01x02 - Episode 2

Episode transcripts for the TV miniseries "Life in Squares". Aired: July 27, 2015 to August 2015.*
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"Life in Squares" is a fast-paced drama of the close and often fraught relationship between sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.
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01x02 - Episode 2

Post by bunniefuu »

Where have the children got to? They seem to have gone into hiding.

I think they were planning something special, for the wanderer's return.

Can you sort out the wine? We've nothing cold.

Here's the thing, there's only three bottles of the '87, but I thought a glass each, for the toasts.

Are you sure, if you're saving them?

We want it to be special.



Nessa! Go and get yourself ready! >

I thought I was.

Are you sure you're not going to come?

This way everything will be ready as soon as you get back.

The register office will be crammed to the rafters as it is.

Doesn't Julian look handsome?

I think we're ready. Everyone!

Better than a wedding.

And so we celebrate and extol the union of Adeline Virginia Stephen to Leonard Sidney Woolf.

A penniless Jew.

Oh, you adore saying that.

To the bride and groom! The bride and groom!


I've known Leonard even longer than I've known my beautiful and brilliant sister-in-law, and I can truthfully say that I never imagined this day would come.

For either of them.

Among our company, Lytton, of course, made a famous as*ault on the new Mrs Woolf's virtue.

Scarcely an as*ault!

Thank you, Virginia.

Setting aside the matter of the bride's virtue, I still maintain my infamous proposal was no more than an involuntary twitch of the hand during the auction.

Sorry, I thought I'd creep off and see your Studland painting.

You're welcome to look.

Lives Of The Artists. I said I'd find it for them, for the honeymoon.

It's a happy day.


Although aren't you meant to be sad, losing a sister?

I prefer to think I'm gaining a Leonard.

We'll find someone for you next, if you like.

Just bear in mind I'm not the marrying sort.

Neither was Virginia.

My wife has perhaps had enough champagne.

Oh, good God, Roger!

My presence would have to be intoxication enough!

Marriage a la mode.

Virginia, I love you very much.

I wish you were coming too.

It's generally frowned upon, you know, for the honeymoon.

Don't worry, Bill. I'm sure he had tonnes of native mistresses, all those years in Ceylon.

She's really mine. I'm as amazed as you are.

I assure you, that's impossible.

And so it begins!

Bye, Billy Goat!


Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!

I can stop.



I... I want us to copulate.

What is it?

That word.

I want us to f*ck.

Like proper married people.

It's not... You know, it's not a symbolic act.

I'm sure if we do it correctly, it could be.

Couldn't it?

Virginia's letter said she finds the climax "immensely exaggerated".

Is it the tool or the workman?

I don't think it's Leonard's fault.

You know she's always dreaded intercourse.

Probably on account of how awfully those Duckworth boys interfered with her when we were growing up.

Yes. God, poor Virginia.

I promised I'd take the boys to the park.

Are you seeing Mrs Ravenhill today?

Just for tea.

Then I'll stay on in the studio.

Do ask her to dine, though.

Duncan's coming over to go through the designs for the mural commission.

And Roger, too?

I think so.

How well you arrange things.

Virginia married. Imagine.

Really, nothing at all?

Perhaps one of the crab paste.

It's salmon, dear. No shellfish, I'm afraid.

Your favourites, Len. Bill went specially.

Virginia, can I tempt you?

I'll wager you can't get those in Bloomsbury.

Have you noticed, Virginia, how dear everything is becoming?


Yes, it is, rather.

I imagine that's Len's department now.

He was always so good at managing.

Had to be, once his father passed... away.

Oh, dear.

It seems so cruel that Sydney didn't live to see you married.

He always longed for grandchildren.

Virginia's writing a book, Mother.

How interesting.

What's it called, dear?


Wasn't it called something else?

Oh, ages ago.

A whole book, Billy. I knew marriage would suit you.

I'd written most of it before we got married.

But, yes, it is nice to think I'm not an entire failure.

Failure! You can do anything, you know you can.

We're living in extraordinary times, Virginia.

And your next achievement will no doubt be a baby!

It appears to be compulsory.

Bill, being a mother is a most marvellous thing.

Better than painting?


But... as good.

It's everything else that's difficult.

It never looks difficult. You always seem to be able to do everything.

Painting, children, husband.


Why didn't you tell me about Roger? I had to hear it from Clive.

I think I'm allowed some privacy.

