Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas (2011) - full transcript

December, 1900 Miss Heathwood's Boarding School for Girls. Thrust into the chaotic and unfamiliar world of a boarding school at Christmas, Mandie finds herself hounded by new rules and regulations at every turn. Unable to grasp the finer points of high society, she constantly falls into trouble with Miss Heathwood, the headmistress. While visiting the school's forbidden attic, Mandie stumbles upon a mystery from which she is warned to flee. Seeking the truth will require Mandie to lie, but it just might provide the key that unlocks the memories of a long forgotten Christmas. This installment follows "Mandie and the Secret Tunnel" featuring Dean Jones and "Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure" with Hayley Mills. The films are based on the "Mandie" books by Lois Gladys Leppard.


Mandie!

Mandie!

Has anyone seen Mandie?

Where's Mandie?

Anyone know where Mandie is?

Playing in a mud puddle perhaps?

I'm terribly sorry.

Are you alright?

Have you seen Mandie?

Any sign of her?

No.

The boys are here!

Thanks a bundle Miss Mandie!

Yes Sir!

I'd rather be out here any day
than inside ironing napkins.

Let me know any time
I can return the favor.

Yes Sir.

What time is it?

Dead on three o'clock.

Oh no!

No!

Ahhhhhhhh!

What are you doing here?

You're supposed to be in jail!

Jail!

Polly Cornwallis!

An understandable circumstance
of confusion.

My name is Dwayne Snow.

Am I to assume accurately
that you mistake my identity

for that of my slower,

rather dim-witted...
twin brother, Bayne?

Uhhhhhh.

Yes Sir.

Please forgive my breach of etiquette.

Shall our social exercise now commence?

Please accept another apology.

One of our young ladies is late.

Gentlemen, what is our protocol
in the event of a latecomer?

Begin without her Sir.

Good!

Good, good.

You may begin.

Pleasure to join you for tea
Miss Cornwallis.

Undoubtedly Mr. Robertson.

Uh!

I was helping Farmer
Earl move the horses.

A simple apology will suffice, Mandie.

Please excuse my tardiness.

It's his twin brother.

Now ask a friend to attend to
the smudge on your right cheek.

I'll have a go.

Thank you.

Carry on, Children.

Well, thankfully you don't smell

as if you've been herding horses.

You don't smell like you've been
living in a school full of boys,

thankfully.

I'm Tommy, I'm from Charleston.

Have you ever seen the ocean?

Yeah, every day when I'm home.

There you go.

Clean as a whistle.

Thank you.

I made the acquaintance
of a man you should meet.

He knows people.

I know everyone I need to know,
thank you.

I simply cannot wait for the
Christmas ball.

We've already decorated.

Does it look absolutely,
positively exquisite?

Quite.

I made sure it would surpass
even your expectations!

Miss Heathwood won't let us
decorate for Christmas yet.

Of course she will,

if you use the proper
etiquette when asking.

Miss Heathwood,

may we please begin decorating
for Christmas today?

We've already completed
our decorating.

In its entirety.

Of course.

As long as you get the
decorations from the attic.

Yes Ma'am.

And one more young lady may
join her.

I believe I shall go to.

No.

Two young gentlemen should
have the honor.

Very well.

Do not linger.

Do not touch anything
except what you carry.

Polly, you know the rest.

Wait by the stairs.

Your hair bow's untied.

Offer to tie it.

No, thank you.

Your bow tying speed and skill

are surely unmatched Miss Cornwallis.

Well thank you very much, Mr. Robertson.

I quite agree.

Go.

You're not coming with us?

Are you afraid of rats?

No.

Bats.

No, weak slats.

The floor is full of them.

A body could fall straight
through that ceiling

and land on Miss Heathwood's
dinner table.

Be careful.

I've been to much scarier
places than an attic.

Have you?

Why doesn't Miss Prudence
come with us?

No one knows.

She uses a different excuse
each year.

Jumpin' Jiminey!

All I ever had to decorate with
at Christmas was one red ribbon.

How wonderful to decorate
an entire school!

Mandie!

Do not touch anything.

The last girl who did had
kitchen duty for two weeks.

This trunk holds our decorations.

Well what is all this for?

What a waste.

Perhaps I should go ascertain
the whereabouts of the children.

Uh, that is unnecessary.

