Thursday’s 300: Promises Kept, Chapter 11

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We’re on the downhill slide, now. I should have this story wrapped up by mid-July.

Want to go back and read the previous chapters?

You can find the first one here. The second one is here. Chapter 3 is here.

Chapter 4 can be found here. This is Chapter 5. This one is Chapter 6.

Chapter 7 is here.   Chapter 8 is here.  Chapter 9 is here.

Chapter 10 is here.

Chapter 11

Elizabeth walked the hallways of Pemberley, taking her daily exercise. In good weather she liked to walk outside, wandering the paths of the estate for hours. This close to Christmas, however, it was entirely too cold and her husband, with the backing of his father, had forbid her such activity. Elizabeth had eventually caved in to the pressure to give up one of her favorite things to do; in its place, she insisted on indoor strolls. Though “stroll” might be a misnomer, for Elizabeth always walked rather briskly. She enjoyed physical activity and was not about to let the frigid Derbyshire winter put a stop to it.

As she strode along, Elizabeth reflected on the past year, ticking items and events off in her head. She had survived her first season in London. She had taken over the duties of mistress of this wonderful estate as well as tenant visits, and helped nurse her father-in-law back to health after his accident. She had organized the best harvest festival Pemberley had seen in years and had convinced her sister to go to school. It has been a busy, fulfilling, and challenging year, she thought.


When Georgiana had been sent off to the exclusive boarding school chosen for her in London in the autumn, she still had not wanted to go, but she bravely and stoically entered the institution that first day. To her delight and surprise, she enjoyed her classes, liked her teachers, and made some very good friends amongst her fellow students. Now she was home and had regaled Elizabeth with story after story of her lessons, teachers, and new friends. It was good to have her with them again, in Elizabeth’s opinion. She had missed her sister greatly while she was away, just as she missed the four sisters she had grown up with.

Coming to the end of her walk, Elizabeth turned her thoughts to her husband. As she headed towards his father’s study, she smiled, thinking of all the ways he was so perfect for her. The two of them had known each other for years before marrying. They shared many of the same tastes in books, music, and entertainment. Both loved the theater and Shakespeare. Fitzwilliam, being more sedate in nature than Elizabeth, preferred histories and tragedies. Elizabeth, being livelier and more outgoing, preferred comedies. That is not to say that she did not read everything she could get her hands on. She did. The couple had spent many an evening curled up together in the library or their private sitting room reading to themselves and to each other.

They had done more than read together in eight months since their marriage, of course. Fitzwilliam had taught her to ride as a child, and they had traversed the entire estate and a large part of Mayfair in London on horseback. They had visited the theater many times, and had attended several balls and dinners. They engaged each other in stimulating conversation; so quick was their repartee that they often left their listeners in a state of confusion. Never had they had a dull moment.

Of course, it had not all been a bed of roses. Both were headstrong and stubborn. More than once in their youths had they been reprimanded by their elders for arguing. They had promised upon becoming engaged to respect each other, though, and had decided early on to never go to bed angry. They were learning to talk to each other and that communication was the key to a happy marriage. Arguments always seemed to happen when they did not explain themselves fully.

Soon, Elizabeth arrived at the room she had been seeking and entered without thought. Both her father-in-law and her husband were there, as was Mr. Wickham.

“Oh! I am sorry! I did not realize that you were busy. I will return another time.” Elizabeth blushed and turned to go, her hand on the door ready to pull it shut.

“No, my dear, do not go. We are all but finished here,” Papa George entreated. “I know that Fitzwilliam has been anxiously awaiting you.” He teased his son, glancing at him with a smile.

Fitzwilliam blushed. Bowing to his father and nodding to Wickham, he quickly strode to his wife, taking her hand and placing it on his arm. Escorting her down the hall to a sitting room, he closed the door behind them and pulled Elizabeth into his arms, leaning down to give her a kiss.

