US period drama. The March sisters prepare for Christmas with their father away at war. A chance encounter at a party leads the girls to make friends with new neighbour Laurie.
Browse content similar to Episode 1. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-Jo, those are the kitchen scissors.
-They're good and sharp.
-Please don't make me be the first.
If I must make this sacrament, I do it gladly.
But don't you dare take more than a half inch.
Do you have any letters for the post, Pastor March?
-This will go on the mail train tonight?
-Bless you, son.
Merry Christmas, Father. With our fondest love, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents.
Jo, get up off the rug.
That party dress is in a bad enough state as it is.
We agreed not to have any presents this year. We said we didn't mind
as long as we had Marmee and Father and each other.
Beth, we haven't got Father
and we shan't have him for ever such a long time.
-Not until the war ends.
-Meg! I found Jo's gloves.
They're all creased and sticky.
I used them to mop up some lemonade I spilled at Sally's birthday dance.
Jo, why didn't you clean them?
You can't go to a party without any gloves.
I was hoping I wouldn't be invited to another one.
I should have gone away with Father in disguise,
signed up as a drummer boy and done my duty as he has.
Jo, I don't think that's allowed or even possible.
Besides, I can't think of anything more disagreeable.
Why would you want to sleep in a tent
and drink out of a tin mug and eat all sorts of...bad-tasting food?
Because, Amy, she forgets that she's a young lady
and that I am trying to mend her dress.
I can't help that I like boy's clothes and work and manners.
Being born a girl is the most disappointing thing
that ever happened to me.
I do believe that was busiest day the depot ever had.
We had to get 200 boxes of soldiers' comforts onto the five o'clock train
and we lacked mittens for some of them.
We'll have to sit and knit more like pokey old women.
Jo, be careful.
-You look tired to death.
-Aunt March kept me on my toes today.
Most people mellow out at Christmas but not her.
Do I get a kiss as well as warm slippers, Amy?
You're all such a treat to come home to.
And I have a treat for you, too.
-Is it from Father?
Yes, it is.
You're late, Theodore.
I'm sorry, Grandfather.
How was your voyage?
Did you stay on deck and keep your eyes on the horizon as I advised?
I presume you brought your principal's reports for me to read.
"A year is a long time to wait before we meet again.
"But these hard days will not be wasted if we all work hard.
"Give them all my dear love and a kiss,
"tell them I think of them by day and pray for them each evening.
"Our country may be torn in two
"because it can't agree on what is right,
"but even in this time of darkness,
"when armies clash and blood is shed,
"we can shine a light through our kindness to each other.
"And there are smaller battles we can win,
"within our hearts and close to home.
"I know my daughters will fight their bosom enemies bravely
"and conquer themselves so beautifully
"that when I come back to them, I may be fonder and prouder than ever
"of my little women."
Merry Christmas, Jo.
Hannah, do you know where our mother is? She isn't in her room.
She wouldn't be, because we had some shoeless little lad come
wheeling and hammering on the door saying his mother was starving
and sickly and like to die and all her children like to die with her.
-Kindly get your fingers out the syrup.
So, your mother went running off after him to see what she could do.
And she took a great pile of firing from next to my stove.
As long as we've enough to cook the bacon.
Merry Christmas, Hannah!
If you don't unleash me, you young rapscallions,
there will be no pancakes!
I've just come from the most deprived and wretched home
I have ever seen.
There was a mother with a newborn
and five other little ones huddled under rags for warmth.
I took firewood but... it was not enough.
Cream! We never have cream.
I'm carrying the bacon.
The smell torments me like the legions of the damned!
Hurry, Beth, dear. Don't let those sugar rolls get cold!
Come on, Jo!
Oh, my stars! Miss, I'm so sorry.
I could have...broken your... coffee service.
I'm quite likely to break it myself before I'm through.
Or lose my self-control and just drink all the coffee.
We're giving our Christmas breakfast away
to a poor German family we've never even met.
-Was that your idea?
-No. Our mother's.
The soccer ball wasn't mine. It was my grandfather's.
He thinks it's the kind of thing a boy my age might like.
Mr Laurence is YOUR grandfather?
Until last night I hadn't seen him for ten years.
But I'll be living with him now - at least until I go to college.
