Beginning, Section II
Posted on Wednesday, 26 January 2000
Lucas Collins smiled at his sisters' news. Yes they knew him well, as did Miss Temperance Starbuck. He did like to tease, but that was his right as an older brother. He then decided to write and tell his sisters a bit more of his experiences in England and his growing friendship with his cousin Mary Bennet.
Before I go on, the last section of this I posted was originally dedicated to all younger sisters of older brothers everywhere.
Lucas then took up a sheet of paper, dipped his pen in the ink, and wrote the following:
Letter from Lucas I Collins to Naomi and Ruth Collins
1 August, 1807 (This is shameless I know, but 1 August is both my birthday and My Dear Spring's YGA)
My Very "Dear Sisters",
So I am greatly missed by some of the young ladies of our acquaintance, am I? I would have thought that it would be the young ladies Mothers that missed me so greatly, since they do not have there to push their daughters at, and since Dan is off in Kentucky, exploring they cannot push them at him either. Though I must say, our Cousin Daniel's wife's matchmaking ploys put all of theirs quite to shame.
I see that Temperance Starbuck does not miss me very much, but like you, she does know me too well. Tempe and our Cousin Elizabeth would get along very well. I just do not think that Tempe and I would suit, we would make better friends, as I find I am with Elizabeth. Then did I not hear Tempe mentioning Caleb Whittier two days before I left for Boston, when I happened to pass you while you worked on your samplers.
But all teasing aside, I agree, Tempe has my measure, as you do. I think that even Our Cousin Mary has my measure, but I will say more on that subject later.
You ask if I have met any of the other young Ladies of our cousins' acquaintance, yes I have. It was at the Assembly I wrote of in my last letter. I danced with at least three of them. I danced with a Miss Lucas and her sister, Miss Maria Lucas. Miss Lucas is our Cousin Elizabeth's particular friend, despite the differences in ages. Miss Lucas dances well and is a good conversationalist, as are both Cousins Elizabeth and Mary, at least I believe so. Miss Maria was more like our Cousin Kitty, I must remember to call her that as she says she despises Catherine, both too young or shy to really make good conversation. I also danced with a Miss Cassandra Long, she was like Cousin Kitty.
I must say that I would have enjoyed the Assembly a bit more, but for the obnoxious behavior of three of Meryton's "gentlemen". They made the mistake of insulting our Cousin Mary in my hearing, and I thrashed them for it. One of these so-called gentlemen makes Mary very uncomfortable, despite all attempts by our Cousin Martha and her sister Mrs. Amos Phillips to match them. Of course Cousin Martha referred to the thrashing I gave those so-called gentlemen, "vulgar fisticuffs" and was most incensed that this was followed by our leave taking of the Assembly Rooms. My "vulgar behavior" was keeping "Dearest Lydia" from all the nice officers. Apparently, Meryton seems to be the village of choice for the quartering of militia regiments, which should give you some idea of just what Miss Lydia's main interest might be.
Of course the "gentlemen" did get their licks in, but I must say that I gave as good as I got. As for those so-called gentlemen finally making their apologies, two of the cowards had the audacity to consider huge bouquets of flowers, more than likely stolen from various gardens, then delivered by servants, apologies. The third, and worst of the lot, a Mr. Quigley-Smith did not even send a daisy, and this is the "gentleman" who Cousin Martha and her sister wish to match with Mary.
Our Cousin Mary was a tender nurse, so my bruises healed quickly. Today, Mary and I were to meet by "our tree" to discuss a traveler's journal that Mary found at the local lending library two days before. Arriving at the tree in question, I discovered that Mary had climbed it to rescue the most troublesome of the kittens. This is the one we named after General Francis Marion. That dratted kitten has been trying to climb up this particular tree, and he finally succeeded and become stuck in the process. In trying to rescue that troublesome kitten, Mary became stuck herself. It was at this point Mary was teasing me about having my measure as an older brother. She told me that Miss Long's older brothers tease miserably and she suspected that I behave towards you in a similar fashion, which makes Mary glad that she "has only older sisters" as she put it.
I helped Mary and that dratted kitten down, and we returned to the house. Despite our Cousin Martha's berating, I put Mary under the housekeeper, Hill's wing. She tucked Mary up in bed for the night, praying that she did not take fright from her sojourn up the tree. I must close now, for I promised Cousins Kitty and Lydia that I would play my violin for dancing. Until I write again, I remain.
