As any of you who have been paying attention to the Facebook page will know, In the Wilds of Derbyshire went on sale yesterday. This piece has a long history of stops and starts, on the outlining, writing, and editing and I am ecstatic finally to have it completed. It’s a bit different from my usual variation, and in honor of its release, I thought I’d share an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!
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It happened not a day after her father’s departure that Elizabeth was given the first glimpse of the society of Derbyshire. There were no events for them to attend yet, but on a day when the sun was shining, Mr. Drummond had a visitor come to the house, and Elizabeth saw the man of whom she had heard so much, though they did not exchange words.
Having stepped outside to enjoy a short constitutional around the grounds, Elizabeth and Olivia had completed a circuit of the back lawn and come around the house to see a young man dismounting from a large grey stallion.
“Darcy!” they heard Mr. Drummond’s voice as he exited the house. “How are you today, young man?”
“Very well, thank you,” said Mr. Darcy in response. He stepped toward Mr. Drummond and the two men shook hands. “I have come to discuss the fence at our border.”
“Of course. If you will wait for a moment, I will have my horse brought around and we can go there directly.”
With a bow, Mr. Drummond moved toward the stables to the side of his house to retrieve his horse and Mr. Darcy stood there for a moment waiting for him. As he had not noticed Elizabeth and Olivia, Elizabeth was able to take her first impression of him, and she was not at all disappointed. He was tall and lean, with wavy dark hair which settled over his forehead and tickled the collar of his jacket. His clothes seemed to be of fine quality, though they were not ostentatious, consisting of pants, shirt, waistcoat, and jacket, clearly made for riding. He also wore a leather overcoat, unfastened in the front, which undulated around his legs in the breeze. His boots were black and shiny, and Elizabeth though the man’s valet must have polished them until they gleamed.
In all, Elizabeth thought he was the most perfect specimen of masculinity that she had ever seen. Even Mr. Bingley, who Elizabeth had acknowledged to Jane several times was well-favored, was nothing to Mr. Darcy.
“Is he not frightfully handsome, Lizzy?” asked Olivia by her side.
“I dare say he is,” replied Elizabeth. “This is not the first time you have seen him?”
Olivia shook her head. “He comes to speak with my father on occasion, and I have seen him in Lambton. I care not what Mama says, but Mr. Darcy has never displayed a proud or haughty manner to me or my father.”
Elizabeth was forced to agree with her cousin. Mr. Darcy, though he stood with seeming unconcern, did not give a hint of distaste in his surroundings; in fact, as he glanced about, it seemed to be with interest, rather than pride or disapproval. By contrast, on the occasions when Mr. Bingley had forced his sister to come to Longbourn, the woman’s thinly concealed contempt had been plain for all to see, and she had much less reason to be proud than Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth was certain.
He seemed to become aware of them, and he smiled and tipped his hat, and Elizabeth and Olivia responded by curtseying in his direction. But Mr. Drummond led his horse out at that moment and the two men rode away.
“I think a woman would give much to be the subject of Mr. Darcy’s attentions,” said Olivia.
“Do not allow such nonsensical thoughts into your head, girl!”
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And just who interrupted them? That’s something you’ll have to read to find out.