Music Monday– Hurricane

Beautiful black and white rose with note on the petals

In 2016, I started the When Love Blooms Series. Forgive me for letting lapse. However, that’s not important right now. What’s important is that Colonel Fitzwilliam fell head over heels for an earl’s daughter, the beautiful Lady Belinda. In Sufficient Encouragement, book one of the series, it is simply noted that he’s engaged. In Renewed Hope, we get to see the story from his point of view. I greatly enjoyed writing the scene of their first meeting. At the time, I had this image of her striking Richard with the force of a hurricane and he was completely powerless to stop falling in love with her.

A few years later, I was listening to the radio and heard Luke Combs’ Hurricane. His song is about reuniting with an old flame and it’s likely disastrous consequences but the unstoppable attraction between the couple is very similar to Richard and Belinda–they just get a happier ending.

Here’s Richard and Belinda’s “meet cute” scene:

Descending the stairs to the ground floor, he recalled the threat of rain. He just reached the garden door when he heard raindrops. Before he could open it and decide if he should face the deluge or not, the door flung open. More suddenly than a sea squall, a drenched water sprite dashed right into his chest. As she bounced off his body, his arms reflexively reached around her so she would not stumble. A jolt like lightning struck him, causing his arms to tighten. With a strangled cry she wrenched herself from his arms and ran out of sight.

Head swimming for calm, Richard stood before the still open garden door as rain poured in. He felt like he had just lived through a hurricane, though it had been but a woman. His body’s reaction to her shape and the feel of her against his chest reminded him of the two tempests, she was surely the more dangerous. Whoever she was.

*****

Belinda ran upstairs to her bed chamber as fast as her water-soaked skirts would allow her. Pins fell from her hair and drenched curls stuck to the side of her face. A blush of mortification crept over her skin. She must have looked a terrible fright and yet had not only been seen that way but literally crashed into a man. Her parents’ guest. She knew Lord and Lady Matlock were to dine this night, meaning the gentleman must be Lord Arlington.

Reaching her room, she slammed the door shut as though she could keep out the dangerous thoughts flooding her mind. He had been the most handsome gentleman she had ever seen. He was solid and well-built. His shoulders took up the whole door frame. She could still feel the strength of his arms when wrapped around her.

Belinda shook her head, sending droplets of water to the floor.

Here’s the lyric video and lyrics to Luke Combs’ Hurricane. Let me know if you agree with the similarities!

 

Hadn’t had a good time
Since you know when
Got talked into going out
With hopes you were staying in
I was feeling like myself for the first time
In a long time
‘Til I bumped into some of your friends
Over there talkin’ to mine

Then you rolled in with your hair in the wind
Baby, without warning
I was doing alright
But just your sight had my heart storming
The moon went hiding, stars quit shining
Rain was driving, thunder, lightning
You wrecked my whole world when you came
And hit me like a hurricane
Hit me like a hurricane

Knew it was gonna be a long night
From the moment when
We locked eyes over whiskey on ice
Started talking bout us again
If I woulda just layed my drink down
And walked out
I wouldn’t be in my truck
Driving us to your house

But you rolled in with your hair in the wind
Baby, without warning
I was doing alright
But just your sight had my heart storming
The moon went hiding, stars quit shining
Rain was driving, thunder, lightning
You wrecked my whole world when you came
And hit me like a hurricane
You hit me like a hurricane

You hit me category five
With your smile
Blew me away
And girl, it ain’t but midnight
You done killed the lights
Bent my heart back to your bedside

Then you rolled in with your hair in the wind
Baby, without warning
I was doing alright
But just your sight had my heart storming
The moon went hiding, stars quit shining
Rain was driving, thunder, lightning
You wrecked my whole world when you came
And hit me like a hurricane
You hit me like a hurricane
Hit me like a hurricane

 

Copyright 2016 “Hurricane” Performed by Luke Combs, Written by Thomas Mac Arthur, Luke Combs & Taylor Phillips

Copyright 2016 “Renewed Hope” by Rose Fairbanks

Renewed Hope- Chapter Three

renewed hope 4Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

 

Caroline Bingley sat alone in her chambers. Any moment now, her maid would appear to help her dress for dinner. For the time being, however, Caroline reveled in a rare moment of solitude. Three days ago, she had left London and followed her brother to Hertfordshire. Again. He seemed more determined than before, and Mr. Darcy seemed eager to return as well. Although Caroline had suspected for weeks now that he harbored a tendre for Miss Elizabeth Bennet of a neighboring estate, she continued to hold out hope.

Mr. Darcy was just the sort of man she had envisioned marrying ever since her aborted elopement ten years prior. Of course, if he ever knew she had planned an elopement at sixteen, he would certainly never find her respectable. Let alone if he had known it was to a shop keeper’s son. A coloured shopkeeper’s son. Not that he had even planned on taking over the shop. He had designs to enter the army when she had met him. Last Caroline heard he had done so well as to distinguish himself in battle.

When she was very honest with herself, which was as infrequent as possible, she admitted that she favoured Mr. Darcy because for the last four years his cousin served in the same regiment as her long ago lover. The name Jacob Truman never passed between them, and if he was mentioned in letters, Caroline was not privy to them, but it was enough to know that if Colonel Fitzwilliam was well, Jacob might also be.

Perhaps, that is why Lord Arlington, despite his participation in the set down just given her by Mr. Darcy and her brother, appealed to her on some level. Logically, she ought to try and ensnare the viscount. Eliza Bennet hated her. If Mr. Darcy succumbed to his infatuation and married Eliza, Caroline’s invitations to Pemberley would become far less frequent. Additionally, Arlington was of an age to wed and his father entering his dotage. Whomever he married would become Countess before too long. His reputation supported he did not care for the ton’s leading ladies. While Caroline prided herself on being accomplished and cosmopolitan, she knew the truth. It would take many more generations before trade was washed out of the memory of the name Bingley. Nor was she an ignorant, insipid miss. She had lost her naiveté when she had to face the truth that love could not conquer everything. She was not as young as the debutantes or even Miss Eliza, but she was still handsome and wealthy. To a renegade earl’s son, that must account for something.

Additionally, there would be no hope for the rake to reform. He would carry on with his liaisons, and she would be free to keep her heart to herself. He would never expect love or real intimacy from her. Once, she had believed the same about Mr. Darcy but, at last, his cold heart seemed to thaw. He all but declared himself in love with Elizabeth Bennet and intent upon marrying her.

