PART I: By what means Redmond Barry acquired the style and title of Barry Lyndon.
In the opening scene, set in 1750s Ireland, the father of Irishman Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) is killed in a duel by a businessman over a disputed sale of some horses. This detail is related by the film’s narrator (the voice of Michael Horden), who comments ironically on the events that transpire. The widow (Marie Kean), disdaining offers of marriage, devotes herself to the raising of her son.
While still in his teens, Barry falls in love with his older cousin, Nora Brady (Gay Hamilton). A wealthy English army officer named Captain John Quin (Leonard Rossiter) meets and begins courting Nora, leading the jealous Barry to challenge Quin to a duel. Barry’s second in the duel is his older friend, Captain Jack Grogan (Godfrey Quigley), and also present are Barry’s cousins, Ulick and Mick Brady. They fire pistols at ten paces. When Barry’s gunfire knocks Quin flat, the Brady cousins pronounce him dead and urge Barry to flee to avoid a murder charge. Believing that he has killed Quin and will be arrested by the British for murder, Barry flees.
On the road to Dublin, Barry is robbed and his horse stolen by a middle-aged highwayman (Arthur O’Sullivan) and the man’s son. Penniless, Barry enlists in the British army and finds himself in boot camp. During training, Barry gets into a brawl with a local bully named O’Toole (Pat Roach), and is forced to fight bare-knuckle against the guy. Barry wins the fight by dodging all of O’Toole’s blows and knocks out his opponent, which earns him popularity from the rest of his fellow recruits.
After basic training, Barry and his unit are sent to France to fight in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) between the alliance of Great Britain and Prussia and the alliance of France, Austria and Russia. While still in a training camp, Barry is reunited with his old friend, Captain Grogan. One evening in the privacy of Grogan’s tent, he tells Barry that Captain Quin is not dead after all and has married Nora. The whole duel was a ploy by Nora’s relatives to make Barry flee from Ireland so she can marry Quin.
During Barry’s first “taste of conflict” during a skirmish on August 1, 1759 at the Battle of Minden, Grogan is killed, along with many other British soldiers, during the battle with a French rearguard. Over the next year-and-a-half, Barry becomes fed up with the brutality of war. One day, Barry takes an opportunity when he is able to steal the uniform and horse of Lt. Jonathan Fakenham, an army dispatcher, while Frakenham is bathing in a nearby stream with his gay lover.
Posing as a British officer, Barry travels through the allied German states along the Rhine, hoping to get to neutral Holland and from there hopefully get back to Ireland. Barry has a brief affair with a local German woman (Diana Koerner) whom he shacks up with while her husband is away at war.
Later, while traveling up the Rhine River to the north on horseback, Barry meets a Prussian officer, Captain Potzdorf (Hardy Kruger), who quickly sees through his disguise. Given the choice of joining the Prussian army or being turned back over to the British where he will no doubt be executed as a deserter, Barry enlists in his second army. After Barry saves Potzdorf’s life by dragging him out of a burning house during a battle with French troops, Barry is promoted and receives a special commendation from the Prussian king, Frederick the Great.
Two years later, after the war ends in 1763, Barry is employed by the Prussian Minister of Police, Potzdorf’s uncle. It is arranged for him to become the servant of the Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee), a professional gambler. The Prussians suspect that he is a spy and Barry is assigned to try to determine if he is. However, Barry discovers that the Chevalier is an expatriate Irishman like himself. After an attack of conscience, Barry immediately confesses his mission to the Chevalier and becomes his protege while continuing his charade of spying on him for Potzdor. Barry assists the Chevalier in cheating at card games, but when the Prince of Tübingen (Wolf Kahler) suspects the truth after losing a large sum of money, Potzdorf decides to expel the Chevalier from the country. Barry relays this to the Chevalier who persuades Barry to take advantage of this to flee Prussia. The Chevalier flees from his house during the night and crosses the border. The next day, Barry impersonates the Chevalier by donning his wig and clothes, so when Potzdorf arrives to take him to the border of Prussia and Saxony, Barry rejoins the Chevalier, both free at last.
Over the next several years, Barry and the Chevalier become successful gamblers as they travel through Europe and gain access to high society. They wander from place to place, cheating the nobles at card games. Barry proves to be very useful; when a loser refuses to pay his debts, Barry’s excellent swordsmanship, which he learned during his military service, convinces him otherwise. Seeing that his life of being a drifter and gambler is going nowhere, Barry decides to marry into wealth. Some time later, at a gambling table in Spa, Belgium, he encounters the beautiful and wealthy Countess of Lyndon (Marisa Berenson). After Barry has an argument with Lady Lyndon’s aged and terminally sick husband (Frank Middlemass), he suffers a heart attack and dies.
PART II: Containing an account of the misfortunes and disasters which befell Barry Lyndon.
The following year (on June 15, 1773), Lady Lyndon and Barry are married and Barry takes her last name of Lyndon and settles in England with wealth at last. The Chevalier is the best man at Barry’s wedding and afterwords, he wishes Barry luck with his new life and goes off on his own. Young Lord Bullingdon (Dominic Savage), Lady Lyndon’s 10-year-old son by Sir Charles, hates Barry from the beginning, knowing that Barry is an adventurer and “common opportunist” and is not in love with his mother.
In this second part, Barry undergoes a character transformation from being ambitious, naive and innocent, into a self-destructive and arrogant man who becomes corrupted by his newly acquired wealth and power. The marriage between Barry and Lady Lyndon is not a happy one, although they welcome a new son born the following year, whom they name Bryan Patrick. Barry is unfaithful to her, and expends most of Lady Lyndon’s fortune in an effort to ingratiate himself with those who could assist him in his quest to become a peer of the realm while keeping his wife and children in dull seclusion. One day, she observes Barry consorting with her maid and feels humiliated, but when Barry approaches her in her bath to apologize, she forgives him. However, young Bullingdon does not forgive Barry, and when he reminds Lady Lyndon that Sir Charles is his true father, Barry takes him out of the room to horsewhip him.
As the years pass, Barry dotes on the sweet-natured Bryan, while Bullingdon’s hatred intensifies. Barry brings his mother over from Ireland to live with him on the estate grounds. After meeting with Lady Lyndon as well as her son Lord Bullingdon (now a teenager played by Leon Vitali), Barry’s mother privately warns her son that his position is precarious. If Lady Lyndon were to die, all of her wealth would go to her first-born son Lord Bullingdon; Barry and his son Bryan would be left penniless. Barry’s mother advises him to obtain a noble title to protect himself. Following his mother’s advice, Barry cultivates the acquaintance of the influential Lord Wendover (André Morell) with this goal in mind, spending much money to grease his way to the top of the social ladder. Barry gains access to more of high society and even once meets with the British king George III at a reception in London. To that end, Barry discusses the issue with former government minister, Lord Hallam, who refers him to Gustavus Adolphus, the thirteenth Earl of Wendover. The Earl, making no promises, is willing to consider backing Barry, but says that there must be no question of his worthiness. Barry spends more money lavishly to buy lands and expensive pictures, to entertain those most likely to advance him and make bribes in high places. One day in the boys’ schoolroom, when Bullingdon and the usually congenial Bryan quarrel, Barry whips Bullingdon. The viscount, now grown, threatens that next time he will kill Barry.
One day during a lavish birthday party for Lady Lyndon that Barry holds in her honor, Lord Bullingdon crashes the party and announces his hatred of his stepfather. Bullingdon vows to leave his home and never return as long as his mother is married to Redmond Barry whom he continues to badmouth as a “Irish underling”. The hot-tempered Barry physically attacks Lord Bullingdon and beats him up in front of all of the important guests which puts a quick end to the party. Humiliated by this public brawl, Bullingdon never the less makes good on his word and leaves the family estate and England itself for parts unknown. However, Barry’s public cruelty towards his unruly stepson loses him all the powerful friends he has worked so hard to make and he is shunned socially. From then on, Barry is considered an outcast by good society, although they do not admit this to his face. At once, his bills become due and are paid by Lady Lyndon’s income.
In contrast to the mistreatment he gave Lord Bullingdon, Barry proves to be a doting and compassionate father to Bryan. Barry now focuses all his attention on raising his son Bryan. Over the next year-and-a-half, Barry cannot refuse the young boy anything and spoils him every chance he gets, giving Bryan everything that he never had as a young child growing up in poverty in Ireland. Barry even purchases a pony for Bryan to ride despite the fact that the young boy is not a good enough rider. Bryan says that all he wants is a horse (not a pony), so he can go hunting with his father. However, on Bryan’s 9th birthday, despite his parents stern orders not to ride his new horse without the company of his parents, the spoiled and rotten boy disobeys them anyway and is thrown while riding from his horse and dies three days later from a head injury.
