I’m thrilled to welcome Monica Fairview to Diary of an Eccentric today with an excerpt of her latest novel, Mr. Darcy’s Pride & Joy. It’s the third and final installment of the Darcy Novels series, following Mr. Darcy’s Pledge and Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, both of which I really enjoyed. Look for my review of Mr. Darcy’s Pride & Joy soon, and stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of this post!
Please give a warm welcome to Monica Fairview:
It is with pleasure that I am visiting Diary of an Eccentric with the inexhaustible Anna, who has kindly hosted me many times over the years. This time, I’m here with an excerpt from the last book in my Darcy Novels series, Mr. Darcy’s Pride and Joy. I’m also giving away one e-book copy of the Darcy Novel of your choice, so I can accommodate those who are new to the series as well those who have already picked the earlier novels.
This excerpt is from Chapter 7 of Mr. Darcy’s Pride and Joy. It’s a moment of insight for Mr. Darcy when he journeys back to Meryton.
Darcy did not know how much time had passed when he was brought to awareness by the slowing of the carriage, but he was glad to see he was now in familiar territory. The houses belonging to the village of Meryton were before him, evoking memories of his first encounter with Elizabeth. The rain had stopped entirely by now, so he opened the window to catch a glimpse of the Assembly Rooms where he had first encountered Elizabeth Bennet. Little had he known when Bingley had dragged him to that fateful dance that his life was about to be changed so completely. As they drew level with the building, Darcy knocked twice for the coachman to stop. Ignoring the protests of Briggs, Darcy opened the door and leapt down into the street.
There it was. The Georgian building with its unassuming brick facade looked too humble to be the source of so much trouble. Darcy walked to the door and pulled at the handle, expecting it to be closed, but to his surprise, it opened easily. There were workmen inside, putting up decorations, and he realized that they were preparing for the next Assembly. His heart quickened as he decided he would bring Elizabeth there and would announce their engagement to the whole neighborhood by dancing with her three times. The thought made him smile and he stepped inside.
The interior was branded in his memory, even though he had not known at the time that it would be significant to him. Perhaps he had been bored enough that he had really noticed the details, or perhaps he had somehow remembered them later. There, above, was the musician’s gallery. The floor was marble and he now remembered his feet moving across the patterned tiles. He had danced with Mrs. Hurst and with Caroline that night and no one else. How perfectly tedious of him! If only he had known it, then he would have made the most of every moment he could have spent with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Instead, he had insulted her within her hearing.
It was hardly surprising that the assembled guests had thought him a snob. He was a snob, or at least, he had been one until Elizabeth cured him of it once and for all. It was hard to believe that he had preferred the company of Caroline Bingley at the time to that of dearest Elizabeth! Georgiana had been right to reprimand him for giving the wrong impression to Bingley’s sister.
No wonder Caroline had thought he had singled her out for special attention. He had not known it at the time, but he had been using her for his own selfish reasons. She was the means by which he fobbed off the attentions of ambitious young ladies and their matchmaking mamas. He had never given Caroline herself much consideration. She was his friend’s sister and he had known her almost as long as he had known Bingley – it had never occurred to him that she had reached certain conclusions and had been building upon them.
He had danced with her and her sister at the Assembly for other reasons as well. She was familiar and he did not need to make any effort with her. He remembered, too, that he had thought her fashionable London clothes far superior to the clumsy fashions the provincial seamstresses provided. In short, he had considered himself and his party above everyone else attending, even Sir William Lucas, who had attracted his contempt with his self-important boasting about his acquaintance with the Prince Regent. He had considered Sir William, with his new baronetcy, far beneath the Darcys whose ancestry could be traced back to the Norman court.
Suddenly he wondered if his excessive pride in his ancestry had originated in his father’s sense of inferiority to Lady Anne, his mother. After all, she had a title and his father did not, and knowing the inherent arrogance of the Fitzwilliams, his father must have felt he needed to prove himself. The thought startled him, as it had never occurred to him before. Perhaps that was why his given name was Fitzwilliam, after all. Darcy sighed. If a member of the prestigious Darcy family such as his father, whose illustrious heritage went back centuries, had felt the need to prove himself, how would an Elizabeth Bennet, who was a virtual nobody, even if her father was a gentleman, feel about being admitted to such a haughty family? The Earl of Matlock and his wife thought nothing less than a duke was good enough for Georgiana. How would they react when they knew he had stooped, in their eyes, to marry someone so insignificant? He had thought of this before, of course, and had said as much to Elizabeth in his first proposal, but he had been thinking of it only from his own perspective.
She had made him think differently. She had forced him to acknowledge that such thinking was a recipe for unhappiness. His eye turned to the spot where she had first stood when he had been introduced to her, right there under the columns. That was where she had been when Bingley had pointed her out and ordered him to dance with her, and that was the spot where he had stood when he had pronounced those fateful words, the words that Elizabeth had overheard. What was it he had said, exactly? Something to the order of her not being handsome enough to tempt him?
He had not cared at the time if she heard him. His arrogance had known no bounds. To him she was nothing more than a provincial nobody, a young lady whose mother was blatantly trying to reel in a husband for her daughters. Little did he know at that moment how significant that encounter would be, and how much he would come to regret those careless words he had spoken.
“May I help you, sir? Do you wish to hire the room?”
Darcy turned to find the foreman overseeing the repairs hovering next to him. He came to himself with a start. What was he doing standing there, gawping into empty space?
“No,” he replied. Then, because he did not wish to appear arrogant, he added with a quick smile, “Thank you. I was merely looking around.”
He turned on his heel. Enough day dreaming. It was time for action. The long and painful journey that had started in this room was about to reach its final fruition.
About Mr. Darcy’s Pride & Joy
A Jane Austen “what-if” novel.
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are engaged at last, and Mr. Darcy is preparing to take out a special license to get married quickly. But, just when everything seems to be going just right, he encounters opposition from an unexpected quarter. Then, when his engagement is announced – to someone else – Elizabeth, understandably, begins to doubt his sincerity.
Perhaps their love is doomed after all…
About the author
Monica Fairview is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen’s wit. She loves to laugh, and she is convinced that her cats can understand everything she says. She is the author of several Austenesque novels: two traditional Jane Austen sequels, one post-apocalyptic tongue-in-cheek Jane Austen spin-off, one multi-author novel THE DARCY BROTHERS, featuring Mr. Darcy’s rakish brother Theo, and now the trilogy, THE DARCY NOVELS. She has also written a Regency Christmas novel, A VERY MERRY CHASE, which was published as part of The Regency Quintet anthology and will be coming out soon on Amazon.
Monica Fairview’s real claim to fame is that she lived in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester as a teenager, in the days when it was faded and neglected, so you could say she has the smog of NORTH & SOUTH in her blood.
Monica lived in the USA for many years, where she taught literature to captive victims. She has lived in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, California, Washington State, Oregon, and Massachusetts. By some quirk of fate, she now lives in Surrey within the Greater London area, within a stone’s throw of Jane Austen’s picnic spot in EMMA, Box Hill. She loves visiting historical properties when it isn’t raining.
Monica is generously offering one lucky reader an e-book copy of the Darcy Novel of their choice. This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address about what intrigues you most about the Darcy Novels and which book you’d like to win. The giveaway will close Sunday, September 11. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!
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