WEEKEND WRITING WARRIOR #85

I have not signed into WeWrWa for a very long time and to my fellow warriors... Sorry 'bout that.

So, I cannot promise this will be a regular thing - real life has a nasty way of saying, 'Nuh Uh, you ain't doin' that right now,' and things get pushed back. Suffice it to say, I am here for today.

Here is this week's selection:

Obliged by the scarcity of gentlemen to sit down for two dances, Elizabeth became aware Mr. Darcy had paused in front of her. Would the handsome gentleman notice her and ask her for a set? Mr. Bingley, dancing with Jane, broke from the line to implore his friend to join the set. Elizabeth, with no intention of listening to their conversation, could not avoid them as the two friends paused no more than a few feet from where she sat.

“Come, Darcy,” Bingley said, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about when you could be enjoying the company of a pretty girl.”

“You know I detest dancing unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Besides, 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.”

Elizabeth was surprised at Mr. Darcy’s assertion that dancing with any one of her neighbors and friends was considered a punishment instead of enjoyment.

And a taste for more:

“You are so frustratingly fastidious,” cried the younger man. “These people are my neighbors. Can you not, for my sake, soften your attitude for one dance? Truly Darcy, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life, and several of them are uncommonly pretty.”

“You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking toward the dance floor. Elizabeth took note of where he directed his attention and felt a slight thaw in her disgust. Someone who thought Jane beautiful could not be all bad.

“I agree. She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! Regardless, you will not detract me from my mission. I must have you dance.” Bingley cast his gaze around and it fell on Elizabeth, who looked away, embarrassed at having almost been caught listening in on their conversation. “I say, there is a young lady sitting down just behind you who is quite pretty. Miss Bennet will know who she is. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”

Elizabeth worked hard to regulate her breathing, counting to ten while mentally preparing a positive response when he asked her to dance. By the time she reached three, she realized there had been no answer from Mr. Darcy, other than, ‘Which do you mean?’ Without thought, she glanced up and found him staring directly at her. Upon catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me. I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. Return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, you are wasting your time with me.”

Stunned, cheeks burning with mortification, Elizabeth could not even form words in her mind at his brutal observation. All her life she had been found wanting by her mother, forever compared to Jane who was the epitome of beauty and grace, yet she’d always felt she had a small measure of pleasing features. Her eyes were quite fine, and she had a quick smile for everyone. To be dismissed so summarily by someone who had never met her before this evening, cut her to the quick. Mr. Bingley opened his mouth to argue further when a familiar figure stepped in front of both gentlemen.

“Excuse me, sir. I believe you owe my sister an apology.”

“I do not know who your sister is, sir,” Darcy replied, giving the younger man a haughty glare.

“She is the one whom you find barely tolerable, and not handsome enough to dance with.”

Oh dear, this could get messy. Elizabeth hurried to join them. By this time, a second gentleman had come alongside and also glared at Mr. Darcy.

“If you require introductions, sir, you are cordially invited to join us outside. My brother and I will introduce you to our fists. You will find they are not tolerable as well.”

“Michael! Gabriel!” Elizabeth stepped in their midst. “Apologize to Mr. Darcy at once.”

“He insulted you, Elizabeth,” Michael ground out between clenched teeth, his steely gaze never wavering from Mr. Darcy’s.

“He deserves to be horsewhipped for saying such things about a lady to whom he has not been introduced,” Gabriel added, and gently tried to move Elizabeth aside. “It was extremely rude.”

“I agree, Gabriel. Would you like to take the first punch?”

“No, you are the elder Michael, you may go first.”


Weekend Writing Warriors is a fun blog hop where authors share eight to ten lines from a Work in Progress. If you'd like to check out some of the other author's writing, please click on this link: WeWriWa




Come Find me at MeWe


 Click HERE to view my MeWe page

Goodbye Facebook


How do YOU spell frustration? I spell it F.A.C.E.B.O.O.K. Both begin with F, as does a particular curse word I am very tempted to use.

Let me break this down for you.

