This story is being edited for publication and will release May 25, 2015. Here is a sample of chapter one. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
When a simple accident is misinterpreted and threatens Elizabeth Bennet’s reputation, her fate seems sealed as Fitzwilliam Darcy’s wife. While the bride is resigned, the gentleman could hardly be happier until betrayals and schemes threaten to entirely take the matter out of their hands. Overcoming the plots before them will take all the patience, perseverance and collaboration they can muster, but a partnership requires truth. Self-discovery and trust await Jane Austen’s most beloved and willfully blind couple as they attempt to master their own destiny in life and love.
Monday, March 30, 1812
Hunsford Parsonage, Kent
“I do not mean to say that a woman may not be settled too near her family. Where there is enough fortune, distance becomes no evil. Such is not the case with my friend. I am certain she would not call herself near her family under less than half the present distance,” Elizabeth Bennet said in her usual pert way in response to Fitzwilliam Darcy’s claim that Mrs. Collins was settled near her family.
Darcy drew his chair a little towards her. Since leaving Hertfordshire in late November, he had missed Elizabeth’s manner of conversation immensely. He had missed her immensely. Now he believed she just settled his final concern on their alliance.
“You cannot have a right to such very strong local attachment. You cannot have been always at Longbourn.” He often wondered how she was more refined than her family. His fortune would allow her to visit her family, and yet the distance would be enough to discourage frequent trips.
Elizabeth looked surprised. He had not meant to show so much emotion before declaring himself, but it was too hard to resist. Leaving Hertfordshire had resulted in torture of the acutest kind for him, for he could not rid his mind or heart of the lovely and witty Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Meeting her again at his aunt’s estate must be a matter of fate.
Darcy drew back his chair and took a newspaper from the table. He did not consider if it appeared uncivil; he only desired to hide his expression.
In a colder voice than he used only a moment ago, he asked, “Are you pleased with Kent?”
The two had been speaking of the differences between Hertfordshire and Kent as Darcy considered this fortuitous and solitary call on the parsonage. He had needed time, since his arrival in the country, to reconsider his long-held arguments against the union. A deliberate and thorough man, taking time to review all the facts and weighing the concerns and outcomes of every decision, he did not act impulsively. Once his course was set, however, he was obstinate about making his will, superior as he was convinced it was, come to pass. Knowing no woman could refuse him, and believing Elizabeth partial to him, he was tempted to present his suit immediately. Still, he desired to show his enduring admiration and court Elizabeth for the remaining week.
Belatedly, Darcy realised the impropriety of extending the visit. Rising to take his leave, he tripped over a lump in the rug caused by the previous movements of his chair. He fell directly into Elizabeth’s lap.
Before either of them could even cry out in astonishment, the door flew open, admitting not only Mrs. Collins and Miss Lucas but Mr. Collins and a maid as well. Immediately, Elizabeth jumped up, ignoring Darcy entirely, and he landed on the floor with a grunt. His heart raced and not merely from being caught in such a position.
“Charlotte, I… ”
Utter pandemonium ensued. While Darcy rose from the floor, Mrs. Collins shooed Miss Lucas upstairs. The maid immediately fled, but Mr. Collins would not be moved. He stammered something about being saved from a disastrous fate before walking briskly across the room to throw open the door.
“Elizabeth Bennet, how dare you impose yourself on Mr. Darcy! A nephew of Lady Catherine! You shall leave my home immediately on the next post carriage. I care not where you go; your death would be a blessing compared to the way you have shamed your family by prostituting yourself. Mr. Darcy, let us leave directly for Rosings.”
Elizabeth turned red, and before Darcy could say a thing, she spoke with vehemence, “Mr. Darcy only tripped over the rug! You cannot possibly believe I would ever…”
She was cut off by Mr. Collins again, this time looking at Darcy. “I can see that you have surrendered to the allurements of my cousin and designed to meet her privately while we were without. Rest assured, I shall tell your esteemed aunt everything, and I am most certain that she will forgive you of your weakness. Men often do fall prey to such cheap arts,” he said, giving Elizabeth a disdainful look.
Darcy attempted to pay no mind to Mr. Collins; he was too worried for Elizabeth. She took a step forward, and he nearly believed she would strike her cousin. Then she turned and looked at Darcy in anger before storming out of the room.