Well, she would not cry over the loss. Indeed, she was utterly exhausted from the chase. Her heart had never been in it, and she did not know if she had enough energy to pursue another young man. Lord Arlington was convenient but likely immune to her charms. Just the same, she believed she owed it to her family to test the waters. Marrying a viscount would do wonders for their standing. If she did not marry well, then not only would she have failed the dying wish of her mother but she would have given up the love of her life for no reason. She must make the last ten years of pain mean something.

Determined, she looked in the mirror and nodded. She had no hope of success, but she would give her best chase anyway. Her maid entered, and Caroline ordered her most daring dinner gown prepared. It would emphasize her superior figure. The accompanying necklace landed just above her décolletage, drawing the eye. She declined the matching bracelets, earbobs, and her most lavish turban. Instead, Caroline ordered a simple hairstyle. The overall effect said that she could play the part of Viscountess but did not drip with London society adornments. Even more startling, she felt more like herself than she had in years. A touch of the refined and a touch of the country lass she used to be.

*****

Arlington looked across the dinner table at Netherfield and smiled at Caroline Bingley. The self-satisfied smirk that appeared for half a second told him exactly what he thought. She was making a play for him. He would let her try, like all the ladies before her. A harmless flirtation never hurt a soul.

“My compliments, Miss Bingley. You have ordered an excellent meal.”

The half-smirk appeared again, even as Darcy stomped on his foot. Arlington contained his yelp to himself. He knew what he was doing. And it was not solely for selfish reasons. Earlier, he had made a pact with Georgiana to plan a walk that would allow Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet time together with Caroline out of the way.

“As a bachelor, I seldom enjoy such a spread for a meal at home with family.”

“Thank you, my lord,” was her impeccably civil reply.

“You concede there are downsides to being a bachelor, after all, Arlington?” Bingley said from several spaces down.

“It has been said that the way to man’s heart is through his stomach. Who am I to disagree with the platitudes of matchmaking women?” He smiled at Caroline and then turned to Georgiana. “Take heed, Georgie. Setting a good table is one of the most important accomplishments for a lady.”

Of course, he generally did not think so but knew that his cousin would not take anything he said too seriously. Instead, his remark apparently pleased Caroline. He studied her smile. There was a guardedness he did not see in other women. It was as though she was playing a part. She wanted the world to think she was the sort of lady who desired to ensnare a viscount, but she often forgot her role. There were no secret glances. She did not stare longingly at him or flatter him too profusely. She relied entirely on outside influences to attract him: a gown, jewelry, a meal. There was nothing particularly in her demeanor that was artful.

She was grasping, that was evident. She had been angry and resentful to notice Darcy’s unabashed admiration of Miss Elizabeth earlier, but it merely wounded her pride. She now spoke to Darcy with tolerable civility. She had never cared much for the man. She had only wanted his money and name. And yet, why would she need more money? Her income was reported to be twenty thousand pounds. She had been educated at an excellent seminary in London and had many friends of the peerage. She must be nearing five and twenty, as she was older than her brother. In London, there were enough baronets and knights that would be eager for twenty thousand pounds. It would not be the position of Viscountess, but Darcy could not offer that either. Nor could the income of his ten thousand pounds been the only attraction. For a truly mercenary woman, an assured five thousand a year is better than the unlikely possibility of ten thousand a year.

Arlington had spent much time with actresses and could easily spot a fake. Caroline Bingley was an imposter of a fake. What was the part of her that she kept hidden like? Why would she desire to be so much like the ton and yet after all the years of acting, not truly absorb its values?

*****

Richard had kept his word about leaving the dinner early, but for entirely different reasons than he had thought they would be. He discomposed a lady! What an ungentlemanly scoundrel he was!

And the truth was, he had no reason for his pointed barbs on her character. She had not seemed artful at any point in the evening. She asked about Georgiana, not Darcy. She seemed entirely uninterested in information on how to gain his good opinion. Whatever conversation she had had with Darcy seemed to direct him back to a lady, that Richard knew would be unlikely for her to know. Had not Darcy reported the Bennets had no connections? And the Crenshaws were the dearest friends of the Matlocks.

Lady Belinda had not deserved his harsh words. He had been discombobulated wince their accidental meeting earlier in the evening. So much so, that when her father attempted to introduce him, Richard did not want her to think less of him for knowing he was the second son instead of the heir. He expected, for just one night, to enjoy the pleasures that can be afforded from the flattery and charms of a beautiful lady.

Lord and sunder she was beautiful! Soaking wet, she had taken his breath away. Her hair made darker, her features paler. So striking in contrast! When she returned for dinner, there was no trace of their first meeting left. For some reason, he needed to know that it was not an illusion on his part. He searched for any sign she had been as deeply affected as he but found none. Annoyed that he sought her good opinion, when he knew more than most the dangers of a woman, he attacked ruthlessly. Her words about uncivil soldiers were too on the point but in the next moment she softened and seemed genuinely interested in Georgiana and his opinions of music. His head was swimming with conflicting information, and he had waged into battle half-cocked.

After she had fled the table, Lord Crenshaw explained the reasons for his daughter’s low spirits. She had formed an attachment to a young naval officer who could not offer marriage without needing her entire dowry. Even if Crenshaw had wished to assist, and he understandably had his reservations about the match, it was placed in a trust that could not be touched until Lady Belinda came of age. Determined to make his own fortune, the officer took a posting last summer. The ship was soon lost at sea and Belinda was still grieving.

Richard tugged off his cravat and threw it on a chair. Having done little to ease his frustration, he then poured himself a drink. He had unjustly wounded a lady, and his honour was the only thing he had left. The drink was to drown out the portion of his mind that screamed at the folly of going into enemy territory. But his better nature demanded that he make amends. A familiar feeling that he had experienced many times before formed in the pit of his stomach. He was equal parts excited by and terrified of another interaction with Lady Belinda. He needed a plan of action for the latest battle he faced.

The following morning, Truman entered while Richard was finishing dressing. “Toss me the cravat. Yes, the old one will do.”

Truman laughed at the finished product. “Have you no compassion for my dignity?”

“What? Like you wish to be my nurse and dress me. I am not a baby.”

Truman looked away and did not laugh as Richard had expected. “That was insensitive of me. Of course, you are proud of the station valet.”

“It may not be much to an earl’s son, but earning wages for work that half a world away my kin folk are forced to do in chattel makes me proud.”

