Winners from the “Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way” Giveaways

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These are the winners of an eBook of Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way. All eBooks have been ordered and claimed.  The list includes those from Austen Authors, More Agreeably Engaged, My Jane Austen Book Club, and those from this blog. They are listed alphabetically. 

Kate B.

Butterflykel

Buturot

Mary Campbell

Charlene Capodice

darcybennett

Eva Edmonds

Delores Erwin 

Ginna Hoppes 

Sahadha Kadirbaks

katzanne

lynnchar

Daniela Q

Katherine Voroshuk

Amy Zelenka

WTaFD eBook Cover-01

 

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Mean Girls in Jane Austen’s Books, a Guest Post from Bronwen Chisholm

This post was originally posted on Austen Authors on 7 July 2018.

Most of my readers are not aware that my husband and I have a non-profit organization for teens. It is a long story how it all came about and that is not the focus of this blog, so I will just put a link to our website here and an article that was written about it and move on. (www.teenenrichment.org, https://www.fredericksburg.com/discover/difference-maker-spotsylvania-s-donald-robinson-works-overtime-to-help/article_e499c4c5-333f-5ab3-8a98-f60bf4ec39a0.html)

The reason I mentioned it now is that being part of this organization brought me into contact with many talented young writers who were searching for a writing group where they could learn and share their talents. Through a series of events that I now realize God set in motion a decade earlier, I became the coordinator of the Riverside Young Writers. The blessings of working with these kids and bringing in speakers to open their eyes to possibilities have been overwhelming.

One of these beautiful, bright young ladies was invited by one of our speakers to write a blog and she chose to discuss The Evolution of Strong Female Characters: From the Classics to Today’s Young Adult Fiction (https://klkranes.com/2018/04/15/the-evolution-of-strong-female-characters-from-the-classics-to-todays-young-adult-fiction-guest-blogger-cara-hadden/). I cannot tell you how tickled I was when she focused a good portion of her blog on Jane Austen, listing her as one of our “Founding Writer Mothers”.

With that in mind, a recent discussion about feminism with my Darcy-in-training son, and watching some of the teen dramas with my fifteen year old Elizabeth-like daughter made me start thinking about women, real and fictional, and how we treat each other. (As my son pointed out, men don’t “slut shame”; they have no problems with a girl who is easy.)

Though many things have changed since I was in high school, one always seems to remain the same: the way girls treat each other. When I first started playing with this topic, I immediately zeroed in on Caroline Bingley of Pride and Prejudice, Fanny Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility, and Mrs. Elton of Emma.

Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, 1995
Mrs. Elton, Sense and Sensibility, 2009
Mrs. Dashwood and Fanny Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, 1995

Who could deny that these “ladies” mastered the ability to undercut any woman who dared to consider drawing the attention of one of their gentlemen, whether brother or imagined suitor? But when I sat down with a list of characters from each book, I found myself having difficulty putting the women in categories of guilty vs. innocent of affronts to women-kind. Sure there is Jane Bennet who will only find the good in others, but even Lizzy admits uncharitable thoughts regarding Mary King following Lydia’s description of her as “a nasty little freckled thing”.

Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, 1995

“Elizabeth was shocked to think that, however incapable of such coarseness of expression herself, the coarseness of the sentiment was little other than her own breast had harboured and fancied liberal!” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 39)

 

Mr. Willoughby and Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, 1995

It does not surprise us when Marianne Dashwood displays an “invariable coldness of her behaviour towards (the Steele sisters), which checked every endeavour at intimacy on their side” (Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 22), but would we want our daughters to treat others in this manner?

Though I rarely admit it in public, and will probably hear about it for saying it here, I am not a fan of Emma. The only adaptation that I watch on a regular basis is Clueless.

Emma, 1996, and Cher from Clueless, 1995

In reading passages to find examples for this blog, I zeroed in on why Emma has always been a struggle for me. I don’t like her. Emma Woodhouse is the queen bee, the Regina George (Mean Girls), the Heather Chandler (Heathers).

Rachel McAdams as Regina George in Mean Girls, 2004
Poster from Heathers the Musical based on the 1988 movie, Heathers

She is the one who thinks it is her place to decide what and who all the other women around her should be. Okay, I will allow that she is not as cruel as some of the examples I have mentioned, but she is no saint either. Her own creator had this to say of her:

“The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.” (Emma, Chapter 1)

And Mr. Knightley seemed to always be correcting her, reminding her to think of others.

“Emma, I must once more speak to you as I have been used to do: a privilege rather endured than allowed, perhaps, but I must still use it. I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance. How could you be so unfeeling to Miss Bates? How could you be so insolent in your wit to a woman of her character, age, and situation?—Emma, I had not thought it possible.” (Emma, Chapter 7)

In attempting to draw this blog to a close, I was at a loss. Mean girls will always exist, sometimes within ourselves. I suppose that all we can do is try to pay more attention to what we say and how we say it, and to encourage our daughters to be more accepting of each other. Jane Bennet might sound naïve at times and be a bit too trusting, but perhaps a page from her book is the best place to end.

“I (Jane) would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think.”

“I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough—one meets with it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design—to take the good of everybody’s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad—belongs to you alone.” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 4)

Jane an Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, 1995

 

Who is your favorite Austen mean girl?

 

711-vO68COL._UX250_.jpgMeet Bronwen Chisholm: 

Bronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on Women’s Fiction and Suspense Romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice Alternatives. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending. Her current work is told entirely from Georgiana Darcy’s point of view and should be released by late summer, 2016. 

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the Vice President of The Riverside Writers.

For more information, visit her at http://www.bronwenchisholm.wordpress.com

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Posted in Austen Authors, Guest Post, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, reading, reading habits, Vagary, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Bertie’s Attempt to Become Lord Willoughby d’Eresby ~ Part II

This post is a continuation of the one from September 3, which introduced my readers to Richard Bertie and his unsuccessful attempt to become Lord Willoughby d’Eresby. 

800px-Catherine,_Duchess_of_Suffolk_by_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger

Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk (Wikipedia)

Richard Bertie married the widowed Duchess of Suffolk and had issue by her, a son named Peregrine. Bertie made a claim to the Barony of Willoughby, for his wife was the 12th Baroness Willoughby in addition to her title as duchess. Bertie’s claim considered the two Baronies of Willoughby and Eresby.  He did so in right of his wife, Catherine, as tenant of the curtesy. The claim was referred to Queen Elizabeth I, who turned it over to Lord Burghley and two other Commissioners. There was an additional claim to the same dignity by Peregrine Bertie, the son of the claimant. The commissioners made their report in favor of the son, who was accordingly admitted to the dignity, in the lifetime of his father. (Cruise, William, Esq. A Treatise on the Origin and Nature of Titles of Honor: All the Cases of Peerage, Together With the Mode of Proceedings in Claims of This Kind, London, Joseph Butterworth and Son, 1823.)