Darcy watched her leave, then came in close to Mr. Collins. Not caring to dignify the toady man’s accusations, he only said, “I am not leaving, and you can have no reason to inform Lady Catherine of my affairs.”
Undeterred, Mr. Collins declared again his intent to speak with Lady Catherine and left in a great hurry for his patroness’s abode. Darcy stood in stunned silence for a moment.
He could hope that his aunt would not believe her parson. Darcy had an honourable reputation. Then he considered her likely low opinion of the male sex in general. While he lived, there had been rumours of her husband taking mistresses and visiting brothels.
Even if she believed in Darcy’s honour, she would have no difficulty believing Elizabeth as mercenary and scheming. He always knew his aunt would be angry over his choosing any bride but her daughter, and would certainly be outraged by one from a lower circle, but she had no tolerance for improprieties. Darcy had no doubt, his aunt would terribly abuse Elizabeth. Advancing his plans by a week, he strode confidently to the garden.
He saw Elizabeth standing still with her back to the house, her shoulders slumped and arms wrapped around herself. He walked closer to her, but she seemed not to notice his presence.
“I will not allow her to harm you in any way.”
“Sir?” She dropped her arms to her side as she whirled to face him.
Darcy saw she did not understand him. “I do not know your cousin well, but I know my aunt will likely believe his report. Between the two, I do think they would expel you and smear your name.”
Elizabeth slowly nodded. “Yes, Mr. Collins would tell the tale far and wide to congratulate himself on not marrying me or into such a family.”
He started at the suggestion that Mr. Collins had actually proposed to his Elizabeth. He could hear the anxiety in her voice as she continued.
“Charlotte could do nothing to stop him, nor would she want to displease Lady Catherine. Maria loves to gossip, so does her mother. Who knows what the maid would say? My family…”
He quickly interrupted and took one of her hands. “I had wanted to take the time to display my regard more deliberately and assure you of my constancy. This is not at all the way I imagined this moment for these last several months, but I am happy for the opportunity.”
He paused a moment and looked to the side, struggling to find the words he wished to say but thankful he had given it some thought already. He missed the look of incredulity on Elizabeth’s face.
He then looked her directly in the eye. He stood a bit straighter and proclaimed with confidence, “In vain have I struggled, it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
He exhaled then and was proud that he was able to perform the premeditated words to his fastidious standards. With less vigour and a hint of uncertainty as he attempted to conceal his original reservations, he renewed his sentiments. “This is not the match expected of me, but I believe that we will find such extraordinary causes for happiness that we will not repine our union, even if society should act its worst—which I do not truly expect.”
Taking a long breath, he paused over the most important words he had uttered in his life. “Please, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth, will you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?” He spoke with tenderness and believed his expression displayed all the longings of his heart.
Elizabeth was silent for some time before stammering, “You are offering marriage?”
Darcy paused for a moment until he believed he understood the source of her confusion.
“Elizabeth,” he presumed to call her and triumphed when he was not corrected, “I can see that my regard has surprised you, and we can certainly speak on that later, but we are running out of time to make arrangements before my aunt arrives at the parsonage with all the fury a scorned and delusional woman can exhibit. Nevertheless, I would like to hear the words.”
She paused and took a deep breath before speaking softly, “Yes, Mr. Darcy, I accept your request. I am honoured.”
“My love, you have made me so very happy.” He smiled and squeezed Elizabeth’s still captive hand. He did not observe her look of unease. “Now, I wish we could enjoy this moment, but I think it best if we leave immediately. I shall send an express ahead to your relations in London, and we shall arrive before nightfall. I will continue to Hertfordshire tomorrow to speak with your father.”
Elizabeth quickly cut in, “I wish to go with you.”
He smiled at her eagerness. No, he had no desire to separate from her either. “I had planned to return right away to begin arrangements. I had hoped you would stay with your relatives in London.” He squeezed her hand. “I do not wish to part with you, and you would be able to meet my sister.”
“Perhaps…perhaps I could return to London, but I must insist on going to Longbourn with you.”
Darcy smiled again. Of course, she should be present to share her family’s joy. Thinking of how they would express said joy made him readily agree she should be present. Elizabeth had a way of silencing her mother.
