Chapter 21 is finished! YAY! Let the villagers rejoice! (what an ordeal) However, I want to hold off and not post it until I get a clearer picture of what must happen in chapter 22, first. Chapter 22 is the linchpin of the entire story which leads to it’s conclusion and I have to lay the ground work now.
However, you have all been so patient, I thought I’ve show you a rough bit to get the juices flowing – as I said, it’s still shaky, but you will get the basic understanding of what I’m trying to say…
At the edge of the village, Mary bent down to whisper into little Delphie’s ear and then lightly nudged her in the proper direction. Delphie smiled and ran forward, eager to take Jane’s right hand. Jane looked down and smiled but continued walking and chatting with Lord Whitfield to her right. Edward lagged behind chasing after a squirrel that had caught his fancy.
“Come Teddy,” cried Mary, “keep up.”
Edward too ran forward only he slowed to draw even with Mary. Mary rolled her eyes skyward and reaching over, she also gently nudged Edward in the proper direction. Jane looked down again when someone suddenly took possession of her left hand.
Mary smiled to herself but just needed one more thing to happen and if only Delphie would but reach up… Yes! Delphie did reach up and secured her father’s left hand and Mary was beside herself with glee. Now, if only Charles Bingley would happen by and see for himself just how things now stood, her satisfaction would be complete.
As the little group walked through the center of the village, people stopped to admire. Several of the towns folk were even bold enough to comment on the scene, saying things like: …will you look at that… quite a pretty little family… looks so much like dear Jane herself… one would think it is her own sweet child… she must like his children very much….
To the people of Meryton, Charles Bingley was no longer of any interest with such an obviously attractive couple now before them.
Mary walked several paces behind, smirking to herself and thinking just how clever she was to bring the two together for this walk. Jane deserved much more than the perfidious Charles Bingley or the odious Colonel Fitzwilliam. And as far as William Goulding was concerned, he was never even an issue.
Yes, thought Mary, Jane and his Lordship were well-suited and if she had anything to say about it, she would put the very thought into others peoples heads as well. And how could they not come to that conclusion themselves when they entered the village: The tall dark-haired boy the spitting image of his tall handsome dark-haired father and the fair-haired girl who would be assumed by strangers to be none other than Jane’s own child.
“Good morning, Miss Bennet,” called Mr. Stewart waving from in front of his shop, nodding happily at the pleasant scene, thinking that it was all his doing in bringing these two together only weeks before.
“Good morning, Mr. Stewart. How is Mrs. Stewart this morning?” Jane inquired as they all walked by.
“Very well, think you for asking.”
Lady Lucas and Maria were next to approach. “And who do you have here, Jane?” asked Lady Lucas as she smile to the children.
“This is Edward and Philadelphia Fitzwilliam, his lordship’s children.”
Lady Lucas curtsied respectfully to his lordship. When she stood she saw Jane’s sister standing just to the rear of the group almost obscured from her view. “Oh, I am sorry Mary, forgive me, I did not see you there.”
As it had been her intention and knowing what distracted her and everyone else on the street, Mary smiled slyly. “That is perfectly all right, Lady Lucas.”
The children, both growing quite bored began to amused themselves; Edward kept turning around to watch every passing cart or carriage and Delphie began to swing both her father’s and Jane’s hands.
In her innocence, it suddenly occurred to Delphie just how nice it would be if her father would hold Jane’s hand, and while her father spoke with the nice lady and Jane spoke with the pretty girl, Delphie brought the two hands together.