I am certain that, by now, you have all begun to suspect that I am technologically challenged. Luckily, I have a failsafe that I can turn to and he has worked his magic to get me up and running … sort of. That means this is the last of the 12 Months of Darcy I will be sharing here. Enjoy! And then get over to to my website and sign up for the quarterly newsletter.
“Then return to Rosings and I will follow when I am once more myself.”
Elizabeth wished she could back away from the gentlemen in the clearing, but the Colonel’s eyes were already upon her.
“Good morning, Miss Bennet,” he said as he bowed.
Mr. Darcy’s back was toward her and he knelt on the ground.
Realizing she must, Elizabeth curtseyed and responded. “A lovely morning, Colonel, Mr. Darcy.”
The gentleman stood, turning as he bowed. “Miss Bennet.”
A movement at his feet drew her attention and she looked down to see an English Pointer. “Oh, how beautiful.” She stepped nearer. “May I pet her?”
Mr. Darcy knelt once more, protectively. “She is normally complaisant, but is nearing her time.”
As she drew nigh, Elizabeth noted the well-rounded stomach. She knelt and held out a hand. The dog sniffed and took a step closer. “Yes, she appears very near. Why ever do you have her out here in the woods?”
“She was restless,” Darcy replied followed by Richard’s snort.
“You brought her to Rosings at this time?” Elizabeth asked accusingly.
Mr. Darcy’s head snapped up. “No! That is, Rosings is her home.”
Elizabeth’s brow furrowed. “But she is a gentleman’s hunting dog, is she not?”
“There are no gentlemen in residence at Rosings at this time, Miss Bennet.” The Colonel smirked. “But there have been, and Darcy and I sometimes hunt when we are here.”
Mr. Darcy gently stroked the dog’s back. “Her great grand dam belonged to my father, her grand dam to Sir Lewis, and … I have just received word from Pemberley that her dam has passed. One of her pups, once she is weaned, will come to Pemberley.”
Elizabeth’s chest tightened. “Oh, sir, I am sorry to hear of your loss.”
The Colonel shook his head, but said nothing.
“Do you scoff at us, Colonel?” Elizabeth asked in challenge.
A wry smile tugged at the corner of his lips. “Never, Miss Bennet. I would not dare.”
“I am grateful for your presence, Miss Bennet.” Mr. Darcy’s voice drew her attention back to him and the dog. “For he would and does scoff at me.”
Darcy stroked the dog once more before getting to his feet. “I believe Hera is tired. We should return.”
Elizabeth stood as well, not taking her eyes from the man before her. “Of course. Do take care of her, sir.”
Mr. Darcy nodded, gave a brief bow, and turned toward Rosings. The Colonel bowed, a twinkle in his eye, and wished her a good day before jogging to catch up to his cousin.
Elizabeth watched as the shorter man clapped a hand upon the other’s back and leaned in close. Mr. Darcy shook his cousin’s hand off and glanced at Elizabeth over his shoulder. He tipped his head to her again before turning away and disappearing into the trees.
Elizabeth took a deep breath and released it slowly. How can such a cold man have tender feelings for a mere animal?
Her thoughts turned to the many animals that had resided at Longbourn in her lifetime until she remembered the grey kitten with a white line around her eyes, almost as though it had been purposefully drawn to accent the startling green irises. She and Jane had pleaded with Mr. Bennet to allow the kitten in the house knowing Mrs. Bennet would never allow it. When the kitten curled purring in his lap, he had finally relented. Oh, the mischief that little bundle of fur had caused. Papa had taken to calling her Loki. She giggled as she wiped a stray tear from her eye.
“Mourning a beloved pet.” She shook her head. “It appears Mr. Darcy does have a heart after all.”
Many people ask about what inspires writers. I will share the motivation behind this one. This past December, our family lost our dog. Thor was my son’s 13th birthday present, but when Nick left for college, my daughter took over care and ownership. He was 8 1/2 years old, which for a big dog is a long life. I was thinking about Thor and other pets we have had and this scene idea came to me. In addition to Thor, (who was an Alapaha Blueblood Bulldog, not an English Pointer), the cat described is the first cat I ever owned. Her name was Pita (Pain In The A**) and she was a little devil, but well loved. (I did not name her.)
I hope you have enjoyed these quick little scenes. As I said before, the complete 12 Months of Darcy is available when you sign up for my newsletter. My website will be undergoing a few more changes in the coming weeks, but everything should be in place by the time the first newsletter comes out in April.