Standing next to the Duchess’s (Susan Hampshire) portrait, with a glimpse of the windows beyond which is the grave, Mary (Kate Nicholls asks her father why he wants to make her miserable for the rest of her life)
Dear friends and readers,
So I come to the end of a three-year journey. The first time I rewatched Pallisers 12:26 (about 2 years ago now) I cried or was near tears several times; the second time I was more composed, but nonetheless choked with moving emotions. It’s utterly different in sources from Trollope’s The Duke’s Children, where our sorrow is for the Duke’s loss, and we are kept at a distant irony by the close (the Duke will make up his mind to see Tregear’s arrogance as courage and then Gerald makes the usual mindless remark) which also includs Mary’s quiet non-hierarchical wedding.
In this film we cry for a death, we are relieved to experience a wrong righted, and watch life go on at the close in an upbeat moment as the Duke prepares to return to London political life and office.
What the Duke (Philip Latham) sees in the series’s final moments: out those windows: winners all, the two couples, Mary and Frank Treager (Jeremy Irons), Isabel Boncassen and Lord Silverbridge (Lynn Frederick and Anthony Andrews)
Just before he settles down to a new blue book and anticipating a return to Parliament and politics on a level he is comfortable with (Bungay, Roger Livesey, the last voice-over):
Dusk, anamnesic music, the Duchess’s portrait, genius loci of that place.
For these last two blogs I will provide a summary and transcripts (this blog) and conclude with a final commentary on 12:26 and the series as a whole (the next).
As Pallisers 12:25 centers its climaxes on Silverbridge and his father, so 12:26 picks up the Lady Mary story and makes her a replacement for her mother: the long big scenes in this part focus on the Duchess’s attempt (failed) to secure Mary’s independence: she dies trying to do this and tell Plantagenet she wants Mary to marry whom she loves. The sorrow and pity is she does not do this since she knows he’ll be unsympathetic, so they do not understand one another to the last. The mid-scene long crisis is Mary’s defying her father, and the final powerful one, Mrs Finn persuading him a few yards from Glencora’s grave.
12:25 is given over to concentration on Silverbridge growing up and clashes with father so 12:26 concentrates on Mary as compensation for what happened to her mother; Kate Nicholls the muse of this part.
Episode 41: Medical Shock
Sene 1) Dark night in carriage, hurrying along to Matching, Silverbridge emphatically distressed over mother’s illness; we are to remember him as the “lovely boy” of the early episodes; we have seen this wood before, but in daylight. Invented scene.
Scene 2) Matching, front room, downstairs, Mrs Finn and Duke listening to doctor. The simple cold has become pneumonia, source The Duke’s Children, Ch 1, p 4 (Penguin edition by Dinah Birch). Duchess needs to eat and keep down food to regain strength; soporific for sleep; Mrs Finn grasping the medicine tightly.
Scene 3) Glencora in her bed, scene has a tiny core in DC, Ch 2, p. 8 but wholly in character insofar as the characters are concerned even if Trollope does not practice these protracted death scenes.
Establishment shot: Glencora lying down, very ill, looks feeble, fingering a framed photograph, four more by her bedside. Mrs Finn comes in, the Duke follows.
Duchess (low voice): “What did the doctor say of me?”
Mrs Finn: “That you must eat and then you must sleep.”
Duchess: “I’m not hungry” (hollow voice)
Duke (worried, authoritative): “Oh Cora, you must try now please.”
Mrs Finn: “Please, Glencora.”
Duchess: “I can’t take … ” (she rises every so slightly, murmuring but looking as if she’s looking to say or do something but is not quite sure what it is)
Mrs Finn looks up and Duke takes soup and spoon to other side of bed
Duchess leans on him: “Planty, there is something I’ve wanted to ask you for some time … now have proper arrangements been made about money for Mary.”
Duke: “Oh, my dear, now don’t you worry about that now; you try some of this.”
Duchess (sitting up more, becoming as vehement as her strength permits): “I must worry. I know that everything has been settled for the boys, but what is to be done for our girl.”
