Bridgerton – S01E01 – Diamond of the First Water [Transcript]

Daphne Bridgerton debuts on London's marriage market as a new gossip sheet sets high society abuzz. Simon, the eligible Duke of Hastings, returns to town.

Bridgerton is an American streaming television period drama series created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes. It is based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels set in the competitive world of Regency London high society’s Ton during the season, when debutantes are presented at court. The series premiered on December 25, 2020, on Netflix.

The drama centers on the Bridgerton family, consisting of Lady Violet; her four sons, Anthony, Benedict, Colin and Gregory; and her four daughters, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca and Hyacinth. Also featured are the Featheringtons, consisting of Lady Portia; her husband the Baron; and their three daughters, Philippa, Prudence and Penelope.

 

 

Grosvenor Square, 1813.

Dearest reader, the time has come to place our bets

for the upcoming social season.

Consider the household of the Baron Featherington.

Three misses foisted upon the marriage market

like sorrowful sows

by their tasteless…

Tighter.

…tactless mama.

– Tighter! – Is she to breathe, Mama?

I was able to squeeze my waist into the size of an orange and a half

when I was Prudence’s age.

Your sister shall do the same.

Far better odds might exist

in the household of the widowed Viscountess Bridgerton.

A shockingly prolific family,

noted for its bounty of perfectly handsome sons

and perfectly beautiful daughters.

I am already roasting.

Are you to complain the entire day, Eloise?

Surely I cannot be expected to bear these fashions the entire day.

I feel like a princess. Do I look like one?

Do you truly wish to know what I think you look like?

– On your left! – Oh, Gregory!

Is our dear sister still not ready?

She’s only been readying herself the entire night.

You mean her entire life.

I shall run upstairs and hasten her along.

– Colin, wait. I’ll do it. – She likes me better than you, Benedict.

– Did she say that? – Everyone says that.

Daphne!

You must make haste!

Should you think she heard me?

How very perfect, indeed!

Stop it.

If you don’t hurry up, we’re going to be late.

Any sign of him yet?

Should your brother wish to be obeyed as Lord Bridgerton,

he must act as Lord Bridgerton.

Where is he, Benedict?

I do not know.

Hmm.

– Anthony! You are here. – Of course I am here, Sister.

I’d never miss such an important day for you and our family.

No, you would just be late for it.

Shall we?

Today is a most important day,

and for some a terrifying one,

for today is the day

London’s marriage-minded misses are presented

to Her Majesty the Queen.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Miss Prudence Featherington,

Miss Philipa Featherington,

and Miss Penelope Featherington…

all presented by their mother, the Right Honorable Lady Featherington.

It is only the queen’s eye that matters today.

A glimmer of displeasure…

…and a young lady’s value plummets to unthinkable depths.

Miss Daphne Bridgerton,

presented by her mother,

the Right Honorable, the Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton.

Flawless, my dear.

– Did that truly just happen? – Keep smiling, dearest.

They are watching you…

now more than ever.

But as we know, the brighter a lady shines,

the faster she may burn.

It has been said that,

“Of all bitches dead or alive,

a scribbling woman is the most canine.”

If that should be true,

then this author would like to show you her teeth.

My name is Lady Whistledown.

You do not know me, and rest assured, you never shall.

But be forewarned, dear reader,

I certainly know you.

You absolutely sparkled, Sister.

Come, now. I merely simpered and minced in a pretty dress like everyone else.

Not exactly like everyone else.

Oh, I shall need to go and visit with Penelope.

Her presentation was anything but… What was it the queen called you again?

Flawless…

or some such thing.

Trust I was astonished Her Majesty offered me,

out of 200 young ladies present, a most gracious remark.

Yes, it was quite a distinction.

And now 200 young ladies have a common adversary.

– I wish you luck, Sister. – Eloise!

What? It is true.

My success on the marriage mart influences all of your prospects.

We will all need to find love one day.

Indeed, a love as pure as what Mama and Papa once shared,

if we are so fortunate.

I merely hope I am able to continue such a grand tradition.

Your dresses have arrived.

Oh!

Oh!

This one is quite ravishing.

Mary Edgecombe wore a similar shade last season.

And secured three offers the very next day, one from an earl.

Mary Edgecombe, now the Countess of Fulton,

apparently spent the last year living in a cottage

hundreds of miles away from her earl.