Your "loving" brother,
Posted on Saturday, 12 February 2000
The following morning, Lucas and Mary walked into Meryton. Accompanying them were Lizzie, Kitty, and Lydia. On the way they would call at Lucas Lodge, where Charlotte would then join the party.
Charlotte and Lizzie were going to the shops. Charlotte wished to match some embroidery silks and Elizabeth wished to purchase a bit lace to retrim her bonnet. Lucas and Mary were to go to the lending library to return the books they had borrowed and perhaps discover a new traveler's journal or two from America. Mary had also wish to find some poetry of Cowper. Misses Kitty and Lydia were to go to Aunt Phillips to visit, for just that morning she had sent round a short note inviting her youngest nieces to a cold nuncheon with their Uncle Phillips and some of the nice officers that had danced attendance on Kitty and Lydia at the Meryton Assembly.
As they walked to Meryton, Mary and Lucas continued their discussion about the latest traveler's journal they had been reading. After Charlotte Lucas had joined the party, she and Elizabeth had a lively discussion about the strange young man that had so recently ridden through the district and had reacted so strangely at seeing Lizzie. Apparently he had returned and rode back in the opposite direction. The two youngest Bennet sisters were either discussing the officers or arguing over which officer was the most handsome.
Remembering what the Vicar of Meryton Church had mentioned after Evensong that Sunday, Mary was telling her cousin of his avocation, "Lucas, our Vicar is something of an antiquarian. He found some truly fine statues in Papa's west field last year. Papa lets Mr. Harris dig in the field he lets lie fallow for the season. Mama thinks it is utter nonsense that Papa encourages him in, but Papa was a Classics scholar, as your Papa was. After we visit the lending library, perhaps we might go to the vicarage to see some of the latest items that he has found. He told me after Evensong that he has found something truly fine that he wishes me to see. Would you like to stop by the Vicarage, after we leave the lending library, Lucas?" asked Mary.
Posted on Thursday, 4 May 2000
"Yes, I would like that very much. My Father has told me of the times when he and your Father were young and they found many Roman things on the grounds of my Grandfather Collins' estate. I recall being told of a wall and a floor of a small temple being found there, but apparently my Grandfather Collins thought it nothing but boy's folly and had it all plowed under. I truly would like to see what your Vicar has found." replied Lucas.
"I will just tell Lizzie where we are going Cousin." said Mary, leaving the lending library to walk the short distance to the haberdashers, where she found her next older sister and her friend exclaiming over some new lace Mrs. Pritchard had gotten in.
"Lizzie, when you and Charlotte are finished at the shops, if you wish to know where Lucas and I will be, we will be at the Vicarage calling on Mr. Harris." said Mary, as returned to the lending library.
Lizzie and Charlotte Lucas agreed to meet them at the Vicarage gate in an hour's time.
Mary quickly made her selections. She felt herself lucky, as had discovered two new traveler's journals from America that she had not read, and a new edition of Cowper's poetry. As the two cousins went through the stacks, Mary told her cousin about some of the artifacts that the vicar had found, and began to speculate about just what he might have found, that he especially wished to show her.
"Cousin Mary, I did not know that you were something of an antiquarian yourself, also." said Lucas.
"I am not really, though I think that it is marvelous to contemplate, discovering something that was used thousands of years ago. When I was quite small, I must have been about six, I was out digging in a small hill in a corner of Papa's east field, and I found some bronze pins. I showed them to Papa, and he told me that they were Roman." replied Mary. Finished making their selections, Mary and Lucas soon left the lending library and were soon on their way to the Vicarage.
Arriving at the Vicarage, Mary applied the knocker and it was answered by Mrs. Esther Davies, the Reverend Benjamin Harris' widowed sister." Why good morning Miss Mary! How are all your family today?" enquired Mr. Davies.
"We are all fine, Mrs. Davies." replied Mary, quite congenially.
"What brings you here today?" asked Mrs. Davies.
"We are here to see the Mr. Harris' Roman things. He told me he had something especially fine that he wished to show me." replied Mary.
