Well, as most of you know I had all of my collections for half price through the end of September. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that in August I notified Amazon that the Darcy Vs Collection was no where to be seen on my author page and would they please see that it was added to that page, it was NOT there when I looked for it the other day. Consequently, if you had gone to my author page to view all the collections, this collection was not there. The only way you could have found it was by searching for the title.
Therefore, I have put it on sale for half price of $4.99 AGAIN through the end of November for those readers who would like a copy.
I did take time to read over the reviews this collection has garnered and realized that several reviewers gave the impression that the book was kind of a single story. However, it is four separate, distinct stories, basically four novellas.
- Darcy Vs Bingley – This one was probably the most fun to write as I pictured Darcy as a bit more fun loving than the dour person Jane Austen wrote about. In other words, some of Bingley’s joie de vivre rubbed off on Darcy making him a bit more likable.
- Darcy Vs Elizabeth – Elizabeth Bennet is somewhat more resistant to Darcy’s charms, shall we say.
- Darcy Vs Lady Catherine – In this variation Darcy and his aunt are a bit more at odds with one another, and it includes a rather shocking ending.
- Darcy Vs Wickham – This novella I deliberately kept short because of the amount of angst it contained. I didn’t want my readers tied in knots for too long a time worried about what happened to Darcy because what happened was very bad.
Would you like a snippet of one of the novellas to see if you would like more? Of course, you would. 😊 So, onward we go. This is a taste of Darcy Vs Lady Catherine
Foreshadow of Things to Come . . .
A short while later, Lady Catherine, Anne, Richard, and Darcy met in the large parlor.
“Lady Catherine, I believe that chair is now reserved for Anne.”
“This is my chair.”
“No, it belongs to Anne. Perhaps, you could trade places with her.”
Although his cousin looked almost like a child sitting in an adult’s chair, Anne followed his lead thinking that she would have the chair either removed or destroyed. She was not sure she ever wanted to see it again.
Once Lady Catherine was sitting on the settee that had been the usual place for Anne and Mrs. Jenkinson, Darcy stood silently in front of her with his arms crossed before saying anything.
“Well, get on with it, nephew.”
Looking down at his aunt, he said, “Through the years and with my visits to Rosings, your manners have impressed me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, whether family or not. Those of mankind who have wealth and station are in a position to help those not so disposed. Instead, you take advantage of those of a lower station, disdain all who disagree with your pompous assertions, demand recognition you are not worthy of, slander those you do not know, and abuse your servants. Madam, I am done with you. I am ashamed to call you a relation and want no part of you.”
“How dare you speak to me in such a manner. I am your aunt.”
“And I wish you weren’t.
Darcy rolled his eyes as his friend Bingley approached him.
“Come, Darcy,’ said he, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”
“I certainly shall not. Unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner, I detest dancing. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. I have already danced with your sisters, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be punishment to me to stand up with.”
“I would not be so fastidious as you are, for a kingdom,” cried his friend. “Upon my honor, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening. There are several of them, as you can see, who are uncommonly pretty.”
Looking at the eldest Miss Bennet, Darcy replied, “You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room.”
“Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is also very pretty, and I dare say, very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.”
Glancing over his shoulder, Darcy rolled his eyes as he turned back to Bingley, and said, “She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles for you are wasting your time with me.”
Elizabeth Bennet’s eyes narrowed as she watched Mr. Bingley return to her sister’s side. Not one to ever back down from a challenge, she arose from her chair and approached Darcy.
“Mr. Darcy,” she began, keeping her voice low so as not to attract attention. “Although we have not been introduced, I feel I must warn you about making insulting comments within the hearing of young ladies who might become acquainted with these utterances…that is, inadvertently overhear them and take offense. This is a very close community, and we welcome new residents and visitors as long as they are well-mannered and understand that while we live in the country and are not as sophisticated as those in Town, we are not bumpkins to be insulted and looked down upon by those whose station might be considered higher than ours.” She inclined her head and offered a polite but chilly smile. “We endeavor to be polite to all including those who think they are higher and mightier than those who live here.” All that time, Elizabeth stood with her arms crossed so she would not be tempted to slap his handsome face.