“I have missed you today,” he murmured, lips hovering over hers. “What have you been doing while I was stuck in the study all morning?” He tenderly kissed her again, then rested his head on hers, holding her close to his chest.

“Mmmm.” Elizabeth moaned as she snuggled into his embrace. “I spent part of the morning with Mrs. Reynolds, finalizing menus for the family’s visit. After that, I went for a walk.”

“Lizzy …”

“I did not go outside, darling,” she interrupted, knowing he was about to reiterate his admonishment for her to stay indoors. “I walked the hallways upstairs. I am sure the maids are not yet used to seeing me wandering around the place in that manner. I know at least one was startled to see me.” Elizabeth giggled into his waistcoat and felt his chuckle begin in his chest before escaping his mouth in a deep, low roll.

“Ah, my love, I can imagine the looks you received.” Fitzwilliam laughed, thinking of some unsuspecting maid coming out of a room and nearly being run over by his spouse.

“Is your meeting finished, husband?”

“Indeed it is. I am free to spend the remainder of the day by your side.”

“Excellent!” Elizabeth smiled up at him, eyes sparkling, as she squeezed his middle. “Will you take me for a walk? And then perhaps sit with me in our sitting room before the fire and read with me before dinner? I have missed that so much recently.” The two had made a habit since their marriage of spending time in a similar manner every afternoon and evening, but once the harvest had begun, Fitzwilliam had been out on the estate, supervising the gathering of the crops and directing their disbursement to storage areas, tenants, and mills. He came home just in time to eat, and was so weary that they frequently retired to their rooms after just a short time in the music room or library.

It was now December and the harvest was complete, as well as the myriad of winter-preparation tasks that were required. The wheat had been threshed and ground, the straw stacked, the produce stored, and the animals corralled near the barns. However, the work for Fitzwilliam and his father was not over. The time had come to plan for the next season, deciding what to plant and where. They examined the amounts reaped from the crops planted this year, and discussed the new farming methods they had read about and wanted to implement next spring. It was all rather interesting to Elizabeth, and she listened attentively whenever the subject came up in conversation. However, she longed to spend more time alone with her handsome husband, hence today’s request.

Hearing her inquiry, Fitzwilliam was struck by a similar longing to spend more time with Elizabeth. He and his father had been working hard for the last couple of months. His father seemed to be more easily fatigued, and that concerned him, so he had taken on a far larger role this autumn than he had expected to.

“I would greatly enjoy spending the afternoon with you in such a manner. Come, let us go inform Father where we will be and get our coats.” He offered his arm with a warm smile. Elizabeth tucked her hand in the crook of his elbow; her grin was brilliant. The two spent a splendid couple of hours wandering the grounds, until Elizabeth’s red nose and slight shiver convinced Fitzwilliam that they had been out too long, and he insisted that they return indoors.

Once inside, the couple rested in the private sitting room of their suite of rooms in the family wing of the house for a while, before moving into the bedroom. After enjoying each other for a time, they lay cuddled together under the covers, chatting about the dinner they were planning to attend that evening. Once she heard Fitzwilliam’s breathing even out, Elizabeth began contemplating the event and what might happen.

She was not nervous about the event, necessarily. She knew that her husband and Papa George would stand behind her and support her. They had proved that beyond the shadow of a doubt during the season when several of high society’s matrons and their disappointed daughters and nieces had made her life miserable for a time. Despite the very obvious manner in which Lady Matlock had shown her off and displayed the family’s support for all to see, there were families in town who had risked the censure of the House of Matlock to express their displeasure at her “capture” of one of their most sought-after bachelors. The ladies of these families had spread malicious speculation about her and her background and questioned her in a most severe manner at every ball, dinner, and visit she had attended.

Many were the nights she cried in Fitzwilliam’s arms on the way home from a soiree, and many were the angry visits he and his father made to the fathers and husbands of her tormenters. As time went on, with the reassurance of Fitzwilliam’s love and Papa George’s support, she began to regain her confidence. Her wit, displayed most frequently when she was angry or upset, began to reassert itself. Her smile became more genuine and less strained, and her laugh became more honest and sincere.

