Well, I had planned on publishing Darcy Vs Elizabeth in August but now it’s pushed to October. Family comes first, and my daughter is moving from California to Illinois where the living is much easier on the pocketbook. So we have been involved with accomplishing that instead.
I thought with this post, I’d give you a taste of what’s to come by including the first chapter and a little more and seeing what you think. It starts out canon, but it won’t stay that way. 🙂 Enjoy!
Elizabeth Bennet paced the floor of the bedchamber she shared with her eldest sister Jane. Every few seconds she would either growl in frustration or stamp her foot in outrage. The entire time she kept her hands fisted as if she would strike someone.
“Lizzy, please sit down. I can’t believe he would have been willing to insult a young woman he hadn’t even been introduced to.”
With a low cry of impatience, Elizabeth disagreed wholeheartedly with her sister.
“Jane, he looked me right in the eye after Mr. Bingley suggested he offer to dance with me. Then…he turned to Mr. Bingley and said, “She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”
Jane had her mouth covered with her hand because she didn’t want Lizzy to know she was choking on her laughter at her sister’s sarcastic imitation of the pompous Mr. Darcy with her little finger stuck up in the air as if holding a cup of tea. Elizabeth Bennet was known far and wide as a very pretty, caring, and generous individual, but her temper was also widely known. And the new visitor at the Meryton Assembly could not have engaged her temper any more than he had by insulting one of the beauties of this small country town.
The entire Bennet family had been delighted to hear that Netherfield Park was finally let at last after standing empty for a little over a year. The former owner had passed, and his family had moved to Town as they preferred city life to living in the country. So, the beautiful estate had stood empty for much too long until Mr. Bingley, the son of a wealthy tradesman, fell in love with the property. He was to let it for a time until he either decided to purchase it or to look elsewhere. Hearing that he had five thousand pounds per annum, every gossip in Meryton, including Mrs. Bennet and her sister Mrs. Philips, had spoken of the young man and wondered if he would fall in love with one of the young ladies in the area. Mrs. Bennet, however, was sure that he would not be able to resist her eldest daughter as Jane Bennet was the most beautiful young lady of the entire county of Hertfordshire.
Not only was Jane a classic beauty, she had the sweetest nature of anyone around. Mr. Bingley would do well to win her hand. Not only would they have the most beautiful children to be born, they would have a mother who was very accomplished in caring for a household as well as sewing, painting, netting purses, singing, and playing the pianoforte.
And one might ask why at one and twenty she was still unwed? The same question could be asked of the second eldest as well. But, never fear, both had had several suitors, to their mother’s chagrin, but the two of them were determined to marry for love rather than convenience. And this was to the horror of the Bennet matron who knew for a fact the entire family would wind up in the hedgerows when Mr. Bennet died. The fact he was in perfect health and would probably live for several more decades mattered not. The estate was entailed to a cousin of Mr. Bennet, and Mrs. Bennet had established he was the most odious of men, and that without so much as seeing the man or even being introduced to him.
As for Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she was a bit impertinent and too much of a bluestocking to keep a young man’s interest. This did not bother her in the least as she was not attracted to any of them and felt that becoming attached to someone who objected to her knowledge and her ability to converse with anyone on most subjects, including those topics considered the men’s purview, would not be worth marrying. She was content to wait, and if she was so fortunate in the future to do so, to marry for the most ardent love.
At the moment, she was even thinking of one, of whom she would never consider accepting an offer of marriage from, by the name of Darcy. Shaking her fists in front of her, Lizzy huffed her disgust as Jane tried to calm her.
“Calm? Why should I be calm? He insulted me, and I have never had a young man say that about me. I am not a beauty such as you, Jane, but I am a bit more than…tolerable.”
Jane couldn’t hold it in any longer. She’d never seen her sister in such high dudgeon before.
Lizzy glared at her sister who doubled over in laughter, and after a bit, she joined in as well.
“Oh, Jane. Why did the handsomest man at the assembly have to insult me?” With that lament, she fell backwards on the bed she shared with her eldest sibling.
At this, her sister grew serious and gave her a hug.
“I do not know, Lizzy. Perhaps, he was overly tired or had a bad day. I would hope that he would not be in the habit of insulting young ladies. And, yes, he was definitely the most handsome man there, even more so than Mr. Bingley.”
