My heartfelt thanks are to truthfultoafault, she edited this chapter, it's now so much better, and of cause the other reviewers/writers who helped me, and I sincerely hope you all keep doing so. All errors remaining are mine and mine alone. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.
The day after the arrival of his family, Richard Fitzwilliam, woke early, and set off to Longbourn. He had slept very poorly. He realized, that the upcoming conversation with his Jane's father, would be difficult. It was too early for a social visit, but he couldn't wait, so he thought to go to the stables first, and later at a more convenient time, ask Mr. Bennet for his consent to court Miss Bennet. When he arrived at the stables, he was happily surprised to see Mr. Bennet already there and in a good mood. "Mr. Fitzwilliam, what a delight to see you so early in my stables." Mr. Bennet cried good humoured.
Before Richard spoke his thoughts were quite incoherent. Well, I'm not here for your stables, but maybe, it is a good sign you are here too. Lord, how am I going to do this? The man must think me mad. If I was him, I don't know, if I would trust a man, that had known my daughter for one day, and has the audacity to ask to court her at the first meeting. One day? No, I knew her a few minutes! Oh hell, how am I to survive this? Maybe I should wait. Jane knows I want to court her. What if, I ask now, and he denies me the courtship? What if he tells me to get the hell out of here? Or he calls me out, for being a rake. Lord, I have been on the battlefield, and I didn't feel like the nervous wreck I feel now. He looked up to the heavens, uttered a silent prayer and blurted out. "Mr. Bennet, I am here, to ask you for your consent to court your daughter?"
A lot could be said, about Mr. Bennet, but rarely, was he ever rendered speechless. Thinking about it, the man, himself, really, couldn't remember he had been...ever. Now, however, he was exactly in that condition. His mind raced for answers. Which daughter had Mr. Fitzwilliam been talking to, yesterday? Oh...yes, he knew. Jane. Jane, had been uncharacteristically flirty then. All the signs had been there, but he hadn't paid real attention, because of all the people in the house. A mischievous thought came up, as payback for the speechlessness, so he replied hesitantly to the would-be lover. "But...she is betrothed to your cousin?"
Confusion crossed his opponents face. Mr. Bennet, saw his struggle to comprehend his meaning. Finally Fitzwilliam stutters, "Oh no, Mr. Bennet. Not Miss Elizabeth!"
Mr. Bennet interrupted him, and deliberately feigning confusion, said, "do you mean Mary then? Or Kitty? Lydia is too young."
He is getting desperate. Mr. Bennet laughed internally. He knows Jane for thirty minutes and he wants to court her. Well, he is handling it vigorously. Maybe it can't hurt her, to be courted by him. It's not marriage. Nothing irrevocable. With her soft and trusting nature, it would be good to have a determined husband. Someone who keeps her from harm...I see, he is not to be interrupted again. Mr. Bennet, almost lost it and laughed out aloud. Smart man.
"Oh no, no, no. I don't mean any of them, Sir. I mean your lovely daughter, Miss Jane. Yesterday, she granted me the privilege to court her."
I'm not done yet. Mr. Bennet thought."Yesterday?" He asked Fitzwilliam, tilting his head a bit and raising his brow. "You've, only, met her yesterday." Mr. Bennet, was surprised again, by Mr. Fitzwilliam's passion stating his case before him.
Here we go. I'll have to be open and honest. It's now or never. Richard groaned internally. "Yes, Sir. I'm aware of this. But yesterday, as I walked into your parlour, I only saw her. I've never experienced that before. I've never courted anyone before, or had an inclination to do so. Before I inherited my estate a few months ago, I was a Colonel in the regulars. I didn't expect to marry. Not because a lack of wealth, but because I couldn't understand, what all the fuss was about. Now, however, I am perfectly able to comprehend that feeling. I'm bewitched by her. Before I inherited my estate, I could have bought one for myself, but I was contend in my military life. This inheritance, and my family's abhorrence, especially my mother's, of me going back to the battlefield, gave me pause. I resigned my commission, and have been dedicating my time to become a Gentleman farmer instead. Sir, please, would you allow me to court your daughter, Miss Jane?"
Mr. Bennet was impressed by Mr. Fitzwilliam's speech. He must feel deeply for Jane, so let's get this over with. "After such a passionate speech, I cannot do anything else, but to give my consent to you, especially since my daughter allowed you to ask for my permission. However, it is a courtship and not marriage, yet. I hope you succeed in winning Jane's heart. I rather like the Darcy's and Fitzwilliam's." He gave Richard a hearty handshake.
Relief washed over Richard. I can court Miss. Jane properly. I'll make sure she wants to marry me. "Thank you, Sir. I will cherish her and hope she will grand me the gift of her hand one day."
"Well, now that this is done with. Would you like to join us for breakfast?"
And see my Jane again, Yes! "Yes, please, but will that not importune your wife?"
Mr. Bennet beamed. "Oh, no. She had a grand time receiving all of you. Come let us go in."
The poor men entered a house in commotion. Jane was nowhere to be seen.
