Dearest reader, a couple’s guide to watching “Bridgerton”

Instructions to scandalize even the lightest of skirts

Delaney Halloran | Photo Courtesy
A directive from Lady Whistledown found in Julia Quinn’s novel, “The Duke and I.”

Dearest reader, the time has come to rest our weary souls for a most important endeavor: a lengthy viewing of a prolific, and dare I say scandalizing show: “Bridgerton.” Although it is not 1813, and this most certainly is not Grosvenor Square, the world of marriage-hungry mamas, dashing gentlemen, and scenes that make us burn are still at our reach in this fair ton.

Whether this is your first time foisted into the world of the social marriage market, or you’re a well-worn traveler, fear not, for this author is yet determined to reveal glimmers of pleasure in even the weariest of hearts. 

Be forewarned dear reader, for far more damning than an uneven hem, a stroll unchaperoned along the Dark Walk, or even the juiciest scandal, it is the spoiler which proves most damaging of all, and yet that is precisely what I aim to employ.

Episode One: Diamond of the First Water

 Much like a pack of hungry mamas swarming towards an eligible match, “Bridgerton” wastes little time introducing us to the world of lavish balls, endless gowns, and of course, to the one and only Duke of Hastings with quite the, shall I say, penetrating presence. 

Alas, nights spent aglow in the light of fireworks seem far out of the question, and goodness knows there are no balls in your future, yet that does not mean a lustful dance is out of the question. If Miss Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke can withstand the piercing glances of wistful ladies and jealous gentlemen, then you and your partner can certainly handle a waltz in your second parlor. Or, if you must, you can dance to W-A-P in your live-in room, whatever that means. 

Episode Two: Shock and Delight

Take care, dear reader, as you continue on this dalliance into the past not to get too comfortable. As the forceful right hook of our lovely Miss Bridgerton—here, here!—wasn’t enough to dissuade the swinish Berbrooke in his pursuit, there are forces at work even more powerful than a wanton gaze across a ballroom. 

Fortify yourselves then. Break the bounds of your confinement and enjoy an afternoon stroll with your partner. Though you may lack the watchful eye of a prudent chaperone, you can still promenade the town. For, much like Miss Daphne Bridgerton, our season’s diamond shines brightest on the arm of the alluring Duke—so too can your brilliance be unearthed.

Episode Three: Art of the Swoon

Here, esteemed readers, you must forgive me, for a most shocking discovery is to be explained with the language of the unseemly sort not to be said within a breath of our genteel ears. Yet, it must be said.

 As we know, the bond between man and woman within the confines of their marriage bed is a most private matter. But I must tell you there is another bond, similarly sacred, exemplified by a Miss Daphne Bridgerton, that occurs with a passion that needs no assistance. Indeed, as grave a revelation as it may be, pleasure to the self is not unheard of, even among the noblest of individuals.

And how was it that Miss Bridgerton came to know of fornication with thyself? Brace yourself, for her most implausible source was none other than the Duke of Hastings! Indeed, their casual morning walk amongst the townspeople was really a lesson in a most unseemly, but deliciously tantalizing, subject.

Take note, then, from this rebellious pair. Enjoy a moment of self-reflection, so to say, but keep in your mind’s eye the source of passion, or rather the person, encouraging the act. 

Episode Four: An Affair of Honor

For those not expecting the fabulous turning of hearts in this episode, how could you be so easily dissuaded? The Duke of Hastings would not withdraw from the battle of Miss Daphne Bridgerton’s hand so easily, even when up against a charming prince. 

Now, I would no sooner take an unchaperoned nighttime romp through the garden than I would cross the queen, yet I can think of no quarry for why, dear reader, you should not do just such a thing. Be prudent, my little amorous doves, lest word of your dalliance makes it back to me. Even the hastiest of marriages cannot keep my wicked pen from revealing a scandal!

Episode Five: The Duke and I

Dear Daphne, now the Duchess of Hastings, and her Duke burn for each other. Burn indeed! With the knowledge of this burning fresh before our eyes, dear reader, I am left to wonder what burns brighter: their love or my reddened cheeks!

Perhaps we should all take note of these unchaste activities, and take a moment to embrace the immodest with our own partners. If not merely for our health, then for our own sanity; should you not suffer the consequences of burning for someone without reprieve.

Episode Six: Swish

The newlywed Duke and Duchess of Hastings are certainly enthusiastic in their child-bearing pursuits, if what their servants share bears any truth. Their activities, so to speak, reach far beyond the marriage bed.

Not to denigrate the fair couple, but it has been heard they have been known to frolic in the grass outside their own castle, of all places. I scandalize even myself with this knowledge!

It strikes me to know, lover of words that I am, that the Duchess received a sumptuous gift among the books that fill the fair Clyvedon library. If you do not take my word for it, I can assure you, my knowledge comes directly from the Duke’s own lips. 

So now it is your turn, diligent reader, to follow suit and present your own carnal offering. Take care, I pray ask you do not do so at the expense of any precious literature. 

Episode Seven: Ocean’s Apart

I am afraid a lover’s heart is often a fickle, roaming thing. If a flame burns too brightly, it is not long before it turns into a turbulent blaze. What is left then is only ash. Our prized Duke and Duchess were ablaze with desire, and now they resemble an unkept hearth. 

Time may heal all wounds, but a wound that festers may be beyond preservation. So too should you keep your distance from the one you love. Absence strengthens the heart. And, not to sound supercilious, but such lengths of time spent sitting on a chaise is not good for your countenance, even if it is to observe such an alluring show. 

Yes, space is precisely what you need. Let us not lose hope that space might once again give our love birds their flame. 

Episode Eight: After the Rain

See, patience is a virtue that really does give the most delicious payment! Love works in perplexing, and often marvelous ways. Our rakish Duke is now a father. Our innocent Duchess is now admirable inamorata indeed. Hearts break and bend, move quickly and ever so slowly, but regardless, they inevitably seem to find a way to move us to a point of incomparable wonderment.

Take heed, one last time patient listener. The higher road may not be quite so forlorn tonight, for you and your partner can both traverse it to mend a bridge or forge a path not yet taken together. And finally, now pushed past any last shrivel of decorum I may possess, I advise: please, do something lovely for one another, and of course, then, just do one another. 

Yours truly, Lady Whistledown. 

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