She was, however, forever changed. When amongst new acquaintances she was quiet and watchful. She lost much of the spontaneity that had characterized her before her marriage. She did not put herself forth to begin conversations until she had carefully watched the ladies and gentlemen and felt she had a good grasp of their character and if they were sincere. She was especially wary of the gentlemen. If she took the time to think about it, she began to be distressed at what Lord Regis had taken from her. But since she was not formed for unhappiness, she quickly pushed such thoughts away and focused on the good in her new life.

No, she was not what she would call nervous about tonight’s dinner, but she did have some feelings of trepidation. She knew she would probably go through some of the same things she had in London during the season. She was not pleased to face such assaults again, but she supposed it was a fact of life. She reminded herself that Papa George and Fitzwilliam would take care of any person who dared insult her. Let them do their worst, she thought. It is nothing I have not faced before and ended the victor.

The Darcys were engaged for an event at a neighboring estate later that day. The current master, Mr. John Miller, was good friends with Mr. Darcy. Fitzwilliam was a year or so older than the heir of Miller’s Landing. He was the same age as the family’s youngest daughter, Edith.

John Miller was of the belief that men of his society did not lower themselves to marry women who had relatives in trade. His shock upon learning that one of his oldest friends had brokered a marriage between his heir and such a woman had been great. Miller had never visited Pemberley when Elizabeth and her relatives were there, nor had he allowed his children to become friendly with them. He had railed long and loud to his family about the union before coming to the realization that, in the interest of maintaining an important connection, he had best modify his stance and at least behave in a manner that indicated his acceptance of it. Unfortunately, his attitude had seeped down to his only child still at home. Even more unfortunately, at least for her, his daughter was not inclined to accept the new mistress of Pemberley under any circumstances for any reason.

Edith Miller had once fancied herself the perfect Mrs. Darcy. In the same manner as many other young women of the first circles, she had kept her eye on Fitzwilliam Darcy over the years, eagerly awaiting his entrance into society’s social whirl. Her shock upon hearing of his marriage so soon after his return from an abbreviated Grand Tour was immense. The identity of his new wife was equally astonishing. The niece of Mr. Darcy’s friend in trade! Of course, Edith had never met the young lady. She was a gentleman’s daughter, whose father opposed the friendship of his neighbor with a tradesman. Miss Miller could only suppose that the new Mrs. Darcy was brash and uneducated, and most certainly undeserving of the position she now enjoyed. Edith had every intention of letting the upstart know that she did not now nor ever would fit in with Derbyshire’s elite.

Lady Susan Miller had initially shared her husband’s feelings. She was, however, the first to realize that perhaps it would be best not to initiate a rift between two of the most prominent families in Derbyshire society. Indeed, she had heard some very good things from her friends in London about the young lady in question. While the Darcy and Miller families had not crossed paths during the Season, they had many acquaintances in common who had shared with her their impressions. It was Lady Susan who had persuaded her spouse to moderate his position, though she had less success convincing their daughter to do the same.

Upon their arrival at Miller’s Landing, the Darcys were greeted enthusiastically by the master and mistress of the house. The eldest Millers were delighted with the beautiful though slightly reserved young woman. Regardless of their feelings toward their neighbor’s friendship with a man in trade, the girl – for anyone could see that she was very young – was now married into the Darcy family and it behooved them to treat her with respect. It was not worth ruining a friendship of decades to be unaccepting of Fitzwilliam’s wife.

“Mrs. Darcy!” exclaimed Lady Susan, holding Elizabeth’s hands and smiling. “How delightful to finally meet you! We have heard such good things of you. What a shame we were unable to become acquainted before now!”