But there was more going on than a simple proceeding. For example, Henry VIII declared he would not permit a female heir to provide him his barons. Two questions were to be addressed in this claim: (1) Could a female could inherit as a right and later transmit said peerage to her heirs, a Barony in fee. (2) If she had that privilege, was her husband entitled to the barony or to style himself as a baron in her right?

In reality, little of this case was settled until 1674 when “the judges expressed an opinion that Gervas Clifton (who was summoned to Parliament in the sixth year in the reign of James I) was by virtue of the writ of summons and sitting in Parliament ‘a Peer and Baron of this kingdom, and his blood thereby ennobled,’ and that ‘his honour descended from him to Katherine, his sole daughter and heir and successively after several descents to the petitioner,’ who was his great-granddaughter. The House of Lords thereupon resolved ‘that the claimant Katherine O’Brien had right to the Barony of Clifton. Even this was a decision upon a particular case than an enunciation of a general principle. It appears, however, to have been a sufficient precedence for all subsequent cases in which the circumstances were the same, but to have left open the question of the period at which a summons to Parliament following by a sitting first operated to create an hereditary barony.” (Pike, Luke Owen. A Constitutional History of the House of Lords, from Original Sources, Burt Franklin, New York, first published in London, 1894, page 131.)

In his case, Bertie argued with another precedence. His wife Catherine was named the heir to the dukedom. At her father’s death, Catherine became the ward the King, who on 1 March 1528, sold it to his brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Catherine was reportedly betrothed to Suffolk’s son by his third wife, Mary Tudor. Mary Tudor died at Westhorpe on 25 June 1433, and six weeks later at the ages of 49 for Suffolk and 14 for Catherine, the pair wed. [Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln, Suffolk’s son died in 1534. Although Suffolk was forty-nine and Catherine only fourteen, the marriage was a successful one. The Willoughby inheritance was not fully settled until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, but Suffolk was able to force Sir Christopher Willoughby to relinquish possession of some of the contested Willoughby estates, and Suffolk eventually became the greatest magnate in Lincolnshire. Suffolk and Catherine had two sons, Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk and Charles Brandon, 3rd. Duke of Suffolk.

Lord Brandon succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Suffolk on 22 August 1545. He and his younger brother were both minors and continued their education by going up to St John’s College, Cambridge. During an epidemic of the sweating sickness, the two youths died, Suffolk first and his younger brother about an hour later. They died at the Bishop of Lincoln’s Palace in the village of Buckden, near Huntingdon, where they had fled in an attempt to escape the epidemic.

More importantly, to Bertie’s case, Suffolk had influenced a decision in favor of his wife, who as her father’s daughter, had usurped her father’s younger brother, the male heir, after Lord Willoughby’s death in 1525. Bertie claimed that Catherine’s right had been established against her uncle’s claim, and that said uncle’s son was denied the title of Willoughby of Eresby (and assigned that of Willoughby of Parham) when he was raised to the peerage in 1547. 

More than two years passed before Bertie could secure a hearing on the matter. On 14 April 1572, Bertie writes to Lord Burghley, “I send to your Lordship by this bearer my servant (1) the bill for confirmation, having used therein the advice of Mr. Attorney General. I send also (2) a collection of such as have in the right of their wives enjoyed titles of honour; though you required but a few names, yet, I send many; … And, to prove the use of it in the Barony of Willoughby, I send (3) two Court Rolls where you shall find it in the title etc.” (British History Online. Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603. Originally published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1930.)

The two questions presented above were decided in opposition. Beyond dispute, it was decided that not only could a female inherit a barony, but she could transmit said barony to her heirs. However, the claim of the husband to right of her title was not upheld. The thing we must remember about is Bertie’s claim came about when there was little precedent on the books to support his claim. It was questionable then whether Richard Bertie’s claim was valid. Much debate on the issue occurred. The writ of summons to his son Peregrine, especially occurring during Richard’s own lifetime, was a landmark decision, one that was fatal to the view that a barony could be held by “the curtsey of England.” In other words, Richard Bertie could not succeed to the Barony of Willoughby d’Eresby at the same time as his son was named to that peerage. There could not be two Barons of Willoughby operating at the same time. 

Posted in Act of Parliament, British history, Elizabeth I, estates, Inheritance, kings and queens, marriage, peerage, research, titles of aristocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Celebrating Birthdays with Jane Austen

 

Today, I turn the ripe old age of 71. I am a VIRGO. Some of you know what that means. Some of you are about to learn. 

Horoscope.com tells us these Virgo Facts

  • Symbol:   The Virgin
  • Element:   Earth
  • Polarity:   Negative
  • Quality:   Mutable
  • Ruling Planet:   Mercury
  • Ruling House:   Sixth
  • Spirit Color:   Silver
  • Lucky Gem:   Peridot
  • Flower:   Sunflower & marigold
  • Top Love Matches: Cancer   
  • Key Traits:   Graceful, organized, kind
  • Motto:   “My best can always be better.

Smart, sophisticated, and kind, Virgo gets the job done without complaining. Virgos are amazing friends, always there to lend a hand and also lend advice. Practical Virgos are incredibly adept at big picture thinking, and planning out their life, their vacations, and what they’re going to do today isn’t a drag it makes them feel in control and secure.

Virgos have a rich inner life, and can sometimes seem shy at first meeting. A Virgo will not spill secrets right away, and it is important to earn a Virgo’s trust. But once you do, that Virgo will be a friend for life. 

Virgos expect perfection from themselves, and they may project those high standards on the other people in their lives. A Virgo hates when someone lets him or her down, even if the indiscretion is minor and unavoidable, like a last-minute cancellation. Virgos never want to disappoint the people in their lives, so they may spread themselves too thin and put themselves last.

Intelligent and a lifelong learner, Virgos loves trying new things, reading books, and learning about the world. They will happily sign up for an adult-education course, and they consider an afternoon in bed with a book pretty much ideal. A Virgo prefers an evening with good friends to a huge party and values downtime just as much as socializing. This sign does not need to fill their calendar to be content.

