Dearest gentle reader, it is often said
that those who marry in haste must repent at leisure,
a sentiment that is clearly shared by Miss Daphne Bridgerton,
who has apparently rejected not one, not two,
but three proposals already this week.
Some believe she is showing admirable forethought in her deliberations,
but I would venture a different conjecture,
that she, like this author,
is still waiting on the only suitor of note.
Here we are.
Our plan has worked thus far,
but we must continue our ruse until I have found my match.
In the grand battle of the season, I am your trusted general,
marshaling the troops.
Wellington could only hope for a soldier so brave.
And handsome. You must not forget that.
Post has arrived!
Some prince is coming to London.
Then I shall wear my most brilliant dress of all.
Something must hold his interest,
as it will certainly not be your conversation.
How long does it take for a letter to arrive from Spain?
Sir George is with the front line.
It must be difficult to get letters in and out.
You must be patient.
If your love is as great as your previous letters state,
surely he will write back to you soon. Or perhaps, even better,
he’s already making his way back to you here
to come and take you home.
What did I tell you about cavorting with the expectant?
– Marina has been in here for ages, Mama! – Out. Out.
You cannot hide me away forever.
No, I cannot,
which is why you are to reenter society at once and find yourself a husband.
– I do not want… – What you want became immaterial long ago.
You shall wed, and you shall do it as soon as possible.
You are to be fitted for a new wardrobe.
It’s about time you dressed in the family colors anyway.
Daphne, have you thought about
with whom you would like to dance at tonight’s ball?
I have some ideas.
Lord Weaver is a fine dancer.
Lord Hardy was asking about you at White’s last night.
Lord Hardy? What about the duke?
The duke has not proposed, Mama.
– I am still considering my best course. – Wise girl.
And Lord Hardy is a fine option.
Although, he is rather boastful.
My dear, why ever do you complicate matters so?
You must simply marry the man who feels like your dearest friend.
Is that it, Mama? Well, how very simple indeed!
– Is my general ready for battle? – I was born ready.
Were that true, I suspect you would need less protection
from our beloved packs of ambitious mamas.
You call me the general, yet you are the first to draw blood.
I was wondering if you might do me the honor of a dance tonight.
Must I share your attention
with every moon-eyed dandy, Miss Bridgerton?
Only the charming ones, Your Grace.
The perfect jealous suitor. Well done!
Someone is angling for a promotion in rank.
So, tell me, my lord, do you prefer the city or the country?
I suppose I’ve never thought of it.
I am partial to the country,
but there are certainly advantages to both.
Where do you see yourself settling?
Another excellent question.
You look bewitching tonight, Miss Bridgerton.
Well, I do hope you are not too spellbound to chat, Lord Hardy.
Did you know I purchased my first landau when I left Oxford?
I have acquired two more since.
I keep them at my ancestral home.
My ancestral home is really quite large,
much larger than most others in the area.
My family and I are exceptionally close.
How wonderful, Lord Tompkins.
I am quite the same with my own.
After I marry, in fact,
my mother will reside with me and my new bride.
And does your father have anything to say about that?
I should think so. It was his idea.
Not much of a pair.
I should think not. She and the duke are a love match.
Nonetheless, you must remind the duke to actually propose.
I would not worry, Lady Bridgerton. Look at them.
They are clearly attached.
And how did you find our eligible bachelors?
I must confess,
I have felt more chemistry when being fitted at the modiste.
– Your Majesty. – Your Majesty.
The prince is from Prussia, and I dare say that I just caught his eye.
I love Russia. I could swoon.
– They do not even know him. – They do not need to.
Besides the fact he is a prince.
Surely you cannot be surprised. You know how this works.
Was it not you who wrote the book on the very subject?
Watch as Miss Cowper lowers her eyes.
– Mm. – Oh, so demure.
Now she will look up at him, ever so quickly,
and then allow her fan to slowly sweep across her bosom
before casting her eyes back upon the ground,
for one is much too timid
to ever meet His Royal Highness’s piercing gaze, of course.
Oh, now he will kiss her hand.
Forever charmed by her submission.
Should I ever need assistance drafting an addendum to my book,
I shall know who to ask.
I do believe he just told Miss Cowper that her gown is exquisite.
