Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Some important information before you get to the story: remember that I have been posting excerpts, not the full chapters. This one skips the wedding (not that I really describe it, anyway) and discusses ODC’s feelings afterward.
I am almost ready to publish the story. I am renaming it Darcy’s Wife Search, and have decided to make it the first of a series of novellas. My modern is Book 1 in a series, as well. Seems like I’m diving into this series thing head first. 😀 Anyway, I hope to have it available in digital form within a few days and in print a few days after that.
I will begin posting at darcyandlizzy a couple days before this post goes live. I plan to post two chapters each day until I’m done, so probably five days of posting. I don’t know if I’ll do another excerpt here or not. I’ll let you all give me some feedback on that. 🙂
Finally, did you know that if you were one of my Patrons at Patreon, you would not only have seen this post a day or two early, you would have seen the entire chapter? It’s true, and just one of the many perks my Patrons get. There is a link in the first sentence of this paragraph and one at the bottom of the post that you can click if you’d like to check it out.
I think that’s all I had to say, so on to the post. Enjoy!
The next morning, Mr. Bennet broke the news to his wife that her least favorite daughter was a married woman. He also made it a point to relay to her that her new son was less than impressed with her treatment of Elizabeth and that no expectations of assistance or invitations to visit would be met. Mrs. Bennet was outraged, but as there was little she could do, she soon determined that she would simply cut Elizabeth and her new family out of her life. To that end, she explicitly informed each of her daughters that they were not to mention the girl’s name to her or in her hearing, and they were not to send or receive letters from her.
Of course, she could not restrict her husband in the same way. He was, after all, the master of the house and while he did not exert himself in most circumstances, his reaction should she attempt to rule him would not be pleasant. This she knew from previous experience. Mrs. Bennet might be uneducated and of mean understanding, but she retained vivid memories of the one and only time in her long marriage that she had tried to control him. When mild-mannered Thomas Bennet raised his voice, it was a memorable experience, and one she did not wish to revisit.
Still, the mail generally came while her husband was out of the house, either visiting with the local gentlemen or doing something on the estate, and if she were careful about it, Mrs. Bennet might be able to destroy any letters that came into the house. Likewise, the outgoing mail generally sat on a silver salver in the entry hall; destroying that ought not to be difficult, either. She almost giggled with glee at the thought of severing the bond between her husband and his favorite child.
For Darcy and Elizabeth, their first full day of marriage was a lazy one. Both had been so enamored of their marital duties that they decided to spend the day in bed, sending Bingley a note telling him all was well and asking for time alone for the next few days.
Bingley, delighted to see his friend so happy, laughed at the missive, then searched out the housekeeper to explain the situation to her. This task complete, he considered how he would spend his day, deciding to ride into the local town and make himself known to them merchants there.
While he rode, Bingley considered all he had witnessed the previous evening. He had been shocked into silence by Mrs. Bennet’s words and actions. He understood why Darcy had married Miss Elizabeth so quickly. He was not sure he would have been so decisive in a similar situation, but he admired his friend for being so.
Bingley then turned his thoughts to the beautiful Miss Jane Bennet. He was attracted to her, and became more so every time he spoke to her. For the first time in his life, he was considering his future including marriage. None of the other women who had caught his fancy had done so the way Miss Bennet had. He knew her status was not what his sisters would wish for, but she was a gentleman’s daughter, and would raise his status, should he marry her. That mother of hers, though… Well, I should not rush into anything, anyway. Is Darcy not always telling me to take my time and consider every aspect of a decision before I make it? I shall do just that. I will visit and attend local gatherings, and observe. If Miss Bennet shows herself to be the lady I believe she is, and if she returns my feelings, I shall offer for her. Later.
On the fourth morning after their impromptu wedding, Darcy and Elizabeth finally emerged from their rooms. Though they had greatly enjoyed their time alone together, both felt badly for neglecting their host for so long. In addition, Elizabeth wished to visit her sisters.
Bingley was already in the morning room, sitting down to eat, when they arrived. He greeted them cheerily, making small talk until they had sat down at the table with their plates and cups.
“Thank you for your tolerance, Bingley,” Darcy began. “I hope it was not too great an imposition.”
“You are welcome. It was no imposition at all. It is not as though I have a hostess to entertain for me.” Bingley grinned. “I think perhaps Mr. Bennet was far more put out than I.”
Elizabeth looked up at him, her cup of tea halfway to her mouth. “My father?”
“Yes, he came to see you the day after your wedding. He seemed upset that you were not coming down for the day, and as I refused to disturb you after receiving Darcy’s note, he was forced to leave without speaking to you. I did promise that I would let him know when you emerged from your rooms. Strange thing, though, he insists that I send him word. He was adamant that Mrs. Darcy not do it.”
“I would imagine that, given my mother’s actions the night of our marriage, he is hoping to avoid a repeat performance.”
“That seems likely,” agreed Darcy. “Would you like to see him today?”
“I think I should. At the very least, it will ease his mind to see me happy.”
“Excellent! I will send a note straight away, then.” Rising, Bingley asked if there was anything, in particular, he should add to the note.
“I should love to see Jane and Mary, if my father is willing to bring them,” Elizabeth replied. Of all her sisters, she was closest to Jane, though Mary was a close second. She knew she would not speak to her sisters of how she spent the last few days, but she did wish to reassure them that she was well.
“I shall do that. Please, enjoy your meal; I will return once I have sent the note.”
Within the hour, Mr. Bennet was being shown into Netherfield Park’s drawing room, trailed by Jane and Mary. He hugged his daughter tightly, but Elizabeth knew from his manner that something was not right.
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