Snippet Sunday 2023 Oct 01

During this banter, Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary continued to the main drawingroom, quickly finding Charlotte, and joining her to catch up on all the latest news from Meryton. They had barely taken their seats when Mr. Bingley and Viscount Ashton joined them.

Jane had been uniformly silent about her two beaux. The viscount usually made an appearance at Longbourn in the morning, often joining them for breakfast. Mr. Bingley attended whenever anyone from Netherfield came for tea. It was during these visits Mr. Darcy also came tither and politely sat with Elizabeth, much to Miss Bingley’s chagrin.

Her musings were interrupted by a gasp from Jane, who laughed softly and tapped the viscount sharply on his forearm with her fan. The embers of Elizabeth’s sense of humor were stoked as she watched Mr. Bingley come to a slow realization his hunting field hosted another predator. Mr. Darcy showed no reaction, solidifying Elizabeth’s belief he was fully aware his cousin had been beating a path to Longbourn’s door.

She wondered why he did not join the viscount. Surely, if Viscount Ashton could lay claim to a familial connection – the reason he gave for his first surprising arrival just as they sat down to breakfast – then so could Mr. Darcy. He was as much a part of her father’s family as the viscount. His great-aunt, Lady Minerva Fitzwilliam-Hamilton, was her and Jane’s grandmother.

Awareness shivered across the back of her neck and she slowly turned to find the gaze of Mr. Darcy resting on their group. It would be foolhardy to imagine his attention was focused solely on her, even though he intimated as much at the assembly. Perhaps he was bored and she and Jane, along with the viscount, were the only people of rank he felt he could associate with.

Her brow furrowed.

That line of reasoning did not hold water as the taciturn gentleman was a good friend to Mr. Bingley. Granted, Mr. Bingley was very wealthy, but still… his roots were deep in trade. Her inner conflict was put into abeyance when Mr. Darcy joined them.

“Good evening, Miss Hamilton, Miss Elizabeth.”

“Good evening, Mr. Darcy,” she and Jane said in perfect unison.

Mr. Darcy turned to Mary.

“Pardon me, Miss Bennet. I did not see you. My cousin blocked you from my view.” He gave her a polite half-bow. “Good evening to you, Miss Bennet.”

Mary smiled in her own shy way and returned the greeting before saying, “I am going to ask Charlotte if she minds me playing some music in the background before we dine.”

“That would be lovely,” Elizabeth enthused. “I do hope you play the piece you have been working on this week.”

Mary ducked her head at her sister’s praise.

“I am not prepared to play that piece in public. Mayhap on our next gathering.”

“You enjoy playing the pianoforte, Miss Bennet?” Mr. Darcy asked.

“I do.”

“My sister, Georgiana, also loves to play that instrument. Have you had any instruction from one of the masters?”

“Papa invited Senor Giovanni to Longbourn last Autumn. He came for a few weeks to assess my ability and then I stayed with our aunt and uncle in town to further my instruction from him.”

Mr. Darcy’s eyebrows rose upon hearing the name of Mary’s music master.

“Senor Giovanni? My sister has longed to be tutored by him. You must have a rare talent, Miss Bennet. He is very particular in his choice of students.”

“I am aware and very humbled. He inspires me to work hard.”

“And, her diligence has benefited us,” Elizabeth added. “Our family is treated to a concerto nearly every day.”

“I must make an effort to attend one of these impromptu musicales,” Mr. Darcy teased, never removing his gaze from Elizabeth.

She blinked and lowered her eyes to study the pattern of Lady Lucas’s rug. Confused by his sometimes cold then sometimes warm manners, she decided to take each day as it presented itself and look no further. Today saw a congenial Darcy at her side. Tomorrow he may revert to the gentleman who had no time, nor patience for the citizens of Meryton.

It was exasperating, these attempts to discern his moods. She was beginning to believe it easier when she thoroughly disliked him. Black and white. No gray areas to blur the lines, especially when he smiled, as he was at this very moment.

Vexing man!

Then…, with the smallest of touches, his hand brushed hers. Her startled gaze flew to his face, surprised to notice his full attention seemed to be focused completely on Jane and Mr. Bingley. Had she imagined the feather-like graze of his fingers? She, too, turned her attention to their small group when the back of her hand was brushed again. Immediately, she looked down and caught him ‘red-handed,’ so to speak.