“I am certain my aunt will demand you be removed, but you can be assured I will not allow you to be cast off and sent by post. I will send a footman to Rosings to direct my valet to pack my things and have my coach ready. I dare not leave you, even for a moment, for fear of my aunt somehow spiriting you away.” Darcy realised he sounded overly authoritative.
He quickly added, “Did you have any suggestions?”
“I shall ask Mrs. Collins to arrange for a maid to travel with us as chaperone,” she snapped.
Although disappointed, Darcy agreed. He had not thought it would be too large a breach in propriety to be alone with her, but given the accusations already thrown at her, he could understand her concerns.
“An excellent suggestion. Should we not return to the house?” He was growing anxious. His aunt would likely arrive soon.
Elizabeth mumbled, “Very well, sir.”
“William, please, dearest.”
“William,” Elizabeth conceded, blushing profusely, while Darcy lightly chuckled.
In the hallway, he saw a maid and asked that Mrs. Collins be brought down.
When Mrs. Collins entered, she immediately went to her friend. “Eliza, are you well?”
“Oh, yes, Charlotte. Merely preoccupied.” She glanced at Darcy, and he was pleased to continue with the announcement.
“I am happy to announce that Miss Elizabeth and I are betrothed. Regrettably, we see the need to depart, allowing for my aunt’s expected displeasure. I wonder if you might have a suggestion for a chaperone, as we plan to be gone within the hour.”
Mrs. Collins smiled and replied, “I am certain that my maid, Molly, may serve suitably. I shall go tell her at once and have her help Eliza pack her trunks.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Collins. Please allow me to apologise for any strain in the relationship you may experience between my aunt and yourselves. If you have difficulties,” here they shared a knowing look, “please do not hesitate to contact my housekeeper in London, Mrs. Campbell. She shall alert me directly should you require my assistance.”
“I thank you, sir. And please allow me to congratulate you. Elizabeth is a gem and a very fortunate woman.”
“It is I who am fortunate. I feel as though I can breathe again.” He glanced to Elizabeth, who had an unreadable expression on her face.
“Eliza, come. We must get you packed,” Mrs. Collins broke Elizabeth’s reverie.
“Oh, yes, Charlotte, of course,” she said, and with a nod, added, “Mr. Darcy.”
She tried to quickly exit the sitting room, but he strode to her and kissed her hands. “I shall anxiously await you, my future Mrs. Darcy,” he said, causing another round of profuse blushing for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth followed Charlotte up the stairs to her room, insensible to anything but her rapidly progressing thoughts. Future Mrs. Darcy! Mrs. Darcy! Wife to Mr. Darcy! Wife to arrogant, hateful Mr. Darcy!
Upon reaching Elizabeth’s room, Mrs. Collins shut the door and stated, “I see you are puzzling this out, Eliza. Let me caution you to wait until at least the carriage ride. Heaven only knows how long we have before Lady Catherine descends upon us.”
Elizabeth finished packing the last of her items in her trunk and closed the lid with dread, acknowledging that with the action, all her hopes for happiness were shut out of her life. Then she watched with resignation as a footman carried it out of her room, and she collapsed on the little chair next to her bed. Mr. Darcy’s carriage had arrived, and Mrs. Collins and the maid had left to make the final arrangements for Elizabeth and Darcy’s departure. Mrs. Collins had warned Elizabeth not to take time to reflect on the recent occurrences, but Elizabeth had never been as practical as Charlotte. I suppose if I were, I would have married Mr. Collins!
Charlotte believed happiness in marriage was a mere matter of chance, no matter how attached the couple were at the beginning. Elizabeth vehemently disagreed. If a couple nurtured their affection and sustained their friendship, then no matter the fickleness of life, their happiness should be assured. No, happiness in marriage was not a matter of chance; it was a product of work and attention. How is happiness achieved with mutual dislike?
Although Mr. Darcy had uttered a scant few words of professed love, Elizabeth perceived no sentiment behind it. He barely knew her; his attachment would be as imaginary as Mr. Collins’s had been. She still could not understand his allusion to a previous desire to propose when she had always been certain he disliked her. Perhaps he felt it would alleviate some of her duress if he feigned admiration for her? Elizabeth snorted at such a thought. Mr. Darcy could barely be civil most of the time, let alone be sensitive to another’s feelings, nor could she suppose him able to affect such a romantic notion as love. At any rate, he is clearly willing to put his dislike for me aside, and I should probably do the same.