"Well my brother, as you know spends this hour in his study at the church writing his sermon for the service on Sunday. He told me when left to walk over to the church, he was planning to write an especially inspiring one for this Sunday's service. As you know when he is that busy, he tends to lose all track of time and forgets to come back to the Vicarage for nuncheon. I will just step over to the church and remind him that you have called and that it is time for nuncheon.Would you and your Cousin like to join us?" asked the Vicar's sister.
"Yes, thank you." replied Mary and Lucas.
Mrs. Davies soon returned with her brother, who wore the look of someone who had been reluctantly taken away from his work for something so arbitrary as a meal, yet he greeted his visitors warmly.
"So you have brought your cousin along to see my Roman things, have you Miss Mary?" asked Mr. Harris.
"Oh yes, I am curious about what you especially wish for me to see." replied Mary.
"Then come right to my workroo......."said Mr. Harris, but was interrupted by his sister.
"No Benjamin, you will show them anything until you have eaten something. You have missed nuncheon now three days in a row, and I will not have it."Mrs. Davies told her brother in a no nonsense tone.
Posted on Saturday, 29 July 2000
I will wait then," said Benjamin Harris in a mock resigned tone. After a nice cold nuncheon of cold sliced ham, bread, and salad, with seed cake for dessert, Mr. Harris brought Mary and Lucas to his study/workroom.
"This is what I had especially wanted to show you, Miss Mary. We found it just three days ago." said Mr. Harris, as he pick up an item from the worktable that stood in the middle of the room, in place of his desk, and brought it over to show the two cousins.
"It is a little statue." said Mary, in a matter of fact tone.
As the two cousins examined the statue, which appeared to about a foot in height, and made of bronze, was of a goddess, but neither of the cousins could positively identify which goddess.
"Perhaps I can help," said Mr. Harris. "I believe she is Minerva, as the Romans referred to her."
"Athena, she was to the Greeks." said Lucas, as he carefully gave the statue back to the young vicar.
"And Athena is my second name. Mr. Harris, this statue must be very special." said Mary.
"I believe that she is. I am not sure, but I believe that she was made here in England. It was not brought here from Rome. I found her, as I said three days ago in your father's fallow field. I believe that there was a small shrine built there," said Mr. Harris. "Miss Mary, would you give her to your Father. Tell him to lock the statue up, and tell him that I will come to dinner this evening, and afterwards, we might speak of the problems I have been experiencing. Something most unusual has been occurring, and I must speak with him about it. I will write him a letter to take with you Miss Mary."
"I will tell him, Mr. Harris. Thank you for showing us the statue, it really is pretty." replied Mary.
"What sort of problems are you having sir, if I may be so bold." asked Lucas, curiously.
"Vandals. They come in the night. Twice in these two weeks they have tried to destroy my digging. I did not wish to worry your good cousin overmuch but it has become most serious in nature, as per your Father's suggestion, I hired someone to guard the field at night, but two nights ago, someone was so bold as to shoot at the young man." replied Mr. Harris.
"Perhaps I could prevail upon my cousin Daniel to allow me to help guarding that field, as it is his. Who do you think it might be?" asked Lucas.
"I really do not know. At first I thought it might be poachers, but now I do not believe so. It is all aimed at the field and the diggings." replied Mr. Harris, as he finished writing his note to Mr. Bennet.
As Mr. Harris finished the note, Mrs. Davies entered her brother's study/workroom to inform Mary and Lucas that Lizzie and Miss Lucas were waiting for them in the front parlour
Mr. Harris carefully packed the statue and gave Mary the note to Mr. Bennet.
"Thank you for showing us your Roman things, Mr. Harris, they were very lovely. I will take very good care of the statue of Minerva, on the way home." said Mary, as she picked up the parcel containing the statue, and put the note in her reticule.
"What did Mr. Harris wish to show you, Mary?" asked Lizzie curiously.
"A very lovely statue of Minerva, Lizzie. Mr. Harris believes it was made here in England, and not in Rome. He believes that there was a small shrine built in Papa's field, I believe that is very exciting." replied Mary.
The four young people soon made their way to the modest residence of Mr. and Mrs. Amos Phillips', to fetch Kitty and Lydia. As they made their way back to Lucas Lodge, as was their usual wont, Kitty and Lydia chattered away about the nice officers who had had joined them for nuncheon, and how truly kind they had been to them.