According to Metro, these are some of the reasons being born in September is special. 

September is the best month to be born in. Fact. Birthdays are a highlight of the year for us all because it is the one day of the year when everyone has to be nice to us. We get to eat as much as possible, people sometimes sing a little jingle and fancy presents are involved. In fact, birthdays are even better than Christmas. But the only way to make a birthday even better is by having it in September.

“Perfect weather  September babies don’t need to fret over the implications of the weather on their fierce birthday outfit when celebrating. The weather is in that blissful stage when it’s not so humid that within ten minutes your back gets sweaty, and it’s not so cold that you’ll freeze your fabulous birthday socks off. So basically werk it.

“Excellent timing The fact that summer is now over doesn’t even register on your radar, because you’re far too busy counting down until your birthday. Summertime sadness isn’t a thing for September babies, and in fact you’re a bit glad when it’s over because you know it’s time to dig out the birthday badge. Yay.

“So many outfit choices If your birthday lands in September you don’t have to deal with the trauma of squeezing yourself into a tiny dress, or a tight vest. Nope, instead you can bask in the greatness of autumn fashion, and wear the nicest jumper that you have.

And food choices As the weather gets a little cooler it’s goodbye to salads and fruit juices, and hello to lovely stodgy food like cheese potato pie and roast dinners. May as well have a roast dinner for your birthday meal.

Cool star signs  September babies are either a Virgo or a Libra. So you’re basically the most sexiest star sign around (fact) or have a strong sense of justice. None of this boring water carrier nonsense over here.

“Birthday drinks Does anyone else have a special type of alcohol dedicated to their birthday month? Probably not. September is all about Jack Daniels, and because no-one is quite sure when he was actually born the whole month is dedicated to him. A perfect excuse to have several Jack Daniels drinks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“So much fun ahead A September birthday is a great way to kick off an entire period of absolute fun. A birthday just before the return of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks followed by Halloween, Bonfire Night, the new TV season and Christmas? Yeah, go on then.

“Sapphire is your birthday stone  Titanic pretty much cemented the fact that September babies are the best. Not convinced? Well does your birthday stone have an entire movie based around an expedition searching for a necklace known as ‘The Heart of the Ocean’? No, no it does not.

“Birthday getaways are cheaper We all know the best birthday present is a cheeky little getaway. And thanks to kids going back to school, you can be guaranteed to pick up a really good holiday bargain. Barcelona return flight for £50, when in August it was £200? Amazing. [It’s $1415 for a nonstop flight to London when I wrote this post on 18 July 2018. It is estimated to be $455 in mid September, with connecting flights.]

“New beginnings Everyone foolishly assumes that January is the month for a fresh start, but we all know that this is a lie. Have you ever started something in January and followed it through? Probably not. But in September you’ll actually stick to any new ventures you take up, like that new TV series that has just started, or your commitment to try everything on the new autumn Costa menu.

“Turns you into a smarty pants Apparently babies born in September have 25% more chance of getting into Oxford or Cambridge than a baby born in August. [Unfortunately, according to Facebook, which never shares Fake News, Virgos outnumber other signs of the Zodiac as serial killers. Perhaps people shouldn’t piss us off. Just saying!]  

“Empty theme parks Going to a theme park is probably the best way to celebrate your birthday, and because all the annoying little kids are back at school, September babies can indulge in queue free fun. The lack of queues and perfect weather make for the most fun you can have in the daytime. And if you make enough of a scene about it being your birthday you can probably get in for free.

All this talk of birthdays got me thinking about the lack of birthday celebrations in Austen’s novels. It is quite disheartening to have others forget one’s birthday, but it was not so for Jane Austen and her family. We know Christmas had not the “glorious significance” as it does these days, but what of birthdays? Quite simply, as Anglicans, such humoring of a person, would have been frowned upon.

Sense-and-Sensibility-007Can you think of one person in Austen’s books who even mentions a birthday? The only one which springs to mind to me is Harriet Smith in “Emma.” Harriet speaks of hers and Robert Martin’s birthdays occurring within a fortnight, and those birthdays were separated only by one day.

As readers we know many of the characters’ ages. Lydia Bennet is but fifteen when we first meet her, but she is sixteen when she marries George Wickham. Marianne Dashwood is seventeen at the beginning of “Sense and Sensibility” and is nineteen when she marries Colonel Brandon. Fanny Price is a child when she first comes to “Mansfield Park”; yet, never once are her birthdays mentioned as a passing of time. Jane Fairfax is approaching one and twenty and the prospect of becoming a governess. Charlotte Lucas at seven and twenty has “become a burden to her family.” Elizabeth Elliot is nearly thirty and not married, and Anne Elliot is seven and twenty when Captain Wentworth returns to claim her. Catherine Morland turns eighteen just before Henry Tilney claims her as his wife. Even Elizabeth Bennet must have had a birthday somewhere in the year she had taken Mr. Darcy’s acquaintance. But when? There is no mention of her chronological aging, only her emotional aging. The closest we come to knowing something of Elizabeth’s age is when she admits to being twenty to Lady Catherine. But we do not know if she was nineteen when the book began and turned twenty some time between November when she dance with Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball, or whether, like me, she is a September baby, turning one and twenty after she encounters Darcy again at Pemberley. Is such true for all of Austen’s characters? Austen wrote from her life experiences. If she did not “celebrate” such milestones, why would her characters? Tell me what you think. Am I being bizarre or is there some truth in this assumption?

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2017/09/01/15-reasons-why-september-birthdays-are-the-best-2-6894594/?ito=cbshare

Posted in customs and tradiitons, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the UK, Pride and Prejudice, Regency era, Regency personalities, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Rame Peninsula, Setting for Parts of “Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way” + Giveaway

In writing Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way, I wanted the Bennet ladies to end up in an area more remote than Hertfordshire after the death of Mr. Bennet—to be out of their element. I wanted them not to be close to either Bingley or Darcy—to be in a place where they would need to adapt and stand on their own. I also provided them some interesting legal issues with which to deal.

I chose the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall. Visit Cornwall tells us, “Known as Cornwall’s forgotten corner, the Rame Peninsula is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a landscape of tidal creeks, sandy beaches, lush farmland and country parks. Small villages hide at the heads of creeks, waiting to be discovered, whilst the stretch of coast fronting onto Whitsand Bay offers fantastic views, great walking along the South West Coast Path and one of the few surfing beaches in this part of Cornwall. The Rame Peninsula is bordered on three sides by water; the River Lynher, River Tamar and Plymouth Sound and the English Channel. It encompasses the villages of Antony, Cremyll, Kingsand, Cawsand, Millbrook, St.John, Sheviock, Antony, Wilcove, Crafthole, Downderry, Portwrinkle, Seaton, Freathy and Torpoint.”