Truman’s grandfather had been a slave and brought back to England after a war in the colonies. He became valet and butler to the officer who bought and freed him. Truman’s father earned enough money to open a shop. Such was the usual career path for a household servant and his descendants, but it meant more to a man who might be denied his freedom due to the colour of his skin.

“Forgive me. Last night’s dinner and my errand this morning made for a poor night’s rest.” Of course, dreams of Belinda in his arms did not help matters.

“What happened last night?”

Rather than attempting to put into words the strange effect Belinda had on him, Richard waved off the concern. “I have a daunting errand today. Hopefully, all goes well.”

“Good luck with the Major-General,” Truman said as Richard left.

The words rattled in his ears. Richard had meant apologising to Lady Belinda.

*****

Richard did have a meeting with Major-General Vyse planned, however, and they met at one of London’s finest clubs. The fact that the superior officer clearly felt at home in his surroundings did not bode well for Richard.

“I have looked over your reports, Fitzwilliam. It seems nothing could have been done differently. My apologies if you were close to Craufurd.” Richard inclined his head at the civility. “Now, it seems the regiment needs a new brigadier.”

This was the moment Richard had been dreading. He prayed he was not offered the command as refusing would be near impossible and dishonourable.

“Do you know William Gordon? I think he will be the perfect fit for this regiment. He shows promise. I have already cleared it with headquarters. You will report to his office when he arrives in London later this week.”

Their meeting soon ended and Richard’s frustration grew as he rode to the Crenshaw residence. The only promise William Gordon showed was a sizeable pocketbook, an unwed daughter, and a lackluster parliamentary record. He worried about himself first and had no loyalty to the crown. Or to the mere men that fought under his command and at his whims. The problem with the British chain of command is that it mattered more who one knew than how one fought. With any luck, Richard could suggest a few advisors for soon to be Brigadier-General Gordon to take on. Perhaps if he had competent people surrounding him, he might listen to their opinions.

Arriving at Belinda’s home, the knot in his stomach returned. Strange that he would feel it before asking for an audience with her but not while speaking with the General. Richard usually associated the feeling with battle. Although, in this case, she was certainly the more dangerous enemy.

Lady Crenshaw certainly made her instructions clear to the butler as Belinda entered the drawing room without a chaperone. What mother would not give a lady a few minutes alone with a suitor? Richard’s black heart laughed at the idea of trusting a man who killed for a living with an innocent’s reputation. Mere minutes could end a life…or bring thrilling pleasure. The thought pricked Richard’s mind as Belinda exuded vitality in a pale pink gown. Richard blessed the fashion designers who dictated gowns follow a lady’s curves more naturally than the generation before had. Living in the age of Napoleon might be well worth something after all.

She resolutely refused to look at him and sat down on a settee. Apparently, he was not even due the usual civilities. After several minutes in silence, Belinda glanced at the door and huffed. Richard gathered his gumption. He needed to make his apology and depart, not stare at the graceful line of her neck or where the fabric skimmed over her hips. He stood and walked closer to her. Despite herself, she looked up, craning her neck as he towered over her. The ridiculousness of it caused him to smile.

“Did you suppose, Lord Arlington, that because I did not speak to you, I could not see you? Perhaps you believe I need spectacles or that no woman would be able to resist your charm? Or more likely, you suppose all ladies desire the title you could offer them. Well, I do not covet a title, nor do I need glasses. And as you see, I am perfectly capable of—”

She abruptly stopped and stood. “You were saying?” He followed her to the window.

“I cannot think straight when you are standing near me like that!”

Richard smiled and leaned against the wall. “How is this, then?”

“Why do you unsettle me so?”

“All part of my irresistible charm,” he drawled. He should at least inform her that he was no viscount, but then viscounts could be forgiven for rudeness.

“I certainly find it resistible,” she said but stepped closer and arched her neck again.

His attention was divided between wondering about the taste of her plump lips and desiring to query the smoothness of her neck.

“Are you even paying attention to me?” She snapped.

“Yes,” he said.

“Good. As I was saying, there is nothing charming about you! You accuse innocent ladies that you do not even know of being mercenary and conniving—”

“I am sorry about that.”

“And you— What was that?”

Richard’s smile grew as he looked at her large eyes go round in surprise and confusion.

“I apologise for my accusations last night. Please forgive me. I would not mean to hurt you.”

“You think you hurt me? Your words were nothing. Nothing…compared to losing…” Tears began to fall, but she still attempted to speak. “And then to be forced to go on like nothing happened. Like I am not empty. Paraded around for suitor after suitor.”

He withdrew his handkerchief and pressed it into her hand. “I am sorry.”

“What for?” she blubbered.

“For thinking it was all about me?” He gave her a half-smile, and she returned it. Mentally, he was apologising for wanting nothing more than to kiss away her tears. She was mourning another man’s death. The last thing in the world she desired was his kiss!

Belinda shook her head. “I do not think I like you apologetic. You’re far safer when gruff and demeaning. When you are like this, it’s so—so—so confusing!”

“What is confusing?” His mind was too busy changing “honour, honour, honour” and ignoring the craven beast-like feeling to kiss her jumping up and down begging for attention. When had she come so much closer to him?

“This,” she said before touching her lips to his.

 

 

Renewed Hope- Chapter Two

renewed hope 4

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Richard scowled in the mirror as he awaited his valet’s return. His brother, James, and Darcy had hightailed it off to Hertfordshire, leaving Richard alone against his mother’s machinations. Why Darcy suddenly wanted James at his side Richard knew not. He was Georgiana’s other guardian, and Darcy had spent the better part of a decade avoiding James. But then, James could come and go as he pleased and Richard was bound to a soldier’s life. He had just returned from a third deployment to the Continent, and another one was possible.

Richard examined himself. The uniform covered up his scars. The jovial smile he plastered on his face masked the pain he felt at seeing friends and brothers in arms die on bloody battlefields. And all for what? He had not felt some great duty compel him to fight. Not like other men like his valet. Nor had he sought glory. He was intended for the church and a rash decision at after the betrayal of a woman sent him fighting Boney as soon as the short-lived Treaty of Amiens was broken. No sound emitted from his lips but in his black, ugly heart he laughed. He had proved quite a good soldier, quite adept at taking life. To imagine he was capable of helping lead others to an eternal one was beyond ridiculous. It must have been that flaw in him that sent the lovely Julia longing for the arms of the first man she laid eyes on after recognizing the mistake she made in accepting his proposal. Fortunately for Richard, that man had been his brother. While the ton may think he was a rake, James, at least, had the honour to rebuff the lady’s advances and alert Richard. But then, James had been wiser about women than Richard. Now, they both had learned and had it on good authority there was only a handful of decent women on the earth: their mother, their deceased Aunt Anne, their cousins Anne and Georgiana, and the only woman who had captured James’ heart, Claire du Val.

