For this month I have a quick excerpt for you. The book is called Among Intimate Acquaintances, and it will be on Amazon on Thursday. The gist of the story is that Darcy never went to Hertfordshire, and thus did not prevent Bingley from returning to Jane. A year later, Bingley and Jane, along with Elizabeth, visit Pemberley and meet him for the first time. Enjoy!
* * *
The library was, Elizabeth determined within moments of entering again, a wondrous sight to see. Beyond the fact that it was an open, airy sort of room, the furnishings exquisite, the atmosphere carefully promoted to encourage study and relaxation, it also held more books than Elizabeth had ever seen in one place in all her life. Even her father’s bookroom, which was itself a pleasant room with shelves groaning with the bounty of books they held, could not compare to what she saw before her. Should Mr. Bennet, a bibliophile without peer, ever see the inside of that chamber, Elizabeth was not certain they would ever see him outside it again. The thought stirred a vision before her eyes of her father, a bed placed within for his convenience, a pile of trays and dishes so he may eat without his eyes once leaving the wealth of books. It was so silly but accurately spoke of her father’s love of the written word.
As she wandered through the room, Elizabeth trailed her fingers on the spines of the tomes, pulling one out on several occasions to glance through it. Many of her favorites were on display there, and many she did not know but well imagined she would enjoy should she have the opportunity to read them.
Before she had been there long, she heard the sound of voices, an indistinct murmur until they rose in volume as she stepped toward the end of the room. For a moment, she thought others were approaching the library until she realized there was another door set into a side wall standing a little ajar. As she drew close, she realized it was the sound of two men, and within moments she could hear what they were saying.
“. . . your marriage, Bingley. Mrs. Bennet is a lovely woman, but I wonder if you considered prudence when you married her.”
Elizabeth realized the voice was Mr. Darcy’s. Then her sister’s husband spoke, proving they were in the room beyond the door.
“If I cared for prudence, Darcy, you may be correct.” Elizabeth heard Charles bark a laugh. “With those words, I suppose I have proven I did not consider prudence, for I care nothing for it. In marrying her, I have gained so much more than I might have obtained had I married even the daughter of a duke, and we both know that such a woman would not have had me.”
“It is not my place to question that, Bingley. However, you know she will not help you in society, and I suspect she brought little other than herself to the marriage. Was it altogether wise?”
“As I informed you, she brought much more than wealth, and you know I care little for society. It is Caroline who considers such things above all else. Jane is much more than a pretty bauble to adorn my arm, Darcy, she is a helpmeet, a lover, and a gem of the first order. I cannot imagine a better woman to be my wife than she.”
Grateful for Charles’s defense of his wife, Elizabeth decided it would be best to retreat before the gentlemen in the room discovered her presence. As such, Elizabeth stepped away, ensuring her tread on the tiles below remained light and made her way across the room. The sounds of the pianoforte from the music room floated through the house, and Elizabeth determined to join Georgiana there.
As she walked, she considered the lack of charitable feelings she had for Pemberley’s master. While everything he had said was true, Elizabeth blamed him for his inability to keep his opinions quiet, though he could have no notion anyone other than Charles had heard him. It was not for him to question Charles for his choices in life, for Charles was his own man and had proven himself to be an excellent man, both in seeing Jane for the wonderful woman she was and marrying her against his sisters’ wishes.
Coupled with her impression of Mr. Darcy’s pride, Elizabeth could imagine him sitting behind his imposing desk, Charles sitting like an errant schoolboy in front of it. The notion caused her to chuckle, for she knew Charles as confident enough he would not cower before such an interrogation.
Still, Elizabeth was a guest in the house, and it would not do to allow her present feelings for the man to show. So she pushed it to the back of her mind and determined she would maintain a pleasant façade. Who knew? Perhaps Mr. Darcy would even prove himself a better man than one who questioned a friend’s actions in marrying the woman he loved.
* * *
Well, what do you think? Is Darcy just being Darcy, or is Elizabeth misunderstanding him? Remember that I’m not an angst writer, so the resolution likely won’t be all that difficult to attain!
Here is the cover for the book. See you on Thursday!