANNE waves back with such exuberance that she
practically falls out.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S CARRIAGE - ROAD TO LONDON - DAY

MRS JENNINGS is chattering about London to MARIANNE, who
listens with new-found tolerance. LUCY is whispering into
ELINOR's ear.

LUCY
I have written to Edward, Miss
Dashwood, and yet I do not know how
much I may see of him. Secrecy is
vital--he will never be able to call.

ELINOR
I should imagine not.

LUCY
It is so hard. I believe my only
comfort has been the constancy of
his affection.

ELINOR
You are fortunate, over such a lengthy
engagement, never to have had any
doubts on that score.

LUCY looks at ELINOR sharply, but ELINOR is impassive.

LUCY
Oh! I am of rather a jealous nature
and if he had talked more of one
young lady than any other... but he
has never given a moment's alarm on
that count.

We can see from ELINOR's expression that she understands
LUCY perfectly. The strain around her eyes is pronounced.

LUCY
Imagine how glad he will be to learn
that we are friends!

EXT. LONDON STREET - DAY

MRS JENNINGS's carriage trundles along.

EXT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - LONDON - DAY

Establishing shot of a handsome town house. MRS JENNINGS's
carriage comes into shot and stops in front of it.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - HALL - DAY

They enter the grand hallway under the supercilious gaze of
a powdered FOOTMAN (MR PIGEON). ELINOR is haggard after two
days of close proximity with LUCY. MRS JENNINGS is all
officious bustle and MARIANNE is feverish with anticipation.
She whispers to MRS JENNINGS, who laughs heartily.

MRS JENNINGS
To be sure, my dear, you must just
hand it to Pigeon there. He will
take care of it.

MARIANNE hands a letter to the sphinx-like FOOTMAN. We can
see a large W in the address. ELINOR looks at MARIANNE
inquiringly but MARIANNE moves away from her.

MRS JENNINGS
Lord above, you do not waste any
time, Miss Marianne!

MARIANNE glances self-consciously at ELINOR and follows MRS
JENNINGS upstairs. LUCY goes up to ELINOR and whispers.

LUCY
A letter! So they are definitely
engaged! Mrs Jennings says your sister
will buy her wedding clothes here in
town.

ELINOR
Indeed Miss Steele, I know of no
such plan.

But ELINOR does not know what else to say. She marches firmly
upstairs.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

MARIANNE and ELINOR have changed from their traveling clothes
and are having a cup of tea. At least, ELINOR is. MARIANNE
is pacing up and down in front of the window.

ELINOR
John and Fanny are in town. I think
we shall be forced to see them.

There is a faint knocking from somewhere. MARIANNE jumps.

ELINOR
I think it was for next door.

MARIANNE looks out of the window.

MARIANNE
Yes, you are right.

She sits down with a rueful smile. Suddenly a much louder
rap is heard and they both jump. We hear a bustling
downstairs. MARIANNE can hardly breathe. She goes to the
drawing-room door, opens it, goes out, comes back in. We
hear a MAN's voice.

MARIANNE
Oh, Elinor! It is Willoughby, indeed
it is!

She turns and almost throws herself into the arms of COLONEL
BRANDON.

MARIANNE
Oh! Excuse me, Colonel--

She leaves the room hastily. ELINOR is so ashamed of
MARIANNE's rudeness that she does not at first notice
BRANDON's mood of tense distress.

ELINOR
Colonel Brandon, what a pleasure to
see you! Have you been in London all
this while?

COLONEL BRANDON
I have. How is your dear mother?

ELINOR
Very well, thank you.

Silence.

ELINOR
Colonel, is there anything--

But BRANDON interrupts her.

COLONEL BRANDON
Forgive me, Miss Dashwood, but I
have heard reports through town...
is it impossible to--but I could
have no chance of succeeding--indeed
I hardly know what to do. Tell me
once and for all, is everything
finally resolved between your sister
and Mr Willoughby?

ELINOR is torn between discomfiture and compassion.

ELINOR
Colonel, though neither one has
informed me of their under standing,
I have no doubt of their mutual
affection.

BRANDON stands very still.

COLONEL BRANDON
Thank you, Miss Dashwood. To your
sister I wish all imaginable
happiness. To Mr Willoughby, that
he... may endeavour to deserve her.

His tone is heavy with some bitter meaning.

ELINOR
What do you mean?

But he recollects himself.

COLONEL BRANDON
Forgive me, I--forgive me.

He bows and leaves abruptly. ELINOR is deeply troubled.

EXT. GREENWICH ARCADE - LONDON - DAY

The PALMERS, MRS JENNINGS, JOHN, FANNY, LUCY, ELINOR and
MARIANNE are walking through the arcade. Additional wealth
has evidently encouraged FANNY sartorially and she sprouts
as much fruit and feathers as a market stall. LUCY is holding
ELINOR's arm in a pinionlike grip. MRS JENNINGS is gossiping
with CHARLOTTE.

MARIANNE's good looks are heightened by her feverish
expectation of seeing WILLOUGHBY at every step, and many
young men raise their hats to her and turn as she passes.

MARIANNE
Where is dear Edward, John? We expect
to see him daily.

FANNY stiffens. LUCY's sharp eyes dart hither and thither.
MRS JENNINGS senses gossip. ELINOR steels herself.

MRS JENNINGS
And who is 'dear Edward'?

CHARLOTTE
Who indeed?

FANNY smiles glacially.

FANNY
My brother, Mrs Jennings--Edward
Ferrars.

MRS JENNINGS looks at ELINOR in sly triumph.

MRS JENNINGS
Indeed! Is that Ferrars with an F?

She and CHARLOTTE chuckle to each other. LUCY looks at ELINOR.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - HALL - EVE

MRS JENNINGS, LUCY, ELINOR and MARIANNE return from their
outing. MARIANNE immediately assails PIGEON.

MARIANNE
Are there any messages, Pigeon?

PIGEON
No, ma'am.

MARIANNE
No message at all? No cards?

PIGEON
(affronted)
None, ma am.

MARIANNE sighs with disappointment and starts up the stairs.
MRS JENNINGS looks archly at ELINOR.

MRS JENNINGS
I note you do not inquire for your
messages, Miss Dashwood!

ELINOR
No, for I do not expect any, Mrs
Jennings. I have very little
acquaintance in town.

And she follows MARIANNE firmly upstairs. LUCY watches her
go, and MRS JENNINGS chuckles and turns to her.

MRS JENNINGS
She is as sly as you, Lucy!

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

ELINOR wakes up. The flickering of a candle has disturbed
her. She sits up in bed and sees MARIANNE sitting at the
desk in her nightgown, writing another letter.

ELINOR
Marianne, is anything wrong?

MARIANNE
Nothing at all. Go back to sleep.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - MORNING ROOM - NIGHT

MARIANNE, in her nightclothes and dressing gown, paces
restlessly, her letter in her hands. A slight knock at the
door heralds a much-ruffled PIGEON, wig askew. MARIANNE hands
him the letter. He bows and goes, highly disgruntled.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - HALL - MORNING

MRS JENNINGS is giving PIGEON his instructions for the day.
MARIANNE comes running downstairs. PIGEON regards her drily.

PIGEON
No messages, ma am.

MARIANNE looks so dejected that MRS JENNINGS takes her hand.

MRS JENNINGS
Do not fret, my dear. I am told that
this good weather is keeping many
sportsmen in the country at present,
but the frost will drive them back
to town very soon, depend upon it.

MARIANNE brightens.

MARIANNE
Of course! I had not thought of--
thank you, Mrs Jennings!

She runs back upstairs. MRS JENNINGS calls after her.

MRS JENNINGS
And Miss Dashwood may set her heart
at rest, for I overheard your sister-
in-law say that she was to bring the
elusive Mr F to the ball tonight!

EXT. GRAND CRESCENT LEADING TO BALLROOM ENTRANCE - NIGHT

So many carriages have entered the crescent to deliver the
GUESTS that gridlock has occurred and people are forced to
walk to the entrance. We see MRS JENNINGS, MARIANNE, ELINOR
and LUCY alighting from their carriage and picking their way
through the mud, their skirts raised above their ankles.
ELINOR nearly trips and is obliged to grab onto LUCY in order
not to slip into the dirt.

INT. GRAND BALLROOM - EVE

The great ballroom is crammed with GUESTS all determined to
enjoy themselves despite the considerable inconveniences
caused by noise, heat and overcrowding. MEN are sweating
profusely, WOMEN dab their brows, rack punch is being
swallowed by the gallon, flirting is conducted at fever pitch
and all conversation is inordinately loud. Only the DANCERS
have a modicum of space in which to perform their mincing
steps. MRS JENNINGS and her brood bump into the PALMERS.