Sept18 (ironically, while I was ON the entity which shall not be named and heretofore called simply FB), I got a popup message which said someone on a Samsung Galaxy 8 tried to access my account. As I do not own a Samsung phone, I immediately changed my password, as per instructions. Not more than thirty minutes later, I received another popup message saying someone tried to access my account. As it was me (or so I thought), changing my password, I clicked the 'yes' button, saying it had been me. Later in the day, I once again got another popup, and I thought I hit no, but must have hit yes.

Well...

Account suspended as I have not met community standards. I was on FB at the time, and my account just disappeared. I spent the next four days trying to find ways and means to reactivate my account and tell FB that 'yes, it is me and not some bot.' Here is where the difficulty lay. Back in 2011, when I first signed up for FB, I was a fledgling author. The e-mail attached to this account belonged to a domain for my website (which is now defunct). They cannot send me a confirmation e-mail as this e-mail does not exist. Next, for whatever reason, FB did not recognize my mobile phone number no matter how many times I requested the six-digit code to enter. GAH!

Finally, I remembered Instagram is connected to FB and attempted to access my Instagram account. They told me I could not access this account because my FB account was suspended. However, they did recognize my mobile number, and I was able to enter the blessed code. You would think everything was rosy, but NO. That pesky old e-mail came into play. FB would NOT recognize me and completely deactivated my account and happily told me their decision was final and I had no recourse. They were so very kind to wish me a happy day.

Yesterday, I opened a new account with FB, using my mobile number, and slowly began to send out messages to family, saying the new friend request coming forth truly was from ME and to accept it. By this afternoon, five members had accepted my requests, and I was patiently awaiting the others. When I went to open my brand new FB account, I had that same horrible pop-up saying I was not in compliance and my account had been suspended.

WTF?

I said all that to say this.

I'm done. Goodbye Facebook - Hello MeWe. Click HERE to access my page.

MeWe is a social network where there are no ads, and it is absolutely free. If you want bells and whistles, there is a monthly fee, but you can set up a simple account to stay connected with friends and family, and there are tons of groups you can join.

Excerpt - Longbourn's Angels

Hello, my friends. Can you believe almost half of this year is in our rearview mirror? I, for one, am glad some of it is in the past. This year has been interesting. The Barr family has good news. Mr. B's cancer treatment was successful. His numbers look very, very good and the next update will be in about another five months. If things stay status quo, he will only have to go in every six months for the next two years, then it will be slated back to annual visits. (Whew) Also, he had surgery only three weeks ago, and everything has healed nicely with his first check-up is this week. Then... THEN... we move on the 29th. Yikes!

Needless to say, my writing has been in spits and spurts because of packing, visits to the building site, picking floor, lighting, tile, fixtures... etc., etc. Having said that, I continue to work on Longbourn's Angels. The main characters are ODC (Darcy & Elizabeth), but I am weaving in small vignettes of Jane and their older twin brothers. Yes, you heard me. Twin brothers. I toyed with making them triplets with Elizabeth, but I like having them as older brothers, looking out for their younger sisters. Especially when a proud man has the temerity to insult our dear Lizzy at the Meryton Assembly.

This time, I have not written the Bennets with titled family, however, because Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's first children were male, Mr. Bennet has taken better care of his estate and so they are a little wealthier than in the original story. They also own Netherfield Park. It tickles my fancy to have the Bingleys unknowingly pay rent to the family Caroline Bingley loves to disparage. Also, the two sons have attended Eton and Cambridge, and have high-placed friends.

Below is a small snippet. In this scene, Gabriel and Elizabeth have traveled to Netherfield Park to bring Jane home. As in canon, she had ridden to Netherfield on horseback, got wet, and became sick. Alas, she does not stay longer than one night before her big brother and younger sister come to hie her home to Longbourn. What you will read is what happened between Gabe and Mr. Darcy once Caroline escorts Elizabeth up to the room where Jane spent the night.

***

The door had barely closed before a footman poured a cup of coffee for Gabriel. With a word of thanks, he accepted the cup and settled back in the chair he had chosen, directly across the table from Mr. Darcy and to the left of Mr. Bingley. He cast a quick glance at Mr. Hurst, who paid them no mind, concentrating solely on his overflowing plate of food. Gabe briefly wondered where Mrs. Hurst was, but quickly dismissed her from his thoughts.

