Episode 6 Taboo


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Episode 6

Period drama series. The East India Company declares war on James Delaney, whilst a family revelation drives him into dark and haunted places.


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-I'm planning a robbery.

-'Ingredients for making gunpowder stolen from under the Company's noses.'

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Failure to secure His Majesty's gunpowder against the enemy is a criminal offence.

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It might be more effective if we went after Sir Stuart himself.

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Those bastards at the Palace have opened

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a Royal Commission into the sinking of the Influence.

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It is my belief that some very powerful men

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were involved in an illicit shipment of slaves

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and were complicit in the deaths of those slaves.

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The bellmen and the newspapers

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tell me there's a new source of prime grade powder in town.

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Our guns will fall silent in ten days.

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We need the powder in eight.

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I need more gunpowder.

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You'd risk the life of your son for chlorate?

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You are now one of us.

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Why burden him?

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Please understand that, from this moment,

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I will burn your letters without opening them.

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Then I will visit you in your dreams.

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James...

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I told the Priest how he visits you.

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There is a ceremony of exorcism, which can eradicate the Barbason.

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My mother's name was Salish.

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My father had her sent to Bedlam insane asylum.

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This programme contains some strong language and scenes which some viewers may find disturbing.

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FOOTSTEPS

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DOOR SLAMS, SHE GASPS

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Mooning about in the chill. Staring into your head.

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You're as bad as your da.

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My father cast my mother into madness,

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then jumped in straight after.

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He's scarcely a man to follow.

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He was a good man.

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Yes.

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Yes, a good man who killed his wife for convenience.

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You know nothing.

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Always cow-eyed about your sainted mother.

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Or maybe it's about time you know about your mother.

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I do.

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Do you know she took you down to the river to drown you?

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Carried you across the foreshore. A tiny baby in her arms.

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Innocent and sweet. She waded in.

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Held you under, until the bubbles stopped!

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She was deranged, James!

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That's why your father had her committed to Bedlam. To protect you.

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To save your life, son. Desperate for your death!

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It took three men to pull you apart.

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She was clawing and spitting,

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dragged from the river howling and screaming!

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Be very, very careful now!

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She wanted you dead, James.

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DOOR CLOSES

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FAINT VOICES CRYING OUT

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Go away, Winter.

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I'm not scared of you.

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What are you scared of?

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Of who they say you are.

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The African devil.

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HE SPEAKS IN TWI

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Stop staring. You're scaring me.

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Go home to your mother.

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Helga loves you. You're safe there. Go to sleep.

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All will be well.

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Go.

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Gentlemen, I want you to pay attention,

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because all our lives will depend upon it.

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This harmless-looking powder...

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..is called chlorate.

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And on its own, it is harmless.

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But when it is added to the sulphur and charcoal in our vats,

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it is anything but.

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Think of it as like adding a baby to a marriage.

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All was ordered and calm and now there is this thing

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that demands attention.

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Stops you sleeping, belches, farts, screams...

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and she's going to make this whole process louder and wilder,

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more insane, more impractical...

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..and the only thing that will stop this entire enterprise

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from erupting in a giant explosion the size of Mauritius is this...

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..and dedication.

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Because, from now on, until the powder is complete, we have to stir.

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Continuously!

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You.

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You.

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And Robert.

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Stir.

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Stir.

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Stir.

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Frightened rabbit.

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Go to hell.

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He is African.

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They smell fear like dogs.

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He's a trumped-up fucking...

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..antiquarian.

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Self-learnt. The worst.

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Busiest in the head. Doesn't drink.

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They should not be dropping him on us like a black cannonball.

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-DOOR OPENS

-Mr George Chichester.

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Ah.

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Gentlemen. How good of you to see me.

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You can mystify it all you want, but in the end, that is what it is.

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A cat in the middle of the desert, with no nose.

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THEY LAUGH

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But what...what an extraordinary achievement, gentlemen.

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When you think that the pyramids and the great Valley Of The Kings

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and the Sphinx were all manufactured by men

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with skin almost as dark as my own.

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It almost defies all your - our - current views of nature.

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THEY CHUCKLE

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You are very well travelled, sir.

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I just wish I had seen those wonders without the benefit of chains

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around my arms and legs.

