I should be preparing for a job interview right now, but all I want to do is work on one of my stories. Oh heck, what they hey, you deserve a peek…
Excerpt from Chapter 21 – For the Love of Jane
In the weeks that Whitfield had occupied the Lodge, he had made it truly his own. Books and journals were strewn here and there, next to greatcoats heaped into one corner and the smell of boot leather. It was clearly a gentleman’s house and Mr Bennet found himself quite at home. The only thing that seemed out of place was the housekeeper buzzing about the place, lamenting over the muddy boots on the carpets and shotguns stacked in the corner.
Bennet had come to look at the place as a means of escape. Longbourn had suddenly become overrun with women. In addition to his wife and daughters, Lady Adele and Georgiana Darcy had become daily visitors. Happy talk of wedding clothes, shopping excursions to London, and the upcoming village fete and assembly ball filled the air. He was happy for Lizzy, but it pained him somewhat when he saw how well she got on with Miss Darcy. Oh, it was quite natural for her to love her for she was a good girl, but it was a stark reminder that she would soon be leaving home.
Even Jane was not untouched by the whole thing. Lady Adele and Jane were forming quite an attachment. Jane delighted in this friendship very much. He had often watched them from the library window as the two of them strolled in the garden, arm in arm, heads bent together and speaking of only God knew what.
His lordships children and their dog had also become a daily occurrence. Quite often young Edward with Apollo, when he could no longer take the chatter of so many ladies, often sought him out in his library. Henry loved having the boy’s company. He gave Edward amusing books to read, taught him how to tie fishing flies, and showed him any number of paraphernalia from his school days at (Rugby?), telling the young boy what he could expect when he himself went off to boarding school.
Bennet could see with his own eyes that the two motherless children had a strong attachment to his eldest daughter. He wondered how the two children would feel when they both found themselves obliged to leave her company. His wife had already taken note of it. He would see Mrs. Bennet watching the three of them interacting and forming a pretty picture in her minds eye. She had not, praise the lord, been vocal in this regard for he knew that his wife still held out some hope for Bingley. However, if Bingley still kept his distance as he had over the last weeks, lord help him and Lord Whitfield.
After a particularly bad day of hunting, the four gentlemen had descended down upon his lordship and pulled him away from his botany books and insect journals to drink his good wine and entertain each other with tales of past school days.
“Lady Margaret Marchmain,” exclaimed Jonathan. Darcy regarded his cousin for a moment and thought he looked as if at any moment he would be carried away by a fit. “How I loved just—looking at her; a goddess among us mere mortals. Unfortunately,” he laughed, “her brother caught me looking and beat the stuffing out of me!”
The gentleman all laughed riotously at the colonel. He had a tale of a different lady for everyday of the week it seemed.
“So that was the first woman you ever loved?” asked Mr. Bennet.
“Well, hardly a woman. It was visiting day at Eton; I was twelve and she was fifteen and quite beyond my purview of things, if you know what I mean. But, yes, she was the first woman I ever loved.” He sipped at his brandy and threw back his head and laughed at the recollection of something. “My mother kept asking, “Johnny, why do you have that black eye.” I told her I got it playing cricket; what a liar I was back then.” The Colonel then tossed the pillow at Darcy. He caught it and groaned. “Your turn; the first woman you ever loved.”