Would you please ask Miss Nolan if my personal effects have yet been removed from the duke’s bedchamber and placed in the duchess’s rooms?
Would you please inform Her Grace that I will allow no such thing?
Should I really deliver the message, Your Grace?
You cannot believe I shall welcome you back into my bed after your lies and deception?
Rest assured, marital relations are the least of my concern after your recent efforts.
Then for what other purpose could you possibly wish to detain me?
Because you are my wife.
It is customary for a wife to reside in her own bedchamber once the honeymoon is over… a time that has well and truly passed, would you not agree?
I will be kept informed as to the success of your conjugal endeavors.
I would never dream of concealing the truth of such important matters.
Your Grace, Whistledown has just arrived.
Well, you should…
Is something wrong?
We must pack straightaway.
Yes, Your Grace.
What has happened?
My brother seems to have been embroiled in scandal.
I must return to my family immediately.
They will need me.
I will accompany you.
This is a family matter.
Separate bedrooms may be tolerated. Separate households will not be suffered.
I’ll not let you out of my sight until we know whether you are with child.
Please request that His Grace prepare his largest carriage.
I shall require my space.
Miss Marina Thompson’s recent fall from grace continues to echo through every drawing room in town, days after it was revealed her engagement to Colin Bridgerton was nothing more than a sham.
Of course, a lady’s disgrace does not merely tarnish her own name.
Like the tars of the Thames, it also leaves a horrid smear on anyone nearby.
Hold still, ma chérie.
This scandal could very well tarnish my debut, Mama.
Perhaps we should delay my coming out altogether a few years.
Hush, child, all will be well. Just keep smiling.
Can a smile be enough to save the Featheringtons?
Penelope and her sisters did nothing wrong, but their reputation’s destroyed.
You should be worrying about your own family’s fortunes at present.
We are in just as perilous position.
Lovely day, is it not, Lady Richmond?
It’s this Whistledown.
I certainly never want to cross the woman.
Her word as good as gospel.
Though, perhaps if she can destroy a reputation… she can restore one too.
Très élégante, Miss Bridgerton.
What a debutante you will be!
While there is no parasol in the world strong enough to shelter a ruined woman, the fallen Miss Thompson can only hope she shall find a refuge… somewhere.
I am sorry, my lady, but we are full.
This is an emergency.
The young lady’s child will have nowhere else to go.
You must make exceptions on occasion?
I should be able to procure a room if one were to make a sizable donation.
But this is supposed to be a charitable organization.
Even charity requires funds, of which you must have considerable amounts, I presume?
Whoa there, boy. Whoa there!
We have arrived.
There is no need to act the jailer.
I shall not discover I am with child within the next hour, shall I?
Miss Thompson must be in agonies over these lies. Why can I not visit her?
Listen to me.
That the ton devours every bit of Whistledown’s on-dit is the only thing keeping this family from shame.
Because of her, no one believes you are the father of Miss Thompson’s child.
But if you were to go near her, they’ll presume you responsible for her ruin, and your sisters will pay the price for your notoriety.
Is this what you desire?
Of course not, but…
What are you doing here? Should you not be frolicking in newlywed bliss?
I came as swiftly as our carriage would allow when I heard the news.
In the middle of your honeymoon?
Hastings must surely be cursing the Bridgerton name for this.
Where is he, anyhow?
He went to set up Hastings House.
We have all things in order, Sister. We do not require your assistance.
That is simply not true, and you know it.
Daphne may be the answer to all of our problems.
Once the ton see that we still have the favor of the duke and duchess, then the whispers may very well cease, and we shall go about our daily lives as if nothing has happened, as if nothing is awry.
And no one will be the wiser.
Pretending that nothing is amiss is the perfect way to lure the ignorant into submission.
Is it not, Mama?
Now, what grand event will the ton be descending upon this week?
Surely there is something?
The queen is hosting a luncheon.
I am certain the duke and I can secure an invitation.
If we are lucky, our return to London will give everyone so much to talk about, they simply have no breath left to discuss other matters.
I’m so very glad this has all been settled on my behalf.
You really wanted to marry her?
Well, then, perhaps we should count you lucky to not have married a stranger.