The grief-stricken Barry turns to drink and isolates himself even further, while Lady Lyndon seeks solace in religion, assisted by the Reverend Samuel Runt (Murray Melvin), tutor first to Lord Bullingdon and then to Bryan. Mrs. Barry takes over the management of Castle Hackton. After a few weeks, Mrs. Barry dismisses Reverend Runt partly because they no longer need a tutor (mostly because of Barry’s past spending habits), partly for what she says is fear that his influence is making Lady Lyndon worse. Plunging even deeper into grief, she attempts suicide by taking poison, but survives and is taken to a nearby clinic to recover. The Reverend and the family’s accountant and emissary Graham (Philip Stone) then seek out Lord Bullingdon. Upon hearing of these events, Lord Bullingdon returns to England where he finds Barry drunk in a gentleman’s club, mourning the loss of his son rather than being with Lady Lyndon. Bullingdon demands satisfaction for Barry’s public assault by challenging him to a duel.
The duel with pistols is held in a tithe barn. A coin-toss gives Bullingdon the right of first fire, but he nervously misfires his pistol as he prepares to shoot. Barry, reluctant to shoot Bullingdon, magnanimously fires into the ground, but the unmoved Bullingdon refuses to let the duel end, claiming he has not received “satisfaction”. In the second round, Bullingdon shoots Barry in his left leg. At a nearby inn, a surgeon informs Barry that the leg will need to be amputated below the knee if he is to survive.
While Barry is recovering, Bullingdon re-takes control of the Lyndon estate. A few days later, Bullingdon sends a very nervous Graham to the cottage where Barry is recovering to offer him a deal: Bullingdon will grant Barry a small annuity of 500 guineas for life if he leaves England forever and ends his marriage to Lady Lyndon; otherwise, with his credit and bank accounts exhausted, his creditors will see to it that he is put in jail. Wounded in spirit and body and with no friends left, Barry reluctantly accepts the deal. Barry goes back to Ireland with his mother to recover from his injuries. He is then said to have gone back to the European continent to resume his former profession of gambler, though without his former success. From there, history loses touch with Redmond Barry’s life after that. He never sees Lady Lyndon again.
In the final scene, set another few years later in December 1789, a gray and middle-aged Lady Lyndon is going over her finances with Lord Bullingdon, Reverend Runt and Graham. She then pauses to sign Barry’s annuity cheque to be sent to Ireland. Bullingdon looks over at her sorrowful face and comes to realize that she indeed loved Redmond Barry despite his faults. Mother and son say nothing to each other and continue to review their financial papers.
EPILOGUE: “It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.”
* * *
Gentlemen, cock your pistols.
Barry’s father had been bred, like many sons of genteel families… to the profession of the law.
There is no doubt he would’ve made an eminent figure in his profession… had he not been killed in a duel… which arose over the purchase of some horses.
Barry’s mother, after her husband’s death… lived in such a way as to defy slander.
Many a man who had been smitten by the charms of the spinster… renewed his offers to the widow.
But she refused all proposals of marriage… declaring that she lived only for her son… and the memory of her departed saint.
First love! What a change it makes in a lad.
What a magnificent secret it is that he carries about with him!
The tender passion gushes out of a man’s heart.
He loves as a bird sings… or a rose blows from nature.
Now, what shall it be?
Turn around and face the wall.
The object of Barry’s attention… and the cause of his early troubles… was his cousin, Nora Brady by name.
I have taken the ribbon from around my neck and hidden it somewhere on my person.
If you find it, you can have it.
You are free to look anywhere for it.
I will think little of you if you do not find it.
I cannot find it.
You haven’t looked properly.
I cannot find it.
I’ll give you a hint.
I feel the ribbon.
Why are you trembling?
At the pleasure of finding the ribbon.
Company, forward march!
Company, eyes left!
About this time the United Kingdom was in a state of great excitement… by a threat generally accredited of a French invasion.
And the noblemen and people of condition… showed their loyalty by raising regiments of horse and foot to resist the invaders.
Their scarlet coats and swaggering airs filled Barry with envy.
Company, eyes right!
Brady Town sent a company to join… the Kilwangan Regiment, of which John Quin was the Captain.
The whole country was alive with war’s alarms… the three kingdoms ringing with military music.
Redmond, what is the matter?
Nora, were you obliged to dance five times with Captain Quin?
I don’t care a fig for Captain Quin.
He dances prettily to be sure, and is a pleasant rattle of a man.
He looks well in his regimental stool.
He asked me to dance.
How could I refuse him?
But you refused me.
I can dance with you any day.
To dance with your own cousin looks as though I could find no other partner.
Besides Redmond, Captain Quin is a man.
You’re only a boy and you hadn’t a penny in the world.
If ever I should meet him again, you will find out who is the best man of the two.
I’ll fight him sword or pistol, Captain as he is.
Redmond, don’t be so silly!
I mean it Nora.
But Captain Quin is already known as a valiant soldier.
It is mighty well of you to fight farmer’s boys… but to fight an Englishman is a very different matter.
You best have your Englishman take you home.
Barry resolved never to see Nora again.
But such resolutions, steadfastly held for a whole week… are abandoned in a few moments of bleak despair.
No, Nora, no, except for you and four others…
I vow before all the gods my heart… has never felt the soft flame.
Ah, you men, you men, John… your passion’s not equal to ours.
We are like some plant I’ve read of.
We bear but one flower and then we die.
You, you, you mean you… never felt such an inclination for another?
Never, my John.
How can you ask such a question?
Oh, darling Norelia!
Nora was chaperoned by her brothers Mick and Ulick… whose interests would be affected… by the favourable outcome of her affair with Quin.
Redmond, how nice to see you.
How could you do this to me?
Redmond, in the name of heavens, what’s the matter?
What are you talking about?
I think this might be an opportune moment to return something to you.
Thank you, Redmond.
I must have forgotten it.
Yes, you did, Nora.
Captain Quin, may I have the honour of introducing my cousin, Redmond Barry.
Miss Brady, it would appear… you both have something to discuss in private with this young man.
Perhaps it would be best for me to withdraw.
Captain Quin, I have nothing to discuss with my cousin in private.
Miss Brady, it would appear you have a great deal to discuss in private.
Good heavens, Captain Quin, he is but a boy and don’t signify any more than my parrot or lapdog.
Are you then in the habit of giving… intimate articles of your clothing to your parrot or lapdog?
Mayn’t I give a bit of ribbon to my own cousin?
You’re perfectly welcome, miss.
As many yards as you like.
When ladies make presents to gentlemen, it is time for other gentlemen to retire.
I have the honour to wish you both a good day.
What’s the matter here?
I’ll tell you what it is, sir.
I’ve had enough of Miss Brady here and your Irish ways.
Ain’t used to them, sir.
What is it?
We’ll accustom you to Irish ways, or we’ll adopt English ones.
It is not the English way for ladies to have two lovers.
And so, Mr. Brady, I’ll thank you to pay me the sum you owe me.
And I resign all claims to this young lady.
If she has a fancy with schoolboys, let her take ’em, sir.
Quin, you’re joking!
Ha. I never was more earnest.
Hiya for a meddling brat!
Your hand is in everybody’s pie!
What business had you to come quarrel in here with a gentleman who has 1500 a year?
Redmond, me boy, take a seat.
Mrs. Brady and ladies, if you please.
This is the sort of toast that is drunk a great deal too seldom in my family… and you’ll please to receive it with all the honours.
Here’s to Captain and Mrs. John Quin and long life to them.
Kiss her, Jack, for faith you’ve got a treasure.
Come on, Jack. Come on.
There’s the man!
Here’s to a long and happy life together.
A long and happy life together.
Here’s my toast to you, Captain John Quin.
Redmond, how dare you behave like that in my house!
Mrs. Brady, take the children out.
Captain Quin, my dear fellow, are you all right?
In heaven’s name, what does all the row mean?
The fact is, sir… the young monkey’s fallen in love with Nora.
He found herself and the Captain mighty sweet in the garden today.
And now he’s for murdering Jack Quin.
And I tell you what, Mr. Brady, I’ve been insulted grossly in this house.
I’m not at all satisfied with these ways of going on.
I’m an Englishman, I am!
And a man of property!
And as for this impudent young swine… should be horsewhipped!
Mr. Quin can have satisfaction any time he pleases… by calling on Redmond Barry,
Esquire of Barryville.
I’ll see the boy home.
A pretty day’s work of it you made, Master Redmond.
Knowing your uncle to be distressed for money… and trying to break off a match which will bring £1,500 a year into the family…
Quin has promised to pay off the £4,000 which is bothering your uncle so.