Elizabeth was a little uncomfortable with Lady Susan’s enthusiasm. One of the changes resulting from her trials in the late winter and early spring of the year was that she had become more wary of strangers than had previously been her wont. However, she bravely put her best foot forward, secure in the knowledge that her husband and father-in-law were beside her. As a matter of fact, she could feel Fitzwilliam’s hand resting on her back as she spoke.

“Lady Susan, it is an honor to meet you, as well. You have a beautiful home.” Elizabeth smiled sweetly, relieved to feel her husband’s thumb rubbing up and down the small of her back. He kept her anchored in such situations, and his prodigious care of her was greatly appreciated. After exchanging a few more pleasantries with their hostess and then her spouse, the young Darcy couple wandered into the drawing room where the rest of the guests were gathered. The pair made a circuit of the room, greeting those who had already met Elizabeth and making sure she was introduced to those few she was not previously acquainted with. Soon, their path led them to Edith Miller.

“Miss Miller,” Darcy said, as he bowed to her, “may I present to you my wife, Elizabeth. Darling, this is Edith Miller. She is the middle of the Miller’s three children. She, her siblings, and I were frequent visitors to each other’s homes when we were all young. We shared many adventures.”

“It is so nice to meet someone who can share tales of my husband’s youth.” Elizabeth smiled at the lady as she rose from her curtsey.

“Indeed,” Miss Miller intoned, barely nodding in her guest’s direction before turning to Fitzwilliam. “Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, how delightful it is to see you here!” Her tone with him was much more friendly and inviting than it had been with his wife, and Fitzwilliam was not happy. No one treated Elizabeth ill and got away with it.

“Indeed,” he replied, in a tone similar to hers with his spouse, barely nodding before moving Elizabeth along to greet someone else. Outwardly, he was calm and stern-looking as ever, but inside he was seething. What is she about? he wondered. Surely she knows that it is not to her benefit to be unwelcoming to a Darcy! His tension was quickly noted by his very perceptive wife, and she surreptitiously squeezed the arm she was holding. Glancing down at her and seeing her twinkling eyes gazing at him, he relaxed a bit. She truly was a glorious woman, and he was beyond blessed to have her. Thank you, Papa, for arranging this marriage. I will be forever grateful, he thought.

Miss Miller watched the couple walk away. She was angry that Fitzwilliam had treated her as he had, and she was even angrier that he was smiling at that woman. True, the marriage was made and there was nothing she could do about it. That did not, however, mean that the little baggage should or would be accepted by society. Edith determined that she was going to do what she could tonight to start Mrs. Darcy’s downfall.

She began by criticizing Elizabeth’s dress and manner to the gentleman sitting to her left. She quietly made accusation in the ears of the one on her right that the young lady was flirting with every man in the room. To the young lady across the table, Miss Miller spoke of Mrs. Darcy’s rumored lack of dowry.

Before long, her parents caught on to what she was doing and her mother spoke to her, urging, almost demanding, that she stop. But Miss Miller failed to recognize that her parents were against her and that the rest of society would be as well, and she ignored their censuring words. Soon she would learn the dire consequences of spreading gossip and lies about her neighbor.

All through dinner, as Edith worked her neighbors and friends, the Darcys chatted and smiled and laughed, clearly enjoying the food and the company. The sight of Mr. Darcy enjoying himself was rare enough. He did not get out as much now that his wife was departed this world, and he had a tendency toward sadness that was palpable. It was the sight of young Fitzwilliam behaving in a lively manner that shocked the guests, most of whom had known him his entire life. Even when his dear mother had been alive, he had been quiet and reserved, and this tendency had grown after her death. Many could not account for it, but others recognized that his newfound joy probably came from his delight with his young wife.