She was not a stranger.
She was, Brother.
Whistledown knew her better than you.
Whistledown knows everyone’s secrets.
You’re lucky to have learned Miss Thompson’s now, instead of after your wedding day.
I know you must think me a fool… but my heart pays no heed to mere logic.
When I think of her, I only want to be near her, to be with her… despite all reason otherwise.
I know that madness well… but you cannot visit her.
Leander swam Abydos to Sestos every single night in complete darkness just to see his love.
Leander also lost his way and drowned.
So the story goes.
Did something happen, Sister, back at Clyvedon?
If you really must speak with Miss Thompson, perhaps I can arrange a rendezvous.
I would appreciate that. You will see my passions are not in vain.
Always were a fast learner, friend.
But I should probably conserve my energies for my exhibitions, instead of spending them on your troubles.
Are you about to cede to me?
Surely that will not help with your exhibitions?
I’ve not seen you this incensed since you were handed the keys to your dukedom.
I will not speak of my dukedom.
I presume you won’t speak of what happened on your honeymoon, either.
Nothing happened on my honeymoon.
I cannot imagine your wife feeling particularly excited about that.
I suggest you do not try to imagine anything to do with my wife’s feelings… or actions, for that matter.
It follows no reason or sense, does it?
And there is not a bloody thing you can do about it.
I took a vow.
See what I mean?
Fast learner, indeed.
You are still awake?
I have already seen you.
The queen is holding a luncheon this week.
We will need to attend with my brother to signal our support.
Where have you been all night?
I did not think you concerned about my whereabouts.
Is this truly what our marriage will be for the future?
You out all night, doing God knows what with God knows whom?
You wound me.
Not three weeks since we were wed, yet already you imagine me disloyal.
Is it such a wild imagining?
We both know your reputation, Your Grace.
It is clear that you find there is nothing left in our marriage.
It is what I said.
Is it what you believe?
I want you…
Should we go into the bedroom… and finish what we started?
What is to become of us? Simon?
If you are with child, then I shall stay and do my duty to support you both.
And if I am not?
Then we shall remain married in name only.
You will be provided for, of course, in a manner befitting the duchess.
But I shall not darken your doorstep again.
Our lives will be entirely separate.
This cannot happen.
This will not happen. Do you understand me?
That we no longer trust each other?
Yes, Your Grace.
I understand that quite well.
Thank you for joining us.
I did not realize I had a choice.
My brother wished for an audience.
And I wish to avoid any further scandal attached to my family’s name.
I will remain here as a chaperone.
Marina… you must tell me that this Whistledown woman is mistaken.
What she wrote, it cannot be true.
But it is.
You are with child?
I do not understand.
We were to be wed. You… You said you loved me.
Colin, I hold you in the greatest esteem.
You are a cruel woman indeed to stand here and talk of friendly affection, as if you have not just committed a grave sin against me.
Speak not of sin, Mr. Bridgerton.
I did not come here to be shamed by you, nor anyone else.
I did not know better.
You may think me a villain, but I did what I thought I must.
No one ever truly helped me, or guided me in a different direction.
I had no choice.
I needed to wed. And you, you were the only man who offered me even a glimpse of happiness.
So I should feel flattered, then?
Consider myself lucky that you chose me, lied to me, tried to trick me into a fraud of a marriage?
I shall take my leave of you for the last time, Miss Thompson.
You wish to know the cruelest part of your deception?
If you had simply come to me and told me of your situation… I’d have married you without a second thought.
That is how in love I believed myself to be.
But I see now that was all a lie.
I believe I would like to return home now.
After all, we don’t want another scandal attached to your family name.
The carriage is waiting, ma’am. We must prepare for the queen’s luncheon.
Oh, is this not lovely?
All of us together again.
Lovely, indeed. We should tempt scandal more often.
Duchess, may I say how well you look?
Oh, you are too kind.
Is it not marvelous to be wed?
It is both a joy and a wonder indeed.
Must you all act like sheep flocking to the trough?
I have 100 guineas wagered on there being a Hastings heir within the year.
Are you yet with child?
We have certainly been devoting our energies to the endeavor, Your Majesty.
