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                                    BELLE




                                 Written by

                                 Misan Sagay





    An intricate piano piece - GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL...

    INTERCUT WHITE ON BLACK CREDITS WITH BELOW...


1   INT. RUSTIC STUDIO OF AN ARTISAN. DAY 1                         1   *

    A series of shots.

    Blue sky through shabby windows.
    Run down walls. A paint splashed pine floor.    Tens of paint
    brushes soaking in stained jars.
    An artisan's hands - weather-worn, swirling a paint brush
    in dirty water that sways at the bottom of one of the jars.

    A canvas - the sketched face of a woman - blonde, blue eyed
    as the artisan strokes paint into her features - a poster
    girl for 18th century portraiture. (We will later
    recognise her as ELIZABETH MURRAY)
    CAPTION: ENGLAND 1766


2   EXT/INT. DOCKS/SLUM ROOM. ENGLAND - DAY. 2                      2   *

    A swallow cuts across a red tinged sky.   SOUND of footsteps
    trudging through mud.
    EXTREME CLOSE UP: a small figure being dressed by someone -
    a shoulder, an arm, little hands. We do not see a face.
    CLOSE: heavy naval boots move at sombre pace through slums.

    Against a stone floor, a child's feet are laced into boots.

    A starving dog barks , darts between tradesmen, sailors.
    Hold this image as Handel comes to an END.


3   INT. SLUM ROOM - DAY. 2                                         3   *

    A CHILD'S POV as the door opens. We see a gentleman in
    ceremonial naval dress - CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY,
    aristocratic, handsome...alarmed at the sight before him.

    His eyes close with some sad, internal pain and as they re-
    open...We see what he sees...
    A fragile girl...around six years old stands in shabby
    surroundings. Her terrified eyes stare back, leaving
    LINDSAY at a loss. He takes in her features - delicate
    with a full mouth that underlines her ethnicity.

    She is DIDO ELIZABETH BELLE...part black, part white.
                                                                 2.


    He speaks quietly- words almost as fragile as she is.

                        CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY
              Hello little girl...Little Dido.
                  (pause)
              I am your father.
    Silence. Then a tear rises to the surface and as her
    confused tears spill, so too do LINDSAY'S.

    His POV: a POOR BLACK WOMAN oversees DIDO from afar.
                        CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY (CONT'D)
                  (re. Dido)
              How lovely she is. So much of her
              mother.
                  (his eyes sting)
              I tried...but how...how could I
              separate a mother from her child?
                  (he restrains tears)
              And now nature has deprived me of
              such a dilemma.
    He composes himself - feeling futile...

                        CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY (CONT'D)
              Thank you..for taking her.
    He reaches into his pocket, holds out money to the woman.
                        CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY (CONT'D)
              You may leave us.

    The WOMAN hesitates, scurries to DIDO, placing her lips to
    the child's head in a prolonged kiss. Then she is gone.
    DIDO is left frightened and stunned!

                        CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY (CONT'D)
              Do not be afraid sweet thing. I
              am to take you to a good life.
              The life you were born to.

    He takes out a cube of chocolate, shows it to her. She is
    reluctant. He takes a bite - delicious! DIDO moves
    forward. He puts the chocolate in her hand. She tastes
    it. Sweet cocoa and sugar..and now her tiny mouth is
    filled. It makes LINDSAY laugh out loud.


4   EXT. DOCKS - DAY. 2                                          4    *

    A driver, HARRY - seated at a fine carriage.

    As HARRY becomes alarmed - from his POV LINDSAY moves
    towards us - the mulatto child in arms.
                                                                 3.


5   EXT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LAWNS. DAY. 2                            5    *

    Silence, except bird song - the splendor of the English
    countryside - A neoclassical estate stretches before us.
    The figure of a LITTLE GIRL running across the lawns - her
    giggle fills the air, her outline faded by the sun.
    At French doors to the nursery, a furious greying woman -
    LADY MARY MURRAY (40s), waves a wooden spoon and yells...

                         LADY MARY
               Elizabeth Murray, bring yourself
               back here this very moment!

    The child crashes to the grass in fits of laughter. She is
    no more than 6 years old - Hair the colour of bleached hay
    and delicate pale skin.

    She rolls on to her back, squinting at the sunlight as...
    The SOUND of horse and carriage at the front of the house.
    ELIZABETH bolts upright. Her POV: As CAPTAIN SIR JOHN
    LINDSAY guides DIDO from the carriage.
    WIMBRIDGE, the butler, steps out to receive them.


6   INT.   KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM. DAY. 2                   6    *

    LADY MANSFIELD (40s), the years have been kind. She is
    beautiful, regal - stares ahead in shock...
    LORD MANSFIELD (50's) - a majestic man, white wigged and
    low brows, is incandescent, his sister, LADY MARY, frozen.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               What in God's name have you done!!

    Their POV - LINDSAY and little DIDO stand.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               She...she is black.

    LINDSAY is pained.
                         CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY
               She is my blood.
                         LADY MARY
               But she IS black!

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               A detail you chose NOT to share.

                         CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY
               Uncle? You assured me!
                                                           4.


                     LORD MANSFIELD
              (fury)
          Captain Sir John Lindsay, do you
          find me a fool? She is a MULATTO!

LORD MANSFIELD'S blood boils, he rages towards LINDSAY. LADY
MANSFIELD restrains him. LINDSAY is red with humiliation.

                    CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          I have no wife to take her...In a
          few hours I am to captain a
          voyage to the Indies on a
          longitude experiment.
              (strained)
          From there, who knows!!! It is
          not in my gift to question the
          King and his Royal Navy.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          You keep in mind my position..?
          My reputation...?
                    CAPTAIN SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          Sir...
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Then have some sense of propriety
          boy...and understand what you are
          asking.
LINDSAY lowers his voice, shielding DIDO.

                     SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          Her mother is dead! My wishes may
          not be orthodox but they ARE
          necessary!

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          How do we raise her...?

                    SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          I beg you, uncle...love her - as
          I would, were I here.
              (sadly)
          And ensure that she is in receipt
          of all that is due to her as a
          child of mine.

LADY MARY gasps, under...
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          That is simply impossible.

                    SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          What is right can never be
          impossible.
                                                              5.


His firm gaze holds his aunt and uncle to account. A long
beat. LADY MANSFIELD stands conflicted.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          What has she been named?
                    SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          She is Belle...after her mother.
          Dido Elizabeth Belle...Lindsay.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          She takes your name?

                    SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          I am not ashamed.

LINDSAY stands his ground.

                    LADY MARY
          We cannot have another
          Elizabeth in the household.
LADY MANSFIELD regards the child, then looks to her
husband, gravely. He turns his back - aggrieved.

                    LADY MANSFIELD
          We...we will call her Dido.
              (off Lindsay's nod)
          Good Lord, she is thin. Mary,
          find her something to eat.
LORD MANSFIELD storms from the room. LADY MANSFIELD
follows. LINDSAY kneels, choked with emotion.

                    SIR JOHN LINDSAY
          Little Belle - sweet child...
              (weak smile)
          My wish is to keep you...keep you
          with me...but a ship...it is no
          place for one so precious as you.
              (pause)
          In these walls, yours will be a
          life equal to my blood.
A beat. Through eyes that brim...he catches his breath.
LADY MARY is both stunned and moved - she has to turn away.
                    SIR JOHN LINDSAY (CONT'D)
          You will not understand in this
          moment, but hold this in your
          heart...you are loved...Just as
          I loved your mother.
A tear spills and DIDO's little fingers come up to wipe it
from his cheek. He presses his lips to her hand, sobbing a
moment, and then he is gone - to stay any longer would be
too much to bare.
                                                                 6.


7   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. STAIRS/ENTRANCE HALL/GALLERY - DAY. 2    7    *

    ON ELIZABETH seated at the grand staircase as LADY MARY and
    DIDO emerge. Like ELIZABETH, DIDO is now freshly dressed in
    rich silks, an adorable sight as they move through corridors
                        ELIZABETH
              Are you...a nee-gro?
    ELIZABETH makes her way across...taking her aunt's hand as
    all three walk. DIDO is silent.

                        ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
              Are you what they call `a negro?'
              I heard them talking.
                        LADY MARY
              Questions, questions, Elizabeth!
              Tis a most irritating trait you
              and your father share.
                         ELIZABETH
              Papaa M?
                        LADY MARY
              No your blood papaa. Sir David
              Murray. You should not insist on
              always speaking your mind, you
              know. You will end up an old maid
              with only your own company for
              entertainment!
                        ELIZABETH
              Like you, Aunt Mary? That is what
              the maids say?

                        LADY MARY
              You little....

    ELIZABETH takes off. LADY MARY rushes after her.
    DIDO is left alone - through the doorway of the gallery, a
    portrait of LINDSAY stares at her. She gazes at it.

    LORD MANSFIELD approaches, arrested at the sight of DIDO,
    newly tidied. He follows her gaze to LINDSAY'S image. The
    sight affects him, unexpectedly.
                        LORD MANSFIELD
              Captain Sir John Lindsay.
                  (off her reaction)
              Do you recognise him?
    She nods. A beat as conflict fills him.
                                                                  7.


8   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. GALLERY. CONTINUOUS. DAY 2                8    *

                          LORD MANSFIELD
                D'you see here...? This..this is
                your grandfather, Sir Alexander
                Lindsay of Evelick.

    DIDO examines the painting. LORD MANSFIELD watches her.
                          LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                I am here too....do you see?

    Her eyes search the long line of her aristocratic heritage,
    until her gaze settles. He chuckles, reluctantly charmed as
    she points to his likeness.
                          LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                Yes...I am William Murray, First
                Earl of Mansfield.
    A beat as he looks to her, affected by this little person.
    Gently, he leads her to a final portrait.

                          LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                    (carefully)
                Now...do you see this man? He is
                my nephew...do you understand...?
                    (off Dido's nod)
                ...your uncle - Sir David Murray.

                          DIDO
                Elizabeth's papa.

    He pauses
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                You are a sharp little one. He is
                The Seventh Viscount Stormont...
                    (beat. Almost to himself)
                ...to inherit everything that we
                are standing on when I am gone.

    She nods, bites her lip - that much has gone over her
    head...he can see. He closes his eyes. The enormity of this
    new responsibility weighing heavy.


9   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES PARLOUR/LAWNS - DAY. 2             9    *

    LORD MANSFIELD's POV: through window - The lawns. ELIZABETH
    gently takes DIDO'S hand in hers, leads her off to run
    between the trees. As their delighted screams filter...
    LADY MANSFIELD enters - observes LORD Mansfield, a moment.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
                Born on English soil?
                                      8.


          LORD MANSFIELD
Indeed. He discovered her mother
aboard a captured Spanish slave
ship. He was charged with
conveying it back to these
shores, he tells me.
          LADY MANSFIELD
Evidently he had some...`feeling'
for the woman.
          LORD MANSFIELD
    (dry)
And there I was believing it was
sheer lack of `self control'.
    (scathing)
He has been at sea, six years.
All of this child's life!
          LADY MANSFIELD
Well, he clearly saw to their
wellbeing. The child is not
altogether uncivilized.
    (she breathes deeply)
So...now we have two nieces in
our guardianship.
           LORD MANSFIELD
    (reticent)
Elizabeth was much in need of a
companion.

          LADY MANSFIELD
And that is what we shall say
when questions are asked of us?
          LORD MANSFIELD
We shall say that in accordance
with her birthright, she is
entitled to live beneath this roof.
    (with irony)
Such...is the nature of `order'.

          LADY MANSFIELD
And where in this `order' should
her colour be placed? Below or
above her Murray bloodline?
    (off his silence)
May she dine with us?
          LORD MANSFIELD
She may...(pause)...NOT...in
company. We cannot escape
society's confines on etiquette
            LADY MANSFIELD
Marriage?
                                                                  9.


     He shakes his head at the complexity of it all.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Impossible. Any match her..'other
               origins' may attract would surely
               disgrace her and the family rank.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               And when we are no longer here? No
               husband - who will take care of her?
     He rubs his eyebrows, perturbed, turns back to the lawns.


10   EXT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LAWNS - CONTINUOUS. DAY.2/3              10   *

     A view across the idyllic estate. SOUNDS of children's
     shrieks have become adult.
     CAPTION: 1781

     A twenty year old DIDO darts between trees.
                         DIDO
               Bette! No...no surprises Bette!

     ELIZABETH, also twenty now, suddenly jumps from behind the
     willows, causing DIDO to wail hysterically.

     LADY MARY stands at the doorway of the old nursery.
                         LADY MARY
                   (shrieking)
               Girls! Will you refrain from
               shrieking like the...bless-ed
               French!

     The girls race towards the house.
     ELIZABETH'S blonde colouring remains, whilst DIDO'S looks
     have become dramatic - her dark hair, thick and long, wrapped
     in a bun, and black lashes that frame her dark eyes.


11   EXT. HAMPSTEAD. CHURCH - DAY.3                               11   *

     Church bells - parishioners make their way into the
     beautiful sixteenth century chapel, in lush green fields.


12   INT. CHURCH - DAY.3                                          12   *
     REVEREND DAVINIER, white wigged, stands at the pulpit.
                                                                  10.


                         REVEREND DAVINIER
               ...for it is the power of God
               unto salvation to every one that
               believeth. So saith Christ the
               Lord. Amen.
                            CONGREGATION
               Amen.

     A FLAME as a YOUNG MAN lights a candle by the altar. He sings,
     choir-like, the word `amen' rather than simply saying it.
                         REVEREND DAVINIER
               Hymn no. 76.
     ON the MANSFIELDS as the congregation begins to sing.


13   INT. CHURCH - DAY. 3                                         13    *

     The YOUNG MAN stands collecting bibles as the congregation
     file out. DIDO hands him hers.
     He is chaotically handsome with deeply set, expressive eyes
     that lock with hers for a moment, stirring her. Then his
     gaze moves suddenly to LORD MANSFIELD - intense, as he
     watches him drift from the church, the family in tow.


14   EXT. KENWOOD ESTATE. HEATH    - DAY.3                        14    *
     Pure, lush, green. The Mansfield carriage on the horizon.


15   INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE - DAY.3                              15    *
     LORD and LADY MANSFIELD sit together, ELIZABETH beside
     them. DIDO and LADY MARY ride backwards.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I have reason to speak with you
               alone, Dido.
     DIDO is quietly alarmed.

                         DIDO
               Have I wronged you, Papaa?

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You have done no such thing.


16   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LORD MANSFIELD'S STUDY - DAY.3           16    *

     LORD MANSFIELD is grave.    DIDO stands before him.
                                                                 11.


                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I have not past experience in the
               ways of breaking grave news to you.
     He hands her a letter and she reads. A beat, as the news
     resonates through her, silently. Her pained gaze slowly
     rises to meet LORD MANSFIELD'S.

                         DIDO
                   (quiet, shock)
               I thought I should one day have
               the opportunity to make his
               better acquaintance.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
               Yes.   I know.


17   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM - DAY.3    17    *

                         ELIZABETH
               Two thousand pounds a year?
     ELIZABETH sits at the edge of the bed in day clothes. DIDO
     nods, her back to us as she stares out through the window.
                         ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
               Then you are an heiress! He has
               left you your fortune!


18   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM - NIGHT 3 18     *

     Darkness. DIDO and ELIZABETH lie in separate beds. Only a
     shaft of moonlight illuminates their faces.
                         ELIZABETH
               He must have loved you, Dido.

                         DIDO
               He did not know me.

                         ELIZABETH
               My father's new wife wishes him
               to leave me not a thing, and he
               obliges her.

                         DIDO
               Then it is her cruelty you should
               lament, Bette, not his stupidity.
                         ELIZABETH
               I think he might have loved me
               more if Mamaa had not died.
                                                                 12.


                         DIDO
                   (pained)
               I...I think love must be a very
               complicated thing.

     ELIZABETH lifts her head to look across at DIDO.
                         ELIZABETH
               Dido - with such a dowry you may
               marry into any good family you wish.
     OFF DIDO as she stares at the ceiling, daunted.


19   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES PARLOUR - DAY.4                  19    *

     Soft sunlight filters. LADY MARY sits engrossed in her
     needle-work. The two girls persevere with theirs.
                          LADY MARY
               We shall receive visitors for dinner.
     The two girls exchange a glance and whisper.

                         ELIZABETH
               Visitors? Who ever bothers to
               visit us here?
                         DIDO
               Or leave... except the dead!

     ELIZABETH'S titters escape. LADY MARY looks up, abruptly.
                          LADY MARY
               Once again, Dido?
                         DIDO
               Beds...Aunt Mary. We should
               prepare some extra beds... in
               case our visitors are to stay...
     She trails off - LADY MARY raises an eyebrow.
                         ELIZABETH
               May we wear the new silks?

                         DIDO
               I will do your hair, Bette. Oh
               say we may wear them, Aunt Mary.

                         LADY MARY
               You will not be dining with us, Dido.

     The room falls silent and the girls' energy is killed.
                                                                  13.


                          DIDO
                   (hurt)
               Yes of course. But I may join
               after dinner, may I not?

                         LADY MARY
               Yes. Such are the rules, and you
               know them well.


