As promised, almost. The Colonel has been adding his two cents and making this post longer than it should be, so the letter is going to be a two part blog. I hope you enjoy it! (Remember, it’s unedited and I am certain there are errors so I apologize in advance.)
“Very well,” Philip said as he rose from his seat and tugged at his cravat. “Shall we begin?”
Darcy looked at him uneasily. “I believe I am capable of writing a letter.”
“You also believed you were capable of proposing and being accepted.”
Darcy winced but nodded his agreement and crossed to the secretaire. Philip followed, removing his jacket and hanging it over the back of the nearest chair. While Darcy selected a sheet of paper, mended his pen, and opened the ink, Philip paced the room.
“First, you must apologize for your insult at the assembly. It is clear that error predetermined the outcome of every interaction thereafter. Remove her injured pride and you may soften her defenses against you.”
“We are approaching this as you would a battle?” Darcy turned a disbelieving eye upon him.
“Of course! What is courtship but war? She won the first skirmish, but that in no way means the war is lost.”
Darcy shook his head and muttered, “What was I thinking taking romantic advice from a bachelor?”
Philip clapped a hand down upon his cousin’s shoulder. “Just because I have not succumbed to the parson’s mousetrap, does not mean I have no experience with the fairer sex.”
“I would not consider rolling a chorus girl relationship experience.” Darcy shook off his cousin’s hand.
Philip clutched his chest. “I am hurt, Darce.”
“I sincerely doubt it.”
His cousin laughed. “You would be correct. Now, as I was saying, an apology.” He paced the length of the room and returned. “You must tug her heartstrings. Explain to her that your young sister suffered a disappointment prior to your arrival in Hertfordshire and you were consumed with concern for her the night of the assembly. You regret allowing your foul humour to override your normal gentlemanly behaviour.”
He stopped and looked at Darcy who was staring at him. “Why are you not writing? I am composing a masterpiece.”
“I do not feel comfortable putting the blame on Georgiana. I was the one at fault.”
“Because you were concerned for your sister. Come, Darcy, you require all the assistance available to you.” Philip grabbed a chair and pulled it closer before dropping into it. “You have no reluctance to tell her of Wickham’s actions towards Georgie, do you?”
Darcy shook his head. “Elizabeth would never speak to ruin another, and I have often dreamt of the influence she would have on my sister. Her compassionate nature and amiability would help Georgie blossom into a confident young lady.”
“Then what is your concern?”
Darcy fiddled with the paper before him. “You know how I dislike being in company with those to whom I am not acquainted.”
“Indeed,” Philip snorted. “Your displeasure is plain to anyone who . . . oh.”
“Precisely. I inferred that I was thinking of Georgie, but in truth, I was displeased with everything I saw upon entering the assembly rooms. Perhaps, I was simply being myself and I am not the gentleman I thought I was.”
His cousin sat forwards and laid a hand upon Darcy’s arm. “You are a good man, Darce. You think a bit highly of yourself, but how many men your age have done what you have? You came into your inheritance years before it was anticipated, and you rose to every challenge. Though you have never been comfortable in society, you have not avoided it.” He sat back, allowing his hand to fall onto his lap. “With that said, I would not call you arrogant, but I can see how others might. You are accustomed to having things your way and able to arrange it to be so. To others who are not in your position, you may appear high-handed.”
“As when I separated my friend from a lady he admired.”
Darcy stared at the blank page before him and sighed. “I shall tell Elizabeth about Ramsgate, but I will not use Georgiana as an excuse for my poor behaviour the night of the assembly.”
Philip rose from his seat and laid a hand on Darcy’s shoulder once more. “You are correct, of course.” He patted his cousin’s shoulder and chuckled. “It is because you are so frequently correct that you are so flummoxed when you are wrong.”
Darcy shrugged off the hand and began to write.
Dear Miss Elizabeth Bennet,
Be not alarmed on receiving this letter, by the apprehension of its containing further avowals of my affections which were last night so surprising to you. I write to humble myself and beg forgiveness on two parts, while warning you of potential danger on a third.
As my cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, will attest, I am not a social creature and dislike being forced into situations where I am unfamiliar with those present. Bingley, as amiable a man as you may find, has never understood this about me and insists that I participate in events I would rather avoid. So it was the evening of the Meryton assembly. Frustrated with his insistence I dance, I made the ill-chosen decision to discourage him and any others about me, including you. I am most ashamed of my behaviour that evening and at other events in Hertfordshire. It was poorly done, and though I am not deserving of it, I beg your forgiveness for my rudeness.
My cousin has informed me he was the one to tell you of my interference regarding Bingley and Miss Bennet. In truth, I have often seen my friend in love before and thought little of his attentions to Miss Bennet until the evening of the dance at Netherfield. Sir William Lucas’s comments made me aware that Bingley’s actions had given rise to a general expectation of their marriage. From that moment, I observed my friend’s behaviour attentively; and I could then perceive that his partiality for Miss Bennet was beyond what I had ever witnessed in him. Your sister I also watched, yet I saw no symptom of peculiar regard.
When Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst approached me after Bingley left for London and voiced their concerns regarding the connection with the Bennet family, it was soon decided that we would follow him to London and dissuade him from returning to Netherfield. Fearing my friend would be entering a loveless marriage, I persuaded him of your sister’s indifference. Bingley, with his great natural modesty and stronger dependence on my judgement than his own, was soon convinced. In hindsight, I can understand how repugnant my actions appear, but I truly believed I was acting in the best interest of a friend. I will deliver my apologies for these actions directly to my friend at the earliest possible time.
On the matter of Mr. Wickham, I can only refute his accusations by laying before you the whole of his connection with my family.”
Darcy paused while Philip leaned over his shoulder and read what had been written thus far. He nodded, hummed once or twice, and finally nodded again. “I suppose it will do.” He folded his arms before him and tipped his head to the side. “You intend to tell her everything?”
“As much as is necessary.” Darcy dipped the pen in the ink but was stopped from writing more by his cousin falling into his chair, a suspicious, contemplative expression covering his features.
“What are you thinking?” Darcy asked.
“Does it not strike you as strange that Wickham has confided in Miss Bennet? She is not his normal prey.”
Darcy set his pen in the holder. “True, he is known to chase after younger girls with fluff for brains, more like Elizabeth’s younger sisters––” His eyes grew wide. “Oh lord,” he muttered as he dropped back against his chair.
“What is it?”
“When I first encountered Wickham in Meryton, he was speaking to Elizabeth and her sisters. Upon my approach, I looked only at Elizabeth until I realized someone stood beside her and turned and met his gaze.”
Philip groaned. “He knows you too well to not realize your interest in her.” He sat forwards and poked his finger at the paper before them. “It is even more important that she be made aware of his disposition. She, and probably her entire family, are surely targets he would think nothing of ruining to gain what he would consider a victory over you.”
Darcy ran a hand over his mouth. “If he has not already done so.”
Philip considered for a moment before shaking his head. “You left the area. He may believe you were not so enamoured as he originally thought. For the greatest victory, Miss Elizabeth Bennet would be his main focus.”
“It concerns me how well you know him.”
The irritating grin returned to his cousin’s lips. “I am a soldier,” Philip said with a single shoulder shrug. “He is the enemy. It is my duty to understand him and his motives and to anticipate his actions.” He pointed at the paper. “Begin at the beginning.”
Sorry, you will have to wait until next month for the rest. Please let me know what you think so far. I’m still not sure what, if anything, I will do with this beyond these blogs.