Can you believe we are already a month into summer? The kids will be back in school before we know it! As many of you know, I have returned to school myself (online) so my writing has slowed down again, but don’t worry! I have enough chapters to get us through the end of the year. For those of you just joining or wanting to reread the prior posts, here are the links:

What if?What if? Part IIThe LetterElizabeth’s Perspective, A Walk at RosingsA Walk at Rosings Part II and What to Do About Wickham.

Now, when we last saw our dear couple, they were hatching a plan . . .

The Darcy carriage made its way from Brook Street to Grosvenor Square, the lone passenger lost in thought. Darcy and the Colonel had left Rosings the same morning as his meeting with Elizabeth, and he had sent a note to Bingley that afternoon requesting a meeting with him the following morning, setting the hour early enough that he hoped to avoid Miss Bingley. Of course, if she were made aware of his impending visit, he did not doubt she would order her maid to awaken her well before the normal time.

The house appeared silent as the carriage pulled to a stop and the step was placed. Darcy ascended the stairs and waited for the butler to answer his knock. To his surprise, Bingley opened the door.

“Darcy,” his friend said in a friendly albeit soft voice. “How good it is to see you.”

He motioned for Darcy to follow him to Hurst’s study. Once they were inside with the door closed and locked, Bingley indicated the chairs by the hearth, and they sat.

“Forgive me, Bingley, but is now a good time? It appears something is amiss.”

His friend chuckled. “No, no. I am simply avoiding my sisters. When I received your note and saw the time you requested to meet, I was certain you had no desire to encounter them. I took great pains not to make anyone aware of your expected arrival so Caroline and Louisa would not learn of it.”

Darcy smiled. “I thank you for the consideration.”

Bingley waved away the sentiment. “Now, what is it you wished to discuss so soon after your return to town?”

Before speaking, Darcy studied his friend. Bingley smiled, but unrestrained joy did not seem to fill his eyes as it once had. His hair was mussed, lacklustre, and there were lines about his mouth Darcy had not noted before. Bingley appeared to have aged since they had last been in company.

“How are you, my friend?” he asked.

“Me?” Bingley drew back, his eyes widening at the unexpected, heartfelt question. There was a moment when it appeared he would give the normal platitudes, but then his shoulders slouched, and he leaned his head back in the chair. “I miss her. I know you and my sisters are certain that Miss Bennet does not return my regards, but I cannot stop thinking of her.” He sat forward. “Should I not make some effort to court her? I do not have to propose to her until I am certain of her sentiments, but I could court her.”

“It appears we are of one mind.” Darcy nearly laughed at the startled expression which overran his friend’s countenance.

“We are? You believe I should return to Netherfield Park and woo Miss Bennet?”

“No, you should accompany me to Gracechurch Street this morning. Miss Bennet is visiting her aunt and uncle, and I have letters to be delivered there.”

“Miss Bennet is in London?” Bingley’s brows drew together in utter perplexment. “How do you know this to be so?”

At this question, Darcy paused. He could easily say Miss Elizabeth had told him, but the truth of the matter was that he had known Miss Bennet was there several months ago. If he respected his friend, he would tell him the entire truth.

“Bingley, I am sorry to say that Miss Bennet has been visiting her aunt and uncle since shortly after the festive season.”

His friend’s eyes grew larger. “Jane? Has been in London since January?”

Darcy nodded.

“Why did she not contact Caroline?”

“She did.” Darcy felt his cheek growing warm. “Your sisters sought my advice, and it was decided it would be best if you did not know.”

Bingley tipped his head to the side, his brow furrowed. “I beg your pardon?”

Leaning forward and clasping his hands, Darcy took a deep breath. “I apologize. It was beneath me to interfere in your affairs and poorly done. I could say that I was attempting to protect you, but in truth, I believe I was thinking only of myself.”

“Yourself?” His friend’s expression became darker, but confusion still ruled. “How could separating me from Miss Bennet . . .” Bingley’s eye widened once more. “You have feelings for my Jane?”

“No!” Darcy ran a hand through his hair. “I was attempting to avoid her sister.”

“Sister? Miss Elizabeth? She is in town as well?”

“No, she is in Kent.”

“Where you just were?”


Bingley sat back in his seat, composed himself, and then waved his hand in Darcy’s direction. “I fear you must tell me all, as I am beyond confused by what has been said thus far.”

