To know Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is to recognize the origin of the name of my new release: Designed for Each Other.
“Only let me assure you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is in everything a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other.”
I dare not argue Mr. Collins’s point regarding his sentiments about his dear wife and himself. I do find, however, that the sentiment ‘designed for each other’ aptly applies to Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth as well.
Applying Jane Austen’s words to different situations, even different characters, is one of my favorite parts of JAFF and when I can, I make a point of framing my stories to allow for such opportunities. I’m quite sure I would not enjoy writing Pride and Prejudice variations as much as I do if such liberty were not afforded.
Speaking of which, can you spot the liberties taken with Jane Austen’s words in the following excerpt?
Chapter 9 – Sense and Education
What a stroke of luck that the path just up ahead allowed for only three. Darcy placed his fingers on the small of Elizabeth’s back, prompting her to direct her eyes to his.
It was a stolen liberty, but one for which he suffered no regret. He did, however, remove his hand and offer his arm. She immediately, almost instinctively, accepted it. Encouraging a slower pace, he and Elizabeth fell into place behind Jane, Bingley, and Colonel Fitzwilliam, the former gentleman on Jane’s left and the latter on her right. Before very long, at Darcy’s contrivance, he and Elizabeth lagged some distance behind the others.
He drew Elizabeth a bit closer to his side. “Now that we are alone, may I tell you how much I have missed you, Miss Elizabeth?”
“Of course, you may.”
“I have missed you—a great deal. I should like to believe you missed me as well.”
“Pray tell me precisely what you wish for me to say, and it will be said, sir. I should hate to suspend any pleasure of yours,” Elizabeth said, thinking back to their dance at the Netherfield ball when he had spoken similar words to her.
“I have a sense that you are upset with me, although I am at a loss to understand why that might be. When last we were together, I promised to do everything in my power to reunite your sister and my friend. Have I not upheld my end of the bargain?”
“And I suppose you think I ought to be grateful that you—a man with the means of directing the affairs of others with hardly a care on your part—did what you said you would do.”
“Some gratitude on your part would be a nice start—”
“I am grateful, sir. Truly I am.”
“Yet, you seem upset—upset with me. What have I done to garner your displeasure?”
“It is not that I am upset with you so much as I am upset by this unfolding situation.”
“Yes—Jane and Bingley are together, but they have hardly reunited. What chance does your friend have to express his feelings for my sister if your cousin is afoot?” She looked at him pointedly. “Forgive me if I am wrong, but I cannot help but think this is precisely what you had in mind all along when you invited Bingley to Kent, instead of simply telling him that Jane was in Cheapside.”
Darcy could not argue that he had ulterior motives besides his friend’s felicity in inviting him to Kent. He could not imagine courting Elizabeth in a manner that he wished should she have returned to Hertfordshire, or worse still, had she stayed in Cheapside. He certainly did not intend to elaborate on his reasons to that effect, especially after his disastrous marriage proposal when he had cited her family as being uncouth and desperately wanting.
Responding to Elizabeth’s piercing accusation, he said, “The colonel is his own man. I do not tell him to whom he can or cannot speak and where he should or should not go. He arranges his affairs to suit his own convenience.”
“That is not what he told me.”
“What, pray tell, did my cousin say in that regard?” Mr. Darcy asked, his voice infused with a hint of exasperation he did not intend.
“He said he is here in Kent at your disposal.”
Mr. Darcy shrugged. “Be that as it may, the material point is that my friend and your sister have the second chance you so eagerly sought. You and I have done our part in bringing it about. The rest is entirely up to the two of them.”
Her disappointment in being admonished, she did not repress. Seeing this, Darcy ceased walking, prompting Elizabeth to do likewise. Heedless of their surroundings, he moved in front of Elizabeth. Taking both her hands in his, he said, “Did we not agree that, regardless of how things unfold between my friend and your sister, this would be our time to get to know each other?”
Smiling a little, Darcy raised her hands to his lips and brushed a soft kiss across her knuckles. “Excellent, because I fully intend to court you during this time—the right way, in a manner in which you deserve to be courted. Indeed, the way I should have done from the start.” He gazed deeply into her bewitching dark eyes. “Pray you will let me—let the two of us grow better acquainted with each other, unimpeded by the affairs of others. Do I ask too much?”
Available on June 30, 2018
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