Well, not only did I move into the house, I have added two beautiful Ragdoll cats to the mix. Friends of friends both passed away leaving two ten-year-old brother and sister cats. Family was unable to take them due to severe allergies. So, guess who got them. Yours truly. Sigh! They really are gentle giants: Ragdolls are the biggest of domesticated cats and even bigger than Maine Coons who can get to around thirty pounds. Milo, I think, may have surpassed that. 🙂 His sister, Molly, is littler than he is…thank goodness.
In the meantime, I have started serious work on ‘Darcy Vs Wickham.’ I’m aiming for around the first of February. Will keep you posted. For now, I hope you will enjoy the following excerpt.
On Board the ship Pride of England
“Williams, are ye well?”
Darcy paused his mending of a split in the sail. “As well as can be expected after a flogging. Scabs are finally forming, and I am not in as much pain.”
O’Brien just looked at him and shook his head. He didn’t understand why Williams insisted that he was some bloke called Darcy. The captain was not the easiest to accommodate, but Williams seemed to irritate the man with everything he said. Denying he was Fredrick Williams was guaranteed to inflame Captain Jamison’s temper as Jamison had been told the man looked a lot like this Darcy fella but was not that rich man from Derbyshire. Williams had been brought aboard because he had vowels amounting to 3,000 pounds that he owed Wickham. So, Mr. Wickham had Williams gang-pressed to work on the ship Pride of England. The captain paid Wickham some of the money that was owed, and Williams would work the rest off for the next couple of years. That is if he survived that long.
“Why don’t ye just admit to the captain that you are Fredrick Williams so he’ll not have ye whipped again for lying?”
“Because Fredrick Williams is the lie. I really am Fitzwilliam Darcy. And, yes, I know Wickham. He and I grew up, more or less, like brothers. He, my cousin Richard Fitzwilliam, and I got into all sorts of mischief.”
Darcy stopped talking and looked thoughtful but continued working for the next quarter hour. Finally, he sighed, and said, “My father paid for Wickham to go to Eton and even Cambridge, at the same time I attended. This would have given him an education that would have enabled him to acquire a decent living even though he was only my father’s steward’s son. When he chose a life of dissipation, gambling, overdrinking, and womanizing, my father did not believe me when I informed him of Wickham’s choices. He died without ever finding out how wicked his godson had become.”
“Does this Wickham hate ye so much?”
“Unfortunately, he does. He envies me my status as a landowner, gentleman, and having what he wants but does not deserve. He is unwilling to work for a better life that he could have if he weren’t so desirous of having it handed to him on a silver platter. He even plotted to elope with a young lady with a large dowry by making her think he loved her.” Looking at the deck, Darcy softly whispered, “She was but fifteen years of age and not even out yet.”
“She somebody ye knew, and did he ruin her?”
“Yes, I know her, but, thankfully, his plan was discovered, and she was saved.”
“Then, that was a good thing. I don’t cotton to those who hurt women or children.”
O’Brien laughed at Darcy’s puzzled expression. “Cotton to?”
“I’ve never heard that before.”
“T’ain’t surprised. I’ve traveled on three ships all over to world for nigh on ten years, and I find words most interestin’. When I was in the southern colonies, I learnt about ‘don’t cotton to.’ I guess it means to disagree with or mistrust. From what you say, I don’t cotton to your Wickham.”
Darcy snorted. “I don’t cotton to him either, but I don’t know why he did this to me or how it will end. I don’t know why he just didn’t kill me.”
O’Brien stopped and looked at Darcy sideways with a bit of pity. “You got family back there?”
“My sister, Georgiana, and my wife, Elizabeth, the light of my life.”
“You wed new?”
“Yes, not even six months.” Darcy shuddered at a pain in the region of his heart and rubbed his chest.
“She a special lady?”
“Yes, she’s more special than anyone in the world. Her smile lights up every room, her laugh makes you want to smile and laugh with her, and she cares for people in a way that draws them to her. And her eyes…they sparkle like sunshine on water on a summer day.”
O’Brien smiled at Darcy’s description and pictured the lady in his mind’s eye.
Darcy laughed. “And she can be more impertinent than anyone I have ever known.” And both men laughed.
But then Darcy became quiet, and O’Brien noted that he wiped at his eyes and sniffed quietly.
Will I ever see Elizabeth and Georgiana again?
Noting Darcy’s melancholy, O’Brien offered to get water for both of them which Darcy declined. He had thought to go to bed after speaking with his friend but thought of a question he wanted to ask Williams, uh Darcy, before doing so. When he returned he was shocked to see, that Williams was struggling with Hoskins, a giant of a man who equaled Darcy in height and outweighed him considerably. And he was losing the battle to stay aboard the ship.
Yelling and dropping his cup, O’Brien rushed toward the railing where the two men struggled. But…he was too late.
“MAN OVERBOARD. MAN OVERBOARD.”