Do you think so?
He is here to tell every lady the very same thing.
Prince Friedrich, this is the young lady I was telling you about,
the season’s diamond.
So lovely to meet you, Miss Bridgerton.
Your gown, it is exquisite.
No apology necessary.
Perhaps a small one.
That was entirely your fault.
How does one manage to make such an unbecoming sound while laughing?
Now you are making it look easy.
Miss Bridgerton, might I have this dance?
– Bonsoir. – Thank you.
The shop has closed.
Bloody hell, Si! You half scared me out of my wits!
What? I used the back entrance, as you asked.
Heaven forbid someone discover
you consort with the most notorious opera singer in all of London.
You are but third on that list.
You know, you are always welcome here.
I know you are used to finer comforts, but stay as long as you need.
You are a dear friend,
but I shall find an arrangement with another gentleman soon enough.
Hopefully someone less of an ass than your last.
I know. We will not think of him.
– This is beautiful work. – For Lady Cowper’s girl.
Not that it will help her get an offer.
Not even my finest silks will compensate for that sneer.
I could make you something out of the same fabric.
Perhaps for your performance next month.
I should think it an odd choice of color for me.
I am no innocent debutante.
And more’s your good fortune.
Would you prefer to sit around simpering over your needlework
or whatsoever it is these debutantes must do to pass the time?
– You and I make our own way in the world. – That we do.
Which is why I shall find myself a wealthy, sensible gentleman
to keep me in high fashion, one who will never break his word.
Or prevent you from running up vast accounts at your beloved modiste.
Or run home every time his mother or sisters have need.
And where might you find such a paragon of dishonor?
Here we go. Come on.
I am inclined to investigate the provenance of such lucky dice.
They did not land the same way when you were casting.
Perhaps the common element is you. Might it be best to show some restraint?
Restraint is not among Lord Featherington’s skills.
Well, then, neither is gambling.
– I seem to have done it, Bridgerton. – Done what?
Proved you remain capable of laughing again in my presence.
You cannot fault me for being doubtful of your intentions.
Indeed, I can.
For all the mischief you’ve witnessed me make,
you’d also know I would never make a fool of a lady,
and certainly not one such as your sister.
You confound me.
You are respectful, and yet I know you have no intention of marriage.
– Has that changed? – I cannot claim so.
– Then what could your intentions be? – Respectful. Might we leave it there?
If you will excuse me.
You look exceedingly familiar to me, my lord.
Or is it “Your Grace”?
I am afraid it is.
Might I have seen you at the opera? I perform there.
– Do you? – Mm.
I have often wondered what plays in one’s mind when an aria is performed.
Sometimes I think on the meaning of the words I sing.
At other times, I think of all the tasks I have failed to accomplish during my day.
And sometimes I ponder my plans for after my performance.
Might I entice you to take in one of my performances sometime soon?
Perhaps tomorrow night?
Sister? Whatever are you doing?
I could not sleep.
I thought a bit of warm milk might help matters.
– Should I ring for a servant? – No. No, do not wake them.
Would you like to join me?
– We should light it. – Excellent idea.
Well, go on.
– I should not know how to do it. – And you believe I should?
Cold milk, then.
Most refreshing, given the heat.
Can I ask you a question, Brother?
So long as it has nothing to do with the inner workings of that thing.
It is about the duke.
What about the duke?
Well… Do you know the reason he is so opposed to marriage?
– Daph… – He is your closest friend.
Surely you must know things.
The things I know are certainly not for your ears.
How foolish of me to ever even wonder about such things.
He barely knew his father.
Never knew his mother.
Not one sibling.
The duke grew up…
quite differently than us, Daph.
In all the 20 years I have known him,
he has not mentioned his so-called family even once.
He has spent his entire life alone.
How very sad.
He prefers it that way.
You must not concern yourself with his troubles.
You must simply know some people are not meant to be together…
how much we might wish otherwise.
Thank you, Brother, for the milk.
We will have to do this again sometime.
I have always thought
that an appreciation of the arts is what lifts us beyond mere animals.
It stirs the passions and moves the spirit,
and, this author hopes, inspires more newsworthy pursuits.