She is miserable. It says it all here.

Do not tell me that is yet another scandal sheet. Eloise…

No, no, this one is different. This one lists subjects by name, in full.

– Let me see! – Wait. Wait!

– “Lady Whistledown.” – “Lady Whistledown”?

– The author. – Do we know a Lady Whistledown?

Surely Lady Whistledown cannot be her true name.

What does it say, dearest?

She loathes the fact that we’ve been named alphabetically, oldest to youngest.

– Your father and I found it orderly. – Lady Whistledown finds “banality.”

The papers were distributed across town today without charge.

Without charge? What kind of author…

Well, at least she has one thing right.

She has named Daphne as the season’s Incomparable.

She calls you a “diamond of the first water.”

Well, how lovely!

I should not be surprised

if this Whistledown is revealed to be Violet Bridgerton herself.

These pages certainly report on the viscountess’s family

with much indulgence, indeed.

The pages report nothing but the truth, Lady Featherington.

Daphne has bloomed exquisitely,

and the sooner she is taken from the market,

the better for the other young ladies…

even ones prone to hysterics in front of the queen.

Ladies, hurry with your miniatures before our guest arrives.

And, Penelope, put down that book at once.

You shall confuse your thoughts.

So…

tell me about this cousin.

Joining you for the entire season?

She is a distant cousin of my husband,

and with no close female relative to sponsor her debut,

Lord Featherington has directed me to take her in for charity.

Hmm. You are known to be quite charitable.

Precisely what this new rumormonger should have published,

instead of erroneously specifying

that I shall only have three young ladies under my care this year.

She knows nothing.

Unless you shall like to have only three young ladies under your care.

I should gladly sit this season out.

Penelope is quite nervous. This shall be her very first season.

I am not nervous, Mama.

What she is is two stone heavier than she ought to be.

Mm, those blemishes on her face are quite difficult to conceal.

Perhaps some arsenic and lead might help.

Should you allow me to delay only a year,

just as Lady Bridgerton has done for Eloise,

I may remain dedicated to my studies, perhaps.

The answer is no, Penelope.

You may wish to listen to her, my lady.

Shepherding four young ladies

through these endless rounds of affairs at the same time…

Can you imagine the competition?

Well, how much competition can this cousin provoke?

She came of age on a farm, she has a mere four-figure dowry,

and as for her appearance…

Well, let us hope Miss Thompson is more presentable

than the legions of unkempt animals she has spent her entire life

– tending to back home. – Mm.

Lord Featherington’s cousin has arrived, madam.

Now, remember to be kind, ladies…

and charitable.

The poor are our burden.

Oh!

She’s beautiful.

Good afternoon, Lady Featherington.

Well, if this is not a sight for my sore eyes!

My condolences, Your Grace, for your father.

– Very kind of you. – Kind of me?

You hated the man.

It is so wonderful to see you, Lady Danbury.

Words I do not hear often enough.

Come.

You must excuse the, uh, disorderliness.

As you know, I’m to host a ball this evening.

Yes.

I have managed to keep the details of your return quiet.

But when those vulgar mamas discover

that there is an eligible duke present at tonight’s fete,

I shall be able to keep such a secret no longer.

That is what I was hoping to discuss.

I have only returned to London to deal with my late father’s affairs.

I’m afraid it leaves me no time to… socialize.

And so, whilst I appreciate your most gracious invitation,

Lady Danbury, I must ask you to accept my regrets.

Your regrets…

are denied.

– I suppose a brief appearance… – Excellent.

You may leave that flask you carry at home.

Most undignified.

Someone may hear us, my lord.

Mm.

One day, I shall seize that watch and take it apart bit by bit.

That belonged to my father.

Should it disappear, I would miss it sadly.

Then you shall know precisely how I feel…

every time you disappear.

Stay with me today.

I’m afraid I cannot.

Mm.

I must chaperone my sister at the Danbury ball this evening.

– Daphne, yes? – Mm.

What might they be like,

these grand affairs your sister must attend?

You… would hate them.

Every eligible lady of breeding

dressed in some lavishly trimmed frock,

bloodthirsty mamas at their sides…

…and wary fathers making arrangements

for only the most advantageous of matches.

And of course, without my father here, that responsibility… falls upon me.

A significant duty, no doubt.

