Felicity’s Spring(Episode 3.05)

Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced By Winston Miller
Written By John Holloway
Directed By Don McDougall

You do know how to waltz!

Episode scene:

The Virginian returns to Medicine Bow from a business trip, expecting to find Steve waiting for him at the station. Instead, he finds the ranch hands are all at a dancing class given by the pretty new schoolteacher. When she offers him a lesson, he tells her “No, thanks, I already know how to waltz.” When she invites him to demonstrate, she discovers he was telling the truth, and expresses her pleasant surprise.

Quotation from the book (Chapter 10):

“Not dancin’?” the Southerner inquired.
“Don’t know how.”
“Better persuade the schoolmarm to learn yu’. She’s goin’ to give me instruction.”
“...I’m not waltzin’ with her,” blurted Mr. McLean, grievously. “She called me an exception.”
“Waltzin’,” repeated the Virginian quickly, and hearing the fiddles he hastened away.
Few in the Bear Creek Country could waltz, and with these few it was mostly an unsteered and ponderous exhibition; therefore was the Southerner bent upon profiting by his skill. He entered the room, and his lady saw him come where she sat alone for the moment, and her thoughts grew a little hurried.

Was I that obvious?

Episode scene:

Felicity and her sister Kate are discussing the Virginian’s appearance at the dancing class. Felicity did not realize that her interest in him was so obvious. She tells Kate she feels as if she’s known him before and when Kate suggests he reminds her of someone, she says emphatically, “Oh, no, if I’d ever met anyone like him, I would have remembered.” When Kate goes to bed, Felicity continues to wistfully think about him.

Quotation from the book (Chapter 11):

As we fall asleep at night, our thoughts will often ramble back and forth between the two worlds.
“What color were his eyes?” wondered Molly on her pillow. “His mustache is not like so many of them. Sam never gave me such a look as ...”

What does a man say at a time like this?

Episode scene:

The Virginian brings Felicity to one of their favorite places and nervously tells her he had a speech all worked out the night before, but now can’t think what to say. He starts to tell her he can’t begin to give her the things she deserves, such as money and social position, “not even a very comfortable way of life.” But he stops in the middle and asks the question above, to which Felicity replies “I don’t know what a man says, only a woman ... a woman says yes.”

Quotation from the book (Chapter 27):

“Once, I thought love must surely be enough,” he continued. “ And I thought if I could make you love me, you could learn me to be less - less - more your kind. And I think I could give you a pretty good sort of love. But that don’t help the little mean pesky things of day by day that makes roughness or smoothness for folks tied together so awful close. Mrs. Taylor hyeh - she don’t know anything better than Taylor does. She don’t want anything he can’t give her. Her friends will do for him and his for her. And when I dreamed of you in my home - ” he closed his eyes and drew a long breath. At last he looked at her again. “This is no country for a lady. Will yu’ forget and forgive the bothering I have done?”
“Oh!” cried Molly. “Oh!” And she put her hands to her eyes. She had risen and stood with her face covered.
“I have put it clear how it is,” he pursued. “I ought to have seen from the start I was not the sort to keep you happy.”
“But,” said Molly - “but I - you ought - please try to keep me happy!” And sinking by his chair she hid her face on his knees.

Two weeks!

Episode scene:

The Virginian announces his wedding plans to Judge Garth and asks him to be his best man. Betsy asks him when they plan to get married and when he tells them the wedding is two weeks from Sunday, Betsy exclaims “ Why that’s practically tomorrow!” He replies “It feels like a million years away to me.”

Quotation from the book (Chapter 35):

...after awhile she said to him, “What are you thinking about?”
“I have been doing sums. Figured in hours it sounds right short. Figured in minutes it boils up into quite a mess. Twenty by sixty is twelve hundred. Put that into seconds, and yu’ get seventy-two thousand seconds. Seventy-two thousand. Seventy-two thousand seconds yet before we get married.”
“Seconds! To think of its having come to seconds!”
“I am thinkin’ about it. I’m choppin’ sixty of ’em off every minute.”

Additional comments:

  1. Felicity in the series and Molly in the book are both schoolteachers, but Felicity teaches in Medicine Bow and Molly teaches in Bear Creek.
  2. Other similarities between the book and this episode: In the book, the Virginian brings Molly horses to ride that he has gentled, and they often go riding and on picnics; in this episode Felicity’s sister and grandfather give her a horse they bought from Judge Garth, and she and the Virginian frequently go riding and there is a picnic scene. I glimpsed several scenes that looked like they could illustrate a scene from the book, for instance one where Felicity and the Virginian are talking in the garden outside her home evokes the scenes where the Virginian speaks with Molly outside her cabin. Also, in this episode, Judge Garth advances the Virginian enough money to buy a lovely home for his bride, and in the book Judge Henry’s wedding present is to make the Virginian his partner.
  3. James Drury portrays a playful side of the Virginian in this episode that we don’t often see in the series. It’s a treat to see him showing Felicity the home he is going to provide for her and “forty kids,” and shaking his head at the mention of eating any kind of vegetables. We get a glimpse of the little boy within the man that was often evident in Owen Wister’s hero.
  4. In the series, the character of Molly Wood was the owner/editor of the newspaper, The Medicine Bow Banner. She teased and flirted with all the ranch hands, but seemed especially fond of the Virginian. She was played by Pippa Scott through episode 1.14 The Man From the Sea. In episode 2.11, Fatal Journey, we learn that the Virginian is planning to propose to her, but she is killed when outlaws shoot out the windows of the newspaper office.
  5. Felicity dies of a mysterious illness before she marries the Virginian, but in the book he marries Molly, his investments in land containing coal deposits pay off, he becomes prominent in the territory and his “eldest boy rides the horse Monte; and, strictly between ourselves, I think his father is going to live a long while.”

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(Compilation © 2002 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)