He takes a girl without a penny… a girl that’s flinging herself at the head of every man in these parts, these 5 years past.
And missing them all!
And you, a boy who ought to be attached to your uncle as to your father…
And so I am.
And this is the return you make for his kindness?
Didn’t he harbour you in his house when your father died?
Hasn’t he given you and your mother rent free, a fine house of value to wander?
Mark this, and come what will of it… I will fight the man who pretends the hand of Nora Brady.
I’ll follow him if it’s into the church and fight him there.
I’ll have his blood, or he’ll have mine.
Faith, and I believe ye!
I never saw a lad more game in me life.
Give me a kiss, me dear boy.
You’re after me own soul.
As long as Jack Rogan lives, you shall never want a friend or a second.
Will you take my message to him?
Will you arrange a meeting?
Well, if it must be, it must.
Look here, Redmond, me boy, this is a silly business.
The girl will marry Quin, mark my words.
And as sure as she does, you’ll forget her.
You’re but a boy and Quin is willing to consider you as such.
Isn’t that right, Quin?
Now, Dublin’s a fine place.
If you’ve a mind to ride there and see the town for a month… here’s ten guineas at your service.
Will that satisfy you, Captain Quin?
Yes, if Mr. Barry will apologize and go to Dublin…
I will consider the whole affair honourably settled.
Say you’re sorry, Redmond.
Come on, you can easily say that.
I’m not sorry.
And I’ll not apologize.
And I’d as soon go to Dublin as to hell.
Well then. There’s nothing else for it.
God bless you, me boy.
This isn’t one of my pistols.
It’s all right, it’s one of mine.
Yours will serve, if it’s needed, for the next round.
Good luck, Redmond.
Gentlemen… cock your pistols.
Gentlemen… aim your pistols.
Is he dead?
This has been a sad day’s work for our family, Redmond Barry.
And ye’ve robbed us of 1,500 a year.
Now you’d better ride off before the Police are up.
They’d wind of this business before we left Kilwangan.
Come on, Redmond, I’ll go home with you.
How different Barry’s fate might have been… had he not fallen in love with Nora… and had he not flung the wine in Captain Quin’s face.
But he was destined to be a wanderer.
And the battle with Quin set him on his travels at a very early age… as you shall soon see.
The boy must go into hiding for a short time, anyway.
Dublin is the best place for him to.
He can stay there ’til matters have blown over.
But the child has never been away from home before.
Wouldn’t he be as safe here?
I wish that were true, Aunt Belle, now you know I do.
But I’m afraid the Bailiffs may be already on their way from Kilwangan.
Now, Dublin is five days’ ride away from here.
There’s not a soul who’ll know him there.
I don’t want to harp on unpleasant matters, you know that… but you do know what can happen to him if he’s taken.
I’ll be all right.
I’ll be all right in Dublin, Mother.
No lad who has liberty for the first time… and 20 guineas in his pocket… is very sad.
Barry rode towards Dublin thinking not so much of… the kind mother left alone, and of the home behind him… but of tomorrow and all the wonders it would bring.
Excuse me, miss.
Would it be possible to have a drink of water?
Good day to you, young sir.
Will you join us in a drink?
No, thank you.
Would you like something to eat?
That’s very kind of you, but I have to be on my way.
Uh, excuse me, sir.
Good morning again, young sir.
Don’t even think about it.
Get down off that horse.
Raise your hands high above your head, please.
How do you do? I’m Captain Feeney.
Captain Feeney, at your service.
The Captain Feeney?
May I introduce you to my son… Seamus?
How do you do?
How do you do?
To whom have I the honour of speaking?
My name’s Redmond Barry.
How do you do, Mr. Barry?
And now I’m afraid we must get onto the more regrettable stage of our brief acquaintance.
Turn around and keep your hands high above your head, please.
There must be 20 guineas in gold here, Father.
Well, well, well.
You seem to be a very well set up young gentleman, sir.
Captain Feeney, that’s all the money my mother had in the world.
Mightn’t I be allowed keep it?
I’m just one step ahead of the Law myself.
I killed an English Officer in a duel, and I’m on my way to Dublin until things cool down.
Mr. Barry… in my profession we hear many such stories.
Yours is one of the most intriguing and touching I’ve heard in many weeks.
Nevertheless, I’m afraid I cannot grant your request.
But, I’ll tell you what I will do.
I’ll allow you to keep those fine pair of boots, which in normal circumstances I would have for myself.
The next town is only five miles away.
And I suggest you now start walking.
Mightn’t I be allowed to keep my horse?
I would like to oblige you… but, people like us we must be able to travel faster than our clients.
Good day, young sir.
You can put down your hands now, Mr. Barry.
Gale’s Regiment of Foot, commanded by Lieutenant General Charles Gale… which has so gloriously distinguished itself during the recent troubles… wants several men to supply the places of those veterans… who have deserved to be pensioned as lettermen, at one shilling a day.
All clever young fellows who are free and able… and are ambitious of becoming gentlemen by bearing arms… are hereby invited to step up and meet the Recruiting Officer… who promises that they shall meet with every encouragement… that merit and good behaviour can entitle them to.
Those meeting the qualifications will immediately receive…
His Majesty’s Royal Bounty of one and a half guineas… with complete clothing, arms and accoutrements.
King George and Old England forever.
Left, left, left, right, left.
Left, left, left, right, left.
For a young man in difficulty… who had killed a man in a duel and was anxious to find refuge from the Law… the opportunity to earn distinction in the European wars… seemed a great stroke of good fortune.
And King George was too much in want of men to heed from whence they came.
Hey, lad! Lad!
Can I have a new beaker?
This one is full of grease.
Covered in grease! Give the gentleman a towel and a basin of turtle soup.
If you want to vex him, ask him about his wife… the washerwoman, who beats him.
Mr. Toole, is it a towel of your wife’s washing?
They say she wipes your face often with one.
Ask him why he wouldn’t see her yesterday when she came to the camp.
Mr. Toole, why did you hide so yesterday when Mrs. Toole came to visit you?
Afraid of getting your ears boxed?
Gentlemen, gentlemen, you may fight it out with fists if you choose.
We’ll form a square for that purpose.
Gentlemen, step this way, please.
Both shake hands.
Take your stance.
No biting, kicking or scratching.
The last man to remain standing is the winner.
Gentlemen, commence fighting, now!
Barry’s training continued at Dunley at the camp.
And within a month he was transformed into a tall and proper young soldier.
During this time the Regiment’s strength was steadily increased… by the arrival of other troops… in preparation for joining their gallant armies fighting in Germany.
One occasion… brought the welcome appearance of no other than his second in the fatal duel… Captain Grogan.
It would have been better for all of us if we’d known what had become of you.
Didn’t you think of writing to your mother?
But the shame I felt of losing her money… my father’s sword and pistols… I couldn’t tell her.
Your mother wouldn’t care a pin about those things.
You are her only concern.
Now you must sit down tonight and write her a proper letter.
And tell her that you’re safe and well and merry to brown Bess.
Is Miss Brady well?
There are only six Miss Bradys now.
Has something happened to Nora?
She took on so about your going away… that she was obliged to console herself with a husband.
She is now Mrs. John Quin.
Mrs. John Quin?
Was there another John Quin?
The very same one, me boy.
He recovered from his wound.
The shot you hit him with was not likely to hurt him, for it was only made of tow.
Do you think the Bradys would let you kill 1500 a year out of the family?
The plan of the duel was all arranged in order to get you out of the way.
For the cowardly Quin could never be brought to marry… from fear of you.
But hit him you certainly did, me lad.
With a fine thick plugget of tow.
The fellow was so frightened, that he was an hour in coming to.
Are you in want of cash?
You may draw on me. For I got a couple of hundred out of your uncle from my share.
While they lasts, you shall never want.
It would require a great philosopher historian to explain the causes… of the famous Seven Years’ War in which Europe was engaged… to in which Barry’s regiment was now on its way to take part.
Let it suffice to say, that England and Prussia were allies… and at war against the French, Swedes, the Russians and the Austrians.
Barry’s first taste of battle… was only a skirmish against a small rearguard of Frenchmen… who occupied an orchard beside a road… down which a few hours later the English main force wished to pass.
Though this encounter is not recorded in any history books… it was memorable enough for those who took part.
I’ve only a hundred guineas left to give you… for I lost the rest at cards.
Kiss me, me boy, for we’ll never meet again.
It is well to dream of glorious war in a snug armchair at home.
But it is a very different thing to see it first-hand.
And after the death of his friend, Barry’s thoughts turned from those of military glory… to those of finding a way to escape the Service… to which he was now tied for another six years.