We should hope to see our queen soon satisfied.
See to it that you do.
Your duplicity comes so naturally.
I seem to have learned from the best.
I’ve missed you at the studio of late.
You must join me for another drawing lesson.
As I said, improvement is all a matter of practice.
At least, that is the excuse he gives for coming home with paint in all kinds of peculiar places.
Were you able to meet my friend Wetherby at my party?
Come, I shall introduce you.
No, thank you.
I… I see my mother requires my presence. Good day!
Her Majesty requires an audience.
With… With me? Now?
Who is she?
I tasked you with unmasking the scandalmonger.
Believe me, I am intent on locating her and am angry at myself for having not yet uncovered her identity. But I was thinking…
Clearly not fast enough.
My patience has limits.
Get me an answer.
Your queen commands it.
So, you have returned.
Excellent timing, what with all the tittle-tattle concerning your brother.
Oh, a mere coincidence, Lady Danbury, I am sure.
Mm. Your plan is working.
I have heard nary a peep about Mr. Bridgerton’s unfortunate entanglement with the Thompson girl.
Oh, I almost forgot.
I am hosting a party I would very much like you to attend.
We love a good party.
I am not sure when we will be accepting invitations.
It is an invitation for one.
Only you, Your Grace.
A special soiree with the married ladies of the ton, of which you are the newest member.
After they tried to entrap poor Mr. Bridgerton into marriage with a woman with child.
How are you faring? Has it been terrible at the house?
We’ve not had a caller in three days. My mother swears we are ruined.
But what of Colin? Is he in pieces from the news?
His pride is wounded, but he will be quite well.
The gentlemen always are in these matters, but…
Pen, you have not heard what people are saying.
Lady Whistledown has gone too far this time.
And I thought you her greatest admirer.
Not when she has smeared the name of my greatest friend.
When we uncover Whistledown’s identity, we will convince her to publish a retraction and restore your family’s reputation.
All will be well again, I promise you.
My dear Lady Bridgerton… is this not a dreadful circumstance, for us both to have been so duped by that scheming hussy?
To think that Miss Thompson would take advantage of my kindness after I opened my home to her.
You must believe,
I had no idea of…
Lady Featherington, I must ask you to leave.
But I have an invitation.
I am sure you wish to avoid any further unpleasantness.
That should teach them.
Teach them what, Miss Cowper?
Judging not, lest we too be judged?
Something troubles you.
I know you are a grown woman now, but I am still your mother, and you can come to me when you need advice.
Marriage has its joys, but it also brings with it its special trials.
In that, you are correct.
My marriage is far from perfect.
Well, then, share your thoughts. Perhaps I can offer my wisdom.
Or perhaps you will send me off with more vague metaphors and trite remarks.
Darling, I… I am… merely trying to be of help.
Do you know what might have truly helped matters?
If your motherly advice had actually prepared me to wed.
Whatever do you mean?
I mean you sent me out into the world no better than a fool.
You taught me how to play pretend, but nothing of the realities of married life, of marital relations.
If you had informed me about the things that were truly important, if I’d have known the truth, then perhaps I…
It is the heat.
The duchess is quite overcome.
We were ridiculed by all today, treated as though we were worthless, and it’s all your fault.
How could I have been at fault?
I was not even there.
If it were not for your habit,
we’d have been able to rid ourselves of Miss Thompson the moment we learned of her condition.
None of this would have happened.
The Duchess of Hastings…
She is here.
I am so glad you thought to visit us, Your Grace.
I fear your mother was rather heated at the luncheon.
But of course, if you have come to offer an explanation…
I require a word with Miss Thompson.
For what it is worth, I am sorry.
Your brother is a sweet boy.
You do not need to…
I came here to apologize to you.
I misjudged you, and I wanted to tell you that what you felt you had to do…
I wish it had not happened this way.
You are certainly not the only one.
George was a soldier… but he was also gentle and kind.
He was perfect.
I fancied myself in love.
The next thing I knew, my courses stopped, and I found myself with child, and… and alone.
What is Sir George’s surname?
Or do you know where he is stationed, his regiment?
Whatever for, Your Grace?
