Elizabeth Bennet, who was not fifteen, was determined to get her slipper off the tree. She had been running in the most unladylike manner, chasing the Gardiner children for a game of hide-and-seek in the forest and they left the adults behind in their walks. They knew the way to go back, for they have been playing in that part of the woods for quite some time. Visiting Derbyshire was exciting for the Bennets and the Gardiners, and especially Elizabeth, who enjoyed walks and nature.
Hide-and-seek failed somewhat, as most of the participants did not understand the rules of the game, but laughter and merriment was pure bliss itself. It was then when Elizabeth discovered, to her pleasure, a large acorn in the grass. Her sister Jane, who was also Elizabeth's best friend, saw at once what Lizzie was about to do. With her large, bright eyes fixed at the target, Lizzie's foot met the acorn with a satisfying, loud smack. But lo and behold, as she looked up proudly to admire the progress of her craft, not one, but TWO items were flying. Lizzie almost burst with laughter as she saw her slipper land in the crook of two branches of a tall oak; the acorn was completely forgotten. The Gardiner children joined Lizzie in laughter, which was starting to hurt. Even angelic Jane couldn't suppress her giggles.
Fitzwilliam Darcy was thinking of his ailing father as he was riding through the woods of Derbyshire. It was always good to be back from town, but the urgent post from Mrs. Reynolds on his father's condition requested him to ride at first light, and for once in his life he was dreading to come home; he was afraid to acknowledge that his father was dying. He could not imagine, for both him and Georgiana, reliving the death of another parent.
His noble steed, Pegasus, was not living up to his name. The horse had slowed down to a trot from the lack of rest. Darcy did not want to push it any further, and started to regret his refusal for taking a carriage. These mundane thoughts were soon wiped his mind in a most peculiar and painful manner. Something hard the size of a baby's fist had hit him on the head. He cried out, in more of surprise than pain. Descending from his ride, with his head throbbing and ears ringing, Darcy picked up a large acorn. He looked around, confused. There was no tree overhead or nearby; he was in a cleared path. When he started to gain his senses from the dizzying hit, he heard the faint laughter of children nearby. Had he not been so frustrated by the recent events taking place in his life, he would have enjoyed hearing it. But now, humility, wounded pride and anger have taken their toll on Fitzwilliam Darcy. He would find those mischievous children who, he was certain, have done this. He would teach them to have manners and some respect. That would make one thing in his life right.
And with that, Darcy pocketed the acorn went in search of the children.