Posted on Wednesday, 27 September 2000
As Mary, Lucas, Lizzie, Charlotte, Kitty and Lydia made their way towards the lane that went to Lucas Lodge, Lizzie was the first one to hear the faint sound of fast moving horses hooves, she also noticed that they were coming their way.
In which I thicken this plot, and Lucas saves someone at the risk of his life.
As the sound of the horses came closer, Lizzie shaded her eyes to look back down the lane and could just make out a tiny figure in gray about step out into the lane." Charlotte, look back this way. Is that not Daisy Dean? She is about to step out into the lane. Looking back in the direction Lizzie indicated, Charlotte was able to confirm Lizzie's concerns.
"Lucas, Daisy cannot see the horses," said Mary in a similar tone. Hearing this, Lucas hurried back down the Lane in the indicated direction, and caught up the little girl, just as a very fast moving curricle and pair flew past. Lucas had had just time to step back from the lane. Lucas looked back towards the young ladies to make sure that they had removed themselves from harm's way. Relieved that that his cousins and their friend were safe, Lucas brought the little girl who was no more than four years old from the looks of her back to where the young ladies were.
"Lucas, are you all right?" asked Mary, in an extremely concerned tone.
"Just winded a bit, Cousin." replied Lucas, giving Mary a look that said he wished to speak with her more privately on the way back to Longbourn.
"Are you all right, Daisy darling?" asked Lizzie, as she took the little girl from Lucas' arms.
"Yes, Miss Lizzie." replied the little girl, as she moved her little hands over her face to make sure that it was in fact Lizzie.
"Lizzie, we should take Daisy back to Granny Dean's. I wonder why she is so far from home. Daisy, why are you so far from your Granny's?" asked Mary.
"Granny got stuck in the cellar, Miss Mary." replied the little girl.
"Lucas and I can take Daisy back to Granny Dean's cottage. Let me take her Lizzie. We will be back home as soon as we help Granny Dean." said Mary, taking the little girl from her next older sister, who had calmed her after her fright.
"Who is Granny Dean, by the by?" asked Lucas in a curious tone, as they walked towards the cottage.
"Granny Dean was midwife here until it became difficult for her. Two years ago, there was a scarlet fever epidemic in Meryton and Granny Dean lost all her family but Daisy. The fever affected Daisy's eyes. Daisy is blind. We try to look in on Granny Dean at least two or three days a week, but having a guest is no excuse." said Mary, as they arrived at the small cottage. Mary could just hear the feeble cries for help.
"Daisy was correct, the cries are coming from the cellar. Do not worry, Daisy. My cousin will have your Granny out of the cellar before the cat can lick its ear." said Mary, as she showed Lucas where the cellar door was.
When they came to the cellar, Mary and Lucas noticed that the cellar door had obviously shut on the old woman and the latch had caught. It did not take long and Lucas had the cellar door opened and the old woman was freed.
"Thank ye, Miss Mary. I just went down the cellar to fetch some parsnips for stew, an' the door shut on me. Thank ye for fetchin' my Daisy back to me. So this is the cousin from America, I heard tell about. Such a handsome lad too, Miss Mary. Thank ye again." said Granny Dean.
"You are welcome, Granny Dean. We will come back this way tomorrow to see how you are doing." said Mary, as she and Lucas left the cottage.
"Now we can have our talk, Cousin. Mary, do you happen to know to whom that curricle belonged to?" asked Lucas, in a very serious tone.
"Yes, I do. That was Mr. Quigley-Smith's curricle. I thought I saw it parked by the church, but that is silly, because that is the last place you would find that "gentleman" on a weekday, let alone on a Sunday. I would say that he is up to no good." replied Mary, as they soon joined the young ladies.
Posted on Thursday, 19 October 2000
Lucas made sure that Mary still had the little statue and the letter the vicar had written to Mr. Bennet, after making sure of this, he told her that as soon as they had returned to Longbourn, they would give both to Mr. Bennet.
Returning to the house, Mary asked Hill if her Papa might be in his library, to which Hill answered in the affirmative. The two cousins hurried to the library to give Mr. Bennet the statue and the letter from the Vicar.
Looking up from the text that he had been perusing, and perceiving his third daughter and his young cousin, Mr. Daniel Bennet could not help teasing them just a bit.