Darcy’s jaw dropped open at her words, and his first inclination was to defend himself against this termagant. But as she spoke, he noted the fire in her eyes, the added color to her cheeks, and her dark curls that bounced as she spoke with determination. And he realized she was lovely, almost as lovely as Bingley’s Miss Bennet.
“Madam, may I apologize in sackcloth and ashes? I spoke without knowledge. Even though I had glanced back in your direction, I did not see the beauty that stands before me now. May I offer as a poor excuse that the summer has been hurtful to one I love, and today I had recently arrived from London with very little chance to recuperate before coming tonight. I am ashamed to admit it when fatigued, I can be…rather grumpy.” Bowing toward her, he added, “I hope you can forgive me, and after I obtain a proper introduction, that you will consider dancing the next set with me. Please.”
Elizabeth uttered a small gasp as he smiled at her and transformed into the most beautiful, nay, the most handsome man she had ever seen, and she was left speechless as she uncrossed her arms.
Seeing his opportunity, Darcy gently took her hand and placed a kiss on the back of her knuckles. Then catching Bingley’s eye, he motioned his friend and Miss Bennet over to where he and Elizabeth were standing.
“Bingley…my friend. You offered to have Miss Bennet introduce me to her sister. It would please me immensely for you to do so.”
Bingley chuckled and turned to Jane. “Miss Bennet, would you please introduce your sister and Darcy.”
“My pleasure, Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy, this is my sister, Miss Elizabeth. She is the second eldest in our family. Elizabeth, this is Mr. Darcy from Derbyshire.”
“It is my honor, Miss Elizabeth, to meet you.” Darcy bowed as Elizabeth curtseyed to him. “As the next set is about to start, perhaps we could join the other dancers?”
Elizabeth started to protest, since he had stated he was fatigued from traveling, but the gleam in his eye seemed to indicate his tiredness might have vanished. And who was she to protest dancing with the handsomest man in the room? She smiled, and warmth spread through her cheeks as she softly agreed with him as Bingley looked on in awe.
Turning to Jane, he said, “I don’t believe it, Miss Bennet. He just told me, in the strongest terms, he wouldn’t dance anymore tonight.”
“Perhaps he met a young lady who changed his mind.” Jane smiled at him, and Bingley’s heart melted. He might have thought he was in love before, but it had never felt like this. Putting her hand around his elbow, he held her just a little closer than propriety would approve while she blushed and looked down as they joined the dancers on the floor.
Elizabeth was surprised at how elegant a dancer Mr. Darcy was. His steps were light for such a tall man, and he managed to never step on her feet, which could not be said of some of her partners. The current dance was Tythe Pig, a lively one that meant watching their steps—rather than indulging in conversation—was a must. Her sisters, Lydia and Kitty, also had partners in this set and, for once, were being a little more mindful of their laughter which could become somewhat loud on occasion. She would be embarrassed if her family didn’t behave with decorum this evening as she wished that Mr. Darcy would see nothing to criticize.
After the dance, Darcy delivered Elizabeth back to her friend Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte nearly didn’t allow enough distance as he crossed the dance floor to join Bingley and his sisters before she started quizzing her friend about the man from Derbyshire.
“Lizzy, what was it like to dance with such a man?”
“Shhh. What do you mean such a man?” Glancing over her shoulder, she made sure Mr. Darcy was out of earshot.
“I mean such a handsome and wealthy man.”
“Yes, he is handsome, but the wealth does not matter to me.” She shook her head. “I want a man of character and honesty. I want to love the man I marry.”
With an arched brow, Charlotte said, “Oh, and you don’t think he has character or is honest?”