After dinner, the ladies retired to the drawing room to enjoy a cup of tea and some time to visit. Being the social creature she was, Elizabeth was not unduly concerned about conversing with virtual strangers. What was disquieting were the looks she had noticed she was receiving during the meal from those sitting on either side of her host’s daughter. They had ranged from pity to outright disgust. She was unsure what she would be facing here, but as always, her courage rose with every attempt to intimidate her. She was a gentleman’s daughter and the daughter-in-law of a very powerful man. She knew that she had the support of her spouse and his family. Her chin rose as Edith Miller and another guest approached.

“Mrs. Darcy, such a pleasure to have you join us.”

“Thank you, Miss Miller. I have heard so much about you from my Fitzwilliam and his father,” Elizabeth replied with a smile.

“Indeed. I understand you are from Hertfordshire?”

“Yes, my father’s estate is called Longbourn.”

“Your father has an estate? What a surprise! I did not think that a tradesman would have a landowner in his family. And the name of the estate is Longbourn, you say? I do not think I have ever heard of it. It must be quite small and insignificant.”

“I am not surprised that you have never heard of it; it really is of little importance except to those who live there. As for the other, there are a good many tradesmen who have gentlemen in their family. It is not all that uncommon for a younger son to take up a trade. One must earn a living when one is not the heir. Indeed, gentlemen in need of funds to save the family estate are now looking to the daughters of tradesmen for wives. Many have quite attractive dowries.” Elizabeth laughed to herself. Really, Miss Miller was quite obvious.

Ignoring most of her opponent’s statement, Edith continued her attack. “I am surprised, then, that you ever met the Darcy family. Surely a family as exalted as they would not bother with an insignificant estate in such an unimportant county.” Her sneer was subtle, but obvious to Elizabeth, who had remained alert so as to determine the form of attack her adversary would use. Now that she knew the direction the conversation was taking, she let her charm and artless manner take over.

“I was certain you knew that my father-in-law and my uncle are great friends, and that my sister and I spent a month each summer at Pemberley for oh, a couple of years at least. I do not see how it would be the least surprising that Fitzwilliam and I would make a match.”

By this time, several more of Edith’s friends had joined the group, some eager to watch her cut down the newcomer to their circle and others uneasy about bringing pain to a member of the most important family in the area.

Elizabeth continued. “My father Darcy and my uncle were certainly aware of the attraction, even if Pemberley’s neighbors were not.” Elizabeth smiled at her interrogator. She had often been able to deflect censure for sharp words with her engaging smile.

Miss Miller’s lips pinched and her eyes narrowed. Her face froze in an expression of anger and insult. It seemed that she recognized the rebuke in Elizabeth’s words for what they were. Her friends fell silent as they waited to see what Edith would do.

“Indeed.” Miss Miller turned and walked stiffly away with a disdainful smile on her face and her faithful followers in her wake. Her target breathed a sigh of relief; the first battle of the night had been fought, and she had come out the victor. She hoped the rest of the evening went as well.

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, the war was not over. No sooner had the crowd cleared from around her than another lady walked up to her and began a conversation. This lady, an aunt to one of the young ladies who had been clustered about her earlier, wasted no time voicing mindless pleasantries, instead commencing her conversation with a barely concealed insult.

“My husband and I were rather surprised to see Mr. Darcy so willing to form an alliance between his heir and the relation of a tradesman.”

Elizabeth sighed to herself, then smiled sweetly at her companion. “Indeed. You are not the only one to feel that way, I believe. And yet, he did. It must not have been such a surprise to him.”

The lady was shocked at Elizabeth’s impertinence. Her mouth hung open for a heartbeat or so before she snapped it shut and moved on.

And so it continued for the next thirty minutes or so. Elizabeth moved about the room, being as sociable as possible under the conditions. She was careful to examine each person’s countenance and attitude, trying to determine who was genuinely interested in becoming a friend and who was simply out for information or to break her down. She was distressed by many of the comments of her detractors. Insinuations were made that she was too coarse because she smiled, that her husband had watched her so closely at dinner because he was looking to make sure she did not embarrass the family, and that she was not good enough to be Mrs. Darcy. Apparently, no one had noticed that she gazed at Fitzwilliam just as often as he did her. It seemed that none of them knew what it was to love their husband so deeply that to be at the other end of the table was distressing.

