This week’s post is a bit longer than 300 words. I simply could not stop in the middle, and you will see why as you read. Enjoy!
“Lizzy, what are you doing?”
“Dusting. This room is full of dust.”
“Do not allow Mrs. Reynolds hear you say that.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes but did not respond as she continued with the feather duster.
“My love, we have maids to do housework. Why are you dusting?”
“Because it needs it, Fitzwilliam, and because I am capable.”
Darcy would have had to be deaf to not hear the sarcasm in her voice. He knew he was treading on thin ice, as it were, but his wife needed to understand that they paid people to do this sort of thing. Not only did she not need to dust, she should not do it; she must maintain her position as the mistress. He searched his mind for the words to say and the correct tone of voice to use when Elizabeth stepped up on a chair and promptly lost her balance. She grabbed hold of the back of the chair, but it did little to stop her fall, as Darcy himself scooped her up to keep her from hitting the floor.
Setting her on her feet, he snatched the duster from her hand and tossed it across the room. Both hands landed on his hips, his stance matching hers, as he chided her. “Elizabeth Darcy! We have housemaids to do the dusting, and any other work that needs to be done. I will not have my wife climbing the furniture and endangering herself in the manner that you just did.” His tone was firm and his voice only slightly higher in tone than usual, but his jaw was clenched and she could see the effort it took him to master his emotions.
Elizabeth herself was unhappy. “I would not have fallen, Fitzwilliam! I had my hand on the back of the chair.”
“It does not signify. You are the mistress, and the mistress does not dust. Nor does she sweep, or mop, or move furniture, or any of the other dozens of things a maid does.”
“And why not? Am I to be all high and mighty like someone else I could name?” Elizabeth knew she was treading a fine line in her anger, but could not seem to be able to stop herself.
Darcy stared at her for a few minutes, unable to believe what he was hearing. He saw the flash of dismay in her eyes, though, and realized that his wife did not mean what she said, though she was obviously angry. “You could have fallen and gotten hurt,” he finally got out. “What then, Elizabeth? What if something happened to you, where would I be? Alone is where I would be, alone and miserable. I do not want anything to happen to you. I love you and if that means you become angry at me every time I try to protect you, then so be it.” With that, he turned and stomped from the room.
Elizabeth was ashamed of her outburst, even more so now that her husband explained himself. She truly did not wish to argue with him, and, if she were honest with herself, she was fully aware that the mistress of a great estate like Pemberley did not perform menial tasks of any kind, including housework. I have once again let my independent spirit get the best of me. She sighed, and, her heart breaking at the thought of hurting her beloved Fitzwilliam’s feelings, scurried after him to try to make things right again.
Copyright 2017 by the author.
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