Elizabeth was expected for dress fittings in the sewing room. Mr. Darcy, had summoned a modiste from London, 'who was serving the highest levels of the Ton,' to put together Elizabeth's trousseau. Having only a short time to accomplish the task, she arrived with four assistants and an astonishing amount of rolls of fabric of all sorts, lace, and other things, Mr. Darcy's wife, would need. It also meant supreme quality.
As Lady Catherine became aware of the arrangements, she demanded new dresses, for various balls and visits, in celebration of the forthcoming wedding of William Darcy to Elizabeth, for the rest of the women. The result was, an addition of four other seamstresses, from Meryton, to accommodate the rest of the women. This fine morning Lady Catherine was there already, with a bemused Miss Bingley in tow.
Kitty and Lidia were excited, you could also call it exuberant, but that would not be Ladylike. So with all the fashionable Ladies about, talking about nothing else but gowns and lace, they were extremely happy. Elizabeth was tired of it already. Having her measurements taken, and all the styles that had to be seen and chosen done, she was ready to quit the scene.
Coming down to the parlour, she met Miss de Bourgh in the hallway. "Why, Miss de Bourgh, shouldn't you be with your mother? She is in my chamber, having Miss Bingley, fitted for a ball gown and numerous other dresses. Shall I show you?"
"Oh, no, please, let me be. I hate all the bother over new dresses. And since you are to be my cousin, please, call me Anne?"
"Of course, Anne, and please, you must call me Elizabeth." She said, smiling impishly at her new cousin. "What would you want to do? I have to go to my father's steward. We have a few problems with our horses, which I want to discuss with him. I will not come close to them, but I have to locate the man and you can look at the horses, you could come with me, if you like horses, that is. Otherwise, you can sit with my father and your cousin Richard. They are having breakfast"
Enthusiastically, Anne responded, "Oh, I would much like to see your famous horses, I love them and I miss my horse already. At home, I ride every day. That's a way to be out of the house. I love my mother, but she can be so...demanding."
Elizabeth giggled, "Yes, they can be, can they." She replied diplomatically, thinking of her own parents. "Come, let us look for Ashton Saynsberry. I won't be long and he can show you the horses. He might even be so kind as to go with you for a ride. He does so with my sisters, when they have no one else to go with them. We have enough riding clothes here in the house, if you really want to ride."
"I would like to, but no. I can't do that. My mother will have a fit, if I go out riding today. She wants me to have a dress fitting too. She is nagging me to marry, but I don't want to just yet. In the two years I've been out, I've not yet seen a man whom I like enough to court."
Not that my mother was pushing me to marry, but I know the feeling. Not being attracted to the men of my acquaintance. That was until I met William. Chatting softly with each other, they rounded the corner of the house. Elizabeth was talking. "I know the feeling. I have been lucky, for my man bumped into me by accident and I..."as they were talking, they had been looking at each other and had not heed to where they were walking. As it was, the person that was coming from the stable side wasn't either. Anne, had the feeling she walked into a brick wall and was thrown to the ground with the brick wall all over her. She could hear Elizabeth shriek and then...all went black.
Ashton Saynsberry was, in fact, the second son of the Duke of Cornwall. Although, nobody but Mr. Bennet knew, in Hertfordshire. He had walked out of his father's house two years back. He had brought up his desire to work with horses, but not in the military. He had been in the horse guard for some years, but he hated the battlefield. The last time, he had scarcely made it home after being shot in the leg. He loved his country like the next man, but not enough to experience all that heartbreak and sorrow, time and again. Then, he had to be honest to himself. He was just not a military man. He loved nature, in all her glory. Horses were his passion. He enjoyed the calmness of the country and the people that resided there. His father, did not or would not, understand, and had commanded, for him to go back to his regiment, otherwise, he wouldn't get an allowance anymore from the Dukedom. His choice was clear. He resigned his commission, and found the best thoroughbred program in the country.
So today, Mr. Saynsberry, found himself on the ground. Draped on top of a beautiful lady. Her hair was as dark as his was fair. Her eyes, he had seen in a flash, where a gorgeous green as his were golden brown. All this was going though his head, before he really registered what happened, and that the Miss was not responding to Miss Elizabeth's pleas to open her eyes. He clumsily, got to his feet, and helped Miss Elizabeth, to get the other lady, into the house. He lifted her up and securely wrapped in his arms, he started walking to the Longbourn house. Her dress, was thorn and dirty from the fall, and when he entered the hall, a woman started screaming. "Anne, oh, Anne. What happened to Anne? You, sir, why are you carrying her? Anne, oh. She's dead." Elizabeth tried, mightily, to calm her down and explain to her what had occurred, but Lady Catherine, wouldn't stop screaming. Miss Anne, began to regain consciousness while shifting in Mr. Saynsberry's arms. As she looked up at him, their eyes locked. Mr. Saynsberry liked what he saw.
When Miss Anne had opened her eyes, her mother, almost swooned and the uproar was complete. After Lady Catherine had composed herself enough to stand alone again, she started yelling to Mr. Saynsberry, about her daughter's reputation, since he had seen her strays. How much more can get wrong today?