A new wing at Somerset House is to be opened today,
where several attractions will be on display…
like the lovely Miss Marina Thompson,
newly recovered from her mysterious illness
and expected to finally rejoin the season.
Mon Dieu! Perhaps I took your measurements wrong.
Miss Thompson has a fondness for cake.
A reducing diet will work wonders for her, I’m sure.
Of course, there is today’s royal attraction as well,
Prince Friedrich of Prussia.
His Highness has come to our shores in want of a fine Fräulein.
Could this be the reason
a certain language tutor has been seen visiting Cowper House all week?
Miss Anna Vaughn.
Speaks several languages, I hear.
Miss Mary Egglesfield. She’s meant to be quite the reader.
Were I looking for a list of debutantes and their dubious accomplishments,
I could have stayed home and read Lady Whistledown.
– That’s enough from you. – No, no, no.
Quite dull, would you not agree?
It is terribly familiar,
yet I am sure this is the first time I have seen it.
That is because, like all of these paintings,
it was done by a man who sees a woman as a decorative object.
– They are like… – Human vases.
I think my mama is calling me.
– She is busy with Miss Thompson. – I will return shortly. Wait here.
Lord Middlethorpe, you simply must meet Miss Marina Thompson,
a distant cousin of my husband’s.
– Miss Thompson, the pleasure is mine. – Entirely.
Penelope, allow us to view some of the paintings over here.
– I had a brief question to ask Marina. – Now is not the time, Penelope.
I believe now to be the perfect time.
– Miss Thompson? – I certainly was not addressing you.
I do not believe that I have ever met such a lovely girl
with such an ugly countenance.
You are a meddlesome little wench,
and you clearly do not understand the gravity of your situation.
That will need to change.
It’s much too cold.
Where’s any sense of the subject’s spirit?
And the light!
Given the quality,
I do wonder why the piece was not skyed with the other daubs.
Perhaps we should ask the artist.
That would be something, Lady Danbury.
Mm… Mr. Granville,
why was your piece not skyed?
– Hmm. – Mr. Granville, I…
If you will excuse me, um, I must find my wife.
You diabolical… How could you let me rattle on like that?
How could I not, my dear Mr. Bridgerton?
It was riotously funny, you must admit.
I was hoping to see you today.
– Were you? – Yes.
It seems the art is not the only beautiful thing on display at present.
Are you enjoying your time here in London?
It’s always been one of my favorite cities.
How lovely to hear from someone who has traveled so widely.
Have you traveled much?
I think you would love the music of Vienna.
You should make your rounds, Your Highness.
I believe there is a gaggle of young ladies waiting for your favor.
Delightful to see you.
What are you doing, hiding away in here?
Enjoying some culture.
You are receiving glowing reviews from Whistledown.
– Did you see? – I did. I ought to take to the stage.
Is it awful that I’m enjoying it?
My wild jealousy?
Fooling Lady Whistledown.
She knows everything about everyone, even the queen,
and yet we have her utterly convinced that we are mad for each other.
We are awfully clever.
Indeed, we are.
Excessive pride suits you, Miss Bridgerton.
Pride is a sin, Your Grace.
One of the lesser sins. But do not worry.
We must all start somewhere.
You are not half as shocking as you think you are.
– This one is yours too. – You sound surprised.
I suppose I am.
It is not at all like the others you donated, is it?
It is not.
The others are…
Well, they were to my father’s tastes.
If Lady Danbury is to be believed, this one was a favorite of my mother’s.
I have never understood why.
It is very beautiful.
It reminds me of waking up in the country.
First thing in the morning,
when I am all alone,
and I have not yet spoken to a soul…
I look outside the window, and it is…
As if I could be the only person left in the world, and yet…
somehow I am not lonely.
I am comforted, at peace.
The others are certainly very grand and impressive,
but this one…
This one is intimate.
What has happened?
And Prince Friedrich caught her.
– Water? – Yes, water, please. Thank you.
I dare say it was the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen.
Yes, thank you.
A feigned swoon. Chapter six, I believe?
We ought to up our game.
– Thank you. – Okay.
Shall I set course for the opera, Your Grace?
We need to make haste if you still plan to attend this evening.
No. It will be straight home tonight, instead.
I shall be locking up now, miss.