Well, have you ascended
recently into the attic?

Then how can you be certain
of the room's safety?

I know that safety is not
your primary motivation

for wanting to visit the attic.

Amanda Shaw!

I didn't touch it!

Honest, she didn't touch it.

Whatever shenanigans
you two are up to...

Now's not the time.

Just come help us with the decorations.

Immediately.

She wasn't even close to it.

Well perhaps it was you.

No.

Miss Cornwallis and I are leaving.

Mandie accidentally knocked
over a hat stand.

I did not.

It some how fell over all by itself.

Neither Miss Cornwallis nor
I were party to any shenanigans.

Shenanigans?

No, no shenanigans.

Just wonderfully beautiful decorations

wastefully gathering dust.

Mandie, Never, ever, under any
circumstances say that again.

Yes Ma'am.

Ah, they're back.

Safely.

May we begin at once?

No, it would be impolite to
our guests.

Tomorrow.

Well, we'd best be off.

Gentlemen, say goodbye to the ladies.

Goodbye.

Goodbye.

It's fresh, I found it on your steps.

Rabbit stew anyone?

Why were you so late
to the tea party?

I lost track of time.

It was awfully embarrassing.

Did you see how red my face was?

No.

It was hidden behind your hands.

You simply must start
following the rules.

I'm trying!

Mandie!

Is it absolutely necessary
to raise your voice?

No, Ma'am.

Be respectful.

I suppose you've already been scolded

quite enough for your tardiness.

Yes Ma'am.

The rules here exist for your benefit.

To make you a better person.

I look forward to watching
you learn and follow them.

I'm trying.

I know.

Scrooge then remembered
to have heard

that ghosts in haunted houses

were described as dragging chains.

The cellar door flew open
with a booming sound.

And then he heard the noise much
louder on the floors below.

Then coming up the stairs.

Then coming straight toward
his door.

It's humbug still, Said Scrooge.

I won't believe it.

I told you I didn't make
that hat stand fall!

I have no idea what
you're speaking of.

Did you not just hear that?

No.

The book frightened you.

You're imagining things.

Goodnight.

Don't suppose you heard that either?

Heard what?

I didn't make that hat stand fall.

I'm gonna prove it.

Absolutely, positively no one
is allowed in the attic

at any time without Miss
Heathwood's permission!

I have to prove it.

Couldn't you just wait to
prove it in the morning?

Knowing my luck,
whoever's up there will be gone!

Whoever?

Who?

Couldn't it just be a whatever?

Move.

No.

I'll squeal.

You better get back,
you're breaking curfew.

Hello!

I'm, I'm Mandie.

I'm a friendly girl.

Are you friendly?

Polly Cornwallis!

I was trying to keep Mandie
from entering the attic.

I even barred her way.

I heard a noise coming from upstairs.

I had to prove that I didn't
make that hat stand fall.

You stole my key?

You were snoring.

What time is curfew?

8:30.

And what time is it now?

After 8:30.

Instead of Christmas
decorating tomorrow,

you will clean the breakfast dishes.

I was trying to keep her
from breaking the rules.

Truly.

Please?

Do a better job next time.

Yes Ma'am.

Now go to bed.

Go!

And stay in it!

That was too close Mandie.

There are consequences here
when you break the rules.

You almost got me in trouble
for nothing.

I know.

I'm sorry.

The Christmas ball with
the boys is next week.

It's magical.

Do you wanna go?

Then you better behave.

I will, I will.

Mandie, can you help us?

No, she's not allowed.

Aren't you supposed
to be in the kitchen?

Yes Ma'am.

I'll be down later to make sure
you're scrubbing thoroughly.

Do you need help?

You're not allowed.

You can't do it alone.

So it's alright to disobey
if you're helping someone?

You could hang it on the door.

Why is it open?

I don't know.

How?

Thank you.

Don't thank me.

I helped you.

Please excuse us Polly.

The attic is none of your
concern or responsibility.

Never go up there again.

Is that clear?

Yes Ma'am.

That is a very silly
place to hang a wreath.

Why don't you like decorating
for Christmas?

Don't waste time pondering things

that I have long since been forgotten.

How do we walk ladies?

Ingrid.

April.

Three, all for me!

Ernestine.

My Momma's gonna take
me Christmas shopping!