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Which brings me to this tragic business.

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I have prevailed upon the Prince Regent to open

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a Royal Commission into the sinking of an East India Company ship

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called the Cornwallis on July 10th, 1804.

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The Cornwallis?

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I thought the name of the ship in question was the Influence.

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Its real name is the Cornwallis.

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But in the port of Cabinda on the West African coast,

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its name was temporarily changed.

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But wh-wh-why... wh-why was its name changed?

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Because, on July the 5th, it was loaded with a cargo of slaves.

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Which is strictly not illegal in 1804.

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No. No. No.

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But the return of the abolitionist Charles Grant into

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the East India Court of Directors almost a year previously meant that

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the East India no longer sanctioned the transportation of slaves.

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But these slaves were loaded by East India Company directors anyway.

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As part of a thriving illicit network.

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It was done for personal profit.

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The ship was officially registered as departing Cabinda empty.

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That is why it sailed with only a skeleton crew.

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And this scarcity of crew is almost certainly the reason why,

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within four days,

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the ship ran aground.

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WOMAN'S LAUGHTER

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Help yourself to breakfast.

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It's been two days.

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Why are you not looking for him?

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We had words.

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What words?

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A family matter.

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Well, I-I shall call on Mr Thoyt.

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Perhaps we can glean some knowledge from him.

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Oh, if there's any darkness, that articled pimp will know about it.

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And then I intend to visit Zilpha Geary.

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Why are you not worried?

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He won't be dead,

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and he won't be happy.

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You can depend on that.

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MEN GRUNT AND SHOUT

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HE LAUGHS

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MAN: Open up! KNOCKING

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Open the door, we know you're in there!

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-Darlin'?

-What do you want?

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COUGHING

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DOG BARKS

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James Delaney?

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He then said the ship was doubly overburdened.

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280 slaves in a ship of 150 tonnes.

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The blackamoor then claimed that, when the ship ran aground,

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the Captain ordered that the cargo hold be nailed shut.

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So the slaves would all go down with the ship.

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Leaving no evidence of the illicit cargo to incriminate those

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who had arranged the shipment.

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Then he asked about your brother, Sir.

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And his sugar plantation at Jumby Bay, Antigua.

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Chichester is their bishop.

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The king is safe.

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Delaney is a horse

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and Prinny is their queen.

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I think it's time we started moving some pieces.

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Mr Cholmondeley. Wake up.

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Change of guard!

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Steady as she goes.

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Steady as she goes.

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Steady as she goes.

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And may God have mercy on our souls.

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FOOTSTEPS

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I was calling on the lady of the house.

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If your wife is indisposed, I will leave.

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You thought the man of the house would be out, attending to business.

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But I have no business.

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Is your wife indisposed?

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Your visit is regarding Mr James Delaney...

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-I presume.

-Yes, I thought Mrs Geary might know where he would be.

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Why would my wife know where he is?

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Well, she is his sister and I already tried his attorney.

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You know,

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there are so many awful rumours flying around London about him.

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I heard one about an actress he keeps locked in his cellar,

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-enjoys the beatings....

-I don't need to...

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An actress

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who enjoys walking with a man with human flesh in his teeth.

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You know, you can even buy a song about Delaney now.

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In Covent Garden, for a penny.

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I-I'll return when you're sober...

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It's about a cannibal who plans to eat the Prince Regent.

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So it can only be about Delaney.

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FOOTSTEPS

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Forgive me, I was...

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..just dressing.

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He's been gone two days...

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And she thought you might know where he is, because you are his sister.

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I'm afraid I have no idea where he is.

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I was just telling her about the rhyme they all sing about him now.

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It's...

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'Tis in Pall Mall there lives a pig

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That doth this Mall adorn

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So fat, so plump, so monstrous big

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A finer ne'er were born.

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This pig so sweet, so full of meat

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He's the one I wish to kill...

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My fowls resign on thee to dine

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Sweet pig of fine Pall Mall.

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They were singing that rhyme long before

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Mr Delaney returned to London.

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"Before Mr Delaney returned to London."

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Ah, yes.

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That golden age.

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You want to know where he is?

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My dear, the whole of London wants to know where he is.

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His Majesty's Government wants to know where he is.