Duke: “My dear, I propose to set aside a fund from which she’ll be paid a regular income and later on … ah … when she marries (she looks ill at these words) a suitable settlement will be made.”
Duchess (through teeth, though voice soft): “Could she not have something that is truly her own?”
Duke: “Her income will be ample.”
Duchess: “Will she be able to control her own capital? I know that I was never able to control mine.”
Duke: “My dear, the girl is … “[noises form his throat]
Duchess worse suddenly.
Mrs Finn (to her): “Here I think you should have your draft now my dear.”
Duchess having trouble breathing. She lays back.
Mrs Finn: “Quickly.”
Duke wipes her forehead, Mrs Finn gives her something by mouth; she pushes it away, but something is got down, and her hand goes to her forehead as she lays there.
Duke grasps her shoulder with his hand.
Duchess bangs on the covers. “Planty, will she be able to control her own capital?”
Duke: “My dear (his fist gets tight) the girl’s barely 19 … now we can’t place the funds in her own hands and until she’s more mature …”
Duchess: “Well, I want to be sure of one thing. That should our Mary’s happiness depend upon her marrying a poor man want of money need not prevent it.”
He looks up at Mrs Finn, and she looks at him as if to urge him to reassure the Duchess. She nods and he listens.
Duke: “Mary’s future will be cared for in every respect.”
Duchess (whispers): “You promise me.”
Duke: “Yes. I promise.”
He leans down to kiss her.
Duke: “Now you you must rest.”
Duchess (groan) “Ah.”
He gets up to move away. He walks round her bed.
Duke: “Good night, my dearest.” Looks at Mrs Finn.
She nods and fixes the cover and pillow.
The room grows slowly darker.
Duchess: “Don’t go, Marie.”
Mrs Finn sits down on the bed, puts her hand in Duchess’s.
We leave the pair of friends together in semi-darkness.
Scene 4) Morning, Matching front room, Duke’s face asleep, in evening dress still, we hear birds, and he wakes slowly, rises, looks out window (so much by that window, now morning light through green), and the sons come in; his genuine relief, and suddenly playing father, “if they tidy up …”;
Scene 4) Glencora’s bedroom, she is up and better, eating soup, talking with Mrs Finn, dialogue and sentiments from DC, Ch 2, p. 8; vows to tell husband this very day.
Scene 5) Matching Front room, later, Duke with flowers, Gerald to him, mother better, Gerald’s immediate future told, Oxford in fall, study with tutor this summer; Silverbridge rushes in haggard; the doctor says they must come now.
Scene 6) Glencora’s bedroom; moving death scene, long as each grown child comes over to be bid adieu, and then the father. Camera catches the ring between them at the last
She says she remembers when he gave her that (1:1, mentioned in DC, Ch 46 p 294).
Her last words are her attempt to spare Mary.
Duchess: “Mary now.” Mary comes over, sits down on bed:
Her words to the effect don’t leave us
Puts her hand on her mother’s. “Yes, Mary. Listen, Planty.”
Mary: “Please stay, mama.”
Duchess: “Mary must have …”
Duke: “I’ll take care of Mary, my darling.”
Duchess: “Listen, Planty. Mary … must … ” (her eyes close). His hands are tight over hers, he kisses her hand. Watching his face we see recognition she’s gone. Camera then shows whole room from Mrs Finn’s angle.
He puts her hand down.
Episode 42: Very sad day.
Scene 7) dissolve into church top where we saw wedding bells, blue sky, procession, profoundly moving scene of burial with camera following coffin as words spoken, purple flowers on top (the colors which dominates the dresses of the women in the part — black remains Mrs Finn’s colors)
and then moves from face to face, against light blues and white: from Duke, to Silverbride, to Gerald, to Mary (holding back grief), to Bungay (old and sad), to Marie (grave look), back to Duke (grim quiet).
Scene Eight) Grave landscape dissolves to camera on the window of the room from the outside which we perpetually saw in 1:2 with Lady Glen so miserable and imprisoned; now his face glimpsed as he looks out where his wife’s grave is not far.