What about me?

No, nothing.

Mandie.

Edith.

Irene.

Uncle Ned's coming to visit!

Uncle Ned wants to call on me.

Um, may he come tonight?

It's too late to catch
the train tonight.

He may come tomorrow.

He'll just run through the woods.

Hardly a gentleman's mode
of trans oortation is it?

He's Cherokee, that's how he travels.

Are you Cherokee?

Yes Ma'am, one quarter.

I think it would be better

if your Uncle did not
come calling here.

Alright, where may he come?

I cannot think of a suitable location.

My Uncle is suitable for any location.

He was my Daddy's best friend.

You would approve.

I'm sure I would,
but others here would not.

It would be in your best interest

to keep your heritage to yourself

while attending this school.

I wish you could take me away.

Papoose must stay, learn.

They have so many rules.

It's hard to keep them straight.

I try to do a good thing

and I end up breaking a
rule I forgot about.

Patience Papoose.

Takes time to learn rules.

To live in their world,
you must know their ways.

What if I don't want
to live in their world?

Their world is your Mother's world.

I know.

Do you love your Mother?

Yes, very much.

Then you learn the
ways of her world.

I should get back,
so I don't miss curfew.

What time is it?

8:45.

But the front door was locked.

Yes, every night at 8:15.

I thought it was 8:30.

Bedroom curfew is at 8:30.

The front door is locked at 8:15.

How do you suggest I handle this?

Mandie, what if you'd
been hurt out there?

And I couldn't find you?

No suggestions?

Well, there's only one
thing I know to do.

What?

Pray.

You have prayed before,
have you not?

Yes Ma'am.

Good.

Almighty, kind, loving,
and just Heavenly Father,

I'm in desperate need of Your help.

Am I not?

Please give me wisdom to
properly handle Mandie.

And please give Miss Prudence mercy

and help her to understand
that I'm trying.

I know.

You promise that if we ask for wisdom,
You'll give it to us.

So here we are, begging,
Father please.

In Your Holy, precious,
joyful name, amen.

Amen.

When will He answer?

Whenever He wants.

How will we know?

When I went up the first time,

the nutcrackers were sitting
at tea.

When I went up last night,

they were laying down like

someone had tucked them into bed.

What if someone is up there?

That's impossible.

Miss Prudence?

Good Morning.

Good Morning.

Did God give you any wisdom?

Hmmm.

For missing curfew last night,

you need to study the school rulebook

every day for one hour until
you go home for Christmas.

And Mandie, if you have
any concerns about noises

you may or may not have
heard in the attic

you should express those to
Miss Heathwood.

Yes Ma'am.

I have to find a way to
convince Miss Heathwood

to let us back in the attic.

You can't.

I can.

You can't.

I can.

You can't!

Yes, I can.

Miss Heathwood?

Miss Heathwood?

Miss Heathwood took my star
off the top of the tree.

What kind of a lady does that?

A lady with a very good reason?

Like what?

Your short story should
be at least five pages,

set prior to the Civil War,
and about a family.

Ponder who your main character
is and how they will change.

You may talk amongst yourselves,
if you please.

I don't know anything
about the Civil War.

My Uncle died in the Civil War.

I know several true stories
about the Civil War.

My Grandfather had slaves.

My Uncle fought for the North.

I'm considering writing
a true story about a girl

who can't sleep because
she hears scary noises.

She thinks they're coming
from the attic,

but she can't prove it
without researching.

And researching is impossible

because no one is allowed in
the attic.

I suppose it's a tragedy.

She's doomed to sleepless,
scary nights,

unless she moves away.

I'm not so good with endings,
can you think of one?

Something happy?

Very good, quite clever.

And because you have such a gift
and were bold enough to use it,

I suggest that your heroine
take a friend up to this attic,

leaving a certain young supervisor

at the bottom of the stairs.

And if this heroine finds
something in the attic,

she handles it immediately
involving only her supervisor.

Thank you!

May a boy please escort us?

No.

Remember,

you're to be looking for
something that does not belong,

not at everything that does.

Yes Ma'am.

Now would you believe I didn't
make that hat stand fall?

Yes, but it's freezing,
and drafty, and dark.

Not fit, one bit for a human being.

Maybe not your type of human being,
but for mine,

it's not so bad.