With a subtle flick of her wrist, she took her fan and tapped him smartly on the fingers, while clearing her throat at the same time so no one would hear the soft ‘whack’ of her fan.

“Miss Elizabeth,” Mr. Darcy said, not missing a beat. “Would you care for a glass of punch?”

She leveled a stern look, reminiscent of her first governess in his direction. He had the grace to gift her a small smile, confirming he was very aware of his flirtatious behavior.

“A glass of punch would be welcome. Thank you.”

“Allow me to escort you to the refreshment table. Then you may choose which punch you prefer.” As they walked away, her hand lightly resting on his forearm, he said in a low voice only she could hear. “I hope you choose the liquid punch and not a solid left hook to my jaw.”

She could not help herself; she laughed out loud. What was she to do with this most frustrating man?


Tidbit Tuesday

 From my current Work in Progress ~ The Wager

Lydia leaped to her feet, grabbed Maria Lucas by the hand and tugged her out of the room, followed by a giggling Kitty.

“Your Lydia is so full of energy, Mrs. Bennet.”

“She is. Mr. Bennet and I have found a good school for her and Kitty. There just isn’t enough here to keep her occupied and we all know the wicked one will find work for idle hands.”

“Your Lydia would not do anything bad.”

“Not intentionally,” Mamma said before taking a sip of her tea. “But, with the expectation of the ____shire militia quartering here in Meryton, I am not willing to place her in the way of temptation. She is at that age where she will see romance in everything, even if a gentleman sneezes, she will think it is because he is trying to gain her attention.”

“I think we all were silly when we were younger,” Lady Lucas said then smiled wide. “Do you remember when Mr. Goodman’s nephew came to visit when we were about five and ten?”

“I do. I very nearly died when he smiled at me at church.”

Elizabeth and Jane looked at one another with wide eyes. They had never heard Mamma reminisce about anything before she had wed their father. At times, they forgot their mother had been a young girl whose heart fluttered upon seeing a handsome man, or boy.

“But no one was more handsome than Colonel… oh dear, what was his name?” Lady Lucas asked her longtime friend. “He rode in front of his men when the militia came to town the following year.”

“Colonel Miller.”

“Yes, Colonel Miller.” Lady Lucas closed her eyes and sighed deeply. “He sat his horse very well. Very well, indeed.”

She cracked open her eye and looked at Mamma, who blushed slightly before they both laughed heartily.

“Martha Whitby Lucas, you are a naughty woman.” Mamma cut a quick glance toward her three daughters who watched, their mouths slightly agape. “We were young girls who thought all officers were handsome and charming and Colonel Miller was everything a gentleman and an officer ought to be.”

“Sadly,” Lady Lucas brought pulled out a handkerchief, and pretended to wipe away a tear, “He was happily married and broke our tender hearts.”

“My heart was not too broken, as Mr. Hamilton had just arrived at Longbourn and soon, all I saw was him.”

“That is true. He was a lovely man and now you are blessed with another wonderful man. Mr. Bennet still thinks the sun and moon revolve around your whims and fancies.”

‘He is a good man, and I love him dearly.”

“I am glad to hear that, my dear,” Papa said upon entering the room, the Netherfield party following behind. “I am too old to find this Colonel Miller and challenge him to a duel.”

“Oh, Mr. Bennet!” Mamma said with a gasp. “You will make our guests think you are a terrible rogue with talk like that.”

“No, they will think I am a man who still finds his wife pretty enough to protect from other rakes and scoundrels.” Papa kissed her on the cheek and then turned to look at the male guests from Netherfield. “You have been warned, gentlemen. Mrs. Bennet is my lady fair.”

To Elizabeth’s surprise, it was Mr. Darcy who responded.

“I concede the field to you, sir.”

“You require watching, I think,” Papa mused out loud. “Do you play chess, Mr. Darcy?”

“I do.”

“Come tomorrow and we shall enjoy a game of strategy.”

“Shall we also play chess?”

Papa laughed outright.