“Was there any damage to Longbourn from the storm?” Mr. Darcy asked.

“Not that I could tell. My father and brother will ride the estate later this morning and assess the damage.”

“How large is your father’s estate? I have been riding the border between Netherfield and Longbourn, and have come to realize it is grander than what we were led to believe.”

Gabe assessed Mr. Darcy. Arrogant the man might be, but he was a landowner of a huge tract of land in Derbyshire and had rightly decided the Bennets were more than what met the eye.

“Longbourn, while not as extensive as Pemberley, is comfortable. Our family has owned their land since the Plantagenets.”

“I say, the Bennet history is as rich and deep as yours, Darcy,” Bingley exclaimed. “Although, I do recall you saying your forefathers arrived with William the Conqueror.”

“That is true.” Darcy conceded with a slight nod of his head. “My family does have deep ties to our lands.”

“My friend Peter tells me Pemberley is quite the sight to see.” Gabe watched the master of that great house carefully. “He opines it might be more impressive than Chatsworth.”

“I will own I am proud of Pemberley,” Darcy conceded. “However, it is not as grand as Devonshire’s home. Few are.”

“Peter’s opinion may be skewed by the fact he was not particularly fond of the late duke.”

“Have you met his grace?” Bingley asked, his mouth dropping open in surprise.

“My brother and I, along with Peter, attended university with his son, Hart and were invited to a house party they hosted last summer.”

“You have mentioned Peter a few times. Is he another minor landowner here in Hertfordshire like your father?”

Gabe longed to knock the superior look from Darcy’s smug face. His father was no minor landowner. The boundary of Longbourn estate encompassed approximately eight miles at its widest point, not including Netherfield Park.

“Peter’s main estate is in Derbyshire, although he owns property near Meryton, which his family uses for hunting parties and a quick summer escape from town.” Gabe did not tell the gentleman the estate he referred to was known as Stoke House.

 “You said he owns land in Derbyshire?”

“I did.” Gabe decided to drop crumbs of information, wanting to see how far down the path they’d follow before realizing the truth. “Quite close to Pemberley, to be more exact.”

Let us see what Mr. Darcy makes of that. Gabe suppressed a grin. He could tell Darcy was beginning to put the pieces together, confirmed by his next question.

“Would your friend, by chance, be Peter Stokes?”

“He would, indeed.”

From the blank expression on the faces of Bingley and Hurst, neither of them knew who Peter Stokes was. But Darcy did, and Gabe held that man’s gaze, knowing an adjustment in attitude would soon follow. It was the way of the ton. They curried favor with those who held titles, and the Earl of Thedford was a powerful friend.

“How is it your family knows the Stokes?”

“As I said, he owns property close to Meryton and is a close friend of me and my brother. We practically grew up together. Unsurprisingly, our fathers struck up a friendship and, to this day, continue to try and outmaneuver each other in chess.”

It was a small movement, but Darcy’s left eyebrow twitched. Better and better. Now the great man knew of their close connection to the Marquis of Dorchester, Peter being his heir. Gabe heard movement in the hall and knew Miss Bingley would be joining them in a few minutes. He looked at Darcy, allowing his disdain for the man to show completely on his face.

“Do you wish now you had given consequence to a young lady who was not slighted by other men but had sat out two sets because there were not enough gentlemen to dance with?”

My, oh my, how I love humble pie.


 

New Release! In Essentials


Available now in Kindle Unlimited.

Bridgeport Family Tree




In Essentials - Excerpt

First, I apologize for the lack of posting regularly. The Barr household is in such disarray, I am thankful if I remember to put on pants... uh oh... will be right back............ okey dokey. Got my pants on, now we can carry on as though I am normal ;) Hubby and I are buying a new condo. Egad. What were we thinking, in the middle of a pandemic? I mean, why not? Supplies are hard to come by, everything is backlogged, we cannot go to design centers to look at flooring, lights, paint colors. Everything is virtual. Sure! Let's buy a new house! I am not even going to touch the fact we have to sell our own home in the meantime.