Are you sure there are no gentlemen lingering about the gallery?
These days, the modern young lady
must display a miscellany of talents
in her quest for a suitor.
She must be a witty conversationalist,
an accomplished musician,
and an expert in the art of the swoon.
For managing to faint with nary a petticoat out of place
is a most coveted talent indeed.
Of course, not everyone has fallen victim
to the royal fever sweeping through London Town.
One diamond in particular seems quite immune…
“…making this author wonder
if the crown has lost its luster.”
I know what this insolent woman insinuates,
and I shall certainly not make allowances for it.
Does she mean the king?
Where on earth do they keep him anyway?
The Bridgerton girl is the incomparable of the season,
which means there is no more suitable a match for you
on English shores.
Miss Bridgerton is a delightful young lady, to be sure.
But if this gossip sheet is correct, then her heart is already spoken for.
Her heart is no matter,
as long as her hand remains free.
You are a prince.
Oh! Enough! I beg of you.
Perhaps you should join me.
You will need to be proficient on the pianoforte soon enough.
You could use the practice, I’m sure.
On second thought, continue.
You will frighten away the duke, the prince,
and any other eligible suitor clear across the North Sea.
And you would wish that upon me, would you, Sister?
If it kept Mama’s attentions focused on you instead of me, I might.
You can take your reading outside.
You say that as if reading were a bad thing.
I meant no such thing.
But it won’t gain me a husband? That what you meant?
You wish to follow your heart, and I wish to nurture my mind.
Let us leave it there.
Can you at least try to understand?
You never see things from my perspective.
You are not the only one with troubles, Eloise.
You have no idea what it…
It does not matter.
Is it an original?
– What? – That song, did you compose it yourself?
In a manner of speaking.
– What is the name of it? – It does not have a name.
– Every song has a name. – It is just a song, Eloise.
If you need to practice, then do so. Just…
come up with a name for it, at least.
Why have you brought me here?
Because I wanted you to see your future firsthand,
should you refuse to follow my instructions.
This is what your life will be if you do not agree to be married.
You must have me mistaken for one of your soft-handed daughters, ma’am.
It is terribly presumptuous of you
to think that a visit to this neighborhood full of good, hardworking people
who happen to be less fortunate than yourself
would ever sway me to change my mind.
Look at the children, then. Go on.
What, my dear, might you have to say about them?
I believe it is you who should heed me.
I will not stand silently by while you cut a sham
with this miserable prospect you have cooked up in your head.
– I have a man who loves me. – Is that so?
Well, where is he, then? Why is he not here, tending to you?
Because he’s fighting in Spain for king and country.
– Is he aware of your condition? – He is.
I have written to him, beautiful love letters.
And has he written back to you, ever since informing him?
Sweet child, many men make declarations of love when they want to make love.
But rare is the man whose love remains true
when the consequences of lovemaking are brought to his attention.
So, Miss Cowper has finally found her match.
A highly unlikely pairing, if I may say so.
I say good for the young lady.
Perhaps it will keep that horrid mother of hers off her back.
He knew this, of course.
Or perhaps not.
– And so Anthony Bridgerton… – Mm.
…serious man that he is…
…let a farm animal into your dormitory?
Why ever would you put up with such pranks?
He was my friend.
Who do you think helped your brother get the animal back out?
Of course it was you.
My mother told me something curious the other day.
That one should marry one’s dearest friend.
– Are you suggesting I marry your brother? – No.
But I do wonder,
is that truly what marriage is all about, then?
Well, I imagine it a good start.
Though most marriages are more like battlefields.
Even if it is a battlefield,
there must be other things that hold the troop together.
My word! I might have thought you were trying to organize a militia.
Now, there is a fine group of recruits.
What I mean is
there are other things…
or perhaps intangible…
that bring a couple together.
Well, yes, of course there’s more to a marriage,
physical and intangible.
– Both. – Both?
But how can something be both physical and intangible
when they are quite the opposite?
You are beastly!
No. I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at the absurdity
of how little mothers tell their daughters.
They tell us nothing.
– Well, I certainly cannot tell you. – Why not?
Because it is not my place.
In any real courtship, yes, it would be scandalous
for her suitor to discuss such things with a lady.
But you are not a real suitor, are you?
