For Annie whose Caroline Laments inspired this. I took a bit from h.12 of that story.
Col. Fitzwilliam and I hadn't been in town for three weeks when we stopped by cousin Darcy's for a game of Billiards. Smythe just happened to announce that he and that Bingley chap were out, however, Bingley's fair, lovely sisters were there. Of course I presumed too much, but in seeing Miss Caroline I just knew that my trip was not in vain. I could've sworn I'd overheard her talking about a young woman that she was wont to keep away from her beloved brother.
"...do you not recall what Sir James said the last time we met? He called me an empty-headed shrew!" was the cry I heard from Caroline before I entered the parlor. Of course that is not what I had said at all, and Mrs. Hurst was about to correct her when we were announced. Our announcement into the parlor was all flowery and regal. I thought I saw a blush from Miss Caroline and Mrs. Hurst was all loveliness in her praises of me and the Colonel. After the necessary courtesies, Richard made his way to the sidebar for madeira that Darcy kept hidden. He always did have his way with the ladies, but Miss Bingley was not to be persuaded. No, it was very well known that she had eyes for my other cousin.
I know that I saw disdain in Miss Caroline's expression when we spoke. Her eyes danced when she spoke of Darcy to Richard. I would have guessed that the daggers she shot at me were for an entirely different reason. Of course the natural progression of the conversation was more or less just finding out how her family was. Were they enjoying the London weather, had they seen any plays of late.
"My dear Miss Bingley, have you netted any bonnets lately?" I gave her an amused look and continued to sit down on the sofa that lady shot me a look of distaste. I always thought of her as an amusing specimen and highly intelligent. "I'm sure the great estate of Derbyshire should love to see bonnets being netted?"
"I think Sir James must jest on my account. I generally do not net bonnets as we get ours in town and they, dear sir, have already been netted. No, you caught me and my sister during intimate times."
"I am glad to hear of it. I never thought your disposition was much for the climate in Derbyshire. I should think Somerset would be more to your liking?" Colonel Fitzwilliam raised an eyebrow to my confession.
"I should think not, Sir James! I happen to know that Derbyshire climes are lovely during the spring and summer months." she huffed back. Mrs. Hurst looked peculiarly to me and hid a smile behind her kerchief. If I didn't know better, she would be a kindred spirit to reveal all to.
"Yes, of course, Miss Bingley, but one must stay at Derbyshire during the cold winter months and I know that old building does support a draft. My cousin Darcy is constantly burning more wood to keep the place warm." Yes, that wicked gleam was there. She was petulant. She was moved to strike.
"I must grant you that your mother's house is quite lovely. But one house that I should never make my home, Sir James."
"I should not think you too hasty. Would you consider your sister a bit hasty, Mrs. Hurst?" That lady looked at me and her sister, definitely not liking being in the middle of this conversation.
"I think Caroline is being a bit headstrong this afternoon, but as it is tea time, you must come and stay." She turned to the Colonel. "And of course, you too, Col. Fitzwilliam, I am quite sure that Caroline will pour out, while cook gets together the chickens."
Mrs. Hurst had a way of being the saving grace for her sister. Oh, this was a dance that I was ready to partake of! Since my meeting of Miss Caroline Bingley, I knew that she would be mine. I knew that Darcy saw her a mere trifle. Her impertinence and cheekiness was everything that appealed to me. She would seek Darcy and she would find me.