Head - desk.

In the midst of all this, my husband got some devasting news and his treatment starts next week. Every second day for ten days. We will know if it has been successful by June - Just in time to move into the new condo. Still, hubby insists I keep writing, but it is sooo hard to write about love when the one you love is hurting. Needless to say, this has pushed back my anticipated publishing date. I only have about four chapters to go, but my heart is just not in it at this time. I am sure you understand.

EXCERPT:

When breakfast was over, Jane and Elizabeth were joined upstairs by Mr. Bingley’s sisters. Although they did not advance very far into the room, quitting the room when Mr. Jones, the local apothecary arrived, Elizabeth was touched by their affection and solicitude toward her sister. Having examined his patient, Mr. Jones said, as might be supposed, that Jane had caught a violent cold and they must endeavor to get the better of it. To that end, he advised her to return to bed and promised her some draughts. Miss Bingley reappeared when the clock struck three.

“I came to inquire how Miss Bennet is doing and ask if you want me to call for the chaise. It is far too late in the day to walk safely back to Longbourn.”

“Thank you for your kind concern and offer, Miss Bingley.” Elizabeth looked down at Jane with some concern. “I am worried about her fever, yet it is getting late and I must return home.”

“Please, do not leave me, Lizzy.”

Jane began to cough upon speaking and had to be helped into a sitting position to drink a bit of water. Miss Bingley approached the bed and took Jane’s hand in hers.

“Do not worry, Miss Bennet. I will have Mrs. Nichols prepare a room for your sister. We all want you to return to the pink of health.”

Elizabeth could not help but smile when Jane’s whole body relaxed into the softness of the bed at the promise her beloved sister would not be leaving her side. She then turned her attention to Miss Bingley.

“If I may, I will write a note to my father informing him of my wish to remain with Jane and have him send a supply of clothes for our stay.”

“Of course, Miss Eliza. I shall have a footman attend you directly.”

She spent the rest of the afternoon tending Jane and around six-thirty Elizabeth went downstairs for dinner. Although she spent some time in the drawingroom after the meal, she was too distracted to do much more than read, to the dismay of Miss Bingley and her sister. At their uncalled-for censure, and before she said words she could not return to her mouth, she bid them goodnight.

She passed the chief of the night in her sister’s room, and in the morning was secretly pleased by the inquiry which she very early received from Mr. Bingley via a housemaid.

“Please tell Mr. Bingley my sister is better than yesterday, yet still feeling unwell.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the housemaid said with a polite curtsy before exiting the room.

Not more than ten minutes passed before there was a knock on the door and Elizabeth opened it to find Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst.

“How is our patient today, Miss Eliza?”

All three ladies looked toward the bed where Jane lay flushed, yet pale.

“As you see, she is not much better. If you do not mind, I would like to send a note to Longbourn and ask my father attend to judge for himself whether Jane should return home or trespass on your kindness for another day.”

The note was immediately dispatched, and its contents quickly complied with, surprisingly, by Mrs. Bennet. Accompanied by her two youngest, they showed up at the front door before the Netherfield party had even begun breaking their fast. After being taken upstairs, Mrs. Bennet had a brief conversation with the apothecary, clucked and fussed over Jane for a bit, then completely ignored her and Elizabeth to gossip with her daughters.

Could not Lydia and Kitty have remained at home? There was no reason for them to attend with Mrs. Bennet and then behave as if they were in their own drawingroom. Elizabeth wondered why her father allowed Mrs. Bennet to attend in his stead, especially when Jane would never get much rest with the three of them chattering like chipmunks.

No more than a half-hour passed when Miss Bingley, having finished her morning meal, stopped by again and invited them to attend her in the breakfast parlor for a cup of tea. Upon receiving said invitation, all of them, save Jane, made their way downstairs, whereupon, Bingley met them with hopes that Miss Bennet was not worse than expected.

“She is a great deal too ill to be moved,” Mrs. Bennet exclaimed with a determined lift of her chin, a reflexive movement Elizabeth recognized when her stepmother was stretching the truth for her own means. “Mr. Jones says we must not think of moving her and we must trespass a little longer on your kindness.”