CHARLOTTE
(screeching)
This is very merry!

MRS JENNINGS then spots FANNY, who is conducting a desultory
conversation with an overpowdered ACQUAINTANCE. She drags
ELINOR, MARIANNE and LUCY over to her.

MRS JENNINGS
There you are! Goodness, how hot it
is, Mrs Dashwood. You are not alone,
I trust?

FANNY
Indeed not. John is just gone to
fetch my brother--he has been eating
ices.

LUCY clutches at ELINOR's sleeve.

MRS JENNINGS
Your brother! I declare, that is
good news indeed. At long last!

And she beams her approval upon ELINOR.

LUCY
(whispering)
Miss Dashwood, I declare I shall
faint clean away.

FANNY has seen JOHN threading his way towards them and waves
at him. There is someone behind him. LUCY preens. JOHN bows
to them.

JOHN
Mrs Jennings, may I present my brother-
in-law?

He turns to reveal a good-looking young MAN with a vacuous
smile.

JOHN
Mr Robert Ferrars!

ROBERT
My dear ladies--we meet at last!

There is a general bowing and shaking of hands. ELINOR is
relieved. LUCY drops a low curtsy.

MRS JENNINGS
So you must be the younger brother?
Is Mr Edward not here? Miss Dashwood
here was counting on him!

ROBERT looks ELINOR up and down. He exchanges glances with
FANNY before he speaks.

ROBERT
Oh! He is far too busy for such
gatherings--and has no special
acquaintance here to make his
attendance worthwhile.

MRS JENNINGS looks at ELINOR in puzzlement.

MRS JENNINGS
Well, I declare, I do not know what
the young men are about these days--
are they all in hiding?

ELINOR looks down, agonised with embarrassment.

MRS JENNINGS
Come, Mr Robert, in the absence of
your brother, you must dance with
our lovely Miss Dashwood!

ROBERT
(not best pleased)
It would be my honour.

He turns to LUCY and bows.

ROBERT
And perhaps Miss Steele might consider
reserving the allemande?

LUCY curtsies again. ROBERT escorts a most unwilling ELINOR
onto the dance floor.

ROBERT
You reside in Devonshire, I b'lieve,
Miss Dashwood?

ELINOR
We do.

ROBERT
In a cottage?

ELINOR
Yes.

ROBERT
I am excessively fond of a cottage.
If I had any money to spare, I should
build one myself.

Luckily for ELINOR the set changes and she is obliged to
turn away from ROBERT. She wheels round to face her new
partner. It is WILLOUGHBY! They both stop dancing and stare
at each other aghast. A traffic jam starts and they are forced
to take hands and resume the steps.

WILLOUGHBY
(stiff)
How do you do, Miss Dashwood?

ELINOR does not know quite how to respond.

ELINOR
I am well, thank you, Mr Willoughby.

She looks about for MARIANNE, instinctively wanting to keep
her away from WILLOUGHBY.

WILLOUGHBY
How is your--family?

ELINOR
(cold)
We are all extremely well, Mr
Willoughby--thank you for your kind
inquiry.

WILLOUGHBY is shamed into silence. Then he sees MARIANNE. At
the same moment the music pauses. MARIANNE looks up. In the
brief moment of relative quiet, her great cry rings across
the room.

MARIANNE
Willoughby!

Everyone turns to look as MARIANNE rushes towards him with
both arms outstretched, her face luminous with joy. As the
noise of the room builds again and PEOPLE change their
partners, we are aware that many are surreptitiously watching.
MARIANNE reaches him but WILLOUGHBY stands with his arms
frozen at his side. MARIANNE gives a little confused laugh.

MARIANNE
Good God, Willoughby! Will you nor
shake hands with me?

WILLOUGHBY looks extremely uncomfortable and glances towards
a group of very smart PEOPLE who are watching him closely.
Central to this group is a SOPHISTICATED WOMAN who frowns at
him proprietorially.

WILLOUGHBY shakes MARIANNE's hand briefly. Behind her, MRS
JENNINGS is giving an animated commentary to FANNY and JOHN,
while LUCY whispers in ROBERT's ear as they go past to join
the set.

WILLOUGHBY
(strangled)
How do you do, Miss Marianne?

MARIANNE
Willoughby, what is the matter? Why
have you not come to see me? Were
you not in London? Have you nor
received my letters?

WILLOUGHBY is sweating with tension.

WILLOUGHBY
Yes, I had the pleasure of receiving
the information which you were so
good as to send me.

MARIANNE
(piteously)
For heaven's sake, Willoughby, tell
me what is wrong!

WILLOUGHBY
Thank you--I am most obliged. If you
will excuse me, I must return to my
party.

He bows, white to the teeth, and walks away to join the
SOPHISTICATED WOMAN.

MARIANNE
Willoughby!

He is drawn away by his PARTY, some of whom look back at
MARIANNE with a mixture of curiosity and condescension.
MARIANNE almost sinks to her knees. ELINOR supports her.

ELINOR
Marianne! Come away!

MARIANNE
Go to him, Elinor--force him to come
to me.

MRS JENNINGS has come up, full of concern.

ELINOR
Dearest, do not betray what you feel
to everyone present! This is not the
place for explanations--

MRS JENNINGS
Come along, dear.

They almost have to drag MARIANNE away. MRS JENNINGS turns
back to the DASHWOOD party. FANNY and JOHN have practically
imploded with embarrassment and are distancing themselves as
much as possible from the source. LUCY and ROBERT are dancing
nearby.

MRS JENNINGS
Will you come, Lucy?

LUCY
Oh, are we leaving so soon?

ROBERT
If I might be so bold, Mrs Jennings,
it would be our pleasure to escort
your young charge home.

LUCY
How very kind!

MRS JENNINGS
That is very handsome--

She rushes off to follow MARIANNE and ELINOR. We stay for a
moment with LUCY and ROBERT who have left the set.

ROBERT
She actually sent him messages during
the night?

CAM rises to show the DASHWOODS exiting past the whispering,
sneering faces of the CROWD.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

MARIANNE sits scribbling a letter at the desk.

ELINOR
Marianne, please tell me--

MARIANNE
Do not ask me questions!

ELINOR
You have no confidence in me.

MARIANNE
This reproach from you! You, who
confide in no one.

ELINOR
I have nothing to tell.

MARIANNE
Nor I. We have neither of us anything
to tell. I because I conceal nothing
and you because you communicate
nothing.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BREAKFAST ROOM - DAY

A silent breakfast. MARIANNE is red-eyed from crying and
limp from lack of sleep. MRS JENNINGS is dressed to go out,
pulling on her gloves and bustling as usual. PIGEON enters
with a letter on a salver. He offers it to MARIANNE. She
seizes it and runs out of the room. MRS JENNINGS chuckles.

MRS JENNINGS
There now! Lovers' quarrels are swift
to heal! That letter will do the
trick, mark my word.

She goes to the door.

MRS JENNINGS
I must be off. I hope he won't keep
her waiting much longer, Miss
Dashwood. It hurts to see her looking
so forlorn.

She leaves and ELINOR finds herself alone with LUCY, who
loses no time in sharing her new-found happiness.

LUCY
What a welcome I had from Edward's
family, Miss Dashwood--I am surprised
you never told me what an agreeable
woman your sister-in-law is! And Mr
Robert--all so affable!

ELINOR
It is perhaps fortunate that none of
them knows of your engagement. Excuse
me.

ELINOR rises and leaves.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - DAY

ELINOR finds MARIANNE sitting on the edge of the bed. She
does not acknowledge ELINOR but merely lifts the letter and
reads out, with deadly calm:

MARIANNE
'My dear Madam--I am quite at a loss
to discover in what point I could be
so unfortunate as to offend you. My
esteem for your family is very sincere
but if I have given rise to a belief
of more than I felt or meant to
express, I shall reproach myself for
not having been more guarded. My
affections have long been engaged
elsewhere and it is with great regret
that I return your letters and the
lock of hair which you so obligingly
bestowed upon me. I am etc. John
Willoughby.'

ELINOR
Oh, Marianne.

MARIANNE gives a great howl of pain and flings herself across
the bed as though in physical agony.

ELINOR
Marianne, oh, Marianne--it is better
to know at once what his intentions
are. Dearest, think of what you would
have felt if your engagement had
carried on for months and months
before he chose to put an end to it.

MARIANNE
We are not engaged.

ELINOR
But you wrote to him! I thought then
that he must have left you with some
kind of understanding?

MARIANNE
No--he is not so unworthy as you
think him.

ELINOR
Not so unworthy! Did he tell you
that he loved you?

MARIANNE
Yes. No--never absolutely. It was
every day implied, but never declared.
Sometimes I thought it had been, but
it never was. He has broken no vow.

