Miss Darcy's New
"Were you, my
dearest, satisfied with Miss Wetherspoon?" Elizabeth Darcy asked her
bridegroom as he came strolling into her study at Pemberley. He and
the prospective companion for Miss Georgiana Darcy had been closeted
in his library for almost an hour. This convinced Elizabeth that
Miss Wetherspoon must be a most determined talker, for though the
Darcys had been married but two days, Elizabeth perfectly understood
her husband's deficit of language.
He came to stand beside the
desk where his bride was penning a letter and brushed a kiss upon
her cheek. Her pen stilled, her lashes lowered. All her coherent
thoughts departed whenever her dear Darcy demonstrated his tender
affections. She gloried in the knowledge that their love had
transformed her formerly stiff Mr. Darcy.
"I took the liberty of
engaging the lady for Georgiana's companion," said he.
Elizabeth whirled to face
him. "I pray you did not make so hasty a decision just because we
are scheduled to be in Dover by week's end. I am perfectly willing
to put off our wedding trip until you are perfectly satisfied with a
candidate to replace Mrs. Annesley. Italy will be there whenever it
is convenient for us to see it." Elizabeth kept to herself her
opinion that no one would be capable of filling the exceedingly
competent Mrs. Annesley's shoes.
"I flatter myself that the
young woman will do very well."
A slowly unfurling smile
brightened Elizabeth's face. "How very agreeable! See, my darling,
just yesterday you were sunk in despair because Mrs. Annesley must
leave your service."
He grimaced. "Wretched
timing, her sister dying and leaving all those motherless nieces and
nephews to Mrs. Annesley's care."
"But all's well that ends
well. Was Miss Wetherspoon as genteel as my Aunt Gardner
He nodded. "Her manners could
not be improved upon, and she appears to be possessed of uncommon
"Which, I will own, is a bit
astonishing, given that her father is said to be a fool."
"Actually, Mr. Wetherspoon—who
is sometimes most cruelly referred to as Mr. Wetherfool—was a
noted scholar at Oxford. His misfortunes derive from his propensity
to invest in unsound schemes which promise unreasonably large
Her Aunt Gardner had
acquainted Elizabeth with the failure of Mr. Wetherspoon's sugar
plantation which resulted in the loss of their home in Bloomsbury, a
loss that left homeless his ten unmarried children of varying ages.
Aunt Gardner had explained that as the second eldest of the children
(though, at five and twenty, she was no longer a child), Miss Lucy
Wetherspoon was accustomed to looking after the needs of her younger
siblings, and she was in possession of more sense than her father.
It then occurred to Elizabeth
to inquire upon the lady's appearance. "I suppose that since she is
unwed at five and twenty, she must be exceedingly plain."
Dear Mr. Darcy hesitated a
moment before answering. "I daresay my judgment is faulty, but I
believe her to be tolerably good looking. In fact, I wondered what
could account for her failure to attract a husband."
As critical as her husband
was, Elizabeth determined that Miss Wetherspoon must be very
handsome to produce such a description. "Do you know, I recall my
aunt mentioning Miss Wetherspoon's misfortune in matrimony. She was
"Then perhaps she is not a
competent judge of character."
Elizabeth thought of women
like her dear friend Charlotte who had not the luxury of wedding
where love blossomed but wedding where a lone proposal was extended.
Many a woman viewed a loveless marriage as superior to the life of
an old maid. How grateful she was that she'd had the courage to
court spinsterhood rather than leap at her first proposal of
marriage. "We need only hope she can protect dearest Georgiana from
fortune hunters." She set down her pen. "Do you know, my dearest
love, that since Charlotte has expressed an interest in seeing
Pemberley, I believe I'll have her come for a brief stay whilst we
are from England. I can persuade her that I need her assurances Miss
Darcy is in good hands with Miss Wetherspoon, but in reality I shall
spare you the necessity of playing host to Charlotte's odious
Darcy regarded his wife with
devilishly sparkling eyes. "How well my wife understands me. An
excellent plan! I have also taken the liberty of requesting Lord
Fane to look in upon Georgiana. Be assured I will not give Miss
Wetherspoon sole responsibility over my sister while we are out of
the country. Lord Fane said that upon his return from London next
month, he will call on her nearly every day during our absence."
She eyed him from beneath
lowered brows. "I declare, Mr. Darcy, you mean for Georgiana to
capture his heart!"
"I have always thought they
would suit well."
"Then he's younger than you?"
"No. He's four years older
than I. He's two and thirty."
"You do not think she would
prefer someone closer to her own age? Two and thirty is twice her
"It's good for the wife to
look up to her husband."
Elizabeth took that for an
invitation to move from her chair and fit herself to her
husband—which necessitated her gazing up into his most beloved face.
"Indeed it is, my love."