As it seemed Mr. Bingley was just as desirous as Mrs. Bennet for Jane to remain at Netherfield, nothing more was said on the matter. For one brief moment, Elizabeth hoped Mrs. Bennet would not prove how vulgar she was, nor do anything to foil Jane’s chance at gaining Mr. Bingley’s unwavering devotion. But…, she opened her mouth and began rhapsodizing about Jane’s beauty and how men sought her attention.

“When Jane was only fifteen, there was a gentleman so much in love with her, I was sure he would make an offer. But, he did not. Perhaps he thought her too young. However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were.”

“And so ended his affection, which Jane had never returned as her heart had not been engaged,” Elizabeth said impatiently.

What Mrs. Bennet failed to inform the captive audience was Jane’s would-be suitor had been a gentleman in his late forties. Upon discovery of this relevant fact, Papa had been absolutely furious his wife had pushed Jane toward a man older than himself. Elizabeth knew if her sister were in the room right now, her cheeks would be scalded red with mortification at this piece of gossip being re-visited.

A somewhat awkward pause ensued, causing Elizabeth to tremble at the thought of Mrs. Bennet exposing herself again, but to her surprise and everlasting gratitude, Mrs. Bennet repeated her thanks to Mr. Bingley for his kindness to Jane, with an apology for troubling him also with Lizzy. She then called for their carriage to be ordered ready and while waiting, Lydia brought up the fact Mr. Bingley had promised to host a ball, adding it would be the most shameful thing in the world if he did not keep his word. His response provoked a delighted reaction from all the ladies. The exception being Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst.

“I am perfectly ready, I assure you, to keep my engagement and you shall name the very day of the ball. Although we will wait until your sister has recovered, you would not wish to be dancing while she is ill.”

Lydia, having gotten her way was all smiling, with declarations that of course, they would wait until Jane was healthy and a delay would mean some of the officers from the ____shire Militia were sure to attend, guaranteeing her a night full of dancing.

With her stepmother and her daughters safely away, Elizabeth returned to Jane’s side to await the arrival of their trunks. She wondered why Mrs. Bennet had not brought them with her, but a whispered comment from Kitty prior to their departure let her know Mrs. Bennet had intercepted Elizabeth’s notes to her husband and came to Netherfield before he knew what was happening. As such, there had been no time to pack anything.

Not even an hour had passed when the sound of another carriage drew Elizabeth to the window. Her surprise was great when she witnessed her father exit the vehicle and mount the stairs to the main entrance, taking them two at a time. Soon he was shown into Jane’s room, still wearing his greatcoat, one of Mrs. Bennet’s capes draped over his arm.

“Come, Jane. We are to Longbourn,” Papa said as soon as he entered the room.

“But Mother and Mr. Jones said I was too ill to be moved,” Jane croaked out from beneath the pile of covers.

“You have a cold, and as Mrs. Bennet said upon receipt of your note yesterday morning, nobody dies from a trifling cold. I have brought with me her fur-lined cape, and there are no less than eight warming bricks in the carriage along with several more blankets. ‘Tis but five miles by road and you can rest your head on my shoulder as you did as a child if you become too fatigued.”

“Papa, while I get Jane dressed, could you have Mrs. Nicholls warm up a few of those bricks. They will have cooled some before we are ready to depart.”

“Of course, Lizzy. Have a footman come find me when you are ready. The carriage is standing by in front of the house.”

With that, her father left the room and Elizabeth heard him hail a footman to ask if Mrs. Nicholls was in her office. With a soft smile, she shook her head at her father’s impertinence. She knew he would have no qualms about seeking out the housekeeper in her own domain. He was quite familiar with Netherfield and its servants as his great friend, Lord Dunsmuir had been the last tenant prior to Mr. Bingley.

She turned her attention back to getting Jane fully dressed. There was nothing to pack, as Papa had shown up instead of the expected trunk full of necessities. She worried over Jane’s continuing fever, but it was not raging and her cough, though deep, did not steal her breath in any manner. Sleeping in her own bed and making good use of Hill’s homemade draughts were just the thing to bring her sister back to perfect health.