Scene 9) Inside Matching front room, in comes Mary, looking older, father waiting for her, says very warm, “I’ve missed you these past months”; after embrace she looks intently at him but he’s no idea, Mrs Finn and Duke left to talk; she says she’s failed, Mary pining and she must give over her charge, from DC, Ch 1, pp. 5-6 her strong reluctance); he asks her to stay so plaintively since her husband will be absent for some months yet. She agrees to.
Scene 9) Matching, front room, window seat, Mary and Mrs Finn:
Mrs Finn (Barbara Murray) and Mary rocking
Mary confides her love, source DC, Ch 2, pp. 9-14; we see Mary’s firmness and her fear “he might take against the match”; determined it will be Mr Tregear who will tell.
Scene 10) Boncassen’s front room where dance took place. Isabel walks in in purple, again joke about how he should be at commons and isn’t (works hardly at all: “we do like our politics to go rather slowly”); on the surface it’s a light flirting scene, and Silverbridge declares his love; this is very different from Trollope’s book where it’s impetuous, DC, Ch 39, p 253. In book we are still asking if he’s “in earnest”; he seems still sudden and impulsive and flirting with Mabel still.
By contrast, in film he’s rejected Mabel in previous part and is very seriously in earnest; grown up we are to feel. She begins her insistence that he must tell his father, one source, DC, Ch 70, pp 442-44: the utterance love may be a great misfortune omitted (alas), Isabel does say his father must approve of her first; Ch 53, pp. 340-41. So the book’s undercurrents of scepticism about Silverbridge’s own character, and about the loss and dismays of love are lost from the film.
Partly this is done because 12:25 has emphasizes Silverbridge’s relationship with his father, his growing up sheerly as a male; here space and time are given over to Mary versus her father, with a small left-over remnant of Lady Mabel’s loss.
Episode 43: Broken Hearts.
Scene 11) Matching front room, powerful confrontation of Mary with father. She is so firm and precisely the opposite of her mother in 1:1; with dignity and firmness she demands explanations from father who straight -on forbids. Lady Mary means to have her own way and will, DC, Ch 8, p 54 (he is a gentleman, money enough), Chapter 24, p. 149 (lines straight from this); cruelty of father from Ch 11, pp. 73-74. Lady Mary’s story as important in book as Lady Mabel’s [I can imagine Davies would have tried to give equal emphasis to Mary, Mabel and Isabel].
Establishment shot: Duke comes into familiar room and gives his coat and cane to Collingwood; Mary comes in with Mrs Finn and helps him take it off.
Mary: “Papa. Dear papa.”
Duke: “Oh Mary, my dear.”
Mrs Finn: “A pleasant surprise, Duke.”
Duke: “Yes, yes, I trust it may prove so.”
Mary taking his coat off: “Silverbridge is not come down with you?”
Duke: “No.” He looks at her.
Mary: “I suppose he’s too busy at the House of Commons” (this is supposed to be a joke but it doesn’t come out that way most of the time.)
Duke (stern tone): “Well, I am not concerned with your brother at the moment, Mary. I am more concerned …”
Mrs Finn: “Perhaps Duke, you would prefer me … (offering to go)
Duke: “Oh, no no no I’d particularly like you to remain Mrs Finn.”
He offers his arm to his daughter; she looks frightened as she gently takes it. They walk into room and sit.
Duke: “Now Mary, you come here and sit down by me.”
Mrs Finn worried look passes by them and sits on chair near by.
Duke: “Now Mary, you know Mr Tregear?”
Mary: “Of course I know him, papa, he was with us here down at Matching only a few months ago.”
Duke: “Yes, yes, well I understand that he was invited down here as a friend of Silverbridge.”
Mary: “As a friend of to us all, papa.”
Duke: “A friend perhaps. Now Mary he came to me and day or two ago in London and he told me that (eyes flitting …. ) Oh, Mary, uh is this true?”
Mary: “Yes papa.”
Duke: “Do you mean to say that you’ve engaged yourself to this young man without my knowledge or approval?”