With a great sigh, Darcy sat back in his seat and told Bingley of the agreement that had been made between himself and his friend’s sisters before leaving Netherfield; the arrival of Miss Bennet’s letters, followed by the lady herself; his discovery of Miss Elizabeth in Kent; and the revelation that Miss Bennet remained in London and held Bingley in some regard.

“She admired me before we left Netherfield?”

“That is my understanding.”

The smile which raced across Bingley’s features retreated just as quickly. “But then I did not return. Oh, what must she think of me?” He cradled his head in his hands.

“There is only one way to know.” Darcy patted his friend’s shoulder. “Miss Elizabeth has entrusted me with letters for her family and I intend to deliver them this morning. Will you accompany me?”

“Should I?” Bingley raised his head. “Will it not be awkward for Miss Bennet to see me so suddenly after all this time?”

“I am not expected either, but I have business I must address with Mr. Gardiner. I would appreciate your presence as you are much better when meeting strangers.” He tugged at his cuffs. “I believe it would appear odd if I appeared at the Gardiners’ residence without you. It is only because you leased Netherfield Park that I am acquainted with Miss Bennet.”

Bingley stared at him, his eyes moving back and forth over Darcy’s countenance as though searching for some clue to how they might be received in Cheapside. Finally, he nodded. “You are correct. I have wished to see Miss Bennet, and now I shall.” He rose from his seat and made for the door. “I must change. I had not anticipated visiting . . .”

When his friend did not continue, Darcy offered, “It is early. Shall we take breakfast at White’s and then journey to Gracechurch?”

Bingley nodded. “I will return shortly.” He paused at the door, a wicked gleam appearing in his eye. “You may wish to lock the door behind me. Should Caroline learn of your presence, we do not want her to find you alone.” He chuckled at his joke but stopped once more before leaving. “Shall I have coffee sent in?”

“And alert the household to my presence?” Darcy asked with a grin.

“Quite right, quite right.” Bingley chuckled as he closed the door behind him.

Darcy shook his head, laughing at his friend’s discomposure, but upon hearing movement in the hall, he quickly locked the door until Bingley knocked a short time later.

I had such fun writing Bingley’s confusion on this. I’m sure anyone walking by my window, seeing me with a mischievous grin, was exceedingly curious about what I was up to. What are your thoughts?

10 responses to “Return to London”

  1. Barry S Richman Avatar

    I have always loved the different variations of how Bingley reacts to Darcy’s confession of interference. Although the overall theme is always forgiveness, exacting a penance for such behavior is not out of the realm of reality, IMHO. Well done.

    1. Bronwen Chisholm Avatar

      Thank you! I enjoy playing with Bingley’s reaction as well. My favorite reaction, of my books, is in Missing Jane where he throws Darcy out of his house. It was the first scene I wrote for that story.

  2. Glynis Avatar

    At least Bingley is already aware of his sister’s behaviour, now let’s hope he deals with her appropriately! I’m sure she would love to live in the north, with a widowed/spinster Aunt in an isolated cottage?
    As for Darcy and Bingley? Hopefully they will be well received in Gracechurch Street!
    Good luck with your studying! And your summer! Ours appeared to be in June this year, July has been almost constant rain and it looks like it’s continuing into August 🙁

    1. Bronwen Chisholm Avatar

      That is a thought! 😉
      Our summer can’t make up its mind. June was actually chilly at times and July has been stifling with promised rain that didn’t always appear or only trickled. Hopefully August will make up for it.

  3. coleen561 Avatar

    I was so glad to see another installment of your story! I’m enjoying it so much. You always leave me wanting more.

    1. Bronwen Chisholm Avatar

      I’m so glad you are enjoying it! It has been fun to write.

  4. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    I love this “episode” so to speak!lol Bingleys reaction is so funny and it is a good thing Darcy locked the door!lol I can’t wait for more!

    1. Bronwen Chisholm Avatar

      Given how Darcy was providing the information, I thought it was understandable for poor Bingley to be utterly lost. 😀 I’m so glad you are enjoying this!

  5. Sharon Bailey Avatar
    Sharon Bailey

    I like the fact that Bingley understands how much of the blame is his for not pursuing a courtship with Jane. Darcy and Caroline’s plot would not have worked without Bingley’s weak will. Well done!

    1. Bronwen Chisholm Avatar

      Thank you! It always bothers me when Bingley doesn’t take responsibility for submitting to their persuasion.

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