Someone must guard my poor sister from the bucks and pinks,

ensure her virtue remains free of any kind of defilement.

Daphne is fortunate.

Every woman is not afforded such gallant protection.

Every woman is not a lady.

Of course not, my lord.

Siena.

Hey.

You have me…

protecting you too.

I will always protect you.

The season’s opening ball at Danbury House

is a most highly sought-after invitation, indeed,

for every darling debutante

from Park Lane to Regent Street will be on display.

Titled, chaste, and innocent,

this is what they have been raised and trained for since birth.

Tonight, we shall discover

which young ladies might succeed at securing a match,

thereby avoiding the dreadful, dismal condition known as “the spinster.”

Oh, I do love to dance.

Do you like my flower? We grow them in our very own garden.

I must show you my watercolors sometime, if you desire to see them.

And she is quite proficient on the pianoforte too.

Is that not the young lady

who was caught with her gentleman last year

in Lady Mottram’s conservatory, unchaperoned?

She’s lucky her gentleman agreed to a hasty marriage

after she went and ruined herself.

Lightskirts.

They’re all staring, Mother.

Allow them to come to you, dearest.

Oh!

Look who’s already setting his cap at Miss Bridgerton.

Lady Bridgerton, Miss Bridgerton.

Lord Bridgerton.

I believe you have already been introduced to my daughter Daphne, Lord Ambrose.

Uh, yes. We met at your brother’s levee.

If I recall, my lord, you had just won your first race at Newmarket.

His first and only, I believe.

Well, in that case,

let us hope his lordship has found himself a new horse.

I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing you at our club lately, Ambrose.

Should it have anything to do with the unpaid balance

you left on our betting books winter last?

Ambrose is a cheat.

A man of any honor ensures his debts are fully paid.

I did not realize…

Well, how could you have done? It is the very reason I am here, Sister.

Let us take a turn about the room.

He is rather pleasing.

He is rather here to shuffle about hunting fortunes.

Trust Mr. Lewis knows of your sizable dowry.

Leave him be.

– I presume you know of him too? – Mr. Worthington. Second son.

We shall find better.

He is of dubious parentage.

I shall not have you making a life with a poet, heaven forbid.

Nor an eccentric.

My word!

Anthony! Daph!

If the only gentlemen present this evening are your brothers,

then we’re in a great deal of trouble, indeed.

You continue to say “we.”

Did Mother tell you yet? About my tour? I’m to begin in Greece.

– Greece? How adventurous, Colin! – On guard!

Too late.

I already noted you.

– Lady Danbury. – Good evening.

Miss Bridgerton, you look rather lovely this evening.

Is there a reason I’ve yet to see you on the dance floor?

All in good time, Lady Danbury.

You poor thing.

Who is that?

I’m sure I’ve never seen her.

Miss Marina Thompson, a distant cousin of my husband’s.

She’s rather dowdy, is she not?

One of the Bridgerton boys is joining the swarm.

Well!

Most telling!

I imagine your household will be a hive of callers in the morning…

Lady Featherington.

Where one suitor goes, the rest will surely follow.

Excuse me.

There.

The duke. I would recognize him anywhere.

– Mama, where are you taking us? – To meet the duke.

That man is not in our miniatures.

Make haste before he should see Miss Thompson.

Your Grace.

Let me introduce my daughters, Miss Prudence Featherington,

Miss Philipa Featherington.

I’m quite parched.

I shall fetch you a glass of lemonade.

No. You have already done so much for me tonight.

I shall return in a mere moment.

Good evening.

Small glasses.

– Lord Berbrooke. – Tiny little things, are they not?

The glasses? I suppose.

Then the matter is settled.

I’m not entirely sure the matter in which we discuss, my lord.

You’ve always amused me, Miss Bridgerton,

ever since I was a schoolboy, and you were…

All but… five?

My brother, he summons me.

– Ah. – Adieu.

Miss Bridgerton?

A moment, please!

Miss Bridgerton?

Oh!

– Pardon me. – Forgive me.

Ah, yes. Wait just one second, thank you.

Tell me your name.

Your name, sir?

Am I honestly to believe you do not already know my name?

One moment. Yes, yes. Oh, hello.

If you desired an introduction, madam,

I do believe accosting me to be the least civilized of ways.

Accosting you?

Truly, they will try anything.

