Slightly drunk, Sebastian Flyte looks up as the sky remarking (mainly to himself), “Just the place to bury a crock of gold,” he says, “I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then when I was old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.” Flyte is momentarily at peace, enjoying a picnic with this friend Charles Ryder, who is momentarily in love with him. It’s not serious, Sebastian is more interested in drinking than sex, and Charles is heterosexual and wanting friendship, not passion. Charles looks at Sebastian’s profile. It’s a fine picnic but an unsatisfactory love scene.
Two adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited have been filmed. Charles Sturridge’s (1981) is more complete than Julian Jarrold’s (2008), but their renditions of the picnic scene are handled with equal finesse. Sebastian easily gets Charles to cut their obligations at Oxford for a day in the country. He announces, “I’ve got a motor-car, and a basket of strawberries and a bottle Chateau Peyraguey-which isn’t a wine you’ve ever tasted, so don’t pretend. It’s heaven with strawberries.” Charles agrees, “They were delicious together.”
See Evelyn Waugh. Brideshead Revisited. London: Chapman and Hall, 1945. Also Picnicsonfilm.org.
Featured Image: Julian Jarrold. Brideshead Revisited (2008). Sebastian’s teddy bear is discreetly placed next to the wine bottle (foreground left).