I should go back. Grandfather's watching through the window,
so I have to make out like I'm having fun.
-Happy Christmas present-giving!
BABY CRIES INSIDE
Jo, dear, there you are.
Ah, a hot drink first for Mrs Hummel.
Give the tray to Meg.
Beth and Amy,
could you start spooning out some oatmeal for the little ones?
Jo, see if you can stop that broken window.
Ah...Hannah's hat will do.
If you'd be so kind.
I didn't even know that people lived like that.
But they do.
There's something you'll enjoy.
PIANO PLAYS CHRISTMAS MUSIC
CHATTER AND GIGGLING
-Did you do this?
There's pink ice cream and white ice cream. And jelly!
You never saw anything so elegant!
Old Mr Laurence from next door sent it.
It's a reward, because he heard about us giving our breakfast away.
That boy just lost his mother. We must make him welcome.
It's burning. It's burning, Jo! You're burning my hair!
Are the tongs supposed to smoke like that?
Of course they are! It's just the dampness drying.
Something's scorching, Jo.
Even I can smell it and I've got quite a flat nose.
Nonsense! When I take these papers out, you're all going see
a cloud of little ringlets!
Oh, Meg... Oh, no. I'm so sorry!
I'm so sorry! So...
What have you done? Jo! What have you done?!
I did what you asked me to do, I curled your hair!
Why did you even ask me? You know I always ruin everything!
-Oh, that's not true, Jo!
-It's true tonight!
How can I go to the party without any hair?
You still have plenty at the back that's really smooth and pretty.
And it's not as though you're Jo, whose hair is her one beauty.
Not that piano.
There was... I'm sorry, sir. I didn't know.
Look, if you must play, there's a concert grand in the drawing room.
Nobody plays that piano any more. I don't permit it!
Does it really look all right, Jo?
It looks almost like you've invented a new fashion.
Would you like to swap a glove with me?
Mine are still all creased and sticky.
-I could not get that lemonade out.
-I meant swap just one,
so we can each wear a smart glove and carry one that's spoiled.
Will it make you happy?
Yes, it will.
Meg, if I do anything really wrong, will you wink at me?
I will do no such thing! I shall raise my eyebrows.
That's much more ladylike.
You can't spend the whole evening in the retiring room, Jo.
Don't you have any dances?
No. Can't say I do.
Ned Moffat has engaged me for supper!
I can scarcely wait to sit down, my shoes are pinching so!
Oh. Please come back to the party.
People will think we're being impolite.
Susie Perkins has three drawing lessons a week.
She says there's no substitute whatever for drawing from life.
Can we see it yet?
You look as sooty and black
as if you've just crawled out of a coal bin.
No-one can say I don't have accomplished daughters!
Did you know that Jo's writing a novel?
I've seen the pages all piled up on her desk in the garret.
Let Jo write in peace.
Hello, again. Don't you care for the party either?
Oh, um, it's lovely. It's just I don't know many people.
Me neither. And I have a headache.
-I think I might have the grippe coming on.
I just have 19 hairpins stuck in my head.
I let my little sister loose on my coiffure.
Is that the little dark one or the little fair one?
The fair one. Do you know us all by sight?
We're neighbours. We ought to know each other's names.
And when you sent the thank you letter for the supper,
it just said "Margaret, Josephine, Elizabeth and Amy March."
So I still don't know which one of you is which!
Well, I'm Josephine, but everybody calls me Jo, apart from one
ancient aunt whom I have to wait on and who's usually vexed with me.
I'm called Theodore, and I hate it.
The boys at school in Switzerland used to call me Dora.
They changed to Laurie in the end. I made them.
Did you learn a lot of French out there?
HE SPEAKS FRENCH
Oh, ah. "I came here with my tutor.
"But he is in the smoking room with all the other men,
-"talking about the war."
-You have a tutor?
He wants me to go to Harvard, but my grades aren't what they need to be.
Jo? Jo...? I turned my ankle over in the gallop
and I swear I heard a tearing sound!
Should I fetch ice?
You'll have to fetch a stretcher or we'll never get her home!
DOOR OPENS, LAUGHTER
I was about to send Hannah to collect you.
And I warned you about those high-heeled shoes.
It was a case of, "Let us be elegant or die!"
She took them off in case she sprained the other ankle.
