Sense and Sensibility (1981–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Episode #1.1 - full transcript

Jane Austen's classic tale of two very different sisters. Tracey Childs plays the young Marianne, with her passionate hunger for emotional experience & Irene Richard plays her sister Elinor, outwardly so cool & collected.

Mama, it is no use considering
that house any further.

It is much too large for us.

There are no others
to let in the neighbourhood.

We have seen them all.

I still cannot believe it.

Father is hardly buried
and Norland is not our home any more.

- How could he do this to us?
- He had no say in the matter.

The estate was entailed to John.
Father only had it for his own lifetime.

I must say, John and Fanny showed
indecent haste in taking possession.

- I'm sure it was all Fanny's doing.
- I do not know a more unpleasant woman.

Norland is John's home now, but I'm sure
he will show a proper feeling for us.

I shall write to my relations.
Perhaps they can help us.

- Leave the district?
- Why not?

We must find somewhere to live.

Oh, Elinor, where are your feelings?

I govern them.

But Fanny, my dear love,
It was my father's last request to me

that I should assist his widow and daughters.

Something must be done.

That something need not be £3,000.

Oh, well… He required the promise,
I could not do less than give it.

You surely did not promise to impoverish
our dear little Harry, our only child.

And for whom? The Miss Dashwoods
are only your half-sisters.

That is very true, but my father…

He did not know what he was talking of.
He was probably light-headed at the time.

To be sure. Little Harry may regret
that so large a sum was parted with,

- if he should have a numerous family.
- To be sure.

Perhaps, then,
it would be better for all parties

if the sum were diminished one half.

That would still be
a prodigious increase to their fortunes.

Beyond all dreams…

and for half-sisters.

I would not wish to do anything mean.

My dear, they have been left £500 a year.

It strikes me
they can want no addition at all.

That is very true.

Perhaps, then, it would be better
to do something just for their mother.

An annuity, say - what? - £100 a year?

That is better than parting with £1,500.

But then if Mrs Dashwood lives for 15 years,
we should be completely taken in.

Fanny, her life cannot be worth
half that purchase.

How can we tell? People live for ever
when there is an annuity to be paid to them.

It is certainly hard to have
that yearly drain on one's income.

And you get no thanks for it, either.

If I were you,
I would not allow them anything yearly.

I think you are right, my love.

A present of a hun…

of £50, now and then, hmm?

In truth, I do not believe your father
had any idea of giving them money.

He only meant you to help them
in kindly ways now and then.

Such as a basket of game or fish
when they're in season.

And helping them
to find another dwelling place.

Upon my word, I believe
that is exactly what my father meant.

Ah, my dear Elinor, was the house
you inspected to your satisfaction?

I fear not.

Mama and Marianne are resting.

Well, never mind, my dear.
We are delighted to have you here.

While you keep on trying.
There is nothing like a home of your own.

Oh, I beg your pardon.

- I was not aware…
- No, no, no. Come in, come in, Edward.

May I introduce
my wife's brother, Mr Edward Ferrars.

- Miss Dashwood.
- How do you do, Mr Ferrars?

How do you do, Miss Dashwood?

Edward is to stay with us for a while.

He has come from Tunbridge Wells,
where our dear mother has a fine estate.

Oh, yes. A very fine place.

The rents bring in…
how much would you say, Edward?

- I hardly know.
- The timber alone is worth a fortune.

There's no need to blush, Edward.
All yours one day, eh?

Edward, don't stand there like a dummy.

Do please sit down, Mr Ferrars.

Thank you, Miss Dashwood.

Have you ever been inclined
to study the arts?

My mother has other plans for me.

Oh, may I?

Thank you.

What are they?

Forgive me, I…
Well, we are not of one mind in the family.

I'm sorry.

- Is that comfortable?
- Thank you.

Do sit down. You will not intrude.

We both appear to like silence.


No, if you will excuse me…

My morning walk.

Good morning, Miss Dashwood.

Good morning, Mr Ferrars.

It was a most delicious dinner, my dear.

The secret with cooks is to be firm,
especially about stealing.

We never had that trouble with ours.

Having made a clean sweep, I would not know.

I prefer to start afresh with servants,

as you will, I dare say…
when you find your new home.

I hope that will be soon.

Though you will not need many servants.

Ah, I am glad you did not dally
too long over the port.

Neither of us is a three-bottle man.

I should think not.
Temperance is the begetter of wealth.

- Ma'am.
- Thank you, John.

And what shall we do now?

Marianne, will you play us something?

Marianne is quite an accomplished musician.

Oh, please do, Miss Marianne.

Perhaps later. Thank you.

I do enjoy conversation.

(MRS DASHWOOD) No, thank you.

Elevating conversation.

