Stir-Up Sunday, November 25, 2018, is the day when the traditional Christmas pudding is made, giving it five weeks for the flavours to combine. On that day, everyone in the family takes a turn to stir… More
“Miss Bennet was the only creature who could suppose there might be any extenuating circumstances in the case, unknown to the society of Hertfordshire; her mild and stead candour always pleased for allowances, and the possibility of mistakes—but by everybody else Mr. Darcy was condemned as the worst of men.” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 23)
We all accept that Fitzwilliam Darcy did not start out as a romantic hero. There can be no dispute that he behaved badly while he visited Netherfield with his friends. At the Meryton Assembly, he was an entitled snob with bad manners. He kept to himself, only danced with the ladies in his party and refused all introductions. However, no one had ever had the courage to inform him of his shortcomings until Elizabeth Bennet gave him a proper set-down at the Hunsford parsonage. When she rejected his proposal, she made sure to list her complaints against him; he was arrogant, conceited, selfish and ungentlemanly.
Even when he penned his letter to Elizabeth, he still thought himself in the right and wrote it with ‘a dreadful bitterness of spirit.’ In canon, his thoughts soon turned in a proper direction and he became the hero we all love.
BUT — what if Darcy still suffered from his delusions of grandeur a bit longer? What if he was so determined to make Elizabeth his wife that he forgot his manners and did the unthinkable? What if he abducted Elizabeth from Rosings with the intention of making her his bride?
This is the inspiration for my story “Against Her Will”. Darcy thinks he is perfectly in the right and can’t understand why anyone would question his choice. Yes, he is perfectly delusional and takes a bit longer to understand that his actions were ungentlemanly and unacceptable. Unfortunately for him, his family voices their disapproval and comes to Elizabeth’s defense. He had not only injured the woman he loved, but also Jane Bennet and his own closest friend, Charles Bingley. He is forced to come to terms with his bad behavior and make amends to everyone he knows.
Are you ready for Bad Darcy? Can you handle Bad Darcy?
Is it a romance or something darker? You decide.
Available now on Amazon: Against Her Will
I have watched the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice countless times and thought I knew every frame by heart. But when I saw this photo on Pinterest, it was the first time I noticed the little dog at Caroline Bingley’s feet.
Wait — Caroline had a dog in that movie? How did I miss that?
I went back to the movie, fast forwarded to that scene and there she was; a beautiful long-haired dachshund. That pretty little doggie didn’t appear in any other scenes, so it was only a brief cameo.
Hello Inspiration! My next JAFF had to have a little dog at Netherfield and her name was to be Petunia!
After some quick research on dogs during the Regency era, I found that it was unlikely for a dachshund to be a favored pet; they were more prevalent in Germany. In England, it more likely would have been a Yorkshire terrier, King Charles Cavalier or West Highland terrier. But since I never identified Petunia’s breed in my story, I kept my own sainted Westie/Bichon in mind as she scampered through Netherfield.
She made her debut in the first chapter, making friends with Darcy in the Netherfield library after he awoke from a nap. She became his defender in one of his dreams and even accompanied him on a walk with Elizabeth.
The idea and title for this story came from this Jane Austen quote: ‘Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit of inspiring such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with great intrepidity: “Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”’ (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6) “Inspiring such reflections’ became Inspired Reflections, and a story was born.
The main theme of the story was Darcy’s dreams of his favorite, Elizabeth Bennet. She was constantly in his thoughts, waking and sleeping. He finally had to admit that she had taken hold of his psyche and the story has a much quicker resolution.
The story is now published in my collection of three short stories: Inspired Reflections.
If you enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon.
What is a single woman to do when the holiday blues assail her? Write a melancholy Christmas JAFF, of course. That’s where the inspiration for ‘Deck the Halls with Melancholy’ came from. Everyone I know will be celebrating the holidays with their significant others – and then there is me: no husband, no kids, and no grandkids. Just me and the cat. Pathetic, right?
No! Of course not! Lots of singles manage to survive the holidays without falling into the abyss. I hoped that my story would be cathartic and help to soothe my blue mood.
Certainly our dear couples survived the Holidays of 1811. If you recall, after the Netherfield ball, the residents of Netherfield left town, leaving our dear Bennet sisters in misery. We know from canon that Jane was devastated by Bingley’s abandonment and Elizabeth was furious that Darcy had played a part in the scheme. Miss Austen eluded to Bingley’s actions in Caroline’s letter to Jane, stating that he was ‘an inmate of Mr. Darcy’s house’, in Chapter 24, but we know very little else about what happened in London during that time. This was a perfect opportunity to add my interpretation of those missing scenes.