If only I were Jane. Jane would find a way to be content, perhaps even happy. Jane could forget that the hateful man she was to marry was so dishonourable that he cheated his father’s favourite, the companion of his youth, out of a valuable living and left him in poverty. Elizabeth knew her lively talents put her in grave danger in an unequal marriage. How can I esteem and respect him? How can I live but in misery with such a man? She willed herself not to resort to tears of frustration, anger, and self-pity.
Annoyingly, Mr. Darcy’s smiling face rose to her mind then, and she was reminded that he did not have to offer her marriage, as his reputation was not of concern. He was doing the honourable thing. He even seemed happy about it. What a bundle of contradictions Mr. Darcy was! She wondered if she were mistaken in her impression of his character or if this afternoon was an anomaly.
Before she could contemplate further, a great ruckus was heard at the main door. Lady Catherine had entered the parsonage. Elizabeth swiftly descended the stairs, propelled by intrepid curiosity. She expected to be abused by Lady Catherine and paused in astonishment as she heard Darcy’s vehement defence. She could do naught but stand stock still and listen in wonderment.
Lady Catherine sat in the expansive blue drawing room in Rosings Park. She expected her daughter and nephews to enter momentarily, as they always gathered before dining. Instead, her butler entered.
“Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins here to see you on urgent business,” the aged butler informed her.
Lady Catherine sucked in a steadying breath, preparing to handle whatever imaginary crisis her clergyman would present.
Bowing deeply, Mr. Collins breathlessly began, “My dear patroness, I fear I bear bad tidings and assure you that I will condole with you most readily.”
“Mr. Collins, might you tell me the bad tidings before you offer condolences?” Lady Catherine picked at invisible lint on her silk gown. She did not take his concerns too seriously; she had wanted a sycophant, but there were times when the price was great.
Part of his hair came loose and bobbed with his head in agitation. “I wish to apologise for ever bringing her here. You may be certain that I have already made orders for her to be sent away immediately.”
Lady Catherine looked sharply at her clergyman, and her eyes narrowed. “Her? Do I understand correctly, your troubles involve one of the young ladies who are your guests?”
Mr. Collins did not seem to discern the beginnings of Lady Catherine’s wrath and fearlessly replied, “Yes, madam, my cousin, Elizabeth. Though I should not be surprised at her wanton acts, given the flirtatious behaviour I saw her younger sisters exhibit. Indeed, it was one of the reasons I could not bear to unite myself with the household. For who would wish to connect themselves to such a family?”
Losing her patience, Lady Catherine’s shrill voice broke in, “What grievous wrongdoing has your cousin committed, Mr. Collins? I demand you come to the point.”
The gentleman blushed slightly and, while attempting to bow over her hand to ask forgiveness, explained, “My lady, it gives me great pain to tell you that she has used her arts and allurements to entrap your nephew in a most compromising manner.”
Lady Catherine gasped and gripped the arms of her chair. “The colonel! Whatever was he doing with her alone?” After catching her breath, she declared, “Yes, send her away at once. Undoubtedly, she thought to secure him due to his connections, but he has not the income to be bound to her. She shall not see a penny of my money, so it shall all come to naught.”
She waved her hand dismissively and began to demand Mr. Collins leave her presence when at last he managed to stutter, “Not the colonel, madam. It was…was…was Mr. Darcy.” The words came out in a squeak.
Lady Catherine bellowed, “This is not to be borne! I am most seriously displeased!”
Quickly realising that the notion of Elizabeth Bennet in a compromising position with Darcy was much different than that of the colonel, she began to make for the door. “Bring me to her at once! I shall deal with her myself! Mrs. Jenkinson! Mrs. Jenkinson!”
Upon seeing her daughter’s companion enter, Lady Catherine continued, “Keep Anne in her room; she is not to leave. I shall be back after the dinner hour.” Thus, the nearly apoplectic Lady Catherine departed with a great rustling of skirts, followed by her toad of a clergyman.