20   EXT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LAKE - DAY.4                             20    *

     A blaze of rhododendron, azaleas. DIDO strolls with LORD
     MANSFIELD, along Kenwood's lake, orange sunlight glistens.
                         DIDO
               She is a most disagreeable...
               hideous, old maid - I hate her!
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You do not! She is only managing
               the dictates of the household
                         DIDO
               Papaa...how...how may I be too high
               in rank to dine with the servants
               and too low to dine with my family?

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Dinner with guests is a formal
               proceeding, Dido - we simply
               cannot impose the disregard of
               those formalities upon visitors.
                         DIDO
               But...Papaa, am I not..'wealthy',
               now...an heiress? Surely that
               changes matters...
                         LORD MANSFIELD
                   (softly)
               My dear...I wish it were so
               simple. Finances may go some way -
               but Society has a habit of
               disregarding even one of their
               own, when opportunity provides.
                         DIDO
                   (stung)
               Of course...(trailing off)
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               BUT after dinner...when formality
               is of less consequence...well
               your presence can raise no
               defendable objections.
                   (off her sadness)
                         (MORE)
                                                                  14.

                         LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               Dido, you know the rules of
               propriety. Far better than
               Elizabeth, if I am frank.
     His loving gaze elicits a smile from her, weary. Propriety
     is everything, after all.
                         DIDO
               As you wish, sir.


21   EXT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LAWNS. CONTINUOUS. DAY 4                 21    *
     LADY MANSFIELD sits in the shade - a maid prepares a seat
     for LADY MARY, as DIDO heads for the house, pensive.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
               Dido!...
     ELIZABETH emerges from the house, breathless.

                         ELIZABETH
               There you are. I have been
               searching for you!
                         LADY MANSFIELD
                   (to Dido)
               What a wretched countenance!

                         LADY MARY
               She deplores my authority. What
               am I in this household, if not
               the `observer of rules'?!

                         ELIZABETH
               I would rather dine with Dido!

     She links arms with DIDO in solidarity.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               What a great pity

     LADY MANSFIELD and LADY MARY feign nonchalance.
                          LADY MARY
               Indeed.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Our young gentlemen guests shall
               miss you, Elizabeth.
     Both girls' eyes widen - DIDO's with disappointment.

                         ELIZABETH/DIDO
               Young gentlemen?
                         LADY MARY
               Very good connections.
                                                                 15.


                         LADY MANSFIELD
               And most agreeable by all accounts!
     ELIZABETH'S mouth falls open. LADY MARY leans toward her.

                         LADY MARY
               Close your mouth and understand:
               There shall be no discussions
               tonight in any languages other
               than English! No whisperings in
               gentlemen's ears - not in Latin,
               Italian...and certainly not French!

     OFF ELIZABETH'S mischief and Dido sunk.


22   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DINING ROOM - NIGHT. 4                  22    *
     Candles sprinkle a delicate light. An imposing dining table
     stretches before us, laden with exquisite foods.   LADY
     ASHFORD 40's - a pale porcelain skinned woman, sits with
     her sons - JAMES (25) and OLIVER (22). She is beautiful and
     both have inherited her striking looks.

     ELIZABETH whispers in JAMES' ear. LADY MARY glares!
                         JAMES ASHFORD
               What excellent French! Though I
               have not an idea of what you said.

                         ELIZABETH
               I said...`Your hands have the
               suggestion of a sensitive man'.
     She wrinkles her nose, minxish. Across the table...
                         LADY ASHFORD
               I must say, the entire country
               barely breathes awaiting your
               judgement on this appeal.
               Terrified you shall destroy
               England, no doubt. I know Lord A
               is. He does wonder though, what
               can be taking you...so long?
                         LORD MANSFIELD
                   (mild condescension)
               The law, Lady Ashford. It is to be
               interpreted - not merely administered.
                         LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               Your husband of all people knows this.
                         LADY MARY
               My brother is not a man of rash instinct.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               For that we are all grateful.
                                                                 16.


                         LADY ASHFORD
               What a lot of fuss over dead cargo.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               It is a fuss over the bread and
               butter of a great many in these
               isles. A great many, Lady Ashford.

     OFF LORD MANSFIELD'S distaste....


23   EXT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LAWNS - NIGHT. 4                        23    *
     The windows glint with candlelight, DIDO sits at a bench
     alone. Laughter from the house carries in the breeze.
     A rustle in the branches behind her. She stands, startled.
     A beat, then she turns on her heels and sprints - fast.


24   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. ENTRANCE HALL. NIGHT. 4                 24    *

     Breathless, DIDO races inside as WIMBRIDGE appears.
                            DIDO
               Wimbridge!

                         WIMBRIDGE
               Miss Lindsay?
                         DIDO
               There are poachers wandering...!
     The sound of the echoing doorbell, jolting DIDO. Her eyes
     dart to the door. WIMBRIDGE hesitates, then answers.

     A YOUNG MAN stands, damp brow, and as breathless as DIDO.
     We recognise him as the YOUNG MAN seen earlier in the
     church. He is JOHN DAVINIER, son of REVEREND DAVINIER.
                         JOHN
               Good evening to you. I am John
               Davinier, I..I believe I may have
               disturbed a lady of this house...
     He sets eyes on DIDO, peering from the great staircase.

                         JOHN (CONT'D)
               Ah...she is there.
                   (calling out to her)
               Please forgive me...though you
               barely gave me a chance...
     DIDO turns her back, horrified. How dare he address her
     without formal introduction?!
                                                             17.


                    DIDO
          Sir, I do not believe we have
          been introduced!
JOHN takes hold of himself, half mortified, half irritated.
                    JOHN
          Indeed. I...I...
              (to Wimbridge, feeling
               foolish)
          Please inform the lady of my
          apologies for startling her. I
          took advantage of the back
          fields, by way of a short-cut to
          deliver this to Lord Mansfield...
          from my father.

                    WIMBRIDGE
          Sir?
He hands WIMBRIDGE an envelope.
                    JOHN
          Reverend Davinier.

                    WIMBRIDGE
          Of course, sir. I will see that
          he gets it immediately...

DIDO can't help but interfere. She calls over her shoulder.
                    DIDO
          You shall not interrupt him at
          dinner, Wimbridge!
                    WIMBRIDGE
          Immediately - after dinner, sir.
JOHN resists rolling his eyes - ghastly female!

                    JOHN
          Yes, of course...thank you.
He backs away. DIDO still shows him nothing but her back.

                    JOHN (CONT'D)
              (to Wimbridge, awkward)
          Good night.

                    WIMBRIDGE
          Good night, sir.
He moves off, and is gone as DIDO finally turns, stares at
the closed door, flushed.
                                                                  18.


25   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM. CONTINUOUS - NIGHT. 4.     25    *

     A single figure - at the farthest end of the crimson
     drawing room...DIDO'S heart skips a beat at the SOUND of
     the approaching dinner party...Suddenly the doors open
     ...DIDO stands quickly - nervous.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Dido...my dear.

                         LADY ASHFORD
                   (whispers to her sons)
               Good Lord - the negro! She really is...
                          JAMES ASHFORD
                   (quietly disturbed)
               ...a lady.

                          OLIVER
               Capital!
                         LADY ASHFORD
               I hadn't expected her to look
               so...black.
                         OLIVER
               Mamaa, did you not listen to the
               rumours when you were spreading
               them?
     DIDO curtseys respectfully to LORD MANSFIELD.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               May I present to you the second
               of my nieces - Miss Dido Lindsay.

     DIDO curtseys. LADY ASHFORD nods graciously. OLIVER bows -
     has to nudge his troubled brother do the same.

                         OLIVER
               A pleasure, Miss Lindsay.

     She curtseys once again, then moves to sit with ELIZABETH.

                         ELIZABETH
                   (sotto - re. James)
               He is the eldest - to inherit the
               entire Ashford fortune. He is
               also to inherit from his uncle -
               a healthy man, who shows little
               sign of departure.

                         DIDO
               How do you know?
                                                          19.


                    ELIZABETH
          Lady Ashford herself. She seems
          rather despondent at her
          brother's robust constitution.

JAMES catches DIDO'S soft brown eyes resting on him.
                    DIDO
          He has much to recommend him. And
          a second fortune in life should
          please any wife.
ELIZABETH clocks the gaze between DIDO and JAMES.
                    ELIZABETH
          Dido! You are not to be a
          coquette with him! You already
          have your fortune!
                    DIDO
          Are you suggesting I now
          condescend to a gentleman without
          means, Bette?! What should good
          society think of us!
OLIVER moves to his brother, follows his gaze to DIDO.
                    OLIVER
          She is intriguing, is she not?

                    JAMES
          I find her repulsive.
                    OLIVER
          I suppose she is...if you find a
          most rare and exotic flower so.
          She is quite something to behold.

ON DIDO as she falters under the brothers' stares.
                    ELIZABETH
              (flustered, to DIDO)
          Good Lord! They are appraising me!
ELIZABETH composes herself. JAMES' eyes remain on DIDO,
swallowing hard at her undeniable beauty.

                    JAMES
          One does not make a wife of the
          rare and exotic, Oliver. One
          samples it on the cotton fields
          of the Indies...

                    OLIVER
          So far, when it is right at my door?
                                                               20.


                         JAMES
               ...Then finds a pure ENGLISH rose
               to decorate one's home.
     OLIVER smiles. OFF both men - trained on DIDO.


26   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM - NIGHT 4.               26    *
     ELIZABETH is at the pianoforte. She sings, plays hard, for
     JAMES' attention, gazing up at him as he stands beside her.
                         LADY ASHFORD
               Is she `OUT'??

                          LADY MANSFIELD
                   (embarrassed)
               Not quite.
                         LADY MARY
                   (awkward)
               Any day now.

     LADY ASHFORD raises an amused eyebrow - precocious creature!
     OLIVER offers DIDO a discreet smile, as she sits beside
     LORD MANSFIELD. His mother quietly moves across to him.
                          LADY ASHFORD
               You will refrain from any
               intercourse with the negress.
                   (beat)
               Lord and Lady Mansfield may find
               it fascinating to have a Lady
               Mulatto running around their
               household, but I will not have
               one running around mine!

                         OLIVER
               She is an heiress.
     A seamless change of heart for LADY ASHFORD.
                          LADY ASHFORD
               Although exceptions can be made.

                         OLIVER
               It is said that her father left
               her a rather vast fortune.

                         LADY ASHFORD
               I mean to say, if that is your
               inclination.

                         OLIVER
               She is rather soft on the eye - I
               have thought no further Mamaa.
                                                             21.


LADY ASHFORD stares across at DIDO.

                    LADY ASHFORD
          From where did you receive your
          information?
                    OLIVER
          Her sister-cousin has a rather
          fast tongue.

ON LADY ASHFORD as she studies DIDO. ELIZABETH finishes,
amid a smattering of polite applause led by JAMES.

                    OLIVER (CONT'D)
          And what of you Miss Lindsay?
          Are we to hear you play tonight?

DIDO looks up to find OLIVER smiling across at her.
                    DIDO
          Well...
              (deferring to her father)
          Papaa...?

LORD MANSFIELD hesitates. DIDO is embarrassed.

                    OLIVER
          Oh do not be selfish with your
          good fortune, m'lord!
A beat...then put on the spot, LORD MANSFIELD caves,
throwing up his hands, helplessly.

DIDO is tentative, ELIZABETH less pleased.
                    LADY ASHFORD
          This will be most interesting!
DIDO moves to the pianoforte settles her fingers on the
keys. A beat, then Handel's Suite No.9 fills the room.

LORD MANSFIELD closes his eyes, irritated with himself.
LADY MARY whispers to LADY MANSFIELD.
                    LADY MARY
          She has never played in company!
LADY MANSFIELD is silent - stiff with anxiety.

DIDO is raising a beautiful and fluent sound - as skillful
as the most gifted of Georgian young ladies.
LORD MANSFIELD'S eyes spring open - sees all held hostage.
OLIVER moves forward, utterly fascinated.
Relief floods LADY MANSFIELD - she sighs with pride as LADY
MARY lends LADY ASHFORD a smug look.
                                                                   22.


                         LADY ASHFORD
                   (conceding)
               She is...most accomplished.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
                   (with deep satisfaction)
               Hers was a most diligent governess.


27   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. UPSTAIRS CORRIDORS - NIGHT. 4             27    *

     Echoing footsteps. LORD and LADY MANSFIELD move toward
     their rooms, each with a lamp to light their way.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               The liberty of asking her to
               play! And when he can have no
               better intentions towards her.
     She stops in her tracks briefly, suddenly unsure...
                            LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               Can he??

     They round a corner.
                         LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               ...His family name will, no doubt,
               entice her to take him seriously.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               She must not delude herself. Such
               decisions are not hers to make.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Then spell it out to her! Before
               she renders herself...sport to
               some `gent' of cruel promises!!!
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               She has no reason. Hers is an
               inheritance that renders her free
               of the usual inducements to marry.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Well, that, at least, is true,
                   (burdened, grave)
               Indeed, it is Elizabeth who needs
               to secure her bread and butter.


28   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. GROUND FLOOR CORRIDORS/STUDIO. DAY. 5 28        *
     Feminine feet move along the corridor.   REVEAL DIDO making
     her way to LORD MANSFIELD'S study.

     Her POV: through the doorway to the studio.
                                                                 23.


     An UNFAMILIAR FACE mixing paints, engrossed. His weather-
     worn hands are recognisable from the opening credits. His
     stare meets DIDO's, calmly moved by her beauty as she
     stands, frozen - her full lips parted in astonishment.


29   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM - DAY. 5 29      *
     ELIZABETH stands at the mirror - a maid dressing her.

                         ELIZABETH
               A portrait? Are you sure?

                         DIDO
               Yes...Aunt Mary has confirmed it.

     DIDO sits, light headed, anxiety running through her.

                         ELIZABETH
               Good Lord. How...truly wonderful.

                         DIDO
               But...but...
                         ELIZABETH
                   (becoming exasperated)
               But what, Dido?


30   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LORD MANSFIELD'S STUDY. DAY. 5          30    *
     DIDO hurls herself into the room, utterly panicked.
                         DIDO
               Papaa...should he not have wished
               to SEE me before deciding?

     She throws her hands up woefully, and finds another face
     staring back at her - It is JOHN DAVINIER. He regards her
     from a huge law book. She stands mortified.
                         DIDO (CONT'D)
                   (to Lord M)
               I am sorry...I did not know you...

                         LORD MANSFIELD
                   (dry)
               Mr Davinier, I believe you have
               already had the pleasure.
                         JOHN
                   (ironic)
               In...some way - yes.
                   (to DIDO)
               Miss Lindsay.

     She curtseys, brief and stiff - a smile to match.
                                                   24.


                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Decide what?
She is hesitant now, awkward in JOHN'S presence.

                    DIDO
          If he should...should WANT to
          paint me!

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          The man is to be paid a fortune.
          What is there to decide?

                      DIDO
          But...

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Dido, you are to simply sit
          still. Not a challenging task!
                    DIDO
              (anxious)
          Next...next to Elizabeth...?

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          As you always are - right beside
          one another.
DIDO's chest heaves with distress.
                    JOHN
          Should...should not any lady be
          flattered to be such a subject?

His tone is impatient, irritating her.
                    DIDO
          How should any male know the ways
          of a lady when he has not even
          mastered the ways of a gentleman?

                    JOHN
          Quite! Though one should be
          forgiven for thinking he was in
          the presence of a lady - when she
          is, in fact, still a juvenile!
                    DIDO
          Papaa, may we do this in private!

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Not now, no! You may return the
          books to the library.
                      DIDO
          Papaa...!
                                                            25.


LORD MANSFIELD casts her a stare and she is silenced.
DIDO begins collecting giant hardbacks, exasperated.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Upon her husband's death a widow
          may receive....
                    JOHN
          ...her marriage portion and
          inheritance at once. She has forty
          days to leave her husband's home...
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Hummm...
              (contemplation)
          Yours are grand ambitions.

JOHN says nothing - swallows hard. DIDO steals a glance.
                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          What is the purpose of the law in
          your eyes, Mr Davinier?
                    JOHN
          To... to provide certainty where
          there might otherwise be none.
                     LORD MANSFIELD
          Example.
                    JOHN
          The Zong ship and those drowned.

LORD MANSFIELD stiffens. He looks uncomfortably at DIDO
piling books. JOHN'S eyes follow.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          It is one of the few trades
          acceptable to a gentleman.

                    JOHN
          I am no member of the nobility -
          I have little, but...where my
          father relies on the bible, I...I
          wish to rely on the law courts.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          You aspire to the judiciary?

LORD MANSFIELD laughs at him. DIDO stares at the ground -
cringing on JOHN'S behalf. John asserts himself.
                    JOHN
          One day...yes...m'lord. I wish to
          make the laws not only administer
          them - for that...that is how I may
          truly change this world. I mean to
          say, make it... a better place.
                                                                  26.


     A beat. His words force DIDO to look up, affected.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Noble if not pompous! A country
               lawyer, you may make - perhaps! If
               you pay every regard to what you
               are taught - but you have neither
               the rank nor finances for any more!

                         JOHN
                   (tentative)
               If I may, m'lord - neither did you!

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I beg your pardon?

                         JOHN
               Well...as a fourth son, you had
               rank but not the income to pay for
               your qualification to the Inns.

     DIDO's wide eyes take in JOHN, astonished by his chuzpah.
                         JOHN (CONT'D)
               Without the sponsorship of Lord
               Foley and William Hamilton...the
               English courts may not have
               benefited from your brilliance -
               and the title, Lord Chief Justice
               could not be yours today...M'lord.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You believe you are worthy of
               such considerations? Such are
               your capabilities?