Sir, that is not…

This is not…

– What is your name? – Basset.

Basset!

– Bridgerton! – Come here, old friend!

I heard news of your father.

– Deuce take it, you are no longer Basset. – I shall…

Hastings! The Duke of Hastings, now known for evermore.

The Duke of Hastings, is it?

– Right, Hastings, this is my sister. – Your sister?

Daphne, Hastings and I know each other from our days at Oxford,

days we shall not soon forget.

Yes. As I am well aware of the company you keep, brother,

I am certain your days with His Grace were most civilized, indeed.

Hastings, we shall need to get together properly.

– I expect to see you at our club, then. – Indeed.

Evening, Bridgerton.

Miss Bridgerton.

Daphne, I believe Lord Wetherby is looking for you to dance.

– Is he? – If only it weren’t time for us to retire.

Daphne’s anything but weary. I shall stay with her.

– That would be lovely. – Daphne…

there is nary a gentleman here who would not take your hand.

You must think about this.

The most perfect thing to do now is not to dance,

but to leave them all wanting more.

If anyone knows how this works,

it is your eldest brother.

Perhaps he is right.

Let us go.

Miss! You’ve already awakened!

Have Cook prepare as many biscuits as he can this morning.

Perhaps we might move a few extra chairs into the drawing room too.

I do wonder which gentleman will be the very first to call.

I have so much to ask of them all.

Well, let us get you dressed.

Anthony!

I did not expect to see you here this morning.

It is terribly early for you, dearest.

I could not sleep for some reason. All the excitement, I presume.

Am I the first gentleman to arrive?

How wonderful!

Callers, ma’am. The Earl of Stafford and the Marquess of Finley.

My word! Well, you should have my colorful fashions to thank.

For a Miss Marina Thompson.

Dearest reader, this author finds herself

compelled to share the most curious of news.

And do you have a large family, too, my lord?

It seems our diamond requires a closer inspection.

Is there a problem, Lord Bridgerton?

I should think so. You are in my seat.

As such, an even rarer jewel

of only the most remarkable brilliance, fire, and luster has been unearthed.

Her name, unknown to most, yet soon known to all,

is Miss Marina Thompson.

Should you not be out on your daily walk about the square, dear?

It appears as though it may rain.

This author is left to wonder whether Her Majesty might reconsider

the high praise she once afforded Miss Bridgerton…

for we all must know what the queen despises more than anything…

Being wrong.

And the drawing room at Bridgerton House currently appears to be emptier

than the muddled head of her dearest King George.

Well, I must be off to my club, then.

Sisters. Mother.

It follows that Lady Featherington is to receive what she has always desired:

the season’s true Incomparable living under her own roof.

She must be overjoyed.

Is Miss Thompson so high in her instep

that she’s unable to don her own slippers?

I should think not.

Has anyone else read what Lady Whistledown has written of late?

Should anyone pay any heed to what Lady Whistledown writes of late?

I certainly do not.

Mama, perhaps we might attend the upcoming Salisbury ball by ourselves

and the Merriweather tea too.

I believe that Anthony has already replied on our behalf, dearest.

Apparently, he has managed our social calendar through June.

He’ll be there for the entire season?

Lady Whistledown has made her opinion of our dear sister’s fortunes quite clear.

Oh, enough about Lady Whistledown!

A caller for Miss Bridgerton.

Oh!

The Lord Berbrooke.

Lord Berbrooke.

Um… Uh… Come in!

May I help you to some freshly prepared biscuits?

Eloise, allow some room for his lordship, will you?

Eloise, are you not due for a visit with Penelope this morning?

– I believe I should like to stay. – I believe you should like to go.

Forgive me for not calling sooner.

I presumed your affections were already engaged.

Now I know.

You and I were destined for each other.

And so, by Heaven, your love may burn

from the depths of my soul.

‘Tis thee I shall earn.

Wonderful, wonderful. Gentlemen, thank you for your calls.

Do not forget to bid Prudence, Philipa, or even Penelope farewell as you go.

– A most wretched sonnet, indeed. – Lord Byron he is not.

I do not believe so. Good day, Pen.

Lord Berbrooke is harmless. There will be others.

Lady Whistledown has all but declared me ineligible…

worthy of the affection of a detestable simpleton

and no one else.

Tell me, what others should ever want such damaged goods now?