Gentlemen may talk of the Age of Chivalry… but remember the ploughmen, poachers and pickpockets whom they lead.
It is with these sad instruments that your great warriors and kings… have been doing their murderous work in the world.
A young man could hardly have fallen into worse circumstances… than those in which Barry found himself.
But fate did not intend he should remain long an English soldier.
An accident occurred… which took him out of the Service in a rather singular manner.
Freddie, I hope you won’t be too angry with me, but… I’ve got something to tell you which you won’t be happy about.
Oh? What is it?
First, you’ve got to promise me you’ll keep your temper.
Jonathan, don’t be such a silly ass!
You’re making a great big mystery of it.
What is going on?
I I’m afraid I shall have to go away again.
Only for about a fortnight.
Oh, my God, you’re not serious?
Yes, I’m afraid I am. There’s nothing I can do about it.
Where are you going to this time?
I’m going to Bremen, carrying important messages and dispatches to Prince Henry.
But Jonathan you promised me last time it would be once and for all and never again.
Yes I know. And promise you I’ve kept my part of the bargain, but… Pontersby insists I’m the only one on his staff who can be entrusted with the trip.
Here was the opportunity to escape from the Army… for which he had been searching.
It was only a few miles through the forest to the area occupied by their Prussian allies… where this Officer’s uniform and papers… should allow him to travel without suspicion… and stay ahead of the news of his desertion which would be sure to follow.
Then, we’ll have little time together.
Are you cross with me?
Damn you. Damn you, you know I can’t stay cross with you for long.
It’s times like this that I realize how much I care for you… and how impossibly empty life would be without you.
Barry was glad to see the blue and white uniforms of the Prussian Infantry.
They showed him that he was out of the land occupied by his own countrymen.
His intention was to make for Holland… almost the only neutral country of Europe, in those times… and thence to get a passage home, somehow.
As he rode away… Barry felt once more that he was in his proper sphere.
And determined never again to fall from the rank of a gentleman.
Excuse me, miss.
Do you speak English?
I’m speaking little.
I have not eaten anything all day, no food.
Is there an inn nearby where I might have a meal?
No… I don’t think so.
There is nothing to eat something since Grünberg.
Do you live near here?
Would you… feed me? Something to eat.
I’d be happy to pay you.
I think so.
Is it a little boy or a little girl?
And what’s his name?
How old is Peter?
He’s one year sold.
Where might Peter’s father be?
You mean, where he is?
He’s in the war.
And how long has he been gone?
Sorry… I didn’t understand.
How long has he been gone?
Oh! A long time.
It must be hard for you to be alone.
It must be very danger for you to be in the war.
I’m an officer and must do my duty.
You are sometimes… lonely?
What did you say. What’s your name?
No, I mean… what is the name before Fakenham?
My first name?
Would you like… to stay with me?
For a few days, or sometimes?
That would be very nice.
Goodbye, my beautiful Lischen.
I love you.
I love you.
Look after yourself.
God be with you.
A lady who sets her heart upon a lad in uniform… must prepare to change lovers pretty quickly… or her life will be but a sad one.
This heart of Lischen’s was like many a neighbouring town… and had been stormed and occupied several times before Barry came to invest it.
During the five years which the war had now lasted… the great and illustrious Frederick had so exhausted the males of his kingdom… that he had to employ scores of recruiters… who would hesitate at no crime, including kidnapping… to keep supplied those brilliant regiments of his with food for powder.
Good evening, sir.
I’m Captain Potzdorf. May I ask to whom have I the honour of speaking?
Good evening. I’m Lieutenant Fakenham, Gale’s Regiment of Foot.
Pleased to meet you.
Can we be of some assistance to you, Lieutenant?
Thank you Captain, but I must continue on my way. I’m carrying urgent dispatches.
May I ask your destination?
I’m travelling to Bremen.
To Bremen? Then you’re obviously lost, Lieutenant.
Because Bremen is in the opposite direction.
Are you sure, Captain?
Wouldn’t you know it!
My departure was so hastily organised that my orderly forgot to prepare proper maps of the area.
Of course I understand.
Please, do not be offended, Lieutenant… but may I ask whether you are carrying your identity papers?
Yes, of course I am.
Would you allow me to see them?
Here you are.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Lieutenant, I hope I haven’t inconvenienced you in any way.
Not at all.
Now that we are riding in the same direction…
I’d be very honoured if you’d allow me to offer you a meal and a bed for the night… and a proper map to be drawn up for the journey?
That’s extremely kind of you, Captain, and I’d be honoured to accept your invitation.
Barry was treated with great civility… and was asked a thousand questions about England, which he answered as best he could, inventing a thousand stories.
He described the King and Ministers… boasted that the British Ambassador in Berlin was his uncle… and even offered Captain Potzdorf a letter of introduction.
His host seemed quite satisfied with these stories.
But at the same time he led Barry on with a skilful combination of questions and flattery.
You will have to pardon me, I know so little about your country of England… except that you are the bravest nation in the world… and that we are really fortunate to have such allies.
Lieutenant Fakenham… let us drink to the friendship of our two great nations.
To our two great nations.
Aren’t you lucky, going to Bremen tomorrow?
I know one of the loveliest women in Europe there.
May I ask you to take a letter to her?
By the way, to whom are you carrying your dispatches?
General Percival Williamson?
Yes, the same.
This man is under arrest.
Under arrest? Captain Potzdorf, sir… I’m a British Officer.
You are a liar. You’re an imposter.
You’re a deserter.
I suspected you this morning and your lies and folly have confirmed this to me.
You pretend to carry dispatches to a General, who has been dead these ten months.
You say your uncle is the British Ambassador in Berlin… with the ridiculous name of O’Grady.
Now, will you join and take the bounty sir, or be given up?
The Prussian Service was considerably worse than the English.
The life that a Private Soldier led was a frightful one.
Punishment was incessant.
And every Officer had the right to inflict it.
The gauntlet was the most common penalty for minor offences.
More serious ones were punishable by mutilation or death.
At the close of the Seven Years’ War the army… so renowned for its disciplined valour, was officered by native Prussians.
But it was composed for the most part… of men from the lowest levels of humanity… hired or stolen from almost every nation in Europe.
Thus, Barry fell into the worst of courses and company… and was soon very far advanced in the science of every kind of misconduct.
Get me out of here.
Get me out of here.
The Colonel’s speech declared that the King had expressed his satisfaction… with the conduct of the Regiment at the Battle of Audorf… and with the bravery of Corporal Redmond Barry’s in rescuing Captain Potzdorf… was to be specially rewarded with the sum of two Frederick d’or.
Corporal Barry, eight paces forward… march!
You’re a gallant soldier, and have evidently come of good stock… but you’re idle and unprincipled.
You’ve done a great deal of harm to the men.
And for all your talents and bravery, I’m sure you’ll come to no good.
I hope the Colonel Guideau is mistaken regarding my character.
I have fallen into bad company it is true, but I’ve only done as other soldiers have done.
And above all, I never had a kind friend or protector before… to show that I was worthy of better things.
The Colonel may say I’m a ruined lad, and send me to the Devil.
But be sure of this. I would go to the Devil to serve the Regiment.
Corporal Barry, fall in.
The war was soon ended and Barry’s regiment was garrisoned in the Capital.
He had, for some time now, ingratiated himself considerably with Captain Potzdorf… whose confidence in him was about to bring its reward.
Good morning, Redmond.
Good morning, Captain Potzdorf.
I should like you to meet my uncle, the Minister of Police. Herr from Potzdorf.
Good morning, Herr Minister.
I’ve spoken to the Minister regarding your services and your fortune is made.
We shall get you out of the Army… appoint you to the Police Bureau, and, in time… we’ll allow you to move in a better sphere than that which fortune has hitherto placed you.
Thank you, Captain Potzdorf.
Redmond, your loyalty to me and your service to the Regiment has pleased me very well.
And now there is another occasion on which you may make yourself useful to us.
And if you succeed… depend on it… your reward will be secure.
I’ll do the best I can, sir.
There’s lately come to Berlin a gentleman in the service of the Empress Queen of Austria.
He calls himself the Chevalier de Balibari.
He appears to follow the profession of a gambler.
He’s a libertine:
Fond of women, of good food… polished, obliging.
He speaks French and German indifferently.
But we have some reason to fancy that this Monsieur de Balibari… is a native of your country of Ireland.
And that he has come here as a spy.
Naturally your knowledge of English… makes you an ideal choice to go into his service… and to find out for us whether or not he is a spy.
Does this assignment interest you?
You may be certain, Herr Minister, I’m interested in anything that can be of service to yourself… and to Captain Potzdorf.
Of course you will not know a word of English.