What if everyone was as miserable as I felt? It doesn’t make for a happy story but I believe it adheres closely to what Jane, Charles, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth may have been thinking during that time.
Did writing the story make me feel better? Yes and no. If you don’t like being alone at Christmas, it’s still terrible. But before too long, that emotion is bound to be replaced with disappointment for failing to keep my New Year’s resolutions.
Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2018!
My first inspiration for this story came from the first Harry Potter movie, when he was at Hogwarts. In the halls and stairwells hung portraits of souls who had passed on, but those people could talk to the students and give them advice.
It seemed a perfect scenario for a Pride and Prejudice variation, where Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s sainted grandmothers could guide them through their tumultuous relationship. I imagined their portraits in the family gallery speaking directly to our favorite couple. Of course, my better judgement eventually took hold. Realizing that this was far too much of a direct rip-off of JK Rowling’s original idea, I decided to go with an internal communication instead.
I introduced the two young girls as they were both making their presentation to the queen and the story flowed naturally from there. The Heavenly Guardianship Program became the method by which the grandmothers could influence their descendants.
Of course, nothing goes smoothly for the dear ladies and they are forced to use drastic measures to help our couple realize that they were destined to be together,
Available on Amazon: Matchmaking Grandmothers
Maybe not as cute as April, but this is my latest craft project: a giraffe made from baby blankets, bibs, wash cloths, burp cloths and socks.
She’s still kind of cute, though!
The bibs, wash cloths and burp cloths are all rolled up inside the blankets to make the legs and neck. Everything is held together with rubber bands, which are hidden by bibs around the base of the neck and a giant bow. Double sticky tape holds down the loose edges.
Her face is a sock (with googly-eyes taped on) and her ears are also socks tucked into the face sock.
Please notice the pink Mary-Jane socks on her feet — too adorable!
In my story, Darcy’s Big Wish, I imagine Darcy as a ten-year-old boy.
What would he have looked like at that age? As the son of a wealthy man, he would have been dressed in the latest fashions made of the finest materials. His hair would have been worn long, in the style of the era.
(Pictured: Thomas Draddyll, 1789. Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.)
In my imagination, he looked more like this boy, with long curly hair.
(Pictured: Owen Best, 2010. Child actor in the movie “TRON: Legacy.”)
However, when Fitzwilliam Darcy is suddenly thrust into his ten-year-old form, he enjoys none of the privileges he had as a boy. A child of unknown parentage could easily be sent to the workhouse, where he would have been forced into hard labor.
But who could not help falling in love with a beautiful, if somewhat arrogant child? Certainly not Elizabeth Bennet, who comes to his rescue and helps him find his way back to his former life.
Read about their journey together: Here
My most recent publication is a fantasy: What if Darcy made a life-altering wish?
Being a pragmatic, serious man, Darcy held no belief in fairy tales; those were only for children or muddle-headed maidens. But when he suddenly found himself in an impossible dilemma, Elizabeth Bennet was the only person he could trust.
“Miss Elizabeth, are you unwell?”
Gasping with fright, Elizabeth jumped to her feet, whirled around and observed a small boy wearing green riding attire meant for a grown man.
“Why do you weep?” he asked.
“Who are you?” she inquired, swiftly wiping the tears from her face.
He bowed in a proper greeting and she curtsied. “It is I, Mr. Darcy,” he said.
She was startled by this obvious falsehood and narrowed her eyes. “You are not Mr. Darcy! You are just a boy!”
“While it is true that I appear to be a boy, I am indeed Fitzwilliam Darcy.” He swept the hair away from his eyes and stood with perfect posture, his coat tails touching the ground.
Of course, Elizabeth knew perfectly well that this young child was not Mr. Darcy but who could he be? She was sure that she knew all the young boys in the county and he was certainly not a child of the Longbourn tenants or neighbours. “Are you visiting someone in the area?” she asked.
“I am visiting Charles Bingley, as you very well know, Miss Elizabeth.” She detected a hint of annoyance in his voice.
“How do you know my name?” she inquired in confusion. “Have we been introduced?” She gazed around her for a glimpse of anyone who might have accompanied the child.
