Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 6, Episode 10 - Sybilla - full transcript

Horace and Sybilla Meade return home after their wedding. Sybilla is a very un-demanding wife and agrees to all of her husband's requests. Horace is a bit of an odd duck and very set in his ways. Meals must be served at specific times and Sybilla must never enter his study. She never gets upset or raises her voice and is always accommodating. Over time, Horace comes to distrust her, to the point where he even tries to kill her. He changes his attitude when she tells him of a plot in a murder mystery she is reading and realizes that he may be in trouble. Unfortunately for Horace, he realizes far too late just how much he really loves her.

Good evening ladies
and gentlemen,

and young lovers
wherever you are.

No doubt their parents
have forbidden the bands,

and so rather than
face separation,

they result to...

Well it did have a happy ending?

I suppose I'm just an
incurable romantic.

But I so enjoy seeing
true love triumph.

And now while I
savor this moment,

we shall have a few words
on love of a different kind.

Sybilla is dead.

Sybilla is dead.

How can I read over
what I've written in the diary?

The pages will
look strange to me.

And yet I must finish them.

How did I come to marry Sybilla I
really cannot remember very clearly.

All I know is that for a
determined bachelor of 40 to have,

suddenly found himself
married to Sybilla,

was as incredible as
finding himself on the Moon.

Carter they're here.

-Good evening.
-Good evening. Sybilla this is,

-mr and mrs Carter, they take care of me.
-Yes I know.

Welcome to your new home we
hope you'll be very happy.

Thank you I'm sure I shall be.

Oh, Carter if you
will just take uh,

mrs mead's things up
to her room if you please.

And mrs Carter thank you so
much for waiting up for us.

Comes Sybilla,
let me show you the house.

Oh yes please do it Horace.

Oh it's lovely Horace.

-What beautiful things.
-Well most of these pieces are antiques.

They are a responsibility. They're quite
valuable and have to be properly looked after.

Oh yes yes I imagine so.

Of course thanks to
my mother's providence

I've had the means to
keep up this house.

Are these your mother's
things Horace? certainly not

My mother had atrocious taste.
Oh no I chose everything myself.

Come let me show
you the dining room.

I'm sure you'll find
the Carters well-trained,

at least they keep
the house as I like.

Well this is it.

Oh, Horace it's perfect.
It's just how I imagined it.


Um, Sybilla I suppose I ought
to tell you that...

Darling please believe me I
understand. This is your house.

You've been self-sufficient
here for a long time.

The very idea of marriage
is strange I know.

Yeah. Now uh about
breakfast I prefer...

But all men need love
and companionship.

I never want to be a
nuisance my darling, never.

Now, tell me about
breakfast. You were saying...

Um yes. I was about to
say... I prefer that,

that breakfast be served here in the
dining room, I usually have the same menu.

Perhaps it'll seem
monotonous but it suits me.

You must always tell me just
what you prefer my darling.

I don't want to make
any mistakes, never.

Grapefruit and one egg done in butter
and the coffee very, very strong.

And do you have lunch
and served in here also?

Oh yes yes, uh
one o'clock and,

dinner at eight. That is on the
late side. I hope it suits you.

-Of course dear. Lunch at one and dinner at eight.
-Is perfect.

-Now show me where you work.
-Oh well yes.

What is that?

It's my wedding present to you.

Do you like it Horace?


Real rather a fine piece.

-I tried to find something you would like.

The keys there on the ribbon.

How did you manage to get
it here without my knowing?

I enlisted mrs Carter as an ally.

Well I'm afraid it must
have cost a great deal.

Even if it did everything
I have belongs to you now.

I want to share it with you.

I realize how much you
value your your privacy.

I'll never come in here
to interfere or bother.

I promise you.

Well I,

thank you Sybilla.

Thank you.

-Sybilla would you care for little wine?
-No thank you dears.

-It's a little later I think I'll go to my room now.

-It's um at the end of the hall on the right.
-Yes yes I'll find it.

I happen to believe in separate
rooms uh I hope you understand.

Of course I do you must always tell
me just how you prefer everything.

I only want to please you.

She was always so
gentle so agreeable.