                         JOHN
               That I do not know, M'lord. I
               have not yet been afforded those
               considerations...but I know a
               country life does not suit me.

     LORD MANSFIELD's gaze is trained on JOHN. DIDO has finished
     gathering the books and is quietly slipping from the room.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
               The Reverend has requested I take
               his son into my tutorage, Dido.
                   (Beat)
               What do you think?

     DIDO freezes, in the doorway - all eyes locked on her.


31   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. GALLERY - NIGHT. 5                       31    *
     DIDO moves along the hallway, lined with enormous artists'         *
     interpretations, communicating a certain lifestyle.
                                                          27.


She slows, caught by one of the paintings - an English rose
stares out, as a black domestic submissively fastens a
priceless bracelet around her lady-master's wrist.
DIDO's POV: CLOSE on the domestic. Suddenly...
                    JOHN
          Thank you for your gracious
          support.

DIDO jumps - finds JOHN standing beside her.
                    DIDO
          I neither spoke for or against
          you - since neither is my place.

                     JOHN
          Silence speaks volumes.
Elizabeth approaches, calls out, as she curtseys.

                    ELIZABETH
          Papaa's new student.

                    JOHN
          Indeed!
                    DIDO
          Mr Davinier, my cousin, Elizabeth.
                    JOHN
          A pleasure.

                    DIDO
              (to John)
          Papaa has never taken a pupil,
          you realise?
                    ELIZABETH
          Someone to keep you company while
          you take Papaa's dictation, Dido.
              (to John)
          Truth is, there have been more of
          your sex at Kenwood this week,
          than I've previously seen in all
          my entire life!
DIDO flushes.

                    JOHN
          Hopefully we have not disappointed!
                    ELIZABETH
          On the contrary!
She raises a minxish eyebrow and moves off. Awkward silence.
                                                             28.


                    DIDO
          Mr Davinier, what...what is the
          importance of the Zong... why is
          the case before Papaa's court,
          the supreme court...?
He searches her, taken aback.   Why is she asking him?

                       JOHN
          Well...
              (he struggles, tentative)
          It is a cargo ship.

                    DIDO
          I...I am aware of that.

                    JOHN
          A human-cargo ship.
DIDO hesitates, tentative.

                    DIDO
          Oh. You said those who were
          drowned.

                    JOHN
          It lost most of its slaves before
          arriving at its destination.
              (hesitant)
          Drowned - by the crew on the
          captain's order.

JOHN watches as DIDO falters.

                       DIDO
          But...why?

The SOUND of the MANSFIELDS gathering with the ASHFORDS. A
maid approaches hurrying about her duties.

                    MAID
          Miss, your supper is served
          now in the ladies' parlour.

                       DIDO
          Thank you.
JOHN hesitates, struck with confusion at the maid's words.
DIDO becomes awkward. LADY MANSFIELD emerges, disappearing
into the dining room.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          Mr Davinier, will you be joining
          us for dinner?
JOHN's eyes dart to DIDO - sees her unease. It pierces him.
                                                                  29.


                         JOHN
               I..er...I thank you, Madam, but I
               am promised to the company of my
               aunt this evening. She has recently
               moved to the cottage at Belsize.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Of course - as you wish.

     She moves off, and DIDO and JOHN are left in tense silence.
                         JOHN
               Permit me to ask, why you do not
               dine with your family - ever?
                         DIDO
               That is not correct.

                         JOHN
               Forgive me...but twice now I have
               seen...I have seen you separated
               from the gathering.
     DIDO's cheeks begin to burn.

                         JOHN (CONT'D)
               I am confounded.
     DIDO snaps, her shame over-spilling...
                         DIDO
               And well you might be - when the
               son of clergy is permitted to the
               table before a lady of the house.
                         JOHN
               Is that a reminder of my place,
               Miss Lindsay?
     She holds back frustrated tears, pained.

                         DIDO
               No. It's a statement of mine!

     Both of them are smarting. JOHN moves off, stung.


32   EXT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM. NIGHT.5 32       *

     DIDO steps into the room, expressionless. She sits on the
     chaise longue, allows her gaze to settle on her reflection.

     Something terrible resonates through her - some awful
     thought or feeling, that leaves her breathless with
     emotion. And then her fingers come up to the skin on her
     chest...and she begins to pinch and pull with self-hatred,
     rubbing the heel of her palm across her cheek, her
     forehead, as her face crumples and she begins to cry.
                                                               30.


33   EXT. HAMPSTEAD. HEATH. DAY. 6                             33    *

     New day. LORD MANSFIELD and JOHN ride through Kenwood's
     lands on horseback, slowing under the shade of trees.
                         JOHN
                   (he pats his animal)
               There is much speculation on your
               decision. Anticipation seems to
               be turning to panic, m'lord.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I cannot disagree.
                         JOHN
               One hundred and thirty two drowned
               on route from Africa to the West
               Indies. Your ruling could bring
               the slave trade to its knees -
               entirely destroy an economic
               foundation of these lands.
                   (off Mansfield)
               Is that pressure not maddening,
               m'lord?
     LORD MANSFIELD reigns in his horse. He quotes in Latin.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Justitia fiat, ruat coelum, Mr
               Davinier - Let justice be done,
               though the heavens may fall.
                         JOHN
               The insurance claim states, the
               slaves were thrown overboard for
               the safety of the ship - that
               there wasn't sufficient water for
               the cargo and crew to survive the
               rest of the voyage.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
               It does.

                         JOHN
               Then, if I am correct, the case
               hangs on...

                          LORD MANSFIELD
               ...IT HANGS on `Absolute
               necessity'. If the cargo was
               spoiled...
                          JOHN
               Cargo?
     LORD MANSFIELD adjusts his language.
                                                               31.


                         LORD MANSFIELD
               If the killing of the..'negros' was
               truly `necessary' in order to save
               the ship - as the captain contends.

     A difficult silence.   JOHN is careful, but sceptical.
                         JOHN
               But...is that where it hinges?

     LORD MANSFIELD does not welcome the challenge.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               The ship's journey was thwarted
               by impossible weather conditions -
               what should have been weeks
               became months! What once appeared
               enough water, may not have been!
                         JOHN
               I am sensible of this, m'lord...
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Then do you know what a hundred
               thirsty slaves are capable of? I
               can tell you no man happily
               disposes of his cargo, even in
               the face of rebellion!
                   (Off John's silence)
               So now tell me - were you to
               dock at port with barely a piece
               of merchandise left to trade -
               what would you do?   Swallow
               financial ruin - or claim your
               due from the insurers.
     John is conflicted - to speak up, or not?

                         JOHN
               With due respect... I should
               question, whether 'human' life
               should have been insurable as
               cargo - at all.
     The air turns cold.


34   EXT. KENWOOD GARDENS. DAY. 6                              34    *

     LADY MARY clips flowers from a bush of sunset pink Dahlias.
     DIDO holds a basket, collecting them. LADY MANSFIELD and
     ELIZABETH stroll beneath parasols.
     LORD MANSFIELD and JOHN can be seen approaching the stables
     on horseback - JOHN trailing.
                                                                 32.


                         LADY MARY
               A gentleman rather like him once
               paid me much interest.
                         ELIZABETH
               Mr Davinier?
                         LADY MANSFIELD
                   (matter of fact.)
               Really, Mary?
     DIDO lays each Dahlia carefully.

                         LADY MARY
               Do not look at me like that! It was
               my Mamaa who intervened. I thought
               he had a very great sense of duty.
               Overly kind at times but...
     LADY MANSFIELD watches as though she knows the rest.

                         DIDO
                   (gently)
               But...what, Aunt Mary?

     LADY MARY hesitates and LADY MANSFIELD cuts in, saving her.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               HE is engaged, you know?
     DIDO follows her gaze to JOHN, as he climbs from the horse,
     hands it to a STABLEMAN.

                          LADY MARY
               Engaged!
                          ELIZABETH
               Is he?
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Mr Beresford's daughter.

                         ELIZABETH
               The carriage-maker! He might have
               set his sights a little higher!
     AS JOHN marches toward the back entrance of the house. He
     nods to the ladies. A self-conscious beat between he and
     DIDO, her back to him - as he disappears inside.

     OFF her reaction.


35   INT. KENWOOD STUDIO. DAY. 7                                 35    *

     CLOSE ON: the soft curls around DIDO'S hairline, a single
     eye, her nose, cheek. HOLD on her lips.
                                                                 33.


     ON the painter's canvas...a sketch emerging - he brings
     DIDO'S mouth to life. We see an outline of ELIZABETH with
     some detail, already been created.
     REVEAL ELIZABETH beside DIDO. As her hand slides over to
     DIDO'S and she squeezes it tight.
     ON their clasped hands.

                         ZOFFANY
               To the window, Miss Lindsay
     DIDO favours the window a little more...Soft sunlight pours
     onto her skin.


36   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. CORRIDORS/STUDIO. DAY. 7                36    *

     JOHN moves through corridors - hat under his arm. ELIZABETH
     emerges from the studio, drawing his attention to...
     Through a half open doorway, his POV: DIDO sits on stool
     before ZOFFANY. The sight draws JOHN to a halt.
     He attempts to move off - but cant! He observes DIDO
     quietly. She is somehow tranquil under Zoffany's gaze.

     A beat before her eyes fall on JOHN'S outline in the
     doorway - his stare, penetrating and compelling.
     ON ZOFFANY - he follows DIDO'S gaze to JOHN. Then he
     sketches madly, filling in DIDO'S eyes in great detail.
     ON JOHN, embarrassed - he moves away quickly.   DIDO is
     affected. She jumps up! Goes after him!

     As ELIZABETH'S eyes follow, uncertain.
                            DIDO
               Wait...
     She is upon him in the CORRIDOR! They stand silent, awkward.

                         JOHN
               I...I was curious...
                         DIDO
               Quite a task - to sit for so many                       *
               hours...(beat)...
               Congratulations! I learned of
               your..your match..yesterday.                            *
                            JOHN
               Thank you.
     He falters slightly, swallows hard - not all is well.
                                                             34.


Her eyes hone in on a pamphlet under his arm. JOHN shifts
uneasy at what it shows - the last few letters of THE ZONG
can be seen, and LORD MANSFIELD depicted with large butt.
                    DIDO
          I appear the only one to have
          just learned of this affair?

                    JOHN
          Perhaps yours is a life less
          concerned with such matters.
                    DIDO
          Why do you judge me so?
He studies her. She is tentative.

                    DIDO (CONT'D)
          It is a fact that I have
          contemplated on the matter for
          many hours, and I...I do not
          think the slaves could have been
          drowned in the way you say.

ON his disbelief - irritation slowly turns to dawning.

                    JOHN
          Are you at utter disconnect from
          everything?!
He searches her, making her feel very small and ashamed. As
he moves off, she stares after him, distressed.

                    DIDO
          Mr Davinier...please. Tell me.
          Tell me what you know!

He stops, stares back at her.   What to do?
                    DIDO (CONT'D)
              (earnest)
          Do not render me your amusement.
He traces her vulnerability. It roots him.

                    JOHN
          I can only tell you what I believe.

                    DIDO
              (trying to understand)
          And what...what is that?

                    JOHN
          The slaves were intentionally
          drowned, that is not in question.
          Chained! Thrown into the waters -
          chained together as one.
                    (MORE)
                                                                  35.

                         JOHN (CONT'D)
               They were diseased - worth more as
               dead insured merchandise, than as
               alive spoiled goods.
                   (stark)
               The captain hoped it would `pay'
               to kill them.
     ON DIDO as colour drains from her face.   Nausea rises...

     His eyes try to read hers, becoming sensitive. As he moves
     back towards her. She struggles to take it in.
                         JOHN (CONT'D)
               Miss Lindsay....?
                         DIDO
               But the insurers are appealing.

                         JOHN
               Yes. They are challenging the
               decision of the lower court -
               refusing to pay for murdered
               slaves.

     Her eyes sting. JOHN can see she is having difficulty - he
     touches her hand absentmindedly, startling her, but their
     eyes remain locked. She attempts, weakly, to return self-
     possession. Then almost a whisper...

                            DIDO
               Thank you.

     That is, thank you for telling me what nobody else has!

     She turns, walks away.    ON DIDO, as her pace quickens.


37   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LORD MANSFIELD'S STUDY. DAY. 7           37    *
     ON DIDO, urgently rifling through files, shelves - chaotic.
     She moves to a desk, pulls open drawers - REVEAL volumes
     and volumes of news pamphlets. A set of them bound, LORD
     MANSFIELD'S wax seal hanging from the cord. She unties the
     cord, wax seal all over her hands. She fingers her way
     through the pile - legal headlines...all referring to Lord
     Mansfield. She stops dead...

     POV - pamphlet cover...image of LORD MANSFIELD, drooping
     bottom lip touching the ground - foolish and dithering,
     whilst beside him a `Negro' slave wields a judge's' gavel.

     A headline - `Slave Cargo Deliberately Drowned to save ship
     - Mansfield Dithers on Zong Insurance'. DIDO stares hard...
                         DIDO
                   (whispers)
               Papaa.
                                                                 36.


     She runs her fingers across the caricature, pained - then
     moves urgently to the next pamphlet, and the next...
     More MANSFIELD caricatures - a big nose, fat lips, all with
     Zong headlines:'Mansfield to Rule on "Disposable Slaves" `
     The library door suddenly opens, jolting DIDO.

                         ELIZABETH
               There you are!
     DIDO is frozen, says nothing. ELIZABETH stares from the
     doorway - why does DIDO look so strange?
                         ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
               We are requested. You - drawing room.
               I, relegated to the ladies' Palour!

     She disappears leaving DIDO bewildered.


38   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES' PARLOUR. DAY. 7                 38    *

     ELIZABETH stands before LADY MANSFIELD.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               We are to attend London for the
               Season.
     ELIZABETH'S eyes are wide.


39   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM - DAY. 7                   39    *

     DIDO mirrors ELIZABETH.

                         DIDO
               We are to finally `come out'??

     LORD MANSFIELD stares back at her.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
                   (clarifying)
               Elizabeth is to come out.


40   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES' PARLOUR - DAY. 7                40    *
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Dido is not.

     ELIZABETH'S face falls.


41   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM - CONTINUOUS. DAY. 7       41    *

     LORD MANSFIELD stares solemnly at DIDO.
                                                      37.


                           DIDO
               But why?
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You understand the ways of this
               world for a female, Dido.
               Elizabeth has no income. When all
               this is gone to her father, I
               have nothing to leave her.


42   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES PARLOUR - DAY. 7      42    *
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               You are to meet as many gentlemen as
               possible, before we make the match.
                           ELIZABETH
               Oh!


43   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM. DAY. 7         43    *

     DIDO is speechless.

                           DIDO
               And me?

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Dido, you are well taken care of -
               Of this, you are well aware.


44   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES' PARLOUR - DAY.7      44    *
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               A gentleman of good breeding is
               unlikely to form any serious
               attachment to Dido, and a man
               without, will lower her position
               in society.
                         ELIZABETH
               But she is not merely my cousin,
               Mamaa, she is my sister. I
               cannot attend London without her!


45   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM - DAY.7         45    *

     DIDO'S gaze is pained.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You may attend London together to
               keep Elizabeth company and save the
               pain of a few weeks separation.
                                                               38.


46   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES' PARLOUR. DAY.7                46    *

     LADY MANSFIELD shakes her head.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Lord knows I will need you both
               to keep each other out of trouble.


47   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM - DAY.7                  47    *

                            DIDO
               Papaa...
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You are not to be denied, Dido.

     He looks down. DIDO'S eyes follow to a large bunch of keys.
                         DIDO
               Papaa, please!
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               These are the keys to the house.
               They have hung at the waist of your
               aunt for the last thirty years.
                         DIDO
                   (horrified)
               No! I am not Lady Mary. I am not
               an unwanted maid!

     LORD MANSFIELD feels no choice but to go on.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Lady Mary is too old to continue
               in charge of the house.
     He places the keys in her hand and closes her fingers.

                         LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               You may assume her duties on your
               return. A most respectable position
               for an unmarried Mansfield Lady.
     She stares at him, disbelieving, bereft...

                         DIDO
               Are...are you punishing me?
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Punishing you!! Dido, you are
               most cherished. Most loved. Why
               ...why would you say such a thing?
                            DIDO
               Because...
                                                                 39.


     She tries to find courage to speak. LORD MANSFIELD waits.

                         DIDO (CONT'D)
               Because ...

     She swallows hard...loses courage...
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Because what?

     A moment. He looks down, sees the bright red wax from his
     seal on her fingers. ON his slow dawning. Ominous beat.


48   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. GROUND FLOOR CORRIDORS - DAY.7          48    *

     ELIZABETH steps from the ladies' parlour - DIDO from the
     drawing room, winded with emotion. As they fall into each
     other's arms, weeping...
                         ELIZABETH
               I am sorry, Dido. So very sorry.


49   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. DRAWING ROOM. DAY. 7                    49    *

     LORD MANSFIELD stands alone restraining his tears.

50   INT. KENWOOD. LORD MANSFIELD'S STUDY. DAY. 8                50    *

     LORD MANSFIELD's eyes are wild. JOHN stands before him.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You told her they were wantonly
               drowned.