“I have known you these past few weeks,” he said, failing to mask his displeasure. “I danced with you last evening at the ball.”
She shook her head in disagreement. “I danced with no boys last evening,” she said. When his annoyance changed to exasperation, she continued in a gentler tone, though still sceptical of his claims. “It is no secret that I danced with Mr. Darcy last night, as any number of people observed us doing so,” she said.
“Perhaps but no one overheard our conversation.”
She folded her arms in front of her. “And did we converse during this dance, Mister Darcy?” she inquired.
He nodded the affirmative. “You tried to assess my character but you enjoyed little success. You said I puzzled you exceedingly. I said that I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he replied with the utmost determination, unlike any child she had ever encountered.
She frowned. “And do you know why Mr. Darcy puzzles me?” she asked.
“Does it have something to do with Mr. Wickham?”
She averted her eyes. “Among other things,” she said.
“Miss Elizabeth, I know you wish to know more of my history with Mr. Wickham and I promise to reveal the whole sordid truth, but first I beseech you to assist me!”
“If you are Mr. Darcy, why are you a boy?” She was still doubtful of his claims but his troubled countenance gave her pause. His haughty reserve had faded and shoulders drooped.
He shook his head and sat down on the fallen tree. “Honestly, I have no idea,” he said.
She sat next to him. “How may I help you?” She could not keep from feeling some sympathy for the poor boy, sitting there with his head in his hands. She noticed, too, that his feet were covered only with wool stockings and no small amount of debris.
He was silent for a moment, then looked up into her eyes. “I need help to determine how I came to be in my present state and how to correct it,” he said.
She shook her head. “First, we must get you some attire befitting your age. You look entirely out of place in those clothes.” How this was to be accomplished was a different matter; with five daughters, Longbourn would have no boys’ clothes stored away. She suddenly thought of her friend Charlotte Lucas, who had younger brothers. “Let us go to Lucas Lodge,” she said. “They are certain to have some clothes that will fit you.”
“Yes, that is an excellent suggestion!”
He grasped the horse’s reins and they made their way through the pines and over to the path between the two estates. “Is that Mr. Darcy’s horse?” she inquired.
“Yes, Bart is my horse,” the boy said.
He was a puzzlement indeed. “Are you really Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy?” she asked.
“I am.” He held out his hand, showing her the ring on his thumb. “I have my father’s signet ring to prove it.”
“But it is too large for you,” she said. Indeed, the boy was small; a full head shorter than she was.
“Yes, it slipped off my finger during the night and I nearly lost it,” he told her with a frown. “I would never forgive myself if I lost such a cherished heirloom.”
“No indeed, you must not lose it.” She felt still quite unsure what to make of the boy’s claims, but she dearly hoped that he had not stolen the ring from Mr. Darcy.
He stopped walking to look up at her. “Do you believe me, then? Please tell me that you do, Miss Elizabeth!” he implored her.
“Tell me something that only Mr. Darcy and I would know.”
He appeared to contemplate this for a moment. “I admire a woman who improves her mind through extensive reading.”
He mouth gaped in astonishment. “Mr. Darcy!” It was true that he had made that very same comment during their discussion at Netherfield a fortnight ago. It was impossible to believe, but somehow Mr. Darcy had turned into a boy! But how?—she wondered, although she did see the resemblance; the dark hair, the intense eyes, and the proud posture.
Available on Amazon: Link
Pride in Meryton ~ Three Pride and Prejudice Novelettes
- Pride and Tolerance
What if Elizabeth immediately objected to Darcy’s ‘tolerable’ remark on the night of the Meryton Assembly? Would Darcy realize his blunder and make amends?
- Meryton Revisited
What if Darcy had a Groundhog Day experience? In this story, the day of the Meryton assembly is repeated over and over until Darcy finally gets it right!
What if Mrs. Bennet’s worst fears came true and she and her daughters were evicted from their home? Would they be forced to live in the hedgerows? This story follows the Bennets out into the cruel world after losing their beloved Longbourn. Will our dear couple find their way to each other?
Excerpt of Pride and Tolerance below:
Elizabeth Bennet was greatly diverted by the entrance of the Netherfield party. Ever since Sir William Lucas had invited the newcomers to attend the local assembly in Meryton, word of their arrival had been much discussed in the neighbourhood and was of special interest to the ladies. That eligible young men were to be in their midst was of the greatest interest to those ladies with marriageable daughters.