Her sister’s mouth had dropped open in shock at Jane’s comment. “But I thought you were very impressed with Mr. Bingley’s looks and his fine manners.”
“I am. He is a very fine looking gentleman, but compared to Mr. Darcy, his friend is much more handsome. However, that does not mean I like him better because I do not.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Elizabeth replied, “Well, I’m glad as I would have had to talk you out of admiring the gentleman otherwise.”
“Come to bed, Elizabeth Bennet. It’s been a terribly busy day, and you will be exhausted tomorrow if you do not rest.”
“As always, you are the voice of common sense,” she said with a sigh.
Snuffing the candles, Lizzy climbed into the large double bed she had shared with her sister since they were little girls, gave Jane a hug goodnight, and rolled onto her side to lay awake most of the remainder of the night thinking about a handsome man she wished she had slapped for his impertinence. But most of all, she rued the fact he refused to offer to dance with her. She didn’t wonder if he could squire one around the floor as he had partnered with Mr. Bingley’s two sisters each for one dance. Refusing to admit she was experiencing twinges of jealousy, Lizzy closed her eyes and finally met Morpheus only to dream of insults from the finest looking gentleman in the room.
Lizzy awoke just a little after dawn as was her wont. As she was still tired after the assembly, the late night, and very little sleep, she debated about arising and taking her usual walk. However, sleep eluded her as she thought again of Mr. Darcy and his insult. Twitching with ire, as her good opinion once trampled on was difficult to change, she closed her eyes and endeavored to go back to sleep, to no avail.
With a sigh, she threw the bedcovers to the side and awakened Jane in the process. “Lizzy, what are you doing?”
“Shhhh, my apologies, Jane. I didn’t mean to wake you. Go back to sleep.”
Her sister grumbled for a moment, then turned silent and began to lightly snore.
Elizabeth couldn’t help but smile at her beloved sister. In sharing a bedchamber all their lives, they knew each other’s most intimate secrets. But for all her amiable, sweet nature, Jane Bennet was a bit grumpy if she didn’t get enough sleep, and Lizzy bit her lip in regret that her burst of temper had disturbed Jane’s serenity.
As she quietly dressed, she thought of the night before. Mr. Bingley had asked Jane to dance twice, and his wide smile every time he looked at her sister seemed to indicate he was more than pleased. I wonder if they will fall in love? I would be delighted if Jane could find the love of her life and have a happy marriage with many children.
Jane Bennet loved children and was always delighted when one or more were available for her to cuddle and speak with. And children loved her. They were attracted to the beautiful lady and her sweet manner. Elizabeth knew her sister would make a marvelous mother. She also knew her husband would be more than pleased as well.
When dressed, she tiptoed across the room, quietly opened the door, and slipped out into the hallway. Then she gently shut the door as she knew Jane would sleep for several hours more after dancing all night.
All the Bennet sisters, except Mary, were popular with the gentlemen who enjoyed dancing. Elizabeth and Jane, however, would endeavor to be in the refreshing room for at least one or two dances, if there was a shortage of young men, so all the young women would be able to dance during the evening. Last night had seen them participate in almost every dance with the exception of the one that prompted Mr. Darcy’s insulting comment. Lizzy bristled at the memory and twisted her mouth in ire at the man from Derbyshire.
But since she wasn’t made for anger, she soon smiled and reflected on the fact that the man had missed the pleasure of having her as his partner for at least one dance as she was very good at all she endeavored especially dancing. Sniffing her disdain at the man’s bad manners, she headed down the stairs, avoiding the step that creaked, went to the kitchen where she greeted Cook, and went out the back door of Longbourn after sneaking two muffins into her pocket.
In spite of society’s expectations that a young woman always be seen with a bonnet and gloves when leaving her home, Lizzy refrained as the weather was still rather warm. She was a brisk walker and would quickly become too warm if overly dressed. Since she was near her home and walking when most people were still abed, she didn’t adhere to convention. She made sure to avoid anyone who might be up and about, but this morning would be an exception. She was not aware of Mr. Darcy’s penchant to arise at dawn as well and proceed on horseback to start his day.
