I started a thing on Facebook a few weeks ago with my author friends where we share 200+ words of a current Work in Progress (WIP). I wanted to start posting it on here so I can also tag it on Twitter.
This is from Sufficient Encouragement, which may be coming out in the fall. The chapter number keeps bouncing around but currently this is from Chapter 12.
“How has your sister enjoyed Netherfield?” Elizabeth asked. It had been two days since Elizabeth and Jane had been invited there to meet Miss Darcy and Lord Arlington.
“She likes it very much. She was very happy to meet you and Miss Bennet at last.”
Elizabeth grinned. “I assure you the feeling is very mutual.” She glanced to where Miss Darcy now sat, next to Arlington, but under the inspection of Kitty and Lydia. “I fear my younger sisters are too exuberant for her.”
Darcy also watched his sister. “She is quite shy. I doubt she will wish to do much beyond visiting here.”
“A girl cannot always be kept at home,” she said, hoping her words were gentle.
Darcy stiffened. “And so she is not. Last summer she was sent to Ramsgate, and now she is here.”
“Yes,” she cautiously began, “but there is more to holidays than merely sitting and drinking tea in a new house.” Elizabeth watched in horror as an expression of hauteur overshadowed Darcy’s face.
“And the shops of Meryton are unique from the shops of Lambton or Ramsgate?”
She pursed her lips and did not answer. Instead, she directed her attention to Jane. She had blushed when Bingley asked to speak with Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth easily saw her nervousness. The interview with Mr. Bennet was taking longer than Elizabeth expected, which allowed her a moment to pause.
Surely Mr. Darcy knew his sister better than she did and understood what was best for her temperament. Miss Darcy was not out in society, and so it would be unlikely that she would attend any evening events at other places. She had never been in such a situation, stuck between childhood and adulthood, as it were. When Mrs. Bennet believed each daughter finished her education, she put them fully out in society. Certainly for Jane she hoped to secure a marriage. In Elizabeth’s case, it simply proved easier to allow her to attend events with Jane than listen her peas to go and insistence upon every detail when they returned. Details of people’s expressions and way of talking, that is. Mrs. Bennet quickly tired of attempting to recount such things, but would gladly regale everyone with ears on the courses of a meal or the lace on a gown. The younger daughters followed suit and could not be kept home if Elizabeth and Jane got put out at fifteen.
Elizabeth realized it was not her place to push Miss Darcy into more adult situations than her brother wished. Indeed, she regretted she did not have time to learn more of herself before she was told to appear a certain way for Society’s sake. Several minutes had passed with Darcy sitting silently next to her, and just when she resolved to turn to him and speak, she was surprised to hear him instead.
“I apologize, Miss Elizabeth. The truth is that I do not entirely know what I am doing, raising a young girl, and while her paid companion is everything proper she does not necessarily challenge my assumptions. If you think other outings would be beneficial…”
She smiled at him. “No apology is necessary. I quite forgot my place.”
“No, you were advising me out of concern for my sister and spoke forthrightly instead of out of deference. I expect no less from my friends.”
A part of Elizabeth swelled with pride, but the notion of friendship with Darcy could not entirely satisfy. She took a calming breath. “In that case, I will tell you my thoughts. I have taken the time to consider that as she is not fully out in society, she should not attend other functions. But a lady’s holiday should be much more than a respite from lessons. She should not only be bent over her needlework.”