We brought you bread.

But you can't have any unless
you come out.

And unless you mind your manners.

We are young ladies and
should be treated as such.

Hello?

Did you leave that dead
rabbit on our steps?

It made really yummy rabbit stew.

We'd bring you some,
if we knew you existed.

We could bring you a blanket,
or three.

Ugh!

Something smells.

I'm freezing, can we go?

Like what?

I don't know.

Putrid.

Oh please no!

Ahhhhhh!

I don't smell quite putrid yet,
do I?

I mean, well, not all the way putrid.

I'm sorry.

I haven't had a bath in a month.

Do you honestly have a bread?

I'm starving.

What are you doing here?

Getting an education.

Why can't you just attend the school?

Mandie, hers isn't the type
that comes to this school.

My Mother attended.

But I'm happy up here.

Those rabbits are enough to
pay for my room and board,

don't you think?

I'm going to tell Miss Prudence.

No!

They'll kick me out!

No, no, no, no, no they won't.

Yes, they will.

You must leave, now.

Tell them no one is up
here and never return.

Promise me.

I'm not lying to anyone about anything.

Isn't there another school
you can attend?

No.

My Momma dreamed I'd come here,
like she did.

But we got too many children now.

So I took it upon myself to
make her dream come true.

It's my dream too.

There's nothing I want to do
more than learn and write.

There's bound to be a way
you can earn your keep

in order to attend the school.

There's not, trust me.

Can we please go tell Miss
Prudence and be done with this?

No.

We promise we won't tell
a soul you're up here.

I can't lie.

Then think of a way
you don't have to.

Polly!

Polly.

Polly?

Miss Prudence?

She collapsed.

Polly.

Polly?

Polly.

Polly honey

can you hear me?

What did ya'll find?

Rats and rotten slats.

Polly.

Polly honey open your eyes.

Can you tell me what
you saw in the attic?

I just collapsed in a heap.

What made you faint?

I just collapsed, in a heap.

She got scared and cold.

So you did not find a
person in the attic?

May I go to bed?

Yes.

About Celia, I know that...

She's not my affair.

I just collapsed, in a heap.

That was clever, by the way.

Thank you.

We can't just leave
her up there to starve.

When she gets hungry enough,

she'll go back home,
where she belongs.

Why can't she just attend the school?

She isn't one of us.

She doesn't know one thing
about being a lady.

If the girls found out where she
came from, she'd never fit in.

She came from where I came from.

Precisely.

And look at what a hard time
you're having fitting in,

learning new ways.

So long as you forget about her,

I won't say anything.

Fine.

Dear gracious, heavenly, kind Father,

I don't want to ask you
what to do about Celia

because I'm afraid you'll tell
me to tell Miss Heathwood,

and she'll kick her out.

But I don't think Celia
deserves to get kicked out.

Not if she can pay
her way with rabbits.

I know it's wrong to lie,
but I'm not sorry that I did.

Thank you that I'm not living
in an attic freezing right now.

Please keep Celia warm.

Amen.

Thank you for seeing me
without a proper invitation.

Of course.

I was on my way to Christmas
shop with Mother

and I couldn't help stopping by.

You're welcome any time.

Thank you.

So.

How is my Amanda?

Oh it's been quite an adjustment

learning new ways of doing
things and remembering them.

That bad?

She could use some encouragement.

Momma?

Momma!

How long can you stay?

Just a short visit.

Oh, you miss me?

I know it's hard,
learning a new way of life.

But you keep trying.

You behave yourself,

you do what you know is right,

and it'll get easier.

Yes Ma'am.

I didn't fully understand the
value of Miss Heathwood's rules

until long after I graduated.

But I know you'll make me proud.

Yes Ma'am.

Oh, aunt Lou made you
and Polly fruitcake!

I'm going to give all my cookies
to Robert at the Christmas ball.

Won't that be romantic?

Yes.

I wish I had a beau like Robert.

Mandie, who are you giving
your cookies to?

I think I'll keep mine all
for myself.

Hello.

It's Mandie from yesterday.

I said forget about me
and never come back.

I couldn't.

I brought you blankets and cookies.

Thank you.

Now leave.

Go!

I like the way it feels up here.

Away from everyone.

Try it for a week.

What are you doing?

I'm writing a story.

About what?