Elizabeth’s mama had spoken of little else during the past fortnight and now that the event was finally underway, she was breathless with anticipation. “Oh my dear Lady Lucas! They have finally arrived! What a wonderful thing for our daughters, to be sure!” Mrs. Bennet twittered with an air of delight. The two ladies were long-time friends; Mrs. Bennet with five marriageable daughters and Lady Lucas with two.
Elizabeth attempted to ignore any attempts made on her behalf to match her to the latest newcomers to the neighbourhood; perhaps they were unsuitable, she mused. Perhaps one was too old or was a recluse. Perhaps another had rotten teeth or warts. Perhaps he had foul breath and a leer. She giggled to herself and imagined any number of maladies from which the gentlemen might suffer as the party approached. “Or worse; what if he was a simpleton?” she wondered, imagining the greatest malady of all, in her estimation.
Netherfield Park was an estate bordering Elizabeth’s home of Longbourn in Hertfordshire. Since the current owner had fallen into failing health, Netherfield had been let to Mr. Bingley, who was widely considered to be the next owner of that excellent property. He was currently leasing the property but the prevailing opinion was that he could not fail to admire the grounds and the manor house, since it was the finest estate in the area. With an estate so perfectly situated, there could be no doubt that Mr. Bingley would be the eventual owner. Elizabeth knew that her mama dearly hoped that one of her daughters would soon be the mistress of Netherfield Park.
As the party of newcomers approached, Elizabeth was finally able to observe them; they numbered only five, not the twelve that had been widely circulated. Three gentlemen and two ladies walked slowly into the assembly hall and greeted the prominent elder in the community. Sir William had been knighted by the King some years ago and was widely regarded with great esteem for his wisdom and compassion. He warmly greeted the newcomers and introduced them to his family.
Elizabeth noted that the party appeared quite stylish, wearing the latest fashions from London. The ladies were especially fashionable, though a bit aloof, appearing quite out of place in the midst of the country assembly. Elizabeth glanced down at her simple green muslin frock, which despite being one of her favourites, in no way compared to the elegant silk gowns adorning the two new ladies. The three gentlemen all appeared to be wearing expertly tailored clothes made of the finest materials.
Mr. Bingley quickly made himself known to all the principal people in the room and requested introductions to as many others as he could. He had all the appearances of a well-bred gentleman with a pleasant countenance and easy, unaffected manners. He introduced the two ladies as his sisters and the one gentleman as his brother-in-law. The other gentleman, a Mr. Darcy, was not introduced as he preferred to loiter in the back of the room, pacing to and fro in a disgruntled manner, appearing to be above company with a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance. He refused to speak to or dance with anyone outside of his own party. Mr. Darcy’s tall frame, handsome features and noble mien did nothing to turn the tide of disgust that Elizabeth harboured for the gentleman.
In contrast to his disagreeable friend, Mr. Bingley danced every dance that evening, even taking a turn about the dance floor with Elizabeth. She found him in every way agreeable and could not help but notice his particular attentions to her older sister Jane. They seemed to quite enjoy their dance together and nothing would please Elizabeth more than to see her beloved sister happily matched. She and Jane were the closest confidants and she looked forward with great anticipation to their conversation later that evening when they would discuss every aspect of the evening, including the newcomers.
Due to the lack of dance partners, Elizabeth sat out one dance with her friend, Charlotte Lucas. The two had been lifelong friends and they amused themselves by watching the dancers. She observed Mr. Bingley approach disagreeable Mr. Darcy and entreat him to join in the dancing.
“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.”
“I would not be so fastidious as you are,” cried Bingley, “for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty.”
“You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.
“Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”
“Which do you mean?” and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” [i]
“No indeed,” thought Elizabeth, seething with disgust. “Simple-mindedness is not the greatest failure in a man; rudeness takes that honour.” She wanted to reprimand the horrid man for his bad manners but having received no introduction to the gentleman, it would have been improper for her to address him.
Turning to her friend, she decided on a less direct approach. “Charlotte, it is quite a shame, is it not, that all of Mr. Bingley’s acquaintances are not blessed with the same pleasing manners as that honourable gentleman?” she inquired, making sure that her question was well within Mr. Disagreeable’s hearing.
Charlotte said not a word but silently entreated her friend to refrain from giving further voice to her observations.