Elizabeth battled as best she could, projecting a calm demeanor in the face of the negativity, using her wit when required to fend off attacks, and engaging with appreciation those who appeared to genuinely desire her company. Encounters of such a sort were tiring, though, and when Fitzwilliam entered the room with the rest of the gentlemen, he immediately ascertained the distress in her eyes. He strode quickly over to her, glancing at the woman speaking to her, whose back was to him. As he reached the pair, he overheard some of what his Elizabeth had been going through.

The lady was Edith Miller, come back for another go at discomposing his wife.

“I am sure, Mrs. Darcy, that your husband Fitzwilliam is quite cognizant of his place in society. He keeps a close eye on you, I noticed. He must be quite concerned that you understand it, as well.”

Fitzwilliam was angry. Enraged, even. He stepped up next to his wife and took her hand, tucking it in his elbow and pulling it in tight to his side. “Indeed not, madam. My wife is a well-bred woman. I can trust her perfectly well with the Darcy family’s reputation. She would never think of doing anything that would degrade our name or embarrass herself or her family. It is a shame that not every gentlewoman is as worthy of the title as my Elizabeth is. Excuse me, Father, Mr. Miller; I need to speak to my wife in private.”

With a last glare at his host’s daughter, Fitzwilliam stiffly but gently led Elizabeth out of the room and into the hall. Once there, he looked around for a quiet place to take her. He settled upon the library, which he knew from previous visits was two doors further down. Once there, he shut the door behind him and turned, pulling his wife into his arms.

“Are you well, my darling?” He whispered into her hair as he held her tightly to him. He tried to keep the anger out of his voice. She was upset enough. There was no need to further alarm her with a harsh voice or irate words.

Elizabeth snuggled into his chest and sighed. This was her favorite place to be, held close to her partner and wrapped in his arms. That they were in a library, with the smell of leather bindings and paper, just added to the feeling of safety.

“I am now, dearest,” she replied.

“You are certain? I could see by the look in your eyes that Miss Miller had distressed you. Was it only she doing so? Surely my brave and courageous wife would not be made so after one person made a comment to her. How long did it go on, Elizabeth? Who joined her?” Now that he had her in his arms, Fitzwilliam began to relax. Being with her always made him so, though he was still very angry.

“I am certain. I was upset for a while, but now that I am alone with you, I am comforted. I was very much glad to see you enter the room. I am not sure how much longer I could have held out and still called myself a lady.” She hugged his waist a little tighter. Surely she was the most blessed woman in the world to have such a husband. She trusted him implicitly, for he always had her best interests at heart and always stood up for her.

“I am happy to have prevented such an occurrence. You avoided one of my questions, though, Mrs. Darcy. Were more ladies than Miss Miller rude to you?”

Elizabeth sighed, then leaned back a bit so she could look into his face. “Indeed, Fitzwilliam. The only ladies who were not so were Lady Susan, Mrs. Burns, Mrs. Morris, and the Shetler ladies. Those five were exceedingly kind.”

“My father and I will take care of this, Elizabeth. You have my assurance.”

“Thank you, husband. I knew you would. May we stay here a little while longer? I have need of more comfort.” She spoke with a grin and a raised eyebrow.

Fitzwilliam chuckled. “I believe that is possible,” he said as he bent his head down to kiss her.

It was quite a while later that the couple finally returned to the party, holding hands, with flushed faces, slightly disheveled looks, and happy smiles.


Edith Miller had not seen the men trickling in from the dining room. She was startled, therefore, at the male voice behind her, and had the grace to look ashamed at being caught berating Mrs. Darcy by her husband. She was also quite fearful, as to her left and next to the obviously offended Fitzwilliam Darcy appeared her father and the elder Darcy. Her father had warned her earlier to cease and desist her disparagement of their neighbor’s son’s wife, but she had ignored him. There would be consequences now that she would have to face. While her father had never been mean, she knew he would be quite harsh with her. She hated Mrs. Darcy but feared her father’s disapprobation more.