And besides, no one else will tell me anything.
So, how am I to find a proper husband
if I do not even know what I am to be searching for?
– You will know when you know. – What does that even mean?
– I cannot tell you. – I thought we were friends.
– Daphne… – Simon.
– Tell me! – All right! All right!
What happens between a husband and a wife…
Well, it is a natural continuation of what happens at night.
What happens at night?
When you are alone.
– When I am sleeping? – Not when you are sleeping.
When you touch yourself.
You do touch yourself?
When you are alone, you can touch yourself…
anywhere on your body, anywhere that gives you pleasure,
between your legs.
And when you find a feeling you particularly enjoy…
you can carry on with that…
until the feeling grows, and eventually you reach…
And that should help you…
– Ow! – I demand to know.
Is all this time you are spending with Miss Bridgerton leading anywhere?
Could it not merely be time well spent?
A prolonged courtship is one thing,
but now it is very clear to anyone with eyes
that Daphne Bridgerton has caught the attention of Prince Friedrich.
If you have designs upon the girl and wish to marry her,
then Friedrich can disappear, for all I care,
and become a delicious dinner party anecdote.
But if you are merely dallying with her,
and if she loses her chance of such an extraordinary match,
simply because she is too wrapped up in your charms…
she would be a fool,
and I would never forgive you your carelessness.
Miss Bridgerton is far from a fool.
Then you are just being cruel,
and we both know I taught you better than that.
I found bits of your sketchbook in the fireplace.
Are you spying on me now?
You’d actually have to be interesting for me to bother spying on you.
The drawings in that sketchbook were abominable.
I could not stand to look at them.
I believe that is why they call it a sketchbook.
I write in my diary, which is not the same as writing in my novel.
It must be very difficult to want something
– and not be able to get it. – Eloise…
If you enjoy drawing but need practice, then practice.
Hire a drawing master.
Find a young lady to act impressed.
If you desire the sun and the moon,
all you have to do is go out and shoot at the sky.
Some of us cannot.
Look no further than Lady Whistledown. She possesses a huge talent for writing,
and yet she must hide away and publish under a false name.
Yes, because if anyone knew who Whistledown truly was,
she’d be strung up for what she said.
That is not my point.
Whistledown is a woman, therefore she has nothing,
and still she writes.
You’re a man, therefore you have everything.
You are able to do whatever you want. So do it. Be bold.
At least that way I can live vicariously through you.
are you Lady Whistledown?
You’re an accomplished writer, always scribbling in that diary of yours.
You certainly know everyone else’s business.
You have more opinions than anyone else I know in London.
You would have my full support and admiration either way, Sister.
So… is it you?
Though if it were…
do you honestly think that I’d admit it?
You finished. How lovely!
I do hope you have finally given it a name.
So, I was thinking about us doing something different.
The ice flavors here are divine, yes, but, well, perhaps the two of us…
I shall not be joining you today, Miss Bridgerton.
Nor tomorrow, nor any longer, for that matter.
– What can you mean? – Is it not obvious?
Apparently not, if I require your further elaboration.
You now have a bevy of suitors at your disposal,
and I’ve been afforded relief from mamas and daughters alike
in order to conduct my affairs in peace whilst remaining in London.
Thus our arrangement has succeeded, Miss Bridgerton.
Stop calling me that.
– These very circumstances prove… – What are you doing?
…our ruse should hereby need to end.
– Have I done something wrong? – No.
Then tell me why.
You have the attentions of a prince. He is perfect for you.
This is about our conversation yesterday.
– I apologize for that. – There is no need to apologize.
Your brother was correct. I am and always will be a rake.
– Before I corrupt you any further… – Corrupt me?
I assure you, I am quite capable
of deciding the bounds of my own propriety.
I thought you and I were friends.
We were never friends.
I do not believe there could be a more ridiculous notion
than that of us ever being friends.
A young lady, barely out of her leading strings, you…
You were a convenience…
a diversion, a pretty one at that, but nothing more.
Now that I’ve concluded my business in town,
I shall be moving on.
I suggest you do the same.
You will be very happy with your prince, Miss Bridgerton.
We must bring forward our plans to vacate England as soon as possible.
But, Your Grace, you still have some business to conclude.
