Welcome back to Austen Promises!
I’ve been hard at work, and the story is flowing pretty good. Caroline’s Censure is going to be a short novella in length, like the first two books are. I’m really close to finishing the rough draft. If all goes well, I hope to have it complete by the end of this week or early next week. I make no promises, however. 🙂
As Darcy strode angrily away from Caroline’s guest, his mind and emotions were divided between rage at her actions and worry over who he had heard gasp behind him. Just think, I spent all those years successfully avoiding compromising situations when I was unmarried, only to find myself in one when I have a wife. What was she thinking?
Darcy was certain Miss Nicholson was not acting at her own behest. The coincidences were too many and too significant to be random. Every time he had turned around since she arrived, the young lady had been beside him. He could not turn around outside of his chambers without running into her. Then, too, given Caroline’s behavior in the spring and the fact that she had apparently run away from a betrothal, Darcy would bet half of everything he owned that she was behind the scheme. For what purpose, he could not imagine. There was no possible way he would ever besmirch the Darcy name with a divorce, even if Elizabeth unfathomably turned into a replica of her mother.
Elizabeth. Darcy groaned and quickened his pace even more. No matter who had seen him, he knew his beloved wife would be hurt. She had shared with him the concerns she had had when he first began calling on her, many months ago. As a new bride, she could very well be feeling some uncertainty; this episode had the potential to bring those worries to the fore once again. Of course, his Elizabeth had a temper, too; one that he liked to soothe. As long as she did not believe he was the instigator of the event, he was sure all would be well. Eventually.
Darcy’s first stop had to be Bingley’s study. Thankfully, his friend was within, and within a few minutes, Darcy had relayed the events of the morning.
“Oh,” Bingley drew the word out. “That explains why Jane was running through the hall with her hand over her mouth.”
“Well, walking quickly. She remained ladylike but was in an obvious hurry. Passed me as though she had not seen me.”
“So it must have been Jane who saw me. Not that it matters. Whoever it was, if they have not already described the incident to my wife, they soon will. Did you see where Jane went?”
“She entered the back sitting room, the small one with the green furniture?”
“I know it,” Darcy nodded. “Ever since your sister arrived, Elizabeth has felt uncomfortable in the formal parlor and has settled herself in that sitting room. I suppose you do not know if she was within when Jane entered?”
“Jane never came out, so I assume she was.” Bingley’s mien reflected his distress and worry. “I apologize for my sister. Again. Her betrothed should be here by tomorrow, I think. I sent an express to my aunt the day after Caroline arrived, urging Mr. Mead to come immediately to Netherfield to collect her, and to bring the funds for a common license. I am glad I did, because it is clear that she needs some occupation beyond gossiping with the neighbors and staring out of the window.”
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