"What is this, Mary, have you brought your Cousin up to scratch so soon. I do not think your Mama will like that in the least when she and your Aunt Phillips have Mr. Quigley-Smith in mind for you?"
"No Papa, as if I would accept a man such as he. Papa, Lucas and I have just come from the vicarage, Mr. Harris has given me this letter and this statue of Minerva. He wishes you to know about the vandals that have been destroying his digging in the East field." replied Mary, as she gave Mr. Bennet the little parcel containing the statue and the vicar's letter.
Mr. Bennet opened the letter, quickly perused it and placed it on his desk. He then asked that Mary and Lucas rejoin him there after dinner, for surely the three of them could find an answer to the problem.
Following dinner though, Mrs. Bennet suddenly found something for Mary to do, so it was just Lucas and Mr. Bennet who met in the library to discuss the problem of the vandals.
"Cousin, your Vicar mentioned that he had men guarding your field nights, I would like to add my services, Cousin Daniel, if I may. Whomever is vandalizing your Vicar's digging site would never expect me to do any of the guarding. Being raised on the frontier, my brother Daniel and I learned the art of observing, while being secreted in the undergrowth from some of the Red Indians that come to My Father's Mission." said Lucas.
Mr. Bennet quickly agreed to this, and Lucas soon rejoined the rest of the Bennet Family in the Drawing Room, and Mary at the pianoforte, where he pick up his violin. The two cousins began to play quietly, until Kitty and Lydia requested some music for dancing, which they quickly obliged.
We must now leave Longbourn, and make our way to the village of Meryton, to pay a visit to the taproom of that most congenial of establishments, The Rose and Crown. At a table in one corner of the room, sat three overly confident and overly dressed young men, discussing the events of the early afternoon.
"How was I to know that the Vicar had invited that bluestocking antidote Mary Bennet and her stupid Colonial cousin to see his latest finds, or that he would give them the statue that I had told someone about. At least I didn't call attention to myself whilst I was listening at the Vicar's library window, but trust the stupid Colonial to play hero this afternoon, I know that he noted me then." exclaimed an extremely outraged Mortimer Quigley-Smith.
"Shall we pay another night's visit to Bennet's field, as we always do?" asked Messrs. Jones and Wilton, in one voice.
"Of course we shall, and I am determined to get that statue back. Let us just say that, that friend of mine in London has found a buyer for the item." replied Mr. Quigley-Smith.
The unholy trio raised a toast to their night's trouble making and all round general maliciousness, as they made their plans to meet just before midnight at the crossroads and ride to Longbourn, and soon left inn to make themselves ready.
If that unholy trio had been more observant, they would have been aware that they were not the taproom's only occupants, then again the other occupant had not wished for to be seen by them, and the door of The Rose and Crownhad just shut behind the unholy trio, when the taproom's other occupant, a tall young man, with dark curly hair crossed the room to the door, opened it, and watched them ride away. The young man quickly shut the door, and just as suddenly turned around.
"Innkeeper," he called." Those men, who just left, who are they?"
"They be Mister Quigley-Smith, as works for Mister Phillips the attorney, an' 'is frien's Mister Jones and Mister Wilton." replied the innkeeper, in his most friendly and helpful fashion.
"Where is, and what is this Longbourn?" asked the young man.
"Longbourn be the Mr. Bennet's estate. To get there, well now, Sir, ye goes ta the crossroads, an'ye turns right an' ye rides 'alf a mile, an' it be the first drive on yer lef'." replied the innkeeper.
"I thank you for that information. I will most likely not be returning before first light." replied the young man, as he paid for the nice snug supper he had partaken of, and his comfortable accommodations and left the inn. He went out to the inn's stableyard and asked that his horse be readied.
We will now return to Longbourn, as the Bennet Family and their guest readied themselves for bed, Mister Bennet asked Lucas once more about his plan to guard the field that was being vandalized, and who might the vandals possibly be.
"I know the Vicar says he has no idea who they could be, I formed a suspicion, after an incident on our way back from Meryton." replied Lucas.
"You will be careful, while hiding in the spinney." reminded Mr. Bennet.
"I will be very careful, as I always am when I am armed." replied Lucas, who had agreed that they should go on as if all was normal.
