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I’ve been waiting all week to do this post but I wanted to save the best for last.  Today’s proposal is from my all-time favorite Jane Austen film…

Sense and Sensibility 1995!

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This is the best proposal of all…I love every bit of it.

Screenplay

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Here is Colonel Brandon! Marianne!

               The piano stops. MARIANNE comes out and they all gather at

               the gate to watch for the rider.

               Their POV of a HORSEMAN in the distance.

                                     ELINOR

                         I do not think it is the Colonel.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         It must be. He said he would arrive

                         today. You must play him the new

                         song, Marianne.

               Suddenly there is a yell from MARGARET’s tree.

                                     MARGARET

                         Edward!

               MARGARET practically throws herself out of the tree onto the

               grass.

                                     MARGARET

                         It is Edward!

               The women look at each other in complete consternation.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Calm. We must be calm.

               Tense silence reigns. Everyone tries to busy themselves.

               BETSY enters.

                                     BETSY

                         Mr Ferrars for you, ma’am.

               EDWARD follows her in, looking white and agitated.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Edward! What a pleasure to see you.

                                     EDWARD

                         Mrs Dashwood. Miss Marianne. Margaret.

                         Miss Dashwood. I hope I find you all

                         well.

               He bows formally to each of them, lingering on ELINOR, who

               is looking firmly at her lap. He looks anxious.

                                     MARIANNE

                         Thank you, Edward, we are all very

                         well.

               There is a pause while they all search for an appropriate

               remark. Finally MARGARET decides to have a go at polite

               conversation.

                                     MARGARET

                         We have been enjoying very fine

                         weather.

               MARIANNE looks at her incredulously.

                                     MARGARET

                         Well, we have.

                                     EDWARD

                         I am glad of it. The… the roads

                         were very dry.

               MRS DASHWOOD decides to bite the bullet.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                              (giving him her hand)

                         May I wish you great joy, Edward.

               He takes her hand somewhat confusedly and accepts her offer

               of a seat. There is an awful silence. MARIANNE tries to help.

                                     MARIANNE

                         I hope you have left Mrs Ferrars

                         well?

                                     EDWARD

                         Tolerably, thank you.

               There is another bone-crunching pause.

                                     EDWARD

                         I-

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Is Mrs Ferrars at the new parish?

               EDWARD looks extremely confused.

                                     EDWARD

                         No–my mother is in town.

               He plucks up the courage to look at ELINOR again and is

               evidently not much comforted by what he sees.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         I meant to enquire after Mrs Edward

                         Ferrars.

               EDWARD colours. He hesitates.

                                     EDWARD

                         Then you have not heard–the news–I

                         think you mean my brother–you mean

                         Mrs Robert Ferrars.

               They all stare at him in shock.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Mrs Robert Ferrars?

               ELINOR has frozen. EDWARD rises and goes to the window.

                                     EDWARD

                         Yes. I received a letter from Miss

                         Steele–or Mrs Ferrars, I should say–

                         communicating the… the transfer of

                         her affections to my brother Robert.

                         They were much thrown together in

                         London, I believe, and… and in

                         view of the change in my

                         circumstances, I felt it only fair

                         that Miss Steele be released from

                         our engagement. At any rate, they

                         were married last week and are now

                         in Plymouth.

               ELINOR rises suddenly, EDWARD turns and they stand looking

               at one another.

                                     ELINOR

                         Then you–are not married.

                                     EDWARD

                         No.

               ELINOR bursts into tears. The shock of this emotional

               explosion stuns everyone for a second and then MARIANNE makes

               an executive decision. Wordlessly, she takes MARGARET’s hand

               and leads her and MRS DASHWOOD out of the room. 

               ELINOR cannot stop crying. EDWARD comes forward, very slowly.

                                     EDWARD

                         Elinor! I met Lucy when I was very

                         young. Had I had an active profession,

                         I should never have felt such an

                         idle, foolish inclination. At Norland

                         my behaviour was very wrong. But I

                         convinced myself you felt only

                         friendship for me and it was my heart

                         alone that I was risking. I have

                         come with no expectations. Only to

                         profess, now that I am at liberty to

                         do so, that my heart is and always

                         will be yours.

               ELINOR looks at him, her face streaked with tears of released

               emotion, of pain and of happiness.

               MARIANNE and MRS DASHWOOD are in the garden.

               MARGARET has climbed into her tree-house.

               The branches rustle.

                                     MARGARET

                         He’s sitting next to her!

