I am honored to share with my readers an exclusive holiday vignette written by the talented Jenetta James, which is based on her popular JAFF book, “Suddenly Mrs. Darcy.”
Quite a few readers of “Suddenly Mrs Darcy” have asked me whether I considered writing any chapters from the perspective of Mr Darcy. The novel is written completely from Elizabeth’s point of view and one of its shortcomings might be that as a result of that, it can feel a bit distant from everyone’s favourite Derbyshire landowner. For that reason, and in celebration of the season, what follows is a very short vignette from the inimitable Fitzwilliam. Here is a glimpse of the Mr Darcy of “Suddenly Mrs Darcy,” upon his first Christmas as a married man. I hope that you enjoy it. Thank you to anyone who reads or comments and Merry Christmas. Anyone who comments by December 15th will be included in a chance of winning a paperback copy of “Suddenly Mrs Darcy,” mailed to wherever in the world they live. The winner will be announced on this blog on December 16, 2015.
Thank you also to the lovely Claudine for kindly hosting me as part of this special blog event.
The orange of the fire flickers about the wall before me a log cracks in the heat as I pace my study floor. The sight of James readying the horses to the carriage catches my eye through the window and I nod to him in acknowledgement. He is a man with many female relations and surely knows that I await my wife and sister before we can be away to church.
My wife. The word sounds unlikely in my ear even now. It is hard to credit that matters have proceeded as they have, the blessings of it can hardly be counted. And yet it is true. My beloved Elizabeth is here and she is Mrs Darcy. I gave her a small gift upon waking this morning for which I was rewarded with a kiss on the side of my head. Involuntarily, I have touched this place a number of times this morning, although I am not sure why. The memory of clipping the necklace around her slender neck as she sat up in bed warms me. Conscious that my sister may walk in at any moment, I turn my mind from this fond recollection and stride towards my desk.
I note that Alice’s letter is on the top of a pile of correspondence and I pick it up and consider it again. She really is an impossible creature to manage; demanding, irascible, excitable. If it were not enough that she has taken to lobbying me on the subject of Georgiana, I am now berated in every letter about Elizabeth as well. I turn the paper over in my hand and regard the familiar swoop of her elegant signature, soon to be different. That event cannot come soon enough. In resignation, I go to place the letter back upon the desk and am struck by the thought that it ought not be so on display.
It is not that I believe that Elizabeth would seek to read the private papers in my study but she does have both an enquiring mind and a way of wandering about. And those eyes of such intelligence I fear how much they see. No. It will not do to leave Alice’s letter lying about. I cannot possibly have her reading it and wishing to know things. Matters, long kept in the dark, shall not be cast into the light as a result of my carelessness and Elizabeth’s innocence shall be preserved. It was in my mind to secrete it in a drawer or within a book of no interest when Georgiana burst into the room and I was forced to whip the thing behind my back.
Merry Christmas brother. What a clear morning it is”
“Merry Christmas my dear” I leaned down to kiss her cheek, studiously clasping the letter to my lower back.
“I hope that the service isn’t too long today”
“Lizzy and I have been practicing Christmas carols and we intend to put on a performance for you when we get back from church” she flushed and I could not say that I had been secretly listening to their rehearsals for some days. Stood against the music room door as God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and various others danced around me. The sound of Elizabeth’s voice so sweet I could almost taste it on the air. My sister’s playing, now slightly more joyful, more forthright, as befits the season, had not escaped me.
I was about to make some expression of astonishment and anticipation when the door opened and in glided Elizabeth herself. She was warmly dressed in her red cape that reflects so on the light porcelain of her skin. She curtseys as she sees me and I am caught by the formality of it. Sometimes she is as a woman, known only to me and sometimes, she as a gentlewoman of my acquaintance who bobs and curtseys and even now says “Mr Darcy” when she forgets that I asked her not to. I cannot but regret this state of affairs. Is there some remedy for this, that lies with me?
“I see that I have kept you waiting” her eyes gleam as she smiles at me and I see that she wears the necklace. I would like very much to kiss her but force myself to refrain. Not for the first time, I reflect that an unforeseen challenge of matrimony is the amount of restraint involved. I never would have imagined it would be so great.
“Not at all Elizabeth. But I think the carriage is ready”.
I was about to hold out an arm to each of them when I recalled that I still had Alice’s letter clasped behind my back. There is nothing for it. Georgiana gazes out of the window, talking of the road and the village. But Elizabeth watches me openly as I quickly fold the paper smaller and place it in my breast pocket. I imagine to myself that it is a thing of no importance. When she places her delicate hand upon my arm I squeeze it slightly before turning to Georgiana. I hope against everything that my wife does not grow suspicious
I’d like to thank Jenetta James for coming to me with such a great idea for our holiday event. and for writing such a lovely vignette for our Just Jane 1813 readers. As many people know, I read “Suddenly Mrs. Darcy” in one night and have became an instant fan of Jenetta’s writing style. I can’t express how memorable this holiday season has been having two of my favorite JAFF writers create special stories this holiday season, just for my blog readers. It has also made me excitely anticipate the release of Jenetta’s next book! I’d also like to thank her for offering our Just Jane 1813 readers this generous giveaway opportunity!