Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monica's Darcy

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by Monica Fairview
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Had Fitzwilliam Darcy known that departure from convention would entail such a level of anxiety, he would have been perfectly satisfied to follow convention and do as his ancestors had done for the last three hundred years. When he had issued his invitations, however, he had allowed impulse to rule as he and Elizabeth had laid plans for this most unusual of Winter Balls.

The invitations had gone out, advising guests to come prepared for a very different kind of evening. Young ladies’ hearts fluttered at the excitement of something new, mothers’ hearts envisioned complex possibilities, and young men’s hearts’ thumped at the prospect of young ladies tumbling into their arms. Older landowners, who had nothing to gain and everything to lose by being deprived of their customary card games, wrote to express their outrage at such a travesty, invoking tried and true Darcy tradition, but to no avail.

Darcy and Elizabeth soon discovered the fatal flaw in their plan. Everything hinged on the weather. For days now they had held their breath, peering anxiously out of windows, and hoping that no unseasonable conditions would spell doom on the evening’s amusements.

A dusting of snow had covered the hills around Pemberley that very morning, making them glisten and glitter with white, provoking laughter in Elizabeth and puzzlement in the sheep who did not know what had happened to their verdant pastures. Tonight the pretty lanterns that lined the pathways to the large tent cast coloured lights on the snow, and the illumination around the lake glimmered in the ice. It was like stepping into a whimsical fairyland.

Finally, the moment they had been waiting for – Robert Darcy’s familiar figure at the entrance to the garden. He was the reason for all this, for it was intended as a surprise for Darcy’s American cousin. It had all been concocted when the other Mr Darcy – after a few glasses of claret – had confessed how much he missed his native Boston.

They had intended him to be the last to arrive, and here he was. As he stepped onto the lighted path with Caroline next to him, her arms enveloped in a thick muff, Elizabeth poked Darcy in the side with her elbow.

Darcy swallowed down the yelp that rose to his lips and bowed perfectly correctly to his cousin.

The other Mr Darcy bowed back, then grinned widely. “Fitz, you devil. What possessed you to hold a party outdoors in the middle of winter? Have you taken leave of your mind? Elizabeth, this must be something you cooked up. My cousin does not have the imagination to contrive such a thing.”

Elizabeth tried her best to look innocent but could not prevent her eyes from twinkling in acknowledgement.

“We wanted you to feel at home, Cousin,” she replied.

“Do not tell me you arranged for the snow as well. Surely even the Master of Pemberley cannot control the elements,” said Robert Darcy. His eyes were drawn to the frozen lake and the lights slanting onto the ice. “If only I had some skates,” he added wistfully.

“Perhaps we can arrange for that,” said Elizabeth, holding up a pair of wood- mounted blades.

Robert gasped and threw his arms around Elizabeth. “Now I believe my cousin when he calls you an angel.”

“Don’t forget, Cousin Robert,” growled Darcy, “that she happens to be my angel. And your behaviour is entirely unseemly.”

Robert released Elizabeth and bowed to her. “My humble apologies, ma’am.”

Darcy in turn executed a stiff bow to Caroline. “You timed your entrance very well, Mrs Darcy. It appears you are the last of the guests.”

Caroline – formerly Miss Bingley – inclined her head imperiously. “Did I not promise I would play the part?”

“You did,” said Eliza, taking her by the arm and leading her to the seats that had been arranged under the canopy by the lakeside.

Hundreds of candles glittered everywhere one looked, and steam rose up from bowls, filling the air with the spicy scent of hot spiced ale, cider and mulled wine.

Fitzwilliam turned to his cousin. “Come, Robert. I will guide you to your seat.”

As he arrived to where everyone was assembled, a gong sounded. He waited for the excited chattering to die down to make his announcement.

“Ladies and gentleman,” he said. “I have arranged for instructors to teach us the fundamentals by and by. Meanwhile, I would like to present the first entertainment of the evening.” He gave a signal. “Let the party begin!”

At once a hired troop of skaters in exotic costumes appeared on the lake and began to slide elegantly across the ice to the music played by the orchestra. There were gasps and aahs from the audience.

Nothing like this had been seen in Derbyshire before.


Darcy post created for Pemberley Ball by Monica Fairview
© 2010. All rights reserved.

~-~-~-~-~ guest ~-~-~-~-~
by Monica Fairview
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Read more about Robert Darcy...

~~*!~~ Book Giveaway courtesy of author ~~!*~~

The Other Mr. Darcy
by Monica Fairview

Open US and Canada only.

Offer ends: November 28, 2010


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