You never speak to me any more. Not properly.

We speak all the time!

Really, Goat, you're too sensitive.

You know you are.

Come here!

Got you!

You don't have a pencil on you, do you?


Can't imagine why I don't.

I couldn't possibly fight.

Not because I'm frightened, though I am.

It's... the thought of k*lling another human being.

I simply couldn't do it.

Even if they put you in jail?

I'm rather used to that possibility.

I suppose one has become so accustomed to everyone conducting their private lives exactly as they wish, one forgets.

There were those two men who committed su1c1de last week, rather than be brought up in court.

Didn't you see the papers?

This is in confidence -

I only really look at the papers for the pictures.

It's a disgrace, I know.

You're d*ad!

Poor Duncan!



You! Come here! Come on!

A zoological student? He sounds interesting, your boy.

God, Nessa, I'm hopeless at this sort of thing.

He's not my boy, exactly. He prefers girls.

Nice to have a bit more depth in the team.

But you are friendly.

You and... "Bunny".


It's a childhood nickname.


But as I said to him, I've quite enough "friends" already.

I told you, I'm all thumbs. Duncan, old chap.

Is there an artist in the house?

Help me with my wife, will you?



See? Knew he'd have the knack.

Actually, he wants to be a writer, Bunny.

Oh, dear.

I know. I was rather keen on the scientific angle, myself.

There's something so attractive about someone confident of the rules, isn't there?

Is there?

Isn't that one of the things you like about Roger?

That he's so certain about what he thinks.

I... suppose it is.

One of the things I've always admired about you.

You always know so clearly what you want.

Your sister's always so terrifyingly thorough.

Who else would have considered the nipples?

Consider the nipples! They toil not, but they do spin.

You can't be tired already!

By all means go and dance with him, if you still have the energy.

I prefer to dance with you, as you well know.



I've been perfectly open with you about my raging heterosexuality.

You're terribly nice.

Eat me, drink me, one to grow smaller, one to grow bigger - don't you think it's terrifying?

Certainly not something to give to children. Those Tenniel drawings.

Actually, Father knew Tenniel, or was it Du Maurier? I didn't dare turn the page in Jabberwocky!

Such gifts you were given, my dear. Garlands, cornucopias.

Virginia's not sleeping.

Stupid of me to drink so much.

You seem terrifyingly sober.

That's me, isn't it?

She's not sleeping and she's had a headache every day for the last month.

I think it's the book. She's worrying it's not good enough.

Oh, she's such a loony!

All her life, all Virginia's wanted to be is a writer.

If I live to be 100 I'll never understand her.

She's frightened, Nessa.

Of what the world will think of her. Of what you think.

She knows what I think of her. A book's not going to change that.

What one knows and what one feels can often be quite different.

Do we need to talk to Dr Hyslop?

I think perhaps we do.

You shouldn't be afraid to use the Veronal to help you sleep.

Didn't I say that? You expect too much of yourself.

It... It clouds my thoughts.

It makes me woolly in the head.

Mrs Woolf. You have been here before, have you not?

If you trust to the treatment, all will be well.

Feeding, resting, nothing to tax the brain.

Otherwise, we may have to think of sending you somewhere you can rest properly.

Once I'm well, might I have a child?

I beg your pardon?

No reason why not, Bill.

But only if you follow Doctor Hyslop's advice.

The rules are there to be followed.

"Then just as she began to dread to hear of their engagement, for what could she have done with that big house all alone, with Stevie on her hands, that romance came to an abrupt end, and Winnie went about looking very dull. But Mr Verloc, turning up providentially to occupy the first-floor front bedroom, there had been no more question of the young butcher. It was clearly providential. "

And that's your lot.

I shan't sleep.

Doesn't matter. Head on the pillow, half an hour.

You know, when I was mad, after Father d*ed, I thought the birds were speaking to me.

Speaking to me in Greek.

Aren't sparrows supposed to be pure cockney?

This might be John about the magazine job.

"Like belief in God, the benevolent creator, narrative painting has had its day. Form should be separated from life. "

Roger, nothing should be separated from life.

Where did that come from?

Have you thought of painting the ceiling in here?

Matisse says "a work of art must carry in itself its... "

".. its complete significance." I don't disagree.

But it doesn't follow painting should be cut off from one's experience of the world.


Isn't distortion rather like sodomy?

People think it's abnormal so they deny its existence.

Distortion is the way we actually see.