You ever read "Little Women?"

All the time with my Daddy.

Me too.

My Daddy's dead now.

I'm writing new adventures
of Little Women.

Can I see it?

Just a little.

It's really good.

Honest.

I'd like to read more.

It's not finished.

Doesn't matter.

You're supposed to be leaving.

What kind of treasure do you have?

I'm gonna open it when I
finish my story.

What do you think it is?

Don't know.

Why do they wait so long to
decorate for Christmas here?

We don't, we're already decorated.

Without using any of this?

Not a bit.

What a waste.

I wonder what all this was
meant for.

We're not allowed to ask.

Our headmistress doesn't like Christmas.

That's heartbreaking.

I can do this.

I can do this.

Mandie,

I can't find the attic key.

I had it when Polly fainted,
but... did you see it?

Um, we were so focused on Polly.

I know.

Well, no spare key exists,
so keep your eye out please.

Yes Ma'am.

Thank you.

There you are.

Where've you been?

Here.

I have your Christmas present.

I didn't get you one.

I knew you wouldn't.

Here.

For the Christmas ball.

This one's mine.

Aren't they simply ravishing?

We'll be the loveliest
girls in attendance.

I'll fix your hair more beautiful

than you've ever had it.

It's just so exciting!

Alright ladies,

turn in your short stories please.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Mandie.

Thank you.

Now.

The discussion question for
this sewing period is:

during the Civil War,
some women on both sides

stole food to feed their soldiers.

Would you have done the same?

And why?

Mandie, why don't you speak first?

If I believed in what
we were fighting for,

yes, I would steal food.

Mandie.

It's wrong to pilfer.

But if I believed in my cause

that we had a dream worth
fighting for,

and the worst thing
I had to do was steal

to feed and clothe my hungry soldiers,

I'd do it.

Wouldn't ya'll?

Wouldn't you?

If I answer, I might sway
the opinion of the class.

You can't light a fire in
here, there's no ventilation!

I could smell it from the stairs.

I don't feel so well, I need meat.

I'll bring you stew tomorrow, promise.

Thank you.

What's it like living
with your friends

every moment of the day?

Heaven?

Lonely.

I'd give anything to have
your kind of loneliness.

I finished my story.

What's in the chest?

I don't know.

I was waiting for you.

What if I never returned?

You'll always return.

Hold it steady.

The Forgotten Christmas.

It's a play!

Let's read it.

Just a few pages, then you go.

Josephine Barry races down
an ornate castle hallway.

Mandie.

Anyone seen Mandie?

What do we always say
when you ask us that?

I found another one.

Same spot.

No my dear, no!

Josephine falls to her knees, sobbing.

How dare you betray my heart!

How dare you!

Perfect stopping point.
Leave.

Horrible stopping point!

Josephine collapses,
empty and shattered.

Mandie.

There's a knock at the door.

Josephine's eyes glow with joy.

A second chance to make...

No!

I have to know what happens!

You have to go.

Don't come back.

I won't.

See ya tonight then?

I will bring back some stew.

You try to find the
rest of that play.

Mandie.

Polly's been looking for you.

Found it!

It must have fallen on the floor.

Thank you.

Oh, Mandie.

Where've you been?

Here.

Miss Heathwood has an announcement.

Thank you for joining us.

Our young men at the boarding school

have been hunting turkey for
two weeks unsuccessfully.

You will all be duly grateful

and not utter a single complaint

when we eat deer instead of
turkey at the Christmas ball.

Yes Ma'am.

Just because the boys
can't hunt turkey

it doesn't mean we have to go without.

Then please do tell us what
precisely it does mean.

It means that it's Christmas.

You don't give up hope.

There's still two more
days until the ball.

Hope in the impossible,

especially at Christmas is a lie.

When faced with a reality
that won't change

you must adjust your expectations

to minimize your disappointment.

The boys have poured their
hearts into this hunt,

but in two weeks they
haven't found a turkey.

Who here believes they
stand a chance of finding

one in two days?

They tried hard.

They deserved better,

but fate said no so you let
it go.

If you let it go,
then you lose hope.

If you lose hope,
doesn't a part of you die?

Are we still talking about turkeys?

Ned?

Papoose!

Ned!

Have you heard any turkeys?

No.

Heard boys hunting turkeys.