Lady Catherine fumed during the carriage ride to the parsonage and entirely ignored her clergyman’s bumbled apologies. She was outraged, of course, but more than that, the great lady was afraid. Terrified. Fitzwilliam Darcy was an honourable man and had successfully avoided London society’s machinations of ensnaring him for the last ten years. If he were found in a compromising position, it must be by his own will. Additionally, for him to succumb to any desires of the flesh so blatantly could only mean one thing: he was in love with and betrothed to Elizabeth Bennet. But the lady could not fathom that her nephew, who held great familial pride, would forsake everything for a romantic notion. Few knew it, but the lady had a very quick and shrewd mind, and she instantly began to formulate a plan that would make her nephew bend to her will.
Lady Catherine would provoke his pride and remind him of Miss Bennet’s inferior place in society, of his duty to family. She would prey on his fear, that he was once again being used merely for his wealth and connections. Her ladyship was not above invoking his mother’s name or even using his role as guardian for Georgiana against him. Lady Catherine knew all about the aborted elopement last summer. Darcy’s beloved sister nearly married, in the most scandalous fashion, the son of his father’s steward. The betrayal felt by Darcy was all the greater, given his history with George Wickham: once a playmate and dearest friend turned depraved and mercenary, motivated by jealousy and resentment of the Darcy name.
Should that fail, she would pressure Miss Bennet. Lady Catherine thought she noticed some reserved admiration from her nephew for the girl the prior evening but perceived no regard in return; in fact, it appeared she disliked him, or perhaps they simply were in the midst of a lovers’ spat. She knew Elizabeth to be intelligent but worried about her sensibility. If she were truly sensible, or what many called mercenary, all would work in her ladyship’s favour. But Lady Catherine believed the ridiculous girl was too principled to feign attachment and seek Darcy’s approbation to earn his esteem. Nor did she believe him capable of being lost to blind lust. If Darcy could be taken in by a mercenary woman, he would have succumbed years ago. If he valued her, then she must be genuine.
Lady Catherine would attempt to offer some funds for Elizabeth to break the engagement but suspected that plan would fail. Yet with relatives as ridiculous as Mr. Collins, and knowing Miss Bennet had others in trade, it should prove no difficulty to find some harmful secret. Surely Darcy’s attachment could not withstand a scandal, and if Miss Bennet truly cared for him, she would not wish to tarnish his reputation. In fact, she knew exactly whom to hire. As Lady Catherine thought longer on the matter, she realised that although this plot would take more time, the expense would be less, and she was astutely aware of Rosings’ need for funds.
The idea that her scheming for the last sixteen years may come to naught enraged the lady anew. She would not allow this union to continue. She had allowed Darcy too much latitude in the past, always bringing Fitzwilliam with him on visits, impervious to any chances of meeting Anne alone. This was supposed to be the visit that brought her greatest wish. Anne would be well settled, Rosings would be saved, and Lady Catherine would never see the dower house. Finally reaching her destination, she clambered from the carriage, surprisingly limber for her age due to her rage, blind to all else but her mission.
Incensed, she barged into the parsonage.
As usual, Mr. Darcy heard his aunt before he saw her, even more so with the thinner walls of the parsonage, and was thankful that he stayed within to shield Elizabeth from his aunt’s wrath.
“Nephew, what is the meaning of this? I demand that you leave this harlot immediately. Depart for London to make arrangements for your marriage to Anne!” Lady Catherine thundered at Darcy, the feathers on her bonnet bobbing furiously as her whole body shook with rage.
“I will not marry Anne, Aunt. I shall marry Miss Bennet and no other,” Mr. Darcy calmly replied.
“Marry that Jezebel?”
“Do not speak of my future wife in that way!”
“Have you lost the use of your reason? She has beguiled you in a moment of infatuation and made you forget what you owe yourself and all your family.”
“I assure you, my affection has been above six months; this is not the work of a moment. And I will not remind you again to not speak ill of the future Mrs. Darcy. She has always conducted herself with the utmost decorum and grace!”
Lady Catherine began again, “I am the nearest relation you have in the world. Is this any way to repay me for all my notice to you?”
“I believe my dear sister has that claim on me, and any notice you have given has been of a devious and selfish bent,” Darcy replied bitterly.