“No, that is not what I mean, Charlotte. I thought, at first, that he was pompous and proud, and he was not careful about his comments within my hearing. Mr. Bingley was trying to get him to dance, and Mr. Darcy was refusing.” Elizabeth drew herself up, frowned, then continued. “Do you know what he did when his friend insisted? Mr. Darcy glanced at me and said, ‘She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.’ I…was insulted.”
Charlotte’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, no. That was like waving a red cape in front of a bull.”
“Charlotte, I am no bull.”
“No…but you can charge like one when incensed.”
Blushing, Elizabeth finally acknowledged she had felt like charging over and slapping him senseless, and both young women giggled like school girls at the thought.
“But I did not. I did walk up to him and let him know I had inadvertently overheard his comments. I must admit, I was spoiling for a fight.”
“How did he react?”
“He shocked me by apologizing very humbly to me, and then he asked me to dance.”
“My father introduced our family to him earlier. But had you been introduced yet?”
“No, but he offered to get Mr. Bingley and Jane so introductions could be made. And…I agreed.”
Charlotte cocked her head at her friend. “But he insulted you.”
“Yes, but he explained he hadn’t even really looked at me, just made a comment to get Mr. Bingley to leave him alone. He also said he was a bit fatigued from traveling to Meryton from London.” Elizabeth giggled as Charlotte tugged on her sleeve demanding to know what happened.
“He said he’s a little grumpy when tired.” She paused, gave a little sigh, and then continued. “And when he called me a beauty, my heart fluttered, and when he smiled at me, my heart raced…and I could not refuse to dance with him.”
“And a very good dancer he is. The two of you made a striking couple on the dance floor. But if I’m not mistaken, he is coming this way to beg a second dance with you.”
“Oh, Charlotte, what should I do?”
“Dance with him, of course.”
Elizabeth cheeks pinked as she looked up and said, “Mr. Darcy.”
“Miss Elizabeth, may I request the next dance with you?”
The smile he gave her took her breath away, and his smile grew wider as he noted her reaction.
“Mr. Darcy, she would be delighted to dance with you again.”
Bowing to Elizabeth’s friend, Darcy said, “I promise to bring her back afterwards, Miss Lucas.”
Charlotte just laughed as Elizabeth laid her hand on the arm he extended to her. She couldn’t feel her feet on the floor, and it seemed as if she was floating.
And Darcy was loving every minute of his time with her.
As the couple lined up with the other dancers, Charlotte could hear the whispers start around the room. Mr. Darcy had asked Elizabeth for a second dance, and it had not gone unnoticed.
“Louisa, I could not believe it. He asked that country chit to dance…twice.”
Caroline Bingley was quite discomposed concerning Mr. Darcy. Red-faced, she paced the floor in front of her sister.
“Caro, please sit down and calm yourself.”
“I cannot. I have expectations concerning Mr. Darcy. The only one who can be a proper mistress of Pemberley is me. I have spent the last three years showing him how knowledgeable I am about running Charles’ household and hosting gatherings, whether dinners or balls. He cannot possibly have missed that I am the perfect lady for him to marry. Why hasn’t he offered for me?”
“Caroline, sit down.”
With a glare at her sister, Miss Bingley sat on the edge of a chair.
Using a softer tone of voice, the eldest Bingley sister continued. “Had you thought that he may not want to marry you? Perhaps he does not wish to marry at this time. I have noticed he does not pay special attention to any young lady and never has to my knowledge. I admit I was surprised when he asked Miss Bennet for a second dance. But I surmise it is his choice with whom he dances. He did dance one with you, so he is not entirely averse to your company. However, he has never done more than show regard to his host by dancing with a daughter or sibling only one time. I have never seen him dance twice with any young lady.”
“Neither have I, and a country chit is not worthy of his attention.”
