Welcome back to Austen Promises!
I got a lot written on this story today. What a relief!
Anyway, this post is a few hundred words from the beginning of Chapter 9. When I chose a name for the new guy in the story, I must have needed caffeine or something. It sounded great at noon, but by 5:30 pm, it just sounded stupid. I’ll have to choose something else. 😉
Remember that I’m only sharing excerpts of this story.
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The next day, Darcy arrived at Longbourn with Bingley and two of the other gentlemen who had been at the ball the night before, one of whom was Mr. Blanchflower. Mrs. Bennet greeted Bingley, Blanchflower, and Mr. Eric Freeborn with warm smiles and fulsome praises. When she turned to Darcy, her lips were flat and her countenance cold as she greeted him with a simple, “Mr. Darcy” and as shallow a curtsey as she could manage.
Mrs. Bennet had gone to bed early that morning with a feeling of triumph. I did very well keeping Lizzy away from Mr. Darcy, she thought. It was exhausting, but I managed. I hope he goes away now and never returns.
When Darcy entered Longbourn behind his friend today, Mrs. Bennet was vexed. Did the man not understand he was not wanted here? Good heavens, he must be a slow top. Determined to ignore him, she tried to arrange the other gentlemen in such a way that Darcy was excluded. Placing Mr. Freeborn next to Mary and Blanchflower beside Lizzy left the gentleman she despised sitting by himself.
As Mrs. Bennet happily observed the gentlemen speaking to her girls, it occurred to her that Mr. Blanchflower would do nicely for her second eldest.
It was clear to her that Jane would make a match with Bingley. He had, after all, sponsored a ball for her, not that it was stated as such. And now, the day after that event, he sat in her drawing room, his attention almost wholly on her most beautiful daughter. I knew she could not be so beautiful for nothing! Mrs. Bennet clasped her hands to her chest with a happy sigh. Now to get Lizzy matched up, she thought. She watched her second eldest as the girl interacted with their guest.
“Mr. Blanchflower, it is too beautiful a day to waste sitting indoors. Would you like to see the gardens? I’m certain Lizzy would be happy to accompany you.” Mrs. Bennet ignored the wide-eyed look said daughter gave her.
Bingley heard this proposal and leapt from his seat. “Let us all go. Our visit is nearly over, and a walk in the garden would make the perfect ending to it.” He held his elbow out for Jane, who stood and eagerly accepted it.
As the other gentlemen rose and offered arms to escort her daughters, Mrs. Bennet tried to speak. She wanted to keep Darcy as far from Elizabeth as possible, but the girls had begun to chatter and the gentlemen to lead them out of the room. When everyone had gone, she sat with a huff. “There will be other opportunities, I am certain.”
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