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I'm afraid we cannot help you.

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Miss Bowe, my husband and I would now like you to leave.

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Of course.

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Perhaps you be so kind as to order me a carriage?

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No.

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FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSES

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The enigma that is James Delaney.

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You know, it's curious.

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This cholera epidemic that you and I invented for our own convenience

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has actually begun to claim lives.

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Six people in Rotherhithe.

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It's as if the disease is not transmitted by air or miasma,

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but by false rumour.

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Then it is the same as religion.

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Or patriotism.

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You have no God, certainly no country. What do you have?

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Powder.

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When will you deliver?

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Tomorrow, at midnight.

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BANGING ON DOOR

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Zilpha, open this door!

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Zilpha!

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BANGING Open this door!

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Zilpha! BANGING

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Zilpha, open this door now! BANGING

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BANGING Zilpha!

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Australia! I swear it. I swear it.

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A position in Sydney, Australia.

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Ports and harbour assessor.

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And the jurisdiction of an assizes.

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And administration of felons through the docks.

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Never lock your door or draw your robe against me again,

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for I am an assessor!

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I applied for the position three months ago. I didn't tell you.

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Here.

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Read it. Won't you?

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Read.

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Come now, all is forgotten,

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all is forgotten.

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How ridiculous it's all been. Duelling.

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And you and I fighting like children.

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Australia is too far.

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Please leave.

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Let me finish here.

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All fires extinguished.

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Gently, gently, gently, gentlemen.

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Have the greatest of respect for the inhabitant of this coffin.

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Famously volatile.

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Given to explosive fits of rage.

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May he rest in peace

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until he's reignited with his Saviour.

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Slow, slow, slow over the potted roads.

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The chlorate is still there,

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it's just sleeping.

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"For the purpose of preventing contagion." Hm?

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I saw you...

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..and you saw something at the pond.

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What did you see?

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Nothing.

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I strongly suggest you to continue to see nothing.

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HE CHUCKLES

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Move!

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Hey. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

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Whoa.

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What's this?

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Cholera.

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Cholera?

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Where's this cholera now?

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Hendon Road.

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It's coming down the Fleet and Kilburn Rivers.

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Is that so?

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How many?

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Six.

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And a child.

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I see...

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A child.

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Yes, it's very sad, it's a whole family. Been dead for days.

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We haven't heard about that.

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We've being instructed to transport them under the cover of darkness.

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So as not to alarm the populous.

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Oh, cholera, you say?

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Well...

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..let's have a look, shall we?

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Torch.

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I wouldn't do that.

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Oh, Jesus Christ.

0:28:040:28:06

Go on, go!

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Go. Get out of here. Go. Move on.

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-Get 'em out of here.

-Go.

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-What happened there?

-No idea, get on the horse.

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Go on. Go. Move on!

0:28:190:28:21

Good work, boy!

0:28:240:28:25

Go on. Move out of here! Go!

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Gently.

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Careful not to wake the dead...

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..as they reach their final resting place.

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I will tell Mr Madison I have made an extraordinary discovery.

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A man in London who can be relied upon.

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Hm.

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Yes, you tell him that and I will rely upon him to give my ship

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safe passage through the American blockade.

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If my factory is discovered...

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..I will know where to find you.

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HE GRUNTS

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You stink of cow shit.

0:31:010:31:03

It's horse shit, actually.

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We thought you might have left for good.

0:31:090:31:12

And would that be good?

0:31:140:31:15

I visited your sister to ask where you were.

0:31:200:31:22

Three days and not a word?

0:31:250:31:27

Did you think it would go unnoticed?

0:31:280:31:31

The Company have men in every tavern asking where you are.

0:31:330:31:37

They're offering £10 to anyone with information.

0:31:380:31:41

Making threats.

0:31:410:31:42

Money being offered - it's only a matter of time, James.

0:31:420:31:45

You tell me one thing that isn't just a matter of time.

0:31:470:31:50

They say you're going to sell the gun powder to the Republicans.

0:31:520:31:55

Republicans haven't got any money, why would I sell it to them?

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-They think you're going to start a revolution.

-Ah.

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If the Prince genuinely thought I was going to start a revolution,

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I would be in the Tower.

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He's not a safeguard.

