Thursday’s 300: A MUCH Later Meeting, Part 13

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

This is the last bit I have written, so I’ll need to make this a priority this week! More of Charlotte today, and I kind of cut it off in the middle of a conversation. Sorry about that!

This has not been proofread. I apologize for any mistakes.

You’ll find the first post here.

Post two is here.

Post three is here.

Post four is here.

Post five is here.

Post six is here.

Post seven is here.

Post eight is here.

Post nine is here.

Post ten is here.

Post eleven is here.

Post twelve is here.

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“I find it very beautiful.” Darcy’s gaze darted to Elizabeth briefly. “It is not as wild and untamed as the Peaks, where my estate is located, but it has a gentleness to it that draws me.”

Elizabeth handed a cup of tea to Darcy and another to Charlotte. She poured her own, then watched as her old friend and her new one spoke. Blowing on the tea in her cup, she sipped, looking at the other woman and wondering at her behavior. She tilted her head. If I did not know any better, I would say Charlotte is flirting with Mr. Darcy, she thought. But, that is not possible. Charlotte has said for years she had no intentions of marrying again. With a slight crease between her brows, she listened as Darcy described his estate. She noticed that his gaze frequently landed on her and lingered. I hope he likes me. I certainly do him.

“Have either of you ever visited the Peaks?” Darcy was eager to include Elizabeth in the conversation.

“I was there once, long ago, with my Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. It was breathtaking.” Elizabeth set her cup on the tray in front of her. “We spent a fortnight seeing all that we could see. It was wonderful and remains a favorite memory.”

“I am happy to hear you were pleased with it.” Darcy grinned at Elizabeth before turning to Charlotte. “And you, Mrs. Collins?”

“I am afraid I have never been. My husband was not a great traveler and our funds did not stretch beyond coming home here to Meryton once or twice a year.”

“I am sorry to hear it. Maybe someday you will be able to make the trip.” Darcy tilted his head. “You said your husband was not a great traveler?”

“Yes, I did. My husband passed away more than a decade ago. Closer to two, actually.” Charlotte drained her cup and passed it back to Elizabeth. “He was the rector of a parish in Kent. There was a sickness that went through and while he was ministering to the ill, he caught it. His patroness’ daughter also caught it and died.”

“I am sorry for your loss.” Darcy’s brow creased. “My cousin lived in Kent and died when an illness swept through. My aunt also caught it; she recovered but was never the same and followed her daughter to the grave the following year. What parish did your husband have?”

“He had the Hunsford living. His patroness was Lady Catherine De Bourgh.”

The story continues here.

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