Posted on Friday, 20 October 2000
Later that night, after making sure that all of Longbourn slumbered, Lucas slipped down the backstairs and out the kitchen door. After spending a companionable evening with his cousins, he had gone up to his bedchamber to change his clothes. He had decided to change into the buckskins that his friend Noah's mother had made for him. Lucas made sure that he had his knife and his rifle. With that he carefully made his way to the spinney edged his Cousin Daniel's field and hid himself well.
"Now let us just see what you and your friends are about, Quigley-Smith." Lucas thought to himself, as he lay down, stomach to the ground. As he and his brother had been taught, he kept himself perfectly still, as he waited for the three ne'er-do-wells arrival to wreak havoc on his cousin's field.
The tolling of the bells in Meryton Church, announced the arrival of midnight, and three friends met at the crossroads and were soon on their way to Longbourn. If the ungodly trio had been just a bit more observant, they would have noticed that someone had been following them. This person rode an already previously described magnificent black. He was tall and had dark curly brown hair, and he rode some lengths behind the unholy three, and was doing his best to not allow himself to be seen. Unfortunately, as he made his way to Longbourn, his horse stepped upon a stick on the road, and Quigley-Smith turned at the sound. Seeing the interloper, Quigley-Smith brought out his pistol, and fired at the rider who had been following them.
The sound of firing brought Lucas' head up." Strange, that is coming from out by the road." he thought to himself, as he carefully slid his way through the underbrush in the spinney and made his way to the road. As he reached the road, Lucas saw the rider that had been following Quigley-Smith and his friends, he also saw that Quigley-Smith had reloaded his pistol and was aiming it once more at the young gentleman. With out a sound, Lucas ran up to the stranger's horse and pulled him down and slapped the black on its rump, and sent it running.
"What is this!?" asked the rider, in very surprised, but outraged tone.
"Do you want him to start shooting at you again? I just saved your life, and if you value that life, I would not make another sound." replied Lucas, breathing heavily.
"Forgive me. You are the American they were speaking of, are you not?" asked the young man.
"Yes, I am." replied Lucas, wondering just what Quigley-Smith had been saying.
"So will you please tell me, to whom do I owe my life?" asked the young man, as he followed Lucas back to the spinney.
"I am Lucas Isaac Collins, and you are?" asked Lucas, as he quickly found his hiding place once more.
"My name is Darcy, Fitzwilliam Darcy, of Pemberley, in Derbyshire." replied the young man, as he sat down next to Lucas under the tall oak tree.
In the dim light of the moon, Lucas was able to perceive that Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, was a few years his senior, and they were about the same height, and as he had been riding a black stallion, he also knew him to be the young man that his Cousin Elizabeth had remarked upon that morning to her friend Charlotte Lucas.
"What are you doing here, besides following Quigley-Smith?" asked Lucas, of Darcy.
"I believe that the same could be asked of you." replied Mr. Darcy
Posted on Saturday, 21 October 2000
"Yes, I suppose you are right. I am visiting my Cousin Daniel Bennet. The local Vicar is something of an antiquarian and he has had my cousin's permission to dig here. For some reason, the "gentleman" who shot at you, and his two compatriots are interested in the artifacts the Vicar finds here. The Vicar presented my Cousin Mary with one of these artifacts, and the leader of the three was hard put in his attempt to take it from her this afternoon. He almost ran down a child in the process. These so-called "gentlemen must be stealing the Vicar's artifacts." replied Lucas.
"I believe that I am of the same opinion, and I am fairly certain that they are selling the artifacts to someone in Town, who then sells them to people who wish to have 'Roman' things in their townhouses. I am here, because I have an idea who their London confederate just might be. I have come into Hertfordshire, because I believe that this person may have planned to meet with the "gentleman" who shot at me, and his compatriots." explained Mr. Darcy.
While Lucas and Mr. Darcy spoke, Mr. Quigley-Smith and his compatriots looked around to what had become of the rider that Quigley-Smith had shot at.
"Do you think you hit him?" asked Mr. Jones and Mr. Wilton in one voice.
"I am not sure. He was some ways from us." replied Quigley-Smith, as he glanced back down the road to see if he might see anything or anyone else on the road.
"He would have caught us up by now, surely." argued Mr. Wilton.