“Here is a fresh one, sir,” the voice of Richard’s valet, Jacob Truman, broke his musings. He held out a cravat. “You should quit thinking about her. It will do you no favours this evening,” Truman said quietly while studying Richard’s face in the mirror.

Richard did not need to ask who Truman meant or how he had known. The men had served together for half a decade. When Richard found Truman, he was the beaten batman of a cruel colonel who found fault with everything Truman did simply for the color of his skin. The fact that Truman was twice his size and could have had a successful career alongside Gentleman Jackson and Bill Richmond should have alarmed the abusive colonel. That Truman did not fight back spoke to his superior character. It was easy enough for Richard to secure Truman’s transfer. Since then, the men had become like brothers and had seen hell together.

Finishing his cravat, Richard shrugged on his jacket. “I intend to leave as early as possible tonight but if somehow I am prevented, do not stay up. I am quite capable of dressing and undressing. Ridiculous that after all we have seen on the battlefield we now have to pretend as though I cannot tie a knot. Then again, perhaps we have been fighting Boney so long because the noblemen lead the military, and they are actually that inept.”

Truman tsked. “It is the way of the world.”

“With any luck, it will not be the way of ours for much longer. Have you thought more about what you will do when your contract is up?”

Truman’s eyes took on a vacant stare. “There is not much of a life for me other than a soldier’s.”

“There is your father’s store,” Richard pushed.

“Far too gentle for the likes of me,” the other man shook his head.

Richard understood the man’s true feelings. Returning to his home and circulating with the people he had once known was impossible for a man still running from the memories of a woman who had done him wrong. Which is precisely why Richard dreaded this evening. The Countess of Matlock was on the hunt to see her sons and nephew married. As Richard boarded the carriage with his parents to attend a dinner at Lord and Lady Crenshaw’s and heard them extol the virtues of the daughter and heiress, Richard acknowledged he might rather face another battalion of Frenchies than try to live in polite society with insipid debutantes and cunning widows flung at him. But then, the French could only maim his body and women were a vast deal more dangerous. If he had a heart left, he would be concerned.

 

*****

 

Lady Belinda Crenshaw sat on the bench in her family’s London garden. She hated London and all its confines. Her heart longed for the countryside and the open fields of the family estate. Often as a child, she would visit the coast with her governess and allow the ocean spray to hit her face. The wind would blow, freeing the locks of her hair and tickling her nose with salty sea air. Of course, that was before the sea took Captain Seth Rogers from her.

As a naval captain, she ought to have been prepared for his possible demise or injury. He had faced Napoleon’s navy before, however, and returned unscathed. Or so he said when she questioned him about it. Then he gave a hearty laugh and upon seeing his charming smile, Belinda pushed all negative thoughts from her mind. However, he did not die in battle. His ship and crew were lost during a perilous storm.

For a time after hearing the news, she had fantasized that he had survived. She dreamed of waves carrying his body to a distant land. Upon washing up, he was taken in. Living in enemy territory would be dangerous, but her strong captain would find a way home. He would find a way back to her. As long as she could think that, her heart continued to beat and drawing breath was not so painful.

Hope vanished some weeks later when news came that he had washed ashore. Dead.

There would be no returning. The life Belinda imagined disappeared as suddenly as the puff of clouds it had been built upon emerged.

She had known Seth for only a few weeks the previous summer while he stayed with relations near her estate. Before he left to take command of a new ship, however, he proposed. Belinda rapidly said yes but her parents refused consent. He was a nobody to them. His family was nothing impressive, he advanced in the Navy only through middling connections. He had no fortune, nor would he inherit one. Indeed, they were convinced he was a fortune hunter as Belinda was worth twenty thousand pounds. He never mentioned her wealth, however. Indeed, their dreams included her accompanying him, not his retirement from the Navy and living off her funds. Belinda had made up her mind, however. She waited only for her one and twentieth birthday to come so she might wed where she wished without parental interference.

Fate was a cruel mistress indeed. Her birthday was last week, and she now had complete control of her income. Only she had no visions for her future. Perhaps in time she might hire a companion and take a small house in a different county. Returning to the Crenshaw estate would be inexplicably painful, and she would never like London. The worse difficulty laid in the fact that she could not mourn Seth’s death as they were not openly engaged. As it was, her parents insisted on hosting dinner party after dinner party in an attempt to marry her off. Her mother, especially, took it as the highest insult to have a “spinster in the making” as daughter. Her father bemoaned the family legacy as she was the sole child. If she did not marry and have children, it would go to a distant cousin and what duty did they have to the Crenshaw estate and coffers?

Her parents had a favorite. Lord Arlington, the Earl of Matlock’s eldest son. Belinda knew him perfectly well by reputation. She would rather die than marry him. There was nothing honourable about him. According to the gossip sheets, he sought his pleasures anywhere and everywhere. He dabbled in trade and factories for his income, was a liberal Whig and a rabble rouser in politics. In short, he was everything the perfect viscount should be. And she would never be the perfect viscountess. She was not formed for boring drawing room talk with ladies who came only to be jealous and spiteful. She hated London balls and soirees and would rather dance a lively reel any day. And she was entirely unapologetic about it all.

The wind blew harder, and Belinda looked up to see darker clouds roll in. At least she thought they were clouds. In London, it was difficult to know. Still, she ought to return inside. Her mother planned another ridiculous dinner with Lady Matlock. After running Mr. Darcy off the other night, Belinda had not heard the end of it. She smiled to herself. Their conversation had been intriguing, and if Belinda had to guess, Mr. Darcy was quite in love with some unsuitable lady in Hertfordshire. She could only hope he would be brave enough to try for her.

A few steps from the door, the clouds opened. Large, heavy rain drops pummeled her face, forcing her to bend her head down. She opened the door and bolted inside then collided with a wall that had never been there before.

 

*****

 

“It is a good thing Lady Crenshaw wrote and adjusted the time for our arrival. It looks like rain,” Lord Matlock said as they followed the butler to the drawing room.