                         JOHN
               Because they were! Those slaves
               were diseased - some were already
               dying - yes. But it was essential
               they die ON the journey or they
               would not come under insurance
               consideration! Neither too, if
               they had expired of their diseases
               - That is why they were killed -
               this we all know!

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               You have entered my home and
               utterly taken advantage of the
               confidential matters afforded you.

                         JOHN
               These `matters' have been for
               public consumption for months.
               Miss Lindsay is no child...no..
               fool!
                                                                40.


                         LORD MANSFIELD
                   (incandescent)
               Her precious care is in my hands
               and I will decide when she is
               ready for such realities. Not the
               son of a vicar! A vicar who,
               incidently purchased his living
               from me!

                         JOHN
               I shall gather my belongings.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Do so!
     LORD MANSFIELD turns his back on JOHN to glare at the lawns
     JOHN calmly collects his books, jacket, hat. He hesitates.

                         JOHN
               Your Lordship, a question?
     LORD MANSFIELD swings round ready to bite..
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               WHAT, Mr Davinier!

                         JOHN
               As the mere son of a vicar - I
               wonder whether the value you
               extend to your very precious
               mulatto niece - well I wonder if
               it amounts to MORE...or LESS than
               the thirty pounds insurance the
               traders are asking for each life
               they murdered?
     ON LORD MANSFIELD'S cold stare.   He swallows hard.

                         JOHN (CONT'D)
               Good day, M'lord.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Mr Davinier.
     JOHN stops, turns to LORD MANSFIELD.

                         LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               A word to the wise. Find yourself
               in her vicinity again, and you will
               rue the day you cast eyes on me.
     JOHN hesitates a beat.   Then he is gone.


51   INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. LADIES PARLOUR.    DAY. 8              51    *

     ELIZABETH catches sight of JOHN riding across the heath.
                                                                  41.


                         ELIZABETH
               John Davinier is leaving very
               early today!
     DIDO moves to the window. Her POV: JOHN on horseback as he
     disappears over the brow.
     ELIZABETH, LADIES MANSFIELD and MARY watch as LORD
     MANSFIELD storms past the doorway.- all is not well, they
     can tell.
     LORD MANSFIELD's gaze locks with DIDO through the doorway -
     he falters, moves on.
     OFF DIDO's realisation - JOHN is not coming back .


52   EXT. HAMPSTEAD - DAY 9                                       52    *

     CLOSE ON hooves - the Mansfield carriage is on the move to
     London. The familiar lush horizon provides the backdrop.
     ON the luggage-laden carriage - the girls whisper.

                         ELIZABETH (OOV)
               Do you think I may see Mr James
               in town?

                          DIDO (O.C.)
               Perhaps.


53   INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. CONTINUOUS DAY. 9                   53    *

     ELIZABETH whispers to DIDO, completely matter of fact.

                          ELIZABETH
               I could fall in love with such a
               man, Dido.
                          LADY MARY
               Love?

     The two girls are startled. LADY MARY smiles to herself.
                         DIDO
                   (whispers)
               Bette, you could feel no such
               sentiment for you should either
               end poor or... broken hearted.


54   EXT. LONDON STREETS. DAY. 9                                  54    *

     The carriage rounds a corner, weaves through the bustle of
     markets, peasants, guided by HARRY, the MANSFIELD driver.

     ON DIDO's face, staring from the moving carriage.
                                                                42.


55   EXT. LONDON STREETS. DAY. 9                                55    *

     Bloomsbury Square opens before us. As the carriage halts...

                         ELIZABETH (O.C)
               Aren't you quietly relieved?

                           DIDO
               Relieved?

                         ELIZABETH
               That you shan't be at the caprice
               of some silly Sir and his fortune!
                   (off Dido's silence)
               The rest of us haven't the choice!
               Not a chance of inheritance if
               we have brothers and forbidden
               from any activity that allows us to
               support ourselves.

     ELIZABETH sighs.
                         ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
                   (c'est la vie)
               We are but their property.

     OFF DIDO, affected.


56   INT./EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE ENTRANCE HALL - DAY. 9         56    *
     LIBBY, the housekeeper and THOMAS, the butler stand on
     ceremony. Maids help the Mansfield ladies as they disrobe.
     ON DIDO as her gaze falls on MABEL (20), a black maid
     helping ELIZABETH with her hat. A beat as DIDO stiffens.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Light the fires for dinner, will
               you, Thomas.
     ON MABEL as she catches DIDO'S stare, forcing DIDO to avert
     her gaze quickly, turning her back to distance herself.


57   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM. NIGHT.9 57     *

     The soft light of oil lamps.

     DIDO, in night-clothes, drags a brush through tight
     ringlets. She stops, observes, a moment as ELIZABETH runs a
     comb through her own silken hair.
                         DIDO
               You are so beautiful, Bette.
               I hope your match is the most
               wonderful of all gentlemen.
                                                                 43.


     ON ELIZABETH wide eyed, then moved as her eyes brim.

     A tentative knock and MABEL enters - DIDO becomes tense.
     MABEL speaks gently - strong Welsh accent.

                         MABEL
               Some bed socks for you, Miss
               Murray, Miss Lindsay. It's not as
               warm as we hoped tonight

     She hands a pair each to the girls.
                         ELIZABETH,
               Thank you Mabel...How kind.
     MABEL pauses as DIDO struggles with her hair.

                         MABEL
               Can I help you with that, Miss
               Lindsay?

     ON DIDO, self-conscious under MABEL'S stare.
                         DIDO
               Mabel, I am fine - thank you!

     She struggles once again, wrenching the brush.
                         MABEL
               You must start from the ends, miss.
     DIDO stares at her - a long beat.

                                                      CUT TO:
     Candle lit faces... DIDO's reflection in the mirror - her
     hair separated into four sections.
     In the reflection BG, ELIZABETH sits serenely watching
     MABEL brushing through each section from ends to roots.

                         MABEL (CONT'D)
               My Mam taught me, see?
     DIDO stares at her a moment, some kind of pain resonates in
     her eyes as her face softens and she begins to relax.


58   EXT. MAYFAIR. ASHFORD HOME.   DAY.10                        58    *

     The four MANSFIELD ladies step from the carriage. Before
     them, a huge Georgian home. All four take it in.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Promise me you will change that
               vulgar teal paint, if you ever
               become lady of this home. It is
               positively wanting, Elizabeth.
                                                                 44.


59   EXT. MAYFAIR. ASHFORD HOME. GARDENS. DAY.10                 59    *

     A sophisticated landscape, very much in keeping with LADY
     ASHFORD'S sense of style.
     A maid steps out - LADY MANSFIELD follows with the four
     Mansfield women. ELIZABETH beams.
                         MAID
               Lady Mansfield, LADY MARY and
               their nieces, Madam.

     LADY ASHFORD moves towards them, face bright with ambition.
                          LADY ASHFORD
               Ladies.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Lady Ashford.

     The girls curtsey.
                         LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
               And the gentlemen? Mr James?
                         LADY ASHFORD
                   (reassuring)
               Here, of course. Very little could
               have prevented him, knowing that
               Miss Murray would visit today.

     ELIZABETH could burst. She looks up to see JAMES and
     OLIVER approach from the North side of the gardens.

                                                     CUT TO:

     The ladies sip drinks as LORD ASHFORD appears from the
     house, a man with presence (50s) cultivated and astute.

     He moves to OLIVER, observing DIDO, under a nearby tree.
                         LORD ASHFORD
               Lord Mansfield's infamous Mulatto.
               No wonder our `Lord Chief Justice
               knows not whether he is coming or
               going! Not your usual game, Oliver.

     OLIVER examines his father.
                         LORD ASHFORD (CONT'D)
               She can not know your thoughts
               unless you offer them to her.
     He moves off, leaving OLIVER pensive.
                                                             45.


                    LORD ASHFORD (CONT'D)
          The ladies Mansfield! As sweet on
          the eye as the freshest flowers
          in bloom....
              (off Lady M's laughter)
          What is in those glasses?
ON OLIVER as he moves to the pond. In the BG...

                    LADY ASHFORD
          Grenadine syrup...
                       LADY MARY
          And port!!
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          Which has gone to my head already!

ELIZABETH is knelt at the pond's edge with JAMES - a paper
boat floats on the water, toppling over to a unanimous cry.

OLIVER watches as DIDO approaches. His eyes light up.
                    ELIZABETH
          Oh Dido look - Mr James has made
          me a boat and it has capsized.
JAMES stretches a branch into the lake to rescue the boat.

                    DIDO
          What a dreadful shame.

OLIVER collects paper from the grass. CLOSE on his hands as
he folds it into a boat under DIDO'S nose.
                    OLIVER
              (to DIDO, earnest)
          For you.
She smiles, can't help being charmed.

                       DIDO
          Thank you.
He places it in the water, stands and examines DIDO. From
afar, LADY MANSFIELD watches.
                    OLIVER
          Miss Lindsay, would you do me the
          honour of taking some air with
          me, some time?
DIDO is dumbstruck - what to say? JAMES is halted.
                    JAMES
          Don't you care what people will say
                                                                46.


     DIDO is jolted by the antangonism in JAMES' tone -
     ELIZABETH too - it pierces her and she speaks up.
                         ELIZABETH
               What is that to mean Mr James?
               What should anyone say?!
     JAMES hesitates, then...

                         JAMES
               That he should compromise a
               lady's reputation by stepping out
               with her - scarcely having made
               her acquaintance!
                         OLIVER
               I think you are a great deal too
               anxious, brother. We should merely
               take a turn around Vauxhall.
     DIDO observes JAMES - His protestation is bitter. She
     traces OLIVER'S features, warmly.
                         DIDO
               I should be delighted, Mr Oliver!
               Most delighted.


60   INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. LONDON STREETS. DAY.10            60    *

     On the move through London streets. LADIES MANSFIELD and
     MARY sit quietly. ELIZABETH whispers to DIDO.
                         ELIZABETH
               Are you really to defy Papaa?

     DIDO says nothing, turns to stare out of the window.


61   EXT. VAUXHALL PLEASURE GARDENS. DUSK/NIGHT.11              61    *

     Teaming with parasols, fountains, and hidden pathways.
     61.1: JAMES and ELIZABETH stroll, followed by DIDO and
     OLIVER, then, LADIES MANSFIELD, MARY, and ASHFORD.

                          LADY MANSFIELD
                   (re. Dido with Oliver)
               I am not at ease with this.
               Lord Mansfield would be most
               aggrieved.
                         LADY ASHFORD
               Oh it can do no harm. This is
               simply two families, enjoying a
               day together.
     LADY MANSFIELD takes an unhappy breath, burdened.
                                                           47.


                    LADY ASHFORD (CONT'D)
          Though surely...IF a desirable
          match were a ... certain...
          possibility your dear husband could
          have no objections, could he?
LADY MANSFIELD, turns slowly to regard LADY ASHFORD,
aroused by the insinuation and alarmed at the same time.
She looks back to DIDO and OLIVER, wide eyed.

                    OLIVER
          Well I did not think I would ever
          find a lady who was not to be
          conquered or ignored...Until you.
                    DIDO
          Ah now how do I know this is not
          just another tactic in your
          battle to conquer?
He stops, takes her hand and places it on in his chest.

                    OLIVER
          See how my heart beats.

She lets her hand rest a moment.

                    OLIVER (CONT'D)
          I am utterly taken with you, Miss
          Lindsay.
                    DIDO
          Despite...such pronounced
          protestations from your brother?

                     OLIVER
          He cannot overlook your mother's
          origins, as I do. Foolish. Why
          should anyone even pay her regard
          when your better half has equipped
          you so well with loveliness and
          privilege.

Dido is stung. OLIVER shrugs, oblivious. The sound of Handel
filters from a nearby concert. DIDO tries hard to recover.

                    DIDO
          What a lovely sound.

He smiles at her, studies her...mischievous...

                    OLIVER
          You are unrelentingly cultured.
          Come, let's find it!
He takes her waist spinning her round with him into another
pathway, disappearing from the others, giggling as they go.
                                                           48.


                    LADY MANSFIELD
          People will think she has no family!
                    LADY ASHFORD.
          People will think they are courting!
LADY MANSFIELD and LADY MARY exchange a look. LADY MARY is
somehow softened - her eyes appeal to LADY MANSFIELD...

                    LADY MARY
          Let her enjoy his society.
LADY MANSFIELD is effected - reads MARY'S emotion.
61.2: An open pavilion with classical concert. ON OLIVER
and DIDO watching.

                    OLIVER
          I might only have dreamed of
          these moments, at one time.

DIDO smiles - allows herself to be flattered.
                    DIDO
          Really? You are much of the
          conqueror Mr Oliver.
He chuckles, brings his hand up to brush her cheek, gently.
She smiles just as her eyes fall on the back of a gentleman's
head, shoulders - his movement somehow familiar.
The sight roots her, uncertain of what she sees. And then
he turns to address another, and his profile becomes clear.

It is JOHN DAVINIER.
In that moment, he flicks his head round and his gaze falls
on her - a beat between them then his eyes fall on OLIVER.
JOHN excuses himself from others and makes his way across.

                    JOHN
          Miss Lindsay.
                    DIDO
              (flushed)
          Mr Davinier. How...how nice to
          see you.

                    JOHN
          And you, Miss Lindsay.
He looks to OLIVER.

                    DIDO
          Forgive me - Mr Ashford, may I
          present to you...Mr Davinier.
              (She smiles awkward)
                    (MORE)
                                                             49.

                    DIDO (CONT'D)
          He is the son of our Vicar at
          Hampstead, and was..well,
          almost father's pupil...
                    OLIVER
          A clergyman!
              (an `off' smile)
          Good day, to you...sir.

OLIVER bows, manfully, asserting his greater status.
                    JOHN
          Sir. (beat) My regards to
          your family, Miss Lindsay.
Unexpected hope fills her.

                    DIDO
          Elizabeth and Mamaa are here...
          in fact.

DIDO watches as JOHN nods politely and moves off, returning
to his company - male and all of a similar type to him.

ON OLIVER, as he takes in JOHN'S effect on DIDO.

                                                   CUT TO:
61.3. The spit and bang of spectacular fireworks. OLIVER
stands engrossed as the sky lights up. DIDO looks up at
him. She wavers. Then...slowly she backs away from the crowd

                                                   CUT TO:

61.4 DIDO walks quickly - follows the sound of the concert
to find her way back to JOHN.

Her POV: JOHN listening diligently to the music. He double
takes at the sight of her hovering at the edge of the
concert. He stands alarmed, negotiates his way to her.

                    JOHN
              (dismayed)
          Miss Lindsay, you are alone!!

                    DIDO
          I did not have the chance to see
          you before you left...Mr Davinier
          ...to convey my apologies.

                    JOHN
          Apologies...?

                    DIDO
          Your pupilage. Father would
          never have ended it...you...you
          never would have had to leave
          Kenwood were it not...
                                                             50.


His eyes soften as he looks at her...

                    JOHN
          He would make mine a living hell,
          were he to know of us speaking.
DIDO tugs him into a quiet lane, away from the concert and
promenading.

Hardly a breath and BAM!! She is slammed against a walled
maze, suddenly!! JOHN pressed against her tightly!
Confused, her gaze darts around her, finds LADY MANSFIELD
and LADY ASHFORD ambling past along a cross path, oblivious.
DIDO freezes - held tightly against JOHN. She stares
panicked into his eyes and he into hers.

61.5:CUTAWAY So they do not see ELIZABETH as she strolls by
with JAMES - Her gaze falling on JOHN and DIDO, instantly.

ELIZABETH is stunned!!!! But doesn't falter.
61.4 CONT'D: As DIDO and JOHN look back - nothing but
anonymous strangers, leaving them none the wiser to being
discovered. JOHN pulls away, embarrassed...
                    JOHN (CONT'D)
          Forgive me.
She nods, equally bashful. They regard each other.

                    DIDO
          What are you doing here in London
          Mr Davinier?
                    JOHN
          I am under a third cousin - a
          solicitor, here. Nothing more
          than petty disputes between
          unsavoury landlords and debauched
          tenants, but I cannot discount it.
                    DIDO
          Not what you wished for.
                    JOHN
          I haven't given up on The Inns.
          Nothing worth having in life
          comes easily.
                    DIDO
              (flushed)
          Where are my manners? I trust
          the future Mrs Davinier is well.

                    JOHN
          Very well...thank you.
                                                           51.


DIDO is unexpectedly struck - recovers herself.

                    DIDO
          I have tried to keep up - with
          the Zong. These past weeks.
                    JOHN
              (agitated)
          Tis pitiful! Such inability to
          simply know what value to put on
          another's life.
                    DIDO
              (bitterly)
          What price, a worthless Negro.

                    JOHN
              (frustrated)
          You utterly misunderstand me.
          I am saying that no man may have
          the value of that of cargo!!!
          Human beings cannot be priced,
          since we are priceless!! Freemen
          and slaves alike!
Her eyes begin to sting at the `integrity' in his words.
                    JOHN (CONT'D)
              (enthused)
          I am with others here. We are
          all students in law - applying
          pressure on the insurance companies
          to refuse from here on to insure
          slaves on any ship. A simple clause.
                    DIDO
          But that would require a change
          of law. I know nothing but...

                    JOHN
          A change in law - something the
          insurance companies can lobby for
          IF they can be persuaded to band
          together.
              (softly,)
          We may only be students,
          but...change is most always
          precipitated by the young.
              (shrugs - poignant)
          Someone has to have the courage.
          How can we expect to be civilised
          if we live in a barbaric world.
His words wind her as JOHN shakes his head, frustrated. She
takes him in - he is so very handsome!
                                                             52.