“Edith, you are to retire to your chambers immediately. We will discuss this later.” Mr. Miller gave her a look that brooked no disobedience; therefore, Miss Miller immediately left the room without taking leave of her mother and the guests. Everyone had stopped what they were doing to watch, and so they all knew that she had been summarily dismissed and none were offended at her lack of manners. Her accomplices were shocked that she was banished in such a manner.

Miller looked to his friend. “Darcy, I apologize. I told Edith earlier to discontinue her disdain of your daughter-in-law. Obviously, she ignored me. I will speak to her again.”

“I appreciate your efforts. However, I must tell you, and everyone here, that if Elizabeth is not accepted among you, then neither are Georgiana, Fitzwilliam or I. She is a Darcy, the same as the rest of us. I will not tolerate mistreatment of any of my children, including Fitzwilliam’s wife.” Darcy’s displeasure was clear to all, and he spoke in firm, ringing tones. He was intent on making his point clear to everyone in the room. He knew that word of this incident would spread. While he did not like his family to be the target of gossip, he was not about to let his dear daughter-in-law suffer due to the rude and arrogant behavior of his neighbors.

After making this statement and being assured of the understanding of the other guests of his meaning, he glanced around at the interested gazes of his companions and suggested to his host that they retire to the study, or somewhere else more private. Gesturing toward the door, Mr. Miller agreed and the two men made their way to the study.

After pouring his guest a glass of port and inviting him to sit, Miller braced himself for what was to come. He could only hope that his nearest neighbor and the most influential man in this half of Derbyshire would not sever the acquaintance between their families. They were old friends, it was true, but Darcys were known for their family loyalty. Neither George Darcy nor his son was going to take this lying down, he knew. There would be repercussions of some sort or other.

Darcy took a sip of his port as he gathered his thoughts together. Finally, he spoke. “We have been neighbors and friends all our lives. I cannot describe to you the depth of my disappointment that it was your daughter, of all people, who hurt my daughter in such a way.” His countenance clearly showed his unhappiness and displeasure.

“I cannot let this pass, my friend, you know this. There must be some consequence for Miss Miller. And, should she behave similarly to Elizabeth in the future, I would be left with no choice but to sever our friendship.”

Miller replied, “I understand, Darcy. I will take immediate action with Edith. Her aunt in Sussex has been asking her to visit. I believe I will send her tomorrow for an extended stay. Again I beg your pardon. I do not know what has gotten into her.”

Darcy nodded his acceptance of the apology. “That sounds like a reasonable solution. I trust you will impress upon your daughter the importance of regulating her conduct.”

Miller took note that this was a statement, not a question. He thought to himself, Oh, you can be quite certain of that, old friend! Aloud he simply stated, “I will,” glad that he still had Darcy’s good opinion.

The two gentlemen soon finished their port and returned to the drawing room.

Early the next morning, while their guests still slept, Edith Miller and her maid entered one of the family’s travelling coaches for an extended visit to her mother’s sister. Her father had been every bit as severe as she had expected. He had explained to her in explicit detail what would happen to her should he lose the approbation of one of his oldest friends, who just happened to be the most powerful man in Derbyshire. While she was angry at her banishment, and confused at her father’s apparent change of heart regarding Mrs. Darcy, she was astute enough to realize that being the cause of a break between the two families would hurt the standing of the Millers and therefore her chances to make a good match. To Sussex she would go, quietly, and contemplate her choices.

To be continued …



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5 thoughts on “Thursday’s 300: Promises Kept, Chapter 11

  1. Such cattiness towards Elizabeth! She handles herself well, however, and I love how protective her husband is!

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