Welcome back to my blog!
You may be able to tell from the title of this post, but … I did a thing. Let me explain …
When I first wrote this book, I did not intend to write a sequel, so I wrote an epilogue. Sometime later, probably about a year later, I decided to give in to the urging of readers and wrote the sequel, which is Promises Kept. However, lots and lots of readers were confused that I repeated what was in the epilogue of this book in the next one.
Since one of my goals in re-editing is to improve the story to the best of my ability, I had to either get rid of the IPT epilogue altogether or rename it.
I chose to rename it.
Everything you read today is going to be explained more fully in Promises Kept, so instead of this being an epilogue, it will become part of the back matter of the book. I hope this will make the storyline of the series more clear. There will be a clear delineation in the IPT new book files to indicate that the end of the tenth chapter is the end of the story.
This post is brought to you by I Promise To … (affiliate link … free for you to click on but might result in me getting a small payment).
Missed the previous chapters? Click the links below to go back and read.
We’ve reached the end of the story. I’ll make a new cover and new files next, and write a better blurb, and then upload it to all the vendors. Soon, I’ll start re-editing Promises Kept and posting it here.
An Overview of Promises Kept …
Darcy House, London
One year later
In the Master’s study, Darcy leaned back in his chair, contemplating the discussion he had just had with his steward, John Wickham. Darcy and Wickham were on very good terms, and always had been. There was a great similarity of mind between them in the matters of managing the estate, and Wickham was a diligent and excellent steward. The two were as close as servant and master could be. Darcy’s sponsorship of the son in his education was a direct result of the respect he felt for the father.
The two had just concluded a painful interview about young George. Darcy returned home unexpectedly late one morning after realizing he had forgotten some important papers he needed for the meeting he was headed to. He opened the door of his study that fateful day to find his godson, pockets full of small, saleable items from the house, trying to pick the lock on the strongbox that contained the household funds. The young man tried to talk his way out of the situation, and Darcy may have let him go with a word of warning had he not realized that the young man needed to learn a lesson. Instead of letting him go, Darcy called the constable and George was hauled off to Newgate. Darcy hoped that the experience would frighten his godson a bit, and cause him to think before he acted the next time he considered an illegal activity.
Darcy had immediately written to John Wickham, asking him to come to London. While Wickham was travelling, Darcy made sure that funds were available at the prison for food and other necessities for George. He had not felt so badly about anything he had done in years.
The interview with his steward had been difficult, but Wickham shared with him that he had heard rumors of his son’s behavior in the past and was understanding of the circumstances. He expressed devastation, of course, that his only son would do something so heinous. He shared that had seen the boy’s longing for the finer things, as well as his disdain for what his father could give him, and spent years fearing for George, praying that George would be accepting of his place in society.
Darcy knew it broke Wickham’s heart that his only child would steal and behave as a rake. He knew that the boy would have to pay whatever price came with his actions. A thief who had stolen as much as young Wickham had could hang. Neither man wanted to see that happen, now or in the future. Between them, the elder gentlemen decided upon a course of action that they hoped would teach young George to appreciate what he was given.
George Wickham would be sent to Canada, with the proviso that he not come back to England. If he should return, he would be faced with the punishment he would receive if Darcy pressed charges. Father and godfather both hoped he would embrace this opportunity. John Wickham would speak to his son about it, and Darcy would visit the judge. Darcy was a powerful man, and knew the judge would agree with the plan.
And so, a couple weeks later, George Wickham boarded a ship bound for Canada, his father’s admonitions ringing in his ears, grateful that his life was spared. Certainly, going to a wilderness so far away was not appealing, but neither was hanging by the neck until dead!
Fitzwilliam Darcy was a happy man. Today was the first anniversary of his marriage to his beautiful Elizabeth, and the gift she had given him when he awoke thrilled him to the bone. He was going to be a father! He, Fitzwilliam Darcy, heir to Pemberley and half of Derbyshire, was going to be a father! Elizabeth had been sick for weeks, and that had worried him immensely, but she felt the baby quicken this morning and immediately shared the news with him. He had been disappointed that he was not able to feel it yet, but was assured by his lovely wife, who got her information from her Aunt Gardiner, that he would soon have that pleasure. Fitzwilliam grinned widely, remembering the thank you he had bestowed on his spouse and best friend.
Contemplating further, he reflected on the changes the year had brought, especially to himself and the way he responded to those with whom he interacted. Elizabeth had shown him defects in his character to which he had previously been oblivious. When his own father had taken her side in the matter, he knew she was not exaggerating and began to amend his behavior. Aside from his father’s opinion, which he valued highly, his wife’s was of paramount importance to him. She had proven herself over and over that she was no simple, unintelligent country girl. No, his Elizabeth was charming and witty, with an intelligence that at the very least matched his, if not at times surpassed it; she was a lady who deserved only the best. He strove daily to be worthy of her.
In another area of the house, Elizabeth was also contemplating the past year as she rested before tea. She was deliriously happy with her marriage, new family, and coming child. Fitzwilliam’s father—Papa George, she called him—was everything she could wish for. He had opened her eyes to what an involved father did and said. While she still loved her own father deeply, she now recognized his errors in regards to his estate and family. In her letters, she encouraged him to take measures to improve her sisters’ dowries and to educate the younger girls. She was unsure if her words made a difference, but felt she needed to try.
Elizabeth also wrote to her mother about the new society in which she moved, warning her about her behavior and how it would affect her remaining, unmarried, daughters. Sometimes she used stories of things she had seen and heard to convey these warnings, and other times she stated things bluntly. Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet would never have much of a relationship, she had come to realize. She loved her mother and chose to forgive her for her words and actions, but needed to keep her at arm’s length for her own sanity.
Thinking of her maternal parent brought to mind the traumatic events that led to her marriage and the man that had caused them. Lord Regis had never bothered her again after the confrontation in the bookstore. He had all but disappeared from society events for the remainder of the season, though he attended to the House of Lords and his duties there with great diligence. His remaining single siblings had gotten married in the spring. His mother had passed in early summer, of apoplexy if rumors were to be believed. Regis himself had reportedly taken himself off to one of his estates, near Dumfries in Scotland, immediately following her funeral, where he met and married a local gentleman’s daughter before the first half of his mourning was over. Elizabeth shuddered to think what the poor girl’s life was like.
Elizabeth herself felt much safer now, and more like she had before her nightmare began. The episode had changed her in many ways. She was now more careful about how she presented herself to people, and who she trusted. She was cautious, which had had never been before, and was still more reticent with strangers than she had been previously. Thankfully the fear that had plagued her was gone. She felt safe and incredibly loved by her husband and their extended family, and it showed in the smile on her face and the wit she displayed to others.