Thursday’s 300: The Headache

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

Today, you’re getting another short little Regency tidbit, totally unrelated to the previous story. I hope you enjoy it! <3 This one came about because I am entering one of my worst seasons for headaches. Beginning around the fifth day of February and continuing until the leaves have popped out on the trees, I suffer daily. I can always tell when the trees are “doing their thing.” I’d lay money that the sugar maples will be tapped for the making of maple syrup within a week. 😀

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Fitzwilliam Darcy paused in the doorway of the sitting room he shared with his wife, Elizabeth. Without saying a word, he watched her as she sat in a chair by the window with a book in her lap and her feet tucked up under her. The crease between her brows told him that she was struggling to read the tome, and he tilted his head as he wondered why. Then, she lifted a hand and rubbed her forehead and he knew.

Darcy and Elizabeth had been married for five years now, and each February had begun the same, with Elizabeth getting headaches. When one struck, she was often unable to concentrate. Eventually, the headache would clear, but she would begin to feel ill. After a little while of that, she would feel better until the next headache struck.

Darcy had been alarmed the first time he had witnessed it. Elizabeth was usually bright-eyed and witty, and sharp as a tack. In the throes of a headache, she became dull-witted and slow, forgetting things she should have known and tending toward moodiness. With time and a visit from the physician, Darcy had learned to deal with the headaches and their effects, and to worry a little less. Still, he did not like to see his beloved wife suffer.

Now, as he watched Elizabeth wince and lay her head back against the chair, Darcy wanted to give her some relief. He strode into the room, swiftly crossing to her side, where he leaned down to kiss the top of her head and then rub her temples.

“That feels so good,” Elizabeth sighed. “Thank you.”

“You are welcome. Has your head been hurting long?”

“I am uncertain. It feels as though it has been hours. I can hardly wait for this time of the year to pass.”

Darcy nodded, though she could not see him. “I agree.” He massaged her head a few more minutes. “Shall I call for some hot water?”

“Yes, please. That was advice from Mr. Jones that was spot on.”

Kissing Elizabeth’s head once more, Darcy quickly made his way across the room and pulled the cord to call a servant, then came back to resume his previous activity. Within a few minutes of his order for water being given, Elizabeth’s maid entered the sitting room with a large bowl and a towel, followed by a footman carrying an ewer.

The bowl finally in place on a nearby table, Darcy helped Elizabeth rise and walk the three steps over to the straight-backed chair in front of it and sit. Darcy poured the water in the bowl, adding a bit of the oil of a rosemary plant, and Elizabeth leaned over it as he gently draped the towel over her head and the bowl.

Elizabeth breathed the steam in through her nose, willing it to break up whatever was causing her head to hurt. She was grateful to have remedies available to her to ease her discomfort. Soon, she could feel something in her head loosen, and she held her hand out.

Darcy handed Elizabeth his handkerchief, listening in relief as she blew her nose. He sat in a chair beside her, rubbing her back, until she finally lifted the towel and sat up. “Feel better?”

“I do. Thank you, my love. These things strike me before I realize what is happening, and by the time that I do, it is too difficult to think what steps to take.” Elizabeth took one of her hands in his. “You take excellent care of me.”

Darcy tipped his lips up in a smile, his worry for her relieved for the time. He lifted his free hand to smooth back the hair that had come loose from her elaborately braided coiffure. “Someone must.” He smiled bigger at her giggle. “I am happy to ease your discomfort, my love. Always.” He leaned over and gently kissed her lips. “Soon the leaves will have made their appearance on the trees and your suffering will end for another year.”

“Thank goodness!” Elizabeth exclaimed.


What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment for me! <3

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