“Louisa did not adjust the time for our arrival. We were always meant to arrive at four,” his wife said.

“No, when we last met they had said five.”

Richard rolled his eyes at his parents’ disagreement. His parents had never been very traditional. His father had been the second son and unexpected to inherit the earldom. His pursuit for the fair Miss Eleanor Manners’ hand was declined by her father and instead she was betrothed to the heir of a duke. The couple eloped, scandalizing Society. Of course, all was forgiven once he inherited not only a title but his wealthy uncle’s income. Now, they all tolerated the lord and lady’s eccentricities, including their free way of speaking to one another. Richard, however, had often wished his parents had conformed just a bit more to the normal function of society.

The door to their destination was opened, revealing it was empty. As they sat, Lord Matlock’s sly smile showed he enjoyed besting his wife.

In ordinary cases, a baron would not leave an earl waiting long. However, the Crenshaws were nearly as eccentric as the Matlocks and on the best of terms with them. It was why Richard’s parents promoted a match with Lady Belinda so much. Aside from the prudence of money and social standing, that is. However, they loved Belinda nearly like a daughter and after the disservice they gave Arlington when he wished to marry Claire, they were eager to prove they had only the best intentions toward him. They would be happy if she married either of their sons or their nephew, but would be happiest if Arlington wed her.

Something like jealousy rose in Richard’s heart. He had never felt such before. He could not understand the sentiment. He did not desire to marry anyone, and indeed had no need to. He had income from his father in addition to his profession. Being a soldier afforded him all the company he required, and he needed an active life. He had never chaffed against the rules and regulations of service but neither could he imagine the idleness James experienced. Still, he did not think he should be a soldier for the rest of his life. What he would do with himself, therefore, he had no idea. James’ had direction and fulfillment within his grasp.

Uneasy with the direction of his thoughts, Richard stood. Under the guise of needing to use the privy, he excused himself. He just needed air. On assignment, even officers slept in tents on the battlefield. Then there were the ship travels from England to foreign land and back. To escape the dark and wet confines, he spent as much time as he could on the ships’ deck. The vastness of the sea and the wind on his face calmed the dark thoughts of his mind. London drawing rooms, while not dark and dank, proved to be just as stifling.

Descending the stairs to the ground floor, he recalled the threat of rain. He just reached the garden door when he heard raindrops. Before he could open it and decide if he should face the deluge or not, the door flung open. More suddenly than a sea squall, a drenched water sprite dashed right into his chest. As she bounced off his body, his arms reflexively reached around her so she would not stumble. A jolt like lightning struck him, causing his arms to tighten. With a strangled cry she wrenched herself from his arms and ran out of sight.

Head swimming for calm, Richard stood before the still open garden door as rain poured in. He felt like he had just lived through a hurricane, though it had been but a woman. His body’s reaction to her shape and the feel of her against his chest reminded him of the two tempests, she was surely the more dangerous. Whoever she was.

 

*****

Belinda ran upstairs to her bed chamber as fast as her water-soaked skirts would allow her. Pins fell from her hair and drenched curls stuck to the side of her face. A blush of mortification crept over her skin. She must have looked a terrible fright and yet had not only been seen that way but literally crashed into a man. Her parents’ guest. She knew Lord and Lady Matlock were to dine this night, meaning the gentleman must be Lord Arlington.

Reaching her room, she slammed the door shut as though she could keep out the dangerous thoughts flooding her mind. He had been the most handsome gentleman she had ever seen. He was solid and well-built. His shoulders took the whole door frame. She could still feel the strength of his arms when wrapped around her.

Belinda shook her head, sending droplets of water to the floor. As accidental as the embrace had been it had been more than she ever allowed Seth, whom she loved. It mattered not that she could not entirely recall his face or the color of his eyes or the scent of his cologne and that his lordship was far more muscular than any nobleman had a right to be. She was ruined for love now. She refused to be sold like chattel to the highest bidder for her parent’s sake, let alone to a rake such as Arlington. And if she could not love him, then she refused to allow whatever momentary attraction she felt to sway her opinion. He could never be constant, and if she were ever prevailed upon to marry again, she would desire fidelity and mutual interests. Companionship. Not that she had even been willing to consider the idea before. And she still was not willing to consider it. Purely hypothetical thinking.

To pull her from her jumbled and traitorous thoughts, she began removing her sodden clothing. At last, her maid appeared and helped restore her to order. By the time she descended the stairs to join her parents in the drawing room, she looked every inch the proper Lady Belinda that she never was in her heart. She steeled herself for the evening. Lord Arlington would see no sign of embarrassment from her.

“Ah, Belinda. Here you are, at last.” Her father said. “You have not met Matlock’s son. Allow me to introduce you.”

“Forgive me, my lord,” the gentleman in question said. “We met briefly in the hall earlier.

Belinda drew her lips tightly together. Already, he hoped to unnerve her.

“Indeed?” Her father questioned and looked at Belinda for corroboration.

“Yes,” she said with an affected shrug.

“Well, then…” her father trailed off. Clearly, he had rehearsed in his mind how the night would go and now everything was off balance. Fortunately, Lady Matlock was a talented conversationalist.

“I simply adore the new drapes, Louisa.”

“Yes, it was high time to begin improvements in this room. We have not done any since our marriage. I consulted Belinda, of course, as it will be hers one day.”

Inwardly, Belinda sighed. She hated the marriage mart. Most of her worth in society’s age was summed up in that sentence. As an heiress, it was near impossible to find a gentleman whose attentions would be genuine. Then, her mother’s primary note was about her decorating skills. This was what was expected of marriages among peers. Her interests did not matter. Peers did not marry for companionship or love. Her mother prattled on.

“She was especially keen that the fabric come from England. She would not even hear of Indian silk.”

Her mother left off the fact that Belinda chose such fabrics because French fabrics were unavailable and Belinda would just as soon ride into battle herself than support anything from the country that sent her beloved to war. Neither did she want reminders of Britain’s empire at all. If not at war with France, Seth would have just as likely been fighting the Americans near the Indies or been on a merchant ship traveling to and from India. All of it was dangerous work. Instead, she promoted textiles from the North of England.

“How patriotic,” Lord Matlock said and then glanced at his son, who looked at her peculiarly. Breaking eye contact, she returned her gaze to her hands.

“Oh, yes. Belinda volunteers at the Royal Hospital several times a week.”

