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. It is the result of the start of regular summer yard work at Burton Cottage. 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.
Fitzwilliam Darcy was looking for his wife. He had been out on the estate all morning and had missed her presence at his side. He was in dire need of a kiss. After questioning the footman on duty at the front door, as well as the housekeeper and Elizabeth’s maid, he determined that she was in the gardens. Somewhere.
The gardens at Pemberley were vast, encompassing several acres. They surrounded the house on three sides and were divided into sections by hedges. Each section was planted with different types of flowers and trees, and each contained a structure of some kind, either a seating area with stone benches and tables, or a folly or gazebo of some kind. To search for someone in that large space was no easy undertaking, even for someone like Darcy, who had grown up playing there.
It took Darcy nearly a half-hour to locate his wife. Seeing her sitting on a turned-over bucket next to one of the gardeners, he hastened his steps.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Darcy.” The master of Pemberley smiled to himself to see her leap to her feet.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Darcy. I did not hear you approach.” Elizabeth beamed at her husband of five months.
Darcy took Elizabeth’s hand, lifting it to his lips to bestow a lingering kiss on the fingers. “I am a successful hunter for a reason, you know.” He winked at her as he released her hand.
Elizabeth laughed. “If you say so.”
“I do.” Darcy looked fleetingly toward the gardener, who had stood upon his arrival and now waited, eyes cast to the ground and hat in his hand. “What do you have Mr. Yardley doing?” he asked as he looked back at his wife.
“Oh,” Elizabeth exclaimed, “we are planting roses today. Mr. Yardley has cultivated some new ones from cuttings he took of your mother’s. We were having a lovely discussion about the history of Pemberley’s gardens.”
Darcy smiled to see his wife’s joy. “Mr. Yardley knows everything there is to know about the gardens and everything within them.” He turned to the servant. “I am glad you were here to share the stories with Mrs. Darcy. I do not know what we will do when you someday retire. Have you passed the tales on to the undergardeners?”
“I have,” Mr. Yardley stated, his chest puffed out and chin up. “I have regaled all of them with every bit of information I can think of, and have tested their knowledge repeatedly. When the far-off day comes that I hand over my shovel to one of them, I will do it knowing they have all the stories in their own heads.”
Darcy grinned. “That is excellent news. I hope you remain with us for a long time. And now, I must steal Mrs. Darcy away from you. Thank you for entertaining her.”
“’Twas a pleasure, sir,” the old man bowed a goodbye before kneeling down once more to finish transplanting the new roses.
“He is such a nice man,” Elizabeth noted as she strolled away on her husband’s arm. “He came to see me this morning, requesting that I show him where I wished the roses to be placed.”
“He is a gentlemanly sort of fellow. If one did not know what he does for a living, one might think him a member of the gentry. He has excellent taste in clothing. I saw him once in Lambton on a Sunday, he and his wife. Very well turned-out.”
“Gentlemanly is a good way to describe him.” Elizabeth paused. “I was surprised that he asked my opinion about the roses, but he made it clear to me that it is my garden, not the Darcy family garden, but mine. I thought it was very sweet of him to say so.”
“He is correct. It is your garden. Perhaps we should have a sign made to hang in the center.” Darcy moved his free hand in front of him as if to punctuate his words. “’Elizabeth’s Garden’ it should say.”
Elizabeth laughed, but seeing that he was serious, simply hugged his arm and said, “I am happy to be mistress of my own garden, as well. Thank you, my love.”
Darcy grinned down at Elizabeth’s glowing face. “You are welcome, my dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.” He stopped and turned her toward him, wrapping his arms around her. Then, he leaned down and kissed her right there on the path that ran through a patch of Sweet Williams.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment for me! <3