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If Crown and Company solve their little dispute,

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they will crush you between them.

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What did my sister say?

0:32:380:32:39

Zilpha?

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HE GRUNTS

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BANGING ON DOOR

0:34:340:34:35

BANGING CONTINUES

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SHE EXHALES

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What have you done?

0:35:510:35:52

I've killed him.

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Just like you said.

0:35:580:36:00

Where is the body?

0:36:110:36:13

In the bedroom.

0:36:130:36:14

Are you sure he's dead?

0:36:160:36:18

Quite dead.

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Sit there.

0:36:220:36:23

In the bedroom?

0:36:440:36:45

Yes.

0:36:450:36:46

When did I, um...?

0:36:550:36:57

What?

0:36:580:36:59

Nothing.

0:36:590:37:01

You stay here.

0:37:070:37:09

I will tell Brace to arrange a carriage.

0:37:110:37:13

By the time you get home, the body will be gone.

0:37:130:37:16

Home?

0:37:160:37:18

Yes.

0:37:180:37:19

-You are sending me home?

-Of course...

0:37:200:37:22

..or you will hang.

0:37:230:37:25

I will get rid of the body.

0:37:270:37:30

No-one will know.

0:37:300:37:31

Of course.

0:37:340:37:35

For immediate burial.

0:38:110:38:13

MEN TALKING IN BACKGROUND

0:38:310:38:34

Gentlemen,

0:38:340:38:35

at last some good news.

0:38:350:38:38

This morning, a lost sheep returned to the fold.

0:38:380:38:43

A penitent sinner saw the light and spoke earnestly to the one true God.

0:38:430:38:49

A devil was exorcised.

0:38:500:38:53

A farmer, called Ibbotson,

0:38:540:38:58

confessed to the priest at St Mary's church,

0:38:580:39:01

Greyhound Road, Hendon,

0:39:010:39:03

that he had allowed the devil into his life.

0:39:030:39:06

He received absolution from the priest and, this morning,

0:39:060:39:11

the priest received his reward from the Honourable East India Company.

0:39:110:39:16

A reward in the sum of £25.

0:39:160:39:19

Gentlemen...

0:39:230:39:24

..we have Delaney's factory.

0:39:270:39:29

-Finally!

-THEY CHUCKLE

0:39:290:39:32

James!

0:39:580:39:59

James. James. Catastrophe.

0:40:010:40:04

The farmer Ibbotson took confession...

0:40:040:40:05

-Calm down.

-James... No. No. No.

0:40:050:40:07

You are betrayed.

0:40:070:40:09

You shouldn't be here.

0:40:110:40:12

I will deal with it.

0:40:150:40:16

Go home.

0:40:190:40:20

Mount up.

0:40:320:40:34

We have him, men.

0:40:340:40:35

Hurry up.

0:40:350:40:36

Keep moving!

0:40:360:40:38

To the heath!

0:40:400:40:41

He won't let us shift it.

0:40:450:40:46

James.

0:40:560:40:57

The powder that we moved last night was ready to be moved.

0:40:580:41:01

That's why we moved it.

0:41:010:41:03

The 50 kegs we have in storage is powder that is not ready

0:41:030:41:06

to be moved, because it is unstable.

0:41:060:41:09

If you put those kegs on a cart on a bone-hard road, they will explode.

0:41:090:41:14

We are leaving now, because we have being betrayed.

0:41:150:41:18

No excuses.

0:41:230:41:25

The talking is done.

0:41:250:41:26

Jesus Christ.

0:41:300:41:31

You, again.

0:41:470:41:50

Is there more to tell?

0:41:500:41:51

Check all the outhouses!

0:42:110:42:12

Search everywhere.

0:42:140:42:16

Search that building.

0:42:160:42:17

Quickly. Move!

0:42:200:42:22

It must be somewhere, keep looking.

0:42:250:42:27

DOOR OPENS

0:42:580:43:00

Oh, God!

0:43:020:43:04

Is this the face of abject failure?

0:43:060:43:08

He must have known we were coming.

0:43:080:43:10

How, how did he know?

0:43:100:43:12

Oh, God!

0:43:140:43:16

Very well.

0:43:210:43:23

We will allow him to think he is one step ahead...

