Mr. Darcy’s P&P POV (the abridged version)
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Chapter 11 –
Dinner was tolerable, but afterwards is better. Miss Jane Bennet is recovered sufficiently to come down. She looks well enough, if a bit wane. Miss Elizabeth is bursting with happiness. How lovely is a sister’s affection!
I am amused that Caroline chooses a book over cards this evening. Whom does she think she is fooling? I cannot stand the artfulness of ladies!
Well, as I expected, the book did not last long. She is trying to talk Bingley out of his offer of a ball. Wretched things, balls, but I shall not attempt to talk him out of it. Bingley has made a commitment.
Now Caroline tries to catch my attention by walking with Miss Elizabeth. Ah-ha! Now comes an invitation to join them. No, woman, I shall not fall into your trap. “I can imagine but two motives for you ladies to walk up and down the room together, with either of which motives my joining would interfere.”
Heh, heh! Miss Elizabeth takes my meaning, but my friend’s stupid sister does not. Time to have some sport.
“You either chose this method of passing the evening because you are in each other’s confidence and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking. If the first, I should be completely in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire.”
Score! Miss Elizabeth blushes. So does Caroline, but there is nothing for it. What is that—I cannot be laughed at? “Miss Bingley has given me credit for more than can be. The wisest and the best of men—nay, the wisest and best of their actions—may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke.”
“Certainly,” replied Elizabeth, “there are such people, but I hope I am not one of them. I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. But these, I suppose, are precisely what you are without.”
There she goes—teasing again. “Perhaps that is not possible for anyone. But it has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule.”
“Such as vanity and pride.”
“Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride—where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.” Something I have always strove to do.
“Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume,” said Miss Bingley, “and pray what is the result?”
“I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect.” Miss Elizabeth smiled. “He owns it himself without disguise.”
“No, I have made no such pretension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding.” I feel an urge to admit something. “My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding—certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offences against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” I wonder why I said that.
“That is a failing indeed!” cries Miss Elizabeth. “Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. I really cannot laugh at it. You are safe from me.”
Who wants to be safe? “There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil—a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”
“And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.”
You cannot possibly mean that! “And yours is willfully to misunderstand them.” I try to hide a smile; her playfulness is dangerous to my clear thinking.
Of course, Caroline misunderstands and changes the subject. She thinks we were arguing. Silly woman.
Still, it would be best to pay Miss Elizabeth much less attention.
Chapter 12 –
Miss Bennet seems recovered enough, but she and Miss Elizabeth are to stay until after Sunday services. Another night! Just one more night of resisting the beguiling Miss Elizabeth. Good! She is most unsuitable for a Darcy. I must endeavor to always keep that maxim foremost in my mind. I must not excite hopes that could never be fulfilled.
Of course, Miss Elizabeth must be as attracted to me as I am to her. Why else would she tease and banter with me? I cannot hurt her. That would be insupportable.
Besides, I am full to overflowing with Caroline’s jealousy over the matter. Hopefully, with Miss Elizabeth gone, Caroline will revert back to her less obnoxious behavior towards me.
There, I shall be steady to my purpose. I shall show Miss Elizabeth no special attention. Better yet, I shall show her no attention whatsoever.
Gad! I did not know how difficult my resolution would be to carry out, with Miss Elizabeth sitting alone with me for a half-hour. I shall not look at her, I shall not. Good lord, this book is boring!
At last they are gone. Caroline was at her gratuitous and insincere best taking her leave of the Misses Bennet. She hugged Miss Bennet and was even cordial to Miss Elizabeth. I am only happy that a source of bother and unsettlement has been removed. I can now enjoy the country in peace. Miss Elizabeth left in the liveliest spirits.
Why does that disappoint me?
Bingley looks like a wounded puppy. Buck up, man!
Chapter 13, 14 –
I am still unsettled. Something seems missing in the empty halls of Netherfield. Everything is the same—Bingley is sighing, Caroline is complaining, Louisa is gossiping, and Hurst is drinking. How boring! There is a spark absent in the air.
Stop it, man! You DO NOT regret Miss Elizabeth! You do not!
I still cannot believe that Bingley will actually host a ball on the twenty-sixth. Perhaps I can avoid it. I can always return to Town and have a tooth pulled.
Deuce take it! I am almost as bad as Bingley.
I just wish I knew why I am so unsettled.
TO BE CONTINUED…
It takes a real man to write historical fiction, so let me tell you a story.
As you read this, I will be in beautiful downtown Decatur, Georgia with my fellow Au Au authors:
Regina Jeffers, Abigail Reynolds, Colette Saucier (physically),
Marsha Altman, Sharon Lathan, Susan Mason-Milks, Sally Smith O’Rourke, and Shannon Winslow (remotely),
along with many other wonderful JA writers at the ACJ Decatur Book Festival.
Come on by!