Belinda’s head snapped up. The others looked at her, expecting a remark of some kind. “A lady has duties to her country just as much as any man. They may fight, but we may nurse.”

“What duty does a lady owe to Britain?” Lord Matlock’s son said. “There are some that would say the French treat their women better.”

“You cannot convince me Napoleon cares about women, France or anything but himself. This war will, God willing, one day end. And then we will be friends with France again, as we always are. It is he, and his supporters, that must be stopped, and Jacobin women are fooling themselves if they believe he can offer them more freedoms.”

Dinner was called before Belinda could say more and it was just as well. She had wanted to remain indifferent and composed. Rumour had it that Lord Arlington did not like proper English misses, therefore pretending to be one would be the surest way to send him packing. She remained perfectly polite and calm during dinner. Nearing the dessert course, Lord Arlington leaned over and whispered to her.

“I expected you to attack your meal as though you were after Boney.”

Rather than remark on his break in propriety, she matched him. “Even a soldier must appear civil at times. What do I gain by sawing into my food as though it were a bayonet?”

She had expected to offend him. If being silent did not run him off, then insulting him surely would. Instead, his eyes took on a faraway look. Unnerved, she changed the topic of their conversation. “Do you enjoy music?”

Her words seemed to bring him from his reverie, and he blinked rapidly for a moment. “That is a rather general question. There are many forms of music.”

“What is your favorite form?”

“The pieces that speak to the soul. They communicate feeling and depth. My cousin, Georgiana Darcy, has a great talent. Her masters are delighted with her fingering but her audience delights in the emotion she gives mere notes on a page.”

“You speak fondly of her.”

“I do not get to see her as often as I would wish.”

“I have not met her. What is she like?”

“No, you would have little occasion to meet her. She is but fifteen. I am the wrong one to ask, however. I still think of her as a young girl. Darcy could tell you more.” His hand flexed slightly around his wine glass.

“Mr. Darcy did not seem very welcoming to conversation when I met him. Nor do I blame him. I understand he was distracted with thinking more about cursed pirate gold.”

“Pirate gold?” A smile inched across his face.

Compelled to broaden the smile, Belinda went on. “He seemed to need help deciding if a certain jewel that might be under a curse would be worth owning. Of course, we had first talked about finding unexpected treasure in the countryside.”

“The countryside!” Awareness filled his features. “Hertfordshire. Lady Belinda, I do not know whether you are clever or devious.”

The bluntness of his words drew her back. “I hope I am neither. I wish to be known only as honest and friendly. You cannot blame me for encouraging him to return to Hertfordshire. I could not sway his mind. My words would hold no importance if it were not something he already desired to do.”

“You are acquainted with the Bennets of Hertfordshire, I take it.”

“I have never heard of them before!” How dare he accuse her of something underhanded. “If you insinuate I schemed to have Mr. Darcy return to a match you find unsuitable, then you should know it was for selfish reasons only. I had no desire for Mr. Darcy’s courtship. Or yours. I have loved too deeply to be attracted to wealth, rank or name. In my own way, I pleaded that he would leave me be. I now make the same plea to you. Excuse me.”

She stood and left the room, not caring that she had ruined her mother’s dinner. Her parents ought to be used to her severe moods by now, and if they continued to push suitors on her, it would only get worse.

Chapter Three

Positivity Monday- Strong Coffee

coffees

 

A good book always helps! Check out the review and excerpts for Sufficient Encouragement and then you can pre-order for Kindle or buy on Nook, Kobo and iBooks! Paperback coming soon!

Review and Excerpt at The Ardent Reader

Excerpt at My Jane Austen Book Club

Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories from the Past

Sufficient Encouragement- Excerpt + Giveaway

I’m kicking off the blog tour for my latest release, Sufficient Encouragement, right here!

One of the things I love most about JAFF is that we have the freedom to imagine Darcy’s thoughts and feelings on situations. In Sufficient Encouragement, I frequently split a scene in half so you get both Elizabeth and Darcy’s perception of incidents. Here are two excerpts from Chapter Two as Jane and Elizabeth are leaving Netherfield to return to Longbourn.

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Excerpt #1

After a few more awkward and disjointed but adorable remarks between Jane and Bingley, he handed her in. Elizabeth stepped forward and was surprised to feel the warmth of a hand take hers. She nearly gasped when she realised the gentleman was not wearing gloves.

Looking down, she saw a bare, strong, masculine hand hold her own ungloved one. The owner’s thumb lightly stroked across the top of her hand and gave a gentle squeeze. She glanced up in bewilderment and saw the very proper Mr. Darcy attached to the hand that still held her own, and his pale blue eyes seemed to pierce her.

He immediately released her hand, quickly turned, and walked away. He did not even glance at the carriage as it drove away. Elizabeth hated to admit how much his gallantry affected her sensibilities. She had never had a suitor, no man to bow over her bare hand in her home before. If not for the ink spilling on her only pair of gloves, her hands would have been covered. What must he think of her for breaking propriety so much? And why was her heart thumping so wildly in her breast? And what was that look Mr. Darcy gave her?

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Excerpt #2

A faint scent of lavender alerted him to Elizabeth’s presence. He barely managed to bid her farewell. Suddenly, his body was moving on its own. His mind still reprimanding itself for not speaking more to Elizabeth, it barely registered that she was about to enter the carriage. He stepped in front of Bingley and handed her in.

A thrill coursed through his body when their hands met. Her skin was so soft that he could not resist the temptation to stroke it with his thumb. He gave her delicate hand a squeeze. If he were more aware, his mind would have been filled with questions, not the least of which would have been, why did she not rip her hand from his? Instead, she lifted her face, and her beguiling eyes met his in wonder.

In a flash, he felt how much he truly desired the young lady before him. Slowly, his mind registered that she was pulling her lean fingers from his hand. He released her hand and quickly walked back into the house, wondering how so much of his life seemed to pass before him in just one instant. How could so much of his life now seem centered in the feeling of her hand in his? As innocent as it was, he ached to hold her hand again, to cradle it, to stroke every inch, to tenderly kiss each lovely finger. His hand reacted in response to his thoughts.

Once safely in the library, momentarily away from even Miss Bingley’s cloying remarks and Bingley’s sadness, he allowed himself to ponder what on earth had just happened.