"We will solve this later. Right now we must discover just what our good Vicar gave to that bluestocking antidote, Mary Bennet and her stupid colonial cousin. Besides we have other work to do this night." declared Quigley-Smith. As the ungodly trio rode into Mr. Bennet's field, Lucas and Mr. Darcy, having safely made their back to the spinney, Lucas began to load his rifle.
"That is a beautiful weapon. Was it made in America?" asked Mr. Darcy.
"Yes it was. It was made in Philadelphia. It was a gift from my Grandfather Lawrence in Boston." replied Lucas, as he lay down on the ground and slowly made his way to small rise where he had a good spot to watch his quarry.
Okay, as you all know, I have just put the cat among the pigeons so to speak, by giving Mr. Darcy a role in my little tale, and as the ungodly trio needs must have their London confederate, I have shamelessly decided, with the help of my oh-so perverse muse to assign that role to none other than the bane of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy's whole existence, none other than Mr. George Wickham. I do hope you do not mind. Thanks lots and LYLAS, Your Gentle Author.Darcy soon joined Lucas to watch the unholy trio, and was soon asking Lucas all about his home in America, and his life on the frontier. Which Lucas gladly responded with great aplomb.
"Darcy, forgive me, but I am somewhat curious as to why you are here in Hertfordshire. My cousin Elizabeth remarked on having seen you riding through the area this morning to her friend. I was able to deduce that she referred to you, because she had remarked upon your horse." said Lucas.
"As you have been guarding your cousin's field, and I do owe you a debt of honour, I will tell you. I am of the firm belief that the London confederate of Quigley-Smith, I believe that is his name, is none other than the son of my Father's late steward. This young man was my Father's godson, and it has been George Wickham's wont to be the bane of my existence. I believe that he has been finding buyers for all Quigley-Smith's ill-gotten Roman artifacts. He has had the audacity to hire someone to steal from a site very near to my own estate in Derbyshire. I have only just become aware of his activities outside of Derbyshire, as it has come to my attention that he has been seen here, and he has no connections in Hertfordshire that I know of. I overheard those three speaking of a statue that your Vicar gave to someone today and it sounded as they were fairly put out by it." replied Darcy.
"That statue is perfectly safe at this moment in my Cousin Daniel's library. As for now, I think that I am going to turn the tables on those three, for I do believe that it is time to let them know that I am here and have not forgotten about them." replied Lucas, as he slid closer to the edge of the spinney, picked up his rifle, aimed it at Quigley-Smith's hat and fired. This had the desired effect, as the ungodly trio quickly rode away.
Posted on Thursday, 2 November 2000
Making sure that Quigley-Smith and his friends were gone, Lucas returned to the spinney, where Darcy was about to leave, as he had observed that his horse had found its way back. As Darcy made ready to mount his horse, he once again thanked Lucas.
"Collins, once again I must thank you, and I must ask you to do me the favor of watching for my return into Hertfordshire in the next fortnight, as I needs must return to Derbyshire to see to my young Sister." said Darcy.
"Yes, I will do this for you, Darcy. Do you believe that this George Wickham may eventually come into Hertfordshire to delivery of some of Quigley-Smith's ill-gotten gain?" asked Lucas.
"Depend upon it, and after what you have told me of this particular item, I am of the belief that it was just this item that Wickham was about to take delivery of, and your Vicar had had enough of the looting and vandalizing of his diggings, and so he gave the statue into your cousin's care, in hopes that there would be no more." replied Darcy.
In shooting at the ungodly trio, Lucas had had the great good luck of shooting Quigley-Smith's favorite hat from his head, this had made Quigley-Smith angry in the extreme.
"That stupid Colonial has just become a demmed nuisance. That was my favorite hat. I promised my London friend that I would have something extremely special for him when next we meet, but now it is at Longbourn. Perhaps we could flatter Mrs. Bennet in order to have her show us where it is." said Quigley-Smith, in a conspiratorial manner, as the three rode away.