You speak as if Lady Whistledown

were to be held in higher regard than Her Majesty the Queen herself.

You give far too much credit to some anonymous scribbler.

These musings, they’re not true.

Only they are true, Brother, and they are true because of you.

You have managed to scare every worthy suitor away.

Whistledown has merely reported it.

I am looking out for you. I am protecting you.

– It is my duty. – And what of my duty?

You have no idea what it is to be a woman…

what it might feel like

to have one’s entire life reduced to a single moment.

This is all I have been raised for.

This… is all I am.

I have no other value.

If I am unable to find a husband, I shall be worthless.

Daphne, you’re a Bridgerton.

It would be easier if I were not.

Go on.

Ambitious mamas rejoice,

for the new Duke of Hastings continues to grace our fair city with his presence.

And, oh, what an impressive presence it is!

Lady Whistledown has written about you again, Your Grace.

Would you like to read it?

It should be noted

that the duke has been overheard announcing to mamas everywhere

that he has no plans of ever marrying.

This author wonders

which brazen matchmaker shall rise to such a challenge,

for this competition is well underway.

You know, I do suppose if it were not for an overzealous mother at every corner,

this time of year in the city would not be so very dreadful.

Those mothers simply want the same as you, I rather think.

For every last one of them to choke on their daughters’ hair ribbons?

For you to claim a wife, Hastings.

Are you not planning on taking your place in society when you have a dukedom?

I have a title, which, as far as I’m concerned, will end with me.

– But Hastings… – Stop calling me that.

It was my father’s name. Never mine.

And in any case, what of you?

What of me?

You are the firstborn Bridgerton of a firstborn Bridgerton,

nine times over. Where is your wife?

Right away, sir.

Oh! Is your plan to fuck her forever, your mistress?

You shall need to sire an heir.

I’m in possession of something that you are not.

Brothers.

It has reached my ears

that Mr. Colin Bridgerton shall be awarded the year’s grand prize

when he sweeps Miss Thompson off her pretty little slippered feet.

You could always send the willow back to that farm, madam.

As if Lord Featherington would ever allow that.

In other news,

a most peculiar suitor for Miss Daphne Bridgerton has emerged.

Daphne…

Your caller.

Will it be just the two of us…

yet again?

– Our box, Mama? – Mm-hmm.

Lady Bridgerton!

Do join us.

Your Majesty, good evening.

You must remember my daughter, Daphne.

Yes.

She made quite an impression…

however fleeting it may have been.

I would like to welcome you both to my box this evening.

I insist.

They are saying her husband will not live till the end of the month.

Surely another rumor provided by that vicious, scandal-mongering writer.

Should her degradation know no bounds?

Lady Whistledown writes about my family too.

Yet I suppose the duke can withstand such scrutiny,

since he is, after all, a man.

His Grace was fortunate to have you there with him as a child

after what happened to his mother. Awful!

– He is not what Whistledown writes. – Nor is Daphne.

It would seem the two of them have that much in common, then.

Matches have certainly been made with far less.

What are you suggesting?

Lady Whistledown merely writes what she sees.

Perhaps we need to help her to see things a bit more clearly.

The duke is quite fond of gooseberry pie.

The very dish my cook is renowned for.

Haven’t you heard what we’re talking about?

For all we know, Whistledown may be some interloper

living in Bloomsbury, of all places.

What should be so terrible about Bloomsbury?

That people there actually work for a living?

She does seem to be someone with access.

– Who knows if Whistledown is even a she? – Fair point.

Because she is simply too good to be anyone but a man?

Well, I think it rather obvious that the writer is Lady Danbury.

Lady Danbury enjoys sharing her insults with society directly.

She would never bother herself writing them all down.

Could it be Lady Featherington?

No!

No.

You have yet to read what Whistledown writes

of the Featheringtons, little sister.

You must forgive this rather unruly debate, Your Grace.

– Nonsense. I find it entertaining. – Oh!

All of you at one table, even the children.

Well, I realize it may be unfashionable, but we like each other.

Most of the time.

You should join us more often, Your Grace.

Perhaps when we travel to our country seat.

You would be most welcome.

Gregory! Would you stop tossing peas at me?

Those peas were already there. You cannot tell me what to do. I am older.

– And I’m taller. – Children…

He does have a presence about him.

