Good. Now let’s go. I have a wedding to attend.
It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Giovanni, Ben said, moving closer to the glass and placing his own hand against it, where my father’s was. Ben couldn’t have known how much that small gesture meant to me.H-How did you meet? my father asked, still looking in a daze.
Oh… we, uh… I began to stammer. I really hadn’t been prepared for that question, just as my father really wouldn’t be prepared for the answer.In a sauna, Ben answered for me smoothly.I grinned at Ben in appreciation. Brilliant.
After that, my father asked some more questions about Ben—what his interests were, what he did for a living, and other such things—which Ben just as deftly answered without actually lying. Then, after my father asked after my mother and siblings, our time with him was drawing to a close.When the guard called to him, urgency filled my father’s eyes. I love you, River. My strong, beautiful girl. I need you to know that I’m proud of you. Please, don’t ever forget that… And I-I hope that I can see you again. Sooner, than last time. You know, I really think that if I manage to keep up my behavior, I might be let out earlier.
I smiled faintly. I promise I’ll come back sooner. And remember that I love you, too, Dad. Then the guard took him away.
My father’s last words lingered in my mind, long after the door had closed. They reminded me all too much of the hopes he’d used to instill in us before dashing them to the ground. I’d heard words like those too many times before to take them seriously. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t.. . . I grant that Mr. Wilson’s face does have a certain amphibious quality, but I do wish you would learn to be a bit more circumspect in your speech. While I would never consider him an acceptable candidate for marriage, he is certainly not a toad, and it ill-behooved me to have my younger sister call him thus, and in his presence.
—from Eloise Bridgerton to her sister Hyacinth,
upon refusing her fourth offer of marriageFour days later, they were married. Phillip had no idea how Anthony Bridgerton had managed it, but he’d procured a special license, allowing them to be wed without banns and on a Monday, which, Eloise assured him, was no worse than Tuesday or Wednesday, just that it wasn’t Saturday, as was proper.
Eloise’s entire family, minus her widowed sister in Scotland, who hadn’t had time to make the journey, had trooped out to the country for the wedding. Normally, the ceremony would have taken place in Kent, at the Bridgerton family seat, or at the very least in London, where the family attended church regularly at St. George’s in Hanover Square, but such arrangements were not possible on such a hastened schedule, and this wasn’t an ordinary sort of wedding in any case. Benedict and Sophie had offered their home for the reception, but Eloise had felt that the twins would be more comfortable at Romney Hall, so they’d held the ceremony at the parish church down the lane, followed by a small, intimate reception on the lawn outside Phillip’s greenhouse.Later in the day, just as the sun was beginning to dip in the sky, Eloise found herself in her new bedchamber with her mother, who was busying herself by pretending to tuck away items in Eloise’s hastily gathered trousseau. It all, of course, had been taken care of by Eloise’s lady’s maid (brought up from London with the family) earlier that morning, but Eloise didn’t comment upon her mother’s idle busywork. It seemed like Violet Bridgerton simply needed something to do while she talked.