I'm Theodore Laurence.
I live next door and this is my tutor, Mr Brooke, ma'am.
I helped Miss March into our carriage,
so that she'd be spared the walk home.
Well, I thank you both for your extremely kind attentions.
Meg, have you been drinking wine?
I had punch. Does that have wine in it?
There are three dolls on my side of the bed, Beth.
Wasn't this one mine once?
You broke the top off her head and I found her in the ragbag.
Jo, I see that Laurence boy standing at the window,
looking down, sometimes.
Do you suppose he's lonely?
Yes. I do.
Marmee! Marmee! Marmee!
Have you seen my rubber overshoes?
If you don't put 'em away, don't expect them to stay put!
I can't find my slate either!
Beth, have you seen my slate?
It has a sum on it I need to take to school today.
-I have a headache, Amy.
-All girls get headaches, Beth.
We just have to bear them as best we can.
I have one too, Marmee, as well as my ankle smarting.
Can I take some belladonna?
No. Wrap a shawl around your head. The walk to work will cure it.
Letter for the mistress. I don't know who it's from
but it has Mr Laurence's cipher on the envelope.
And are youse young ladies ever going to take these hot turnovers
I've been fretting about since sunup, or are you not?
They most certainly are, Hannah. And they are going to take them
out of the house within the next five minutes!
Get to school and get to work!
Bonjour, Mademoiselle Josephine.
Your boots, upon the matting, s'il vous plait.
I dare say you had a fine Christmas with your family,
replete with homespun pleasures and the comforts of the hearth?
Yes, we did. New Year next!
Let us hope it brings the world less anguish than the last one.
Polly was grieved by your absence, it would seem.
He doesn't care for that maid of mine, or her ministrations.
He's like me. He can smell a papist from ten yards.
Do you want to talk about your invitation from Mr Laurence?
Oh, Beth. It's a simple invitation to go to his house,
to play on a beautiful concert grand piano.
we agreed you need not go to school because it troubled your spirits,
and we agreed that you could help to run the house,
rather than waste your days. But if you don't engage with the world,
all you'll be running is your own prison.
I'm not doing what Father asked, am I?
I'm not fighting my bosom enemies bravely.
And you have to try.
"In such times of dangerous trial, many would be deterred from
"inquiring into and embracing the truth, and others tempted
"and drawn aside from their steadfastness and integrity..."
Why don't you just open a little wider and swallow the whole book?
-Sorry, Aunt March.
-When I engaged you as my companion, Josephine,
it was my hope that you would come to find
Mr Belsham's Sermons as transporting and restorative as I.
I should have taken Margaret on not you.
She has dainty manners, a soft voice and a sweeter nature.
She also had another job already, taking care of four small children.
Four small children is a recipe for heartache, headache,
and indigestion - and it always was.
No-one can help how big their family gets.
Well, they can help who they fall in love with.
The most foolish thing your mother ever did was to marry my nephew!
He had filled his skull with theologising and philosophising
and didn't leave space for a grain of business acumen!
I can only hope that you and your sisters learn from her error
and do not do likewise.
Go and put clean sand under Polly's perch.
After which...we may resume the sermon.
Meaning Mr Belsham's... and not mine.
-You savage, Laurie Laurence! A real savage!
Amy! Stop screaming like that!
That's right! Do as your sister says!
Not so fast!
Leave this to me, Amy!
-I'll beat you, Laurie Laurence!
-I don't think so, Jo March!
Do you want to go the theatre, Jo?
-Well, I didn't mean today. I just meant...
It's a regular castle in the air up here.
A castle in the air is a place you go to dream, Laurie Laurence.
This garret is a chamber of industry.
I don't know how you peg away the way you do.
Never wasting an hour, never letting one moment go cold.
Brooke called me a lazy dog yesterday and I'm afraid I am.
Marmee says it's all about finding a motive.
A reason to get up and apply yourself.
She's possibly - probably - absolutely right.
I just don't know what that motive is, or ever will be.
Grandfather wants me to be an India merchant after college,
just like he was. And I'd rather be shot.
If I were a boy and if I were you, I would get on one of those old
ships and sail away and never come back until I'd tried my own way.
We should go together.
As long as you show me London and Paris and Italy along the way.
