Welcome back to Austen Promises!
As with my last several posts, this one has no relation to any other post. It’s just a random scene out of my head. I cannot vouch for the completeness or logic of this one, as I wrote it while exhausted from a day of stress from caring for a sick dog and after a trip to Walmart. This is a Regency, in case it’s not clear from the story.
Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? Patrons also get a free copy of each of my books once it is complete.
Elizabeth Darcy’s dog was sick. Brutus was an eight-year-old Great Dane who had been her best friend and protector since she was sixteen. Now, he would not eat, and Elizabeth did not know why.
Normally, the mistress of Pemberley would have turned to the master of the house for assistance. Fitzwilliam Darcy was good at solving problems, and over the course of their three-year marriage, she had come to rely on him to help her think things through and uncover solutions to everything that came up. Today, however, Darcy was in London. He had business with his solicitor there that could not be delayed, and in an effort to make the trip shorter, had left his wife at home. He had been gone five days already, and assuming he completed everything in the next day or two, would be gone another four or five.
What should I do? Elizabeth was almost frantic. Brutus had not eaten since the day Darcy left, and she did not know why. What she did know is that he was rapidly losing weight and was weak. She was terrified he would die.
Mrs. Reynolds, Pemberley’s housekeeper, did her best to reassure the mistress that Brutus would be well, though she herself was not certain of it. The Dane had begun to urinate in the house because he was too sick and too weak to find someone to ask to be let out. Neither she nor the maids appreciated the extra work, not to mention the lingering smell in the carpets. Finally, in desperation to help her distressed mistress, Mrs. Reynolds made a suggestion.
“You know, ma’am, the stablemaster, Mr. Harker, has been known to doctor more than just the horses. A few years ago, he nursed one of the spaniels back to health after a fight with a stray. Perhaps he can do something for Brutus.”
Elizabeth’s face brightened, the crease between her brows disappearing as hope surged through her. “I will go see him now. Thank you so much!” Elizabeth leapt to her feet from the floor beside her dog, hugged the housekeeper, and took off at a run for the front door, leaving Mrs. Reynolds standing alone, her head shaking.
The footman stationed at the door jumped when his mistress suddenly appeared at a dead run. He opened the door just in time for her to pass through it. He watched as she almost leapt from the top step to the drive and hastened away.
Elizabeth was desperate to find help for Brutus, and never stopped to consider what the staff might think of their mistress running pell-mell around the estate. When she got to the stable, gasping for breath, she clung to the open doorway and looked down the aisles on either side of her. Seeing no one, she continued toward the back of the building, where the stablemaster had a small room he used for record keeping and storage. Now, with a stitch in her side, she was no longer running, though she did walk as quickly as she could.
Mr. Harker was exactly who Elizabeth needed with Darcy not at home. He returned to the house with her, and after examining Brutus, discovered that the Dane an abscessed tooth. He forced a tiny amount of laudanum mixed with water down the dog’s throat and, when Brutus went to sleep, the stablemaster picked him up and placed him on a table, then pulled the bad tooth. He used a cloth to wipe up the pus that poured out, sewed up the hole that was left behind, and then coated the area with honey.
“Do not give him solid food for a few days, Mrs. Darcy. He will sleep for several hours, I would imagine, and probably behave strangely for a while after that, but he should begin to feel better in a few days.”
“Thank you, Mr. Harker.” Elizabeth sat in a chair, stroking her dog’s fur. She stood when she realized the stablemaster was about to leave. “I will inform Mr. Darcy of your assistance. I am certain he will reward you.”
Harker smiled. “Thank you, Mrs. Darcy.” He bowed and turned, going back to his office in the stable.
By the time Darcy returned to Pemberley, Brutus was eating again and behaving as he usually did. Elizabeth spared no detail in explaining what happened to her husband.
“Well, old boy,” Darcy said to the dog as he petted him. “You gave your mistress quite a scare. What have you to say for yourself?”
Darcy grinned. “Is that all? I suppose I cannot blame you for being so reticent about it.” With a laugh and another rub on the dog’s fur, Darcy sat back in his chair to address his wife.
“I am happy you went to Harker. He knows what he is about.” Darcy pulled Elizabeth out of her chair and into his lap. “I am sorry I was not here for you.”
Elizabeth stroked Darcy’s side whiskers, her lips tilting into a small smile. “Brutus is well again, and you are home. That is all that matters to me.” She leaned in and brushed his lips with her own. “I forgive you,” she whispered before she pressed her mouth against his once more.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment for me! <3