- Do you read much, Mr Ferrars?
- I'm a middling reader.

- And your preference?
- Essays.

Oh, fiddle-de-dee! Dry bones.

Reading should stir the heart,
animate the feelings.

My sister refers
to so-called Gothic or romantic novels,

written mostly by ladies for ladies.

They are for people with heart.
The heroines are brought to a swoon

by heroes who are powerful
and ready to call upon the devil if need be.

- I would not call your heroes gentlemen.

Gentlemen? So much for you, Mr Ferrars.

Excuse me, Miss Marianne.

Miss Dashwood? You sketch, of course?

Yes, and do a little with watercolours.

- Do you go out early?
- The light is so beautiful then.

- Yes, it is.
- Mr Ferrars, why do you not entertain us?

I, Miss Marianne?

Yes, look what I found,
the works of William Cowper.

You have heard of the poet Cowper?

I have heard of the poet Cowper.

Read us one, Mr Ferrars.

Marianne, why not play us something now?

When Mr Ferrars has read.
That's a bargain. Here's one.

Why not, Edward? It will cultivate
your talent for public speaking.

You know how ardently
mother wishes you to do that.

Yes, come along, Edward.
Practice will do you good.

"The Poplar Field".

"The poplars are fell'd!
Farewell to the shade

"and the whispering sound
of the cool colonnade…"

How spiritless, how tame was Mr Edward's
manner in reading to us last night.

- I fear his heart was not in it.
- Heart? What heart?

- How could you listen with such composure?
- He did as you asked him.

To hear that beautiful poetry,
which has frequently driven me almost wild,

pronounced with such impenetrable calmness,
such dreadful indifference.

He would certainly have done
more justice to simple and elegant prose.

Mr Edward Ferrars does not attract me
by a single grace of person or dress.

- He is stiff.
- His manners are pleasing.

Overcome his shyness
and you will glimpse an affectionate heart.

I grant he is amiable,
but he is not the kind of young man…

Whom you seek?

There is something wanting in his eyes,

that spirit, that fire one looks for.

Alas, I am convinced I shall never
meet a man whom I can really love.

I require so much.

It is rather early
to despair of such happiness.

You are not yet 17.

Making a picture is a question of harmony.
First, the harmony of form.

One's eyes discover a pattern
in nature that pleases.

Then there is the harmony
of colour. As for instance…

Yes, he is an artist.

Excuse me.

Miss Dashwood… Be my judge. Do these?

Do these compose a harmony?

Oh, thank you.

Mr Ferrars, please don't run away
until you've heard my verdict.

Every time I look at your breakfast set,
I confess I envy you.

Thank you. I am fond of it.

Let me pluck up courage and ask,

must you take it with you when you leave?

Well, it never occurred to me
to do otherwise.

It does seem to belong to this house

for all that your dear husband
left it to you…

with other pieces of furniture

which will be so out of place
in a small house.

I shall find room for them.

It does seem a little unfair
to John as the heir.

I sometimes wonder
if his father was rambling at the time.

You are misinformed, Fanny.

I am extremely sorry if it will grieve you
to part with the china and furniture,

but they came to me
from my own family on my marriage.

Oh, I am so sorry. I did not know.

Would you excuse me?

I have so little time to talk to you all.

Oh… Really?

Even Edward, my own brother,
is much preoccupied lately.


He is an excellent young man, is he not?

Yes. So he appears to me.

As the heir to a rich estate,
he has a great future, we are all sure.

- Mother wishes to get him into Parliament.
- Well, if that is his wish.

It is what mother wishes that counts.

Then there is the question
of a suitable match for him.

Oh, yes. I am sure.

He needs a lady whose rank
and fortune at least equal his own

if he is to reach
the highest places in the land.

Of course, not everyone understands this.

- Do they not?
- Wherever he goes,

some foolish young woman
who tries to engage his attentions.

Well, fortunately he is of age
and can look after himself.

Oh, he had better.

Mother controls his purse strings.

If Edward ever acted like a fool,
all would go to his brother Robert.

But Edward is not a fool.

I sincerely trust he is not.

Of course, I knew that a lady
of your experience would understand.

But you know the impudence
of some of these girls.

I have experienced
a good deal of impudence, Fanny,

but the worst of it has not been
from the unmarried!

Oh, my dears! I have been offered a house.

- (ELINOR) A house? Where?
- I hope it is not far from Norland.

- It is in Devonshire.
- Devonshire! So far from here?

It is on the estate of my kinsman Sir John
Middleton of Barton Park, near Exeter.

- Exeter!
- Mama, I am sure it will be quite splendid.

It sounds quite small, but it is all we need.

Oh, well! A kinsman, and landed and titled.

You have done well to obtain his protection.

I shall pay rent… against his wishes.

I hope you and Fanny will visit us there.

Er… possibly.

If only I could have helped you
with the cost of moving,

but the expense
of running Norland is prohibitive.

I can afford it, thank you.

We have made our other farewells.

- They should have been here to see you off.
- They are busy people.

But you will visit us.

I shall visit you.

- You will be most welcome.
- Indeed.

Oh, dear, dear Norland…

when shall I cease to regret you?

Could you know the pain
I suffer at bidding you farewell?

And you, ye well-known trees…
oh, but you will bloom on.


You… You are unaware
that never again shall I enjoy you,

but never shall I forget you.

- Farewell.
- Marianne, we are waiting.

Oh, you! You're heartless! (SOBS)

Susan, them yure!

Welcome to Barton Cottage, ladies.

Thank you.

Thank you, coachman.

I'm Tom. I do odd jobs and the garden.

This is Susan.

Will you step inside, ma'am?

Yes, Tom. Susan.

This is the other parlour, ma'am.

Beds are ready and the rooms well aired.

Not much unpacked
in case we done something wrong.

That is excellent, Tom.

Tea will be a few minutes.

Oh, thank you, Susan.

Sir John's expecting you.
He should be here in a minute.

Had a boy on watch for you.

Well, he'll want that hedge clipped
before he comes.

If you'll excuse me.

Well, my dears,
what do you think of the cottage?

I think it will suit us well, Mama.

It's all so dreary.

Oh, when I think of Norland…

Oh, it is modest, yes,
but next year we may think about building.

We could throw the parlours together,
build upstairs.

Mama, we cannot do all that
on £500 a year.

- Mama, I do believe…

- Ah.
- (LAUGHS) Cousin!

Oh, it's a long time since I've seen you.

- Dear Sir John.
- Welcome to all of you, ladies.

May I introduce my wife, Lady Middleton?

- How do you do, Lady Middleton?
- How do you do?

May I present Miss Dashwood, Miss Marianne.

Lady Middleton. Sir John.

How do you do?

A great pleasure, young ladies. We entertain
much. You'll be an ornament to our circle.

- Sully, sit.

And now tell me, have you ever seen
a finer boy at six than my William?

Oh, never.

- I think that contains china.
- Play outside, William.

- (LAUGHS) Come on.
- My darling is so spirited.

Well, my dears,
we shan't stay long. You have a lot to do.

But Tom is a good fellow,
and you can train Susan up.

I wanted you to stay with us
till you had this place shipshape.

So you wrote,
but we should settle in at once.

- That is William. He's come to harm!

No harm, my lady,
except to my cucumber frame.

But the shock. We must take him home.

Coming. I only meant to say welcome.
You'll have dinner with us tomorrow.

- Please…
- No arguments.

There won't be a crowd - Lady Middleton's
mother and my friend Colonel Brandon.

- Be ready at four.

That boy. The sooner he goes to Eton
and gets thrashed, the better.

(LAUGHS) Good day to you, cousins.

Good day, Sir John.

I will say this for the family,

we do have a jolly time.

- So I see, Mrs Jennings.
- Oh, this is a quiet night.

Your daughter does play nicely.



I was very fond of playing
the pianoforte when I was a girl,

but I gave it up on my marriage.

And my two dear children
take up a great deal of time.

She has a nice touch. I'm only sorry
there aren't more people here to enjoy it.

I rode down this morning
to invite some neighbours,

but everybody was full of engagements.

Oh, yes, excellent.

And now that song you promised us, hmm?

My dear husband left me
well off when I was widowed.

But I had two girls to get off me hands
and I pride myself, I've done well by 'em.

You wouldn't think Lady Middleton
was me daughter. Such a grand lady.

Oh, I can't tell you the young ladies'
academies I tried, the deportment teachers…

but I took her about with me.

- Mother.
- Oh, thank you.

Only way to make a good catch
for your girls - take 'em about.

I married me other girl well, too.
A Mr Palmer, every bit as rich as Sir John.

- My girls and I are happy together.
- But you've got to get 'em off, my dear.

What else is there for a widowed lady to do?


♪ Dear Father, have you any gold

♪ Or silver to set me free? ♪

And there's one good match for a start.

Couldn't wish for a finer gentleman
than Colonel Brandon. He's ripe for it, too.

♪ No, I have got no gold

♪ Nor silver to set you free… ♪

On the lookout, I'll warrant.

Shall we listen to my sister?

(SIR JOHN) Show them no mind.
Plenty young men.

♪ Oh, the prickety bush… ♪

I love having young people around me.

Give them plenty to eat,
picnics by day, dancing at night.

That's what I call life.

John, will you be quiet a moment
and listen to the music?

Miss Marianne, another song, yes?

- Sing me "The Prickety Bush".

Synced by Peterlin