“Indeed, I would not have thought that such a well-bred gentleman such as Mr. Bingley would befriend someone who harboured such selfish disdain for the feelings of others,” she insisted, quite loudly, clearly annoyed at the snub. Throughout her entire life, Elizabeth had endured her mama’s endless comments about her lack of beauty but hearing it from the lips of the conceited gentleman had irritated her more than she cared to admit.
She had not yet finished her diatribe but suddenly found herself being forcibly removed from the area by her friend; Charlotte had grabbed her arm and escorted her to another corner of the room. “You will hardly recommend yourself to Mr. Bingley by insulting his friend, Eliza,” Charlotte scolded her in hushed tones.
Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been criticized in his life; as the son of a distinguished gentleman and noble gentlewoman, he had been blessed with fortunate circumstances and considerable wealth. Most people of his acquaintance regarded him with respect and reverence. He was a leading member of the ton and the master of Pemberley and extensive properties in Derbyshire. His astonishment at being admonished by a young woman in the wilds of Hertfordshire was beyond his imaginings.
His friend Charles Bingley had invited him to stay at his newly leased property. Darcy’s life had taken a considerable turn since last August and Charles had convinced him to come to Hertfordshire for a change of pace. He certainly could use a change of scenery, he agreed. August had been a particularly difficult month for him and his dear sister, Georgiana. The two siblings had been in constant company for the last three months; he could not bear to be parted from her and she needed his support and reassurance. She had suffered a devastating loss and had been inconsolable for weeks. She was nearly recovered now and under the tutelage of a new companion. He agreed to the Hertfordshire trip, knowing that London was a brief ride away. He left strict instructions with his staff that they should send word immediately if Georgiana needed him.
However, now that they were separated, his dear sister was never far from his mind. He worried constantly about her: Was she faring well? Did she need him? Was she able to concentrate on her studies? Would she be safe from unscrupulous suitors? Was Mrs. Annesley the best choice as Georgiana’s companion? Would she betray him as the previous companion had done?
These questions lingered in the back of his mind as he paced the floor. He had accepted the invitation to attend the local assembly but dancing was the furthest thing from Darcy’s mind at the moment. The welfare of his dear sister was the subject of his every thought; that and his failure in his role as her guardian. His parents were both deceased and the responsibility of raising and protecting Georgiana had fallen on his shoulders. He and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam had been appointed as legal guardians but with his cousin currently in service to the King in His Majesty’s Army, the bulk of the responsibility fell to him.
Darcy was well aware of the dictates of society at events such as this; he was expected to dance with the ladies in attendance. But how could one think of dancing when haunted by such lingering doubts? Certainly dear Georgiana, who was not yet out in society, was not free to enjoy such pursuits; would she approve of his disregard for her devastation, dancing while she was recovering from an unfortunate incident?
‘Selfish disdain for the feelings of others?’ Had he really been accused of such a thing? That young woman who had been sitting nearby (he had hardly noticed her when Charles pointed her out) had uttered the insult. His only intention at the time was to let Charles know, in no uncertain terms, that he had no desire to dance again this evening. He had already stood up with both of his insufferable sisters; certainly his friend could ask no more of him. The locals had already spread the story of his fortune around the room; he knew perfectly well that the match-making mamas were scheming to introduce their daughters to him. He had endured much the same in London and he hoped that his escape to the country would have afforded him some small amount of privacy but, apparently, this was not to be the case.
And now one of the locals had insulted him. “Well, what is to be done now?” he wondered. He searched for Charles and found him otherwise enthralled with his pretty partner on the dance floor; he would be of no use at the moment, Darcy concluded. Surveying the room, his gaze fell immediately to the young woman in the green muslin gown, from whence the insult had come. Instead of finding her in ill temper, he now observed her pleasantly laughing with her friends, in the highest spirits. Her eyes had an uncommon brilliancy and her smile was luminous; she certainly enjoyed the admiration of the community, judging by their easy fellowship.
He then recalled his brief conversation with his friend; Charles had referred to her as ‘uncommonly pretty’ and he had called her ‘tolerable’; ‘not handsome enough to tempt me,’ he had said. Observing the woman more closely, he had to admit that she was quite tolerable indeed. In his effort to be released from society’s obligations, he had barely given her a passing glance before passing judgment on her. Regardless of what his opinion of her appearance may have been, it had been entirely ill-mannered to give voice to it in such a public forum. He had publicly insulted her appearance, which was unforgivable, and she had publicly insulted his manners in return.