Mary looks back to Mrs Finn.
Mary: “Or course you were to have been asked, papa.”
Duke: “Yes, yes, so I have been. What sort of casual self-confidence (sputters) what I … was it a matter of course would I agree to such a trivial request? Well I’ll tell you this … (rises, hits thigh) as a matter of course well it’s impossible. Now you understand that, do you not?”
Mary: “No, papa. (shakes her head). I do not understand it” (firm, calm, quiet)
Duke: “Then you will begin to understand it from this instant. Now this engagement is out of the question. And I will not have it thought of.”
Mary: “But papa I should not have allowed Mr Tregear to go to you unless I loved him.”
Duke: “Well, then you conquer your love (rough voice). It’s disgraceful.”
Mrs Finn (rueful, doubting voice): “Disgraceful, Duke?”
Duke: “Yes, Mrs Finn, I am sorry to use such a phrase to my own daughter, but it is so (shaking head intensely). However (to Mary) if you will undertake to be guided by me and if you promise never to see him again, then I will if not forget it, then at least pardon it. And be silent. Oh, I will excuse it (he has risen and is walking around the back of the couch so we see Duchess’s portrait now) because you’re young and because you were thrown imprudently in his way.”
She turns and follows him with her body and looks up at him beseechingly yet firmly.
Duke: “Well, Mary.”
Mary: “How can I? When of all the people in the world I love him the best.”
He looks taken aback, hand on forehead shielding his face, walks by, rubs himself, sits down next to her again.
Duke: “Oh, Mary (shakes head, murmurs) Do you not know he is not fit to be your husband?”
Mary; “No, papa.”
Duke: “Well then I don’t think that you can have thought very much either about it or his position or mine?”
Mary: “He is a gentleman, papa.”
Duke: “But so is my private secretary, oh there is not a clerk for one of our public offices does not consider himself to be a gentleman. Well, the curate of the parish is a gentleman (noise), eh, the apothecary who issues a drought for you. Now then Mr Tregear oh he may write Esquire after his name with the rest of ’em, but he is no more than a penniless loafer [the loafer is Silverbridge we know]
Mary [indignant]: “He has a good degree from Oxford.”
Duke: “And he has nothing else.”
Mary (reproachful): “Papa! as you well know, Mr Tregear is a gentleman in the same sense as yourself or Silverbridge. So there can be no objection as to his rank and as for money, well there need be no difficulty there because I’ve got enough for us both.”
He looks at her.
Mrs Finn’s anxious voice heard: “My dear [cautioning) you will have only what your father chooses to give you.”
Mary: “He can give it without trouble.”
Duke: “Nevertheless, it is mine to give or mine to withhold.”
Mary: “I understand that much of it was mama’s.”
Duke (enraged): “You will allow me to understand about all that.” (He gets up from couch.) “Now, Mary , you will promise me that there shall now be an end to this Mr Tregear.”
Mary shakes a little, also gets up and walks and turns. “I love him. and I’ve told him so. And I will I must be true. I cannot bear to give you pain, but in this matter I mean to have my way.”
Duke: “You mean to have your way?”
Mary: “Certainly I do. Papa, I shall never marry while you forbid it, but you can never make me say I do not love Mr Tregear, and if you do not yield at last I shall think you very cruel.”
He stands off further. Walks off, then faces her as we do (camera lengthens from her and we see her standing by her mother’s picture.
Mary: “Why should you wish to make me unhappy for the rest of my life.” She bows low and walks out past him (see still which opens this blog).