                                     MRS DASHWOOD/MARIANNE

                         Margaret, come down!/Is he?

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                              (scolding)

                         Margaret! Will you stop–

                                     MARIANNE

                         What’s happening now?

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Marianne!

                                     MARGARET (V.O.)

                         He’s kneeling down!

               MRS DASHWOOD can’t help herself.

                                     MRS DASHWOOD

                         Oh! Is he? Oh!

               She and MARIANNE look at each other joyfully and embrace.

Lovely!

Book

Scarcely had she so determined it, when the figure of a man on horseback drew her eyes to the window. He stopt at their gate. It was a gentleman, it was Colonel Brandon himself. Now she could hear more; and she trembled in expectation of it. But—it was not Colonel Brandon—neither his air—nor his height. Were it possible, she must say it must be Edward. She looked again. He had just dismounted;—she could not be mistaken,—it was Edward. She moved away and sat down. “He comes from Mr. Pratt’s purposely to see us. I WILL be calm; I will be mistress of myself.”

In a moment she perceived that the others were likewise aware of the mistake. She saw her mother and Marianne change colour; saw them look at herself, and whisper a few sentences to each other. She would have given the world to be able to speak—and to make them understand that she hoped no coolness, no slight, would appear in their behaviour to him;—but she had no utterance, and was obliged to leave all to their own discretion.

Not a syllable passed aloud. They all waited in silence for the appearance of their visitor. His footsteps were heard along the gravel path; in a moment he was in the passage, and in another he was before them.

His countenance, as he entered the room, was not too happy, even for Elinor. His complexion was white with agitation, and he looked as if fearful of his reception, and conscious that he merited no kind one. Mrs. Dashwood, however, conforming, as she trusted, to the wishes of that daughter, by whom she then meant in the warmth of her heart to be guided in every thing, met with a look of forced complacency, gave him her hand, and wished him joy.

He coloured, and stammered out an unintelligible reply. Elinor’s lips had moved with her mother’s, and, when the moment of action was over, she wished that she had shaken hands with him too. But it was then too late, and with a countenance meaning to be open, she sat down again and talked of the weather.

Marianne had retreated as much as possible out of sight, to conceal her distress; and Margaret, understanding some part, but not the whole of the case, thought it incumbent on her to be dignified, and therefore took a seat as far from him as she could, and maintained a strict silence.

When Elinor had ceased to rejoice in the dryness of the season, a very awful pause took place. It was put an end to by Mrs. Dashwood, who felt obliged to hope that he had left Mrs. Ferrars very well. In a hurried manner, he replied in the affirmative.

Another pause.

Elinor resolving to exert herself, though fearing the sound of her own voice, now said,

“Is Mrs. Ferrars at Longstaple?”

“At Longstaple!” he replied, with an air of surprise.— “No, my mother is in town.”

“I meant,” said Elinor, taking up some work from the table, “to inquire for Mrs. edward Ferrars.”

She dared not look up;—but her mother and Marianne both turned their eyes on him. He coloured, seemed perplexed, looked doubtingly, and, after some hesitation, said,—

“Perhaps you mean—my brother—you mean Mrs.—Mrs. robert Ferrars.”

“Mrs. Robert Ferrars!”—was repeated by Marianne and her mother in an accent of the utmost amazement;—and though Elinor could not speak, even her eyes were fixed on him with the same impatient wonder. He rose from his seat, and walked to the window, apparently from not knowing what to do; took up a pair of scissors that lay there, and while spoiling both them and their sheath by cutting the latter to pieces as he spoke, said, in a hurried voice,

“Perhaps you do not know—you may not have heard that my brother is lately married to—to the youngest—to Miss Lucy Steele.”

His words were echoed with unspeakable astonishment by all but Elinor, who sat with her head leaning over her work, in a state of such agitation as made her hardly know where she was.

“Yes,” said he, “they were married last week, and are now at Dawlish.”

Elinor could sit it no longer. She almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy, which at first she thought would never cease. Edward, who had till then looked any where, rather than at her, saw her hurry away, and perhaps saw—or even heard, her emotion; for immediately afterwards he fell into a reverie, which no remarks, no inquiries, no affectionate address of Mrs. Dashwood could penetrate, and at last, without saying a word, quitted the room, and walked out towards the village—leaving the others in the greatest astonishment and perplexity on a change in his situation, so wonderful and so sudden;—a perplexity which they had no means of lessening but by their own conjectures.

The film follows the books quite well, I believe.

Thank you for joining me in this JAFP series.

 

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