Cawsand Cornwall c VCShutterstock

This is Cawsand, where the Bennet ladies will reside in my story. https://www.visitcornwall.com/places/rame-peninsula

 

 

I specifically chose the village of Cawsand for their new home. Cawsand (Porthbugh in Cornish) and Kingsand are twin villages in Cornwall. Kingsand, at the time the story is set, was in Devon. The border has since been moved and now is situated on the River Tamar. They were once renowned for the smugglers along the Plymouth Sound. Cawsand is within the Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. 

In my story, Darcy stays at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park with a friend named, Captain Ralston. When they arrive in Cornwall, the Bennets, specifically, Elizabeth, does not initially realize the size of the the park. Mount Edgcumbe Country Park is 885 acres (3.58km) park. It overlooks Plymouth Sound and the River Tamar. The Edgcumbe family created formal gardens, temples, follies, and woodlands, all surrounding the Tudor-style house. Wild deer are found upon the estate. The South West Coast Path runs through the park for nine miles (14km) along the coastline. The park contains the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, as well as Mount Edgcumbe House itself. The Formal Gardens are grouped in the lower part near Cremyll. Originally an 17th Century wilderness garden, the Edgcumbes transformed the park in the 18th Century. The Formal Gardens contain an Orangery, an Italian garden, a French Garden, an English Garden and a Jubilee Garden, which opened in 2002, to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.  Although the park covers a large area, the park has limited formal maintenance. This gives it a rough and ready rural feel in all except the Formal Gardens.

rame-map

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View from the deer park to Drake’s Island, a 6.5 acre island in the Plymouth Sound

Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way : A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

ELIZABETH BENNET’s world has turned upon its head. Not only is her family about to be banished to the hedgerows after her father’s sudden death, but Mr. Darcy has appeared upon Longbourn’s threshold, not to renew his proposal, as she first feared, but, rather, to serve as Mr. Collins’s agent in taking an accounting of Longbourn’s “treasures” before her father’s cousin steals away all her memories of the place.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY certainly has no desire to encounter Elizabeth Bennet again so soon after her mordant refusal of his hand in marriage, but when his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, strikes a bargain in which her ladyship agrees to provide his Cousin Anne a London Season if Darcy will become Mr. Collins’s agent in Hertfordshire, Darcy accepts in hopes he can convince Miss Elizabeth to think better of him than she, obviously, does. Yet, how can he persuade the woman to recognize his inherent sense of honor, when his inventory of Longbourn’s entailed land and real properties announces the date she and her family will be homeless?

The eBook is available at these outlets: 

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H69N1P1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536421253&sr=8-1&keywords=Where+There%27s+a+Fitzwilliam+Darcy

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/where-there-s-a-fitzwilliam-darcy-there-s-a-way

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/where-theres-a-fitzwilliam-darcy-theres-a-way-regina-jeffers/1129490646?ean=2940161708804

Excerpt from Chapter 18 where Darcy tells the Bennets what he has learned of Eugenia Gardiner’s bequest. 

With the express he received earlier, he was able to clarify several details Mr. Bennet’s papers did not include.

“The house has eight rooms for sleeping purposes on the third storey and several common use rooms on the second. It is not so large as Longbourn, but more than adequate for your needs. Repairs are regularly addressed by the trustees, who accept requests from the land steward when the house has no residents. The rent moneys are used for repairs to the main house and those of the twenty home farms. The estate is relatively small, but it has sheep herds, milk cows, vegetable gardens, and the like. The lease is one hundred twenty-five pounds per year.”

When the others girls remarked that their mother could easily afford the rent with the moneys provided by Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth asked, “How can it be so? Is there some sort of manipulation being practiced?”

He admired how she looked for all the possibilities, while her sisters accepted things without question. If she could see her way clear to marry him, Elizabeth would serve Pemberley well as its mistress. “First,” he explained, “the former Mrs. Gardiner made the arrangements to provide for the women in her family who could not care for themselves. You must remember, when the lady initially came to the estate, she was still a Sommers. Your relation was quite wealthy, her family owned several tin and copper mines, as well as a diamond mine on the African coast. She took possession of this property when she was but one and twenty. She did not marry until she was nearing thirty; therefore, the provisions on age included in her bequest make more sense. According to the men I hired in the area, several female cousins were reported to have lived with her during those years she remained at the manor.

“Secondly, the area is not as readily accessible as Hertfordshire. Kingsand in Devon and Cawsand in Cornwall are fishing villages, not villages in the image of Meryton. They are twin villages. Supposedly there is one house sitting on the border between the two shires, but I do not know whether that is legend or fact. The villages have been around since the 1600s, and, at one time, were renowned for smuggling activities. The area is beautiful, part of the Rame Peninsula, and the villages are within the Mount Edgcumbe Park, the expansive estate owned by George Edgcumbe, the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. The beach is sand and shingle and offers views of ships coming and going on the Plymouth Sound. There are ferries at Torpoint and at Cremyll. Plymouth is some ten miles by land from the Gardiner estate.”

“It sounds magnificent,” Miss Jane declared. “A new start for our family.”

Darcy continued his recital of all they should expect, without making comments on the suitability of the estate of their choice to remove to the property. He wished the decision to be one belonging to the Bennets, even if their doing so would destroy his dream of claiming Elizabeth to wife. “It will take us close to a week to reach Mrs. Gardiner’s property. There are horseboats to move your belongings as part of the ferries or Mr. Hill may choose the longer land route along the peninsula. Either way, Hill should depart Longbourn by this time next week to provide him time to make the journey there and return before Collins summons him to Kent.”

“What is the name of the estate?”

“What do you mean by ‘us’?”

Miss Kitty and Miss Elizabeth spoke over each other.

He smiled at Miss Kitty before saying, “Gardenia Hall, but its original name was Peninsula Place. Your relation changed the name when she married and joined her husband’s home.”

“I think Gardenia is the perfect name,” Miss Kitty declared. “It is the mix of Gardiner and Eugenia, and it sounds more inviting than Peninsula Place.”

“There is nothing inviting about it,” Miss Lydia grumbled, until Mrs. Bennet snapped her fingers and ordered the girl from the room. Darcy did his best to hide his smirk, but it was difficult. At least for now, Mrs. Bennet remained adamant about her daughter’s inconsiderate nature.