Boys need lessons.

The girls will be heartbroken

if they don't have a turkey
for the Christmas ball.

Mandie and Ned teach boys lesson.

Meet tomorrow, daybreak.

Thank you.

Mandie.

Yes Ma'am.

Your story was exceptionally good.

Where did you get the inspiration?

Uh.

It was handed to me.

And, uh, why isn't it finished?

I'm not so good with endings.

Neither am I.

Give it a try.

Yes Ma'am.

Want to come practice fixing
our hair

for the Christmas ball?

And study?

Mmmmm.
Something smells good.

How long 'til it's ready?

Hour.

I'm starving.

You should have eaten more at dinner

when you had the chance.

What are you doing?

Stealing the key to
get into the attic.

No.

Don't lie to me.

Go check the button box.

Where were you this afternoon?

I told you. Here.

Mmmmmm. Smells good.

There's plenty.

Delicious.

I wonder who's been providing
the rabbits.

Goodnight.

Care to sit a while?

I better not.

I might say something I shouldn't.

She's already asleep?

It appears that way.

I can't keep lying.

What?

I can't lie anymore.

Stop coming up here
and you won't have to.

I'm going to tell them
that you're up here.

And I 'm going to convince
them to let you stay.

If you fail...
I won't!

Mandie, they'll kick me out.

Trust me.

They like their rabbit stew
too much.

I trusted you when you said

you'd bring me rabbit stew tonight.

I did!
You didn't!

I did!

It's not tonight anymore.

It's tomorrow morning.

I need you to trust me, once more.

I need you to believe in me.

If you fail,
you'll shatter my life.

I'll come for you tomorrow afternoon.

I'll write while I wait.

Yes, I was in the
attic earlier today.

Yes, I was in the attic just now.

Yes, I will tell Miss
Heathwood about Celia

tomorrow afternoon.

Why not this morning?

Because I have something
important to do.

Are you going to ask Miss
Heathwood if Celia can attend?

No.

I'm going to convince
her that she can.

You'd do better to hide
behind some thick brush.

Ssshhhh.

Hi.

What are you doing?

Uh. Looking for my Uncle.

Ya'll find a turkey yet?

Almost.

Bet I do before you do.

Was she serious?

Yeah.

No girl's going to humiliate us.

I promise I heard one.

Why didn't I hear it?

Sssshhhh.

That's not a turkey.

Ssshhhh.

Yeah it is.

I guess this'll do.

How?

My Cherokee Indian Uncle
tracked it and I shot it.

You shot it?

You ever figure out what it
was that fell in your attic?

Yes.

What was it?

I can't tell.

Why not?

It's against the rules.

When has that ever stopped you?

What do you mean?

We know about you girls
who the goody-goodies are,

who's always in trouble.

I'm not always in trouble.

Starting this afternoon,
I will never be in trouble again.

Mandie wait.

I didn't mean anything bad.

I like that you think for yourself.

Good afternoon Tommy.

I'm looking forward to dancing
with you at the ball!

Ladies.

I am pleased to inform you
that against all odds,

the boys did find a turkey.

Yay!

Which boy?

Mr. Robertson.

Congratulations Polly.
Congratulations.

I find it a challenge to believe
that a boy like Mr. Robertson

got his hands dirty enough to
find a turkey.

He actually carried the dead turkey

all the way back to school.

Congratulations Polly.

Congratulations.

Who killed the turkey?

You said Robert did.

Was I misinformed?

Yes.

Uncle Ned tracked it and
I shot it.

That's a man's job.

Uncle Ned is a man.

You argue back at me?

No. I'm trying to explain to you.

The girls wanted a turkey,

the boys didn't know how to find one.
I did.

Why didn't you take credit
for shooting it?

And reveal my Cherokee heritage?

Did I do something wrong?

You broke several rules of etiquette.

Etiquette?

The girls made each other
Christmas presents.

I didn't know what to make anybody

so instead I shot them a turkey

and I showed them there's
nothing wrong

with hoping at Christmas.

If somehow that's wrong,
I give up.

Oh come here.

Come here Mandie.

Don't give up.

Not you.

Do you mean that?

Of course.

Are you sure?

Yes.

Alright.

There's something I have to
tell you.

There's a girl living in our attic.

There's what?
Celia.

Please allow her to
attend our school.