If rakish dukes were one’s thing.

– I’m to spar with Jackson himself. – You?

Is that envy I detect in your voice?

Judgment, brother. I shall need to witness this.

You appear displeased.

Do I?

We find ourselves seated beside each other, Miss Bridgerton.

I’d like to think you’re happy about that.

Perhaps, Your Grace, it would be better

if you refrained from thinking about me at all.

It is simply surprising.

Yes! However is it possible for a lady to offer anything other than a smile

whilst seated beside a duke?

…you regarding subjects much too…

– Even one of your reputation. – You are aware of my reputation.

I am aware of your friendship with my eldest brother.

If that were not enough, I am also aware

of the things a certain writer has recently written of you.

Presumptuous? Clearly.

Arrogant? Most definitely.

You are a rake… through and through.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Who is to refrain from thinking about whom again?

I assure you. I am anything but interested in you.

– Good. – Quite.

And I anything but interested in you, the eldest sister of my oldest friend,

yet another recent subject of a certain writer.

Chaste, neat, desperate.

– I shall have you know… – To marry, that is.

Tell me I am wrong.

Hastings, I’m so glad you decided to join us this evening.

– It was most spontaneous of you. – Not at all.

With Lady Danbury accepting your dear mother’s gracious invitation

on my behalf…

Well, however could I have declined?

You must stay for dessert.

It’s gooseberry pie, Your Grace.

Ah! Lovely!

You were a reasonable mother until your eldest daughter came of age.

– Anthony… – This matchmaking scheme

you rather transparently concocted with Lady Danbury, it will not work.

I can think of worse matches for Daphne than a duke.

– I believe the two of you to be friends. – We are good friends.

Which is why I know he has absolutely no intention of marrying.

You must understand all men make that assertion.

– Your… Your father… – Do not bring Father into this.

Even if he were in want of a wife,

you would most certainly not have the duke anywhere near Daphne.

I am fully subscribed to the belief

that reformed rakes make the very best of husbands.

He will not make her happy!

Daphne deserves better.

And I know… I know you think you are solving the problem,

but you are not.

And that is all I shall say about the matter.

The duke will be joining us as our guest at Vauxhall tomorrow evening.

I admit, it was not easy to convince him to come.

– You overstep. – She is my eldest daughter.

– Yet she is my responsibility, as are you. – Responsibility?

Do not make this any more difficult than it already is.

I wish to know something, Anthony.

Tonight, when you leave this study

that you continue to keep at your family home,

are you to return to bachelor lodgings across the square,

or will you pay a visit to a certain soprano that you tend to

in an apartment that you pay for on the other side of town?

Relying on your younger brothers to one day do the job that you cannot.

You like to speak of responsibility.

My dear son!

Of duty?

Pray tell, what should you know of it?

I sit with her in that drawing room.

Do you know what I see?

A young woman who is terrified

because she knows what kind of life, what kind of future, awaits her

should you continue to get in her way.

If your father was still here, Daphne would already have been matched.

The man would have made an arrangement with an old friend.

The man would have done what was now necessary.

So you must ask yourself

are you merely an older brother,

or are you the man of this house?

I cannot see you anymore.

I… I do not understand.

It is not for you to understand.

I must do what is necessary.

You said you would always protect me.

You promised to care for me, my lord.

And now…

What shall I do now?

You shall leave.

Be it shame or slander,

seduction or smear,

there is but one thing

that humbles even the most highly-regarded members of our dear ton…

a scandal!

Well, dear reader, it should seem that all of Grosvenor Square

has been left to ponder a rather scandalous question, indeed.

Might one former diamond’s recent fall from grace

turn out to be the most damning scandal of all?

Pen.

Colin.

– I did not know you would be here. – Sorry to disappoint.

Have you seen Miss Thompson?

She is ill.

My mama had to stay home with her.

Papa had to chaperone.

I’m quite enjoying the fact that he is here.

Mama would never allow me to wear a dress like this.

Not, uh, yellow enough, I think.

Mr. Bridgerton.

I believe you owe me a dance this evening.

And I have only one more space remaining on my card at present.

How convenient.

Penelope, I did not see you there.

I’m afraid I cannot offer you that dance, Miss Cowper.

I am to escort Miss Featherington to the floor.

The resemblance is remarkable.

You look just like him.

