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The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) Poster

Quotes

Elizabeth Barrett: What's another disaster to one who has known little but disaster all her life? But you're a fighter. You were born for victory and triumph. Oh, and if disaster ever came to you through me...

Robert Browning: Yes, a fighter. But I'm sick of fighting alone. I need a comrade in arms to fight beside me.

Elizabeth Barrett: But not one already wounded in battle.

Robert Browning: Wounded but undaunted, unbeaten, unbroken. What finer comrade could a man ask for?

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Henrietta Barrett: Papa, please. I'm not a bad girl, I swear I'm not, only I love him, I love him. He's a good man, it can't be wrong to love him. I want love, I can't live without love. Oh Papa, remember how you loved Mama and how she loved you!

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Elizabeth Barrett: Robert, have you ever thought that my strength may break down on the journey?

Robert Browning: It had occurred to me, yes.

Elizabeth Barrett: Supposing I were to die on your hands?

Robert Browning: Are you afraid, Ba?

Elizabeth Barrett: Afraid. You should know that I would rather die with you beside me than live a hundred lives without you. But how would you feel if I were to die? And what would the world say of you?

Robert Browning: I should be branded as a little better than a murderer. What I should feel... I leave you to imagine.

Elizabeth Barrett: And yet you ask me to come with you?

Robert Browning: Yes. I am prepared to risk your life, much more my own, to get you out of that dreadful house and into the sun and to have you for my wife.

Elizabeth Barrett: You love me like that?

Robert Browning: I love you like that.

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Elizabeth Barrett: Is that Mr. Browning over there?

Wilson: I shouldn't be at ALL surprised, Miss.

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Henrietta Barrett: Is it nothing to you that I shall hate you for this to the end of my life?

Edward Moulton-Barrett: Less than nothing.

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[repeated line]

Harry Bevan: Oh, come come, my pet!

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Edward Moulton-Barrett: Elizabeth, give me your Bible.

Elizabeth Barrett: My Bible belonged to Mama. I can't have it used for such a purpose.

Edward Moulton-Barrett: Give me your Bible.

Elizabeth Barrett: No.

Edward Moulton-Barrett: You refuse?

Elizabeth Barrett: Yes.

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Robert Browning: [about one of his poems] When that passage was written, only God and Robert Browning understood it. Now, only God understands it!

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Edward Moulton-Barrett: I shall never in any way reproach you. You shall never know by deed or word or hint of mine how much you have grieved and wounded your father by refusing to do the little thing he asked.

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Robert Browning: I'm a very modest man.

[pause]

Robert Browning: I am, really.

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Dr. Chambers: You know, the fact is, a change from these surroundings would do you a world of good. Italy's the place for you!

Elizabeth Barrett: Italy? Oh, no Doctor. This is my Italy.

Dr. Chambers: Rubbish. That's just it. You don't want to go anywhere. You don't want to see anybody. Confound it, my dear, isn't there something you want to do?

Elizabeth Barrett: Yes. And I'm doing it. I'm writing poetry. And there are those you think it isn't such bad poetry. Mr. Robert Browning has sent me several letters of approval.

Dr. Chambers: Browning? Never heard of him.

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Elizabeth Barrett: Oh Doctor, that reminds me, sit down a minute. You remember PaPa suggesting to you that a certain kind of beer called Porter might do me good?

Dr. Chambers: Yes! And an excellent suggestion, too!

Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, forgive me, but it was nothing of the kind. I've had to drink it twice a day and in consequence my life has become one long misery.

Dr. Chambers: Bless my soul!

Elizabeth Barrett: I'm not exaggerating! One long misery.

Dr. Chambers: You poor little lady.

Elizabeth Barrett: There's no use my opinion to PaPa, but, if, you dear, Doctor Chambers, would suggest to him that something else might be equally beneficial? Why...

Dr. Chambers: What would you say to a couple of glasses of hot milk?

Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, I hate milk. But, I'll drink it all day long if you'll only rescue me from Porter.

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George Barrett: How's the world's greatest poetess?

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Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, Wilson, I'm so tired. Tired! Tired. Will it never end?

Wilson: End, Miss?

Elizabeth Barrett: This long, long gray death of life.

Wilson: Oh, Miss Ba, you shouldn't say such things.

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Wilson: [after Miss Ba reads a poem aloud] I call that just lovely, Miss Ba.

Elizabeth Barrett: Yes, but do you know what it means?

Wilson: Oh, no Miss.

Elizabeth Barrett: Does it convey anything at all to your mind?

Wilson: Oh, no Miss Ba.

Elizabeth Barrett: Well, thank heaven for that.

Wilson: But, then, read poetry never does, Miss. Least ways not read poetry like what you make.

Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, but I didn't write that. It's by Mr. Browning.

Wilson: Oh, he must be a tailored gentleman.

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Bella Hedley: Poor Ba, so pale. So faawgile. So inferior. One has only to see your dear face to know how near you are to heaven.

Elizabeth Barrett: I wouldn't quite say that, Bella

Bella Hedley: Oh yes! You always have a look in your eyes, darling, as if you already saw the angels.

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Henrietta Barrett: Ba, dear, is there anything? Anything at all to be said to PaPa's attitude toward marriage? Can it possibly be wrong to - to want a man's love desperately and - long for babies of my own?

Elizabeth Barrett: Love and babies are something I don't know very much about.

Henrietta Barrett: Oh, I know, dear, you're a woman apart. But, but, love and babies are natural to an ordinary girl like me. And what's natural, cant' be wrong!