How do you know this?

I've been visiting her.

In my attic?

What did I tell you about my attic?

To never go up there again.

It was none of my business.

Wait here.

Did you know there was a
child living in my attic?

Yes.

No! I told you no-one was up there.

Thankfully Mandie,

you are more skilled as
a hunter than a liar.

Surely you have not known
about this.

I absolutely, positively,

vehemently opposed all
attempts to enter the attic.

May I translate that to
mean that you did know?

And you didn't tell me?

She made me promise not to.

Nobody makes you promise
something Polly.

You will not attend the dance.

And neither will you.

Go to the attic and tell the
girl she must leave immediately.

Escort her out.

I will be watching.

Why does she have to leave?

We have no room for her
or means to feed her.

She feed us. The rabbits.

We can't take in every little urchin

who dreams of an education.

I wish we could.

Who else wants it so badly

they'll live in an attic to
get it?

One girl.

Wanting it is nothing

if you don't have the
intelligence to accomplish it.

The story of mine you
love I didn't write it,

she did and she finished it.

If I allowed her to attend,

she would pour years of
hard work into her dreams

only to discover in the
end that it wasn't enough.

That she comes from
the wrong background,

she doesn't know the right people,

she doesn't have the means
to meet the right people,

and that she's not quite
talented enough.

Evicting her now is the
kindest thing I can do.

I'm saving her from
tremendous heartache.

Would you please meet her?

Greasy, stringy hair, ugly dress,

a hunger for learning greater
than a hunger for food

and dreams grander than she
can live off.

Isn't she wonderful?

Now perhaps,

but not in twenty years when
she realizes her dreams

are never going to come true.

Go.

Remove her from the premises.

You should have spoken with me

before you told Miss Heathwood.

I know.

You didn't have all the information.

What's the rest of the information?

What is Miss Heathwood's
greatest weakness?

Christmas.

Why?

I don't know.

She had a dream.

She gave up.

She hates Christmas.

What does that have to do with
Celia living in our attic?

Ask Headmaster Dwayne.

This ball is what I look
forward to every year

more than anything.

More than Christmas.

I know its mean and selfish

to be crying over a dance when
Celia's getting thrown out,

but I can't help it.

I'm just so disappointed.

Is it too late to ask for
your help?

I'll do anything?

I don't know how you answer people

but please say something.

How long do you propose
postponing your agony?

I'm asking God how to
break Celia's heart.

Do you have any suggestions?

None that would match what
God Himself might say.

Anything?

I wouldn't answer me either.

You'll never believe what I wrote!

We need more rabbit stew.

I am allowed to go out the door?

You are now.

Oh thank you, thank you!

Don't get so excited.

It's not proper etiquette.

Calm down until we get outside.

Have you ever seen a door so big?

I'm going to school!

Thank you so much!
Thank you!

You're welcome.

Now go catch a rabbit.

Oh and leave it on the steps
like always.

And slip up into the
attic your usual way.

Tomorrow we will get all
dressed up

and we will go to the
Christmas Ball.

With the boys?

And you can sleep in the house.

How can I ever repay you?

Just don't make a peep tonight.

I'll be back for you tomorrow.

For Papoose.

Thank you.

I did something horrible.

Papoose must make wrong right.

I don't know how.

Ask Big Yahweh.

I did.

He didn't answer.

Then He want you to
figure it out yourself.

I can't.

Yes.

He thinks you can.

I know you can.

Polly.

I'm so sorry.

I know.

But I need a little more
time to feel bad for myself.

You don't deserve this.

I know.

I'm so mad at you.

Miss Heathwood.

All Polly did was beg me
not to break the rules.

What can I do so she
can attend the ball?

Nothing.

Please.

How about a whipping?

Ten licks?

Please.

Please.

Polly you can go to the ball.

Honest?

How?
It doesn't matter.

How?
Doesn't matter.

It's over.

You can go.

Farmer Earl!

I need that favor!

Anything you wish, Miss Mandie.

You ready?

Oh yes.

Feel the water.

It's warm.

I've never had a warm bath before.

You look lovely.

This is Polly's old dress.

She'll be so pleased when
she sees how pretty you look.

Do you know how to dance?

Yes.

Wait 'til I come back.

I don't think I can.

You need an introduction.