There's no need to keep art apart from life.


Leonard's on the telephone - it's Virginia.

How much did she take?

100 grains, at least.

The Veronal has reached her system sufficiently to depress her vital mechanisms.

The danger should... If we can see her through till morning, the danger should be passed.

'Oh, Billy Goat...

'You're such an extraordinary animal.

'Oh, God. '

I'm sorry, Virginia.

I'll talk to you. I'll talk to you about everything.


'All those silly women Clive goes to bed with. But you... '

Him just being close to you, it was worse.

I admire you more than anyone in the world.

I think he's still a little in love with you.

And you know, spiritual love isn't enough for Clive.

Or me.

As it turns out.

What I want to know, were you told, before you asked her to marry you, how bad she was?

If this sort of thing has happened before, Len. You said it had.

Obviously if I knew it had happened before, someone had told me about Virginia's illness, Mother.

There's no need to get at me, I'm only trying to help!

There'll be no question now of you having children, you know.

No, I suppose the strain would be too much.

That sort of defect gets passed on.

Hereditary weakness.

Mother sends her love.

And these.

Apparently you mentioned you like aniseed.


How's Virginia?

Better, but not... better.

Leonard's taking her out of London.

Somewhere quiet.

Best for her if there is going to be a w*r, anyway.


Not really Clive's sort of thing. Or Roger's.

But mine. As you know.

Actually, I've... been arranging what to do myself, if there's a w*r.

Keeping the boys out of danger.

You're still planning to visit us in the country, aren't you?

I've found a house.

You know me, I tend to turn up as a guest and stay as a lodger.

A tenant, I hope.

No rent, that's taken care of.

And there's a good-sized room for you.

And Bunny, of course.

He'll be delighted. He's desperate to get away and do some writing.

I'm in love with you.


I thought it was just... bodies.

But... it's not going to change.

Nessa. It's...

You must know I'm fonder of you than... any woman on earth.

Than almost anyone, in fact.

You're a bugger, there it is.

I don't expect anything.

It's all right.

I'm awake.

So, the die is cast.

It's w*r.

Over There 'Dearest Goat. How I loved your last letter. I can't tell you how remote it can feel here... as though we're a lost world.'


Our car got stuck in the lane.

Mary! Welcome to Charleston.

'I could scarcely tell who is most savage - the boys, Duncan, or me. Bunny seems to hang on to some sort of gloss, being less weary of society. I must say, the thought of any kind of society increasingly fills me with a kind of horror.'

We're going to have the lake... puddled.

Can that be right?

To make it hold water better.

The lake?

It's more of a pond, really.

So the boys can swim in it once it's warmer.

And we have tremendous plans for the garden.

I don't know if you saw, but we're growing lots of potatoes.

Are you keen on gardens, Mary?

Oh! I thought you were going to say potatoes.

No, not particularly.

Has Duncan shown you his hands?

What an extraordinary conversation.

Turnips and mangelwurzels. 12 hours a day.

Still, it's scarcely the Somme.

Good God!

Let me have a look at you. Hooves.



Good. Teeth?

I lost one.

Ah, so you did.

Not sure we'll get much for you at auction, Julian.

I must say, your objection could hardly seem more conscientious.

Clive, shouldn't we be...

You're not staying? We've aired one of the bedrooms.

No need. We reserved a room at the Ram in Firle.

Coats are in excellent condition.

Fine beasts!


It's round the corner.

We do miss you, you know.

Just you wait, I shall make it so comfortable here you shan't be able to resist staying.

If you say so. I'm sure I shan't.

Ah! Perhaps I should have warned Mary to save herself for the Ram.

The soil man hasn't been this week to empty the lavatory.

'Of course the w*r brings its difficulties with supplies and so on, but we have eggs and some butter, and I'm aware of being otherwise steeped in great good fortune, particularly at a time when so many are suffering so very terribly.'

'Unlike so many, I have the life I have chosen. It isn't always easy, but it is entirely mine. '

'Do come and visit us, Billy. We have eggs, as mentioned, and sometimes cream, and I may be able to scrape together a little conversation. All my love to you, and some to Leonard if it can be spared, Nessa.'


I knew it would be.

How glorious, Bill.

Ah, but words are words. You make the thing itself. All of this.

I promised myself I'd never make the mistake of confusing books with children.

It seems I made my choice, though.

Or you and Leonard did, when I was raving.

No, I...