                    JOHN (CONT'D)
          It is the utter injustice...the
          industrial slaughter of so many.
DIDO stares at him earnestly.
                    DIDO
          No. It is more than that. It's
          the shame of a law that would
          uphold a financial transaction
          upon that atrocity.
She is scathing and accepting all at once, affecting him.
                    JOHN
          That is indeed the truth.

Their eyes are locked. An intimate beat that perturbs her.
                    DIDO
          I have never heard anyone speak
          like you.
                    JOHN
          Nor I, you, Miss Lindsay.

He is emotional, it perturbs him too, now.
                    JOHN (CONT'D)
          You must return. They will be
          anxious. Should I follow to see
          you safely.

                    DIDO
          No we cannot risk it.
He nods - studies her....
                    JOHN
          Good bye, Miss Lindsay.
              (he pauses)
          I suspect, we will never see each
          other again.
The thought strikes DIDO, uneasily.
                    DIDO
          Good bye, Mr Davinier.

She turns, preparing herself.
                     JOHN
          Miss Lindsay?!!
              (tentative)
          We...commune at the Coaching
          Inn - Kentish Town...most
          evenings..
                                                            53.


He trails off awkwardly. She falters.

                    DIDO
          Quite.

A beat as they regard each other - then she moves off.
                                                  CUT TO:

61.6: The whirl of the pleasure gardens...DIDO alone -
searching hard for OLIVER or the others. Her pace quickens as
a hand comes down on her shoulder, taking her breath away.

                    OLIVER
          I did not dare return to Lady
          Mansfield without you.

                    DIDO
              (relieved)
          I..I am terribly sorry. I thought
          I saw the others, I went after
          them....and found myself lost.
OLIVER studies her - she is so nervous...what is she
hiding? A moment - then his eyes become forgiving.

                                                  CUT TO:
61.7 ON LADIES MANSFIELD, MARY, ASHFORD, seated on a bench.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          It's almost dark!

                    LADY ASHFORD
          Look, here are James and Miss Murray.
ELIZABETH and JAMES approach, sit on the bench opposite.
                    ELIZABETH
          I do hope you know how well I
          think of you.

                    JAMES
          As I do you.

                    ELIZABETH
          Then I hope, Sir, you plan to honour
          your attentions...as not to would
          leave me looking... quite foolish.
                     JAMES
          And I should not call myself a
          gentleman!
Satisfaction washes over her. As DIDO and OLIVER appear, LADY     *
MANSFIELD lets our a cry of relief, goes to say something -       *
LADY ASHFORD lays a finger across LADY MANSFIELD's lips.          *
                                                            54.


                      LADY ASHFORD
          Say nothing! This has all been
          for the good of the future, I
          assure you!

                                                  CUT TO:
61.8: The two couples and ladies stroll back to the carriages.

                    LADY ASHFORD (CONT'D)
          Elizabeth is a determined spirit.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          She is.
They stare at the couple ahead.

                    LADY ASHFORD
          She will need a gentleman who
          can temper her. Quite a task.

She fixes on LADY MANSFIELD, lets her eyes do the talking...
LADY MANSFIELD exchanges a look with LADY MARY.

                    LADY MANSFIELD
              (to Lady Ashford)
          Do I sense that an address is
          finally to be made?
LADY ASHFORD goes carefully...

                    LADY ASHFORD
          She is an exquisite girl...
              (with relish)
          And...since there is no male heir
          and...it will therefore fall upon
          Elizabeth and her husband to
          eventually inherit all of Kenwood
          and its lands...

Colour drains from LADY MANSFIELD. LADY MARY closes her
eyes, dismayed.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
           Lady Ashford, may I...
                    LADY ASHFORD
          ...I realise there will be no end
          of worthy addresses to consider.
ON LADY MANSFIELD as she too closes her eyes at the strain.

                     LADY ASHFORD (CONT'D)
          My dear? Lady Mansfield, what is it?
                                                                55.


62   INT. ASHFORD CARRIAGE - NIGHT.11                           62    *
                            JAMES
               Penniless?
                         LADY ASHFORD
                   (disgusted)
               Without an inch of property, or
               shilling to her name!

     OLIVER chuckles. LADY ASHFORD rests her hand on JAMES' knee.

                         LADY ASHFORD (CONT'D)
               Your situation can attract so
               much better, James. She brings
               nothing but name. A real lady is
               blessed with SO much more.

                         OLIVER
                   (sardonic)
               Do you hear that, James? A lady's
               good breeding alone will not do!
                         LADY ASHFORD
                   (to Oliver)
               Your brother needs a wife who
               will bring him further land!
               LOTS!... if he is ever to exert
               more political influence than your
               father has.
                         JAMES
               But what of her own father?

                         LADY ASHFORD
               The Seventh Viscount Stormont is a
               scoundrel. Ensconced in Vienna
               with the girl's vicious step-mamaa
               and his new offspring - who I am
               told is to inherit EVERYTHING.

     She shakes her head, stares through the carriage window.
                         LADY ASHFORD (CONT'D)
               I must say, pen-ni-less!
               Thankfully her cousin is not.
               It is true that on each occasion
               I lay eyes upon that girl, she
               becomes more beautiful.

     OLIVER shifts, perturbed - DIDO, indeed, on his mind.

                         JAMES
               She has the colouring of a farmer.

                         LADY ASHFORD
               James, we do not talk about that,
               any longer.
                                                                  56.


                         JAMES
               Is this really the very best you
               aspire to, Oliver? To introduce
               some woman of obscure birth into
               the family lineage?
                         LADY ASHFORD
               James - you are my first boy -
               blessed by law to inherit your
               father's wealth. Be sympathetic
               to your brother. Like the
               unfortunate Miss Murray - a good
               family name and empty pockets
               will only get him so far!!
     OLIVER closes his eyes, privately humiliated.


63   INT/EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DRAWING ROOM - DAY.12                63    *

     LADY MANSFIELD looks up from her embroidery - SOUNDS of a
     carriage rounding into the square. At the window.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Good heavens, Lord Mansfield has
               arrived a day early!
     LADY MARY moves quickly to look down on the street. Her
     POV: below, LORD MANSFIELD'S carriage outside.

                         LADY MARY
                   (calls out)
               Mabel! Freshen the flowers!


64   INT./EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. ENTRANCE HALL - DAY.12              64    *

     A trunk hits the flagstone. A FOOTMAN enters with another.

65   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. BREAKFAST ROOM. DAY.13                   65    *

     A beautifully laid out breakfast - A spray of purple
     lavender, silver and porcelain.
     MABEL smiles privately at DIDO as she lays some bread on
     the table. DIDO watches her leave.
     DIDO looks to the newly arrived LORD MANSFIELD, as he sits.

                         DIDO
                   (facetious)
               Is Mabel a slave?
     LADY MANSFIELD almost chokes on her porridge.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I beg your pardon?
                                                          57.


                    DIDO
          Is-Mabel-a-slave!
LORD MANSFIELD swallows hard, his jaw tightens.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          She is free and under our protection.

                    DIDO
              (twice as facetious)
          O! Like me!
                    ELIZABETH
          Hardly, Dido!
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          And paid a very respectable wage.

DIDO takes a mouthful of breakfast, goads her father further.
                    DIDO
          How is the fraud appeal Papaa?
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Fraud?

                    DIDO
          The marine insurance. It is a
          Fraud case, is it not?
                     LORD MANSFIELD
          That would depend on to whom you
          may speak.

                    DIDO
          To cull your `cargo'? To do it
          solely to claim insurance because
          it was too diseased to achieve a
          good price at market? If not
          fraud, then what?
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Do you speak on my behalf, Dido?

                    LADY MANSFIELD
          Oh will you please stop!
She slams down her napkin.
                    LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          This is a vulgar subject to be
          discussing at breakfast

DIDO and LORD MANSFIELD are locked in a stand-off.
A bitter silence. LADY MARY ventures to change the subject.
                                                                 58.


                         LADY MARY
               I learned yesterday that Mr
               Davinier is in town.
     DIDO stiffens. ELIZABETH stares across at her, privately.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Makes sense. Dido is beginning
               to sound very much like him.

     DIDO has lost her appetite.
                            DIDO
               Excuse me.
     She gets up and is gone.


66   INT. LORD MANSFIELD'S LONDON CHAMBERS. HALLWAYS DAY.13      66    *

     LORD MANSFIELD moves through hallways, robed, wigged, his
     full authority apparent. LORD ASHFORD walks beside him.
                         LORD ASHFORD
               I had the pleasure of laying eyes
               on your adopted girl.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                   (facetious)
               Which one?
                         LORD ASHFORD
               You have raised a lovely young
               lady...And, though I understand she
               is kept under interesting rules,
               She raises questions.

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Spit it out.
                         LORD ASHFORD
               Her introduction to society comes
               at a key time in the insurance
               appeal. Parliament is nervous that
               your `family situation' will
               colour your judgement.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I will neither be pressured from
               the inside - or the outside.
     LORD ASHFORD comes to a stop.

                          LORD ASHFORD
                   (calm)
               You are the highest judge in the
               land.
                          (MORE)
                                                       59.

                    LORD ASHFORD (CONT'D)
          In you, they see a man who is of
          the persuasion and position to
          bring down the major trade of our
          time and the commercial health of
          this country. Some will say, next
          to our king, you are the most
          powerful man in England. And the
          same will ask how you, our Chief
          Justice can be fair?

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          How? RULES are in place to
          dictate how we live - were that
          not the case, I would not have
          had the mandate to give shelter
          to my nephew's child.

He struggles with his emotion.
                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          She is his blood - MINE! And
          rightfully had entitlement to
          grow up on the family estate.
              (aggrieved)
          The parliamentarians may challenge
          me - let them! I can tell you all,
          if the law supports the Zong's
          slave owners as strongly as Murray
          blood runs through Dido Belle's
          veins - make no mistake - the
          insurers will be forced to pay up!

LORD ASHFORD is affected. He regards LORD MANSFIELD.

                    LORD ASHFORD
              (softly)
          I believe you.
He raises an eyebrow. Then...

                    LORD ASHFORD (CONT'D)
          I have reason to speak with you
          on another matter.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Oh?
                    LORD ASHFORD
              (tentative)
          I have a wish to seal the bond
          between the Ashford and Mansfield
          names. It would, however, require
          some relaxing of your most
          stringent rules, I must add!
LORD MANSFIELD comes to a halt again.
                                                                60.


                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Is that so?


67   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT.13                 67    *

     LORD MANSFIELD steps into the room. LADY MANSFIELD turns
     from the window. They lock gaze in a grave moment.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               I have had reason to speak with
               Lord Ashford.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
               And I to Lady Ashford.
                   (beat)
               Are we in agreement?

                         LORD MANSFIELD
               We are.
                   (long beat)
               You once asked me, who would
               look after her when we are gone.
               Money is no substitute for a
               man's protection. I cannot deny
               her a match so suitable.

     LADY MANSFIELD nods, satisfied.


68   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. MARBLE ROOM. DAY. 14                   68    *
     The girls are embroidering with LADY MARY. MABEL enters.
                         ELIZABETH
               Whatever did happen in the end,
               Aunt Mary? With your gentleman
               friend.
     LADY MARY looks up surprised DIDO studies her curious.

                         LADY MARY
               He never married. Cousin Marjorie
               wrote me last year, that he had
               died after a long illness.

     She looks down and continues to sew. DIDO fights tears,
     unexpectedly affected. ELIZABETH takes her Aunt's hand.

                         ELIZABETH
               Oh Aunt Mary...

                          MABEL
               Pardon me. Mr Ashford is here for
               you, miss.
     DIDO and ELIZABETH look back at her, then at each other.
                                                               61.


                         DIDO/ELIZABETH
               Which Mr Ashford?
                         MABEL
               O excuse me! Mr Oliver,
               for you, Miss Lindsay.
     LADY MARY takes it all in, with a special interest.


69   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. GROUND FL.CORRIDOR/DRAWING ROOM.DAY.14 69   *

     As DIDO enters, OLIVER stands with LADY MANSFIELD, both
     fixed on her. LADY MANSFIELD takes DIDO'S hand, gently.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               You need worry about nothing.
               Your Papaa has been dealt with.
     She disappears, leaving DIDO lost. A nervous silence.

                         OLIVER
               Hello, Miss Lindsay.
                            DIDO
               Mr Oliver.
                         OLIVER
               I do hope my reason for being
               here will bring you as much
               happiness as it brings me.
     DIDO swallows hard.
     In the CORRIDORS - LADIES MANSFIELD and MARY listen through
     a crack in the doorway.

     In the DRAWING ROOM - OLIVER moves closer to DIDO.
                         OLIVER (CONT'D)
               I think...well, I know...that we
               make a rather good match.
                   (he pauses)
               Father has purchased me a
               commission in the navy - as
               colonel - Is that not the rank
               your blood father first purchased?
                         DIDO
                   (anxious)
               Yes. Indeed it is.

                         OLIVER
               So I feel my career is now set.
               All that remains...
     A long beat. OLIVER gathers his courage...
                                                            62.


                    OLIVER (CONT'D)
          I can not offer you a title, Miss
          Lindsay..for the next `Lady
          Ashford'...well that title must
          fall to my brother's wife...
              (huge,nervous breath)
          What I am trying to say is, I can
          without doubt, offer you ALL that
          is due to `Mrs Oliver Ashford'
          and...and I trust that this would
          be acceptable to you.
              (he hesitates)
          Since...it would very much be my
          privilege...my honour, if you
          would agree to become my wife.
He takes something from his top pocket. DIDO looks down,
finds a large black sapphire glistening in his fingers...
In the CORRIDORS.

                    LADY MARY
          I cannot see...!
                       LADY MANSFIELD
          Shooosh!
On the stairs, ELIZABETH slows, as she approaches.

                    ELIZABETH
          What are you doing?
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          Quiet, Elizabeth!
In the DRAWING ROOM - DIDO is still staring at the ring.

                    DIDO
          Good Lord, Mr Oliver! Your
          ...your wife? Mrs Ashford?!

She repeats the title and conflict washes over her.
                       DIDO (CONT'D)
          I...
              (swallows hard.)
          ...I cannot...
              (she pauses)
          I cannot...think of anything
          ...more wonderful!
He stares at her.    She looks back at him, stunned.

In the CORRIDORS....
                    LADY MANSFIELD
              (overjoyed)
          She has agreed! O...
                                                                   63.


                            ELIZABETH
                 Agreed?
     LADY MANSFIELD throws open the doors, elated.

                            LADY MANSFIELD
                 O...!

     OLIVER stands, his chest bursting with pride. DIDO shell-
     shocked, holds up her ring finger - the sapphire flashes.
                           DIDO
                 Mamaa, we are engaged!
     LADY MANSFIELD eyes fill. She touches DIDO'S face softly.           *

                           DIDO (CONT'D)
                 It is a good thing, is it not, Mamaa?
                           LADY MANSFIELD
                     (whispers, poignant)                                *
                 You are my heart - from the                             *
                 moment I saw you. I only want you                       *
                 to be happy.                                            *

     LADY MARY wipes a tear, discreet as ELIZABETH stands, rooted.


70   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DIDO & ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM. NIGHT.14      70    *

     Darkness.   ELIZABETH whispers softly.
                           ELIZABETH
                 Dido...was there any message
                 for me?

     DIDO hesitates a moment - then whispers back just as softly
                           DIDO
                 No, Bette (beat) But..I am sure it                      *
                 won't be long.

     ELIZABETH thinks a moment - Then musters a smile for DIDO.
                           ELIZABETH
                 What does it feel like
                 Dido? To be engaged?

     DIDO is struck.     She falters, privately, as she thinks.

                           DIDO
                     (unsure)
                 Perfect, Bette - pefect.
                                                         CUT TO:

     Later. DIDO awake as ELIZABETH sleeps. DIDO slips from bed.
                                                                 64.


     She sits alone at the window, silhouetted by moonlight.


71   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. BREAKFAST ROOM. DAY.15              71    *
     Informal breakfast. LORD MANSFIELD approaches in a bustle
     of importance and sits.
     LADY MANSFIELD and LADY MARY exchange tense glances. DIDO
     considers whether to speak, then...

                            DIDO
               Papaa.

     He looks up.   DIDO is sincere.
                            DIDO (CONT'D)
               Thank you.

     LORD MANSFIELD nods. Tension is relieved.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               We are to make many calls today,
               Elizabeth. Acquainting oneself
               with the most eligible gentleman
               is not light business.

                         ELIZABETH
               Should we not wait a day or two -
               for Mr James?
                         LADY MARY
               Elizabeth - some advice.     Wait
               for no man, dear!

     She picks up her pamphlet. On the back, a headline reads:
     Student Politics Puts Rise to Pain of Insurers.   ON DIDO
     as she double takes. ELIZABETH follows DIDO'S gaze.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Will you join us, Dido?
                   (no response)
               Dido?
     She is absorbed in the headline. Absolutely rooted.

                         DIDO
               I..I am terribly light headed
               this morning, Mamaa. I should
               like to take rest if it would
               not displease you.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Oh dear! Unwell? And just as we
               are to announce your news!
                                                                  65.