Darcy mounted his horse and hurriedly rode away back towards Meryton and his accommodations at The Rose and Crown. It had been a long night, but he had at least found a friend who would help him to stop Wickham. It was a very good thing that his Cousin Marsden had apprised him of just what his late Father's godson had been doing. He wondered if he would ever be free of that young man's treacheries, but for now he was needed back at Pemberley. He had received a communication from his housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, that his young sister had come down with a fever and was calling for him. It did not take him long to return to Meryton. He quickly entered the inn, thanked the innkeeper once again, hurried up to his rooms, and had his bag packed. Returning down to the public rooms, and paid for his stay and was soon on his way to Derbyshire.
The following morning, Lucas and Mr. Bennet in the library to discuss the previous evening's events.
"So you are certain of the identity of the vandals, Cousin?" asked Mr. Bennet.
"Yes sir, I am most certain of their identities, and I would not be at all surprised if the three of them pay a call here and attempt to persuade a gullible person to give them the statue of Minerva, but that will not be possible, as I have cleverly hidden it in this room. If Quigley-Smith and his friends came here and convinced this gullible person to give him the statue, she would not be able to find it." replied Lucas.
Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2002
"I imagine this gullible person you refer to is Mrs. Bennet, Cousin?" asked Mr. Bennet, as he began searching through the pile of papers on his desk." You need not fear on that account, as she never enters my library, but I do see your point, Cousin."
"Yes, I do refer to Cousin Martha." replied Lucas, as he picked up Mr. Bennet's spectacles from the particularly large tome that sat upon the desk." Are these what you have been searching for, Cousin?"
"Ah, that was where they went. I am afraid that having the misfortune of being the Father of two of the silliest girls in all of England can be quite distracting at times." said Mr. Bennet as he put his spectacles back on. He then rose from his desk, preparatory to leaving his only sanctuary, as he needed to ready himself for a short jaunt into Meryton, as he had some parcels waiting for him, and he had been looking for these particular parcels for the last two weeks and more.
Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2002
"Mayhap you and Mary wish to continue the conversation you began yesterday evening after dinner and I have no wish to keep the two of you, is that not so Daughter?" said Mr. Bennet in answer to Lucas' polite offer to fetch his cousin's parcels.
"Yes Papa," replied Mary, whose presence had been exposed by the unfortunate expediency of her sneezing at a most inopportune moment in the middle of her studying what she thought was a most difficult passage of her Father's copy of The Odyssey. "We were planning to continue our conversation of last evening, Papa."
"Then I will not keep the two of you for very long." said Mr. Bennet, as he left his library.
Lucas soon joined Mary on the other chair that sat before the fireplace, and they began to discuss Lucas' activities of the night before.
"Oh Lucas, I heard gunfire in the night, are you hurt?" asked Mary in a concerned tone.
"No but I believe that I killed Mr. Quiggley-Smith's favorite hat, but if he tries to make me pay for it with money, he will only be exposing himself as one the vandals." replied Lucas.
"Oh Lucas! I knew that it was that horrible villain who has been harassing the vicar's digging," said Mary, who surprised herself by giving her cousin a big hug." You said that you have hidden the statue in here, let me see if I am able to find it, for if I am able to find it, Mama surely would never be able to."
Mary began her search of the possible hiding places that her Father's library afforded, and all though likely hiding places, they were not concealing the statue, Mary was about to give up when she happen to notice the potted plant that stood in the corner of the library, and she smiled to herself.
"Oh Lucas! How clever of you, you hid it in Papa's plant, even Mama would never guess that it was there, and the only reason that Mr. Quiggley-Smith would come to Longbourn in her mind would be to pay a call on me, and I have told Hill that if ever Mr. Quiggley-Smith ever called she was to inform him that I am not at home. So the only reason that he would come here would be to find the statue, and Mama never comes into Papa's library." said Mary, who once more surprised herself by not only giving her cousin another hug, but a not so shy kiss on his cheek.
This, elicited quite an unusual reaction indeed from her cousin, as he broke out in good natured laughter.
"Miss Mary Bennet, I never knew you to be such a minx. Here I thought you were quiet and bookish like myself, and I am discovering that you are just as hoydenish as your Sister Elizabeth." said Lucas through his laughter.
"Well I suppose I am in a way, but I do so wish that I might have adventures. When I was young I wished to go to Africa and have a mission like your Papa's, but I would need a husband. Maybe I might go to America instead, I do so wish to see some of the country. You make some places come alive." said Mary, as the two soon put their minds to the task at hand, capturing those villains.