“And to answer your question, Miss Elizabeth,” he said in tones which brooked no argument, although he suspected she would argue with him, nevertheless, “you must realize I mean to escort you and your family to Cornwall. A gentleman would never permit six females to travel alone. Moreover, neither of your uncles can afford to spend two weeks away from his business. It will be that long to see you to Cornwall and return safely to their homes.”

“But your obligation is to Mr. Collins, not us,” Elizabeth challenged.

“My obligation to Mr. Collins is nearly complete, and if I do not finish before your family must depart, I will leave your cousin detailed instructions chronicling what I have completed and what still must be done. I will not move on this matter, so another argument will serve no purpose.” He wanted to tell her he loved her too much ever to desert her, but, with an audience, his stubbornness would have to serve as his rebuttal.

“It is best, Elizabeth,” Mrs. Gardiner said. “Your family will require a gentleman to act upon your behalf in securing the property. It is the way of the world. Even if you were a rich heiress, you would require a man to perform as your agent in terms of property.”

Miss Elizabeth scowled at her aunt, but she said, “So be it. Mr. Darcy will serve as our escort.”

“If the area around the estate is less accessible than what is in Meryton, how will we get about after we return Mr. Bennet’s carriage to Mr. Collins?” Mrs. Bennet asked.

Although he would prefer to pacify Elizabeth’s questions, Darcy answered, “The estate is but a little more than a mile from Cawsand, but there is a work wagon and a small carriage available. The annual feed and the cost of running the estate are currently paid by the trust set aside by the late Mrs. Gardiner, but those items will be a part of what you must furnish while you remain in residence at Gardenia Hall. The trust which oversees the estate says the late Mrs. Gardiner spoke to her relations knowing independence, not charity. I will leave the letter I received today for each of you to read at your leisure.” He handed it off to Mr. Gardiner. “It outlines the responsibilities your family must meet to be a recipient of the bequest. I must caution you all, but specifically you, Mrs. Bennet, although it will be the funds Mr. Bennet supplied you which will support your family during this period, it will be whichever daughter oversees the estate at the time who must make all the decisions. The accounts will be in that daughter’s name.”

“But my daughters can accept my suggestions? Can they not?” Mrs. Bennet frowned deeply.

Darcy chose a diplomatic response. “As you and your daughters are part of a loving family, I am certain no contention will be present, but the late Mrs. Gardiner was very specific in her instructions. The lady wished those using her property to learn how to survive the death of the family patriarch, something with which she personally struggled. Therefore, the reason for the choices to be only in one person’s hands is clear. Your role will be to advise each of your daughters in turn.”

GIVEAWAY!!!! I have two eBook copies of Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way available for those who comment below. The giveaway ends at midnight EDST on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. 

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Lease and Release as a Plot Point in “Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way” + a Giveaway

In my latest Austen-inspired piece, I use a legal property term referred to as Lease and Release. The legal definition of Lease and Release says, it is a species of conveyance, invented by Serjeant Moore, soon after the enactment of the Statue of Uses. It is thus contrived; a lease, or rather bargain and sale, upon some pecuniary consideration, for one year, is made by the tenant of the freehold to the lessee or bargainee. This without any enrollment, makes the bargainer stand seised to the use of the barginee, and vests in the bargainee the use of the term for one year, and then the statue immediately annexes the possession. Being this in possess, he is capable of receiving a release of the freehold and reversion, which must be made to the tenant in possession; and, accordingly, the next day a release is granted to him.”

National_Archives___C54_Close_Rolls_group-1

Legal records were kept in long rolls.Close Rolls group (reproduced courtesy ofThe National Archives C54) https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/crime/surreys_jps/1_keepers/national_archives___c54_close_rolls_group-jpg/

 I lost you, with all the legalese, bear with me for a few moments more. First the Serjeant Moore mentioned in this definition is Sir Francis Moore, a prominent Jacobean barrister and Member of Parliament. In parliament he was a frequent speaker, and is supposed to have drawn the well-known statute of Charitable Uses which was passed in 1601. The conveyance known as lease and release was his invention which remains one of two main ways to extend a lease, each with financial and physical demise advantages and disadvantages. [Goodwin, Gordon (1894).  “Moore, Francis (1558-1621)”. In Sidney, Lee. Dictionary of National Biography. 38. London, Smith, Elder & Co.]

For Lease and Release to work, two agreements were required. First, a bargain (sale) contract was executed by the seller to convey a lease on the land…(Unlike an outright sale, short leases did not require enrollment in a public registry.) The seller then separately executed a release to grant to the buyer (who was now his tenant) the seller’s remaining interest. [This transfers] title to the buyer, since he now owned both the current and future interests in the land. [“A Bit of Deed History,” Bob’s Genealogy Filing Cabinet

In writing this story, I took some dramatic license by making a property in Cornwall on the Rame Peninsula available to the Bennets, after Mr. Bennet’s unexpected death. I set up the terms of the property as a combination of lease and release (with no option to purchase the land, for, obviously, the Bennets could not afford it) and a leasehold, which customarily involves the owner of the property “leasing” it to a potential buyer for a period of time, generally 99 years in the western shires of England, during the early 1800s, but only 21 in the eastern shires. 

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Introducing Where There’s a Fitzwilliam Darcy, There’s a Way 

ELIZABETH BENNET’s world has turned upon its head. Not only is her family about to be banished to the hedgerows after her father’s sudden death, but Mr. Darcy has appeared upon Longbourn’s threshold, not to renew his proposal, as she first feared, but, rather, to serve as Mr. Collins’s agent in taking an accounting of Longbourn’s “treasures” before her father’s cousin steals away all her memories of the place.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY certainly has no desire to encounter Elizabeth Bennet again so soon after her mordant refusal of his hand in marriage, but when his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, strikes a bargain in which her ladyship agrees to provide his Cousin Anne a London Season if Darcy will become Mr. Collins’s agent in Hertfordshire, Darcy accepts in hopes he can convince Miss Elizabeth to think better of him than she, obviously, does. Yet, how can he persuade the woman to recognize his inherent sense of honor, when his inventory of Longbourn’s entailed land and real properties announces the date she and her family will be homeless?