It's all right. Truly. Leonard keeps me on an even keel.

Three meals a day. No late nights. No excitement.

And I'm writing another one, so, fertile as anything.


You shall have the children, and I shall have the fame.

What are they playing?


Filthy Hun!

It's all they ever play.

And built a Heaven in hell's despite.

What's that?

Love seeketh not itself to please.

We were made to memorise it at Hyde Park Gate.


Always pictures, never words.

You were right, it seems.

Anything IS possible.

Dinner suits?

Or just the trousers without the arse ripped out?

Go down to supper like that.

I want to make the right impression.

Virginia won't care...

I promise.

What I'm aiming for in my writing is something entirely different.

A singular effect. Truthful, yet universal.

I'll get the salve.

He can barely hold a brush.

Oh, it's all right. Nessa!

No chapters in your book, I imagine, like all the radical gentlemen?

I haven't decided yet.

You mean you haven't started it?

I have very little time in the day, Virginia.

Perhaps if you didn't go up to London every weekend.

I dare say you're right.

Bunny's a young man in a hurry.

I wish he would be nicer to Duncan. It's a bind for him being here.

He and Duncan should count themselves lucky to have won their tribunals.


Be careful what you wish for.

Never think, Nessa, it's an invalid and her nurse between Leonard and me.

We meet in so many ways.

I never thought we could be so happy together.

I'm glad.

I can't tell you what it's like to wake up every morning knowing I can make work with Duncan. Discuss it together.

I think he's the best painter of his generation.

That must make everything worthwhile.

Although, there was a time when you had those hopes for your own painting.

Who's to say I haven't, still?

It's not a competition.

What's it to do with you?

I'm asking you to consider my feelings.

I do nothing but consider your feelings, but being a bugger isn't enough for me!


He's going to see Alix again.

He's mad about her.

It'll pass.

It did with the opium woman.

Anyway, I shall have the pleasure of an evening with you all to myself.

I think I'll, er...

I think I'll pop up to Lewes.


Not too charming?

That's my weakness, not yours.

Might I?

You know it won't last.

These old walls... the plaster will just absorb the pigment.

I can look into it, if you like.

Some sort of primer.

We can always repaint it.

You never find offers of help helpful, do you?

You were marvellous when the pump broke down.

You know Nessa, if we f*cked you'd probably find me less irritating.

I don't think we can be certain of that, do you?

Good night, now.

Bunny, what do you think you are doing?

I am having a cocoa.

You selfish sod! How's the rest of the house supposed to keep warm?

I happen to be ill!

Putting yourself first, every bloody time!

He's taken it on himself to use up the rest of the coal.

Oh. We do need to keep the kitchen stove going...

Do you really think I wouldn't make sure we could spare it?

The sheets were damp! Obviously, no-one cares if I get pneumonia.

And the cocoa as well!

Yes, Duncan, I'm living it up. It's practically Claridge's in here!

That's not the last of the milk? Just, the boys' cocoa in the morning.

I can water it down.

Thank you for pointing that out.

Don't you dare start on her, you little swine, Nessa's an absolute saint!

Yes, she's a f*cking saint!

Aren't you lucky to have the devotion of an actual living saint?

Stop it, both of you!

Here, have the bastard cocoa!

I'm sure she'd rather you bloody have it!

You'll hurt yourselves! Stop it at once!

You're behaving like children!

I am ill!

You're not ill!

Aren't they pacifists any more?

Come on, boys.




There you are.

The size we ordered has arrived.

These games, you see?

I say, "Don't go to London," so he invites her down here.

Installs her. Oh, God, I've had enough.

Stop! Stop it!

It's hideous, though. The fields every day.

Never enough to eat, no time to paint and him telling me I'm... I'm hysterical.

God, I wish I were d*ad.

Join up, then!

That'll take care of it quickly enough.

I do... I do know how hard it is.

It's hard for me, too.

Oh, God, Nessa. I am so sorry.

I should go away.


I can bear any of it if you're here.

I wish you wouldn't say things like that.

I don't... generally.

I try very hard not to.


What in hell's name do you have to be sorry for?

I wish so much I could make you happy.

You do!

Oh, Nessa, you do.

You and the children.

As much as is possible.

I'm a bear, I'm afraid, these days.

Bloody hell.

If only it could be one thing.

Loving him and loving...

Loving you.

I thought... I was thinking... We should have a child together.