I wish to leave. Do what you must to expedite matters.
Did something happen, miss?
Leave me be, Rose.
A gentleman is here for you.
To what do I owe this unexpected visit?
– I wanted to see you. – What is it this time?
A ball you wish not to attend? A family obligation you prefer to avoid?
is the Viscount Bridgerton seeking to escape tonight?
Surprising as it may be to you,
I do not sit here merely waiting for your visits.
– I have plans of my own to attend. – With the duke?
My affairs are no longer your concern, sir,
as you have already made abundantly clear.
If you are using Hastings in some scheme to vex me, Siena…
Well, he is certainly a handsome man of great wealth and high rank,
everything a woman in my position might want.
– Your vindictiveness is noted… – The duke has not called on me.
And I am not consorting with any friend of yours.
Though I must say,
it is not surprising in the least
to know that you are only here because you are jealous.
– I’m not here because I’m jealous. – Goodbye, my lord.
I am here because I miss you!
I cannot think of anything else, Siena.
Come back to me.
Your position in life remains unchanged.
And so, too, does mine.
You are the viscount.
Your responsibility will always be to that title, above all else.
You shall marry, sire an heir, and guard your family.
And I… I shall always be the woman you may love in darkness…
– No. – …but never in the light of day.
You have made me promises before, and I, like a fool, believed them.
I cannot be your fool again.
Post has arrived!
Marina, it is here. A letter from Spain.
It must be from Sir George. He has written back to you.
Well, what does he say?
What has happened? Marina, has he been wounded?
He pretends there was nothing between us.
How do you mean?
He says he desires…
nothing more to do with me,
That he had no part in it.
it would seem our efforts were not in vain.
Oh, it is quite exact, ma’am.
Make certain you place the letters just the way we found them
beneath Miss Thompson’s pillow.
What do we do when her soldier arrives home, ma’am?
If he should return, I can say with certainty,
he will not be coming to collect her.
She was going to learn the truth about men one way or another.
We have done what is right and what is best,
and now she is protected.
Now, draw my arches lower.
Otherwise, I’ll have a look of constant astonishment
on my face all day.
Ah, Lady Bridgerton.
– Lady Cowper. – Hmm.
I must say, it is a good thing Daphne is so taken by the duke.
Uh… Well, thank…
Cressida would never have a hope with the prince if your Daphne went for him.
We all know my darling might have the fortune,
but it is your Daphne who has the face.
You can put that dress away, Rose.
Are we not attending the ball this evening?
No, we are,
but I shall wear the white and silver instead.
And will you do my hair just the way you like
with the circlet of jewels and flowers?
Of course. You will look perfect.
Good. That is what they want.
Will you be joining us at tonight’s ball, Anthony?
I have accepted the invitation.
Perhaps you might cast your eye over this list before the event, then.
What is this?
These are names. Fourteen, to be exact.
Fourteen single, eligible young ladies, all from excellent families.
Lady Leeworth’s eldest miss is…
I shall consider your suggestions. Thank you.
Was there something else?
What time do you have?
You were just checking your father’s old watch
when I caught you, yes?
It is a lovely heirloom.
It is quarter till, Mother.
It’s quite late, indeed.
At any rate, do let me know who I should introduce you to, my dear.
Time, as we both know,
is certainly of the essence.
It rolls right off the tongue, does it not?
Miss Thompson, how lovely to see you back with us.
– Might I have your next dance? – I would be delighted, my lord.
You have been rather reserved all evening, Your Grace.
I have decided to leave England earlier than expected.
Apologies, Lady Danbury, but I believe it is time for me to go.
Are you feeling all right, dearest?
Miss Bridgerton, I simply must have your first dance.
It would be an honor, Your Highness.
Could it be true?
The season’s diamond even more precious and rare a stone than previously thought?
For it now appears this treasure is set to join the likes
of the queen’s ever-so-cherished crown jewels themselves.
The Duke of Hastings, I hear,
was left looking rather tongue-tied last night,
as Miss Bridgerton seems to have finally grown tired
of waiting for him to pose that all-important question.
Or, perhaps, the young miss has simply traded up.
Unreasonable? Of course not.
After all, why settle for a duke
when one can have a prince?