“Let me be rightly understood. This match can never take place. You are engaged to my daughter. I shall make it known to this Miss Bennet and all of society as well!”
“You know that is the greatest falsehood, and it is a rumour perpetrated by yourself alone. If you announce that there has been a pre-existing engagement to your daughter, you shall only harm her reputation. I shall not be moved in this,” Darcy spoke uncompromisingly.
“It was the dearest wish of your mother!”
“Perhaps, but its completion depended on others. I am neither by honour nor inclination confined to my cousin, and I have made my choice.”
“Do not expect her to be noticed by your family or friends. She will be censured, slighted, and despised by everyone connected to you. This alliance will be a disgrace; her name will never even be mentioned by any of us.”
“These are heavy misfortunes,” Darcy said in a voice dripping with sarcasm. “But our union shall have such extraordinary sources of happiness attached to the situation that upon the whole, we shall have no cause to repine. Nor should you presume to speak for the entire Fitzwilliam family. You know I am the head of the Darcys.”
“I am determined and resolute to carry my purpose. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment!” Lady Catherine spoke with an air of finality.
“You are widely mistaken in my character if you think this will have an effect on me,” Darcy interrupted.
Lady Catherine slammed her walking cane on the carpeted floor with such force that its loud thud reverberated through the room. She roared, “Hear me in silence! You and Anne are formed for each other. You are descended, on the maternal side from the same noble line; and on the father’s, from respectable, honourable, and ancient, though untitled, families. Both of your fortunes are splendid.”
Darcy did not flinch at her vulgar display and instead merely raised an eyebrow in skepticism at the last statement but allowed his aunt to continue.
“I will not allow this upstart without family, connections, or fortune to divide you and Anne. If you truly cared for this strumpet, you would not wish her to quit the sphere in which she has been brought up! Society shall scorn her for reaching so far outside of her rank.”
“In marrying me, she should not be quitting her sphere. I am a gentleman; she is a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal ,” Darcy marvelled that he could realize such a truth while doing battle with his aunt.
Lady Catherine tried the route of reason again. “True, she is a gentleman’s daughter. But who is her mother? Who are her uncles and aunts? Do not imagine me ignorant of their condition.”
“Whatever her connections may be, I do not object to them. They can mean nothing to you.”
“Fitzwilliam Darcy, I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young man. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require.”
“And I certainly never shall give it! I am not to be intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable.” Darcy grew bored with her attempts at browbeating. His experience as master of an estate made him quite impervious to such arts.
“You refuse, then, to oblige me. You refuse to obey the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude? You are determined to be ruined in the opinion of all your friends and make yourself the contempt of the world?”
Darcy perceived Lady Catherine’s attempt at an acknowledged weakness in him: submitting to honour and his duty of position.
Previously, Darcy wished he had not taken so long to overcome his reservations regarding a match with Elizabeth, but now he saw the blessing in so persistently studying the arguments until he could vanquish his concerns.
“Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude has any possible claim on me. None of these shall be violated by our marriage.” he said with confidence. “And with regard to the resentment of my family and the indignation of the world, if the former are excited by our union, it would not give us one moment’s concern— and the world in general will have too much sense to join in the scorn.”
“And this is your real opinion? This is your final resolve! Very well, I shall now know how to act. I hoped to find you reasonable; but depend upon it—I will carry my point.”
“Enough!” Darcy had finally lost all patience, and though his countenance brooked no room for opposition, he did not bellow. “Lady Catherine, you shall not be welcome in any of my homes until you recognize my union with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. You may ask your brother for help in matters of your estate. I wish you a good evening and good fortune in your life.”
Opening the door to the parlour, he paused to see a dazed Elizabeth and an astonished Mrs. Collins at the bottom of the stairs. “Mrs. Collins, again, I apologise for this unpleasantness. Please let me know if I can be of any use. Come, Elizabeth. Let us depart.”
He reached Elizabeth’s side and led her to the carriage with Mrs. Collins following to bid them farewell Mr. Collins, who had been too awed earlier by the fury of his patroness to speak, hurried outside and stepped forward, in a moment of imprudent bravery, to offer his own objections. Darcy’s fierce mien and cold glare caused the other man to retreat.
Casting a last look at the parsonage, Darcy and Elizabeth embarked on their journey to London.