One of my favorite things to do is write dialogue. In fact, I almost always have to scroll back and add descriptive verses to flesh out my scenes. I especially like to write dialogue between Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam. I suppose it is because I live in a testosterone laden house and the language between ‘guys’ comes easy to me.
This excerpt is from my current work in progress: Compromise & Consequence. At the Netherfield Ball, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have an incident on the terrace after their fateful dance and Mr. Darcy believes – quite firmly – that Elizabeth is in cahoots with Mr. Wickham. Therefore, he is NOT happy about getting married. Frankly, neither is Elizabeth, but that would be another post and another excerpt.
Later that afternoon Darcy stretched out his long legs and lifted the cut glass filled with fine brandy to his lips. He’d stopped at his club after dropping off the rough draft of the marriage settlement to his solicitors. He would pick it and the special license up on Monday, and then Tuesday… Tuesday he would become a married man. Exactly one week from the catalyst that created the compromise.
He remembered the pursed lips of his solicitor when he read over the marriage settlement and how his brow had then furrowed over the added clause Bennet had insisted upon. Elizabeth’s paltry fifty pounds a year from her father was safe from him, along with her garnet necklace and muslin dresses. Yes, he certainly would not wish to take those from her. Once again Wickham had failed. With so little money at her disposal, his future wife could not even afford to give him a farthing. Oh, how he wished to be a fly on the wall when the news was broken to his nemesis. That alone would make up for the disappointment he felt whenever he thought of her.
He had been taken in by her fine eyes, and pleasing figure. With clarity of hindsight, he realized she had most likely argued with him knowing it would pique his interest. She was different from any other lady he’d ever known. At one time he felt he was in great danger of liking her more than he should. It was one of the main reasons he’d pulled back from their verbal skirmishes while she stayed at Netherfield Park. Little did he realize Wickham had coached her well. Her behavior had been calculated, knowing he would be drawn in by witty banter and heated debates, not by coy looks and agreeing with every word he uttered. If the desperate mothers of London had known this was what it took to capture the master of Pemberley’s interest, they’d have bought out Hatchard’s and hired every tutor available to teach their daughters politics and history.
His reverie was disrupted by a kick on the boot. He raised his eyes to see Richard standing beside his chair.
“I did greet you, but you were a million miles away in thought.” His cousin sat opposite him and signaled for a brandy. “Now, what is this about you getting married? Shall I congratulate or commiserate?”
“Why, is she as ugly as my brother?”
“No, she is a handsome woman.” He grudgingly admitted. “She has to be. Wickham does not have dalliances with hideous creatures.”
“Wickham! What has he got to do with this?”
“This whole debacle happened after we had gone out onto the terrace while at Bingley’s ball. When Miss Elizabeth turned to speak, I saw a red-coated gentleman trying to hide behind some bushes. She then approached and conveniently tripped. Of course, I caught her. I could not let a lady fall to the ground, and my button got caught in the lace of her bodice. She probably added the lace to make sure this happened.”
“Yes, I am sure all women place lace around the edges of her gown in hopes of tripping and snagging it on a man’s buttons,” Richard said, not even trying to mask his sarcasm.
“No, I am trying to see reason instead of lashing out in anger. How do you know she is involved with Wickham?”
“We argued about him while dancing.”
“I tell you about Wickham and all you heard was that I danced.”
“Truly, Darcy, that is more earth-shattering than you being compromised. One you chose to do, the other you did not. Extraordinary.”
“Can we focus on the problem at hand?” He pinched the bridge of his nose to stave off a tension headache. Or, a Richard headache. Both were annoying.
“The mother had to be in on it, because as soon as Miss Elizabeth tripped, she was the first one out on the terrace, leading the charge. Practically all of the guests poured outside after her as witnesses.” His conscience knocked at his memory, reminding him it was the words of Caroline Bingley which had sealed his fate, not the mother – or Elizabeth. Resolutely, he pushed that aside.
“So, there is no getting out of this?”
“None whatsoever if I wished to remain an honorable gentleman.”
“All right, then. What is it you want me to do? Take your bride out into the countryside and make sure she is never found?”
“No!” He was horrified his cousin would even suggest such a thing. “She stays at Pemberley until I am sure she is not bearing the devil’s spawn. As angry as I am with her, she is no more guilty than any other woman who fell for his charms. If I intend to have an heir, I will have to get over my revulsion of touching something Wickham has enjoyed.”
Oh dear… this will not go well for Mr. Darcy. I have a tendency to write him as a hard-nosed individual and now have to drag him out of the pit of his own making. However, do not fear for our heroine. She is not unintelligent and finds ways to circumvent the ridiculous parameters Mr. Darcy will set up at the beginning of their marriage. Look for this title – coming this summer. I will keep you posted. Until then, I wish you a blessed and happy day.