Just a Little Peek, by Bronwen Chisholm

Just a Little Peek, by Bronwen Chisholm

A few months ago, I posted a scene of some of our favorite characters as children. This led to a book idea which I have been working on since then. Unfortunately, life has interfered and caused a delay, but I thought I would share an excerpt today.

Like most JAFF authors, I enjoy taking some of Jane Austen’s original lines and reusing them in different ways. (e.g. Mrs. Bennet filled in for Elizabeth when Lady Catherine came to demand satisfaction regarding an engagement to Mr. Darcy. The whole scene was retold by an amused and proud Mr. Bennet in The Ball at Meryton.) In this story, I decided to have Bingley make a game out of the iconic opening line of Pride and Prejudice.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that . . .,”

“Oh, Charles, must you?” Caroline Bingley sighed before batting her eyes at the gentleman seated beside her brother. “Mr. Darcy, I cannot comprehend how you have abided my brother and his silly games all these years.”

Darcy felt the familiar unease which accompanied attention from any unmarried lady, but silenced it with a deep calming breath. “In his attempts to entertain himself, your brother often succeeds in amusing those about him as well. There are those who could do well with more laughter in their lives.”

“There are those in our society who find laughter gauche, sir,” the lady responded.

“And they are the very ones who require it,” Bingley cried. “The town is just over the next hill. I say, Darcy, I think you will be very pleased with my selection. Netherfield Park is not so grand as Pemberley, but it has a fine prospect.”

“As agreed, I will give you my opinion and assist you to ease into the role of master of an estate, but I fear I may not be able to stay as long as I initially believed.”

The Bingley siblings cried out against the thought, but silenced when Darcy continued.

“It is not a certainty, but I may be required to return to town.”

“Well, London is not far. You can go and return easily,” Bingley assured him, his gaze returning to the passing landscape. When the cabin fell silent, he once more began his game. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that . . .” He leaned closer to the window and smiled. “The country houses many a lovely young lady.”

“Charles,” Miss Bingley scolded, “you must not lose your head over a country nobody. It was bad enough when you nearly made a fool of yourself over Miss Evans. I thought Louisa would have an apoplexy. And then there was Lady Demetria, though you knew she was nearly engaged to Lord Beddington. Oh, and who was the lady with the atrocious taste in music?”

“Miss Clarissa Smythe, and her taste in music was simply not the same as yours, Caroline.” Bingley shook his head. “You have become a terrible bore.”

Darcy turned to the view outside his window in an attempt to hide his smile. Though he had considered sending his regrets, he was now glad he had agreed to accompany the siblings. Miss Bingley and her sister could be maddening, but Bingley and Hurst were good company.

His gaze travelled over the passing landscape. A modest estate, the manor older and the landscape maintaining a natural disorder, stretched before him. A glimpse of colour flashed through the trees followed immediately by a second. He peered closer and noted two additional forms, these walking at a more sedate pace. A cluster of young ladies. One lifted her head as they passed by, her gaze met his with undisguised curiosity. A second longer and she was gone. Darcy fought the urge to lean forward to see her again.

The sound of the wheels changed as they entered a small market town, perhaps the size of Lambton. Pedestrians hesitated as the carriage rolled past and Darcy imagined what was being said regarding the inhabitants. It was clear the Bingley carriage was grander than anything seen thus far, which would spur estimations regarding the owner’s wealth followed by speculation of who might be within. He sat back and allowed the curtain to fall forward, blocking him from sight.

“Come, Darcy, Meryton is not as bad as that,” Bingley said as he nudged his friend with his elbow. “You will see. We will be warmly welcomed at the coming assembly.”

Darcy groaned. “I am certain. Fresh meat to be preyed upon by the matchmaking mothers.”

 

Can’t you just see Bingley doing something like this? Regency I Spy: entertainment for those long carriage rides.

Well, back to work. Have a blessed week!

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18 Responses to Just a Little Peek, by Bronwen Chisholm

  1. Cute… Oh, I remember that book with Mr. Bennet relating the scene with Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine. That was an amazing switch with the dialogue. It worked so well with Mrs. Bennet. I was so proud of her. I think it was more fun reading of Mr. Bennet relating the scene than if we had read the altercation. I look forward to reading this new story.

  2. If you could give Bingley a backbone to go with his playfulness, that would be great! Looking forward to reading more.

  3. Sounds good! Can’t wait to read it. I hope the delay wasn’t a health issue and that you and your family are well.

    • No, no health issues, thank goodness. My husband has a non-profit organization and I have to file for a grant. 😛 Not my favorite thing but necessary. I will get back to it soon, promise.

    • Having taken long car trips with children, I know that not everyone can sit still for that long. My son was able to read which kept him occupied, but my daughter had to have a movie and even that failed from time to time. When we would travel home to Pennsylvania, I had landmarks that I would make them watch for and that would help them figure out how much longer we were stuck in the car. My parents did the same to me when we would drive I83 from Camp Hill to York. When we saw the truck sign with the “moving” wheels, you knew the spinning barbell man was next and then the exit home. lol Multiply that by lack of electronics and horses vs. engines – I understand why there were often 2 carriages: one for the master and mistress and the other for the servants and children. ;D

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