Elizabeth’s favorite place in all of Hertfordshire was Oakham Mount. High enough to allow her to see much of the county surrounding it, the mount was in the middle of the forest where she walked. She loved the seclusion and the quiet as she awaited sunrises and sunsets and admired the countryside especially in warmer weather. This allowed her to enjoy the many fields ripe with grains or filled with an abundance of wildflowers of every color that stretched as far as the eye could see. Hertfordshire truly was a beautiful county and a pleasant place to live.
At peace with the world, she sat quietly drinking in the beauty before her as she nibbled on her muffin. Cook was very good at her vocation, and Elizabeth sighed in rapture as the sweet buttered treat melted in her mouth. She couldn’t resist licking the crumbs off her lips rather than wiping her mouth. She was loath to lose a single morsel of the delightful repast. I must be sure to thank Cook for her expertise. Perhaps she’ll have something else as delicious on the morrow.
With a final look, she brushed a few remnants of her meal off her skirt, arose, and headed down the mount intent on reaching Longbourn before the rest of her family greeted the day. She knew her father would already be in his study drinking coffee, his favorite beverage, and she looked forward to the lessons he would give her later in the day concerning the running of his estate. She may not have been a son, but Mr. Bennet recognized that his daughter was more intelligent than most men he knew. When she married, she would be an asset to her husband, not only in caring for their household but in being a partner with him in managing estate matters. At one time, he had mourned that he had not found a similar relationship with Fanny Bennet. She had seemed to be interested in the same things he was before they married, but apparently it was not true. Much to his chagrin, he did not discover this until after they were wed.
Elizabeth frowned as she thought of the disparity between her mother and father. Then with a shake of her head, she threw off the negative musings and vowed to think only positive ones for the rest of the day. Although a remembrance of Mr. Darcy intruded, she refused to let it stay. She was not made for unhappiness as she obtained too much enjoyment out of life, and she smiled in pleasure just as she stepped out in front of a horse being walked by its master.
“Whoa, Hercules.” The rider quickly stilled the horse that nearly reared in Elizabeth’s face.
“Young woman, do you always pop out of the bushes to startle unwary riders?”
Elizabeth gave a shaky curtsy. “My pardon, sir. I didn’t expect anyone to come along, and my thoughts were elsewhere.”
“You were lucky I was cooling Hercules down after a long run. Otherwise, we might have trampled you. Do you always neglect to pay attention where you are walking?”
At this, Elizabeth raised her head and took a good look at Mr. Darcy who was glaring down at her. With a hooded stare and fury in her eyes, she glared right back at him.
With both hands fisted at her sides she said, “I have walked this path every morning for years and never encountered anyone before today. Unfortunately, it would have to be with the rudest man to ever come to this county.” Turning quickly, she began marching away from the most hated man in her memory.
Darcy, in the meantime, having been startled to have nearly been the cause of a young woman being injured, bristled in indignation at her words. “You dare insult me because I reprimand you for your actions?” He snorted, then continued on, “I shouldn’t be surprised as you are not even dressed as a lady would be dressed, no matter the time of day or location.”
Spinning around, Elizabeth quickly walked up to his horse and began berating his rider.
“And you, sir, are no gentleman. To proclaim that a young lady you have not even been introduced to is only tolerable and not good enough to dance with Mr. High and Mighty is despicable.”
“Darcy’s face turned red with embarrassment as he realized his foolish words the night before had been overheard. Stammering to make an apology, he was unable to as Elizabeth interrupted.
“Don’t bother apologizing. I won’t accept a weak apology from someone who has the manners of a chimney sweep.” Turning on her heel, she hurried away toward home.
And Darcy let her go. The more he thought on the encounter, the more offended he got until he finally urged Hercules into a canter as he headed back to Netherfield, his friend’s leased estate. I’m glad I ignored Bingley and refused to dance with the hoyden.
Both persons returned to their current abodes angered at the encounter and to the chagrin of the other inhabitants.
Well, if you think that Darcy is more haughty, arrogant, disdainful, and rude, you would be correct. And how about Lizzy? She will be a bit more proud, quick tempered, and unforgiving. Will these two ever be able to make peace with one another? You will have to wait and see. I hope you look forward to reading Darcy Vs Elizabeth in the near future. Hopefully October. 🙂