For today’s post I had hoped to share a bit of history with you, but as it’s still rough and I had some other things pop up, I decided to put it to the side for next month. So instead you get an excerpt! Keep in mind what I have said in the past–I usually post about subjects which are due to come up in future novels. Next month’s will be no different and will focus on a famous historical figure who may or may not have some influence in a future novel. 😉
Enough about next month. I alluded to my next work in last month’s post that I was working on a novel, where the basic premise is that Georgiana Darcy’s near miss in Ramsgate was not so unknown to society. In this work, Bingley was with Darcy, and thus is on hand to give assistance. The story picks up a few minutes after Darcy arrives in Ramsgate.
* * *
“I think, my dear Darcy,” said Wickham, “you will find that her reputation is already sullied. I have made it quite well known in the town that I have secured her hand in an engagement. The only way you may protect her reputation is to allow our marriage to go forward.”
Georgiana gasped and gaped. It was clear that while she trusted Darcy, she had still held some notion that Wickham actually cared for her. That illusion was being shattered before her eyes.
Carefully, Darcy transferred his precious sister to Bingley and stepped toward Wickham. Though he stood taller by several inches and actually could loom over the pathetic man, Wickham gave a credible attempt at appearing unaffected. Darcy, who knew him well, was not misled in the slightest.
“As I said before, I would rather my sister suffer the slings and arrows of society for a short season, than marry her to a man such as you. Get out, Wickham, and do not return. It will go ill with you if you do.”
It seemed that Wickham understood his implacable will, for he stared at Darcy, a truly ugly expression showing his frustration and rage. Then he turned to Georgiana and said with a sneer: “It is unfortunate you are such a snivelling, wretched little miss, Georgiana. We might have salvaged—”
His diatribe was cut short by the sudden impact of Darcy’s fist with the bone of his cheek. Wickham went down in a heap, though his glare at Darcy never wavered. All the hatred which Wickham had held for him over the years was gathered in his eyes at that moment. But he was also a coward, and would not match Darcy’s physical violence. It was the first time Darcy had struck the libertine since they had been boys engaged in fisticuffs. Darcy wished he had done it long ago.
“Get this piece of excrement out of here,” commanded he to his men. “Do not return, Wickham, or I will see you in debtors’ prison.”
The footmen sprang to action and soon hauled Wickham from the room. He did not speak again, but his eyes spoke of vengeance to come. Darcy had no care for him. He would protect his sister.
* * *
The day following their arrival did not bring any good news. As his friend had requested, Bingley absented himself soon after breakfast in the company of the two footmen. They separated soon thereafter to gather what information they could, and when they gathered again, it was with news that Bingley did not wish to be forced to relate to his friend. But there was little choice, so he returned to the house and meet with Darcy and Georgiana.
“It appears Wickham was speaking the truth, inasmuch as he informed you of the town’s knowledge of his attentions to Miss Darcy.”
Bingley smiled at her, attempting to impart a little courage. For her part, he was impressed with her composure, though it was brittle. She was not an assertive woman, and likely never would be, he thought. But there was a core of steel which was uncovered in times of trial. She would weather the storm, he had no doubt, and perhaps the idea, quickly forming in his head, might speed the healing and provide protection.
“It is true,” said Miss Darcy. “Several of the ladies with whom I associated here knew of Mr. Wickham’s presence.”
“The question I have,” said Bingley, nodding at her, “is how much of that knowledge has left Ramsgate. It is difficult to know without actually going to London, but I suspect that as the Darcy name is not unknown, anything which makes its way back to London will excite some interest.”
“I have no doubt it will,” said Miss Darcy. Her mood was morose, as if she fully expected to be led to the executioner. At her side, Darcy was doing a credible job of trying to appear more upbeat for his sister’s sake, but Bingley knew his friend well enough to see through the façade.
“It is possible that as it is summer, the matter will not find fertile ground in London,” said Darcy.
“That is quite possible,” replied Bingley. “I do not think all censure would be avoided in such a circumstance, and the fact that Miss Darcy is not yet out may assist. If she is not present in society to hear the whispers, they can hardly affect her.”
“But when she comes out, it is almost certain to be raised again.”
“That is true,” replied Bingley. “That is why I have a potential solution to propose.”
The interest of brother and sister was roused by Bingley’s words, and he chuckled at the picture they presented. “I have never been struck by such a feeling of similarity between you as now when you both perked up at my words.”
“Please, Bingley,” said Darcy, his sister nodding by his side, “if you have a solution to this predicament, then inform us of what you propose.”
* * *
There it is. Do you know what our good friend Bingley will suggest? Whispers of the Heart is scheduled for release on October 18. Let me know what you think in the comments!