Lovely! I can imagine the scenario quite well.
“Welcome again to Pemberley, Miss Austen.”
The young, bespectacled lady bobbed a curtsy and nearly dropped her secretaire in the process. How could I forget the impact this gentleman has on me? It certainly did not help when the gentleman in question stooped to steady the bulky wooden case under her arm and brushed against her arm.
“Tha… Thank you, Mr. Darcy. It is an honor to be allowed a second visit.”
Mr. Darcy straightened. “Our pleasure, Miss Austen. Your article on me and Mrs. Darcy for the Derby Chronicle was surprisingly just with no embellishments or untruths. That alone is a feat amongst journalists in this day.”
She nodded, not noting his teasing tone or playful smile as she pushed the glasses further up her long nose. “I promise to employ the same ethics with my article on Miss Darcy, sir. You can be sure of that.”
“Indeed I am confident. Mrs. Darcy requested I ask if your cousin, the hopeful novelist, was intrigued by our story? Honestly I find it unlikely that a common tale of pride and prejudice and romance would be of interest to anyone, but my wife assures me that females delight in such tales.”
“Mrs. Darcy is correct, and my cousin was fascinated by the idea. Of course, she is barely eighteen and fanciful dreams of writing novels are primarily that: fanciful dreams.”
Mr. Darcy laughed, the resonant sound filling the air and making her smile. “Perhaps, but I wish that other Miss Austen the best. Follow me and I shall take you to the chamber where my sister awaits her interview.”
He turned toward the grand staircase at the far end of the enormous vaulted foyer. The reporter trailed behind his tall body with head whipping once again from side-to-side at the beauty around her. This time, however, her eyes continually returned to the Master of Pemberley himself, a reality both pleasant and somewhat embarrassing! It was frankly a relief to finish the flurry of introductions and be left alone with the lady.
“I anticipated our interview taking place in the parlor, Miss Darcy,” Miss Austen began while opening the case and removing her secretaire. “Why the music room?”
“This has always been my favorite room in the Manor, for a host of reasons. Music soothes my soul thus I am most comfortable here.”
Miss Austen nodded, utilizing the distraction of setting up her lap desk and inkwell to study the woman sitting serenely across from her, the clinical descriptions clicking through her brain to later be elaborated upon. Georgiana Darcy: Blonde hair, blue eyes, lovely symmetrical face, svelte, graceful, calm, quiet, intelligent expression, faint blush, humorous smile, age some five years younger than me….
“Let’s start with your childhood,” she began, quill poised above the spread parchment. “What was it like?”
“Unremarkable, I’m afraid.”
“Surely there must be something exciting?”
“Nothing that one would write about.” Miss Darcy’s matter-of-fact tone confirmed her belief in the statement. “As the younger sister to a far more important man, my activities are hardly noteworthy.”
“Rather like a secondary character in a novel?”
“Quite so!” she agreed with a musical chuckle. “Fortunately I was content to remain in the background and be inconsequential.”
“You speak in past tense, Miss Darcy. Does that mean your part, so to speak, grew exciting? Maybe earning you a first name and pivotal plot point?”
Miss Darcy blushed and ducked her head. “Perhaps, although some of the excitement I could have done without.”
“Such as…?” The reporter’s brows lifted and body unconsciously leaned forward.
“Oh, only the typical mischiefs of foolish young women experiencing first love. Surely you know of what I speak, Miss Austen?”
“Now, now. This interview is about you, Miss Darcy. My nonsensical exploits are not the topic!” She wagged her finger, the two women laughing as if long friends. “I am intrigued by your allusions, especially since I heard not a whisper of scandal or past lovers while conducting my research. Could your life until recently truly have been so boring? How disappointing!”
“Years of quiet living here at Pemberley and in London, playing music and studying, isn’t much to write about, I grant you. Hmmm…” Miss Darcy tapped her chin, the expression on her face suddenly mischievous. “What if I were to tell you that my actions played a large part in bringing my brother and Mrs. Darcy together?”
“Ah!” Miss Austen’s eyes brightened as the puzzle pieces connected. “The ‘innocent relative deceived by the family friend’ that the Darcys spoke of while recounting their tale? My cousin Jane was very intrigued by that twist and has been spinning a dozen scenarios.”
“Well, I shall tell you the truth of Mr. Wickham for this tale and hopefully your cousin’s scenarios will be used in other novels.”
“Oh, I am sure they will!”
“Afterwards I can recount my most recent adventures while touring the Continent, if you have time?” Georgiana chuckled at the reporter’s enthusiastic nod, the rapid scribbling on the parchment unceasing. “Travels through France and Switzerland, crossing the Alps, art and culture in Italy, and finally Paris, the City of Love….” She paused, staring dreamily at the small ring on her finger. “Paris is where the greatest of my adventures occurred.”
Miss Austen shook her head and laid her quill aside. “I must say, you have surprised me, Miss Darcy. I was expecting a shy, meek woman with nothing to tell. I was prepared to elaborate lavishly in my article!”
“People change. Indeed, even secondary characters can develop a voice and personality. Sometimes enough for their own novel, complete with a happy ending.”
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