Not to purposely try to confuse you, but this group of NEW passages are from the edited copy of “Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One” that will be arriving next March. In a continuation from the blog post on September 12, I am sharing some of the portions that needed to be rewritten for whatever reason.
I apologize for this first passage as I should have included it in the Sept. 12 entry. It involves further illumination on the inn where the Darcys stayed for their honeymoon nights. Per the discussion with my editor, as I shared with you all, I elaborated on the environs of the inn. These paragraphs, therefore, occur right when Darcy and Lizzy arrive at the White Stag:
They were greeted at the courtyard door of the inn by Mr. Hamilton. He welcomed them both as they alighted from the carriage and hurried them into the warm and inviting reception room. A servant took their coats and gloves. Darcy spoke to Mr. Hamilton, assuring that all arrangements had been carried out, while Elizabeth looked around the room. The pub was to the left through an archway of polished oak and gray stone. Two men in farmer’s garb sat at the edge of the bar, ale mugs in hand, as they attended to an unseen minstrel whose strains of violin music could be faintly heard.
The reception area was a quaint and cozy room warmed by a roaring fire in a huge fireplace located to the right; numerous chairs and couches were positioned around the heat source. An older gentleman sat in one chair, newspaper in hand, attending avidly to the words. A middle-aged couple sat upon a settee, lifting smiling faces to the Darcys, and nodding politely. There were rooms and hallways branching off from the main chamber, including a public dining area and what appeared to be a tiny library. Lizzy’s attention was diverted to a stout woman with a sunny face who appeared from around a large desk.
“Welcome, welcome!” she sang. “Mr. and Mrs. Darcy! How delightful! Newlyweds! How precious it is to have you spending your first days with us!” Mr. Hamilton turned and introduced his wife to Lizzy.
Mrs. Hamilton continued in her breathless, singsong way of talking, “Mr. Darcy has been our guest so very often! And now he is married! What a blessing it is! A private parlor is set up for dining, Mr. Darcy, just as you requested! Dinner will be ready momentarily! All the dishes you asked for, Mr. Darcy! Very private!”
She took Elizabeth’s hands and guided her toward a far room, all the while prattling on, “You look absolutely radiant, my dear! Stunning gown! And your hair! Beautiful!”
As Mrs. Hamilton continued, Lizzy glanced back to see Darcy grinning as he followed the two women down a short corridor to a small parlor overlooking the moonlit meadow outside the paned windows. Mrs. Hamilton seated them at a small table close to the fire, bustling about and rattling on, until Mr. Hamilton coaxed her out of the room with a promise that they would be left as unaccompanied as possible. Once alone, Darcy and Lizzy could not resist laughing.
This one was from chapter 7 – ‘A Stroll in the Garden’ – and arose in regards to the idea of flowers blooming in the winter. Frankly, this surprised me a bit as it seemed obvious to me, even though I am far from an expert gardener, that there are many plants that bloom in the winter. Not as many as in the summer, naturally, but probably all Sunset Zones have something that can flower amid the snow! Anyway, I had done research previously, but looked into it some more and decided to incorporate some of the knowledge I now have regarding orangeries. This is what we now have:
It was a cold night but clear with the moon at three-quarters and bright. Billions of stars were visible. They walked leisurely, hand in hand, along the wide terrace that ran the length of the southern side of the manor. Several stone benches and secluded alcoves with arbors of trailing vines were spaced along the railing. Darcy unerringly led her to the eastern edge of the terrace and down the steps to the moonlit lawn beyond. He crossed the grass to a looming wall of brick and climbing vines that sheltered an array of pathways weaving through a secluded garden.
“This garden,” he informed her as they strolled, “is considerably smaller than the ones located to the southeast. It is a private garden for the family only. I come here most nights to breathe the fresh air and gaze at the sky before retiring. Mr. Clark knows it is a habit of mine, so he typically will wheel the protected flowers out from the conservatory until after I complete my stroll. You will find, my love, that he is an incredible gardener who has trained his staff well. No seasons pass without at least a few blooms and greenery.”
He chose a trail lined by a row of rosebushes, currently without blooms, of course. The gravel passageway twisted and turned until finally terminating at a clearing with a large gurgling fountain of four sea nymphs pouring water from pitchers. The fountain and pebbled expanse were completely shaded by an enormous, ancient oak tree and bordered with a profusion of vines and shrubs. Most were dormant, but the fragrance and color of the protected winter blooms of jasmine, camellia, hyacinth, paper-white narcissus, and hellebore filled the air. The only illumination was the moon and starlight shimmering and reflecting off the water.
