Welcome back to Austen Promises!
This vignette (for that is what I am calling it at the moment) is the result of a recent “what if” that crossed my mind. When I ran it past Rose and Leenie, they pointed out some things about it that I don’t usually like, so I made a couple changes. I could have written some details as I originally imagined them, and I may if I take this into a full-size story, but for now, I’m going with it as I have it here.
This is a very different variation. Darcy and Lizzy never met as per canon. Bingley never leased Netherfield. Wickham never came to Hertfordshire. Lydia eloped, for real, but with someone else. Please pay close attention to the date at the beginning, so you can figure out the ages of the characters. Details about the canon characters will emerge slowly over time, so again, pay attention from week to week.
I’ll link the posts so you can easily go back and review if you need to.
I do not know that I will ever write more of this. I’d like to, but I know better than to make promises I can’t keep. You will have to be happy with a few weeks of it for now. 🙂
The vignette is a little over 3,500 words long. I expect to get six or seven posts out of it.
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Elizabeth Bennet leaned toward the mirror and added a last touch of balm to her lips. Rolling them together, she leaned back again and examined her reflection.
Time had treated Elizabeth well. Her chestnut curls only had a few streaks of silver in them. There were a few creases around her eyes, but her cheeks were as smooth as ever. Her figure had matured a bit, but she still walked every day and so had not run to fat. She stood to examine the fit of her gown.
Fashion had changed quite a bit since Elizabeth’s come-out more than thirty years ago. Waistlines had fallen from just under the bust to the natural waist, which had meant longer corsets. Elizabeth hated them. She hated being constricted so much. However, if she wished to look her best, not to mention keep from causing a scandal, she must wear the devilish devices.
Skirts had transformed, too, from long, straight lines to bell shapes. Elizabeth turned to the tall, free-standing mirror to the left of her dressing table. She tilted her head as she looked critically at her reflection. While she disliked the style, she did look well in it. A knock on the door of her bedchamber brought her out of her reverie.
“The carriage is ready, ma’am. Mr. Dalrymple is waiting in the drawing room.” The housekeeper, Mrs. Cower, called through the door.
Elizabeth strode to the door and opened it. “Tell my nephew I will be down directly.” She smiled at the servant, who curtseyed and hastened back down the hallway.
Elizabeth looked around the room. Seeing her reticule and shawl laid out on the end of the bed, she picked them up, draping the latter over her arm and looping the former over the wrist of the same hand. Then, she stepped into the hall and pulled the door closed behind her.
Elizabeth gracefully made her way down the stairs. Reaching the ground floor of the house, she turned left and entered the door to her father’s book room. Mr. Bennet, now eighty years of age, was too frail to walk up and down the steps. He lived in this room, by his own preference. Elizabeth often tried to entice him to spend time with her elsewhere in the house, but he refused.
“Ah, Elizabeth. Come to see your old Papa before you go to the ball?” Bennet’s eyes gleamed at the sight of his only unmarried daughter. He lifted his cheek for her to kiss.
“I am.” Elizabeth obliged him, before glancing around the room, then at the desk behind which her father sat. “Did you eat? Is there anything I can get you before I leave?”
“I did. Finished the entire plate, too. You can ask Mrs. Cower if you don’t believe me.” Bennet nodded once and grinned. “I heard voices a bit ago.”
“Yes, Mary sent Neville to escort me to the assembly. I told her I was plenty old enough to not need a chaperone, but you know Mary.” Elizabeth winked at her father.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below, if you like.