His firm gaze holds his aunt and uncle to account. A long
beat. LADY MANSFIELD stands conflicted.
LADY MANSFIELDWhat has she been named?
SIR JOHN LINDSAYShe is Belle...after her mother.
Dido Elizabeth Belle...Lindsay.
LORD MANSFIELDShe takes your name?
SIR JOHN LINDSAYI am not ashamed.
LINDSAY stands his ground.
LADY MARYWe cannot have another
Elizabeth in the household.
LADY MANSFIELD regards the child, then looks to her
husband, gravely. He turns his back - aggrieved.
LADY MANSFIELDWe...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 LINDSAYLittle Belle - sweet child...
My wish is to keep you...keep youwith me...but a ship...it is noplace for one so precious as you.
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.
INT. KENWOOD HOUSE. STAIRS/ENTRANCE HALL/GALLERY - DAY. 277*
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 corridorsELIZABETHAre you...a nee-gro?
ELIZABETH makes her way across...taking her aunt’s hand as
all three walk. DIDO is silent.
Are you what they call ‘a negro?’
I heard them talking.
LADY MARYQuestions, questions, Elizabeth!
Tis a most irritating trait you
and your father share.
LADY MARYNo 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
ELIZABETHLike you, Aunt Mary? That is what
the maids say?
LADY MARYYou 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 MANSFIELDCaptain Sir John Lindsay.
(off her reaction)
Do you recognise him?
She nods. A beat as conflict fills him.