72   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. STAIRS/GROUND FLOOR CORRIDOR. DAY. 15 72       *
     Dido stands at the top of the sweeping stairs, watches as
     ELIZABETH and LADY MANSFIELD fuss, before disappearing to
     their carriage... On DIDO as she thinks a moment.


73   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. STAIRS/GROUND FLOOR. DAY. 15             73    *

     DIDO quickly makes her way down - a hooded figure, carrying
     two scrolls.

74   EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. MANSFIELD HOME. DAY.15                   74    *

     Harry is asleep at his seat.   DIDO reaches up on tiptoe.

                         DIDO
               Harry! Harry!

     He wakes with a start.
                         DIDO (CONT'D)
               Harry, I need your help. I need
               you to take me somewhere.
                         HARRY
               Alone, Miss?
                         DIDO
               I shall not be alone, I shall be
               with you.
                   (off Harry, reticent)
               Please - Harry. If you don't take
               me, I shall be forced to go alone.


75   EXT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. KENTISH TOWN STREETS. DAY.15        75    *
     Sunset. ON HARRY negotiating the carriage through bedlam -
     his anonymous passenger inside, curtains closed.


76   INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. DAY.15                              76    *

     DIDO steadies herself with a deep breath as the carriage
     comes to a halt. She draws the curtain back slightly. Her
     POV: The exterior of the Coaching Inn.


77   INT. COACHING INN. DAY.15                                    77    *

     POV, negotiating the dark crowded inn - An intellectual
     brood, mostly men in their own little cliques, discussing
     the woes of the world and nursing malt beer.
     We find JOHN - in amongst his group, an intense discussion
     in full swing, a table laid with pamphlets, papers.
                                                                 66.


     A huge figure approaches. JOHN stops mid speech, stares up.

                         HARRY
               Mr Davinier?

     JOHN takes a moment - he's alarmed, but somehow, this man
     is familiar - then...uncertain...

                            JOHN
               Harry?


78   EXT. COACHING INN/INT.MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. DAY.15            78    *
     DIDO waits nervously. Suddenly, her breath is taken away
     as the carriage door opens.
                         JOHN
               Miss Lindsay!
     As he climbs inside.    He is stunned, flustered.

                            JOHN (CONT'D)
               I...
                         DIDO
               Mr Davinier.
     It makes him breathless just to see her there. A beat passes.

                         JOHN
               I didn't expect...! Are you to
               come inside?...Are...?
                         DIDO
               No...It would be dangerous.
                         JOHN
                   (feeling foolish)
               Yes. Indeed.
                         DIDO
               Oh Mr Davinier...I am so proud of
               you. I am so proud of what you
               are doing and...achieving.

                         JOHN
               No. We've achieved little....
     She lifts his face to hers, earnestly.

                         DIDO
               At least thirty per cent of
               insurers are with you! It is a
               start. It is a real start.

     They are staring straight into each other's eyes. She pulls
     her hands away, self consciously.
                                                             67.


                    DIDO (CONT'D)
          I have something to show you.
She collects the two scrolls beside her, each ribbon tied.
She hands one to JOHN, smoothing the other on her lap.
                    DIDO (CONT'D)
          It is said all of the ship's
          papers have been `lost'...
          but...here...I found these in
          Papaa's library.
                    JOHN
          What are they?
                    DIDO
          Papaa's notes on the ship's log.
          It seems the First Mate has come
          forward with it - one Mr Stubbs. I
          could not find the log itself, but
          look at Papaa's markings - See the
          map positions - From December
          29th, Captain Collingwood and
          his men directed the ship past no
          less than eight ports where, you
          see....
              (she points to map)
          ...there was every opportunity to
          stop and replenish the ship's
          water supplies.
JOHN studies the log and map together.

                       JOHN
          Good Lord!
                    DIDO
          And they did not! They either
          ignored the possibilities, or
          they were never in need.

JOHN'S gaze darts from notes to the map, absorbed.
                    JOHN
          This...This is remarkable.
He looks up from the papers.   DIDO is still tentative.

                    DIDO
          Is it? Perhaps if you made these
          facts known, Mr Davinier
                     JOHN
          But this places you in an
          impossible position with Lord
          Mansfield.
                                                                  68.


                         DIDO
               What is the alternative?
     His face searches hers...

                         JOHN
               Walk with me, Miss Lindsay.
               The back of the Inn has the
               canals,
                   (he laughs)
               Nobody but blind drunks.


79   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DRAWING ROOM. LOW SUN. DAY.15            79    *

     A beautiful light fills the room. MABEL distributes candles
     as LORD MANSFIELD enters - informal and without wig.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Where is everybody, Mabel? The
               carriages are gone.
                         MABEL
               Lady Mansfield and Miss Murray
               are out calling, your lordship.
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               And Dido also?
                         MABEL
               Erm...I believe so.

     LORD MANSFIELD stares at her irritated - peculiar girl!
                         LORD MANSFIELD
               Well is she, or isn't she?
     MABEL wavers, attempts to sound convincing.

                         MABEL
               Yes. She is, M'lord.
     LORD MANSFIELD watches as she stiffly moves from the room.
     He goes to ask something more...then thinks better of it.


80   EXT. KENTISH TOWN. CANAL SIDE. LOW SUN:LAST EMBERS.EVE.15 80       *
     The sun is almost down.   A hooded DIDO walks beside JOHN.

                         DIDO
               Papaa would rather I see no ill,
               as though by ignoring it, it some
               how escapes me - perhaps by
               position but not...not by blood
                                                            69.


                    JOHN
              (conciliatory)
          The fault was never with you.
He stops a beat as he catches her gaze on a painted metal
sign swinging from the back of an inn. It shows a gent,
hat in hand, his black servant bowing behind him.

                    JOHN (CONT'D)
              (unsure)
          Miss Lindsay?
                    DIDO
          Just as in life, we are no better
          in paintings...

He follows her gaze back to the image and realisation hits.

                    JOHN
          You were afraid.

                       DIDO
          Afraid?

                    JOHN
          To be painted - to be painted
          beside Miss Murray
              (off her discomfort )
          And I ridiculed you.
              (swallows hard)
           I feel ashamed.

She looks back at him earnestly...

                    DIDO
          Do not feel ashamed.
              (she observes him)
          Elizabeth said something when we
          arrived in London. She said:
              (recounting)
          we are but their property.

                       JOHN
          Whose?

                    DIDO
          Gentlemen's. We women are but
          the property of gentlemen. That
          is the way it is, in law and in
          life, is it not?
JOHN nods, uneasily.    DIDO thinks aloud.

                    DIDO (CONT'D)
          And it came into my head that I
          have been blessed with freedom
          twice over? As a negro and as a
          woman?
                                                   70.


                    JOHN
          I suppose you have, yes!
                     DIDO
          Or have I?
              ((her mind ticks over)
          Must not a lady marry, even if
          she is financially secure? For
          who is she, without a husband of
          consequence?
              (she ponders)
          It seems silly - like a free
          negro who begs for a master!
                    JOHN
          Unless she marries her equal. Her
          true equal - A man who respects her.

DIDO is silent. She steals a glance at him.
                    DIDO
          I remember my Papaa's eyes. They
          were kind, gentle... a little
          like yours...

                    JOHN
          Mine?
                    DIDO
              (embarrassed)
          I mean...in colour. Grey.
              (long beat)
          He showed me much love, though
          I knew him only a few hours.
                    JOHN
          That is terribly moving.
              (off her reaction)
          What of your mother?

                    DIDO
          She is a ghost in my life -
          present in my reflection,
          in each scowl I receive, yet I
          know very little of her than the
          colour she has given me.
                    JOHN
              (moved)
          Then at the least, you know she
          was beautiful.
They come to a halt. DIDO's eyes begin to sting.
                    DIDO
          I had never felt it.
                                                             71.


                       JOHN
             Had?
They observe each other a moment. Will they kiss? Dido
pulls back, nervous of the intimacy.
                       DIDO
             I am to marry, shortly - Mr Ashford.

JOHN falters but tries to recover.
                       JOHN
             Oh!
She begins to walk again - composing herself.

                       DIDO
             He is amiable and of good family.
                       JOHN
             Is it...what you want?
She stops.    The question strikes her.

                       DIDO
             The alternative is to replace
             Lady Mary in her responsibilities
             at Kenwood.

                       JOHN
             But she is a spinster.

                       DIDO
             Papaa did not trust I could
             achieve a match that might raise
             my rank - or even equal it.

JOHN searches her, then gently...
                       JOHN
             You...are above reducing yourself
             for the sake of rank.
She stares at him, frozen - his words bury somewhere deep.
She studies him, harder. He moves towards her, letting his
breath settle on her face. They are both deadly nervous.
                       JOHN (CONT'D)
             I pray he would marry you without
             a penny to your name - for that is
             a man who will truly treasure you!
DIDO searches him. He takes her hand, brings it to his lips,
kissing it gently sending a shiver through her.
                       JOHN (CONT'D)
             I will take you back to your coach.
                                                               72.


     OFF DIDO reeling, from the moment.


81   INT.BLOOMSBURY SQ. ENTRANCE HALL.DUSK: LAST EMBERS.EVE.15 81    *
     DIDO enters the house, terrified, as she takes off her
     hood. MABEL passes in the corridor.
                         DIDO
               Is anyone home, Mabel?

                         MABEL
               Lord Mansfield.
                   (Dido's heart plummets)
               I said you were out with Lady
               Mansfield and Miss Murray

     OFF DIDO'S relief/gratitude. She makes her way up the
     stairs quickly.


82   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DIDO/ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM - EVE.15     82    *

     ELIZABETH falls back onto her bed, frustrated.

                         ELIZABETH
               Urghhh! What if I shall never
               find someone so...so incomparably
               suitable...and wealthy?!
                         DIDO
               What if he is suitable but you do
               not feel...`yourself' with him?
                          ELIZABETH
               Oh Dido! He understood me.
                   (beat)
               And whenever...whenever...
               he looked at me...I somehow
               felt better in this world...

     ELIZABETH'S voice trails. Her words force DIDO to turn away.
                         ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
               I am convinced his affections
               were growing...and I feel
               certain of my own love.

                         DIDO
               Oh Bette, stop it! It is NOT love!!
                         ELIZABETH
               Dido! You stop it, won't you?
               You know no more of love than I
               myself, do you?!
                   (deliberately pointed)
               Do you Dido?
                                                                  73.


     She holds her to account - willing DIDO to open up to her.
     DIDO stares daunted, then...
                          DIDO
               No.
     Beat. ELIZABETH swallows hard, disappointed.

                         ELIZABETH
               Then what better right do you have
               to name what I am feeling than me?
     OFF DIDO affected.


83   EXT. LONDON. THAMES RIVER BANKSIDE. DAY.16                   83    *
     Decandence personified...a beautiful picnic, shaded by trees.
     Punts float up and down lackadaisically. ELIZABETH listens as
     LADY MANSFIELD interrogates a gentleman.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               How charming. Is that not
               charming, Elizabeth? And tell me,
               are you an only son?

                         GENTLEMAN 1
               I have six brothers, madam.

     LADY MANSFIELD'S smile stiffens.

                         LADY MANSFIELD
               SIX! Goodness!...all..?

     He knows where this is going...defeated...
                         GENTLEMAN 1
               ...all older, madam, yes.

     Her smile falls away.
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Is that not a most fascinating display?
     He turns to look at the bush of flowers behind him. When
     he turns back, LADY MANSFIELD and ELIZABETH are gone.

     ON BARONESS VERNON (50s) who passes on a punt, utterly
     captivated as she waves. Her eyes are on DIDO, stunningly
     beautiful in fuchsia, beside OLIVER.
                         BARONESS VERNON
               Oh how dreadfully wonderful Lady M.
               Your girl is a picture...an utter
               picture! With her...'intended'?
                         LADY MANSFIELD
               Indeed, Baroness Vernon.
                                                             74.


                    BARONESS VERNON
              (re. ELIZABETH)
          AND I see the other does not give
          up...so terribly endearing!

She stares across at ELIZABETH - ON BETTE'S contempt.
                    BARONESS VERNON (CONT'D)
          Now has she met Mr Willoughby...

She points to a gent and leans into the bankside...
                    BARONESS VERNON (CONT'D)
          A very eligible widower - Three
          thousand yearly and no heir...yet!

Her punt moves off as she waves gauche to two gentlemen
passing in another.
                    BARONESS VERNON (CONT'D)
          Mr Francis, Mr Smith...!!! You
          must meet the Mansfield girl!
              (She mouths)
          Still available!!

                    ELIZABETH
              (anxious)
          Mamaa, Mr Vaughan approaches.

A slender, dapper gent moves towards us on the river bank.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          Now I have checked and he has no
          London home, but I have good
          information he achieves an income
          no less than four thousand a year!

ELIZABETH's mouth falls open....
                    MR VAUGHAN
          Miss Murray. Lady Mansfield.

ELIZABETH curtseys.
                    MR VAUGHAN (CONT'D)
          I trust your stay in London is
          proving pleasant, Miss Murray.

                    ELIZABETH
              (earnest)
          Oh most certainly.
                    MR VAUGHAN
          Miss Murray, I wonder, if you
          might permit me to call upon you
          at home, sometime?
                                                             75.


                    ELIZABETH
          Oh!
She looks to her mother, stunned, his gaze follows...

                    MR VAUGHAN
          With her Ladyship's permission?
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          I shall make arrangements.
ON DIDO, as OLIVER chats to others. She moves past as...

                    LADY ASHFORD
          A pity Lady Mansfield and I could not
          do business on James and Miss Murray.

                    LADY MARY
          A greater pity you rejected her.

                    LADY ASHFORD
          Let us not dwell on the
          unfortunate. Oliver and Miss
          Lindsay are a blissful match.
          Tell me, when exactly does she
          receive her inheritance?
As DIDO observes her reflection in waters - easy laughter
floats by - a group of gentleman josh.

A figure beside her turns - icy blue stare takes her in as
she meets his gaze and finds herself staring into the eyes
of JAMES ASHFORD.
                    JAMES ASHFORD.
          Miss Lindsay. Not Husband
          hunting, are we?
              (off Dido's disdain)
          Good Lord, I forgot - you have
          ensnared my brother. Now is he to
          share his dining room with you, as
          well as his bed??
His words bury deep and painful.

                    DIDO
          Oh, Mr James, your manners are as
          poor as your brother's finances.

                    JAMES
          And you are foolish enough to marry
          him. I on the other have no better
          use for your impoverished
          cousin!...(beat)...Though she does
          make for rather amusing sport!
                                                               76.


She follows his gaze through trees to ELIZABETH breathing
in the scent of the azaleas beside MR VAUGHAN. The joshing
gentlemen trickle away leaving only DIDO and JAMES.
She goes to move off. JAMES grabs her arm, spitefully.
                    DIDO
          That is painful, sir.
                    JAMES
          Have you never been manhandled?

                    DIDO
          It is not in my repertoire to
          keep company with beasts.

He regards her - her disdain reflected in his eyes. His
free hand comes up, fingers rest on her lips, then spread,
as he crushes her beauty in his hand.
Her eyes fill as he brings her close. So close. She is
afraid, angry. She struggles desperately, spirited, both
arousing and alarming him. As she tears herself from him

                    DIDO (CONT'D)
          How dare you? HOW DARE YOU!

He stares at her - takes her in, calmly. Then...
                       JAMES
          With ease.

DIDO wavers nauseous with contempt.   JAMES moves off.   She
watches, incensed, humiliated.

ELIZABETH strolls with MR VAUGHAN, as JAMES passes OLIVER,
he whispers to his brother.

                    JAMES (CONT'D)
          You will destroy us. You will destroy
          the entire order of our family.
Nearby, DIDO emerges from the trees...
                    LADY ASHFORD
          Oliver has been searching for you!

LADY MANSFIELD notes DIDO'S odd demeanour, LADY MARY too.
Her eyes dart suspiciously to JAMES as he approaches.
                    LADY MANSFIELD
          Are you unwell, my dear?
DIDO's affected eyes come up to meet her mother's. She goes
to answer...interrupted as...ELIZABETH gasps overwhelmed...

                    ELIZABETH
          Oh!..Mr James!
                                                                77.


     A distressed DIDO follows her gaze back to JAMES.

                         ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
               Lady Ashford, you had not mentioned
               Mr James was to attend!
                         LADY ASHFORD
               Surprisingly.

     LADY ASHFORD closes her eyes,livid. VAUGHAN stands usurped.
                         JAMES
               Ladies.
                   (off Dido's reaction)
               Miss Murray.

     He kisses ELIZABETH'S hand oh so gently, for DIDO'S
     benefit. LADY MANSFIELD's heart sinks.
     OFF DIDO, turbulent.


84   EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM. DAY.17   84    *

     DIDO sitting at the window, a sad figure. A MONTAGE OF
     SHOTS OVER DIFFERENT DAYS FOLLOWS...


85   EXT. KENTISH TOWN. WATER MILL. DAY.17                      85    *

     A busy area - As workers traipse up and down.
                         JOHN
               I had never imagined myself to be
               married. But my aunt is determined.
               It is true that if one were to count,
               I had not even been acquainted with
               Miss Beresford on three occasions.

                         DIDO
               Is she not terribly disappointed that
               you will not return to Hampstead?

                         JOHN
                   (ironic)
               my Aunt?