May I please have a
word with you, Sir?

Of course, little lady,
what can I do for you?

Suppose there's a very poor
girl living in our attic

and she desperately wants an education

and she's a very good writer.

How can I convince Miss Heathwood

to allow the girl to work

in exchange for attending our school?

Oh my.

Miss Prudence suggested
I talk to you.

Well.
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my.

Can I tell you a story?

Yes.

Once upon a time there was
a beautiful young girl

who wanted nothing more in
life than to be a playwright.

She wrote a Christmas play.

She was so excited, she got
all the fabric for the costumes

put together all the props,

and her friends saw this
and they made fun of her,

called her stupid.

But she kept going.

She saved up her money and
she moved to New York.

The theaters there,
they loved her play.

They thought it was wonderful.

Except for the ending.

She wrote and rewrote that ending

but she could never get
it the way they wanted.

You see, she wasn't from high society,

so she didn't know the right people

to help her rewrite it
the way they wanted.

So after five years

she returned home destitute
and completely broken.

And could never be
convinced again that

anyone's dreams could come true.

What if,

what if I know someone who
knows the right people?

But this beautiful young lady

who's no longer young
but even more beautiful

didn't have the heart to try again.

I'd be honored if

you would share my first
real dance with me.

The honor is all mine!

I heard you weren't coming.

You'd gotten in some sort of trouble?

I brought you this.

Gentle. It'll break easy.

It's a sand dollar from the ocean.

Thank you!

I brought you

Thank you.

Wanna dance?

Whatever's going to happen's
going to happen.

One dance won't make it worse.

Oh dear Father in heaven above.

Please no.

The girl in the green dress
is good.

Yes I'd noticed.

Quite good.

And quite out of place.

Don't ruin this dance
for these children.

Don't you dare.

Let the show begin.

I told you to wait for me.

I couldn't!

Miss Heathwood, Miss Prudence,

I'd like to introduce
Miss Celia Hamilton.

I'm very pleased to meet you both.

Thank you for allowing
me to attend the school!

Considering the people
Headmaster Dwayne knows,

won't she make a lovely
addition to our school?

I'll work harder than any
other student you have.

And I'll catch as many
rabbits as you wish.

I'm sorry.

There's been a misunderstanding.

Mandie was supposed to send
you home last night.

I had to try.

It's the kindest thing
I can do for her.

Would you please try to understand.

Please help me.

I shattered everything.

I'm so sorry.

I'm not.

I got to study for a month.

And take my first hot bath,

and dance my first real dance,

and wear my first pretty dress

and ride on my first
glorious sleigh ride.

If I could hide you in
the attic again, I would.

I just can't keep lying.

I can't live up there anymore.

Not after I've tasted this.

I'd rather go home.

With eight brothers
and sisters at home,

at least you won't be lonely.

No.

I'll keep up with my studies.

I'll still write.

I'll miss you.

She's sleeping with us tonight.

We'll take her home tomorrow
on our way to the train.

I'll come visit.

And bring you books.

And read the play.

I finished it.

That's what was missing last night.

Where's the play?

Once Miss Heathwood sees that
you finished what she couldn't,

she'll have to let you in.

Can you turn the sleigh around?

I'm going home for Christmas.

I can't bear another broken heart.

Fine!

Mandie get in!

Not unless we go back to the school.

The last train leaves in one hour.

If you took a whipping so
I could go to the ball,

I'll miss Christmas

so you can make a fool
out of yourself again.

Good heavens above,
what is it now Mandie Shaw?

Celia finished it.

Miss Heathwood?

Miss Heathwood.

Celia finished your play.

I love your play.

I love your play.

Please tell me my daughter is here.

She certainly is.

What trouble has she caused now?

Well, the apple doesn't fall
far from the tree, Elizabeth.

That bad?

Oh no.

Ever so much worse than
you were capable of.

We'd like to see her right away.

Please.

Hi Mamma!

Gracious, child you do beat all!

We were worried!

When they didn't get
off the train yesterday

and with the telegraph office closed...

I just insisted we come here
because I knew she'd be here.

But your Uncle John didn't
believe me.

He done took that cat of yours,

got on the train going
in the wrong direction

thinking you'd got off at the
wrong stop.

You are more than welcome here.

In fact, we could use your help.

We're going to need an audience.