For this month’s post, I have an excerpt for my next offering. This is so new and hot off the presses, that I don’t even have a title formally worked out yet. Release date is about a month away in August, but I will warn that because of some other things going on, it is entirely possible it will slip. Anyway, here it is. I hope you all enjoy it!
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Few amusements could capture the imagination of a young lady of a certain age more completely than an evening of dancing. The sisters residing at Longbourn estate in Hertfordshire, were as susceptible to the thought of such delights as any other. The ball at Netherfield Park, having been announced the previous week, was a source of much delight and anticipation, and even more when the preceding four days had been dreary, the skies opening up and rendering them bound to their home aid a sodden mass of earth.
Of the ball, much has been said, and as such it behooves the author to avoid repetition and focus on other matters, such as might surprise the reader with tale yet untold. As the Bennet carriage pulled up to the door of the estate that evening, Elizabeth mind was filled with thoughts of the charming Mr. Wickham, of the dances she meant to share with him. Of less interest to her was the presence of Mr. Darcy, the man she had learned to detest, a man she meant to ignore and avoid as much as possible. But fate, it seemed, was destined to interfere with such plans in a manner Elizabeth could never have expected.
The news that Mr. Wickham was not present for the evening’s entertainment Elizabeth met with annoyance, but the absence of Mr. Darcy as a target of her ire was denied her. Instead, she stood speaking with her friend, Charlotte Lucas, for some time, exasperating herself against Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins in equal measure. The only consolation was that Mr. Darcy appeared to have avoided the evening, and thus would not intrude on her senses. And while the thought of him attending a ball, a pastime he did not enjoy and would consider a punishment, had its appeal, Elizabeth could not find it in her to repine his absence.
Jane, of course, danced the first with Mr. Bingley—and a handsome couple they were—while Elizabeth endured Mr. Collins’s inept attentions, longing for the end of the sets promised to him which would allow her to seek out other, more agreeable partners. When she was finally able to make her escape, Elizabeth round her attention caught by a pair of women she had never met.
It was obvious upon a cursory glance that the two ladies were related, likely a mother and daughter, given their respective age. Both were passing tall, blond of hair and fair of face, the elder carrying herself with dignity and the posture of a woman of some quality, while the younger was smiling and happy, full of youthful life and hope. Elizabeth put the age of the elder at between five and forty and fifty years, the younger perhaps eighteen.
Of further interest was the appearance, at last, of the man she detested. Mr. Darcy was standing nearby, speaking in earnest to the two ladies—it seemed to Elizabeth he was giving them a picture of the principle figures present in the room. Then their eyes fell on Elizabeth herself, and Elizabeth received a shock when the elder woman gestured to her, and Mr. Darcy, though not eager, if Elizabeth was any judge, led them to her.
“Miss Elizabeth,” said he, executing a perfect bow, “my mother has requested an introduction to you, if you will be so kind as to allow it.”
The news that this was his mother—and likely his sister—was not as much of a surprise as that they would request an introduction. With her usual composure, Elizabeth gave her consent, curious of these ladies who claimed such a close connection to the ever-detestable Mr. Darcy.
“Mother, Georgiana, may I present Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the Bennet sisters of the nearby estate of Longbourn. Miss Elizabeth, this is my mother, Lady Anne Darcy, and my sister, Miss Georgiana Darcy.”