I defended my way of life I
remained a little cool and aloof.

The meals were served
as I preferred them.

The food actually improved, and
that was sly over I thought.

It was her way of
establishing her control.

I could find absolutely
nothing to complain about.

At first I was ready to defend myself
against all rearranging and habit breaking.

But Sybilla was
too clever for that.

I began to feel like a
man beating against air.

Imprisoned by invisible walls.


Yes dear.

Sybilla I've I've been
wondering whether you,

whether you miss
living in the city.

Not at all darling.

Well we are rather remote out here and
I've wondered if perhaps you might not,


Well, you could very well you know
have a small place of your own in town.

-I could afford that and an allowance.
-I'm quite content,

-to be where you are.
-A generous allowance.

But you're my life now.

It is unbearable. She's
holding me with cobwebs.

She studies my tastes and
there's no civilized way out.

She will never separate
or divorce.

But I cannot bear it much
longer. I must put an end to it.

But it was not until the day I came home, from
seeing my publisher that I decided to take steps.

-Darling your home, how nice.
-What were you doing in my study?

Well I was looking to see if
the drapes needed cleaning.

Mrs Carter's used to that.

well I I thought perhaps
you'd like me to see to it.

I know you dislike anyone
disturbing your things.

I'm used to mrs Carter, she's completely
trustworthy I'd rather leave it to her.

Horace what was your mother like?

She was a fine woman. A wonderful
person I was devoted to her.

-But she managed me.
-Ah but but I don't you know.

I cannot bear it. She broke her promise
she came in to snoop and interfere.

I won't have it. I have a supply
of sleeping medicine on hand.

I'm a sensitive person
and whenever I'm nervous,

or upset i cannot get to sleep
without taking something.

Lately I've had to take it often a
small amount ensures that I sleep well.

A large quantity of
course would prove fatal.

I've established the habit for Sybilla
and myself, of a little drink each night.

When the time comes I can say that she
borrowed the medicine from my cabinet.

No man murders a
perfect wife.

It will look accidental.

Our household now regards
this as a nightly habit.

A fact which is important
to the success of my plan.

Sybilla because she thinks it pleases me,
obediently drinks whatever I offer her.

Fortunately the sleeping medicine
is practically tasteless.

Come in.

-Is your wine my dear.
-Thank you darling.

A cold hand touched my heart.

I didn't want to but I had to.

I couldn't weaken now.

Why Horace come in
darling how nice.

Well what's the matter
darling you you look upset.

Is anything the matter?

No, no.


Horace what is it?

Why Horace you're in
a cold sweat.

Here, let me help you darling.




-Sybilla, help me!
-Horace, what wrong?

-My sleeping medicine, I...
-Oh come quickly.

Here, rinse your
mouth out quickly.

Is that better? Oh darling I'm
so sorry that I didn't tell you.

-Well the other morning I was tidying up in here,

and I had a little accident, your
sleeping medicine bottle fell.

The the bottle didn't break but
the liquid spilled all over.

I was gonna ask your doctor for the
prescription so that I could replace it.

It isn't anything
that'll hurt you darling.

I simply filled your bottle
with some lotion of mine.

I didn't think you'd be taking any.
Oh darling I'm so terribly sorry.

-Do you feel better now?
-Yes, yes. I'm all right.

Just leave me alone now please.

If you like darling of course.


That bottle spill.

Not break.

Too tired, too tired. Tomorrow.

-You feeling all right darling?
-I feel well enough.

Well perhaps you shouldn't
have worked this morning.

No no
I feel all right.

-What in the world are you reading?
-It's a mystery book.

-Such rubbish.
-I know.

Still it's psychologically
interesting Horace.

There's a very clever
idea in the book.

You see a man thinks that
someone's trying to kill him.

He finds this out
by reading a diary.

Then he makes a
copy of the diary.

And has it put in
his lawyer's safe,

to be read by the district
attorney in the. event of his death.

Then he lets the person who wants
to kill him know what he's done.

You see, I think
it's very clever.

I don't.

I think it's nonsense.

But it would work,
don't you think so?

Sybilla, what's that?

Oh I meant to tell you.

There are two keys to your desk.
I've had this in my sewing box.