“Oh yes, you definitely require watching.” Papa turned to Mary. “Will you ask Hill to bring in some more tea? I am certain Mr. Bingley and his guests would enjoy that new blend your uncle from town sent us last week.”

Deleted Scene

If you have read Longbourn's Angels, you are aware Mrs. Bennet knew of Elizabeth and Jane's friendship with the Duke of Belmont's family. However... the first draft had everyone keeping this tidbit from her and at the end of the book, at Jane's wedding to the Earl of Holcomb, everything comes to a head.

We start with Mrs. Frances Bennet's introduction to the duke at Jane's wedding breakfast.


"I am pleased to meet you. I am certain Lord Holcomb is glad you attended his wedding."

"We did not come as the earl's guest, Mrs. Bennet. We came in honor of Jane," the duke said.

"Not the earl?" Fanny looked to Elizabeth. "How can that be? We are not friends with any peers."

She saw Elizabeth  glance at the duke's family and after a slight nod from his grace, Elizabeth led her mother away a few steps.

"Jane and I have known the duke's family for over eleven years."

"You and Jane? Eleven years!" Fanny could not help herself, her voice rose with each staccato sentence. "How? Why was I not told?"

During all this, Elizabeth had been steadily removing her from the room and down the hall toward her husband's study.

"Mamma, I will explain all. We will have some privacy in Papa's study."

They entered the room and Fanny marched to her husband's desk and turned to face her daughter, her hands fisted against her hips.

"Please explain to me how it is that a duke's family has honored my eldest daughter in such a manner, and I do not even know their names."

She listened as Elizabeth explained how she had saved the duke's daughter and how the friendship with Lady Susannah grew from there. When she went on to explain she and Jane had visited the duke's estate every summer, Fanny thought her heart would break. That her family thought her so capricious and fickle, they could not even tell her of this, was a blow to her self-esteem. What else had they kept from her? Was she even a part of this family? Would they even notice her gone if she ran away as Lydia had?

When her middle daughter had finished relaying all the pertinent information, Fanny was silent for a moment, absorbing it all and not liking how it made her feel. She finally sighed deeply and stepped past her daughter to exit the room.

"Thank you, Elizabeth. Please excuse me, I have guests to attend."

For the rest of the day, she behaved as an exquisite hostess, shattering any preconceived notion others may have held for her. Through it all, she conversed, listened, and advised – and spoke not one word to her family, other than to Jane when she and Henry made to depart on their wedding trip. Fanny kissed her eldest daughter on the cheek and said, her tone earnest, "I wish you every happiness and will pray your husband treats you with the respect you so richly deserve."

Later in the day, given the studied looks her husband kept shooting in her direction, she knew a conversation was to take place. She managed to avoid him until all the guests were gone, save Mr. Darcy who lingered in the drawing room with Elizabeth and her brothers.

"Fanny, might I have a word with you – in my study?"


They traversed the hall side by side and after he had opened the door and allowed her to precede him, Thomas moved to take one of the chairs near the fireplace. With a wave of his hand, he invited her to also take a seat, which she did. Silence stretched between them, becoming more awkward the longer they sat. She gave a start when the clock struck the half hour.

"Elizabeth told me she explained her relationship with the Duke of Belmont," he finally said, breaking the strained silence. "Have you nothing to say? Any questions?"


"Because the duke was so very grateful to Lizzy for saving his daughter's life."

"No. Why was I not told?"

Thomas pinched the bridge of his nose. A habit he had formed from childhood, indicating acute frustration, or an unwillingness to speak the unvarnished truth, no matter how much it hurt.

"It was done in an attempt to keep gossip at bay."

"Gossip. What gossip?"

"You and I both know that whatever you know, your sister Margaret knows as well." Thomas fell back in his chair and waved his hand in the direction of Mrs. Phillips' house, over a mile away. “She would never have kept this secret, and both Jane and Lizzy did not want our neighbors to treat them differently. They are good girls, Fanny. You did a marvelous job raising them. No one can take that from you, and because of your kindness and love, our girls will have a wonderful life. Do not let this overshadow the joy of this day.”