And if the Chevalier asks as to the particularity of your accent, say you are a Hungarian.
You served in the war.
You left the army on account of weakness in the loins… you then served Monsieur de Quellenberg for two years.
He’s now with the Army in Silesia, but you’ll have a certificate signed by him.
Good morning, Your Honour.
So you are the young man recommended by Seebach.
Yes, Your Honour, here are my credentials.
Your name is Lazlo Zilagy?
Yes, Your Honour.
Monsieur de Quellenberg recommends you highly.
Monsieur is a very good man.
It was very imprudent of him…
but when Barry saw the splendour of the Chevalier’s appearance… the nobleness of his manner… he felt it impossible to keep disguise with him.
Those who have never been out of their country… know little what it is to hear a friendly voice in captivity… and as many a man who will not understand the cause… of the burst of feeling which was now about to take place.
You seem the right one to me.
Thank you, Your Honour.
Are you ill?
I have a confession to make to you.
I’m an Irishman.
And my name is Redmond Barry.
I was abducted into the Prussian Army two years ago.
Now I’ve been put into your service… by my Captain Potzdorf and his uncle, the Minister of Police… to serve as a watch upon your… actions… and to give information to the same court.
The Chevalier was as much affected as Barry… at thus finding one of his countrymen.
For he too was an exile from home.
And a friendly voice, a look… brought the old country back to his memory again.
He goes to church regularly.
He’s very religious.
And after hearing mass he comes home for breakfast.
He then takes an airing in his carriage.
Barry presented his reports regularly at the Minister’s office.
The details were arranged between him and the Chevalier beforehand.
He was instructed, and it is always far the best way… to tell as much truth as his story would possibly bear.
It would be seen that the information he gave was very minute and accurate… though not very important.
But who does not acknowledge him.
Wine or punch, Your Honour?
It was agreed that Barry should keep his character of valet.
That in the presence of strangers, he should not know a word of English.
And that he should keep a lookout on the trumps when serving the champagne and punch about.
And having a remarkably fine eyesight… and a natural aptitude… he was speedily able to give his dear patron much assistance… against his opponents at the green table.
If, for instance, he wiped the table with a napkin… it was to show the enemy was strong in diamonds.
If he adjusted a chair it meant ace king.
If he said, “Punch or wine, My Lord?”… hearts were meant, and so forth.
The Prince of Tübingen… was a nobleman who had intimate connectionswith the Great Frederick… was passionately fond of play as indeed were the gentlemen… of almost all the Courts of Europe.
You owe 15,500 Frederick d’or.
Chevalier… though I cannot say how… I believe you have cheated me. I deny Your Grace’s accusation… and beg you to say how you have been cheated.
I don’t know.
But I believe I have been.
Your Grace owes me 15,500 Frederick d’or… which I have honourably won.
Chevalier… if you will have your money now you must fight for it.
If you will be patient… maybe I will pay you something another time.
Your Grace, if I am to be so tame as to take this… then I must give up an honourable and lucrative occupation.
I have said all there is to be said.
I am at your disposal for whatever purposes you wish.
Was the Prince cheated?
In as far as I am able to tell of such things, Herr Minister, no.
I believe the Chevalier won the money fairly.
What are the Chevalier’s intentions?
I’m not sure.
The Prince told him quite clearly that if he wished to have his money he’d have to fight for it.
A meeting with the Prince of Türbingen is impossible.
The Prince has left him only that choice.
Will you be able to return here tomorrow without arousing suspicion?
I know they won’t allow a meeting with the Prince.
But if I say that, do you know any reason why he’ll pay me the money he owes me?
You must tell them I intend to demand satisfaction.
Don’t look so downcast, my boy.
There’s no harm they can do to me, my friends in the Austrian Embassy will see to that.
The worst they can do is send me out of this dreary country of theirs.
And if they should, make your mind easy… you shall not be left behind.
Have no fear of that.
The King has determined to send the Chevalier out of the country.
Has he already demanded satisfaction?
Not yet, Herr Minister, but I believe he intends to… possibly today.
Then this must be done tomorrow.
All the arrangements are made.
You said he takes a drive in his carriage after breakfast every day.
Is there any reason to believe that he’ll do any different tomorrow?
When the Chevalier comes out to his carriage in the morning… two officers will meet him and escort him to the frontier.
His baggage will be sent after him.
At ten o’clock the next morning… the Chevalier de Balibari… went out for his regular morning drive.
Where is my servant, Lazlo?
I will let down the steps for Your Honour.
What is the meaning of this?
Please get inside.
Am I under arrest?
We’re going to drive to the frontier.
To the frontier? But I’m on my way to the Austrian Ambassador’s house.
I’m sorry Your Honour, but my orders are to escort you to the frontier… and see you safely across the border.
But, I’m not going to the frontier.
I’m going to the Austrian Ambassador’s house.
I have very important business there.
My orders are to take Your Honour to the frontier by any means which may be necessary.
But if you come along willingly…
I’m to give you this purse on behalf of the Prince of Tübingen… containing 2,000 Frederick d’or.
All Europe shall hear of this.
And so, without papers or passport… and under the eyes of two Prussian officers… Barry was escorted across the frontier into Saxony and freedom.
The Chevalier himself had uneventfully crossed the frontier the night before.
And by these wonderful circumstances, Barry was once more free again… and began his professional work as a gamester… resolving, thenceforward and forever, to live the life of a gentleman.
The four wins.
Soon there was no court in Europe where he and the Chevalier were not received… and they were speedily in the very best society where play was patronized… and professors of that science always welcome.
Why not the seven?
All… all, yes.
No more bets.
Number seven… loses.
Place your bets.
Chevalier, will you give me credit for 5,000 Louis d’or, please?
Of course, Lord Ludd.
Now, everything on the four.
Yes, I know, everything on the four.
No more bets.
The four loses.
It is not important.
Now, I’m weary.
I would like dinner. Shall we?
Excuse me, Lord Ludd.
If you don’t mind.
Not at all.
They always played on credit with any person of honour or noble lineage.
They never pressed for their winnings… or declined to receive promissory notes in lieu of gold.
But woe to the man who did not pay when the note became due.
Redmond Barry was sure to wait upon him with his bill.
And there were few bad debts.
It was his great skill with the sword, and readiness to use it… that maintained the reputation of the firm, so to speak.
I will pay you today, sir.
Thus, it will be seen, that their life… for all its splendour, was not without danger and difficulty… requiring talent and determination for success.
And one which required them to live a wandering and disconnected life.
And if the truth be told, though they were swimming upon the high tide of fortune… and prospering with the cards, they had little to show for their labour… but some fine clothes and a few trinkets.
Five years in the Army, and some considerable experience of the world… had by now dispelled any romantic notions regarding love… with which Barry commenced life.
And he began to have it in mind, as so many gentlemen had done before him… to marry a woman of fortune and condition.
And, as such things so often happen… these thoughts closely coincided with his setting first sight upon a lady… who will henceforth play a considerable part in the drama of his life.
The Countess of Lyndon… Viscountess Bullingdon of England… Baroness Castle Lyndon of Ireland.
A woman of vast wealth and great beauty.
She was the wife of the right honourable Sir Charles Reginald Lyndon… Knight of the Bath… Minister to George III at several of the Courts of Europe.
A cripple, wheeled about in a chair… worn out by gout and a myriad of diseases.
Her Ladyship’s Chaplain, Mr. Runt… acted in the capacity of tutor to her son, the little Viscount Bullingdon… a melancholy little boy, much attached to his mother.
Samuel, I’m going outside for a breath of air.
Yes, My Lady.
To make a long story short… six hours after they met… Her Ladyship was in love.
And once Barry got into her company… he found innumerable occasions to improve his intimacy… and was scarcely out of Her Ladyship’s sight.
Good evening, gentlemen.
Good evening, Mr. Barry.
Have you done with my Lady?
I beg your pardon?
Come, sir. I’m a man who would rather be known as a cuckold than a fool.
I think, Sir Charles Lyndon, that you’ve had too much to drink.
Ha, ha, what?
As it happens, your Chaplain, Mr. Runt, introduced me into the company of your Lady… to advise me on a religious matter, of which she is a considerable expert.
He wants… to step into my shoes.
He wants to step into my shoes.
Is it not a pleasure, gentlemen, for me, as I am drawing near the goal… to find my home such a happy one… my wife so fond of me, that she is even now thinking of appointing a successor?
Isn’t it a comfort to see her like a prudent housewife… getting everything ready for her husband’s departure?
I hope you’re not thinking of leaving us soon, Sir Charles?
Not so soon, my dear, as you may fancy, perhaps.
Why, man, I’ve been given over many times these four years.
And there was always a candidate or two… waiting to apply for the situation.