WTaFD eBook Cover-01.jpg

The eBook is available at these outlets: 

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H69N1P1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536421253&sr=8-1&keywords=Where+There%27s+a+Fitzwilliam+Darcy

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/where-there-s-a-fitzwilliam-darcy-there-s-a-way

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/where-theres-a-fitzwilliam-darcy-theres-a-way-regina-jeffers/1129490646?ean=2940161708804

Permit Mr. Darcy, in an excerpt from Chapter 11, to explain it to you as he did to the three eldest Bennet sisters and Mr. Gardiner in Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way

Their days became routine. There was no more talk of her experiencing the presence of Mr. Bennet during her quiet hours, nor of what plans she had made for her future. Instead, they spoke of favorite books and music. They shared tales of their childhood days. Often other members of her family joined them, adding their versions of what were now, for him, familiar tales. They had completed her father’s study and library, the essentials in the dining room, and two small cupboards, where brooms and such were stored. Unfortunately, they had yet to discover another clue, which by all appearances, played havoc with Elizabeth’s disposition.

Therefore, he had been elated when he received the letter from Mr. Tapapses, who had been approached by Darcy’s agent in Devon. It turned out Eugenia Gardiner’s property was located near the twin villages of Kingsand and Caswand on the border between Cornwall and Devon, near Rame Head.

“You wished to speak to me, Mr. Darcy?” Gardiner asked when Mrs. Hill had shown Darcy into Mr. Bennet’s former study. Elizabeth’s uncle was to survey her father’s legal papers and ledgers for clues to the man’s will.

“I did, sir.” Darcy glanced about the room. It had been polished properly for Mr. Collins’s eventual arrival. Gardiner gestured to a nearby chair. When Darcy was settled, he launched into the business he had with the gentleman. “When I discovered the piece on your great-grandmother’s bequest, I took the liberty of making some inquiries.”

Mr. Gardiner’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “Is Elizabeth aware of your doing so?”

“We discussed my offer. Miss Elizabeth did not wish to impose on me, but Miss Mary thought my doing so a fine idea. As no one forbid me to act, I chose to proceed.”

“You realize, of course, Lizzy will chastise you properly,” Gardiner said with a sly grin.

“It will not be the first time,” Darcy admitted.

Gardiner folded his hands together and rested them on the desk. “Your remark to the effect that she was only tolerable and not tempting enough for you was poorly done, sir.”

Darcy forced himself not to squirm under the man’s steady gaze. “I had been dealing with a troubling family situation and was preoccupied with my own misery, but you are correct: My actions were unforgivable. I demonstrated a lack of regard for your niece’s feelings. I did not perform as a gentleman should.”

“I am certain, with Elizabeth’s nature, she has seized upon the opportunity to speak to your insensitivity. I shan’t reprimand you further,” Gardiner assured. “Instead, speak to me of what you have discovered.”

Darcy reached into his pocket to remove Mr. Tapapses’s letter. “I wrote to contacts I hold in Cornwall. That was a little over a week past. This morning an express brought me this response.” He handed Gardiner the letter.

“How did you know to whom to write?” Gardiner questioned.

“There were a series of numbers at the bottom of the page Mr. Bennet hid in the book on hunting. I held the suspicion the numbers designated points on a map or were related to the recording of a deed. Perhaps a date or the jurisdiction’s means of distinguishing one claim from another.” He would not mention the tidy sum he had offered for a quick reply.

Within the half hour, Darcy and Mr. Gardiner discussed Darcy’s findings with the Misses Bennet, Elizabeth, and Mary.

“I am accustomed to examining deeds to property,” he explained when Elizabeth asked him the same question as had her uncle. “According to my contacts, it appears Eugenia Gardiner’s transition to property owner was from parent to child, in the manner of a freehold property passing to the lawful heir; yet, in this case, the property passed upon the maternal side, from mother to daughter. I am assuming it was originally part of Mrs. Sommers’s marriage settlements, and the lady and her husband permitted it to pass to Eugenia, or Mrs. Sommers passed first, and Mr. Sommers claimed it in a tenant of the curtesy situation, and then it passed to Eugenia upon his death. However, it does not matter how the property came into Eugenia’s possession, but, rather, if you have any claims to it.”

“It was very fortunate you thought the numbers at the bottom of the page were significant to the search.” Miss Bennet continued to study the letter.

“In truth, I was not certain whether they indicated the collection of taxes, church tithes, the hearth tax, or land tax assessments,” he admitted. “All have been known to be used to identify property claims. It turns out the numbers indicate markings related to turnpike maps. The property has been properly registered by law with a Clerk of Peace in the appropriate shire. It was originally recorded in Chancery on Close Rolls.”

“Close Rolls?” Miss Mary questioned.

He explained, “Close rolls are grants of land by the Crown to private individuals. In the 1300s, a large number of deeds between private citizens were enrolled on the payment of fees on the back of Close Rolls. The practice continued to the beginning of the last century, which would make sense in the disposition of the land given to the late Mrs. Gardiner. I am not certain how the property came to the late Mrs. Gardiner’s mother, but, after the 1730s, it became a popular practice to transfer properties once on Close Rolls to others to be used for charitable purposes. Many were converted to schools or burial grounds or some such purpose.”

“So this property could be one of these charitable ones?” Miss Elizabeth asked.

Darcy reminded her, “I cannot speak with assurance until I read the latest registration addressing the land’s use.” He spoke directly to the woman he loved. It was important to him for her to understand that Eugenia Gardiner’s property would not resolve all of her family’s problems. “It appears whoever set up the property’s use employed some form of a Lease and Release option.”

Her uncle explained, “With every exchange of property between individuals there is a legal obligation for the deed to be recorded, but this requirement can be evaded by granting a lease for a year on the land meant to be sold, thus avoiding the need to enroll, and then, a few days later, presenting the lessee the right of future possession of the land by a reversion of the lease. However, this property is unique, for although the lease and release is in effect, the person taking possession of the property is not purchasing it, but rather is leasing it for a specific time period. In truth, I would think this a challengeable condition, but as it has been effect, without complaints, for three generations, it could prove a precedence if a court case would be brought against Eugenia’s estate. Surely if the property was not so remote, someone would have brought it to the attention of the authorities before now. Then again, the property is not available to just anyone who wishes to lease, but rather only to Eugenia’s relations, and that may be the clause that protects it.”

Darcy was quick to add, “England has no standard means of recording deeds. Even within a shire the method differs. Various forms of tax records and church tithes are customarily used. I know the property was originally deeded to your great-great-grandmother. I am assuming it is still in her name, and the use of the land is still at her disposal. I imagine when we view her actual will, it will say something to the effect that the land cannot be sold until a certain year far in the future.”