The next passage I will share is from Chapter 10 – ‘Meeting the Matlocks’ This was a long section that was rewritten primarily because Deb questioned the nature of the conversation as being too intimate for a dinner setting. Partially I could see her point, although I never envisioned the dinner with Darcy’s uncle and aunt as a highly formal milieu. Plus, I absolutely HAD to leave in Lizzy comparing Darcy to a bottle of fine wine! I rose to the challenge, examined the entire chapter in light of what I now know of the characters involved, and came up with this:
On their fifth evening in Town, Lizzy and her father accompanied Mr. Darcy to the Matlock townhouse for dinner. Strangely, Lizzy was not at all nervous. Perhaps it was her naiveté, but truly it was simply her nature and character to not be intimidated. Darcy observed her sunny face and gay personality as she chatted with him and Mr. Bennet in the carriage and his pride and love swelled. She was amazing. So fearless and brave, so vibrant and luminous. If his uncle and aunt disapproved … well, they would be fools and he knew they were not fools.
Per Darcy’s behest, the dinner party was to be an informal one—just the immediate Fitzwilliam family to meet Lizzy and Mr. Bennet. Aside from the necessity of being introduced to Lord and Lady Matlock, Darcy wished for his betrothed to become reacquainted with his cousin Richard. The Darcy and Fitzwilliam families were generational friends, their affection and accord preceding by decades the marriage of Lady Anne Fitzwilliam to James Darcy.
Richard, three years Darcy’s senior, was his oldest playmate and confidant, the two nigh on inseparable when younger. More so even than with his aunt or uncle, it was desirous that Richard and Lizzy grow comfortable with each other. Darcy was not too concerned, the two having already established a rapport in Kent. In fact, at the time the native charm and ebullience of Col. Fitzwilliam, in sharp contrast to his own reticence, had been mildly irritating. Observing the easy familiarity that arose between the woman he loved and his cousin would have birthed a raging jealousy if he did not know Richard’s strong abhorrence to the very idea of marriage!
Joining them would be the eldest Fitzwilliam brother and heir to the Matlock earldom, Jonathan, and his wife Priscilla. Darcy had never been close to his older cousin, but there was a fondness nonetheless and he was pleased to have Jonathan as part of the party. Darcy’s youngest cousin, Annabella, was not able to attend, her Society duties as Lady Montgomery preferable to meeting her cousin’s country fiancée. Not that she voiced this opinion in such blunt language, but Darcy well knew Annabella’s superior attitude to be everything once accused of him.
Introductions were made in the imposing foyer of the Matlock Townhouse near St. James’s Square, the party then gathering in the parlor for a short spell before dinner. Lord Matlock was dazzled immediately by Miss Bennet’s charm and liveliness. Lady Matlock was equally captivated, but her gaze rested most often on the face of her dearly loved nephew, marveling at the animation and peace that infused his countenance even as he maintained his typical reserve. It was no mystery why Darcy had succumbed to her, Miss Bennet being as gregarious as he was taciturn. They say opposites attract, and here was a clear example of the old adage, as well as a visible illustration of how love opens one’s soul.
Mr. Bennet was the archetypical country gentleman. Proper to be sure, but somewhat irreverent, intelligent, and with a piquant wit and wry humor. Lord Matlock, for all his elevated rank, was the master of a country estate and appreciated men such as Mr. Bennet for their unpretentious mannerisms. In no time at all, the two men were engaged in a friendly discourse of modern literature versus the classics.
Dinner was a lively affair with conversation flowing from all sides. Lord Matlock and Mr. Bennet conversed easily on numerous topics, with Lizzy joining in frequently. Col. Fitzwilliam, always full of stories and anecdotes, kept them entertained and even managed to elicit a laugh or two from his sober brother and pompous sister-in-law. Darcy was content to placidly observe his fiancée enchant his relatives, contributing now and then to the general conversation.
Retiring again to the parlor after dinner, the atmosphere relaxed further. Some light entertainment was engaged in, Mrs. Fitzwilliam being quite accomplished on the pianoforte, but primarily it was an amiable setting for deeper communication as they sipped tea and brandy. Lady Matlock spoke adoringly of Derbyshire and Pemberley, reminiscing to Lizzy of her own days as a new bride relocating to an unfamiliar land.
“You have seen Pemberley, I am taken to understand?” Lizzy affirmed Lady Matlock’s inquiry. “It may seem imposing, Miss Bennet, but the Darcys have made it a home. And never fear, Fitzwilliam is the soul of patience and kindness. You will be most happy there, I am sure.”
Lizzy blushed faintly. “Thank you, Your Ladyship. I am anticipation itself. I have no doubts that Mr. Darcy will lead me gently.”
She smiled up at her betrothed, who stood nearby with Richard at his side. He smiled faintly in return, eyes sparkling.
Richard nodded, his eyes mischievous as he gazed to his cousin’s face. “Indeed, Mr. Darcy is patience personified. All can attest to the fact. Even his horses declare it so!” They collectively laughed, Darcy blushing slightly but meeting Richard’s teasing gaze.