“Mr. Bennet, I am well aware our girls are everything that is lovely. You still should have told me. If you had asked, I would never have spoken a word of it.” She blinked rapidly, a feeble attempt to delay her tears. “I did not realize how low I had fallen in your esteem.”

“Fanny, that is not true.”

“No?” She straightened and drew back her shoulders. Her chin lifted in defiance, reminding him where their daughters had learned dignity. “I shall not trouble you further, Husband, with my flights of fancy. Let no one ever say Frances Bennet does not learn from her mistakes.”

She stood and gave her husband a full curtsy and after a quick pivot on her heel, quit the room. Bennet let out a heartfelt sigh. That had been badly done. Trite apologies would not soothe his wife’s hurt feelings. They had kept this secret from her for no other reason than they thought her silly, and it also fed his capricious sense of humor. The advice his own respected father had shared with him the night before he wed Fanny came to mind. He had come to Thomas’ room, Holy Bible in hand, and read from Proverbs.

Bennet reached for that same Bible, laying safely on the bookshelf behind him, and turned to the familiar passage. Tears filled his eyes as he read through the chapter, halting on the verses which he chastised himself for forgetting.

 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 

Fanny was a good and virtuous wife and she had trusted him, but that trust had not been returned. Not in things that mattered other than faithfulness. He had made her look the fool. He closed the book and clasped his hands on the cover, bowing his head. He asked forgiveness from his Lord, then asked for guidance on how to approach his wife. After a good half hour, he blew out the candles and ascended the stairs. He knocked lightly on his wife’s bedchamber door and his heart melted when she cracked it open, revealing big blue eyes, red-rimmed from crying.

“Ahhh, Fanny. I am so sorry. Can you find it in your heart to forgive a foolish man?”

She said not a word but left the door open before returning to a chair near the fireplace. He closed the door behind him and did not leave the room until late the next morning.


"Your father and mother have not yet come down to break their fast?"

Darcy paced the family parlor, shooting glances at the door in hopes Elizabeth's father would miraculously appear. He finally had gotten her to say she would marry him and now he was being stonewalled in trying to approach her father for his consent and blessing. Granted, the family had been very busy with the wedding, but… surely things would revert to normal now that all the bustle had died down.

"We have not seen Mamma or Papa since late yesterday when Jane and Henry departed." Elizabeth began to wring her hands and joined him in pacing. "I told Mamma how and why we knew the Duke of Belmont and I do not think she took the news well."

"Your mother did not know the duke's family? How many years have you been friends with his daughter?"

"Over eleven years."

"Eleven…" he paused in thought. "Your mother must have been very hurt over this."

"She did not give the appearance of being hurt."

Darcy cut Elizabeth a hard glance.

"I watched your mother most carefully and what I thought was nervous energy I now realize was a woman holding everything together to keep others from seeing her anger."


Darcy snagged Elizabeth's hand and tugged her toward the couch. After they sat, he faced her.

"Think about it this way. Let us assume Jane never once told you about Lord Holcomb and continued to see him, be courted by him, and accept his proposal without once taking you into her confidence. Then, by telling half-truths, she convinced you to attend church on a Tuesday morning, whereupon you find all your family and friends gathered to celebrate her marriage. How would you feel about that?"

"First of all—"

"No, my love. Accept the premise exactly as I presented it."

"Very well, I would be very hurt she had not trusted me enough to share her good news."

"Multiply that deception by eleven and a half years. Can you now understand why your mother is hurt?"

Tears filled his love's eyes.

"We did a very bad thing to Mamma."

"Yes, so what are we going to do about this?"

"Beg forgiveness, over and over until she accepts."

"Good starting point, but I do not think that is enough."

Friday Kiss ~ June 23

 #FridayKiss ~ This week's word is LIKE

His uncle stared at the ceiling, seemingly deep in thought. “Were you not leery something like this might happen when she asked you to join her outside?”
“She did not request my presence, I followed,” he explained. “I thought she would catch a chill.”
Uncle Robert snapped his attention to him.“You followed her.”
It was a statement, not a question.
His uncle began to laugh. Brow furrowed, Darcy could only watch and wonder what was going on in his uncle’s mind. Finally, the earl stood and held out his hand. Surprised, Darcy put down his drink and accepted the handshake.
“I wish you well in your marriage, Darcy,” he said before exiting the room. “You are going to need it.”