“Caro, you do not know it to be true. She is a gentleman’s daughter, and Mr. Darcy is not a peer. He is also a gentleman. Since they are both of the gentry, they are equal in station. If he continues to show regard for her, that is his business and none of ours. After all, our background is in trade whether you recognize it or not. He is coming down to our level at this time by being our guest and friend of our brother.” Louisa paused and gave her sister a gentle smile. “If you object to him paying attention to Miss Elizabeth, you could lose his friendship. My advice is keep what you have and be satisfied with that because I do not see him offering for you in the future…or ever.”
“But, he must. I was made for that great estate. Pemberley should be mine.”
“No, it should not. I have never pictured you as a mistress of his homes.”
Caroline’s jaw dropped at her sister’s words. Stunned at Louisa’s comments, she sat still as tears rolled down her cheeks, and Louisa knelt on the floor and gathered her in her arms in comfort after giving her a handkerchief.
Finally, Caroline’s tears ceased, and she blew her nose noisily on the lacey square, and both women laughed.
Delighted that her sister had calmed, Louisa said, “A cup of tea and some sweets are what we need. I’ll ring for a servant, and we shall sit here in my room and enjoy a repast. Will it please you?”
Caroline nodded but refrained from commenting. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Mr. Darcy’s defection. Should she set her sights elsewhere or was there something she could do to deflect his interest from Miss Bennet? She needed to ponder the events of this night and determine what to do.
In the meanwhile, the men were downstairs having a final drink before retiring for the night, and it would only be a short time before Louisa’s husband came to his rooms. With luck, he would ignore her and head straight to bed.
“Well, Darcy, you surprised everyone when you asked Miss Bennet for a second dance. What prompted you to do that…other than she is a pretty little chit?”
“Why would you be surprised, Hurst? And Miss Elizabeth is not a chit. She is a very genteel young lady.” Darcy frowned as he looked at the man, irritated when Louisa’s husband would ask about something that was none of his business. Truth to tell, Darcy didn’t wish to speak of why he asked to dance with Miss Elizabeth a second time. He was a very private man and also a bit embarrassed about how it came about that he was attracted to the young woman.
Raising both hands in submission, Hurst laughed and said, “My apologies, Darcy. I have never seen you dance twice with the same young woman at any of the balls we have attended. And you have never danced with Louisa or Caroline a second time either.”
“And I will not give Miss Bingley any reason to think I have more regard for her than I actually do. She has pursued me for three years seeking an offer of marriage, but ’twill never happen.”
All this time, Bingley had listened to this exchange in silence, but now had to have his say.
“Darcy, I commend you for your patience with my sister. I know she has been almost blatant in her pursuit of you. I’ve told her you were not interested in marriage to anyone, at the moment, but she refuses to believe me.”
“Perhaps, Bingley, you need to be a little more forceful. Or should I tell her myself that I will never offer for her?”
“No. I will speak with her again. And I will also tell her I will not tolerate any talk against Miss Elizabeth as well. Knowing Caro, she will find it difficult to keep her opinions to herself.”
“That is precisely why I will never offer for her. She has a tongue as sharp as a rapier particularly when tearing down the reputation of someone she doesn’t like. I would never tolerate that in a wife. I will marry someone who cares for others and their welfare. I need a wife who can be concerned with Pemberley’s tenants and their needs and help keep peace with our neighbors.” Darcy took a sip of his drink and then continued.
“Miss Bingley, I fear, would only stir up trouble and keep the tenants agitated with her views and her manners. They are not of our sphere, but they do not need to be treated as dirt beneath our feet. Pemberley’s wealth and welfare depends on the tenants, and I let them know how much I appreciate their efforts. Your sister would be looking down her nose at them and sneering at them behind their backs.” Shaking his head, Darcy declared, “No, she would never do as the mistress of Pemberley.”
Bingley sighed. “I understand completely and do not blame you at all. But I am curious. Will you pursue Miss Elizabeth? I do believe that I am going to see if Miss Bennet is someone I might offer for. She is not like anyone I’ve met so far.”