ELINOR
He has broken faith with all of us,
he made us all believe he loved you.

MARIANNE
He did! He did--he loved me as I
loved him.

MRS JENNINGS bursts through the door in her hat and coat,
panting.

MRS JENNINGS
I had to come straight up--how are
you, Miss Marianne?

MARIANNE begins to sob uncontrollably.

MRS JENNINGS
Poor thing! She looks very bad. No
wonder, Miss Dashwood, for it is but
too true. I was told here in the
street by Miss Morton, who is a great
friend: he is to be married at the
end of the month--to a Miss Grey
with fifty thousand pounds. Well,
said I, if 'tis true, then he is a
good-for-nothing who has used my
young friend abominably ill, and I
wish with all my soul that his wife
may plague his heart out!

She goes round the bed to comfort MARIANNE.

MRS JENNINGS
But he is not the only young man
worth having, my dear, and with your
pretty face you will never want for
admirers.

MARIANNE sobs even harder.

MRS JENNINGS
Ah, me! She had better have her cry
out and have done with it. I will go
and look out something to tempt her--
does she care for olives?

ELINOR
I cannot tell you.

MRS JENNINGS leaves. MARIANNE seizes the letter again.

MARIANNE
I cannot believe his nature capable
of such cruelty!

ELINOR
Marianne, there is no excuse for him--
this is his hand--

MARIANNE
But it cannot be his heart! Oh, Mamma!
I want Mamma! Elinor, please take me
home! Cannot we go tomorrow?

ELINOR
There is no one to take us.

MARIANNE
Cannot we hire a carriage?

ELINOR
We have no money--and indeed we owe
Mrs Jennings more courtesy.

MARIANNE
All she wants is gossip and she only
likes me because I supply it! Oh,
God! I cannot endure to stay.

ELINOR
I will find a way. I promise.

INT. COFFEE-HOUSE - COVENT GARDEN - DAY

FANNY, JOHN and ROBERT are drinking chocolate together.

ROBERT
Apparently they never were engaged.

FANNY
Miss Grey has fifty thousand pounds.
Marianne is virtually penniless.

JOHN
She cannot have expected him to go
through with it. But I feel for
Marianne--she will lose her bloom
and end a spinster like Elinor. I
think, my dear, we might consider
having them to stay with us for a
few days--we are, after all, family,
and my father.

He trails off. FANNY exchanges an alarmed glance with ROBERT.
She thinks fast.

FANNY
My love, I would ask them with all
my heart, but I have already asked
Miss Steele for a visit and we cannot
deprive Mrs Jennings of all her
company at once. We can invite your
sisters some other year, you know,
and Miss Steele will profit far more
from your generosity--poor girl!

JOHN
That is very thoughtful, Fanny. We
shall ask Elinor and Marianne next
year, then... Certainly!

EXT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - LONDON STREET - DAY

MRS JENNINGS's carriage stands outside. A livened FOOTMAN
opens the door and LUCY steps out brandishing a new muff.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - DAY

MARIANNE sits alone on the bed. Around her lie her notes to
Willoughby, her lock of hair and the pocket sonnets. In her
hands is the creased and tear-stained letter from Willoughby
which she is examining over and over.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

ELINOR is seated at a desk writing a letter. There is a sudden
rap at the front door. Footsteps are heard and as she turns,
the maid enters with COLONEL BRANDON. ELINOR rises to greet
him.

ELINOR
Thank you for coming, Colonel.

He bows. ELINOR is on edge. BRANDON looks haggard with
concern.

COLONEL BRANDON
How does your sister?

ELINOR
I must get her home as quickly as
possible. The Palmers can take us as
far as Cleveland, which is but a day
from Barton--

COLONEL BRANDON
Then permit me to accompany you and
take you straight on from Cleveland
to Barton myself.

ELINOR takes his hands gratefully.

ELINOR
I confess that is precisely what I
had hoped for. Marianne suffers
cruelly, and what pains me most is
how hard she tries to justify Mr
Willoughby. But you know her
disposition.

After a moment BRANDON nods. He seems unable to remain still
or calm and finds it difficult to begin speaking.

COLONEL BRANDON
Perhaps I--my regard for you all--
Miss Dashwood, will you allow me to
prove it by relating some
circumstances which nothing but an
earnest desire of being useful--

ELINOR
You have something to tell me of Mr
Willoughby.

COLONEL BRANDON
(nods)
When I quitted Barton last--but I
must go further back. A short account
of myself will be necessary. No
doubt... no doubt Mrs Jennings has
apprised you of certain events in my
past--the sad outcome of my connection
with a young woman named Eliza.

ELINOR nods.

COLONEL BRANDON
What is not commonly known is that
twenty years ago, Eliza bore an
illegitimate child. The father,
whoever he was, abandoned them.

This is strong stuff. ELINOR's concern deepens.

COLONEL BRANDON
As she lay dying, she begged me to
look after the child. Eliza died in
my arms, broken, wasted away--ah!
Miss Dashwood, such a subject--
untouched for so many years--it is
dangerous...

He paces about, barely able to conceal his distress.

COLONEL BRANDON
I had failed Eliza in every other
way--I could not refuse her now. I
took the child--Beth is her name--
and placed her with a family where I
could be sure she would be well looked
after. I saw her whenever I could. I
saw that she was headstrong like her
mother--and, God forgive me, I
indulged her, I allowed her too much
freedom. Almost a year ago, she
disappeared.

ELINOR
Disappeared!

COLONEL BRANDON
I instigated a search but for eight
months I was left to imagine the
worst. At last, on the day of the
Delaford picnic, I received the first
news her. She was with child... and
the blackguard who had--

BRANDON stops and looks straight at ELINOR.

ELINOR
Good God. Do you mean--Willoughby?

BRANDON nods. ELINOR drops into a chair, utterly shocked.

COLONEL BRANDON
Before I could return to confront
him, Lady Allen learned of his
behaviour and turned him from the
house. He beat a hasty retreat to
London--

ELINOR
Yes! He left us that morning, without
any explanation!

COLONEL BRANDON
Lady Allen had annulled his legacy.
He was left with next to nothing,
and in danger of losing all that
remained to his debtors--

ELINOR
--and so abandoned Marianne for Miss
Grey and her fifty thousand pounds.

BRANDON is silent. ELINOR is breathless.

ELINOR
Have you seen Mr Willoughby since
you learned...?

BRANDON
(nodding)
We met by appointment, he to defend,
I to punish his conduct.

ELINOR stares at him, aghast.

BRANDON
We returned unwounded, so the meeting
never got abroad.

ELINOR nods and is silent for a moment.

ELINOR
Is Beth still in town?

COLONEL BRANDON
She has chosen to go into the country
for her confinement. Such has been
the unhappy resemblance between the
fate of mother and daughter, and so
imperfectly have I discharged my
trust.

A pause.

COLONEL BRANDON
I would not have burdened you, Miss
Dashwood, had I not from my heart
believed it might, in time, lessen
your sister's regrets.

BRANDON moves to the door and then stops. He turns to her
and speaks with effort.

COLONEL BRANDON
I have described Mr Willoughby as
the worst of libertines--but I have
since learned from Lady Allen that
he did mean to propose that day.
Therefore I cannot deny that his
intentions towards Marianne were
honourable, and I feel certain he
would have married her, had it not
been for--for the money.

She looks up at BRANDON. Silence.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

MARIANNE is sitting on the bed staring into space. ELINOR is
kneeling by her, holding her hands.

ELINOR
Dearest, was I right to tell you?

MARIANNE
Of course.

ELINOR
Whatever his past actions, whatever
his present course, at least you may
be certain that he loved you.

MARIANNE
But not enough. Not enough.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - STUDY - DAY

ELINOR sits alone with her head in her hands. Suddenly MRS
JENNINGS hustles in looking pleased.

MRS JENNINGS
Here is someone to cheer you up,
Miss Dashwood!

She is followed in by LUCY. MRS JENNINGS leaves, busy as
ever. LUCY plants an expression of ghastly concern on her
face.

LUCY
How is your dear sister, Miss
Dashwood? Poor thing! I must say, I
do not know what I should do if a
man treated me with so little respect.

ELINOR
I hope you are enjoying your stay
with John and Fanny, Miss Steele?

LUCY
I was never so happy in my entire
life, Miss Dashwood! I do believe
your sister-in-law has taken quite a
fancy to me. I had to come and tell
you--for you cannot imagine what has
happened!

ELINOR
No, I cannot.

LUCY
Yesterday I was introduced to Edward's
mother!

ELINOR
Indeed?

LUCY
And she was a vast deal more than
civil. I have not yet seen Edward
but now I feel sure to very soon--

The MAID comes back.

MAID
There's a Mr Edward Ferrars to see
you, Miss Dashwood.