Your father.

Ladies and gentlemen,

a most extraordinary event is about to take place.

Right this way!

Come! Come!

– Madam. – Yes… Varley?

It is with great privilege

I present Vauxhall’s newest spectacle of illumination.

Feast your eyes above

and allow all that is radiant to overwhelm you!

Wonderful light!

Thank you!

Is it not the most bizarre?

Look, Brother.

What is it?

Lord Berbrooke’s barony is over 200 years old.

His lineage is legitimate.

He has had an excellent education, possesses no debts,

never hurt an animal or a woman, and is even a decent shot.

To speak strictly, there is nothing wrong with him.

– What should any of this… – You are to marry him.

– Nigel? – I had to find you a husband, Sister.

Now, be grateful it is done.

It should be just as easy to fall in love with Lord Berbrooke

as with anyone else.

I will not hear of this.

You haven’t bled.

It’s been over a month since your arrival,

and you haven’t bled.

I suppose I should be happy.

Up until now,

I’ve had no legitimate excuse to dispense with you.

But when Lord Featherington hears of this,

when your own papa hears of this…

– Please… – I suppose I should be happy.

And if it were guaranteed that my own ladies would not be affected

by your revolting recklessness,

I would be!

Do you even know who the father is?

What I know is that you shall never understand.

– What was that? – You shall never understand!

Someone like you, living this ridiculously charmed…

Did you think I wanted to come here…

to be around people like you,

so out of touch, so superior?

Ah!

Whatever are you doing?

Nigel, not now.

“Nigel?”

Are we to drop the honorific so soon?

I suppose as your husband…

You will never be my husband. I will never marry you.

My brother, he…

He made a mistake.

Do you think yourself better than me?

It’d be best for you to leave.

You should be thanking me.

I’m your last hope. No one wants you, Miss Bridgerton.

– What are you doing? – You’ll find out.

Stop it!

Let go of me!

Your Grace… I had no intention…

Of knocking the climp flat out?

Well, I must say, I am impressed.

What are you doing out here?

Avoiding certain people.

– People? – Mothers.

They are people, I suppose.

You are coming from the Dark Walk. It is merely a few steps away.

– What would you know of the Dark… – The Dark Walk is merely a few steps away,

and I am alone with two men.

You are only with one man. The other is…

I’ll be compromised just the same.

Do you have any idea what would happen if someone even suggested that I…

I must go.

Marry me, Miss Bridgerton.

Now, as far as proposals go, that may be the least romantic of all.

I suppose if someone were to find me here,

it would be one way out of marrying him.

You cannot possibly be thinking of marrying him.

If I am unable to secure another offer, there may be no alternative.

Unlike you, I cannot simply declare I do not wish to marry.

I do not have such a privilege.

Yes, I was surprised to learn

you no longer have a line of suitors around every square in London.

I am in no need of your derision, sir.

I do not mock you. I am being sincere.

I know of what this Lady Whistledown has written.

Trust I possess as much contempt for the author as you do.

She’s all but issued a challenge to London’s most ambitious mamas,

encouraging, provoking them to…

Claim you as their prize?

Do not worry, Your Grace.

I believe such a win

would be promptly forfeited, indeed.

I must go this way. You, through those trees.

Perhaps there is an answer…

to our collective Lady Whistledown issue.

We could pretend to form an attachment.

With you on my arm,

the world will believe I’ve finally found my duchess.

Every presumptuous mother in town will leave me alone,

and every suitor will be looking at you.

You must know men are always interested in a woman

when they believe another, particularly a duke,

to be interested as well.

You presume Lady Whistledown…

I presume she’ll deem us to be what we are.

Me, unavailable.

You…

desirable.

Stare into my eyes.

Here.

Closer.

If this is to work, we must appear madly in love.

– It is an absurd plan. – I find it quite brilliant.

Provided you do not wish to marry me,

and I do not wish to marry you,

whatever should you have to lose?

For those not in attendance

at the Vauxhall celebration,

you missed the most remarkable coup of the season.

It appears Miss Daphne Bridgerton has captured the interest

of the newly returned Duke of Hastings.

How the young miss secured her newfound suitor

is yet to be determined.

Yet, if anyone shall reveal the circumstances of this match,

it is I.

Yours truly…

Lady Whistledown.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on reddit
Share on tumblr
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More