Peace! Peace! Peace! Peace! Peace! Peace!

The negotiations with the French have been positively exhausting.

Mother is as surprised by my publication as she would be by my presenting her with a grandchild.

And as delighted, I imagine.

Far more, if the truth be told.

Reviews. So many cousins she can finally look in the eye.

Have you really convinced Clive's family you're to deliver yourself of another little Bell?

So far as we know.

If Clive isn't here for the birth, Duncan will telegraph him and he will telegraph them.

All the formalities nicely observed.

That's all they care about, really.

Speaking of which, don't you think it is getting late for you?

Leonard, we can't possibly leave yet!

Please, I feel like we haven't tasted fowl in years.

And it's a high holiday, after all. Peace.

I promise obedience in all things, all week.

His grandest beseechment's urging.

I'm so sorry. Flossie has had such trouble with the oven.

No more wine, then. You don't want a bad head.

As soon as I've finished the memorandum, the airman will fly it to Versailles.

You see? How can we miss such important matters?

The fate of nations.

An admirably practical arrangement, all this, Clive.

You really don't mind?

If I had, I'm not sure it would have prevented anything. And why not?

I have my sons.

And whatever will you tell the child?

I assume we can discuss this, among friends?

Of course we can.

I'm sure we'll contrive something suitable.

Human beings do seem to be able to adjust to the most improbable situations.

Leonard refuses to consider me learning to drive a motorcar.

Very wise of him.

But I'm transformed. You should see me now in London.

I'm every inch the lady of letters.

The great and the good clamouring for invitations to tea.

Well, the greatish and goodish, anyway.

The chicken was delicious.

What a world you've made.


It's an extraordinary feat, all of this.

I'm glad you think so.

Most of the time we seem to be living in a sort of... shambles.

But it's living.

To the top of your bent.

And it takes a particular genius to keep Roger as a friend and Clive as a husband and... Duncan as...

What is Duncan, exactly?

Duncan is... Duncan.

God, however am I to manage here once you're back in London?

You always manage.

You're a cat. Drop you from the roof, you end up on your feet.

Anyway, now the w*r's over you can paint all hours of the day.

You shan't miss me at all.

Merry Christmas.

Peace on Earth, all that twaddle.

Oh, Lord.

Will we have to call him Jesus?

Little baby Jesus. And you're Joseph.

No, I'm the father, definitely.

Will you go by "God" or a simple "Father"?

"Papa"? "Pater"?

Pa? Dad? Pop?

We should get you into bed, Mrs Bell.

Staying... here...


Just... read anything.

Tyger, Tyger...

Not that one!

Love seeketh not itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care, But for another gives its ease!

And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

So sang a little Clod of Clay Trodden with the cattle's feet, But a Pebble of the brook...

Breathe for me. That's it, Mrs Bell, breathe for me.

Love seeketh only self to please, To bind another to its delight.

Joys in another's loss of ease, And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite...

It's a girl.


She's very beautiful.

Shall I marry her someday?

Oh, God.

All your ducks in a row, eh?

One of them almost a swan.

Are you coming up?

Oh, my God, here he is...

Come on, Duncan. Julian! Clive, he's here!

Oh, you're so thin.

Oh, but so handsome! Let me look at you.

Good, God. George!

I can see my telegram didn't make it.

My dear fellow, I thought you were in Spain.

Good to see you.

What a day.

Thank you.


Oh, champagne. Marvellous.

Of course, only the best for my son.

It better be Irish stew. I've been dreaming of Grace's Irish stew since Shanghai.

It's marvellous to see you, George.

Brother, dear, we shall make all your dreams come true, shan't we, Clive?

Of course, my darling.

Now that would be dangerous.

You must be careful what you wish for. You must know that, Jelica?

I can see China has made you terribly wise.

Welcome home, Julian, darling.

Here's to family.


George has managed to get hold of a ticket on the Queen Mary.

And you intend to go?

Would that be all right with you?

Five miles from the coast, we won't stand a chance.

They'll put you in a camp.

If I'm lucky.

We can't be separated. Promise me.

You do realise, Nessa, you need to tell Angelica the truth.

Everyone's got a right to know who they really are.


You know Bunny's been seen a fair bit of her up in town.

I understand how you feel.

I don't want to be understood!

I just want to live my own life.

Is she in love with you?

Christ. Why don't you ask her?

Everyone should be free to live as they please, otherwise we may as well be our parents.
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