Darcy smiled at his friend. “Bingley, you have fallen for many a young lady. How is Miss Bennet any different from them?”
“I’m not sure. But I am going to find out, and then see where I go from there.” Finishing his brandy, Bingley arose from his chair and headed for the door.
With a chuckle, Hurst just shook his head at the folly of both men. Although he had married Louisa for her dowry, he was fond of her, but he couldn’t see falling into parson’s mousetrap for love, only for necessity. And his marriage to her had been necessary as he was a poor steward of his money. Bingley had been wise when he had ensured Louisa’s dowry would not be ransacked by Hurst’s profligate spending and gambling. But he was tolerant of the Hursts being part of his household for a time and living off his generosity.
After all, Bingley’s income was substantial at five thousand pounds per year and steadily increasing due to wise investments. Sharing with family was not a problem as long as he could keep Caroline’s spending at a reasonable level. Putting a limit as to what she could charge to his accounts had made a positive difference in the outflow even if it meant he dealt with her snide comments, from time to time, about his frugality. He smiled at the thought and continued up the stairs to his chambers. It had been a lovely evening, and he would have sweet dreams about a beautiful lady named Jane.
Darcy was the last to head toward his bed. Thoughts of Elizabeth Bennet ran rampant through his head. He had never been affected to this degree by a young lady and wondered if he should pursue her in earnest. He was sure that Bingley would visit the Bennets later in the day and questioned if he should accompany him.
Yes, I do believe it would be to my benefit to go with Bingley to call on the Bennet family. He smiled at the thought and looked forward to seeing the lovely lady with the fine eyes again. He also wondered how she would react to seeing him again as well.
Jane Bennet came into the bedchamber she shared with her sister Elizabeth.
“Lizzy, what were you thinking when you danced twice with Mr. Darcy?”
“I doubt I was thinking at all, Jane. I’m not sure why. He had just insulted me, and I accosted him about that.”
“Why did he insult you?”
So, Elizabeth proceeded to tell exactly what had transpired at the assembly. Jane put her hand over her mouth and gasped. She immediately knew how Lizzy would have responded.
“What did you say to him?”
Elizabeth’s cheeks grew warm, and she looked down at her feet in embarrassment.
“Lizzy, you didn’t.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I did, Jane. I challenged him.”
“You had not even been introduced, and you challenged him about his insult?”
“Yes, and I was surprised by how he responded.”
“What did he do?” By this time, Jane’s eyes were as big as saucers. She could just imagine what else transpired knowing her sister and her temper.
“He…apologized and asked for the next dance.”
“He did? And how did you respond?”
“What else could I do after his sweet apology. You introduced us and…I had to dance with him or sit out the rest of the assembly.”
“And how did you feel about that dance with him?”
“I…was pleased. He is a very good dancer. And you know how much I love dancing.” Jane nodded. “We were not able to converse because Tythe Pig is such a vigorous dance, but I believe we both enjoyed it. He smiled at me the whole time.”
“The whole time? Lizzy, he likes you. He had scowled all evening and leaned up against the wall not speaking to anyone until you danced with him. And, I must say, the two of you made a very handsome couple.” And Jane smiled in delight.
“As did you and Mr. Bingley. Did I see that you danced twice with him as well?”
Jane blushed a fiery red. “Yes, I did, and I won’t apologize for it. Oh, Lizzy, he is such an amiable man with such fine manners. I cannot help but like him.”
“And he is so handsome too. That is also a nice asset along with his five thousand a year.”
“Oh, Lizzy, I don’t care about his wealth, but I do care about him. ’Twould be very easy to fall in love with him.”
“I believe you have half fallen in love with him already if the look in your eyes means anything.”
Both sisters giggled and hugged each other then prepared for sleep, each wondering if the other would dream of the young men they had met that evening and what the future would hold.
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