I hear General Langham and his wife are in London.
Perhaps I could speak to him or her and have… have Sir George found.
What use would that be?
George does not want to be with me.
But do you really want to be alone?
No rank, no protection, no support for you or your child.
Surely anything is better than that.
Why should he be the one to choose your future when he clearly cares not for the outcome?
He is at fault here.
Perhaps I can make him come back… and take responsibility for you and his child.
Why should you be left all alone to bear the punishment for his crime?
You truly think you can do this?
I assure you, Miss Thompson… I am quite capable of doing more than you think.
I have defeated the best, and I’m confident I shall continue to do so.
There is an appetite for my exhibitions, but they are expensive, which is why…
I am not here to invest.
I have a more lucrative proposition in mind.
Say, for you and I to come to some arrangement…
as to the outcome of your next fight?
I’m sorry to have taken your time, my lord, but I think you would be wise to leave.
And you’d be wise to listen.
Would you rather stake your fortunes on the outcome of a business scheme, which may very well fail, or back the sure thing?
You agree to throw your next match… and I will make such a wager on your opponent
that even half my winnings will set you and your family up for life.
My honor is not for sale.
There is a reason your backers are dwindling, Mr. Mondrich.
You’re a performer, a mere entertainment.
We are happy to trade wages on the outcome of your fists, but no gentleman will ever see you as a respectable man of business.
I know you have a fighting spirit… passed down by your father, no doubt.
He was a soldier, yeah?
Managed to flee the colonies after serving in Dunmore’s regiment.
Do you think he sought his freedom all for his future son to become some exhausted fighter, stumbling into the ring to put food on the table for his family?
Do not dare speak of my family.
I… I apologize.
I only mean to say, I… I’m doing this for my family too.
Look, one simple arrangement, and both our problems will be solved.
I merely ask that you have a think on it… at the very least.
The ton has been desperate for you since you returned.
We’ve been drowning in calling cards.
Lady Danbury requires your attendance at her party on Thursday.
Mm. A collection of married ladies.
I can only imagine the questions they will have for me.
I shall inform her footman that you are not feeling well from the travel.
Do you suppose the general’s wife will be in attendance at Lady Danbury’s soiree?
I heard she enjoys society.
Then send word back.
I would love to attend.
Welcome to my den of iniquity.
I believe you already know Lady Trowbridge, Your Grace, but have you met Lucy Granville?
And this is Kitty Langham.
The general’s wife, yes.
Well, lovely to meet you all.
Well, do not just stare.
Deal the duchess in.
We shall teach you the rules.
First, a woman takes her wedding vows, then we gamblers take her virtue.
If her husband has left any to be taken.
Have no fear.
Each turn, all you have to do is set your token on the card
you believe the dealer will turn over.
Now, ladies, place your bets.
Takes away the sting of losing, I rather think.
The duchess is a quick study.
I’m sure she will have the measure of things in no time.
All it takes is a little practice and perseverance.
Evening, Your Grace.
It’s funny meeting you here.
I am utterly comical.
You’ve been avoiding me.
Now you are being the jester.
If you’re not avoiding my company, you won’t mind if I join you for a drink?
I shall need a large glass.
The earl would have my head if he knew how much money I have lost.
The earl is but two years old.
Hmm. Well, then, I’m in luck, am I not?
Seems I have been blessed with some beginner’s luck.
The game is not over yet, Your Grace.
I wonder, Mrs. Langham…
You have won so much of my money, it is only right.
There is a soldier in service I am hoping to find for a friend.
Do you think your husband might be able to assist me?
You will have to ask that of him yourself.
He is so rarely at home.
I am so sorry.
It is quite the ideal situation to live a separate life to one’s husband.
I am afforded all the freedoms of marriage while bearing none of the burden of his company.
Well, what of your children? Do they not miss their father?
It’s difficult to miss someone you’ve never known.
You forget the duchess is still in the first bloom of marriage.
Yes, the famous love match.
Pay me no heed.
The duke’s company, I am sure, is anything but a burden to you.
I can tell you where to write. My husband.
Perhaps the general will grant you a response.
It is not as if you are his wife.
Duchess, you win again!