0:43:230:43:26

..while we exploit what is undefended.

0:43:280:43:32

ORGAN PLAYS

0:44:110:44:14

CHURCH BELLS TOLL

0:44:220:44:25

And to you, your church on Earth and in Heaven,

0:45:160:45:18

we offer honour and glory, now and for ever.

0:45:180:45:22

-Amen.

-Amen.

0:45:220:45:25

Take that dress off.

0:46:260:46:27

Take that fucking dress off now!

0:46:350:46:37

FLINT LIGHTER

0:47:310:47:33

HUBBUB

0:48:080:48:11

# I sailed aboard the Vincent

0:48:150:48:17

# She rolled this way and that

0:48:170:48:20

-CHILDREN:

-# This way and that

0:48:200:48:22

# Then we turned her on the French the mouse for Wellington's cat

0:48:220:48:26

# The mouse for Wellington's cat

0:48:260:48:28

# And know you this I saw him there

0:48:280:48:31

# Standing on the deck... #

0:48:310:48:32

Mr Delaney. Sir Stuart just wants you to know...

0:48:340:48:37

..it's war.

0:48:390:48:40

The gloves are off.

0:48:400:48:42

# ..the mouse for Wellington's cat! #

0:48:420:48:44

# And know you this, I saw him there

0:48:440:48:47

# Standing on the deck

0:48:470:48:49

# It was the cursed Bonaparte! I threw a rope around his... #

0:48:490:48:53

SHOUTING, CHILDREN CRYING

0:48:560:49:00

LAUGHTER AND CHATTER

0:49:260:49:29

My ship is in fucking pieces, Godfrey.

0:49:520:49:55

It is in fucking pieces.

0:49:550:49:57

I swear, I swear I didn't know.

0:49:590:50:00

Now report.

0:50:030:50:06

War has begun.

0:50:060:50:08

Sorry about your news.

0:50:390:50:41

Marshall.

0:50:430:50:44

I need a ship.

0:50:460:50:48

And I need to ensure no-one else betrays me.

0:50:490:50:51

Your man did not heed my warning...

0:50:580:51:01

You don't want much, do you?

0:51:010:51:02

You were meant to be guarding his ship.

0:51:170:51:19

Two possibilities.

0:51:500:51:52

He sold you out, cos you cut off his thumb,

0:51:540:51:57

or you cut off his thumb,

0:51:570:52:00

cos you knew he was going to sell you out.

0:52:000:52:02

Possibility one - reason.

0:52:060:52:08

Possibility two -

0:52:100:52:12

witchcraft.

0:52:120:52:15

Leave this body where it will be found.

0:52:190:52:21

You can keep the heart.

0:52:220:52:24

Goodnight.

0:52:260:52:28

HE PANTS

0:52:300:52:32

The devil's here.

0:52:450:52:47

Go get some sleep.

0:53:210:53:23

I don't need to sleep.

0:53:240:53:25

I need...a ship.

0:53:290:53:34

Maybe have a fuck first.

0:53:350:53:37

Find a ship tomorrow.

0:53:370:53:38

Why don't you find a captain..

0:53:410:53:43

..and you take him upstairs and slit his throat,

0:53:440:53:48

and I will take his ship?

0:53:480:53:49

No captains. No throat-slitting.

0:53:490:53:52

We can't find you a ship.

0:53:520:53:54

Mine!

0:54:100:54:11

HE MUTTERS

0:54:290:54:32

I need a ship!

0:54:420:54:43

Just give me a fucking ship.

0:54:450:54:47

-WINTER:

-James.

0:55:050:55:07

What are you doing?

0:55:070:55:10

No. Go away. I'm busy.

0:55:110:55:14

I'm not fit to be near you now.

0:55:140:55:16

I brought this for you.

0:55:250:55:27

RASPING BREATHS

0:56:090:56:11

As James Delaney's trading plans start to unravel, a family revelation drives him into dark and haunted places, both real and emotional. Those around him, his household and family included, seem to be spiralling out of control, with terrible prices being paid. Meanwhile, at the East India Company, a frustrated Sir Stuart Strange calls for all-out war against James, threatening to destroy all he has built. As James reacts to this upsurge of chaos, things take a dire turn.