I hope you’ve enjoyed this refresh of The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter! I will be handing it off to the editor soon and then updating the file. I believe if you’ve previously purchased via Amazon (and potentially other vendors), it should automatically upload to the newest version.
Don’t forget, this is officially the start of a series now! Darcy and Elizabeth have five impertinent daughters of their own, coming of age at the cusp of the Victorian Era!
Nine Months Later
September 21, 1812
“I believe this is my set, Mrs. Darcy.”
Mr. Darcy took his beloved’s hand and proudly led her to the dance floor. It was not the fashion for married couples to dance. However, neither Darcy cared what others thought and had made it a standing tradition to always share the last set. At first, tongues wagged amongst the ton. However, by the end of the season, the scandalised looks had diminished, and more than one couple followed suit.
Although having been married for over six months, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy still acted as besotted newlyweds. After a wedding trip to Pemberley and becoming the sensation of the season in London, they had taken an extended holiday to Lyme. They arrived at Longbourn the previous week. Gossip among the Meryton residents found it endearing Mr. and Mrs. Darcy insisted on re-enacting the journey marking one year since they met.
“You are ever so obstinate in retaining the last set on my card, sir.” Elizabeth teased.
“I am quite convinced it is my husbandly right.” Darcy grinned.
“We shall leave for Derbyshire on the morrow. Are you certain you shall not mind my cousins visiting us for several weeks?”
Despite the rumours, they had journeyed to Longbourn to celebrate Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They needed to return to Pemberley before Michaelmas. The assembly merely fell on the full moon nearest to the feast day, which coincided with the Darcys’ stay in the area. The Gardiners were to join them at Pemberley. At the same time, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet would go on a holiday to the Buxton resort in Derbyshire. Mary and Kitty would travel to Pemberley before going on to visit the Bingleys, new residents of Baxter Hall in Cheshire and only thirty miles from Pemberley.
“How can you ask? I am only sorry Lydia is still in mourning and cannot visit as well. You know how much Georgiana misses her company. I am astonished at how their temperaments have complimented each other. Still, soon Lydia shall be able to finally move forward with her life.”
A brief frown crossed Darcy’s face at remembering the pain Wickham inflicted on his family. Darcy had always hoped his old friend would change his ways, but he had not before meeting his fate on a Spanish battlefield in May. Lydia was to stay with her aunt and uncle Phillips while her family travelled.
Rallying his spirits, Darcy began again. “I shall hope your father will surprise us with a visit, for I greatly enjoy our debates. However, even if he does not, you know I find the Gardiner children delightful, Michael particularly.”
Elizabeth lowered her voice and said, “I am glad they shall be visiting. The nursery has needed a good cleaning and airing out. It shall allow us plenty of time to decorate after they leave.”
“Elizabeth! Are you certain now?”
“Yes, love, I felt the quickening this morning.”
Darcy smiled broadly and then turned serious. “Come, we are leaving now. You need to rest.” He stopped dancing and took a step toward the exit.
“William, I am perfectly capable of finishing the final set of the evening!”
“No, I insist. We will be travelling for several days, and then you shall host our families. You cannot overtax yourself.” Others continued to dance around them, although they had gathered the attention of many.
“I refuse to leave early. I have been careful to not exhaust myself this evening. I am robust and healthy; all shall be well.”
Darcy could refuse her nothing. “You dare to disagree with your husband?” He gave a mock scold—ignoring the shocked gasp of a passing lady—before breaking into a grin. “You always were impertinent.”
“And you find it delightful.” Elizabeth smiled back.
Darcy led Elizabeth back to the circle for the final movements of the Boulanger. “As soon as you are rested from our journey, I will take you on a long walk near the lake.”
“You know I enjoy that walk very much, but why does such a thought enter your head at this moment?”
“Because I need to see your hem covered in mud as soon as possible. I fell in love with you that day in the park while you were twirling Michael in the air. The thought of you doing so with our children has given me the greatest pleasure for many months now.”
Elizabeth’s eyes twinkled, and she arched her brow, foretelling a tease. “And if I refuse? After all, it would not be very dignified for the mistress of Pemberley to have her petticoats six inches deep in mud.”
“Have you forgotten my greatest virtue, madam? I am doubly obstinate when perfectly convicted of my decision. The vision of you dancing in delight with our children, heedless of mud and dirt, is an image I am certain is most delightful. I am resolved.”
They both laughed for a moment before being separated by the dance. Once re-joined, Darcy asked, “What was it Michael said to you before we left this evening?”
“I was speaking with Mrs. Gardiner and gave credit to our fortuitous meeting in the park that day to the weather. I remembered you had called it St Michael’s Little Summer. We then laughed and recalled Michael’s words on the topic and your gentle manner with him. Then, our conversation turned toward their visit to Pemberley. We had not noticed that Michael was nearby. He announced his presence when he declared since he was not an angel after all, he did not need to share his name with the weather anymore.”
Darcy lightly chuckled. “Are we to suppose there shall be no warm spells this autumn then?”
“Perhaps not!” Then, with enthusiasm and joy, they said their goodbyes to their friends. The following morning, they set off eager to host their family at Pemberley, dreaming of the day the large house filled with the sounds of their own children.
Ready to see how Darcy and Elizabeth fared as parents? Begin reading Angelica: Mr. Darcy’s Impertinent Daughter now! Chapter One