“Sadly a lesson I could never impart to you, cousin. Your horses habitually choose to throw you rather than listen to instruction.”
“That happened one time, and I was fifteen and the horse refused to jump that creek!” He turned to Lizzy with a chuckle and sly glance toward Darcy. “He, braggart, was twelve with a horse larger than mine and cleared the creek without hesitation! Very well, I concede. You are the superior horseman. I, on the other hand, excel at dancing and witty conversation.”
“You are now witness, Miss Bennet, to what shall henceforth pervade your existence whenever these two are in the same room together.” Lady Matlock interjected with a laugh. “They delight in baiting the other, have since they were children, and likely will be doing so in their senility.”
“Miss Bennet knows it to be true, having confessed to me the dreadfulness of William’s dancing and conversation in Hertfordshire.”
Lizzy laughed gaily. “Colonel! You tease as well as color the truth. I said that Mr. Darcy refused to dance, not that he danced poorly. He quite proved his skill at the Netherfield Ball, dancing with the grace of a gazelle.”
“Grace of a gazelle? High praise indeed. Is this true, Fitzwilliam?” Lord Matlock grinned at his nephew’s discomfiture.
Darcy coughed, color high but face alit with humor as he gazed upon his impish fiancée, “Miss Bennet is being generous, as always. I managed to avoid stepping on her feet or making a total fool of myself, but in my particular case it remains fortunate that dancing skills and engaging repartee are not the only inducements to affection.”
They all smiled and chuckled, even Jonathan. “Quite so,” he offered. “I abhor dancing and socializing more so than you, William, and that is saying something, yet my wife tolerates me. One’s beguilements and personality can be well hidden secrets for only select individuals to divine.”
“I concur, Mr. Fitzwilliam,” Lizzy nodded. “Rather like a fine bottle of aged red wine. The cork must be removed; the wine poured out and allowed to breathe. One must wait patiently for the aroma to rise in the air to captivate those who wish to partake of its delights. The wine warms in the glass as the flavor softens and mellows, exposing its true essence.” She paused, her gaze locked on Darcy’s startled but tender eyes as he focused on her to the exclusion of all others in the room. “Some people are structured so and are abundantly worth the wait,” she finished in a soft whisper.
“Well spoken, Miss Bennet,” Lady Matlock glanced between the two lovers and then shared a pointed look with her husband.
The final chapter – ‘Romantic Interludes’ – presented some unique problems, but thankfully was not as horrible as I thought and I got away with more than I expected….shhhh! Obviously I could not quote from the movie, so gone was the, “Well then.” And, I could not vividly describe the scenery, so gone were references to the time of day or their attire. But, I could quote from the book! Upon further reading and reflection, I decided to take liberty with Miss Austen’s text; such as, the numerous walks Lizzy and Darcy go on as they discuss their relationship and especially the paragraphs following his, “You were too generous to trifle with me…” speech. The vagueness between, “Elizabeth…gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change,” to “he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do….” leaves it wide open! IMHO. Luckily, my editor agreed!
“My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.”
How do you tell a man whom you have rejected and so wounded about your emotions for him? Can they be conveyed in a kiss to the hand? In a mumbled, nonsensical reply? Perhaps to a degree. He stands before her, impossibly handsome, declaring a love and desire for a life commitment that she does not deserve, yet now accepts as what she yearns for with every heartbeat. ‘It will take all of my life, daily and hourly saying I love you, to wholly express the depth of my sentiments,’ she thinks, and by some miracle he has offered her that chance again. She grabs onto it as a drowning man clutches the rope, vowing never to relinquish as he is her salvation from a lifetime of emptiness and despair.
Darcy stands stunned and anxious as she steps close, taking the offered hand and bestowing a gentle kiss and caress. No words are necessary, the gesture a declaration of caring and acceptance. He understands this although the dream-like atmosphere and months of longing despair prevent him from instantly grasping it. His hand is on fire! In fact, his whole body is aflame, jolted by waves of heat emanating from her soft lips and fingers. His soul is renewed, and he knows it is a miracle purely and completely. The beautiful face that has haunted his dreams is now lifted upward. He touches her cheek tentatively and the world ignites.
For a horrifying second he suspects she will flinch or slap him or vanish into the mist. Instead, she closes her lovely eyes and leans minutely into his hand. Nothing in all his eight-and-twenty years has prepared him for the sensation of her velvety warm skin cupped in his palm. It is the most erotic, exhilarating experience of his life! At that instant, the sun lights her glorious face, rendering her mien angelic. It is a benediction from God Himself! Only her flesh anchors him to the ground.
Relief overwhelms and, with eyes closed, they surrender to the sublime delight of a tender touch. This is love! A profound heat rushes from their connected skin to the roots of their loneliness, disintegrating forever the walls of misunderstanding.
Time halts. They are dazzled. Enchanted in the rays from Heaven.