I’m sorry for you, Mr. Barry.
It grieves me to keep you or any gentleman waiting.
Had you not better arrange with my doctor… or have the cook flavour my omelet with arsenic, eh?
What are the odds, gentlemen, that I live to see Mr. Barry hang yet?
Sir, let those laugh that win.
I’ll get a surgeon.
Have some brandy, Sir Charles.
From a report in the St. James’ Chronicle,
“Died at Spa in the kingdom of Belgium… The Right Honourable Sir Charles Reginald Lyndon… Knight of the Bath, Member of Parliament… and for many years… His Majesty’s Representative at various European Courts. He has left behind him a name which is endeared to all his friends.”
“Dearly beloved… we are gathered together here in the sight of God… and in the face of this congregation… to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony.”
A year later, on the fifteenth of June… in the year 1773… Redmond Barry had the honour to lead to the altar the Countess of Lyndon.
The ceremony was performed by the Reverend Samuel Runt, Her Ladyship’s Chaplain.
“And therefore is not in any way to be enterprised… nor taken in hand unadvisedly… lightly or wantonly… to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites… like brute beasts that have no understanding. But reverently… discreetly… advisedly… soberly… and in the fear of God. Duly considering the causes
for which matrimony was ordained. First… it was ordained for the procreation of children to be brought up… in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of His holy name.
“Secondly… it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication… that such persons…”
Barry had now arrived at the pitch of prosperity… and by his own energy had raised himself to a higher sphere of society… having procured His Majesty’s gracious permission to add the name… of his lovely Lady to his own.
Thenceforth, Redmond Barry assumed the style… and title of Barry Lyndon.
Redmond, would you mind not smoking for a while?
Lady Lyndon was soon destined to occupy a place in Barry’s life… not very much more important than the elegant carpets and pictures… which would form the pleasant background of his existence.
My Lord Bullingdon, you seem particularly glum today.
You should be happy that your mother has remarried.
Not in this way.
And not in such haste.
And certainly not to this man.
I think you judge your mother too harshly.
Do you not like your new father?
Not very much.
He seems to me little more than a common opportunist.
I don’t think he loves my mother at all.
And it hurts me to see her make such a fool of herself.
At the end of a year Her Ladyship presented Barry with a son.
Bryan Patrick Lyndon, they called him.
♪ None of those ancient heroes
E’er saw a cannon ball ♪
♪ Or knew the force of powder
To slay their foes withal ♪
♪ But our brave boys do know it
And banish all their fears ♪
♪ With a tow, row, row, row, row
To the British Grenadiers ♪
Her Ladyship and Barry lived, after a while, pretty separate.
She preferred quiet, or to say the truth, he preferred it for her… being a great friend to a modest and tranquil behaviour in woman.
Besides, she was a mother, and would have great comfort… in the dressing, educating and dandling of their little Bryan.
For whose sake it was fit, Barry believed… that she should give up the pleasures and frivolities of the world… leaving that part of the duty of every family of distinction… to be performed by him.
Lady Lyndon tended to a melancholy and maudlin temper… and, left alone by her husband, was rarely happy or in good humour.
Now she must add jealousy to her other complaints… and find rivals even among her maids.
Samuel, what would the time be?
Twenty-five minutes past eleven, My Lady.
Shall we make this the last game, ladies?
Good morning, ladies.
Good morning, sir.
Would you mind excusing us?
I’d like a word alone with Lady Lyndon.
This coat is made of the finest Littlefield velvet… all cunningly worked, as you see, with silver thread.
No finer velvet has ever been woven, and you will see none better anywhere.
Pardon me, gentlemen.
– Good morning, dearest.
– Good morning.
We’re taking the children for a ride to the village. We’ll be back for tea.
Well, have a nice time. I’ll see you then.
Goodbye, little Bryan.
Take good care of your mother.
Come now, give your father a proper kiss.
Lord Bullingdon… is that the way to behave to your father?
Lord Bullingdon, have you lost your tongue?
My father was Sir Charles Lyndon.
I have not forgotten him, if others have.
Lord Bullingdon, you have insulted your father!
Madam, you have insulted my father.
Dearest, would you excuse Lord Bullington and me for a few minutes?
We have something to discuss in private.
Lord Bullingdon… I have always been willing to live with you on terms of friendship.
But be clear about one thing: As men serve me, I serve them.
I never laid a cane on the back of a Lord before… but, if you force me to, I shall speedily become used to the practice.
Do you have anything to say for yourself?
You may go.
Barry believed, and not without some reason, that it had been… a declaration of war against him by Bullingdon from the start… and that the evil consequences which ensued… were entirely of Bullingdon’s creating.
I shall make you into a real magician now, Bryan.
I shall show you the knot that never was.
As Bullingdon grew up to be a man… his hatred for Barry assumed an intensity… equalled only by his increased devotion to his mother.
Very good, Bryan. A little bow.
Put it on the table for me.
For Bryan’s eighth birthday the local nobility, gentry and their children… came to pay their respects.
The inside is quite empty.
The outside is quite empty.
Wave your hand over the top, Bryan.
Is there anything there?
Wonderful! Wonderful, colourful silk handkerchiefs!
Take a bow, Bryan, you did that beautifully.
Very good indeed.
Let’s see if you have something behind your ear.
Yes, you have. Ha, ha.
A little ball. Let’s make it vanish.
It’s gone, Bryan.
Here it is! Here it is, behind my elbow.
I want you you to wave your hand over my green silk handkerchief… and see whether we can produce a magic flower. I wonder if we can?
Here it comes. Look at that.
We have the colours of the rainbow.
You know all the colours of the rainbow produce but one colour, Bryan.
Nothing in my magic cabinet.
They produce the colour… white.
And there is my own… beautiful white rabbit.
Bryan, you did that very well.
A little bow.
We crept up on their fort, and I jumped over the wall first.
My fellows jumped after me.
You should have seen the look on the Frenchmen’s faces when 23 rampaging he-devils… sword and pistol, cut and thrust, pell-mell, came tumbling into their fort.
In three minutes we left as many Artillerymen’s heads… as there were cannonballs.
Later that day we were visited by our noble Prince Henry.
“Who is the man who has done this?”
I stepped forward.
“How many heads was it”, says he, that you cut off?”
“Nineteen,” says I, besides wounding several.”
Well when he heard it, I’ll be blessed, if he didn’t burst into tears.
“Noble, noble fellow,” he said.
“Here is nineteen golden guineas for you, one for each head that you cut off.”
Now what do you think of that?
Were you allowed to keep the heads?
No, the heads always become the property of the King.
Will you tell me another story?
I’ll tell you another story tomorrow.
Will you play cards with me tomorrow?
Of course I will. Now go to sleep.
Will you keep the candles lit?
No Bryan, big boys don’t sleep with the candles lit.
But I’m afraid of the dark.
But my darling, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
But, I like it with the candles lit.
It’s all right, you can sleep with the candles lit.
Thank you, Papa.
It’s a blessing to see my darling boy has attained a position I always knew was his due.
And for which I pinched myself to educate him.
Little Bryan is a darling boy… and you live in great splendour.
Your lady wife knows she has a treasure… she couldn’t have had, had she taken a Duke to marry.
But, if she should tire of my wild Redmond… and his old-fashioned Irish ways… or if she should die… what future would there be for my son, and my grandson?
You have not a penny of your own… and cannot transact any business without the countess’ signature.
Upon her death, the entire estate would go to young Bullingdon… who bears you little affection.
You could be penniless tomorrow… and darling Bryan at the mercy of his stepbrother.
Shall I tell you something?
There is only one way for you and your son to have real security.
You must obtain a title.
I shall not rest until I see you Lord Lyndon.
You have important friends.
They can tell you how these things are done.
For money, well-timed and properly applied… can accomplish anything.
And to be sure, Barry was acquainted with someone… who knew how these things were done.
This was the distinguished Barrister and former Government Minister… Lord Hallam… whose acquaintance he had made, as he had so many others, at the gaming table.
Do you happen to know Gustavus Adolphus, the Thirteenth Earl of Wendover?
I don’t believe I do.
Well sir, this nobleman is one of the Gentlemen of His Majesty’s Closet… and one with whom our revered Monarch is on terms of considerable intimacy.
In my opinion, you would be wise to fix upon him… your chief reliance for the advancement of your claim to the peerage which you prefer as to get.
When I take up a person, Mr. Lyndon, he, or she, is safe.
There is no question about them any more.
My friends are the best people.
I don’t mean they’re the most virtuous… or, indeed, the least virtuous, or the cleverest… or the stupidest, or the richest or the best born.
But, the best.
In a word, people about whom there is no question.