Shake on it. And go pack your trunk.
After I've finished this chapter.
Castles in the air need keys.
And sometimes I dare to think that this is mine.
Oh, thank goodness it will be dark in the theatre!
This brushing braid is hanging off the hem.
I must have put my foot through it.
You're going out!
I can smell eau de cologne right along the landing
-and Hannah's been polishing the opera glasses.
-Yes, she has.
Because we're going to the theatre.
-To see The Seven Princesses Of The Diamond Lake?
Laurie invited the two of us to go with him and Mr Brooke.
Then I'm coming, too!
No, you aren't, because you haven't been asked.
Oh, couldn't we buy her a ticket? It was my turn to have the rag money
-this month and I haven't spent it yet.
-Thank you, thank you!
Even if we can get her a ticket, she can't sit alone!
And neither you nor I can sit alone,
so that means Laurie or Mr Brooke would have to.
You're supposed to be the one with the ladylike manners, Meg.
I hate you, Josephine March!
You'll pay for this. Just you wait.
I'm sorry! Meg was fussing with her hair.
She won't let me near with the tongs any more!
DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES
My feet just chattered on the ground.
I couldn't even ring the bell.
Keep your cloak and bonnet on.
You can come with me to the Hummels. Amy, would you like to come, too?
No, thank you, Marmee. I'll stay home and tidy my art box.
We're promised a Chorus of Comical Crimson Imps, among other delights.
Jo, why not change places with Meg?
The man in front of her is really tall.
-Girls! Did you enjoy the play?
-If you're lucky, after dinner, Meg
and I will reprise the entire Ballet Of The Swans!
Jo bought these for you in the foyer. Chocolate-coated caramels.
Because I was a crosspatch, and I'm sorry.
Why not unwrap them, Amy?
It's the kind of treat that tastes much better when it's shared.
I imagine all treats taste better when shared.
I'll take you to the play next week, Amy.
There are tickets, I asked at the office.
So which one of youse young ladies has been meddling
with my cooking range?!
I leave the house for one hour in pursuit of additional onions
and I come back to my kitchen to find the stove cold, smoking
and choked with a load of scrawny papers!
This is mine. This is my writing!
What's happened to the rest of it?
In a nutshell, it's all turned to soot and black ash.
Amy, did you burn my book?
I said I'd make you pay for being so hateful.
And I have.
You wicked, wicked girl! I will never write again!
And I will never forgive you as long as I live!
-Jo! Stop! Stop!
-Why should I? It's too late to stop her!
Amy, how could you?
Did you see what she did?!
-Did you see what she did?!
And don't look to me for comfort, because I don't blame her!
If it was in your head once, some of it must still be in there.
Writing isn't like that. You can't keep it anywhere.
It passes through you and you have to catch it and get it on the page.
And do you know the worst thing? I don't even know if it was any good.
All I ever wanted was to take it somewhere to show it to someone
to see if it might be fit to publish.
I don't mind if you cry, Jo.
-Tears are an unmanly weakness.
-You're not a man!
Go on. Apologise.
I'm truly, truly sorry, Jo.
-Please forgive me.
Did you hear that? I apologised and she won't accept it!
Jo...don't let the sun go down on your anger. You're sisters.
Forgive each other.
-You can start again in the morning.
-Start what again? My book?
Amy did an abominable thing and she doesn't deserve to be forgiven!
I can't imagine any of you quarrelling.
You don't have to imagine it. We've been at odds for days now.
Even Beth acts grieved and wistful all the time.
But it always looks so idyllic,
when I look down and see you through the parlour window in the evenings.
It's like the window is a frame
and you're all part of a perfect picture.
You must cherish your illusions if they make you happy.
What would make YOU happy, Jo?
Skating. With you.
You said we should, if the lake froze properly
and this is probably the last ice we shall have.
-I also said we'd take Amy.
It was before she burnt your book.
Now, stay away from the middle
and if you hear a cracking sound, it means the ice is about to give.
If you don't hear a crack...
..it's time for hockey!
Not so fast!
Jo, will you help me put my skates on?
Laurie invited me last week,
I don't need you to talk to me, I just need you to do the straps.
If you're old enough to force your way in when you're not wanted,
you're old enough to fasten them yourself!
You won't shut me out like this!
