Posted on Saturday, 16 June 2001
Two days following the announcement of his betrothal to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, while he waited for answers to the letters he had sent to all members of his family, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley woke to discover that a steady rain was falling. Both Gentlemen did not wish to deprive their Ladies of their presence, so they once again made their way to Longbourn, where they were both announced, but were informed that Mrs. Bennet had wakened with the headache, and Miss Bennet and Miss Elizabeth were taking care of their Mother, and they would be downstairs as soon as they were able. So the Gentlemen were at first at a loss, but it was not long and Miss Bennet soon entered the west parlour, where they waited. Miss Bennet informed Mr. Darcy that her sister was in the process of preventing a crisis in the kitchen. Mr. Darcy asked Jane to inform Lizzie that she would find him in her Father's library. After removing to the aforesaid library, Darcy was surprised to find, not Mr. Daniel Bennet sitting at his desk reading an ancient text, but his third daughter, lying upon a chaise lounge reading what looked to be a very weighty tome that appeared to be Plato. He wondered if this was her Father's copy.
"Good Day, Miss Mary, enjoying your book?" asked Mr. Darcy, as he took a chair by the fire.
Mary shyly covered her mouth, realising who had just entered the library, she felt her face colour.
"Oh this, I have read Plato before, but I am not really reading my Father's book, I am reading something a bit more exciting. It is a traveler's journal from America. I found it at the lending library in Meryton. I must admit that I cannot like the way writer has described this place, as my cousins Lucas and Daniel have both been there, and they made it sound more interesting." replied Mary, in a slightly abashed tone.
"I was wishing to enquire Miss Mary, as to your cousin's welfare. How has he been faring since he returned to America. I recall he returned there to begin college." said Mr. Darcy.
"Lucas is well. He has finished his studies at Harvard, and I am sure has returned to Pennsylvania. Lucas is now a minister and is helping his father at his Mission. I have been looking these four days and more from Lucas' sisters. I will have to write to Naomi and Ruth of my sisters' happy news soon." replied Mary.
Posted on Wednesday, 20 June 2001
An awkward silence suddenly filled the library at Longbourn, as Mr. Darcy thought of another topic of conversation to discuss with Miss Mary Bennet. Then it occurred that perhaps he could speak to her of books and perhaps determine who had formed both hers and Elizabeth's tastes in reading, as he knew that Elizabeth also was a reader, though not a great one.
"Miss Mary, when I first was, if I may say so, reacquainted with you last autumn, I noticed that both you and your sister Elizabeth read quite a bit. I am wondering who formed your tastes. I know you hide traveler's journals behind your heavy tomes, but you have just admitted to me that you have read such weighty tomes." enquired Mr. Darcy.
"Well, to tell the truth, it was My Father who formed our reading tastes. After My Sisters and I learned to read, it was his policy not to deny us any of the books in his library, provided we were able to reach the shelves. If you look closely at the lowest shelves you will find them full of books of the improvement sort, along with books on household management and cookery books, that My Aunt Gardiner provided us with, but My Father did not say how we were to reach the shelves, and this library is equipped with a very sturdy set of stepladders, as you have observed." replied Mary, as she reached down pet Dame Mousebane, who had followed her into the library, as the crisis in the kitchen had chased her out of her usual domain.
"I notice that you are a cat lover, Miss Mary. What is this one's name, if I may enquire?" asked Mr. Darcy.
"Her name is Dame Mousebane. She is with kittens, as you can see. It is her first litter, so I must watch her carefully. I do not wish any harm to come to her." replied Mary, as she hummed a tune that was quite unfamiliar to Mr. Darcy, though not an unpleasant one. A tune that Miss Mary soon provided the lyrics to, and if he were not mistaken, the words were written by Isaac Watts. The tune's composer was unfamiliar to him.
"You are a lover of Watts, I see, Miss Mary. Yet I do not recognise your tune's composer." said Mr. Darcy.
"Oh! That is because the composer is American, Mr. Darcy. A man called William Billings. My Cousin Lucas taught me that when he was here. Lucas and I were used to play and sing together. I am aware of the fact that you do not believe that, but I do not just play and sing with just anyone." said Mary, as she put her book down and took up a small embroidery frame, with what appeared to be a small square of lawn.
"I see you are about to do some work, a handkerchief perhaps. Mayhap I shall leave you and determine if Elizabeth has solved the crisis in your kitchens." said Mr. Darcy.
"Do not leave on my account Mr. Darcy. I am just making this as a present for Lizzie, for she will need one for her wedding day. I have been working her initials for the last week and more." replied Mary.
Posted on Thursday, 5 July 2001
The following morning, when the Gentlemen came from Netherfield to call upon their betrotheds, they were ushered into the Morning Room. The weather was still quite rainy, and once more the weather and the fact that she had been thwarted in her attempts to convince Mr. Bennet that she was needed in Town to assist Lizzie and Jane in choosing their wedding clothes, had brought on a massive attack of the nerves. Hill had informed the Gentlemen that both their Ladies would occupied for some time. As they entered the Morning Room, Mr. Darcy nodded to Mary, who continued to work on her wedding gifts for her Sisters. He also nodded to Miss Catherine Bennet, who appeared to be making a not-so valiant attempt to hide something. He wondered what it could be. Miss Catherine, he noted was somewhat reticent at times, especially when he was present. Yet he had truly wished to make an attempt to become better acquainted with his soon-to-be sisters-in-law. While he had somewhat common ground with Miss Mary, as he had made the acquaintance of her cousin Lucas. A young man who he could not conceive of being the first cousin of the pompous and obsequious Reverend Mr. William Collins. Miss Catherine would be harder to approach, until he noticed just what Miss Catherine had been attempting to conceal.
"Miss Catherine, you will have paint all over your gown, if you continue on that fashion. Might I see sketch?" asked Mr. Darcy.
Kitty shyly presented her sketch to Mr. Darcy, who was surprised to discover that Miss Catherine was quite good at watercolours and he had seen what many a matchmaking mama had considered her daughter's best. This particular sketch was of a vase containing an oddly chosen selection of flowers. A white rose, with the faintest pink blush, a scarlet rose, that stood the closest to the white rose, a daisy that stood in the middle, a violet just a bit apart from the daisy and blue wildflower of some sort. It was an interesting sketch, and it occurred Mr. Darcy what, or whom these disparate blossoms were meant to represent.
"Miss Catherine, are these flowers the way you see yourself and your sisters? If it is so. This is a lovely tribute." said Mr. Darcy, as he returned her sketch.
"Oh yes they are meant to represent myself and my sisters. I am making this for Mama and Papa. I have always enjoyed making flower sketches. My tutor said I have quite a rare talent, but I think he was a bit effusive in his praise. My mama does not wish me to do my sketches, because she thinks that I am too serious about it. That it will keep me from getting a husband. I am not ready for a husband." said Kitty.
"Your sketch is quite good, Miss Catherine, and I have seen many sketch that was considered so by the young lady who painted it or her mama. Perhaps, when you visit your sister at Pemberley, I might introduce you to Miss Darcy's tutor, and you might take lessons from him." said Mr. Darcy.
Kitty smiled at this, for she did not think that she could ever become friends with Mr. Darcy, because he had seemed to be so intimidating, but it was so strange that he had actually had taken the time to ask her about her sketch and commend her on it, for had not thought it very well done.
"Perhaps I might." replied Kitty, thinking to herself that she was glad that Lizzie had fallen in love with Mr. Darcy.