Elizabeth Barrett: No. And yet the holiest men and women renounce these things.

Henrietta Barrett: Oh, I dare say, Ba; but, I'm not holy!

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Henrietta Barrett: But, do you know Ba, sometimes I've wondered, are you, are you completely satisfied? Is it enough just to - to correspond with Mr. Browning, for instance? Don't you sometimes wish that you could see him?

Elizabeth Barrett: If I could see and not be seen.

Henrietta Barrett: Why?

Elizabeth Barrett: Because, at heart, I'm as vain as a peacock. He thinks my verses, stately and beautiful. He probably thinks me, the same. It would be so humiliating to disillusion him.

Henrietta Barrett: Oh, don't be silly, Ba. You're very interesting and picturesque.

Elizabeth Barrett: Isn't that how the guidebooks usually describe a ruin?

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Elizabeth Barrett: Tell Mr. Browning that I'm very sorry but I'm - I'm not well enough to see him.

Henrietta Barrett: Oh, but, Ba, that's not true you can't send him away.

Elizabeth Barrett: But, I'd much - I'd much rather not see him.

Henrietta Barrett: Oh fudge! You're not a silly school girl, I'll bring him up myself!

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Robert Browning: Oh, nothing they told me about you, personally, had the slightest interests for me. Because I knew it already. And better than they.

Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, Mr. Browning, do my writings give me so hopelessly away?

Robert Browning: Hopelessly, utterly, entirely - to me. Of course, I can't speak for the rest of the world.

Elizabeth Barrett: I pray it would be quite useless, by ever trying to play act with you.

Robert Browning: Quite useless.

Elizabeth Barrett: I shall always have to be - just myself?

Robert Browning: Always.

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Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, but those poems! With their glad and great-hearted acceptance of life. You can't imagine what they mean to me! Here I am, shut in by these four walls - and they troupe into my room, most wonderful people of yours, out of every age and country - and all so tingling with life. No. You'll never begin to realize just - just how much I do owe you.

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Robert Browning: I find you as I pictured you, full of courage and gaiety.

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Robert Browning: Ha-ha. Dear Miss Barrett, what a splendid beginning to our friendship. We've known each other a mere half hour, and yet we've talked intimately of art and life and death and love. We've ordered each other about and we've almost quarreled. Could anything be happier and more promising?

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Robert Browning: Au revoir, then.

Elizabeth Barrett: Goodbye.

Robert Browning: Au revoir.

Elizabeth Barrett:

  • Au revoir.


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Dr. Ford-Waterlow: Oh, fiddlesticks! My dear young lady, Mr. Barrett's feelings are neither here nor there. What matters is his daughter's health and happiness. That, I intend to make clear to him, quite clear.

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Henrietta Barrett: You've spoken to Papa. I like that. Why, you sat on his knees and stroked his whiskers.

Bella Hedley: And why not? Isn't he my Uncle? And besides that, I think he's most foughtfully frilling. I adore that stern and gloomy type of gentleman.

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Bella Hedley: And I must tell you Ba how much I adore your poem. Especially when dear Harwy weeds them. He weeds so beautifully. And he too adores your poem. Which ought to please you, as he's wedfully critical.

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Wilson: Excuse me, Miss Elizabeth. Mr. Browning's downstairs.

Elizabeth Barrett: Oh, well - ask him to wait, please.

Bella Hedley: Oh, no dear, cousin. Ask him to come white up. We have to go downstairs and have tea with Uncle Edward. And besides, we wouldn't dweam of interrupting your tete-a-tete. Isn't it frilling, Harry. Mr. Browning's a poet and Miss Elizabeth's a poet. Isn't that a coincidence?

Harry Bevan: Oh, quaint, my dear, quaint.

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Bella Hedley: Oh, Mr. Browning, I'm so frilled to see you. It is Mr. Browning, isn't it? It must be, because I've always heard him called the handsomest poet in England. Of course, you don't know poor little me!

Robert Browning: Nevertheless, Madame, I thank you.

[Mr. Browning exits]

Bella Hedley: Isn't he wonderful! It's he divine! The loveliest little shivers are wunning white down my back.

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Edward Moulton-Barrett: If my children were as bright and open and affectionate as you are, I should be a much happier man.

Bella Hedley: Oh, you mustn't say such things or they'll hate me!

Edward Moulton-Barrett: And you're a very charming little person.

Bella Hedley: Anything wong, in that?

Edward Moulton-Barrett: I didn't say so. What's that scent you got on?

Bella Hedley: Scent? Me? Oh, don't you like it?

Edward Moulton-Barrett: I abominate scent, as a rule, but yours is different.

Bella Hedley: Nice?

Edward Moulton-Barrett: It's delicate and subtle. Still, I prefer you not to use it.

Bella Hedley: Why?

Edward Moulton-Barrett: Nevermind.

Bella Hedley: Oh, Uncle, you're a dawling. You called me bwight and open and affectionate, charming and fwagrant. All within a few minutes. You may kiss me.

[Kiss]

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Octavius Barrett: Has it got feathers?

The Barrett Family: No!

Octavius Barrett: Is it a tiger?

The Barrett Family: No!

Octavius Barrett: Dragon?

The Barrett Family: No!

Elizabeth Barrett: Think of something you're are more afraid of than anything else in the world.

Octavius Barrett: Hmm. Is it a g-g-g-g-girl?

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Elizabeth Barrett: Why do you tell me this?

Henrietta Barrett: Because I want you to say that I'm a wicked, deceitful, purged, loose woman!

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