We're supposed to be trying to be good people!
And you, Jo March, aren't going to get anywhere
when you ignore someone who's trying to set a virtuous...
Amy! Jo, stop!
You can't walk on it, it's too thin.
She didn't know! You told me, and I didn't tell her. She didn't know.
Amy. Don't move. I'm coming to get you.
You have to stay absolutely still, Amy,
and when I get to you, trust me absolutely.
Don't grab me, do you understand?
Jo... This won't do, Jo. Go find a branch!
Take it! Take it, Amy. Take it.
Don't let go, Jo.
Never. I swear to you. Never.
Jo, Amy won't even catch cold, you wrapped her up so well
and brought her home so quickly.
Laurie did everything.
All I did was let her go skating off alone
because I can't conquer my horrible temper.
It's been your burden since you were a little girl.
You will learn to master it.
I try and I think I've won, and then it breaks out worse than ever.
I'll never learn to govern myself.
-You don't know what it's like, Marmee!
But you're never angry.
No. I never SEEM angry.
But I am angry, almost every day of my life.
I've been trying to cure my rage for 40 years...
..and have only succeeded in controlling it.
Are you angry when you press your lips together
and go out of the room?
Father doesn't have a temper, does he?
He's always so wise and so patient.
No-one is without their trials.
But his strengths speak to my weaknesses and help to bear me up.
Don't cry, Marmee.
You didn't even cry when Father left for Washington in his uniform.
I gave my best to the country I love
and saved my tears till he was gone.
Sometimes, we simply have to do the bravest thing.
So am I.
When Laurie said his visitors were English, I thought it would
all be very smart and formal.
I even bought new gloves.
Give them to me. I'm going back to sit by the hampers.
And which ensign do you sail under, Miss Margaret?
The Union Jack or the Union Flag?
Oh, I dare say I ought to make our guests feel welcome.
A delightful gesture and a very good choice.
There they are! We're coming for you!
Amy! Don't you dare!
Have they sent you up here to talk to me?
I just came.
I'm scared to talk to them.
Are you shy?
Although I can't claim to be particularly interesting.
I used to be able to talk about two things - hunting and cricket.
But I broke my legs hunting,
and I can't think you and I would get very far with cricket.
I have a pack of cards with me.
Oh! No, I'm worse at cards than I am at conversation.
If you'd like to try cricket, I will listen very hard.
Did you enjoy the translation of the German poem?
I left it in your mailbox on Sunday.
-Oh, that was you.
We all thought it was Laurie.
Do you read German, Miss March?
My father was teaching me,
but I've fallen behind since he went to Washington with the Army.
Perhaps the deficiency might be remedied by your governess.
I am a governess.
A paid governess?
I work for a family called the Kings.
They have four little children.
Laurie didn't make your position entirely plain.
You must excuse me.
I had hoped that Miss Vaughn and I might be friends.
I think perhaps ours is the country to belong to,
if you have to be a worker.
I get great satisfaction from earning a wage.
I only wish I enjoyed teaching as much as you do.
You would, if you had Laurie as a pupil.
And I shall miss him, when he goes to college next year.
Next year? That's not so very far away.
I shall wave him off and turn soldier.
And I have no family to miss me, or even care, should I not be spared.
Laurie and Mr Laurence would care a great deal.
And we would all be heartbroken if you came to any harm.
Now, Miss Meg, let's race back to those hampers.
This rat's getting particular as well as tame, Jo.
He likes the cheese.
He wouldn't touch the ham.
I said you mustn't talk until I've finished this chapter.
Jo! Have you seen my cream glove?
-It's half of the kid pair I had new at Laurie's picnic.
-I bet you used it to mop up lemonade.
Nobody is supposed to play that piano!
I'm sorry, Mr Laurence!
I'm sorry. I know I was supposed to play the concert grand, but...
No, no, no...
Oh, my word.
I didn't mean to startle you.
But I once had a daughter
who loved this piano as much as I loved her.
I thought silence was her best memorial,
but now I suspect I may be mistaken.
Here we are.
You've travelled all over Italy.
What do they do with the sunflowers over there?
I don't want to poison Aunt Cockle-top and the chicks!
Aunt Cockle-top and the chicks are eating every little seed
that falls to earth.