“What Mr. Darcy says makes sense,” Gardiner affirmed. “The property is under the control of Eugenia Gardiner’s trust and controlled by the firm she employed some eighty years removed., one similar to the firm we recently employed to oversee your family’s incomes. The trust would be responsible for any disputes to the validity of our claim, and although I do not expect any, you must be made aware of this possibility.”

“This particular property,” Darcy continued, “employs what could only be termed as a modified lease for three lives, which is a practice popular in the west of England, and it does not surprise me to view it being used here. However, the modification comes in the form of the number of years one family can have use of the lease. Customarily, in England’s western shires, such a lease is good for ninety-nine years, but this one ends after twenty-one years, which is a practice generally found in land documents in the east of England. I suspect the use of ‘twenty-one‘ is employed as a means of permitting a family to know the house’s use and then move on, likely with the females marrying or passing away. That being said, there is a point of legal stability in that at the end of the twenty-one years, the terms may be cancelled, or there can be a change of terms or a simple renewal for an additional twenty-one years.”

“Then the lease would be made out in my name, along with Jane’s and Mary’s, as we are the three oldest and would be the ‘three lives’ you say are required for our acceptance of the lease. Am I understanding this correctly?” Elizabeth asked. She appeared quite pale, and so Darcy reached beneath the table to squeeze the back of her hand, and she rewarded him with a tremulous smile. Reality of what she meant to do to protect her family had, apparently, caught up to her.

“Names of your younger sisters may be added to the lease on the payment of a fee,” Mr. Gardiner told his nieces. “We can decide what is best in that manner if this proves to be how we wish to proceed.”

“The terms appear more reasonable than I first thought,” Miss Bennet observed.

“Except the stipulation that if one of the younger sisters marries before the elders, then the lease will be terminated immediately and without redress,” Miss Mary voiced her obvious concerns. Her plans not to marry would keep Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia from doing so. The girl would need to rethink her future.

“Such terms might force Mrs. Bennet into having second thoughts on permitting Kitty and Lydia so much freedom,” Mr. Gardiner remarked.

Darcy was glad there was, at least, temporary hope of salvation for Elizabeth’s family, but the terms of the agreement presented him an answer his heart openly rejected. Miss Elizabeth would never accept him until Miss Bennet married, and Miss Mary reached her majority.

Miss Bennet, with her customarily quiet acceptance, said, “As long as Lydia and Kitty can be brought in line, we could name our home for the immediate future. Mayhap, by then, one of us three, or all of us, will be in a position to see to our mother’s future.”

Miss Elizabeth added, “I suppose we should explain what Mr. Darcy has uncovered to our mother and sisters. We should set plans to remove to Cornwall as soon as one of our uncles can approach those who oversee the Gardiner property.”

Comment below to be entered into a drawing for two eBook copies of Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way. The giveaway ends at midnight EDST on Sunday, September 16. 

 

 

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Tenant of the Curtesy and the Release of “Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way” + a Giveaway

Tenant of the Curtesy or Courtesy tenure is a legal term indicating the life interest which a widower (meaning the wife’s former husband) may claim in the lands of the deceased wife, under certain conditions. Those requisites to create a tenancy by courtesy are: 

1. A legal marriage existed between the man and the woman

2. The estate claimed in courtesy must have been an estate in possession of which the wife must have been actually seised. (Seisin (or seizin) denotes the legal possession of a feudal fiefdom or fee, that is to say an estate in land.  It was used in the form of “the son and heir of X has obtained seisin of his inheritance,” and thus is effectively a term concerned with conveyancing in the feudal era. The person holding such estate is said to be “seized of it,” a phrase which commonly appears in inquisitions post mortem (i.e. “The jurors find that X died seized of the manor of …”). The monarch alone “owned” all the land of England by his allodial right and all his subjects were merely his tenants under various contracts of feudal tenure. Seisin is believed to have been applicable only to freehold tenures, that is to say a tenure for a term of life, which was heritable, on condition of payment of the appropriate feudal relief  to the overlord. A “freeman” was a man who held by freehold tenure, and thus freehold tenure was anciently said to be the only form of feudal land tenure worthy to be held by a free man. Tenure, and the variety thereof, was the very essence of feudal society and the stratification thereof, and the possession of a tenure (i.e., holding, from Latin teneo “to hold”) was legally established by the act of seisin.

3. Issue must have existed born alive and during the mother’s existence, though it is immaterial whether the issue subsequently live or die, or whether it is born before or after the wife’s seisin. 

 The tenure relates only to those lands of which his wife was in her lifetime actually seised (or sasined in Scots law) and not therefore to an estate of inheritance.  By definition, it is said of a who becomes such in his wife’s estate of inheritance by the birth of a child, but whose estate is not consummated until the death of the wife.  

In the case of lands held under gavelkind tenure [Gavelkind was a system of land tenure associated chiefly with the county of Kent in England, but also found in Ireland and Wales. Under this law, land was divided equally among sons and other heirs.], the husband has a right to courtesy tenure whether there is issue born or not but the courtesy extends only to a moiety (i.e. half) of the wife’s lands and ceases if the husband marries again. The issue must have been capable of inheriting as heir to the wife, so that if for example a wife were seised of lands in tail male [also know as fee tail or entail; a form of trust established by deed or settlement which restricts the sale or inheritance of an estate in real property; instead, it passes automatically by operation of law to an heir pre-determined by the settlement deed.], the birth of a daughter would not entitle the husband to a tenancy by courtesy.

  • The title to the tenancy vests only on the death of the wife.

The Married Women’s Property Act 1882 has not affected the right of courtesy so far as it relates to the wife’s undisposed-of-realty, and the Settled Land Act 1884, section 8, provides that for the purposes of the Settled Land Act 1882, the estate of a tenant by courtesy is to be deemed an estate arising under a settlement made by the wife.  

The application of Courtesy (as spelled in Scots law) was abolished by Section 10 of the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964, in respect of all deaths occurring after the date of that Act. The right of Terce (being the equivalent claim by a wife on her husband’s estate) was also abolished by the same provision.

Resources: 

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911).Curtesy“. Encyclopædia Britannica7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 651.