Scene 12) Parliament, again Sir Orlando Drought seen downstairs, we are in upstairs gallery with Duke, and Silverbridge comes over to join him; sources Silverbridge with Duke in gallery above Commons; you ought to listen to your Chief, DC, Ch 26, p. 161; Silverbridge dismayed and says he cannot talk about it here sir, so
Scene 13) Duke’s study at Carlton Terrace, Duke and Silverbridge; Silverbridge says how Drought has asked him to speak to get back at father, and won’t have it, DC, Ch 67, p 423 (told to Tregear rather than the father), Ch 78, p. 497 (Silverbridge tells father), and rest of dialogue between father and son and much taken from it, ch 67, pp. 424-26. The jejeune political talk about how rich have to share added; Silverbridge’s attitudes have changed slowly and usually indicated in quips to Tregear or advice ot his brother. “I won’t rush it sir.” Two men so confident in position in life, and now with one another:
But father again brings up Mabel, he’s inviting her down to Matching and Silverbridge doesn’t have heart to tell him except that he will have something to say soon, idea in Ch 51 (the get-together of them all does happen in DC).
Scene 14) Matching front room, Duke and Mrs Finn looking out at Mary gazing at mother’s grave:
Another conversation about Mary, sources, from Duke and Lady Cantripp, DC, Ch 24, p. 151 , Ch 50, p. 316 also Duke and Mrs Finn’s scenes from DC, ch 41, p 265 becomes Mrs Finn arguing on Mary’s behalf: she “suffers frequently and terribly from sick headaches;” “surely you do not wish to break her heart”; he admits how his refusal to let his daughter marry a commoner is contradictory to his political creed; he says he is determined, so now she brings forward her final ammunition: she tells him the Duchess gave it her blessing.
Episode 44: Acceptance.
Scene 15) The club, Silverbridge and Dolly, source: Dolly’s desire to marry Isabel brought to an end in DC, Ch 69, p. 435-36 when Silverbridge told and easily sweeps the older lower rank man aside, Dolly does tell that Tifto did it, last we see of Dolly whom series opened up with.
Scene 16) Boncassen’s sitting room in London, Isabel sitting reading, Silverbridge to her. Sources: really very short, the briefest of annotations for this (as opposed to book where these romance scenes are protracted) and an imitation of Framley Parsonage bit brought in. Isabel will accept Silverbridge only when the Duke takes her by the hand. See DC Ch 70, p 444, Isabel says his father must approve of her first; Ch 53, pp. 340-41.
Scene 17) London room of Lady Mabel Grex, Silverbridge comes to put an end to it, again from DC, Ch 59, p. 377-78 and forbid her and say he’ll support her (curious addition to Trollope: you’ll never want); Silverbridge visits Mabel to tell her to keep away too:
The last of Mabel (Anna Carteret)
Again very brief for the film’s interest is in
Scene 18) Matching front room, Silverbridge versus Duke. The major sources are DC, Ch 60, pp. 384-87 (Duke told it’s all over with Lady Mabel Grex, Ch 61, pp. 386ff, Ch 71. The scene also dramatizes the inward distinctions Duke makes when talking of equality to Isabel Boncassen, DC, Ch 48, pp 310-11; and the same argument against loss of rank in Ch 60. It comes early in the novel in Mary’s story, and in the novel it’s Mabel’s inward life we witness at the last.
So the basic chapter is called “bone of my bone” and this phrase is repeated hoarsely here, only here Silverbridge counters with liberal thought (while Mary did simply on the grounds of her love), which again brings forward the idea that the privileged govern that others might be prosperous and above all free … Ch 15, letter on p. 99 (used in 12:25, episode 37, after Silverbridge’s first win). How good of them. In the final moment the camera’s close-ups present Silverbridge facing his father and juxtaposed to portrait of Lady Glen.
Episode 45: A New Age.
Scene 19) The priory ruins, Mrs Finn and Duke walking, Mrs Finn’s eloquence to the Duke, and his gratitude to her DC, Ch 1, p 4, Ch 41, p. 265-66, Ch 66, pp 416-418 (Burgo Fitzgerald never mentioned specifically anyone but Duchess).
Establishment shot: we are inside the whitened ruined priory and hear birds cawing.
We glimpse Mrs Finn walking with a cane, a grim desolate Duke also with a cane next to her; she seems to hesitate to turn and talk until camera fully on her (in the book it’s the study)
Mrs Finn: “If it if it can be of any comfort to you, Duke (soft), the Duchess would never have wanted Silverbridge to marry Mabel Grex. She said so often before she died.