He went in search of Sir William Lucas and requested an introduction to the young woman and her friends. Having the greatest affection for the young woman, Sir William was only too glad to oblige him and performed the introductions with reserved grandeur. Her name was Miss Elizabeth Bennet and, although she claimed to be pleased to make his acquaintance, her expression clearly showed the contrary; she offered him nothing but a proper curtsy and the expected pleasantries but no luminous smile graced her countenance. Miss Lucas, seemed to intervene on her friend’s behalf and exchanged pleasantries with him while Miss Elizabeth remained attentive but silent. It seemed that there was nothing for it but to ask her to dance; then he would be able to explain himself and beg her indulgence.
[i] Pride and Prejudice, (Chapter 3)
Available on Amazon: Link
We all know how Elizabeth Bennet reacted to the Hunsford proposal and how her life progressed in the months following. How did Darcy feel after Elizabeth rejected him and how did he transform into the leading man we all love? (Darcy’s point of view)
Jane Austen Quote: “My real purpose was to see you, and to judge, if I could, whether I might ever hope to make you love me.” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 60)
Below is an excerpt:
After his trip to Rosings, Darcy returned to London to collect Georgiana and his servants and they made the journey to Pemberley. Georgiana immediately noticed his sullen mood and uncharacteristic silence. Try as she might, she was quite unsuccessful in all attempts to gain any information from her brother about his trip. She was quite baffled by his behavior since he had mentioned no difficulties or unpleasantness in his letters. During their journey, she frequently expressed her concern about his sullen demeanor and his hesitation to discuss the details of his visit. However, her inquiries were answered with the shortest of responses, revealing only that their aunt and two cousins were much the same as they ever were.
A week after arriving at Pemberley, still having no information about the Rosings visit, she was determined to discover the cause of her brother’s changed demeanor. “Was anyone else in company with you at Rosings?” she inquired.
“Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Collins dined frequently with us – and his cousin,” Darcy replied.
This is the first Georgiana had heard of Mr. Collins’ cousin. “Was the cousin agreeable?” she asked, hoping for additional details.
“Yes, quite agreeable,” he replied, revealing very little information.
She recognized this as her brother’s tactic to end the line of questioning. “What is his name?” she asked, determined to know more.
“The cousin is Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” he replied, hesitating for a moment. “I mentioned her in my letters,” he added.
He had mentioned Miss Elizabeth sparingly in his letters and Georgiana was pleased beyond all imaginings to hear him mention her name. “How is Miss Elizabeth? I hope she is enjoying good health,” she pressed on. She recalled his mention of Miss Elizabeth in his letters from Hertfordshire last year and was well pleased that William had continued the connection.
“Yes, she is,” he replied. She waited patiently, offering an expectant expression and he continued. “We were in company on a number of occasions. We walked in the park on most mornings and she played the pianoforte after dinner on a number of evenings.”
She brightened upon hearing this. “That is wonderful news! Why did you not tell me sooner?” she asked feeling relieved.
“Miss Elizabeth is cross with me. She accused me of harming George Wickham,” he explained.
She became instantly alarmed. “Harming him? That is impossible! Does she not know of his history?” How it was even possible that anyone could accuse her brother of harming George Wickham was beyond her comprehension.
He shook his head. “No, indeed, at first she knew only of what Wickham had told her. She believed that I am to blame for his current state of near poverty.”
She was horrified at this reply and it pained her to hear that George had deceived another woman. She was comforted when he told her that he had informed Miss Elizabeth of his past offences against the Darcys. “I am glad that you told Miss Elizabeth. It means that you have formed an attachment to her. I must confess that I had hoped for such an attachment. Everything you told me about her caused me to believe that she would be a most excellent sister!” she told him.
“I must confess that I hoped for the same but it is of no consequence,” he replied, becoming sullen once again.
“Oh, but you must not disregard your attachment, William! Did Mama not tell you that you would know when you met the woman of your dreams?” she reminded him.
“Yes Georgiana, but I am not the man of her dreams,” he explained.
“What do you mean?” she asked. He shook his head. “What has happened, William?” she asked, determined to know the reason for William’s misery.
“I offered my hand and she refused me,” he replied.