If you ever lose yours
darling I have another.

She knows all about it.
She's been reading my diary.

She had a key. She knew
what I planned to do.

That's why she
substituted that lotion.

Now she has a copy of the diary
it's in her lawyer's safe.

She's acting as if nothing
has happened at all.

She expects me to do the same.

I'll have to.

I must.

The evidence is in
her lawyer's safe.

I cannot let Sybilla die.

In the years that followed it
became second nature for me,

to look after Sybilla
and watch over her.

There was nothing else to
do we had to live together.

After all I'd married
Sybilla and she seemed,

convinced that despite
myself I had wanted to.

Good morning Sybilla.

Oh, darling.

Now I want you to eat
every bit of this.

But darling breakfast is always
served in the dining room.

I don't believe you've been
eating properly lately.

You haven't been yourself.

Oh I'm all right Horace.

I've just been a little
tired that's all.

Now the best thing for you,

is to eat well and rest. I want
you to stay in bed and be lazy.

Oh darling you're so
thoughtful this is just lovely.

The doctor will be here this afternoon i want
him to examine you perhaps you need a tonic.

You'll eat every bit
of that, won't you?

-To please me.
-Of course darling.

Sybilla had not been feeling
well and I worried about her.

I must say that after being
married to her for eight years,

I'd come to appreciate her
intelligence, her prettiness,

her quietness. I had suggested we
take a vacation to the seashore.

She thought it was
a wonderful idea, and

eagerly started
making preparations.

Hello dear.

What on earth is that?

It's not supposed
to be on earth it's for the sea.

-The sea?

Look I got this for you.

You me one's actually
supposed to put such a thing on?

Well of course wouldn't it be a
pity to be there three weeks and,

-not be able to go swimming at all.
-No, no absolutely not.

-What horror.
-Oh we're going to the seashore,

for the sake of your health but
you're not going to do any swimming.

-I won't have it.

-But why not Horade? -Don't you
realize what there might be in the ocean?

Sharks, all sorts of
dangerous things.

-I won't have it Sybilla.
-Well we needn't go at all.

Oh but you need to change, well
we could go to the mountains...

-No no no.
-The mountains would be lovely.

No I don't like the idea of
mountain trails and steep places.

Whatever you say darling. Should
we stay here? I like it here.

No no no. You must
have a change.

We'll go to the seashore but I forbid
any swimming it's much too dangerous.

Now you send the
things right back.

All right well. Just sit
in the sun and relax.

And not too much sun mind you.

Your complexion is much too fair.

I had hoped that the trip to the
seashore might do her good

But instead she seemed
to fail.

She grew weaker.

-Well doctor?
-I'm afraid there's nothingmore we can do mr Meade.

-May I go in?
-Yes. I'll be downstairs.




I've wanted to ask you
something for a long time.

My desk,

the key,

did you,

did you ever,


Sorry to have to
bring you down here so soon,

after your wife's death but there's some
matters I think we ought to discuss.

That's quite all right
I I know it's necessary.

Mr Meade uh I had charge
of your wife's affairs,

before she was married to
you as I suppose you know.

-During the 10 years you were married,

although I saw very little ever
I kept some of her papers.

This is her will.

And a few bonds, not very many. She
had very little money of her own.

But in her will they come to you.

What, is that all?

I beg your pardon.

-That's all.

There was no copy of my
diary in the lawyer's safe.

Nothing but a few
family papers.

There never had been any.

Was it all a coincidence then
the medicine the key everything.

Now, she must have known
what I tried to do.

And didn't care.

It wasn't herself
she wanted to save.

It was me.

Oh I miss her.

Miss her as I've
never missed anyone.

The way she had of always
being there when I wanted her.

And I'm disappearing when
I wanted to be alone.

She was a perfect wife.

Oh Sybill,a now I know what I should
have done in that last moment.

I should have said,

I love you.

I shall return in
a moment but first,

we have that feature of television
that all viewers long for.

end of a commercial.

That moment will come
in just 60 seconds.

That concludes our
popurri for this evening.

Next week we shall
continue our study,

of that age-old

Did they jump or were they
pushed? Until then good night.