Although she had reclined on the bed unable to keep her eyes open, Jane was finally ready. Elizabeth opened the door and spied the footman, who had waited so patiently outside the door. She bade him fetch her father and coaxed Jane into a sitting position. They were ready to return home and although she desired to leave as quick as possible, she did not relish the uproar that would ensue upon their return.

However, such was Papa’s cross to bear. Not hers.



Excerpt ~ In Essentials

I know Miss Lydia is from Pride & Prejudice, not Emma, but she is one of the main reasons Mr. Darcy has set his eye on Miss Elizabeth - her vulgar relations.

Now, onto today's excerpt from In Essentials:

~~~

Less than a week later, Darcy could scarce contain the smug satisfaction which threatened to crack his stoic fa├žade. Fortune could not have smiled on him brighter, for only yesterday Miss Bingley had invited Miss Bennet to attend her and Louisa. He was not incognizant to the fact she issued the invitation for a time when the gentlemen of the house would not be available as they had previous plans to dine with Colonel Forster and the officers of the ____shire Militia.

Of that saliant fact, Mrs. Bennet must have been aware, because she sent her daughter to Netherfield on the back of a horse when it was apparent to anyone with a brain that a storm was brewing. Due to the mother’s obvious machinations, Jane Bennet had fallen ill whilst sipping her soup – according to a tittering Miss Bingley – having endured the last mile in driving rain. She now lay upstairs, suffering the effects of a severe cold. As much as he felt bad for the poor girl, whose only guilt was to follow her vulgar mother’s directions, the end result was beyond anything he could have imagined, for that very morning, as he and the others broke their fast, his sought-after prize was shown into the breakfast parlor. He could not have planned this better himself. He firmly believed that fortune favors the bold and he would make this circumstance work to his advantage.

He then almost chuckled outright at the reaction of Miss Bingley and her sister, Mrs. Hurst. Elizabeth’s sudden appearance created a great deal of surprise in the two ladies when their butler announced, “Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Miss Eliza!” Miss Bingley had declared. “Did you walk all the way to Netherfield?”

“I did.”

“Why, that is over five miles!”

“Three, if you cut through fields.”

“Would you care for some tea, Miss Elizabeth?” Bingley offered, now that the shock of seeing his angel’s sister so early in the morning had worn off.

“No thank you, I came only for Jane. How is my sister?”

“Sadly, Miss Bennet slept ill and though she was awake when I last looked in on her, she was still very feverish and not well enough to leave her room,” Miss Bingley said and Darcy was surprised at the amount of concern in her voice. Caroline Bingley was not known for having any compassion for anyone, save herself. “I can take you to her now, if you so desire.”

“If it is no inconvenience, I would appreciate seeing her right away.”

Both ladies quit the room and Darcy resumed his seat, thinking how fresh Miss Elizabeth appeared, her cheeks aglow from the exercise, her eyes brightened by the exercise.

“Damn fine girl, that Miss Elizabeth,” Hurst muttered before stuffing another sausage into his mouth.

“What was that, Hurst?” Darcy asked, noting how Louisa Hurst gaped at her husband, for he rarely spoke.

“She is a damn fine girl to walk all that way just to enquire about her sister’s welfare.”

“Reginald,” Mrs. Hurst scolded. “You do not know what you are saying.”

Hurst twisted in his seat and speared his wife in place with a withering glare.

“Could you ever, in your lifetime, imagine your sister walking three miles across muddy fields to look after you?” When Mrs. Hurst only sniffed a response, he continued. “I thought not. You realize that young lady must have left the house over two hours ago to traverse the distance? That is a prime example of loyalty and it is hard won.”

He turned back to his breakfast and back to ignoring his wife who remained seated beside him with her lips pursed and a scowl marring her face.

Darcy would have loved nothing better than to keep his mind more agreeably engaged, meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman could bestow, but he had some unpleasant business to attend. For that reason, he excused himself and made his way to his suite of rooms to compose and post replies in response to not one, but two express posts received earlier that morning. One from his uncle the earl, the other from his aunt in Kent. Both offensive in nature.

His uncle had written: 

Darcy! 

What the deuce are you doing in Hertfordshire? You have offended not only me, but also the Earl Tewkesbury, whose daughter expected you to open the ball with her. I have assured him you are on the hunt for a wife and that his daughter will do nicely. I know her one tooth is a bit crooked, but if you close your eyes whilst in the marriage bed, she has sixty thousand other reasons for you to make her an offer. 

I managed to soothe his ruffled feathers and promised him you would attend the theater next week. Do not fail me in this, Darcy. As the head of the Fitzwilliam family, I demand you make an advantageous marriage and Tewkesbury’s daughter fits the bill. He is a great ally in the House of Lords and I do not wish him for an enemy. 

I expect you back in London before the week is out. 

Yours, &c. 

To which he replied: 

Uncle Robert, 

Thank you for your kind concern over my marital felicity. You are quite correct in the fact that Earl Tewkesbury is not someone you wish for as an enemy. Therefore, you should offer to help him find some other hapless fool, as I will not be performing that service. You may be head of the Fitzwilliam family, but I am the head of the Darcy family. You hold no sway over my decisions with regard to Pemberley, or Georgiana. Also, I have more wealth than I know what to do with and a further sixty thousand pounds is not incentive enough to wed any woman, especially one whose tooth pushes out her lip. Tell her father to use some of her dowry to have a competent doctor remove it.

 Yours, &c. 

The other letter had been just as offensive. His lady aunt had written: 

Fitzwilliam, 

A report of an alarming nature has reached me that you are in the house of that abominable son of a tradesman – in Hertfordshire of all places. What are you thinking? How could you degrade yourself so thoroughly? Once you are married to Anne, you will cut all ties with that family. Will the shades of Rosings Park and Pemberley be thus polluted by their atrocious company? I think not. 

I fully expect you to quit their sphere and make your way to Kent. I anticipate your company for the Yuletide season as a wedding on Christmas Eve suits Anne quite well. She will look lovely in red velvet and I will have her gown trimmed with white fur. My rector has been apprised that you will be arriving shortly and has the marriage license prepared. All that is required is your presence and signature. Because it is a common license, the banns do not have to be read. 

I await your arrival,

Yours, &c. 

To his aunt, he wrote: 

Aunt Catherine, 

As stated more times than I care to remember, I will not marry Anne. She can barely sit in a chair for a whole meal without sagging like a limp ribbon and has to be helped up and down the stairs. What makes you think she could remain upright for the length of a marriage ceremony, let alone survive the rigors that come with fully being a wife and possibly falling with child? It would be her death sentence and I refuse to do that to her. I hold her in high regard – as a cousin – and nothing more. 

I demand you stop spreading the lie that an engagement you apparently brokered with my dear mother has been in existence since my cousin and I were in our cradles. Highly improbable, as I am four years older than Anne. My mother never once spoke of such an arrangement. My good father, before his untimely demise, also put in writing that any such demands about this were to be disregarded. No betrothal settlements have ever been authorized or signed by him, or myself. 

Desist with these outrageous demands and have your parson tear up the license. I shall not arrive at Rosings until my scheduled time next Easter.

Yours, &c. 

He affixed his seal to the letters and sent them regular post, forcing his officious relatives to stew a bit longer awaiting his response.

~~~

Ringing in the New Year


As I write this post I find myself gazing out the window onto our front yard, covered by the lightest dusting of snow. You may think this strange that I notice this, but I live in Canada. I should have a few feet of snow on the ground by now. I will not complain. This means we do not have to shovel (the royal we - hubby does the job) out the drive. We had a green Christmas as well.

Our family remains untouched by the dreaded virus, although I am not surprised. My husband and I are virtual hermits. We love our home. We enjoy each other's company (after 40+ years I think that is quite the accomplishment), and we plot and plan what we will do when we win the lottery. Yup - still dreaming.

And so, Happy New Year my friends. May 2022 be a safe and blessed year and I wish you nothing but joy.