She gasped upon hearing this and grasped his hand. The reason for his melancholy was now fully revealed. “Oh dear, I am terribly sorry, William! Did she give a reason for her refusal?” she asked.
“I suppose she was displeased with my address,” he quietly replied.
She was startled by this response. “What do you mean? What method did you employ?” she asked. He looked away and was silent. “Did you offer to her on bended knee?” she asked. He shook his head. “Did you declare yourself?” she asked.
“Yes, of course! I told her that I loved her despite the expectations of my family,” he replied.
“Expectations?” she asked in confusion.
“Yes, I am expected to marry a woman with exceptional circumstances and connections, similar to my own,” he explained. “But I disregarded my family obligations in favor of a woman of inferior circumstances.”
She became alarmed. “You did not mention her inferior circumstances, did you?” she asked with trepidation.
“I saw no reason to avoid the issue,” he replied.
“But William, she must have been so….. insulted,” she whispered hesitantly, disappointment slowly creeping into her heart.
He shook his head in disagreement: “Certainly not, I was merely stating the facts,” he replied.
She could no longer hide her displeasure. “Oh William! Why must you be so severe? You can be so exasperating at times! I shall never have a sister if you persist with such behavior!” she cried and ran out of the room.
“Perhaps I could have handled it better,” Darcy thought as he paced fretfully over the carpet in his study. “When I pointed out Miss Elizabeth’s shortcomings, it was perhaps unfortunate that I had employed that particular tactic with her; in hindsight, perhaps I should have taken another tactic.”
He recalled her angry words once more. I have bestowed my good opinion most unwillingly: Why did I withhold my good opinion? She has never done anything to deserve such an omission.
I ruined the happiness of a most beloved sister. When someone stole the happiness of my own sister, I lashed out at the offender, just as Miss Elizabeth has lashed out at me. Am I no better than Wickham?
My arrogance, conceit, selfish disdain for the feelings of others. Am I really as arrogant as she perceives? Does she think me selfish because of the Kympton living? Because of my interference with Charles? Or is it my reserved demeanor? Did I leave an equally bad impression with everyone in Hertfordshire?
I am the last man in the world she could be prevailed upon to marry. The last man in the world! The man who loves her and would do anything for her is the last man in the world that she would marry. How is this even possible?
Had I behaved in a more gentlemanly manner. I finally found a woman I could love, yet when I made my offer to her, I felt it necessary to point out our differences; her lack of fortune, her lack of connections, her family’s lack of propriety. A true gentleman would never have considered such degradation.
I could not have made the offer of my hand in any possible way that would have tempted her to accept me. Why did I not give my address more thought beforehand? If I had made a suitable offer, I would be looking forward to our wedding instead of steeping in misery.
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I killed George Wickham!
In my story, Affectionate Hearts, George timed his elopement scheme better than in canon and took off for the border the day before Darcy arrived in Ramsgate to surprise Georgiana.
I had no problems offing Wickham since he is despised by almost everyone who ever read Pride and Prejudice. But I was in for a surprise when some readers expressed shock at the darkness of that chapter. (By the way, I never disclosed how it happened; I had his lover find his lifeless form. So yes, he was dead as a drowned rat, but I left the reader to form that conclusion.) Other readers expressed despair that the deed was done by one of their darlings, Colonel Fitzwilliam.
These comments made me regret taking that drastic step so I made a change to the next chapter and gave the Colonel pangs of regret for losing his head and taking such extreme measures. This led to even more complications, since he had been dropping hints all along the way north that George was a French spy, and a suspicious innkeeper had filed a report with the local constable. In canon, Darcy never said a word to anyone to protect Georgiana’s reputation.
And there is the biggest dilemma; saving Georgiana’s future. How could I allow the fair Georgiana to come to harm, just for the sake of an original storyline? It’s unconscionable!
Since this was only the first draft of the story, I decided to skip the murder mess in the final manuscript and have the Colonel use his good breeding and military training, (well maybe rough the louse up a little,) and turn him over to the constable. Seven years in prison and transportation to the penal colony for our despicable villain and his henchwoman! They deserved nothing less!
The real point of the story was to throw Darcy and Elizabeth together early and what better way than to send her to the Lake District with her aunt and uncle, which is conveniently, nice and close to the border! With the villain out of the way and a general fondness on both sides, it was simple to come to a happy ending for our dear couple.
But no, not so simple.