Duke: “I am determined in this, Mrs Finn. Now would Cora have wanted him to marry Miss Isabel Boncassen?”
Mrs Finn “She wanted her fine son to be free to choose whom he should love, and Duke, she wanted the same freedom for her daughter.”
He turns (close up): “Why?” (whispered)
Shot of the two of them.
Duke: “Why didn’t Cora tell me sooner. Why did she deceive me, Mrs Finn?”
Mrs Finn: “She did not deceive you, Duke Have I not made myself clear? She was trying to tell you the very moment that she died. Duke, of late I have been with Mary daily, almost hourly. I will not say that this will kill her now while she is young, but a broken heart may bring the sufferer to the grave after a lapse of many years.
He turns away with twisted look on face. We watch him walk away and see them medium shot, their whole bodies at a medium distance from us
She comes up to him again and from another angle begins again:
Mrs Finn: “How will it be with her, Duke, if you should see your daughter live beside you like a ghost for the next twenty years. If you should see her die faded and withered before her time, all her life gone without a joy [romancing marriage, children presented as the only happiness, not seeing there are and were then others] because she loved a man whose position in life was displeasing to you. In doing your duty to your position, Duke, can you be satisfied that you are doing your duty to your child?”
Again he turns, walks away.
Mrs Finn: “Shall I leave you, now?”
Duke: “Yes, perhaps it would be better.”
We see her turn and look so elegant from the side, poignant, yearning to make an impression, respectful
Duke (tight lips): “Whether I agree or disagree, I will not try to tell you now (thick voice), but this at least must be said, I owe you a debt of gratitude which I cannot express in words.”
Mrs Finn (shakes her head): “Your grace …”
Duke: “Now all that you have trouble yourself to think and feel in this matter, all that true friendship has compelled you to say to me, I shall not easily forget. My children are indeed fortunate in securing the love of such a friend as you.” [book has him referring only to one child and that Mary]
Duke: “And now you may go to Mary (he turns) you will go to Mary, if you please, and you tell her that Mr Tregear may come here as soon as he may wish.”
Mrs Finn smiles. But she presses on: “Your grace … and Silverbridge … what of him … ?”
Duke breathes in hard (close up, some anger at this pushing): “Madam, Silverbridge is my heir, the next Duke of Omnium. I shall decide that for myself on my own.”
Both shot together; she curtsies, not ironic but respectful; she moves away. The camera on his face shows him so hurt (silent close up).
Scene 19) Now camera shifts to focus on Duchess’s grave, same blue sky, same day, his shadow is outlined on the wall, and then we see him walking there (from the back), then we watch him look down at the grave, face dark, then the camera on the gravestone and we see the carved names, and then back to close up of sorrow
Scene 20) Matching front room: from resolution DC, Ch 72, 454-57, which scene includes Duke’s saying how he had a hard time accepting Isabel; Duke gives Isabel ring he gave his wife; DC, Ch 72, p 456. The camera first on Duchess’s portrait, and then the Duke below looking at that, Silverbridge wary with Isabel looking scared behind him enter, the touching scene where he gives the ring, thus coming full circle with 1:1.
Scene 21) Quick scene out of room, in the hall, they kiss and steal away.
Scene 22) Back to Matching, front room, he looks at Duchess’s picture once again, closes box quietly, we hear birds, he goes over to bow windows and looks out with stern face.
Scene 23) From a distance, through the windows with Duke
we see before the ruins, near the grave, the two happy couples (Duchess fostered), all greens, greys, and purples; women kiss, men shake hands; back to he smiles as he lets go, picks up letter (DC, Ch 78, p 496 a narration of Mr Monk asking Duke and Duke finally assenting) and we hear voice-over of Bungay now responding to an apparent yes letter that happened between Episode 44, Scene 18 and this. Bungay delighted Duke going to join. Our long-time friend, the Duke sits where we can see our heroine’s picture and the window, and the series theme music starts for one last time as he’s reading a blue book (see still at opening of blog).
Next: final commentary
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