Dora Carrington: [voice-over, a letter] My dearest Lytton, There is a great deal to say, and I feel very incompetent to write it today. You see, I knew there was nothing really to hope for from you, well, ever since the beginning. All these years, I have known all along that my life with you was limited. Lytton, you're the only person who I ever had an all-absorbing passion for. I shall never have another. I couldn't, now. I had one of the most self-abasing loves that a person can have. It's too much of a strain to be quite alone here, waiting to see you, or craning my nose and eyes out of the top window at 44, Gordon Square to see if you were coming down the street. Ralph said you were nervous lest I'd feel I have some sort of claim on you, and that all your friends wondered how you could have stood me so long, as I didn't understand a word of literature. That was wrong. For nobody, I think, could have loved the Ballards, Donne, and Macaulay's Essays and, best of all, Lytton's Essays, as much as I. You never knew, or never will know, the very big and devastating love I had for you. How I adored every hair, every curl of your beard. Just thinking of you now makes me cry so I can't see this paper. Once you said to me - that Wednesday afternoon in the sitting room - you loved me as a friend. Could you tell it to me again. Yours, Carrington.
Lytton Strachey: [voice-over, his written reply] My dearest and best, Do you know how difficult I find it to express my feelings, either in letters or talk ? Do you really want me to tell you that I love you as a friend ? But of course that is absurd. And you do know very well that I love you as something more than a friend, you angelic creature, whose goodness has made me happy for years. Your letter made me cry. I feel a poor, old, miserable creature. If there was a chance that your decision meant that I should somehow or other lose you, I don't think I could bear it. You and Ralph and our life at Tidmarsh are what I care for most in the world.
Lytton Strachey: Every day, hundreds of boys are dying to preserve... this! God damn, confound, blast and fuck the upper classes.
Dora Carrington: Will you stay? Won't you spoil me? Just this once? Tonight?
Lytton Strachey: The truth is, I've always been better at living than I ever was at writing.
Dora Carrington: What's wrong with that?
Lytton Strachey: I tend to be impulsive in these matters like the time I asked Virginia Woolf to marry me.
Dora Carrington: She turned you down?
Lytton Strachey: No, she accepted. It was ghastly.
Lytton Strachey: It isn't easy remaining calm in the face of excessive praise from The Daily Telegraph.
Lytton Strachey: I must say, I find these new young people wonderfully refreshing, they have no morals and they never speak. It's an enchanting combination.
Lady Ottoline Morrell: You know as well as I do it's a sickness with Carrington. A girl of that age still a virgin. It's absurd.
Lytton Strachey: I was still a virgin at her age.
Lady Ottoline Morrell: But that's my whole point. Don't you see ? So was I. Is there to be no progress ?
Mark Gertler: Haven't you any self-respect?
Dora Carrington: Not much.
Mark Gertler: But he's a disgusting pervert!
Dora Carrington: You always have to put up with something.
Lytton Strachey: I've come to the conclusion there's no such thing as a beautiful Welsh boy. At any rate, all I've seen have been unparalleled frumps.
Lytton Strachey: Semen. What is it about that ridiculous white secretion that pulls down the corners of an Englishman's mouth?
Lytton Strachey: Idealists are such a problem. You can't convince them there's no such thing as the ideal.
Lytton Strachey: Venessa?
Vanessa Bell: Yes.
Lytton Strachey: Who on earth is that ravishing boy?
Vanessa Bell: I take it you are not referring to either of my sons?
Lytton Strachey: No.
Vanessa Bell: Carrington.
Lytton Strachey: There must be some compensation for having friends in high places.
Dora Carrington: Don't you like Ottoline?
Lytton Strachey: I'm devoted to Ottoline. She's like the Eiffel Tower. She's very silly, but, she affords excellent views.
Lytton Strachey: Do you think knitting scarfs for the troops will be classified as essential war work?
Lytton Strachey: I'm so busy nowadays. I've been learning German, as well. I must say its the most disagreeable language.
Dora Carrington: Then why learn it?
Lytton Strachey: Oh, my dear... suppose they win?
Lytton Strachey: Do you really like to be called Carrington?
Dora Carrington: Yes.
Lytton Strachey: Why?
Dora Carrington: My first name is Dora.
Lytton Strachey: Oh, I see.
Dora Carrington: It makes me think, you're only interested in me sexually.
Dora Carrington: I was just thinking about that disgusting old man with the beard.
Mark Gertler: Well, I really shouldn't brood about it, if I were you. After all, he is a bugger.
Dora Carrington: What?
Mark Gertler: Lytton. He's a bugger.
Dora Carrington: I never know what that means?
Mark Gertler: He's a homosexual.
Lytton Strachey: Any luck with the famous Carrington conundrum?
Mark Gertler: The same ignorance. Fear and Ignorance. Now its been going on for four years and I'm at my wits end.
Lytton Strachey: Well, its no use asking my opinion. I'm afraid when it comes to a creature with a cunt, I'm always infinitely désorienté.
Lytton Strachey: I'm obscure, decrepited, terrified, ill-favored, penniless and found of adjectives.
Dora Carrington: Surely, its not that bad.
Lytton Strachey: No. No, you're quite right. Looked at another way, I'm a perfectly respectable, elderly buggered of modest means.
Dora Carrington: I suppose you ought to be going soon - before it gets dark.
Lytton Strachey: Oh, no. No, no, no. No, I adore the blackout. The most - thrilling encounters.
Lady Ottoline Morrell: Well, how is the campaign proceeding?
Lytton Strachey: Campaign?
Lady Ottoline Morrell: The Carrington matter. I take it - you're still working on that.
Lytton Strachey: Really, Ottoli, must you put things quite so boldly. I prefer to think of myself as an educator, rather than as a...
Lady Ottoline Morrell: What?
Lytton Strachey: As a pimp.
Dora Carrington: Lytton, I love being with you. You're so cold - and wise. These last few months, whenever I know I'm going to see you I get so excited inside. If you want to kiss me again, I don't think I'd mind at all.
Lytton Strachey: You know, its a strange thing, but, I'd rather like to.
Lytton Strachey: I don't know why you're so good to me. A constant mystery.
Lytton Strachey: I know it was an obscene and ridiculous war, but, I suppose its quite convenient to have one.
Lady Ottoline Morrell: Now we shall see some real progress, Lytton. We're on the threshold of a golden age.
Lytton Strachey: You know, Ottili, given the circumstances, I really think we ought to dance.
Lady Ottoline Morrell: Very well!
Dora Carrington: His conversations are so dull. He's like a Norwegian dentist.
Dora Carrington: You must be Gerald Brenan.
Gerald Brenan: Miss Carrington.
Dora Carrington: Carrington.
Gerald Brenan: Rex, that is to say, Rafe, tells me you're a Bolshevik.
Dora Carrington: He tells me you're an idealist.
Gerald Brenan: I'm going to look for a house in Spain.
Lytton Strachey: Why?
Gerald Brenan: To educate myself.
Lytton Strachey: Unlikely reason.
Gerald Brenan: I'm too old to go to university now. I have to do something to repair my ignorance. I'm eloping with 2,000 books.
Lytton Strachey: Why Spain?
Gerald Brenan: Because its hot and cheap.
Lytton Strachey: True.
Gerald Brenan: And the women are beautiful.
Lytton Strachey: Sounds worse and worse.
Dora Carrington: If only I wasn't so - plural. Especially when people seem to want me so - conclusively.
Dora Carrington: When you've been married for as long as six weeks, you have no idea how pleasant it is to get away on your own.
Lytton Strachey: People in love should never live together. When they do, the inevitable result is that they either fall out of love or drive one another insane.