I cannot promise you how long it will take.
You can appreciate it is not an easy matter.
But, any gentleman with an estate, and 30,000 a year… should have a peerage.
And there standing behind me was a total stranger.
So I looked at him, and he said to me:
“Excuse me, sir, could you tell me, is Lord Wendover alive or dead?”
I was so astonished, I couldn’t think of what to say.
Then I became a bit angry, and said to him, “He’s dead.”
The striving after this peerage was one of Barry’s most unlucky dealings of this time.
He made great sacrifices to bring it about.
He lavished money here, and diamonds there.
He bought lands at ten times their value… purchased pictures and articles of virtue at ruinous prices.
He gave repeated entertainments to those friends to his claim… who, being about the royal person, were likely to advance it.
And, I can tell you, bribes were administered. And in high places, too.
So near the royal person of His Majesty that you would be astonished to know… what great noblemen condescended to receive his loans.
This is by Ludovico Cordi… a disciple of Alessandro Allori.
It’s dated 1605… and shows, “The Adoration of The Magi”.
I love the use of the colour blue by the artist.
Yes indeed, that is very beautiful.
What, may I ask, is the price of this one?
Well, this is one of my best pictures.
But, if you really like it, I’m sure we can come to some arrangement.
Mr. Henry Drummond.
Sir Gilbert Elliot, Your Majesty.
Lord Wendover, Your Majesty.
I’m glad to see you here today, Lord Wendover.
And tell me, what news of Lady Wendover?
Thank you, Your Majesty.
Lady Wendover is much better.
Good, good! Present my compliments to her.
Say we miss her company here.
Thank you, Your Majesty.
And what of those excellent boys of yours?
They’re very well. Charles has gone to sea under the protection of Captain Geary on the Ramillies.
And John has gone to Oxford to be taught how to preach and pray.
– Your Majesty, may I present Mr. Barry Lyndon.
– Your Majesty.
Mr. Lyndon. We were very fond of Sir Charles Lyndon.
And how is Lady Lyndon?
She’s very well, Your Majesty.
Mr. Lyndon raised a company of troops and sent them to America to fight the rebels against Your Majesty’s crown.
Good, that’s right Mr. Lyndon. Raise another company and go with them, too.
Sir Christopher Neville, Your Majesty.
Barry was one of those born clever enough at gaining a fortune… but incapable of keeping one.
For the qualities and energies which lead a man to achieve the first… are often the very cause of his ruin in the latter case.
Now he was burdened with the harassing cares and responsibilities… which are the dismal adjuncts of great rank and property.
And his life at this period… seemed to consist of little more than drafts of letters to lawyers and money-brokers… and endless correspondence with decorators and cooks.
Gentlemen, I’m going to leave you on your own for a few minutes. You may carry on with your work.
What does… “strenuous” mean?
Bryan, I’m trying to work.
But what does it mean?
It means “an effort requiring strength”.
What does “quadrangle” mean?
A quadrangle is a four-sided figure like a square or a rectangle.
Now, please be quiet, Bryan, and let me get on with my work.
Bryan, please be quiet!
Have you seen my pencil?
No, Bryan, I haven’t.
Bryan, please stop making so much noise.
That’s my pencil. Give it…
No, it isn’t.
It is. It’s my pencil!
I’ve had this all morning.
It’s my pencil!
Listen, will you be quiet!
It’s my pencil!
I’ll teach you a lesson.
What the devil’s going on in here?
I told you never to lay a hand on this child.
Will that be all, Mr. Redmond Barry?
Yes, that will be all.
Well then, look you now.
From this moment, I will submit to no further chastisement from you.
I will kill you if you lay hands on me ever again.
Is that entirely clear to you, sir?
Get out of here!
Don’t you think he fits my shoes very well, Your Ladyship?
Dear child… what a pity it is I’m not dead, for your sake.
The Lyndons would then have a worthy representative… and enjoy all the benefits… of the illustrious blood of the Barrys of Barryville.
Would they not… Mr. Redmond Barry?
From the way I love this child, My Lord… you ought to know how I would’ve loved his elder brother… had he proved worthy of any mother’s affection.
I have borne as long as mortal could endure… the ill treatment of the insolent Irish upstart whom you’ve taken to your bed.
It is not only the lowness of his birth and the general brutality of his manners which disgust me.
But the shameful nature of his conduct toward Your Ladyship… his brutal and ungentlemanlike behaviour… his open infidelity… his shameless robberies and swindling of my property, and yours.
And as I cannot personally chastise this low-bred ruffian, and as I cannot bear… to witness his treatment of you… and loathe this horrible society as if it were the plague… I have decided to leave my home and never return.
At least, during his detested life… or during my own.
Good day, My Lord.
Good day, Barker.
Will anyone be joining Your Lordship?
No, I shall be alone.
The roast beef’s very good, My Lord.
Hello, Neville. How are you?
Ah, Barry. Hello.
I see you’re alone.
Why don’t you come over join me?
Oh, thank you, Barry, you’re very kind, but… I’m expecting someone to join me soon.
What a shame! Lady Lyndon and I have missed your company lately.
Please give my respects to Lady Lyndon… and say I’ve been very busy of late and not been able to go about much.
By the way on the eighth of next month we’re having some guests over for cards… we’d love to have you and Lady Wendover join us.
I’ll check my diary, but I think I’m engaged on that evening.
Well, I hope you’re not engaged.
We’d love to see you again.
I’ll write and say if I’m free or not.
I look forward to hearing from you.
It’s nice to see you again.
If he had murdered Lord Bullingdon… Barry could scarcely have been received with more coldness and resentment… that now followed him in town and country.
His friends fell away from him.
A legend arose of his cruelty to his stepson.
Now all the bills came down on him together.
All the bills he had been contracting for the years of his marriage… and which the creditors sent in with a hasty unanimity.
Their amount was frightful.
Barry was now bound up in an inextricable toil of bills and debts… of mortgages and insurances, and all the evils attendant upon them.
And Lady Lyndon’s income was hampered almost irretrievably… to satisfy these claims.
Do you think that’s good?
It’s a peacock on the wall.
What’s it say?
I saw this bird yesterday.
Mama in her coach.
Is she going to London?
I don’t know.
Barry had his faults… but no man could say of him that he was not a good and tender father.
He loved his son with a blind partiality.
He denied him nothing.
It is impossible to convey what high hopes he had for the boy… and how he indulged in a thousand fond anticipations… as to his future success and figure in the world.
But fate had determined that he should leave none of his race behind him… that he should finish his life… poor, lonely… and childless.
Will you buy me a horse?
Will I buy you a horse?
But you already have little Julia.
But July’s only a pony, I want a real horse.
Then I can ride with you on the hunt.
You think you’re big enough for the hunt, do you?
Oh, yes, Papa!
Jonathan Plunkett is only a year older than I am and he rides with his papa.
I’ll have to think about it.
Please, say yes, Papa. There’s nothing I want in the whole world more than a horse.
I’ll think about it.
Oh, thank you, Papa. Thank you!
How much are you asking for him?
One hundred guineas.
He’s a nice little horse, but I don’t think he’s worth a hundred guineas.
Seventy-five seems more like the right price.
I’ll accept eighty guineas, and not a shilling less.
Five guineas should never keep two gentlemen from their drink. Eighty it will be.
Take the horse to Doolan’s farm.
Tell him he needs a bit of breaking in.
And say it’s for Master Bryan’s birthday next week, and I want it to be a surprise.
And remember that yourself.
What is it, lad?
Did you buy the horse?
Horse? What horse is that?
The horse you were going to buy me for my birthday.
I know nothing about any horse.
But one of the stable boys told Nelly you’d already bought it… and it was at Doolan’s farm where Mick the groom was breaking it in.
Is that true?
Bryan, when is your birthday?
Well, you’ll have to wait till then to find out.
Then, it’s true! It’s true!
Oh, thank you, Papa.
Promise me you will not ride that horse except with your father.
Yes, Mama, I promise.
And I promise you a lordship of good flogging… if you even go to Doolan’s farm to see him before your birthday.
You promise me?
Yes, Papa, I promise.
All right, eat your food.
Good morning, sir.
Good morning, Reverend.
I’m sorry to trouble you with this, Mr. Lyndon… but I believe Master Bryan has disobeyed you… and stolen away to Doolan’s farm.
On going to his room this morning, I found his bed empty.
One of the cooks said she saw him cross the yard at daybreak.
Didn’t you see him go?
He must have passed through my room while I was asleep.
Oh, my God! What has happened here?
I noticed the lad riding across the field, sir… and having trouble with the horse, which was playing up a bit.
Suddenly the animal plunged and reared, and the poor lad was thrown.
