Two months ago I posted an excerpt for a new short novel I had just completed writing, and as that book will be releasing tomorrow, I thought another short excerpt was in order. You can find that excerpt here.
The subject of this book is the idea that Miss Bingley is determined to have Darcy for a husband at all costs, and what the consequences of her actions might be if things go awry. Darcy’s quirky manservant Snell is a big part of the resolution of this story, though he doesn’t appear on screen much. In this excerpt, Snell has learned an important piece of information, and has taken action accordingly. It is also important to know that just previous to this scene, Darcy has finally had enough of Miss Bingley and told her in no uncertain terms that he will not offer for her. This is what follows.
* * *
“Snell?” asked Darcy, noting a cot situated no more than five paces in front of the door to his bedchamber. “Do you propose to defend me with your very life?”
Darcy had intended it to be a jest, but his manservant, as was his wont, saw no humor in anything. “If I must, Mr. Darcy. I speak on behalf of all your servants, as you recall.”
“I do,” said Darcy with a chuckle. “But I had not expected this.”
“You would understand if you knew the truth of it.”
Darcy eyed his man. “Has something happened since I spoke to you this afternoon?”
The man’s countenance remained grim. “After leaving your argument, I learned Miss Bingley approached Mrs. Nichols and demanded the keys to the estate. As she is the mistress, the housekeeper had no choice but to hand them to her.”
Darcy understood the implications at once; but Snell had not finished his explanation.
“In response, I approached the housekeeper when Miss Bingley retired for the evening, doing so when they were speaking together. I requested a cot to be delivered to your rooms at once.”
Concern turning to mirth, Darcy wondered at the audacity of his man. “Might I suppose Miss Bingley did not appreciate your demand?”
Snell’s lips twisted into the nearest approximation of wryness that Darcy had ever seen. “Appreciation? No, that is impossible. The beauty of the situation is that she could not protest without revealing her interest in the matter. Then I explained to the housekeeper exactly where I wished her to place the cot.”
Darcy could not hold in his mirth. “Snell, you are a treasure!”
“Miss Bingley,” said Snell, ignoring his master’s chortles, “appeared none too pleased to learn that any attempt she made on you must first bypass me, but she made no protest. By now, I expect she is pacing her room in her most revealing negligee, gnashing her teeth in frustration at the impossibility of her designs.”
“Good man,” said Darcy, placing his hand on Snell’s shoulder.
* * *
What do you think? Are you liking Snell yet? Though he doesn’t appear much in my stories, I’ve often had a bit of fun with him. He is diligent, staid (stuck up), determined, possesses no sense of humor whatsoever, and is more than a little persnickety. In this story, he is Darcy’s most determined ally in making certain he does not succumb to Miss Bingley’s schemes. Look for An Agreeable Compromise on Amazon on Thursday, both in paperback and eBook. Here is the full description
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Miss Caroline Bingley has long been a thorn in the side of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s friendship with Charles Bingley; the visit to Netherfield Park to help Bingley learn the craft of an estate manager has all the potential for disaster. But Darcy will not shirk, for his friendship with Bingley outweighs his distaste for the man’s sister. In his defense, Darcy enlists his manservant, a man equally committed to ensure Miss Bingley will not become his master’s wife.
What Darcy had not expected was to find a woman in Hertfordshire, a woman he had only dreamed of meeting. Miss Elizabeth Bennet was everything a woman should be—handsome, intelligent, witty, considerate, and possessing the most beautiful eyes Darcy had ever beheld. It was not long before Darcy found himself ensnared in her web, helplessly besotted, knowing she was exactly what he wanted in a wife.
Yet the specter of Miss Bingley’s resolve to go to whatever lengths to have her way hung over his overtures to the woman he was rapidly coming to love. In time, Darcy was certain Miss Bingley would make her move, her actions certain to destroy his happiness if she succeeded. Darcy, however, was not without resources, and not without his own determination to do everything he could to thwart her machinations and find his happiness.