     They begin to laugh...it's good to see DIDO laughing.
                         JOHN (CONT'D)JOHN
               I doubt Miss Beresford has
               anymore wish to marry me
               than I her. I should rather
               make a nuisance of myself
               alone in London, than in an
               unwanted marriage in Hampstead...
     Their laughter carries...
                                                               78.


86   EXT. KENTISH TOWN. BACK ALLEYS. DAY.18                    86    *

     A NEW DAY...bustling, behind the canal. DIDO and JOHN stroll.

                         JOHN
               Were you a curious child?

                         DIDO
               Completely. Elizabeth, always
               asked the questions for me...
               then took blame for
               the impropriety when
               in fact she was protecting
               me! Dear, dear Bette.

     Laughter...
     POV: a pamphlet lies on the ground. It reads: LORD
     MANSFIELD, THE ZONG AND THE DEATH OF ENGLAND'S TRADE.

     JOHN watches as DIDO takes in the headline...


87   EXT. KENTISH TOWN. CANAL DAY.19                           87    *

     ANOTHER DAY....ON JOHN and DIDO as they meander.
                         DIDO
               ...I find myself unable to
               sleep. Papaa is to finally speak in
               a few days and...well...
                         JOHN
               It is quite extraordinary ...but I
               fear...I fear despite persuasive
               argument...your Papaa has not been
               moved.
                   (despondent)
               I am not certain he is ready to
               go against the traders - they are
               some of the most powerful in
               these Isles - theirs are the
               finances that hold up England,
               after all. The enemies of any man
               who stood against the trade would
               be vicious.

     DIDO stops, turns JOHN to face her.   She is intense...
                         DIDO
               And yet if he does...stand
               up...IF he speaks the words and
               condemns the trade...The Lord
               Chief Justice of England...it may
               be impossible for the slave laws
               of England and its colonies to
               remain absolute. Is that correct?
                                                                  79.


                         JOHN
               That...that is a fact.
     A tear spills. As JOHN'S hand come up to wipe it away...

                                                       CUT TO


88   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. ENTRANCE HALL. DAY.19                    88    *

     DIDO steps into the house, hooded, tip-toeing to the stairs.

     LORD MANSFIELD steps from the shadows, watches quietly, as
     she creeps up the stairs, silently.

     He thinks a moment - then hears the horses neighing out
     front. He moves to the front door.


89   EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. MANSFIELD HOUSE.   CONTINUOUS DAY.19     89    *

     POV - HARRY disembarks, alarmed as he sees LORD MANSFIELD's
     gaze on him. An ominous beat.


90   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DRAWING ROOM - DAY.20                    90    *
     ELIZABETH at the pianoforte, raising a sweet sound.

     DIDO appears in the doorway, listens a moment, then moves
     to join ELIZABETH, using only the one hand to play. A
     harmony emerges, continuing to its natural end.
                         ELIZABETH
               I have heard nothing from him,
               since Vauxhall, Dido. I was
               certain an announcement was
               to be made any day...that he
               meant it this time!

                         DIDO
               Then he is not a man of his word.

     ELIZABETH stares at the piano keys. DIDO is pained for her.

                         DIDO (CONT'D)
               I will help you find the kindest
               most wonderful of husbands.
                   (off Bette's sadness)
               And I shall ask Papaa to use a
               portion of my inheritance for your
               dowry.

                         ELIZABETH
               You would do that? For me?

                         DIDO
               Bette, anything for you!
                                                         80.


ELIZABETH'S eyes brim.

                       ELIZABETH
          Dido...

She hugs DIDO tight.
                    ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
          I have been of the mind these
          last few days...that it is my
          little means that has delayed
          James in making his approach.

DIDO regards her, sadly - tentative as she ventures...
                    DIDO
          I think you may be right.

                    ELIZABETH
          Then I cannot thank you enough.

                       DIDO
          Bette...?

ELIZABETH stands, brighter, smoothing her clothes.

                    ELIZABETH
          I will ask Papaa to write
          immediately to Lady Ashford.
                       DIDO
          No!

                       ELIZABETH
          No?
DIDO gets up too, now.
                    DIDO
          James Ashford is not kind. He is
          not a man to give your life or
          dowry to.
                    ELIZABETH
          Then your gift comes with conditions.
                       DIDO
          No!

                       ELIZABETH
          What then?
                    DIDO
          I am trying...trying to make you
          see. He is not... appropriate!
                                                         81.


                    ELIZABETH
          Appropriate? The brother of the
          man you are to marry is not
          `appropriate' for me?

                    DIDO
          He does not desire you, Bette!
          At least, even if he does, you
          would regret such a mistake.
              (off Bette's silence)
          He...he laid his hands on me,
          Bette - in the most
          un-gentlemanly fashion.
                    ELIZABETH
          Why should you say such a thing?

                    DIDO
          He hurt me.
                    ELIZABETH
          You are a liar!
                    DIDO
          Why...why would I lie to you?

                    ELIZABETH
          I don't know - but do you not
          see? Have you never been able to
          see? He would never touch you...!

                     DIDO
          Bette...

                    ELIZABETH
          You are beneath him!

A long beat.

                    DIDO
          I am beneath him??

                    ELIZABETH
          Yes. You...you are...

                    DIDO
          What! Tell me! What am I, Bette?
She dares ELIZABETH to cross their line of sisterhood.

                    ELIZABETH
          ...You...you are....(courage leaves
          her)...You are illegitimate!!

DIDO is winded, but relieved.
                                                                  82.


                         ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
               Have you never wondered why you
               are not permitted to eat with our
               guests?

     Dido draws breath to calm herself, then...
                          DIDO
               My mother and father never married
               - you are correct. But my father
               acknowledged me as his child.
                   (beat)
               It is yours who refuses to
               legitimise your position, Bette -
               that is why you are poor! And that
               is why it is not me who is beneath
               Mr James, Bette. It is not me!
     ELIZABETH stings - she fights tears, before she disappears.

     A dreadful silence. DIDO looks down at the black sapphire
     on her finger. A moment, then she slips it off.


91   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM. DAY.20     91    *

     DIDO, alone. She studies her reflection at the dressing
     table. A moment. A soft breath - something in her relaxes
     the look on her face, just as soft as she regards herself.


92   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. STAIRS/GROUND FLOOR HALL. DAY.21         92    *

     DIDO hooded and cloaked, races quickly. Suddenly...
                         MABEL
                   (worried whisper)
               Miss Lindsay. Are you out again?

     DIDO turns to MABEL, presses her fingers to her lips,
     appealing to her, before slipping from the house

     MABEL stands frozen, a porcelain jug in each hand,


93   EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. MANSFIELD HOME. DAY.21                   93    *

     As DIDO climbs into the carriage.

94   EXT. LONDON STREETS. DAY.21                                  94    *

     Horse hooves trotting rhythmically.

95   INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. LONDON STREETS. DAY.21              95    *

     DIDO sits patiently, her heart pounding.
                                                                   83.


96    EXT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. LONDON STREETS. DAY.21              96    *

      ON HARRY'S sweating cheeks as he guides the carriage.


97    INT./EXT MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. KENTISH TOWN. DAY.21            97    *

      The carriage as it pulls up in front of the Coaching Inn.
      DIDO takes a breath.


98    INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. LONDON STREETS. DAY.21              98    *
      As HARRY climbs from the driver's seat.

99    EXT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. KENTISH TOWN. DAY.21                99    *

      CLOSE: HARRY'S outline, as we follow him to the Inn.


100   INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. LONDON STREETS. DAY.21             100    *

      DIDO smoothing her dress.

      The door of the carriage opens before she can finish.
      She looks up - the happiest smile...
      It falls from her lips, as quickly as it came and she
      starts to tremble, at what comes towards her.

      The sight of LORD MANSFIELD as he climbs into the carriage
      ...and sits opposite her, silent - a cold stare.


101   INT. COACHING INN. DAY.21                                   101    *

      JOHN follows HARRY to exit the Inn.


102   EXT. COACHING INN/INT. MANSFIELD CARRIAGE. DAY.21           102    *

      The carriage door opens - JOHN climbs in, barely taking a
      moment to look where he is going, and as he looks up, he
      too sets eyes on LORD MANSFIELD.

      JOHN looks back to HARRY, stunned. HARRY's gaze locks with
      DIDO'S. She is hurt. He falters, closes the carriage door.
                          DIDO
                    (terrified)
                Papaa...?
      LORD MANSFIELD is incandescent. He shakes with rage.
                                                            84.


                    LORD MANSFIELD
          This man's ambitions include you.
          You will endure shame and risk
          your position for a man without
          name, who will sully yours and
          drag your reputation to the gutter!
                    JOHN
              (bitter and humiliated)
          I take great offence in your
          summation of my character without
          ever even taking a moment to know
          me. Where is your right?
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          ...I have EVERY right...!

                    JOHN
          ...No! That you will never have!
          Not until you cease from judging
          the entire world as those above and
          those below and begin to see people
          as PEOPLE! Human beings, who think
          and feel no more or less than you do!

LORD MANSFIELD stands arrested. JOHN'S words strike deep.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          I know there is a lady in Belsize
          who is waiting to be your wife.

                    JOHN
          No! I have an ambitious aunt in
          Belsize, who like you, assumes
          reputation and fortune are all
          that life depends on, and
          despises love as though it were
          the devil's own creation!
LORD MANSFIELD's eyes narrow dangerously - rage explodes.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Love? You claim love....??

He reaches for JOHN'S neck. DIDO throws herself at them.

                    DIDO
          NO! STOP! Papaa, you must stop!

As she struggles to keep them apart. JOHN falls against
the door. He shouts at the top of his voice to be heard.

                    JOHN
          Yes...yes I love her! I love her
          with every breath I breathe.
Silence! DIDO and LORD MANSFIELD are stunned. A painful beat.
                                                                   85.


                           DIDO
                Go John.   You do not deserve this.
      JOHN'S breath is heavy, his heart pounding. He catches his
      breath, almost chokes on it as he rises, moving with
      uncertainty from the carriage, and is gone. DIDO stares at
      LORD MANSFIELD.

                          DIDO (CONT'D)
                Captain Sir John Lindsay would
                never have behaved like this.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                Captain Sir John Lindsay would
                never behave like this because he
                was never HERE!...You are destroying
                your possibilities with the only
                gentleman who will consider you.
                    (searching her, hard)
                Is that what you want?

      No, perhaps it isn't! DIDO stands wavering - daunted.


103   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT.21             103     *

      A fist comes down hard on the rosewood table
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                Arrogant...parasite! HE is
                filling her with worthless
                ideals. He wants to `make the
                world a better place'!...
      LORD MANSFIELD is puffed with fury as he paces the room.
      He knocks the table again, jolting LADY MANSFIELD.
                          LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                He is laughing at us! His
                childish campaign simply adds to
                my already rampant ridicule in
                the gossip pamphlets and now...!
                As though he were some kind
                of...saint, immune from reproach!
                          LADY MANSFIELD
                You said something identical, once.

      LORD MANSFIELD stops in his tracks.
                          LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                That you wanted to change the
                world! Quite some time before you
                entered your chambers, of course.
                Defiant, principled...driven.
                    (off Lord M)
                          (MORE)
                                                                86.

                          LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                Desperate to seal your position
                among the establishment but always
                a little too radical for them.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                I never broke the rules.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
                Did you not? You simply became
                powerful enough to make new ones.
                    (off his silence)
                I always felt you already loved
                me when I gave you my hand. Not
                that you said it but... something
                in the way you looked at me.

      LORD MANSFIELD'S face softens slightly, struck by his
      wife's words - of course he loved her! He adored her!
                          LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                That we were a good match - that
                was of no doubt...But I am not
                sure I could have married a
                gentleman without that...`thing'
                in his eye...without knowing -
                privately - that my heart stopped
                a moment each time he looked at me
      Their eyes are locked. She speaks carefully.
                          LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                It is possible that even you
                cannot fight change, my darling...
                And sometimes you cannot fight it
                because you are a part of it.
      Her words resonate, shifting him into thought.
                          LADY MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                Do you love her?

      His eyes fill. What he says next is deeply heartfelt...
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                As though she were created of you
                and I...(poignant)...And that is
                why I simply do not want to see
                her diminished.

104   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. DRAWING ROOM. DAY.22              104   *

      Like subjects of a pastel Joshua Reynolds painting, the
      MANSFIELD ladies are draped around the room .
      LADY MARY uses a dainty magnifying glass to read a pamphlet
      as LADY MANSFIELD sips tea, ELIZABETH reads and DIDO gazes
      out of the window...LADY MARY reads aloud.
                                                                   87.


                          LADY MARY
                The niece of the Marquess of
                Winchester. Mr James Ashford is
                to marry the niece of the
                Marquess of Winchester.
      ELIZABETH looks up, bewildered.

                          LADY MARY (CONT'D)
                I am reading it here.
      She indicates the pamphlet and her heart sinks as she sees
      ELIZABETH'S heartache.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
                    (sardonic)
                That shall render your future
                mother-in-law ecstatic, Dido.
      ELIZABETH slams her book down, gets up and storms off. DIDO
      thinks about it a beat, uncertain then goes after her.


105   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. STAIRCASE LANDING. DAY.22               105    *

      ON ELIZABETH sobbing into DIDO'S arms. She lifts her head.
                          ELIZABETH
                Don't you dare say a word.

                           DIDO
                I won't.
                          ELIZABETH
                Why! Why do they ALWAYS do that!!
                          DIDO
                Who, Bette?

                          ELIZABETH
                Men! They leave and never come back!

      A painful beat, then DIDO kisses and hugs her tightly, as
      ELIZABETH desperately sobs some more.


106   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. DIDO AND ELIZABETH'S BEDROOM. EVE.22 106       *
      DIDO lies still in bed, ELIZABETH beside her.

                          ELIZABETH
                I saw you with him, that day.   At
                the pleasure garden.
                          DIDO
                You said nothing.
                                                                88.


                          ELIZABETH
                I wanted you to tell me. To trust me.

                          DIDO
                I should have.

                          ELIZABETH
                You know, if I had your choice, I
                would choose...the man I loved
                    (off Dido, sad)
                I simply hope he is worth it.


107   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. DRAWING ROOM. DAY.23             107    *

      OLIVER stands, numb. LADY ASHFORD turns to us, eyes flashing.

                          LADY ASHFORD
                I am not in the habit of
                requiring explanation more than
                TWICE! But on this occasion, you
                will have to forgive me.

                          LORD MANSFIELD
                    (burdened)
                Lady Ashford there is little
                point in repetition...

                          LADY ASHFORD
                Then let me be clear that I have
                understood. Your charge - your
                mulatto charge...

                          LADY MANSFIELD
                    (fiercely protective)
                That is enough!
      DIDO sits staring at the floor. OLIVER cuts in, aggrieved...

                          OLIVER
                    (to Lady Mansfield)
                Is it not true enough, your
                ladyship?!!

                          LADY ASHFORD
                ...whose unfortunate circumstances
                of birth, we chose to forgive -
                has decided she no longer wishes
                the match with my son - a
                gentleman and an officer.
      OLIVER stares across at DIDO. He speaks quietly...
                          OLIVER
                Why, Miss Lindsay?

      DIDO is silent.
                                                                 89.


                          LADY ASHFORD
                    (poignant and pained)
                Do you feel I have any lesser need to
                ensure my child's wellbeing and
                future than you?...(beat)...Does she
                still have a tongue?

                          DIDO
                I have a tongue, Madam. Though
                yours explains well enough why I
                may not marry your son...beat)...
                You view my circumstances as
                unfortunate, though I cannot
                claim even a portion of the
                misfortune of those to whom I most
                closely resemble.
      ON LADY MANSFIELD stung by the thought.
                          DIDO (CONT'D)
                My greatest misfortune would be
                to marry into a family who will
                carry me as their shame - as I
                have been required to carry my
                own mother.

      LORD MANSFIELD swallows hard.   LADY MANSFIELD's gaze falls.
                           DIDO (CONT'D)
                Her apparent crime, to be born
                negro, and mine - to be the
                evidence.
                    (beat)
                Since I wish to deny her no more
                than I wish to deny myself, you
                will pardon me for wanting a
                husband who feels `forgiveness'
                of my bloodline is both
                unnecessary and without grace.

      ON the astonished ASHFORD faces.


108   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. STAIRS/GROUND FL HALLWAY. DAY.23 108     *
      DIDO steps from the room, shaken...what has she just done?!
      LADY MARY approaches, intuitively hands DIDO a hankerchief.


109   EXT: KENTISH TOWN CANAL. DAY.23                           109    *

      Wide on the canal, bustling with life - the poor and
      working classes. - FIND JOHN sitting alone, forlorn.
                                                                   90.


110   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. MARBLE ROOM. DAY.24                     110    *

      A canvas stands hidden under hemp fabric. ZOFFANY stands
      beside it. LORD MANSFIELD before him...


111   EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. GARDENS. CONTINUOUS. DAY.24         111    *
      DIDO surrounded by Summer blooms. She reads a poetry book.


112   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. MARBLE ROOM. CONTINUOUS. DAY.24     112    *
      As ZOFFANY carefully removes the hemp - a series of actions
      slowly uncovering his painting. We do not see it revealed.


113   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. GARDENS. CONTINUOUS. DAY.24         113    *

      As DIDO repeats a sentence from the book to herself.

                          DIDO
                Why did I, slave, beyond my lot
                aspire..
      The line repeats itself in her head.