Darcy paced. He had always been careful not to raise the hopes and expectations of any of the ladies of his acquaintance. Not that it stopped most from having hopes. But there had been occasions when he had been prompted by a forward lady or two to touch a bare hand. Any doubts he may have had about his attraction to Elizabeth Bennet died even as his body came alive in a way he had never known.

His reason told him it was mere attraction, infatuation, perhaps lust and carnal desire — and nothing more — that caused his reaction. His will determined that it could withstand the temptation of Elizabeth Bennet for a few more days. He would soon return to Town — far, far away from her—and be lost in his worries once again.

There were beautiful ladies of the ton. There were witty, intelligent, kind, and accomplished ladies by the dozen, or so he had been told. True, he was fastidious, and he refused to bend on that, but surely Elizabeth Bennet was not the only woman who could fit his definition of perfection.

Perfection? When had he determined she was the lady most suited to him?

No, that thought would not do. She could not be the only woman whose touch ignited his dormant passion.

Passion? When had he determined his feelings were so passionate?

He was never passionate, and yet it was difficult to ignore his body’s impulse to rush after her and take her in his arms. He would kiss her lips mercilessly until she could tease him no longer. And then he would…

He shook his head. Nothing but carnal desire, certainly. He would not be a slave to such feelings. Other suitable ladies existed, he reasoned. He was only too busy before to notice these other women, to make their acquaintance. There was no such thing as destiny. And if there were, he could not afford it.

Surely there must be ten ladies who may stand in even better light than Elizabeth Bennet!

Just to firm his resolve and not at all because he was fleeing from the lady, his next thought was London. I must leave immediately for London.

His solitude was, welcomingly, broken by Bingley.


Darcy’s got it bad! Here’s the book synopsis.

SE final 4We are all fools in love…

Some say a lady’s imagination is very rapid. Such is the case when Elizabeth Bennet overhears that Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy admires her eyes. She thinks nothing for herself, but immediately considers her dearest sister’s growing attachment to Mr. Darcy’s friend. If Elizabeth spurns such a wealthy — and proud — gentleman, he might do everything in his power to separate his friend from her sister.

Raised in a world of expectations and pedigree, Darcy knows Elizabeth Bennet can offer him nothing of material value. As his attraction for her grows, he becomes increasingly convinced his feelings are nonsensical. Still, he might forsake it all if only he had true encouragement.

Misunderstandings lead to betrayals and the couple soon learns falling in love takes courage but staying in love requires forgiveness. Traversing from the groves of Hertfordshire to the drawing rooms of London to the complexity and danger of Luddite revolts in Yorkshire, Sufficient Encouragement follows Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey of love and forgiveness.

*This story contains a scene of nonexplicit sexual violence.


Sufficient Encouragement is the first in the When Loves Bloom series. It stands alone as the story of Darcy and Elizabeth’s courtship and first days of marriage.

About the When Love Blooms Series

“Love is like a flower, for it is well worth the toil to cultivate it.” She shrugged her shoulders, “Love is beautiful.”

Take a stroll in the garden of love and enjoy the unique blooms of the intersecting lives of the Bennet, Darcy, Fitzwilliam, de Bourgh and Bingley families. Sufficient Encouragement follows Darcy and Elizabeth as they fight to save their love from an unexpected frost while Jane and Bingley’s love grows strong roots. The companion story, Renewed Hope, adds depth to the bouquet with the love stories of Darcy’s cousins and Miss Bingley. The third book in the series, Extraordinary Devotion, follows Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage while their younger sisters experience a London Season.

Pre-order now!


Check out my About Me section!  You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


SE blog tour final

Sufficient Encouragement Blog Tour Schedule

4/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories from the Past

4/17: Excerpt at My Jane Austen Book Club

4/18: Excerpt & Review at The Ardent Reader

4/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric

4/20: Interview & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews

4/21: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope

4/22: Guest Post at Babblings of a Bookworm

4/25: Review at Just Jane 1813

4/26: Guest Post at More Agreeably Engaged

4/28: Guest Post & Review at From Pemberley to Milton


Giveaway!!

I’m giving away ONE ebook and ONE paperback to two lucky winners. Both open internationally! Comment below about why you love Mr. Darcy.

Please enter by Friday, April 22, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST.

Sufficient Encouragement- Epilogue

Yippee! My husband fixed my computer! I’m not sure what the problem was. 😦 Thanks so much to everyone who read along and commented. I need to do some edits and then send it to the editor and then more edits before publication. I’m guessing March now.

I’m hoping to start posting the companion story: Love’s Second Chance, in March. It will fill in the holes in Arlington, Anne, Caroline, Truman, Richard & Belinda’s stories. And I’m planning a sequel for the fall that will follow the younger girls on a Season in London!

Also, I’ll be re-writing this story and working it into my original romance series, just because the timeline fits soooo well with what I’m already doing. It will be clearly labeled as such. There will be differences as we leave the Austen world, but the essential story is the same. I think non-JAFF readers could enjoy the story of Darcy and Lizzy Nate and Ellie with Luddites.

Now, on to the epilogue!

SE epilogue quote

“Oh! Mr. Bennet! Can you believe it? Two daughters married!” Mrs. Bennet’s effusions exclaimed over the crowd in the Netherfield ballroom.

“Did you see the lace on Lady Arlington’s gown?” Lydia asked.

“No l—” Mr. Bennet paused in mid-sentence. “I will leave you ladies to talk about lace. Remember, however, if you wish to buy the finest lace we will be waiting to shop until we go to London after Easter for the Season.”

Lydia began to pout, but her father raised his eyebrows, and she stopped. “Oh, there is Georgie!” She grabbed Kitty by the hand and ran to Georgiana’s side.

Elizabeth and Darcy had watched the scene with bated breath, but it seemed Mr. Bennet was sincere about the changes made in the Bennet household in the last few weeks. Darcy required a few days of recovery at Lundell Castle, and then the newlyweds travelled to Pemberley. They gathered now at Netherfield after Jane and Bingley’s wedding. Then they would journey to London until Easter. Both Anne and Charlotte requested Elizabeth visit Kent, and she could not deny them.

Elizabeth’s anger had given way at her friend’s choice. She was especially curious how Charlotte faired with a husband such as Mr. Collins. Elizabeth perceived his treatment toward her came from strong opinions of subservience. Having met Lady Catherine, Elizabeth now understood her cousin’s mixture of humility and self-conceit that induced anger at those who did not afford him the respect he deemed necessary. However, he was raised with humility and was young. Elizabeth hoped Charlotte would influence Mr. Collins understanding of the world.