Oh, Bryan, why did you disobey me?
I’m sorry, Papa.
You won’t whip me, will you?
No, my darling.
I won’t whip you.
William, you take my horse and ride like the devil for Doctor Broughton.
Tell him whatever he’s doing he must come at once. You understand?
The doctors were called.
But what does a doctor avail in a contest with the grim, invincible enemy?
Such as came could only confirm the hopelessness of the poor child’s case.
He remained yet with his parents for two days.
And a sad comfort it was to know he was in no pain.
Am I going to die?
No, my darling, you’re not going to die.
You’re going to get better.
But I can’t feel anything, except in my hands.
Does that mean I’m already dead in part of my body?
No, my darling, that’s where you were hurt by the horse.
But you’re going to be all right now.
Papa, if I die, will I go to heaven?
Of course you will, my darling… but you’re not going to die.
Mama, give me your hand.
Papa, give me your hand.
Will you both promise me something?
Promise me never to quarrel so.
But to love each other.
So that we may meet again, in heaven… where Bullingdon said quarrelsome people will never go.
Will you tell me the story about the fort?
We crept up on the fort.
And I jumped over the wall first, and my fellows jumped after me.
And you should have seen the look… on the Frenchmen’s faces when 23 rampaging he-devils, sword and pistol… cut and thrust, pell-mell came tumbling into the fort.
In three minutes time… we left…
“I am the resurrection and the life,’ saith the Lord. He that believeth in me, though he were dead… yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me… ‘shall never die. I know that my Redeemer liveth… and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body… yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold… and not another. We brought nothing into this world… and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed is the name of the Lord.”
Barry’s grief was inconsolable.
And such solace as he could find, came only from drink.
His mother was the only person in his misfortune who would remain faithful to him.
And many a night, when he was unconscious of her attention… saw him carried off to bed.
“O blessed Lord… the Father of mercies and God of all comforts. We beseech Thee, look down in pity and compassion upon this… Thy afflicted servant. Thou writest bitter things against her… and makest her to possess her former iniquities.”
Her Ladyship, always vapourish and nervous… plunged into devotion… with so much fervour that you would have imagined her almost distracted at times.
In the doleful conditions which now prevailed at Castle Hackton… the entire management of the house, and of the Lyndon estate… fell to Mrs. Barry, whose spirit of order… attended to all the 10,000 details of a great establishment.
You wish to see me, madam?
Yes, Reverend. Please sit down.
I have some matters I would like to discuss with you later, Graham… but just now, perhaps you would go to Her Ladyship… and have these papers signed by her.
I need not tell you that the recent tragedy to this family… has made the services of a tutor no longer required at Castle Hackton.
And as we are in some considerable difficulty about money… I’m afraid I must ask you, with the greatest reluctance… to resign your post.
Madam, I’m sensible of your predicament… and you need have no concern about my wages, with which I can willingly do without… but it is out of the question for me to consider leaving Her Ladyship in her present state.
I’m very sorry to say this to you… but I truly believe you are largely responsible for the state of mind she is in.
And the sooner you leave, the better she will be.
Madam, with the greatest respect… I take my instructions only from Her Ladyship.
Reverend Runt… Her Ladyship is in no fit mind to give instructions to anyone.
My son has charged me with managing the affairs at Castle Hackton… until he recovers from his grief and resumes his interest in worldly matters.
And while I am in charge… you will take your instructions from me.
My only concern is for Lady Lyndon.
Madam… your only concern is for Her Ladyship’s signature.
You and your son have almost succeeded in destroying a fine family fortune.
And what little remains for you… depends on keeping Her Ladyship prisoner in her own house.
Reverend Runt… this matter bears no further discussion.
You will pack your bags and leave by tomorrow morning.
God, help. Help!
In the midst of these great perplexities… Her Ladyship made an attempt to kill herself by taking poison.
Though she succeeded only in making herself dangerously ill… due to the very small amount which she swallowed… this, nevertheless, caused an intervention from a certain quarter… which was long overdue.
Oh, my God!
If my mother had died… it would’ve been as much my responsibility… as if I had poured the strychnine for her myself.
For to the everlasting disgrace of my family name…
I have, by my cowardice and my weakness… allowed the Barrys to establish a brutal… and ignorant tyranny over our lives… which has left my mother a broken woman… and to squander and ruin a fine family fortune.
My friends profess sympathy, but behind my back… I know I am despised.
And quite justifiably so.
I know now what I must do.
And what I shall do.
Whatever be the cost.
Good morning, My Lord.
Is Mr. Barry Lyndon here?
Yes, My Lord, he’s inside.
Mr. Redmond Barry.
The last occasion on which we met… you wantonly caused me injury and dishonour.
In such a manner, and to such an extent as to which no gentleman can willingly suffer… without demanding satisfaction… however much time intervenes.
I have now come to claim that satisfaction.
Mr. Lyndon… these are a matched pair of pistols, and as you have seen… your second has loaded one, and I have loaded the other.
But as they belong to Lord Bullingdon, you may have whichever one you wish.
Now, gentlemen, to determine who will have first fire… I will toss a coin in the air.
And again as the offended party, it is Lord Bullingdon’s choice to call the toss.
Is that agreeable to both of you?
If Lord Bullingdon calls correctly he will have the first fire.
If incorrectly, Mr. Lyndon will have the first fire.
Is that clearly understood?
What is your call, Lord Bullingdon?
It is heads.
Lord Bullingdon will have the first fire.
Lord Bullingdon… will you take your ground?
One… two… three… four… five… six… seven… eight… nine… ten.
Mr. Lyndon, will you take your ground?
Mr. Lyndon, are you ready to receive Lord Bullingdon’s fire?
Lord Bullingdon… cock your pistol… and prepare to fire.
Sir Richard, this pistol must be faulty.
I must have another one.
I’m sorry, Lord Bullingdon, but you must first stand your ground… and allow Mr. Lyndon his turn to fire.
That is correct, Lord Bullingdon.
Your pistol has fired, and that counts as your shot.
Mr. Lyndon, are the rules of firing clear to you?
Lord Bullingdon… are you ready to receive Mr. Lyndon’s fire?
Very well, then.
Mr. Lyndon… cock your pistol… and prepare to fire.
Are you ready, Lord Bullingdon?
Is your pistol cocked, Mr. Lyndon?
Then prepare to fire.
Lord Bullingdon, in view of Mr. Lyndon having fired into the ground… do you now consider that you have received satisfaction?
I have not received satisfaction.
Mr. Lyndon, are you ready?
Lord Bullingdon… cock your pistol and get ready to fire.
Barry was carried to an inn nearby and a surgeon was called.
Right, I’m nearly finished.
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Mr. Lyndon.
I’m afraid you’ll have to lose the leg… most likely below the knee.
Lose the leg?
The simple answer to that is to save your life.
The ball has shattered the bone below the knee and severed the artery.
Unless I can amputate, there’s no way that I can repair the artery… and prevent further haemorrhage.
Yes, My Lord?
As soon as we arrive at Castle Hackton, I want you to inform Mrs. Barry of what has happened.
Don’t go into any unnecessary detail.
Just tell her where he is and that he has been wounded in the leg.
She will naturally want to go to him.
See that she is out of the house and on her way to London as quickly as possible.
And that in no event… is she to be allowed the opportunity to see my mother… or create any disturbance at the house before she leaves.
Yes, My Lord.
Ah, Mrs. Barry, how do you do?
How nice to see you, Graham.
You, uh… You received my note?
Yes, we were expecting you.
Oh, good, good, I didn’t want to call unannounced.
Mr. Lyndon, how are you feeling?
I’m feeling much better, thank you, Graham.
Won’t you sit down?
Thank you, Mrs. Barry.
Would you like some tea?
Oh, no! No, thank you, Mrs. Barry.
Not just now.
How’s the world treating you, Graham?
Oh, not too bad.
Are you comfortable here?
Shall we get down to the matter at hand?
By all means.
Lord Bullingdon has instructed me… to offer you an annuity… of 500 guineas a year for life.
Specifically on the condition of your… leaving England… and to be stopped… the instant of your return.
Lord Bullingdon has also asked me to point out to you… that should you decide to remain here… your stay would infallibly plunge you… into jail.
As in view of the present circumstances there will soon be… innumerable writs taken out against you for… debts long-outstanding… and your credit is so blown that… you could not hope… to raise a shilling.
Utterly baffled and beaten… what was the lonely and broken-hearted man to do?
He took the annuity and returned to Ireland with his mother… to complete his recovery.
Sometime later he travelled to the continent.
His life there, we have not the means of following accurately.
He appears to have resumed his former profession of a gambler… without his former success.
He never saw Lady Lyndon again.