114   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. MARBLE ROOM. CONTINUOUS. DAY.24     114    *

      LORD MANSFIELD before the painting, shielding it from us.
      ON ZOFFANY as his eyes fall on the window. LORD MANSFIELD
      follows his gaze, to DIDO alone in the gardens, reading.

      POV: THROUGH THE WINDOW, as DIDO feels their gaze. She
      falters. Her eyes dart through the glass, beyond LORD
      MANSFIELD, to the canvas....The sight causes her to stand -
      drawn to the window to see more clearly.
      The camera, too, draws in on the portrait, now. And as it
      is revealed to DIDO, so too, is it finally revealed to us.

      It is a serenely sensitive representation of two delicate
      English ladies - one part black, as they stand as equals,
      against Kenwood's iconic gardens.

      CLOSE on DIDO, shaken, taking in the extraordinary image.
      Off both men, each as moved as she is.


115   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. MARBLE ROOM. DAY.24                 115    *

      The camera hovers on the painting - The image of
      ELIZABETH'S delicate hand laying gently on DIDO'S arm.
                                                          91.


                    LORD MANSFIELD (OOV)
          It will hang at Kenwood.
                     DIDO
          Will it?
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Why should that surprise you?

                    DIDO
          Why should it not?
LORD MANSFIELD says nothing, observes her, curious.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          What are you reading?

                    DIDO
          Poetry. A gentleman named Thomas
          Day. He speaks of a slave who
          agreed to marry a free woman.
          A voice to people...people like
          my mother - who do not have one.

People like the drowned slaves. He takes her point.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          You find yourself in such writing?

The camera tracks, capturing them taking in the canvas.
                     DIDO
          I don't know that I find myself
          anywhere. I have no place that I
          may claim.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          What is it that you want, Dido?
          What precisely are you searching
          for? I enabled every rule of
          heritage so that you could know
          exactly where you belong. Yet
          little appears enough for you!
                    DIDO
          Papaa, you enabled every rule,
          but you had to overlook just as
          many to raise me within good
          society. And what if there were
          not a rule Papaa? What if that
          rule that allowed you to take me
          did not exist? Would you have
          returned me to the slums?
The air is poignant with the question.
                                                                   92.


                          DIDO (CONT'D)
                You are courageous. When it
                comes to the matters you believe
                in, society is inconsequential.
                You break EVERY rule when it
                matters enough. Papaa, I am the
                evidence.
                    (OFF the painting)
                This painting...is the evidence.

      Her words are stark. LORD MANSFIELD follows her gaze to the
      painting, swallowing hard. Something in him is shifting.


116   INT. LLOYD'S OF LONDON. COFFEE HO. ROYAL EXCHANGE. DAY.25 116      *

      The hub of the mercantile profession. This is LORD
      MANSFIELD'S world. It is pillared, and elegant, teaming
      with Lloyd's members - Insurance men, brokers, lawyers -
      all engaged in commerce and politics.

      ON LORD MANSFIELD with the LORD MAYOR. They weave past to
      sit with others, equally wigged - power houses of England,
      watched by all in the room. In every corner, heated debate
      rages - the imminent Zong decision on everyone's lips.

                          LORD MAYOR
                Look at them - For and against at
                each other's throats! How on earth
                did the damn quakers find their way
                into here!..(beat)..You are a brave
                man, negotiating these quarters on
                the eve of your judgement.

                          LORD MANSFIELD
                You did not become Lord Mayor
                through being a coward.
                           LORD MAYOR
                Finally you are to speak, then.
                If England is destroyed we shall
                blame you!
      He slaps LORD MANSFIELD's back, playfully, but is deadly
      serious. LORD MANSFIELD is distracted...through the bustle
      in the room, the SOUND of YOUNG MEN debating at a table,
      insurance underwriters before them.

                          JOHN (OOV)
                ...But religion cannot be the
                only guardian of our morality.
                          YOUNG MAN 1
                Of course not - there is self-
                responsibility?

      LORD MANSFIELD'S POV: we make out JOHN debating intensely.
                                                                   93.


                          JOHN
                And failing that does the law not
                have a duty?
      ON LORD MANSFIELD - his own group continue in conversation,
      but all his attention is on JOHN.
                          JOHN (CONT'D)
                Do the bench and parliament not
                have a duty to uphold and create
                the laws, to set the precedents
                that progress our morality, not
                retard it! If not to protect us
                from others, then to protect us
                from ourselves! Laws that allow
                us to diminish the humanity of
                anybody, are not laws - they are
                frameworks for crime.
      ON LORD MANSFIELD - something going on behind the eyes. The
      rest of the room fades - making JOHN clear and crisp.
                          JOHN (CONT'D)
                A constitution can never be finite
                - surely as humanity evolves so
                too must its laws. And frankly I
                really do not care if you as an
                individual are without character
                or conscience - But a land whose
                laws contain neither - whose laws
                sanction not control the barbarous
                among its citizens - that is a
                country whose hope is lost.

      LORD MANSFIELD's gaze falls away, as he swallows hard.


117   INT. ROYAL EXCHANGE. ENTRANCE HALL. DAY.25               117       *
      JOHN exits Lloyd's, into the open halls of the Exchange.
      LORD MANSFIELD fits his tricorn (hat), preparing to leave.
      The two men lay eyes on each other - both rooted. LORD
      MANSFIELD'S examines JOHN.

                          LORD MANSFIELD
                Why does it matter to you so?
      JOHN stares at him bewildered, at a loss for words.


118   EXT. ROYAL EXCHANGE. COURTYARD/STREETS DAY.25            118       *

      LORD MANSFIELD walks to his carriage. JOHN races after him.

                          JOHN
                M'lord..! It..it is a misuse of the
                clause. It is not for human lives.
                It is for goods.. Chattel...
                                                              94.


LORD MANSFIELD keeps walking.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
              (factual)
          It is for property!
                    JOHN
          I HAVE SEEN YOUR NOTES!! If they
          wanted water they could have had it!

ON LORD MANSFIELD'S realisation - DIDO has given the
information to JOHN.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Dido.

                    JOHN
          If you find for the traders, you
          will be formalizing in law the
          concept of insuring `human' cargo.

LORD MANSFIELD climbs into his carriage.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          That is correct!...(to his
          driver)...Drive!
The carriage begins to move off.   JOHN walks alongside it.

                    JOHN
          Then know that when you are gone,
          your legacy will be to have left
          Miss Lindsay in a world that says
          she may be worth more dead, than
          alive.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          She is not a slave.
                    JOHN
          By the very grace of God!

The words provoke LORD MANSFIELD. He stands, slamming his
hand to the driver's wall. The carriage halts abruptly.

JOHN stands at the carriage window, breathless. LORD
MANSFIELD looks down at him furious, suddenly disarmed by
the emotion in JOHN'S eyes.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          This is not about Miss Lindsay.
JOHN is confused, flustered.
                    JOHN
          Of course it is! It's about all
          of us. It's about everything...
          everything that is important!
                                                                   95.


      LORD MANSFIELD searches JOHN, palpably affected now. He
      doesn't want to show JOHN his empathy, fights it - but for
      a split second it escapes in the profound silence.
      He recovers himself - considers his words before he speaks
      quietly - as though from personal experience...
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                Mr Davinier, the world is a
                devastating place. You must learn
                to protect your emotions if you
                are to prevent matters of both
                law..and love from devastating you.
      JOHN is frozen, averts his gaze. LORD MANSFIELD regards
      him, affected, bangs on the carriage again and is gone.

      OFF JOHN, shaken.


119   INT. BLOOMSBURY SQ. ENTRANCE HALL AND STAIRS. DAY.26      119      *

      POV: looking down at the sweeping stairs and entrance hall.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
                Smooth your dress, young lady!

      LADY MANSFIELD pinches ELIZABETH'S cheeks. LADY MARY fusses
      anxiously The bell chimes. ELIZABETH'S excitement rises. She
      steals a glance up the stairs to REVEAL DIDO surreptitiously
      watching. The BUTLER sweeps by
                          MR VAUGHAN (OOV)
                Lady Mansfield...Miss Murray...

      As MR VAUGHAN enters Elizabeth descends into a curtsey.
                          LADY MANSFIELD
                Mr Vaughan, how kind of you to come.
                          ELIZABETH
                I have thought of nothing else
                but showing you Aunt Mary's
                chrysanthemums, Mr Vaughan.
                          MR VAUGHAN
                What a pleasure, Miss Murray.
                          ELIZABETH
                You too Mamaa.

      She drags them away, sending DIDO a final surreptitious
      glance that says, the coast is clear for her. As she does,
      LADY MARY'S gaze follows - sees DIDO hiding. A beat. LADY
      MARY hangs back - smiles satisfied to herself, before
      moving off.
                                                                   96.


120   EXT. BLOOMSBURY SQUARE. MANSFIELD HOME.   DAY.26             120   *

      A hooded DIDO steps from the house. HARRY's heart sinks.

                          HARRY
                NO! Never again!

                          DIDO
                Fine! Then step down and allow me
                to take the reigns.

      Harry rubs his eyes, burdened. Then...far from jovial..
                          HARRY
                Had I known you were to be such
                trouble, I'd `ave driven off
                before Captain Sir John Lindsay
                bought you to my carriage!


121   EXT. WESTMINSTER HALL. LONDON. DAY.26                        121   *

      A myriad of people flood into the court - politicians,
      clergy, shipping merchants, abolitionists...and insurers.
      DIDO steps from the carriage.


122   INT. WESTMINSTER HALL. LONDON. CONTINUOUS. DAY.26            122   *
      As they pour through the doors, we settle first on LORD
      ASHFORD, then, JOHN DAVINIER, pushing into the room.
                                                         CUT TO:

      Moments later...DIDO pushes into the court. She lays eyes on
      JOHN, seated - forces her way past seated men, seen at
      earlier meetings. JOHN stands, overwhelmed as she approaches.


123   INT. WESTMINSTER HALL. LONDON. DAY.26                        123   *
      LORD MANSFIELD enters - sits, flanked by two LAW LORDS. He
      appears profoundly focused - reserved, despite the chaos of
      the filled room. His eyes dance across the sea of faces.

                          CLERK
                Silence in the court!
      DIDO's hand slides to JOHN'S.

                          LORD MANSFIELD
                Whether the `jettison clause' of
                Marine Insurance Law may be brought
                to bear in this appeal. This is
                the question. That is, first:
                whether the slaves were drowned
                as an anticipatory act. An act to
                avoid the disease caused by their
                          (MORE)
                                                           97.

                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          journey, killing them once on shore,
          and at their destination...depriving
          the slave owners of any compensation.
He takes in the gaze of a free black man in the gallery.

                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          Or secondly: whether they were
          `jettisoned' as cargo! To save
          captain and crew from certain death,
          when the extended journey threatened
          shortage of drinking-water.
              (steely eyed)
          Let me be clear, loss of water on a
          ship constitutes a singularly
          dangerous affair - insurrection of
          thirsty and hostile slaves at its
          extreme - and an impossible task to
          share diminished water reserve, among
          all those living, at best. Each
          implies severe threat to the lives of
          the seamen. In such circumstances our
          law is transparent and equivocal -
          the jettisoning of enslaved cargo
          ...IS legal!
              (he spells it out)
          And in these circumstances, combined
          with unavoidable loss of water, our
          laws leave the ship-owners securely
          within their rights to make a claim
          ...and behoves the insurers to pay
          losses.
                    DIDO
          No!

Gasps from around the room...gasps that turn into cries,
including DIDO'S own. JOHN is rigid, anger rising.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          The ship's owners chose a tight
          `packing fashion' to transport
          the slaves...A popular fashion of
          transportation that is known for
          causing death and disease.

His voice is raised over the sounds of a chaotic court.
                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          This choice of laying the slaves
          tightly together is undertaken at
          the Captain's own risk. In the
          event that over packing renders
          an avoidable lack of drinking water
          on board a protracted journey,
          such a decision may be viewed as
          simple `bad management' on a
                    (MORE)
                                                             98.

                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          Captain's part, and further, weigh
          as his own risk. An extended journey
          - one in which the destination is
          overshot may also be viewed as
          the captain's own mismanagement.
The noise lowers to silence. LORD MANSFIELD settles on JOHN.

                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          It is not legal...to discharge lives
          from a ship into the waters, to
          prevent those lives dying on land,
          and to facilitate insurance
          compensation. Whether they be the
          lives of horses... or human beings
          ...slaves or otherwise - It is
          not legal, neither is it right.

DIDO lets out a gasp - breathless relief.
                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          Further, the claim of shortage of
          water is illegitimate shown by the
          evidence put forward. To my
          mind, it is clear a fraud has been
          committed in claiming insurance on
          slaves who were...drowned solely
          for financial gain.
He looks around the room - sees LORD ASHFORD's acceptance.
His eyes fall on DIDO now and here they remain.
                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          It is my opinion, that the state of
          slavery is so odious a position that
          nothing may support it. This case
          has displayed with searing clarity
          the depravity of any such nation
          whose choice is to practice it. You
          may be certain that I have laboured
          over my judgement and statements
          today and am in full understanding
          of all of the ramifications. Justice
          be done,though the heavens may fall.
JOHN'S eyes brim at the realisation of those words.

                    LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
          I find in favour of the insurers
          and overturn the decision of the
          lower court. I order a retrial.

Stunned confusion in the courtroom. Then, all kinds of
commotion - anger, cheers amid shock. LORD MANSFIELD stands.

                      CLERK
          All rise!
                                                                   99.


      JOHN jumps up, desperate for eye contact through the
      commotion...but LORD MANSFIELD fixes ahead, moves off.
      DIDO stands, caught by her own breath. JOHN turns to her.
      She begins to sob. For the first time he pulls her close,

      WIDE on the court room - JOHN holding DIDO as she sobs.
      Through the judges' exit - a figure, in the shadows. REVEAL
      LORD MANSFIELD, taking in DIDO and JOHN, affected.


124   EXT. WESTMINSTER HALL. STREETS - DAY.26                      124   *
      JOHN watches as DIDO races back to the carriage. ON their
      reaction - LORD MANSFIELD stands waiting.
      As DIDO and LORD MANSFIELD come before each other. Everything
      in their eyes - restrained emotion over a long beat.
                          DIDO
                You may not blame Mr Davinier
                ...My attendance today is
                absolutely at my own volition
                ...for matters which concern me.

                          LORD MANSFIELD
                I am fully aware, Dido.

      He fixes on JOHN. JOHN is apprehensive.
                          JOHN
                M'Lord...I am inspired by your
                decision today. We will not go
                backwards from here.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                    (burdened)
                History will judge if your
                optimism is warranted...(beat)...
                You are a man of conviction.

      JOHN swallows hard, emotion rising, stinging his eyes.
                          JOHN
                I am trying to be.
                          LORD MANSFIELD
                Then your efforts are not in vain.

      DIDO moves to JOHN'S side, taking his hand. LORD
      MANSFIELD's eyes drop to their clasped fingers.

                          LORD MANSFIELD (CONT'D)
                I have not changed my mind. She
                is to marry a gentleman.
      He turns and begins to move to the carriage.   JOHN stares
      at the ground, humiliated. DIDO is incensed.
                                                             100.


                    DIDO
          And Mr Davinier is not a gentleman?
Her voice rings out, furious. LORD MANSFIELD stops...

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          He is...indeed...Dido.
              (he speaks carefully)
          And that is why he ought to have
          a job befitting one.
                    DIDO
              (a whisper - defiant)
          My affections are with him, Papaa.
          I wish for nothing...
          nothing, if not to be his wife.

She stares into LORD MANSFIELD's eyes - he takes in JOHN.
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          If you would Mr Davinier, I would
          like you to attend my chambers in
          the morning. There are matters I
          would like you to assist me with.

                    JOHN
          Your Lordship?
                    LORD MANSFIELD
          And if you think it a good
          idea...I wish to facilitate
          your entry to the Inns of Court.

                    JOHN
              (tentative)
          That is to serve my qualification
          to The Bar?
The question LORD MANSFIELD once put to JOHN, is now answered.

                    LORD MANSFIELD
          Indeed...(humbled)...Capabilities
          such as yours are clearly
          deserving of such considerations.
JOHN breathes heavily, also humbled, as his tears surface.

                    JOHN
          I..I think it a very good idea, sir.

LORD MANSFIELD nods, then finally moves off.    JOHN can't
take it in. DIDO is breathless, eyes brim...
                    JOHN (CONT'D)
          Can it be true?
                                                            101.


                    DIDO
          Of course. He sees what I see.
          His words were as clear as...
                    JOHN
          No! That your feelings for me are
          so? That you would be my wife..?
              (off her reaction, )
          Because, I cannot conceive of a
          life without you...and if...if
          such were all that were before
          me, Miss Lindsay, then my heart
          would never beat the same again.
                    DIDO
          It is not. It is not all that is
          before you Mr Davinier...
          (begins sobbing) I love you...for
          all that you are, and with
          all..all that I am.

He breaks down now too, wiping her tears before kissing her
through his own sobs. Then tears turn to laughter.

We draw back on the couple - two fragile figures, amid the
bustle of London town.
ON the MANSFIELD crest as LORD MANSFIELD'S carriage moves
off, a solitary figure inside, staring straight ahead.
THE END
 FOXSEARCHLIGHT.COM/AWARDS
Released by Twentieth Century Fox  2014 Twentieth Century Fox

Belle



Writers :   Misan Sagay
Genres :   Drama  Romance


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