Compromise & Consequence
Available exclusively on Amazon #KindleUnlimited

Tidbit Tuesday ~ June 20

#TidbitTuesday is from my current work in progress ~ The Wager

What if... Mr. Darcy insults our intrepid heroine Elizabeth and the tables were turned on the taciturn gentleman?
First, the image above is of Trenton Hamilton, the Earl of Tiverton, and his sisters, Lady Jane Hamilton and Lady Elizabeth Hamilton.

First, the insult:

Elizabeth Hamilton followed her Aunt Sarah, Lady Courtland, into the crowded ballroom. Fascinated by the sheer number of candles used to illuminate the room, she was not paying attention and bumped into the back of a tall, broad-shouldered gentleman. About to apologize when he half-turned and stared her down, the words stuck in her throat for two reasons, the first being he was absolutely the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on. The second was because the look he bestowed upon her could have frozen over the Thames River in the middle of July.
"Must I now expect every brash young woman to throw herself at me before the dancing has even begun?" he asked his equally tall companion, disdain dripping from every syllable.
The other gentleman looked at Elizabeth and said, "You could not ask for a prettier trap to be caught in, Darcy. Shall I seek an introduction?"
The man, Darcy, gave her a hard, sideways glance.
"She is tolerable I suppose, if one has a preference for ordinary garden flowers, but she is not handsome enough to warrant an introduction."
"I say, that is most unkind. You have no idea who this young lady is."
"And I have no desire to learn her name or antecedents. Let us remove ourselves from this crush. I have already had more than I can stand of this company."

And now, the fallout. Enjoy

Uncle John half turned and held his hand out to Elizabeth. She took it and allowed herself to be brought forward. "Have you met our niece, Elizabeth?"
"No, I have not had the pleasure…"
A flicker of disgust first crossed his face upon seeing her, then he paled when he realized she was the niece of Lord and Lady Courtland, not some lowborn girl he could dismiss.
"Fitzwilliam Darcy, I present to you, Lady Elizabeth Hamilton."
Mr. Darcy quickly recovered and gave her a polite half-bow.
"Lady Elizabeth."
She waited for him to straighten and look her in the eye. When she was certain she had his undivided attention, she turned her back on the gentleman. Upon hearing the soft gasp from her aunt, she almost relented and turned to greet him properly, but then his words, 'she is not handsome enough to warrant an introduction,' echoed in her memory and her courage rose.
"Elizabeth, what is the meaning of this?"
Uncle John demanded an explanation.
"Your horticulturally minded acquaintance does not believe us poor garden variety flowers warrant introductions."
Before any of them could utter another word, she turned on her heel and quit the room.
"Fitzwilliam Darcy, what have you done?!"
He has a very big trench to climb out of once he removes his foot from his mouth.

This work in progress will not be available until early Autumn. 

Funday Monday

, courtesy of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

"It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter, with ease, cannot write ill."

"That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline," cried her brother -- "because he does not write with ease. He studies too much for words of four syllables. --Do not you, Darcy?"

Friday Kiss ~ June 16

#FridayKiss Today's word is LIFE

This scene is from Compromise & Consequence.
“Although my actions belied my words, I now know the first time I beheld you my heart was lost forever, and, fool that I was, I fought to push those feelings away. I love you, Elizabeth Darcy. You have bewitched me body and soul. Never will you ever hear me say a word against you or your family. You love them and because of that, I will always treasure them in my heart, for through their love and care, your character was formed. And I love your character almost as much as I love your form, your vivaciousness, your laugh, and your fine eyes.”
“Goodness, Mr. Darcy,” she teased with a slight smile. “When you put your mind to it, you can be quite charming. Are you sure you would rather not have a reset of our beginning and find a wife who would not give you so much heartache and turmoil?”
“Absolutely not! If none of this happened, I would still be miserable and in want of a wife.”
“You cannot be sure of that.”
“All my adult life I have searched for a woman like you and if I had not accepted the invitation from Bingley to come to Hertfordshire, I most assuredly would still be a single man, haunting one crowded ballroom after another, seeking the other half of my heart.”