“Do you wish we had waited instead of having our rushed ceremony?” Darcy whispered and interrupted her revelry.

“How can you ask that? I am far happier as Mrs. Darcy than I have been in my life. What a cruel husband you are to want to deny me the pleasure of that for several weeks.” She laughed as she looked into his eyes.

Smiling at her jest, he shook his head.

Belinda and Richard came to their side. They had married in a quiet ceremony the week before. He resigned his commission, resolving not to care what some may say about honour and duty or favoritism from his father. He had more than served his country. There would always be gossips; there may not always be time to celebrate life.

“What is she teasing her old, sour husband about now?” Richard asked.

“Have a care, Richard,” Darcy replied with a twitch to his lips. “You are even older than I.”

“This is true,” Richard said while chuckling. “Then we must both have it better than James,” he nodded to his brother on the other side of the room in conversation with Sir William Lucas.

Belinda shook her head. “No, you cannot tease them. I would not have believed it possible, but do you see how they can silently speak to each other?”

The group watched as Arlington and Anne’s eyes met from different corners of the room. They made simultaneous excuses to those they conversed with and met each other half way. Devotion and admiration shone on their faces.

Belinda and Elizabeth both let out a little sigh.

Richard started. “William, I daresay that our wives are dissatisfied with us already.”

“You must be mistaken,” Darcy said. “I have done nothing that could merit displeasure. Surely they are both annoyed with you.”

Elizabeth pinched his arm. “He said dissatisfied not displeased. And you must see how Arlington goes out of his way to romance his wife.”

Darcy stroke his jaw. “Ah, I see. And I lack in that department?”

“Well, he is not the only one who is attempting to woo his lady. There is Bingley,” Elizabeth replied.

“It is unfair to compare a man to Bingley.” His lips twitched. Had they not had this debate before?

“And there is Truman,” Belinda said. They watched as he wrote his name on Caroline’s dance card as she beamed.

“I suppose this is the real reason you are at Bingley’s wedding during your honeymoon?” Darcy asked Richard.

“It pleases my wife,” he said as Belinda and Elizabeth sighed again.

“What now?” Darcy said.

“They have loved each other for ten years and were separated by so many things. They are finally engaged again. Is it not the very height of romance?” Elizabeth asked.

Richard cocked his head. “Do you know, William vowed to James that he would never marry if he could not have you. He was going to wait his whole life until you were free again had you married…” he left the sentence unfinished as they all knew he meant Wickham.

Elizabeth blushed. “I did not know.”

“And I believe Richard has planned a surprise,” Darcy said as the orchestra played the strands of a new song.

A murmur went through the crowd. “Is this a…a…waltz?” Elizabeth asked.

“It is all the rage on the Continent,” Richard said. “And gaining popularity here, if not in London. Shall we?” he extended his hand to Belinda.

“Is it true what they say?” she asked.

“Come, dance with me. Our first dance will be you in my arms,” Richard said to Belinda, which caused her to blush. “We must make this the fashion in England since I will never again dance abroad.” He whispered something in Belinda’s ears which made her blush deepen.

Darcy held out his arm as well. “May I have the honour, Elizabeth?”

“Your arm…” Elizabeth said even as he eyes showed her eagerness.

“The doctor pronounced it perfectly healed yesterday morning.”

“I do not know the steps,” she said weakly and looked at her feet.

“Will you prove now that persuasion between friends means nothing?” Darcy whispered, and Elizabeth’s head popped up at the reference to one of their long-ago conversations. “I promise to guide you. I will not let you look a fool.”

She smiled and placed her hand in his. “What an accomplished gentleman, you are,” she said as he guided her through the steps.

He smiled at her amusement. “I practiced with Richard all morning.”

Elizabeth could not contain her laughter. When she calmed, he noticed her breath caught, and her eyes seemed glassy.

“What are you thinking, my love?”

“That I hate gloves,” she whispered and squeezed his hand.

“I hate a good deal more than that,” he said.

“Will,” she whispered and blushed. But in her eye, he saw enough to know that she was pleased with his efforts.

He saw, too, proof that Elizabeth’s love would remain constant through their lives. For now, it did not matter that he knew tomorrow the men from his club would introduce a bill making frame breaking a capital offense. Nor did it matter that Napoleon still had control of the Continent or that disease and death could take a loved one at any time. He had Elizabeth’s love. Darcy needed no more encouragement than that to know they would have a blessed life.

The End


 

Author’s Note

This story has been a work of fiction but rooted on very real historical events.

Luddite activity in manufacturing towns in the north of England picked up in November 1811 and escalated until around January 1813, although some attacks continued until 1816. A town called Huddersfield in West Riding of Yorkshire (now a defunct county) did see a Luddite attacks but in April 1812. It is most famous for the assassination of the mill owner, William Horsfall on April 28, 1812, but I based the incident in this book on an earlier encounter on April 11th at Rawfolds Mill, owned by William Cartwright. Knowing an attack was imminent, Cartwright had hired guards and several Cumberland militiamen defending the mill. The Dragoon unit known as the Queen’s Bays, recently returned from the Continent, were only a few miles away but the bell meant to alert them to the attack was not rung due to the rope breaking. A soldier did refuse to fire upon the Luddites and was referenced as cowardly in a Leeds newspaper article and was also sentenced to 300 lashes but only 25 were delivered, as Cartwright intervened—although by some accounts he had a reputation for cruelty.

On February 14, 1812, Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer Spencer Perceval, Home Secretary Richard Ryder, Attorney General Sir Vicary Gibbs, Solicitor General Sir Thomas Plomer and three MPs from Nottinghamshire introduced a bill that made the crime of frame breaking a capital offense. It was considered an emergency endeavor and rushed through the House of Lords and gaining royal assent, passed into law on March 20, 1812. While it passed with an overwhelming majority, there was some resistance. Most notably, Lord Byron’s maiden speech in Parliament was in opposition.

Additionally, the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam truly was the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire Militia. As evidenced by Cartwright’s use of the Cumberland Militia, the West Riding Militia was unavailable- having received orders to journey to Cork, Ireland. For the purpose of the story, I used the Derbyshire Militia as many Austen historians have suggested that it was the Derbyshire Militia in Meryton. Some additionally suggested Darcy’s acquaintance with the officers was his reason for accepting Bingley’s invitation to Netherfield and that he may have even served in the Militia himself in the past.