Seeing how you entertain yourself, I rather think you the victor, Lady Danbury.
I rather think so too.
It’s a fine color.
And the bubbles…
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good brandy.
But sometimes, nothing’ll do but a beer.
Would you just get to the point?
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Yes, you do.
You’re correct. I do.
Just like I know that you’ve obviously made a considerable error with my sister.
How, may I ask, could you infer that I was the one to make the error?
Well, I know my sister quite well.
And while she is an unusually capable woman, she is not capable of fucking up this severely.
Do you not ever get tired of pretending to be so perfect?
It’s exhausting just watching you.
We may not be perfect, but at least we keep our promises.
You know nothing of my commitments. I’m trying to be a man of my word.
I am trying to keep…
I wouldn’t expect you to understand.
What do you mean by that?
I mean that you leave a litany of broken promises behind you everywhere you go.
Your duty to protect Daphne from Nigel Berbrooke?
What about your own reckless affairs, seeing that opera singer you believe no one knows about?
You judge me, yet you can’t understand the responsibility of heading a family, because you’ve never had one.
But Daphne is my family now, and there is no changing that.
Though it is most unfortunate that I shall never quite reach the lofty ideal you have demonstrated.
What is most unfortunate is the fact that your father was so absent, he never gave you a proper example of how to lead a household.
Well, you certainly make it look difficult.
I beg your pardon?
With your constant struggles.
You cannot manage it, can you?
You, fulfilling the promise
that every firstborn son makes to his father before he dies.
Do you think he is looking down on you now, ashamed?
Mortified at what you have done?
I wonder, what would the former viscount say?
Calm down! Get off him!
It seems I became a little too rough training with Will.
Shall I call for Jeffries?
With four brothers, you cannot imagine the nasty cuts I have tended to over the years.
Why will you not unfold yourself to me?
A child would be a blessing.
Tell me why you are so adamant.
Because I swore a long time ago that I would never sire a child.
I do not understand.
My father… cared more about the continuation of the Hastings line… than anything in the world.
More than my mother.
More than me.
And so I made a vow that his efforts would be in vain… that the line would die with me.
So this is all… because of a vow?
You made a vow to me too. Or… Or has our wedding day slipped your mind?
I told you…
You told me that you could not have children.
You did not tell me it was some… some token of revenge against a man who no longer walks this earth.
I swore to him on his deathbed.
And you betrayed me in our marriage bed.
Let me be certain I understand.
You will neither have children, nor the happiness we could have together, because you promised your father you would not?
It cannot be undone.
Then I thank you for your elucidation, Your Grace.
If your hatred for your father outweighs any affection that you might bear towards me…
then you are right.
It cannot be undone.
My courses are due within the next few days.
You will know then which vow you have broken, and how we are to spend the rest of our lives, miserable together… or perfectly happy apart.
Dearest reader, a question.
Is anything more exhilarating than taking a gamble?
For it is often the highest risk that carries the greatest reward.
Yet, wager wrongly, and you might find yourself left with nothing but regret.
Ensure it is delivered to this address.
Yes, Your Grace.
Of course, one can never know for sure whether a wager will make a fortune or ruin it, unless one chooses a more secure pursuit.
But as the season continues, the biggest gamblers have yet to truly show their hand… which leaves gossip in short supply in recent days.
In fact, this author can think of no other event that merits a mention.
“No other event.”
But my luncheon.
At least she did not say anything odious.
It is far worse.
She wrote nothing.
It is worthy of note, however, that the Duke and Duchess of Hastings have yet to entertain callers together.
Our newlyweds are no doubt still secluded in nuptial bliss.
Who could fault them?
And who could be surprised if their diligent efforts are rewarded with a new arrival within the year?
In the past, every Whistledown revelation appeared to be plucked from a public event, where any of our ton could have borne witness.
But the column that singled out Marina was different.
It was personal.
Your mama did not just help Marina hide her condition all on her own.
Of course not. Every servant in our household knew.
A servant is unlikely.
Though, perhaps a tradesperson.
Someone who visited your household regularly might have seen or overheard something.
It is a possibility.
In that case, we must reconsider our methods of inquiry to this end.
