Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Predicament, excerpt 9

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

Today’s post is a few hundred words from the end of chapter seven.  Darcy and Elizabeth have ventured to Mr. Bennet’s book room and had a talk with him. 🙂

At this point, I’m halfway through Chapter 8 and stuck. I’ve spent the last few days writing the race story. I will have another Darcy’s Predicament post for next Thursday but beyond that is anyone’s guess. I’ll try, but I can’t promise anything.

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Bennet sighed. “When Elizabeth spoke to me this morning, my thought was that my daughters are too poor to be a target for a man such as Wickham, if he were as bad as she said he was. Your version, however, implies he is not only looking for a dowry.” He lifted his gaze to meet Darcy’s.

“No, he is not. Forgive me for speaking so in front of Miss Elizabeth, but what Wickham wants from most women is their virtue. If he happens to find one with a large portion and has to marry her, that is all well and good with him, but until he does, he will slake his lust and leave the ladies ruined without compunction.”

Bennet lifted his hands and rubbed them over his face. With a second, deeper, sigh, he replied, “Very well. I accept your statement. I am still hesitant to interfere with my wife’s decisions.”

Darcy and Elizabeth looked at each other. Elizabeth turned back toward her father. “Papa, we believe Mama is trying to keep Mr. Darcy and me apart. We have … formed an attachment … but she treated him badly yesterday, and insisted on sending me to do errands usually reserved for the servants.”

“In truth, sir,” Darcy interjected, “I have asked Miss Elizabeth to marry me, and she has consented, but without your wife’s cooperation, I do not see how we can marry, even should you approve the union today.”

Bennet’s brows rose for a moment, but then lowered as he began to chuckle. “So you did come here to ask my permission to take my favorite away.”

Elizabeth groaned, rolling her eyes. “Papa!”

Darcy’s lips twitched; he enjoyed Elizabeth’s response to her father’s tease. It was clear to him where she had learned that behaviour. He turned his eyes away from her delightful mien to look at her father. “I did. I have fallen in love with her wit and intelligence, not to mention her kind and caring nature.” He darted another glance at Elizabeth and his heart swelled to see her look of love.

“Elizabeth, how do you feel about this?” Bennet’s eyes moved to his beloved second daughter. A half-smile formed on his lips as one corner lifted.

“I am overwhelmed with happiness, Papa.” Elizabeth’s eyes caught Darcy’s as she spoke. “I love him. I have gone from knowing he would never choose one such as me to being the recipient of a wonderful gentleman’s attention.”

Bennet’s eyes filled with tears. He sighed a third time and swung his gaze back to Elizabeth’s suitor. “I have heard nothing bad about you, Darcy, other than you behave a touch above everyone else. You do realize that if you marry Lizzy, you gain a silly mother-in-law and three silly sisters, as well?”

“I do, sir, but Elizabeth is worth any amount of silliness.”

Bennet nodded. “Very well, then. I give my consent. We do still have Mrs. Bennet to deal with, however, and I still refuse to attempt forcing her to any other manner of thinking. You have not known her as long as I do. When she thinks she is correct, it is almost impossible to change her opinion. The pair of you have a rough path to travel to gain her approbation. I promise to try to persuade her to accept you, Mr. Darcy, but that is all I am willing to do.”

Elizabeth dropped her head and shoulders for a moment as Darcy accepted her father’s terms. Then, she lifted them and thanked her father for his time and consideration.

A few short minutes later, Elizabeth and Darcy had rejoined Jane, Bingley, and Mary, who had come into the house and ordered tea. The newly formed couple had no time to discuss their conversation with Mr. Bennet, because their attention was captured by her sisters and Bingley. The gentlemen did not tarry long, as they did not wish to raise Mrs. Bennet’s ire. So, within a quarter hour of the tea being served, they made their way back to Netherfield, while Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary hurried to Elizabeth’s bedchamber to share what they knew.

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2 thoughts on “Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Predicament, excerpt 9

  1. I liked this excerpt, but am confused. I thought this was the story where Darcy supported/comforted Mrs. Bennet after hearing Wickham’s dreadful words about her daughters. Why would she be opposed to him marrying Elizabeth?

    • She’s embarrassed to have her flaws exposed as they have been, and even more embarrassed that Darcy was the one to witness it. She asked his opinion of the youngest girls and he was honest, and that adds to her embarrassment. Sometimes, when we feel humiliated as she did, we respond with anger that makes no sense. This is the case here.

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