They don't look like they're being poisoned to me.
Meg's been in our hothouse with Brooke for a long time.
What do you mean?
She only went to fetch the orange tree he's been raising from a pip
and all I have to say is, how much fetching does an orange tree take?
You're insinuating things and I don't care for it.
You're better than that and so is Meg.
It might be insinuating if I didn't know where her cream glove was.
Or who had it and still does.
Brooke has Meg's glove?
-How do you know?
He's had it in his pocket all this time.
-Isn't that romantic?
You, for telling me.
Marmee, can I have some pickled limes to take to school on Monday?
-It's the fashion.
It used to be pricking bits of India rubber to make balls.
Mr Davies said they were a distraction and forbade them,
so now it's pickled limes.
Look what Mr Brooke gave me for my piece of the garden.
And I have pansies. Mr Laurence calls them heartsease -
-he says they're his favourite flower.
It's a telegram.
Your father is very ill
and I have been asked to go to him at once.
Laurie, if you would go to Plumfield
and ask for this note to be given to Aunt March, I would be grateful.
Is there nothing else I can do?
I don't know.
Hannah, the brown trunk from the garret.
We have sufficient sal volatile and nux vomica, but...
..Jo, you'll have to get me some more...
..belladonna and some Holloway's pills.
-From the pharmacy on Main Street!
What can I do?
You must help Hannah prepare some linen for your father.
And while I'm away, you must help her with the laundry.
What can we do?
Pray that I may be able to afford the train to Washington.
Pray that I am not too late.
Oh, children, help me. Help me to bear it.
-Do you only speak French?
Because I have to be elsewhere and I need to do this quickly.
When you send me a written appeal for aid, the least you can do
is to await me in the parlour and without an apron on.
I didn't think you'd come in person.
-May I offer you a chair?
-I think not.
I'm sorry, Mademoiselle, but we never pay lavishly.
It's the work that renders a wig so costly.
And yours would have to be dyed - it is a sadly unfashionable colour.
I need 25.
My father is a Union Army Chaplain.
He is mortally sick in a hospital in Washington
and my mother can't even raise the money for her train ticket.
Don't you have anyone fighting in the War?
I hate to beg. I hate it.
But you did.
And my husband may still die.
But at least, if I go to him, he may not die alone.
Well, what ails the fool? Dysentery?
The telegram didn't say.
In which case it was indubitably written by a man.
I venture to suggest that we had best send a woman there,
so that we might, ah, ascertain the facts.
I was able to get you everything you wanted.
Oh, you splendid girl.
Mr Laurence is sending Mr Brooke to Washington on business
and he can escort me on my journey and is to make sure that Father
and I have everything that we might need.
Meanwhile, Aunt March is lending me the money for my fare.
Because I got you this.
What is this?
Your one beauty.
I leave you to Hannah's care...
..and Mr Laurence's protection.
KNOCK AT DOOR
The carriage is ready.
And I want you all to remember this one thing.
Whatever may come to pass in Washington...
..you can never be fatherless under heaven.
Take care of each other.
I want to run after her.
I want her to see us waving.
No. Then she would know that we aren't being brave
and that would distress her.
If we were boys, we wouldn't be quaking and quivering like this.
The female animal should not be indulged,
for hers is a thorny path.
I could be a better person, Laurie. I've known that for a while now.
I think that too.
Oh, please wake up.
Please wake up.
-Why do you never listen to anything I say, Laurie?
-Because I want what's best for you.
I would like to keep all of my girls for as long as I can,
but I also want real love for all of you.
Christmas, 1861. The March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy - and their mother Marmee prepare for Christmas without presents and without their father, a Union army chaplain away at war. Learning to appreciate the smaller things in life, the sisters strike up a friendship with their charming new neighbour Laurie and his tutor John Brooke.
After the holiday, Meg and Jo return to work in order to provide for the family. In the new year, Amy and Jo clash over an invitation to the theatre and a rash act of revenge, but a life-threatening event encourages them to put their differences aside.
During the summer Beth struggles to overcome social anxiety and Meg grows closer to John. As autumn of 1862 sets in, the family receives the terrible news that Mr March has been taken ill in an army hospital in Washington DC. The girls anxiously await news of their father's fate as Marmee, accompanied by John, rushes to his side.