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.”
“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?”
“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.”