Baron and Feme 

WTaFD eBook Cover-01

Where There’s a FitzWILLiam Darcy, There’s a Way: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary 

ELIZABETH BENNET’s world has turned upon its head. Not only is her family about to be banished to the hedgerows after her father’s sudden death, but Mr. Darcy has appeared upon Longbourn’s threshold, not to renew his proposal, as she first feared, but, rather, to serve as Mr. Collins’s agent in taking an accounting of Longbourn’s “treasures” before her father’s cousin steals away all her memories of the place.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY certainly has no desire to encounter Elizabeth Bennet again so soon after her mordant refusal of his hand in marriage, but when his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, strikes a bargain in which her ladyship agrees to provide his Cousin Anne a London Season if Darcy will become Mr. Collins’s agent in Hertfordshire, Darcy accepts in hopes he can convince Miss Elizabeth to think better of him than she, obviously, does. Yet, how can he persuade the woman to recognize his inherent sense of honor, when his inventory of Longbourn’s entailed land and real properties announces the date she and her family will be homeless?

The eBook is available at these outlets: 

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H69N1P1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536421253&sr=8-1&keywords=Where+There%27s+a+Fitzwilliam+Darcy

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/where-there-s-a-fitzwilliam-darcy-there-s-a-way

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/where-theres-a-fitzwilliam-darcy-theres-a-way-regina-jeffers/1129490646?ean=2940161708804

In this excerpt, Darcy and the Bennets discuss the possibility of Mrs. Bennet and her daughters claiming an unusual bequest from Mrs. Bennet’s great-great-grandmother, Eugenia. 

“When we reach Longbourn, I mean to sit my sisters and my mother down and explain to them the necessity for economy and how we must be prepared to leave Longbourn by month’s end. Trunks must be packed and transportation arranged. With Mama’s allowance, there is the chance we could discover a small cottage if Eugenia’s property cannot be arranged. We can share rooms, if necessary. I wish Mr. Bennet had not been so quick to make finding his will a game. We could have spent our time searching for a cottage in which we could all live together. If it is viable, I wish my family to leave Longbourn unbroken, instead of being scattered to the wind.”

“I am your servant in this matter,” he said solemnly.

“I despise asking it of you, but would you join us for this difficult conversation? I am certain Mrs. Bennet will possess a multitude of questions.”

“If it is your wish,” he assured her.

And so, before he returned to his lodging at Netherfield, Darcy found himself in a prominent place, beside Elizabeth, at a table holding her mother, her sisters, her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and Mr. Philips.

“I find it quite disheartening,” Mrs. Bennet announced to the group, “that neither my brother, my sister’s husband, nor Mr. Bennet thought me capable of understanding the situation in which we find ourselves.”

“Your nerves,” Mr. Philips said lamely.

“Are a result of being omitted from such decisions,” the lady corrected. “It is quite disconcerting to worry over one’s future, especially as I am permitted no say in my life.”

Miss Elizabeth squeezed the back of her mother’s hand in support. “I agree. Mrs. Bennet’s allowance is our only source of income; therefore, she must thoroughly be made to understand what is expected of her. I know my mother can practice economy. I have witnessed her doing so previously. As Papa made adjustments when they first came to Longbourn, so did she. When Jane and I were small, Mama spoke often to us of the differences in prices of goods, for she realized we must some day run our husbands’ households. Mrs. Bennet came from trade, but that proved an advantage when her husband required a wife who could be frugal.”

“Elizabeth is correct. Mama can be quite adept at running a household when it is necessary. We were never hungry, nor did we go without the necessities. It is only of late that we knew the luxury of new gowns and so forth,” Jane acknowledged in serious tones.

Darcy suggested, “You must wait until I receive word on the Cornwall property to know the extent of the provisions placed on it by the late Mrs. Gardiner, but, meanwhile, you should pursue the possibility of a cottage for let. Lady Catherine informed us that her new clergyman will be in place by the first week of June. Your days at Longbourn are, therefore, truly numbered. I have completed my accounting of all your quarters and the common use areas. You can begin to pack your belongings. As you have expressed your desire not to be in the house when Mr. Collins arrives, you should place the last of your energies in preparing for your removal. Is it possible for you to use Mr. Bennet’s carriage and for Mr. Hill to transport your belongings to your new home?”

“I will see to it,” Mr. Philips replied, but Darcy decided he would write to Mr. Collins to learn when the man would send for the coach to bring him and Mrs. Collins to Longbourn. As he had come to expect, Elizabeth knew the right of the matter: Her family should be gone before the Collinses arrived.

Elizabeth addressed her family, “Do we still wish to pursue the Gardiner property with its possible provisions for our possession or pursue an available cottage instead?”

Miss Jane said, “I would not wish to remain in the area, even in a cottage. We would constantly encounter the Collinses and the Lucases and—” Darcy understood the lady was thinking of Mr. Bingley. “Even though we will not live in penury, we will be facing reduced circumstances. I choose not to know the gossips who will rejoice in our loss of face. In a different neighborhood, no one will know our history unless we choose to share it with them.”

Miss Lydia still complained, “I would prefer a cottage nearby. I do not wish to wait until my sisters marry before I do.”

Mrs. Bennet scowled at her youngest daughter. “Your recent actions have proven I made a mistake in permitting you and Kitty to join in society before you were prepared to do so. Jane and Elizabeth and Mary served their time waiting to be presented to others, and I should have seen such was best for all of you. Your father attempted to warn me, but I did not listen. That being said, you will listen to me now, or know my wrath. Your selfish disregard for your sisters and for me speaks loudly of my error in trusting you with so much responsibility. Thankfully, being in mourning will deny you the freedom you demand and provide you time on reflection. We will begin again with your studies as soon as we are settled elsewhere. None of us will enjoy society for six months, and there will be no balls or assemblies or the like for another six. Wherever we settle, our interactions will be limited to church services and the occasional call upon our neighbors. Your preference holds no significance in this conversation. How do you ever expect to attract a proper husband when you waste your time with the likes of Mr. Wickham?”

Miss Lydia countered, “Only recently you defended Wickham to Elizabeth.”

“That was before I learned of his many debts to the local shopkeepers. Your father and I were very conscious of our debts to others, and we never spent more than we had available. I cannot entertain the idea of any of my daughters residing in debtor’s prison with those of Mr. Wickham’s ilk. Your actions in this matter were unacceptable. You placed yourself before your family, when family is all a person has when adversity knocks upon his door. You have injured each of your sisters. You injured me. It shall be many years before I can trust you again.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! I have two eBook copies of Where There’s a Fitzwilliam Darcy, There’s a Way for those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST, Thursday, September 13, 2018. 

 

Posted in Austen Authors, book excerpts, book release, British history, George Wickham, Georgian Era, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Pride and Prejudice, Vagary, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments