Georgiana ~ Part Two
Georgiana held the sealed letter
in her hand and wondered what news Lord George Kerr needed to impart to both
his brother and hers that required incurring the expense of an express post.
Dare she hope he’d convinced Catherine to embark on a courtship?
A soft smile formed at the
thought of George and Kitty married. One had to be blind not to see how
besotted he’d been with her the week leading up to Lord Nathan and Caroline
Bingley’s wedding. She was fully sure in her estimation that Kitty returned his
affection, but Georgiana had witnessed moments when her dear friend, and
sister-by-marriage had been most despondent. She fervently hoped the missive
contained good news.
She alighted from the carriage
as soon as it pulled to a stop in front of Pemberley house and hurried inside.
“Is my brother here?” she asked Carson,
handing her pelisse, gloves and bonnet to Sarah, who followed her inside.
“I believe Mr. Darcy is in the
“Thank you, Carson. I won’t need
you until later this evening, Anna.”
“Very good, Miss Darcy.” Anna bobbed a curtsy and hurried up the stairs.
Georgiana tidied her hair as she
walked toward the study. The door was not fully closed, so she almost entered
without knocking. A soft laugh, followed by the low rumbling of her brother’s
voice, made her pause.
They’re at it again.
She couldn’t censure them.
Everyone knew how much Fitz loved Lizzy and how much Lizzy loved him. They
cared not that Society looked in askance at their open affection. She thought it
absolutely heavenly and tiptoed back down the hall a few paces, before turning
to face the study door. This time she made her tread a trifle louder than
normal and cleared her throat for good measure. She was rewarded by the sound
of quick whispers and a swishing of silk.
She knocked on the study door.
“Enter,” came the reply.
With a happy smile on her face, she entered the room. She noted Fitz
seated at his desk, ledgers spread before him, although one was upside down and
his cravat was loosely tied. His valet would be most displeased to see that his
handiwork had been tampered with. She then had to bite the inside of her cheek
to keep from grinning outright when she also noted his vest buttons did not
Although she’d dearly love to tease her normally staid brother, she gave
no evidence of seeing all this as she approached and handed him the letter.
“As I departed Kympton parish, after visiting some of the tenants, a
rider delivered an Express Post to Lord Nathan. When he asked for direction to
Pemberley, I offered to bring the letter myself.”
Fitz accepted the letter from her outstretched hand and turning it over,
said, “It’s from Lord George.”
“Lord George!” Lizzy exclaimed from the other side of the room.
Georgiana turned to face Lizzy, who looked far more composed that her
brother, although her lips were swollen and her cheeks decidedly flushed.
“Lizzy,” she exclaimed, pretending she hadn’t known her sister was in the
room, “I didn’t see you there. How rude you must think me.”
“No matter, Georgie. I was
reading by the fire and you had no reason to know I was here.”
Both she and Lizzy waited as
Fitz broke the seal and read the express. His mouth turned up at the corners in
a happy smile and his eyes twinkled when he finally glanced up.
“They are to be married,” he
“Who? Lord George and Kitty?”
“Yes.” Fitz glanced back down at
the letter. “George wrote: ‘I shall have
to frame the Special License I’d purchased for posterity as my Catherine insist
we wait the requisite three weeks, giving her time to arrange a small trousseau
and have her sisters from far flung Derbyshire attend the wedding.’ He
follows with a date for the wedding and details of Kitty and Mary’s travel
plans to Town.”
“Excuse me, Your Grace,” Hobson
stood in the door frame to Maxwell Kerr’s study. He glanced up from his ledgers
and indicated for the butler to enter. “This came by express post. As it bears
Lord George’s seal, I thought you may wish to attend to it immediately.
“Thank you, Hobson.”
Hobson carefully placed the
letter on the corner of Max’s desk and with a dignified bow, exited the study.
Though intrigued by what George’s
news might be, Max finished the letter to his steward. One of his tenants had
become increasingly difficult, almost to the point where Max considered
embarking on a trip to Yorkshire to deal with him personally. However, Mr.
Mason was a very competent steward and he’d had given him the latitude to deal
with it as he saw fit, hoping they wouldn’t be forced to evict a tenant whose
family had been with the Kerr family for generations.
At times like this, so far
removed from Adborough Hall, he felt like he was losing control of his dukedom.
But, there was no way to get around the fact he was required to be in the House
of Lords, especially now with all the unrest in northern England. Important
bills must be passed to ease the tensions, and that required him to remain in
London and exert his considerable pressure on those who waffled in their votes.
The letter completed, sanded and
sealed, Max turned his attention to George’s missive. He read the first few
lines, then leaned back in his chair, letter still in his hand and smiled.
George had proposed to Miss Catherine Bennet of Longbourn and she’d accepted.
Max continued reading and chuckled when George revealed that although he had a
Special License, Catherine managed to convince him to wait for the banns to be
Good for Catherine, he thought.
She had a will of steel, evidenced at Nathan’s wedding last year when it was
revealed that Viscount Stanhope had threatened her and she had protected
George. Max wasn’t sure of all the complete details, but George admitted he’d
been a spy for the Crown for over five years and because of Catherine’s
bravery, many lives of British agents in France had been safeguarded.
How shocked everyone had been to
discover Stanhope had been a traitor to England, and also, how fortuitous that
the Honorable Colonel Fitzwilliam was in attendance to speak with the
magistrate and keep the whole affair low key until after the wedding.
Fortunately for him, Nathan’s
wedding held far more pleasant recollections than vile stories of Viscount
Stanhope and his treachery. His best memory, the one he brought to mind on an
almost a daily basis, was his too brief of a dance with Miss Georgiana Darcy.
Although not formally out in society, she’d been allowed to partake in a few sets
at Nathan’s wedding ball because it had been held at Pemberley. For a half hour
they’d been able to converse without people leaning in to hear what they had to
say. Or more specifically, what he had to say.
Their set had concluded far too
soon for his liking and he’d returned her safely to a watchful brother. This
year she would make her curtsy and he planned to court her. Not in a brash
manner like most of young bucks carried away not only by a pretty face but a
handsome dowry. She was far too refined for a direct approach. No, he planned
to woo her gently and like a lustrous pearl, coax her out of the shell of
shyness. He’d waited a long time for this. A few months would not matter.
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