There is a tiny frozen silence.

ELINOR
Do ask him to come up.

ELINOR quite involuntarily sits down and then stands up again.
EDWARD is admitted, looking both anxious and eager. As LUCY
is sitting in the window seat, at first he sees only ELINOR.

EDWARD
Miss Dashwood, how can I--

But ELINOR cuts him off.

ELINOR
Mr Ferrars, what a pleasure to see
you. You... know Miss Steele, of
course.

EDWARD turns slowly and encounters LUCY's glassy smile. He
all but blanches. Then bows, and clears his throat.

EDWARD
How do you do, Miss Steele.

LUCY
I am well, thank you, Mr Ferrars.

EDWARD has no notion of what to do or say. He swallows.

ELINOR
Do sit down, Mr Ferrars.

LUCY's eyes are sharp as broken glass. EDWARD remains on his
feet, looking helplessly from one woman to the other.

LUCY
You must be surprised to find me
here, Mr Ferrars! I expect you thought
I was at your sister's house.

This is precisely what EDWARD had thought. He tries to smile
but his facial muscles won't work. ELINOR decides to fetch
help.

ELINOR
Let me call Marianne, Mr Ferrars.
She would be most disappointed to
miss you.

ELINOR goes to the door, thankful to escape, but MARIANNE
prevents her by walking in at that moment. Despite her
anguish, she is very pleased to see EDWARD and embraces him
warmly.

MARIANNE
Edward! I heard your voice! At last
you have found us!

EDWARD is shocked by her appearance and momentarily forgets
his own confusion.

EDWARD
Forgive me, Marianne, my visit is
shamefully overdue. You are pale. I
hope you have not been unwell?

MARIANNE
Oh, don't think of me--Elinor is
well, you see, that must be enough
for both of us!

MARIANNE gestures to ELINOR encouragingly but EDWARD seems
unable to look at her.

EDWARD
How do you like London, Marianne?

MARIANNE
Not at all. The sight of you is all
the pleasure it has afforded, is
that not so, Elinor?

Again, MARIANNE endeavours to ignite the lovers. ELINOR tries
to silence MARIANNE with her eyes but to no avail. MARIANNE
puts their coolness down to the presence of LUCY, at whom
she glances with a none too friendly air.

MARIANNE
Why have you taken so long to come
and see us?

EDWARD
I have been much engaged elsewhere.

MARIANNE
Engaged elsewhere! But what was that
when there were such friends to be
met?

LUCY
Perhaps, Miss Marianne, you think
young men never honour their
engagements, little or great.

ELINOR is appalled by this remark but MARIANNE does not notice
it and turns back to LUCY earnestly.

MARIANNE
No, indeed--for Edward is the most
fearful of giving pain and the most
incapable of being selfish of anyone
I ever saw.

EDWARD makes an uncomfortable noise.

MARIANNE
Edward, will you not sit? Elinor,
help me to persuade him.

Now EDWARD can stand it no longer.

EDWARD
Forgive me but I must take my leave--

MARIANNE
But you are only just arrived!

ELINOR rises, desperate for them both to go.

EDWARD
You must excuse me, I have a
commission to attend to for Fanny--

LUCY jumps in like a shot.

LUCY
In that case perhaps you might escort
me back to your sister's house, Mr
Ferrars?

There is an extremely awkward pause.

EDWARD
I would be honoured. Goodbye, Miss
Dashwood, Miss Marianne.

He shakes hands with ELINOR and with MARIANNE, who is silent
with dismay. LUCY takes EDWARD's arm and looks up at him
proprietorially.

After a stiff bow and a muttered farewell from EDWARD, they
leave. MARIANNE looks at her sister in astonishment.

MARIANNE
Why did you not urge him to stay?

ELINOR
He must have had his reasons for
going.

MARIANNE
His reason was no doubt your coldness.
If I were Edward I would assume you
did not care for me at all.

EXT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - BACK GARDEN - DAY

A tranquil afternoon...

INT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

LUCY is sitting with FANNY, who is doing some pointless
basketwork. LUCY hands FANNY rushes.

LUCY
Poor Miss Marianne looked very badly
t'other day. When I think of her,
deserted and abandoned, it frightens
me to think I shall never marry.

FANNY
Nonsense. You will marry far better
than either of the Dashwood girls.

LUCY
How can that possibly be?

FANNY
You have ten times their sense and
looks.

LUCY
But I have no dowry.

FANNY
There are qualities which will always
make up for that, and you have them
in abundance. It would not surprise
me if you were to marry far and away
beyond your expectations.

LUCY
I wish it might be so. There is a
young man--

FANNY
Ah ha! I am glad to hear of it. Is
he of good breeding and fortune?

LUCY
Oh both--but his family would
certainly oppose the match.

FANNY
Tush! They will allow it as soon as
they see you, my dear.

LUCY
It is a very great secret. I have
told no one in the world for fear of
discovery.

FANNY looks up, curious to know more.

FANNY
My dear, I am the soul of discretion.

LUCY
If I dared tell...

FANNY
I can assure you I am as silent as
the grave.

LUCY leans forward to whisper in FANNY's ear.

EXT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - DAY

We hold a long shot of the house for a moment of silence.
Then from inside comes an almost inhumanly loud shriek.

FANNY (V.O.)
Viper in my bosom!

EXT. JOHN AND FANNY'S TOWN HOUSE - BACK GARDEN - DAY

FANNY is trying to drag LUCY out of the house. ROBERT and
JOHN are trying to reason with her. FANNY loses her grip and
falls backwards. LUCY flings herself into ROBERT's arms.
ROBERT falls over.

EXT. LONDON STREET - DAY

MRS JENNINGS is running as fast as her fat little legs will
carry her.

EXT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BERKELEY STREET - DAY

MRS JENNINGS pants up the front steps.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - DAY

ELINOR and MARIANNE are packing. Their mood is gloomy and
uncommunicative. MRS JENNINGS explodes into the room fighting
for breath.

MRS JENNINGS
Oh, my dears! What a commotion! Mr
Edward Ferrars--the very one I used
to joke you about, Miss Dashwood--
has been engaged these five years to
Lucy Steele!

MARIANNE lets out a gasp. She looks at ELINOR, who nods at
her in swift confirmation.

MRS JENNINGS
Poor Mr Ferrars! His mother, who by
all accounts is very proud, demanded
that he break the engagement on pain
of disinheritance. But he has refused
to break his promise to Lucy. He has
stood by her, good man, and is cut
off without a penny! She has settled
it all irrevocably upon Mr Robert.
But I cannot stop, I must go to Lucy.
Your sister-in-law scolded her like
any fury--drove her to hysterics.

She leaves the room, still rabbiting on. There is a silence.

MARIANNE
How long have you known?

ELINOR
Since the evening Mrs Jennings offered
to take us to London.

MARIANNE
Why did you not tell me?

ELINOR
Lucy told me in the strictest
confidence.

MARIANNE looks at her in complete incredulity.

ELINOR
I could not break my word.

Clearly, there is no arguing this point.

MARIANNE
But Edward loves you.

ELINOR
He made me no promises. He tried to
tell me about Lucy.

MARIANNE
He cannot marry her.

ELINOR
Would you have him treat her even
worse than Willoughby has treated
you?

MARIANNE
No--but nor would I have him marry
where he does not love.

ELINOR tries hard to be controlled.

ELINOR
Edward made his promise a long time
ago, long before he met me. Though
he may... harbour some regret, I
believe he will be happy--in the
knowledge that he did his duty and
kept his word. After all--after all
that is bewitching in the idea of
one's happiness depending entirely
on one person, it is not always
possible. We must accept. Edward
will marry Lucy--and you and I will
go home.

MARIANNE
Always resignation and acceptance!
Always prudence and honour and duty!
Elinor, where is your heart?

ELINOR finally explodes. She turns upon MARIANNE almost
savagely.

ELINOR
What do you know of my heart? What
do you know of anything but your own
suffering? For weeks, Marianne, I
have had this pressing on me without
being at liberty to speak of it to a
single creature. It was forced upon
me by the very person whose prior
claims ruined all my hopes. I have
had to endure her exultation again
and again while knowing myself to be
divided from Edward forever. Believe
me, Marianne, had I not been bound
to silence I could have produced
proof enough of a broken heart even
for you.

Complete silence. Then MARIANNE speaks in a whisper.

MARIANNE
Oh, Elinor!

MARIANNE bursts into sobs and flings her arms around ELINOR,
who, almost impatiently, tries to comfort her.

EXT. PALMER RESIDENCE - LONDON STREET - DAY

LUCY and MRS JENNINGS are on the doorstep. LUCY looks rather
lost and pathetic, with her little bundles, hastily packed.
The door opens and CHARLOTTE precedes the SERVANT, ushering
them in with shrill cries of sympathy.

COLONEL BRANDON (V.O.)
I have heard that your friend Mr
Ferrars has been entirely cast off
by his family for persevering in his
engagement to Miss Steele.

EXT. SQUARE IN FRONT OF MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - LONDON - DAY

ELINOR and BRANDON walk round the quiet square.

COLONEL BRANDON
Have I been rightly informed? Is it
so?

ELINOR is greatly taken aback by this unexpected query.

ELINOR
It is indeed so. Are you acquainted
with Mr Ferrars?

COLONEL BRANDON
No, we have never met. But I know
only too well the cruelty--the
impolitic cruelty of dividing two
young people long attached to one
another. Mrs Ferrars does not know
what she may drive her son to--

He pauses, frowning in remembrance. ELINOR waits in suspense.

COLONEL BRANDON
I have a proposal to make that should
enable him to marry Miss Steele
immediately. Since the gentleman is
so close a friend to your family,
perhaps you will be good enough to
mention it to him?

ELINOR is completely taken aback. She takes a moment to reply.

ELINOR
Colonel, I am sure he would be only
too delighted to hear it from your
own lips.

COLONEL BRANDON
I think not. His behaviour has proved
him proud--in the best sense. I feel
certain this is the right course.

INT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - STUDY - DAY

ELINOR is waiting. The MAID announces EDWARD and he walks in
momentarily. They are alone for the first time in months and
for a moment, neither speaks.

ELINOR
Mr Ferrars.

EDWARD
Miss Dashwood.

ELINOR indicates a seat for him but neither sits.

ELINOR
Thank you for responding so promptly
to my message.

EDWARD
I was most grateful to receive it. I--
Miss Dashwood, God knows what you
must think of me...

ELINOR
Mr Ferrars--

He interrupts her, desperate to explain.

EDWARD
I have no right to speak, I know--

ELINOR has to stop him.

ELINOR
Mr Ferrars, I have good news. I think
you know of our friend Colonel
Brandon?

EDWARD looks completely bewildered.

EDWARD
Yes, I have heard his name.

ELINOR starts to speak rather faster than usual.

ELINOR
Colonel Brandon desires me to say
that, understanding you wish to join
the clergy, he has great pleasure in
offering you the parish on his estate
at Delaford, now just vacant, in the
hope that it may enable you--and
Miss Steele--to marry.

EDWARD cannot at first take it in. ELINOR sits down.

EDWARD
Colonel Brandon?

ELINOR
Yes. He means it as testimony of his
concern for--for the cruel situation
in which you find yourselves.

Now EDWARD sits--in shock.

EDWARD
Colonel Brandon give me a parish?
Can it be possible?

ELINOR
The unkindness of your family has
made you astonished to find friendship
elsewhere.

EDWARD looks at ELINOR, his eyes full of growing
comprehension.

EDWARD
No. Not to find it in you. I cannot
be ignorant that to you--to your
goodness--I owe it all. I feel it. I
would express it if I could, but, as
you know, I am no orator.

ELINOR
You are very much mistaken. I assure
you that you owe it almost entirely
to your own merit--I have had no
hand in it.

But EDWARD clearly believes she has been instrumental in the
offer. He frowns slightly before speaking with rather an
effort.

EDWARD
Colonel Brandon must be a man of
great worth and respect ability.

ELINOR finds some relief in saying at least one thing that
she truly means.

ELINOR
He is the kindest and best of men.

This makes EDWARD seem even more depressed. He sits silent
for a moment but then rouses himself to action.

EDWARD
May I enquire why the Colonel did
not tell me himself?

ELINOR
I think he felt it would be better
coming from... a friend.

EDWARD looks at ELINOR, his eyes full of sadness.

EDWARD
Your friendship has been the most
important of my life.

ELINOR
You will always have it.

EDWARD
Forgive me.

ELINOR
Mr Ferrars, you honour your promises--
that is more important than anything
else. I wish you--both--very happy.

They rise. She curtsies. He bows.

EDWARD
Goodbye, Miss Dashwood.

EDWARD leaves silently. ELINOR stands stock-still in the
middle of the room.

EXT. MRS JENNINGS'S HOUSE - DAY

The PALMERS' carriage stands outside the house. COLONEL
BRANDON helps MARIANNE in beside ELINOR before mounting his
horse to ride alongside. MRS JENNINGS waves goodbye from the
steps. The carriage moves off. MRS JENNINGS blows her nose,
looks up and down the street in search of gossip and goes
back indoors with a sigh.

INT. THE PALMERS' CARRIAGE - ON THE ROAD - DAY

MARIANNE is sitting back in her seat with her eyes closed.
She does not look well. MR PALMER is behind his newspaper.

CHARLOTTE
What a stroke of luck for Lucy and
Edward to find a parish so close to
Barton! You will all be able to meet
very often. That will cheer you up,
Miss Marianne. I do declare I have
never disliked a person so much as I
do Mr Willoughby, for your sake.
Insufferable man! To think we can
see his insufferable house from the
top of our hill!

CLOSE on MARIANNE's eyes slowly opening.

CHARLOTTE
I shall ask Jackson to plant some
very tall trees.

MR PALMER
(from behind the paper)
You will do nothing of the sort.

EXT. THE PALMERS' CARRIAGE - OPEN ROAD - DAY

The carriage bowls along, with BRANDON riding next to it.

CHARLOTTE (V.O.)
I hear Miss Grey's bridal gown was
everything of the finest--made in
Paris, no less. I should have liked
to see it, although I dare say it
was a sorry affair, scalloped with
ruffles--but what do the French know
about fashion?

EXT. CLEVELAND - DRIVE - AFTERNOON

The carriage stands outside the PALMER residence, a
resplendent affair with a great deal of land. BRANDON is
helping MARIANNE and ELINOR out of the carriage.

CHARLOTTE (V.O.)
I am resolved never to mention Mr
Willoughby's name again, and
furthermore I shall tell everyone I
meet what a good-for nothing he is.

MR PALMER (V.O.)
Be quiet.

ELINOR and MARIANNE stand on the steps as the PALMERS debauch
from the carriage amid a welter of SERVANTS.

ELINOR
(sotto voce)
I do not think she drew breath from
the moment we left London. It is my
fault--I should have found some other
way of getting home.

MARIANNE
There was no other way you said so
yourself.

ELINOR
We shall be home soon enough. Mamma
will comfort you, dearest.

MARIANNE
I am stiff from sitting so long.
Will you tell Charlotte that I am
going for a stroll? ELINOR glances
at the sky in concern.

ELINOR
I think it is going to rain.

MARIANNE
No, no, it will not rain.

ELINOR cannot help but smile at this return of the old
MARIANNE.

ELINOR
You always say that and then it always
does.

MARIANNE
I will keep to the garden, near the
house.

MARIANNE walks off. ELINOR watches her go anxiously.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

MRS BUNTING, a rather baleful NANNY, looks on as MR PALMER
holds up a screaming BABY in a frilly bonnet for everyone's
inspection.

CHARLOTTE
We are very proud of our little
Thomas, Colonel--and his papa has
such a way with him...

BRANDON flicks a glance at MR PALMER for whom holding a baby
comes as naturally as breathing underwater.

EXT. CLEVELAND - GARDEN - DAY

MARIANNE walks purposefully towards the garden wall, beyond
which lies a hill.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

ELINOR enters to find CHARLOTTE alone with the now hysterical
BABY THOMAS.

CHARLOTTE
There you are, Miss Dashwood! Mr
Palmer and the Colonel have locked
themselves up in the billiard room.
Come and meet little Thomas. Where
is Miss Marianne?

ELINOR
She is taking a little air in the
garden.

CHARLOTTE
Oh, very good. That is the great
advantage of the countryside--all
the fresh air and... and all the
fresh air...

CHARLOTTE's conversational difficulties are drowned out by
her offspring.

EXT. CLEVELAND - GARDEN - DAY

MARIANNE comes to a gate in the wall and turns the handle.
It opens. She throws a glance back to the house and passes
through. There is a low rumble of thunder.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

BABY THOMAS is purple in the face but shows no signs of
quietening.

CHARLOTTE joggles him about inefficiently.

CHARLOTTE
(yelling)
He is the best child in the world--
he never cries unless he wants to
and then, Lord, there is no stopping
him.

EXT. THE HILL - DAY

MARIANNE, calm and determined, walks towards the top of the
hill. The wind whips and plucks at her hair and skirts.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

ELINOR, traumatised by her new acquaintance with the shrieking
BABY THOMAS, goes to look out of the window. She frowns.

EXT. CLEVELAND - GARDEN - DAY

ELINOR's POV. MARIANNE is nowhere in sight. Storm clouds
have gathered on the bill.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

ELINOR turns from the window. BABY THOMAS stops crying for
two seconds.

ELINOR
I cannot see Marianne.

There is a crack of thunder. BABY THOMAS starts again.

EXT. THE HILL - DAY

Rain has started to pour down. MARIANNE walks on regardless.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

CHARLOTTE shouts over BABY THOMAS to ELINOR.

CHARLOTTE
She has probably taken shelter in
one of the greenhouses!

EXT. THE HILL - DAY

MARIANNE has reached the top. Soaked to the skin, she stands
with the storm raging around her, staring at the spires of
Combe Magna, the place that would have been her home. Rain
streaks her face and the wind whips her hair about her.
Through frozen lips she whispers:

MARIANNE
Love is not love Which alters when
it alteration finds Or bends with
the remover to remove: 0, no! it is
an ever-fixed mark That looks on
tempests and is never shaken...

EXT. CLEVELAND - GREENHOUSES - DAY

BRANDON is looking for MARIANNE. He enters a greenhouse.

COLONEL BRANDON
Marianne!

EXT. THE HILL - DAY

MARIANNE stares at Combe Magna, a strange smile playing about
her lips. Then she calls to WILLOUGHBY as though he were
near. The effect is eerie, unworldly.

MARIANNE
Willoughby... Willoughby...

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

CHARLOTTE, MR PALMER and ELINOR are waiting anxiously. BABY
THOMAS has been removed. ELINOR is staring out of the window.

CHARLOTTE
One thing is certain--she will be
wet through when she returns.

MR PALMER
Thank you for pointing that out, my
dear. Do not worry, Miss Dashwood--
Brandon will find her. I think we
can all guess where she went.

EXT. THE HILL - DAY

BRANDON runs up the hillside as though the devil were at his
heels.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

CHARLOTTE is handing ELINOR a cup of tea. ELINOR turns back
to look out of the window. She freezes.

EXT. CLEVELAND - GARDEN - DAY

ELINOR's POV of BRANDON walking up to the house with MARIANNE
cradled in his arms. It is like seeing Willoughby's ghost.

INT. CLEVELAND - HALL - DAY

Everyone rushes out of the drawing room as the COLONEL enters
with MARIANNE. He is exhausted and soaked. MARIANNE is dumb
with cold and fatigue.

COLONEL BRANDON
She is not hurt--but we must get her
warm!

ELINOR and MR PALMER take MARIANNE from BRANDON and go
upstairs, with CHARLOTTE in pursuit.

EXT. CLEVELAND - NIGHT - RAIN

The great house sits in darkness. A sense of foreboding.

INT. CLEVELAND - UPSTAIRS CORRIDOR - NIGHT

ELINOR is in her nightgown, knocking at a door. MR PALMER
answers in his nightshirt, astonished to have been summoned
out of bed.

ELINOR
I think Marianne may need a doctor.

INT. CLEVELAND - BREAKFAST ROOM - DAY

MR PALMER and CHARLOTTE are sitting at the breakfast table.
BRANDON is pacing. The rain has stopped.

CHARLOTTE
You'll wear yourself out, Colonel!
Do not worry! A day or two in bed
will soon set her to rights!

MR PALMER
You can rely upon Harris, Colonel. I
have never found a better physician.

Enter ELINOR with DR HARRIS.

COLONEL BRANDON
(urgent)
What is your diagnosis?

DR HARRIS
It is an infectious fever that has
taken far more serious hold than I
would have expected in one so young.
I would recommend the hasty removal
of your child, Mr Palmer--

CHARLOTTE runs out of the room screaming.

CHARLOTTE
Mrs Bunting! Mrs Bunting!

EXT. CLEVELAND - FRONT STEPS - DAY

CHARLOTTE is getting into their carriage with MRS BUNTING
and BABY THOMAS. MR PALMER is on the steps with ELINOR. He
takes her hand and looks at her with real sympathy.

MR PALMER
My dear Miss Dashwood, I am more
sorry than I can say. If you would
prefer me to stay I am at your
service.

ELINOR is touched to find this warm heart beneath his frosty
exterior.

ELINOR
Mr Palmer, that is very kind. But
Colonel Brandon and Dr Harris will
look after us. Thank you for
everything you have done.

MR PALMER nods, presses her hand, and walks down the steps
to the carriage.

INT. CLEVELAND - DRAWING ROOM - DAY

BRANDON sits head in hands. His ghosts have come to haunt
him.

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - DAY

MARIANNE is tossing and turning in the bed. DR HARRIS is
trying to take her pulse. He looks up at ELINOR, who is
watching anxiously.

DR HARRIS
She is not doing as well as I would
like.

INT. CLEVELAND - UPSTAIRS CORRIDOR - DAY

ELINOR exits the bedroom to find BRANDON outside. She jumps.

COLONEL BRANDON
What can I do?

ELINOR
Colonel, you have done so much
already.

COLONEL BRANDON
Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood,
or I shall run mad. He is dangerously
quiet.

ELINOR
She would be easier if her mother
were here.

COLONEL BRANDON
Of course. Barton is but eight hours
away. If I make no stop, you may see
us early tomorrow morning.

He takes ELINOR's hand and kisses it.

COLONEL BRANDON
In your hands I know she will be
safe.

EXT. CLEVELAND - DRIVE - EVE

BRANDON mounts his horse, turns to look at the house for a
moment, and then spurs it violently forward.

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - EVE

ELINOR is by the window, having watched BRANDON's departure.
DR HARRIS is by MARIANNE's side. He turns to ELINOR.

DR HARRIS
Double the number of drops and I
will return as soon as I can.

EXT. CLEVELAND - NIGHT

The house stands in virtual darkness with only a dim light
issuing from one of the upper rooms.

EXT. OPEN ROAD - NIGHT

BRANDON riding fast, his cape billowing out behind him.

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

MARIANNE's eyes glitter with the fever. ELINOR wipes her
brow. Suddenly she speaks.

MARIANNE
Who is that?

She is looking at the end of the bed.

MARIANNE
Look, look, Elinor.

ELINOR
There is no one there, dearest.

MARIANNE
It is Papa. Papa has come.

ELINOR looks fearfully towards the end of the bed. MARIANNE
tries to smile with her cracked lips.

MARIANNE
Dearest Papa!

The dead are coming for the dying.

DISSOLVE:

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - LATER

ELINOR, her eyes red from watching, wipes MARIANNE's temples.
DR HARRIS takes her pulse and looks at ELINOR anxiously. His
silence is worse than any utterance.

DISSOLVE:

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - LATER

The room is very still. MARIANNE is pale as wax. DR HARRIS
puts on his coat. ELINOR looks at him fearfully.

DR HARRIS
I must fetch more laudanum. I cannot
pretend, Miss Dashwood, that your
sister's condition is not very
serious. You must prepare yourself.
I will return very shortly.

He leaves the room.

DISSOLVE:

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - LATER

MARIANNE lies in the grip of her fever. ELINOR sits watching
her. Slowly she rises and walks to the bed. When she speaks,
her tone is very practical.

ELINOR
Marianne, Marianne, please try--

Suddenly, almost unconsciously, she starts to heave with dry
sobs, wrenched out of her, full of anguish and heartbreak
and all the more painful for being tearless.

ELINOR
Marianne, please try--I cannot--I
cannot do without you. Oh, please, I
have tried to bear everything else--
I will try--but please, dearest,
beloved Marianne, do not leave me
alone.

She falls to her knees by the bed, gulping for breath, taking
MARIANNE's hand and kissing it again and again.

DISSOLVE:

EXT. CLEVELAND - GARDENS - DAWN

A shimmer of light appears on the rim of the horizon.
Somewhere a lark breaks into clear untroubled song.

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - MORNING

DR HARRIS sits slumped in a chair. MARIANNE lies motionless.
ELINOR rises with difficulty from the bedside and goes to
the window. She is white as paper. The lark sings. Then,
from behind, comes the faintest of whispers.

MARIANNE (V.O.)
Elinor?

ELINOR turns with a cry. DR HARRIS springs from his seat and
examines MARIANNE. He then turns to ELINOR with a smile of
relief and nods. At that moment the sound of carriage wheels
is heard on the gravel.

ELINOR
My mother!

EXT. CLEVELAND - FRONT STEPS - MORNING

BRANDON helps MRS DASHWOOD, who is weak with exhaustion and
distress, out of the carriage.

INT. CLEVELAND - STAIRCASE - MORNING

ELINOR hurls herself down the stairs. She reaches the door
just as BRANDON and MRS DASHWOOD enter and practically swoons
into her mother's arms.

ELINOR
Mamma! She is out of danger!

INT. CLEVELAND - ELINOR AND MARIANNE'S BEDROOM - MORNING

CLOSE on MARIANNE's face as MRS DASHWOOD kisses her.

MRS DASHWOOD
There, there, my love, my Marianne.

MARIANNE opens her eyes and smiles at her mother. MRS DASHWOOD
takes her gently into her arms. MARIANNE suddenly looks
anxious. She is too weak to move her head. She whispers with
urgent effort.

MARIANNE
Where is Elinor?

ELINOR
I am here, dearest, I am here.

MARIANNE looks at her with deep relief. Behind the DASHWOODS,
BRANDON stands at the door, unwilling to intrude on this
intimacy. He wipes his eyes and turns away. MARIANNE sees
and whispers to him.

MARIANNE
Colonel Brandon.

BRANDON turns back, his eyes full of tears. MARIANNE looks
at him for a moment. Then, very quietly:

MARIANNE
Thank you.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN AND SURROUNDINGS - DAY

The cottage nestles in the first buds of spring. A piece of
rope hangs down from the branches of a tree in the garden.
It starts to wave about wildly and we see MARGARET emerging
and climbing down. She has built herself a new tree-house.

COLONEL BRANDON (V.O.)
What though the sea with waves
continuall Doe eate the earth, it is
no more at all.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

MARIANNE is on the sofa by the window. She is pale,
convalescent and calm. Different somehow. She listens intently
as BRANDON reads her the poem.

COLONEL BRANDON
Nor is the earth the lesse, or loseth
aught. For whatsoever from one place
doth fall, Is with the tide unto
another brought...

We move back to find MRS DASHWOOD and ELINOR at the other
end of the room, sewing peacefully.

MRS. DASHWOOD
He certainly is nor so dashing as
Willoughby but he has a far more
pleasing countenance. There was always
a something, if you remember, in
Willoughby's eyes at times which I
did not like.

ELINOR listens patiently as her mother rewrites history. We
cut back to BRANDON as he finishes reading.

COLONEL BRANDON
'For there is nothing lost, but may
be found, if sought...

He looks up at MARIANNE. A soul-breathing glance. She smiles
as he closes the book.

MARIANNE
Shall we continue tomorrow?

COLONEL BRANDON
No--for I must away.

MARIANNE
Away? Where?

COLONEL BRANDON
(teasing)
That I cannot tell you. It is a
secret.

He rises to leave.

MARIANNE
(impulsive)
But you will not stay away long?

CLOSE on BRANDON's reaction.

EXT. FIELDS NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

ELINOR and MARIANNE are out on a walk. They go very slowly,
MARIANNE leaning on ELINOR's arm. Their mood is loving,
companion able.

EXT. DOWNS NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

ELINOR and MARIANNE walk on. Suddenly, MARIANNE stops.

MARIANNE
There.

She indicates a spot on the ground but ELINOR can see nothing
and is momentarily alarmed. MARIANNE gazes at the ground and
breathes in deeply.

MARIANNE
There I fell, and there I first saw
Willoughby.

ELINOR
Poor Willoughby. He will always regret
you.

MARIANNE
But does it follow that, had he chosen
me, he would have been content?

ELINOR looks at MARIANNE, surprised.

MARIANNE
He would have had a wife he loved
but no money--and might soon have
learned to rank the demands of his
pocket-book far above the demands of
his heart.

ELINOR regards MARIANNE admiringly. MARIANNE smiles sadly.

MARIANNE
If his present regrets are half as
painful as mine, he will suffer
enough.

ELINOR
Do you compare your conduct with
his?

MARIANNE
No. I compare it with what it ought
to have been. I compare it with yours.

ELINOR
Our situations were very different.

MARIANNE
My illness has made me consider the
past. I saw in my own behaviour
nothing but imprudence--and worse. I
was insolent and unjust to everyone--

ELINOR tries to stem the flow but MARIANNE continues.

MARIANNE
--but you--you I wronged above all.
Only I knew your heart and its sorrows
but even then I was never a grain
more compassionate. I brought my
illness upon myself--I wanted to
destroy myself. And had I succeeded,
what misery should I have caused
you?

ELINOR embraces her. They stand with their arms round one
another in silence for a moment. Then MARIANNE breaks away
and speaks with great good humour and energy.

MARIANNE
I shall mend my ways! I shall no
longer worry others nor torture
myself. I am determined to enter on
a course of serious study---Colonel
Brandon has promised me the run of
his library and I shall read at least
six hours a day. By the end of the
year I expect to have improved my
learning a very great deal.

EXT. ROAD NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DAY

THOMAS is sitting on the back of a local wagon, holding a
basket of food.

He jumps off near the cottage and waves a cheery farewell to
the DRIVER.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

CLOSE on the accounts book, covered in blots and crossed-out
sums. Pull up to reveal MARIANNE labouring over it. Her
sickness has left her slightly short-sighted and she uses a
pince-nez that makes her look like an owl.

ELINOR is sewing and MRS DASHWOOD is snoozing. MARGARET goes
up and looks over MARIANNE's shoulder. She frowns at the
spider's web of ink.

MARGARET
You'll go blind if you're not careful.

BETSY brings in coals for the fire. MRS DASHWOOD rouses
herself.

MRS DASHWOOD
Is Thomas back from Exeter, Betsy?

BETSY
Yes, ma'am--he brung back two lovely
fillets for you.

MRS DASHWOOD looks nervously at ELINOR like a child who has
been caught out.

MRS DASHWOOD
Beef is far less expensive in Exeter,
and anyway they are for Marianne.

ELINOR laughs and rolls her eyes to heaven. BETSY turns on
her way out to remark:

BETSY
Sixpence a piece, Miss Dashwood. Oh,
and he says Mr Ferrars is married,
but I suppose you know that, ma'am.

There is a stunned silence. Everyone looks at ELINOR.

MRS DASHWOOD
Fetch Thomas to us, Betsy.

BETSY leaves. They all sit very still. MARGARET is about to
talk to ELINOR about it but MARIANNE stops her. THOMAS enters.

THOMAS
Beg pardon, Miss Dashwood, but they
was the cheapest in the market--

MRS DASHWOOD
It was a very good price, Thomas,
well done. Would you be so kind as
to build up the fire a little?

THOMAS
(relieved)
Yes, ma'am.

There is a pause.

MRS DASHWOOD
Who told you that Mr Ferrars was
married, Thomas?

THOMAS builds up the fire as he answers. He tells the story
with pleasure.

THOMAS
I seen him myself, ma'am, and his
lady too, Miss Lucy Steele as was--
they were stopping in a chaise at
the New London Inn. I happened to
look up as I passed the chaise and I
see it was Miss Steele. So I took
off my hat and she inquired after
you, ma'am, and all the young ladies,
especially Miss Dashwood, and bid me
I should give you her and Mr Ferrars's
best compliments and service and how
they'd be sure to send you a piece
of the cake.

MRS DASHWOOD
Was Mr Ferrars in the carriage with
her?

THOMAS
Yes, ma'am--I just seen him leaning
back in it, but he did not look up.

ELINOR screws up her courage.

ELINOR
Did--

But she cannot continue. MARIANNE glances at her
compassionately and takes over.

MARIANNE
Did Mrs Ferrars seem well?

THOMAS
Yes, Miss Marianne--she said how she
was vastly contented and, since she
was always a very affable young lady,
I made free to wish her joy.

MRS DASHWOOD
Thank you, Thomas.

He nods and leaves, confused by the silent atmosphere. ELINOR
sits for a moment, then gets up and walks out.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN - EVE

ELINOR is standing by the gate, looking out. MRS DASHWOOD
comes down the path to join her. She links arms with ELINOR
and they stand in silence for a beat.

MRS DASHWOOD
Your father once told me not to allow
you to neglect yourself. Now I find
that it is I who have neglected you
most.

ELINOR
No, Mamma.

MRS DASHWOOD
Yes, I have. We all have. Marianne
is right.

ELINOR
I am very good at hiding.

MRS DASHWOOD
Then we must observe you more closely.

A pause.

ELINOR
Mamma?

MRS DASHWOOD
Yes, my darling?

ELINOR
There is a painful difference between
the expectation of an unpleasant
event and its final certainty.

MRS DASHWOOD squeezes ELINOR's arm tightly.

EXT. OPEN ROAD NEAR BARTON - DAY

A horse and cart are jogging along. The cart contains a large
object tied down and covered with canvas. The DRIVER whistles
tunelessly.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - KITCHEN - DAY

MARGARET is standing on the kitchen table while ELINOR and
MARIANNE pin a piece of material around the bottom of her
skirt to lengthen it.

Suddenly there is a commotion upstairs.

MRS DASHWOOD (V.O.)
Marianne! Marianne! Come and see
what is coming!

Everyone runs out of the kitchen.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN - DAY

THOMAS and the CARTER are carrying a small piano up the path.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

They carry the piano into the parlour and to the DASHWOODS'
joyful astonishment it fits perfectly. MRS DASHWOOD reads
out the letter that has accompanied it.

MRS DASHWOOD
'At last I have found a small enough
instrument to fir the parlour. I
expect to follow it in a day or two,
by which time I expect you to have
learned the enclosed. Your devoted
friend, Christopher Brandon.'

MRS DASHWOOD hands MARIANNE the letter and a broadsheet song.

MARGARET
He must like you very much, Marianne.

MARIANNE
It is not just for me! It is for all
of us.

All the same, she looks conscious of the truth.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN - DAY

MARGARET is up her tree. ELINOR is pulling weeds. MRS DASHWOOD
is sitting on a stool working on MARGARET's dress and
listening to the strains of the new song which MARIANNE is
singing in the cottage. All of a sudden, MRS DASHWOOD rises,
shielding her eyes with her hand. She walks down to the gate,
looking out.

MRS DASHWOOD
Here is Colonel Brandon! Marianne!

The piano stops. MARIANNE comes out and they all gather at
the gate to watch for the rider.

EXT. OPEN COUNTRY - DAY

Their POV of a HORSEMAN in the distance.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN GATE - DAY

ELINOR
I do not think it is the Colonel.

MRS DASHWOOD
It must be. He said he would arrive
today. You must play him the new
song, Marianne.

Suddenly there is a yell from MARGARET's tree.

MARGARET
Edward!

MARGARET practically throws herself out of the tree onto the
grass.

MARGARET
It is Edward!

The women look at each other in complete consternation.

MRS DASHWOOD
Calm. We must be calm.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

Tense silence reigns. Everyone tries to busy themselves.
BETSY enters.

BETSY
Mr Ferrars for you, ma'am.

EDWARD follows her in, looking white and agitated.

MRS DASHWOOD
(rising)
Edward! What a pleasure to see you.

EDWARD
Mrs Dashwood. Miss Marianne. Margaret.
Miss Dashwood. I hope I find you all
well.

He bows formally to each of them, lingering on ELINOR, who
is looking firmly at her lap. He looks anxious.

MARIANNE
Thank you, Edward, we are all very
well.

There is a pause while they all search for an appropriate
remark. Finally MARGARET decides to have a go at polite
conversation.

MARGARET
We have been enjoying very fine
weather.

MARIANNE looks at her incredulously.

MARGARET
Well, we have.

EDWARD
I am glad of it. The... the roads
were very dry.

MRS DASHWOOD decides to bite the bullet.

MRS DASHWOOD
(giving him her hand)
May I wish you great joy, Edward.

He takes her hand somewhat confusedly and accepts her offer
of a seat. There is an awful silence. MARIANNE tries to help.

MARIANNE
I hope you have left Mrs Ferrars
well?

EDWARD
Tolerably, thank you.

There is another bone-crunching pause.

EDWARD
I--But EDWARD cannot seem to find
any words.

MRS DASHWOOD
Is Mrs Ferrars at the new parish?

EDWARD looks extremely confused.

EDWARD
No--my mother is in town.

He plucks up the courage to look at ELINOR again and is
evidently not much comforted by what he sees.

MRS DASHWOOD
I meant to enquire after Mrs Edward
Ferrars.

EDWARD colours. He hesitates.

EDWARD
Then you have not heard--the news--I
think you mean my brother--you mean
Mrs Robert Ferrars.

They all stare at him in shock.

MRS DASHWOOD
Mrs Robert Ferrars?

ELINOR has frozen. EDWARD rises and goes to the window.

EDWARD
Yes. I received a letter from Miss
Steele--or Mrs Ferrars, I should say--
communicating the... the transfer of
her affections to my brother Robert.
They were much thrown together in
London, I believe, and... and in
view of the change in my
circumstances, I felt it only fair
that Miss Steele be released from
our engagement. At any rate, they
were married last week and are now
in Plymouth.

ELINOR rises suddenly, EDWARD turns and they stand looking
at one another.

ELINOR
Then you--are not married.

EDWARD
No.

ELINOR bursts into tears. The shock of this emotional
explosion stuns everyone for a second and then MARIANNE makes
an executive decision. Wordlessly, she takes MARGARET's hand
and leads her and MRS DASHWOOD out of the room.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN - DAY

The three DASHWOODS come into the garden, still holding hands.

INT. BARTON COTTAGE - PARLOUR - DAY

ELINOR cannot stop crying. EDWARD comes forward, very slowly.

EDWARD
Elinor! I met Lucy when I was very
young. Had I had an active profession,
I should never have felt such an
idle, foolish inclination. At Norland
my behaviour was very wrong. But I
convinced myself you felt only
friendship for me and it was my heart
alone that I was risking. I have
come with no expectations. Only to
profess, now that I am at liberty to
do so, that my heart is and always
will be yours.

ELINOR looks at him, her face streaked with tears of released
emotion, of pain and of happiness.

EXT. BARTON COTTAGE - GARDEN

MARIANNE and MRS DASHWOOD are stamping about in the garden
trying to keep warm. MARGARET has climbed into her tree-house.
The branches rustle.

MARGARET
He's sitting next to her!

MRS DASHWOOD/MARIANNE
Margaret, come down!/Is he?

MRS DASHWOOD
(scolding)
Margaret! Will you stop--

MARIANNE
What's happening now?

MRS DASHWOOD
Marianne!

MARGARET (V.O.)
He's kneeling down!

MRS DASHWOOD can't help herself.

MRS DASHWOOD
Oh! Is he? Oh!

She and MARIANNE look at each other joyfully.

EXT. DOWNS NEAR BARTON - DAY

The figures of EDWARD and ELINOR can be seen walking, in
deep conversation.

EXT. PATH NEAR BARTON COTTAGE - DUSK

Later. The lovers walk slowly, their heads almost touching,
their words low and intimate.

ELINOR
Your mother, I suppose, will hardly
be less angry with Robert for marrying
Lucy.

EDWARD
The more so since she settled the
money upon him so irrevocably--

ELINOR
--no doubt because she had run out
of sons to disinherit.

EDWARD
Her family fluctuates at an alarming
rate. Then, in London, when you told
me of the Colonel's offer, I became
convinced that you wanted me to marry
Lucy and that--well, that you and
Colonel Brandon...

ELINOR
Me and Colonel Brandon!

EDWARD
I shall not forget attempting to
thank him for making it possible for
me to marry the woman I did not love
while convinced he had designs upon
the woman I did--do--love.

EDWARD stops walking. He looks at ELINOR and realises he can
stand it no longer.

EDWARD
Would you--can you--excuse me--

He takes her face in his hands and kisses her.

EXT. PATH TO BARTON CHURCH - DAY

A group of VILLAGE CHILDREN run down the hillside towards
the church waving ribbons and dressed in their Sunday best.

EXT. BARTON VILLAGE CHURCH - DAY

A large wedding party is gathered outside the church. The
entire village is present--CHILDREN, FARMERS, LABOURERS,
SHOPKEEPERS, and all our PRINCIPALS. We see MRS JENNINGS in
a gigantic mauve bonnet, CHARLOTTE and MR PALMER, SIR JOHN,
MRS DASHWOOD, MARGARET, THOMAS, JOHN and FANNY, who is dressed
in a fantastically inappropriate concoction, and some MEN in
regimental uniform.

The path to the church is strewn with wild flowers and
everyone holds a bunch of their own. The church bells start
to peal, and a great cheer goes up as the door opens and
BETSY comes out holding the bridal cake aloft.

The bride and groom appear: MARIANNE, in white lawn, and
COLONEL BRANDON in full uniform. Behind them come EDWARD in
his parson's garb and, on his arm, ELINOR as matron of honour.

CLOSE on them as they watch the party moving away. MARIANNE
and BRANDON make their way forwards, everyone throws their
flowers over them, whooping and singing. An open carriage
decked with bridal wreaths comes to meet them, and BRANDON
lifts MARIANNE in. His melancholy air is all but gone and he
radiates joyful life and vigour. MARIANNE also looks extremely
happy - but there is a gravity to her joy that makes her
seem much older.

According to the custom of the time, BRANDON throws a large
handful of six pences into the crowd, and the VILLAGE CHILDREN
jump and dive for them.

The coins spin and bounce, catching the sun like jewels. One
hits FANNY in the eye. She reels and falls over backwards
into a gorse bush. CAM pulls back as the wedding procession
makes its glorious way from the church. We draw away into
the surrounding countryside.

Then we see, on the far edge of frame, very small, a MAN
sitting on a white horse, watching. It is WILLOUGHBY. As we
draw back further still, he slowly pulls the horse around
and moves off in the opposite direction.

THE END

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