This is wonderful, Pen. I must tell the queen of our new theory.
Then tell her at tonight’s concert.
I know you are not yet out, but I am sure your mama would still allow you to attend.
Once we unmask Whistledown…
Yes, yes, the Featherington honor will be restored.
I must return home.
I shall take the back stairs so no one will see me.
I wrote to General Langham, and I have told him all about Sir George.
If he is a man of honor…
You wrote to the general?
And did the duke sign his name as well on this letter?
Marina, what is it?
The general will not concern himself to write back to you, Your Grace.
You do not know that.
He will pay attention to the words of a duchess.
Are you so unworldly?
I… I’m sorry.
I… Your help is greatly appreciated, but there is nothing more you can do.
It is over.
I have already accepted the fact.
Thank you for your efforts.
Missing the concert?
Not exactly in the mood for music and finery this evening.
I want to apologize.
Are there locusts in the streets? Blood in the Thames?
Are the end of days upon us already?
I may have been a trifle harsh with you.
And I’m sorry.
You merely wished to protect me from my more… foolish impulses.
So you admit it now? You were acting a fool?
As apologies go, this is certainly novel.
You may hurt now, but the pain will pass.
You have the love of all your family and the honor of your actions.
Soon you will forget Miss Thompson’s name, and it will…
It will be as if you never loved her at all.
And how have these precepts served you?
Aside from being the most dismal, troubling ones
I’ve heard in quite some time.
It’s a work in progress, to be sure.
I suppose I was surprised to hear you wished to join us this evening.
And I suppose I must be grateful for your restraint in not using any feathers.
You look lovely.
Taking your place in society should be an exciting time in a young woman’s life.
If you are not truly ready, I shall not ask you to play pretend.
Perhaps I have been rushing you.
We need not hasten your coming out before you feel prepared.
The queen will be in attendance at tonight’s concert, will she not?
I believe she will.
Then I am looking forward to it.
An exciting time indeed, Mama.
Are you ready?
I would simply like to understand your… situation.
I would just like to understand.
It is simple.
I am in love with Lord Wetherby.
And our marriage affords my wife her freedoms and protections.
It is a happier union than most of the people in this room have, I assure you.
What is the advantage for the young ladies Lord Wetherby is courting?
Do they also share this understanding?
What about honor? Romance?
What would you know of either?
We live under constant threat of danger.
I risk my life every day for love.
You have no idea what it is like to be in a room with someone you cannot live without… and yet still feel as though you are oceans apart.
Stealing your glances, disguising your touches.
We cannot so much as smile at each other… without first ensuring no one else is watching.
It takes courage… to live outside the traditional expectations of society.
You talk of doing the same… but perhaps it is merely just that… all talk.
And so you see, Your Majesty, it is clear as day.
Lady Whistledown works closely with the members of the ton, yet she is not a member herself.
She is a tradesperson.
Is that all?
I beg your pardon?
I am no longer in need of your services.
But, uh… my theory…
It is not necessary.
I have hired a team of Bow Street Runners to do a proper investigation.
They will unmask Whistledown, and she shall be made to pay for her impertinence.
That noxious gossip rag… will finally cease to exist.
You want to silence her?
But there is still good she must do.
How long is this concert?
Though, uh, I certainly have already heard enough.
You are my most favorite brother. Do you know that?
I would like to make a stop and pick up a friend.
Should I not have a friend?
I’m not bound by the rules of society.
Please do not tell Mother.
Why are we at the modiste?
This is my sister, Eloise, and we will be dropping her at home.
How… How was your night, ma chérie?
It was… everything I expected.
Horrible and terribly boring.
So this is why you do not wish to lower your hems?
The entire ton were there, and I did not have a single worthwhile exchange.
The entire ton?
You mean, everyone except for the Featheringtons?
Yes, everyone except… them.
Your mama did not just help Marina hide her condition on her own.
Of course not. Every servant in our household knew.
Though, perhaps a tradesperson?
I certainly never want to cross the woman.
Her word as good as gospel.
Is everything well, Eloise?
Can we talk?
Are you still awake?
Mama, make haste!
Marina? Marina, I’m here. It’s okay.