Posts Tagged ‘a mother’s touch’

I am delighted to welcome Jennifer Redlarcyzk back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of A Mother’s Touch, a Pride and Prejudice-inspired short story collection. Jen is sharing a special excerpt in celebration of Mother’s Day, and I hope you all enjoy this glimpse of a young Fitzwilliam Darcy. Please give her a warm welcome!

Anna, I’m so happy to be back visiting your blog today with my Mother’s Day Anthology, A Mother’s Touch. This book is a collection of seven stories inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. See Lady Anne through the eyes of her daughter, Georgiana, in Lady Anne’s Quilt. Experience the relationship young Fitzwilliam has with his mother in An Act of Kindness and Our Special Day. Then join Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth and discover how wonderful it is to have Lady Anne’s influence in their lives as they become parents in Our Future.

Since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I thought your readers might enjoy a little trip to the past with young Fitzwilliam and George Wickham. In this scene from Our Special Day, ten-year-old Fitzwilliam is going on a picnic with his mother while his father is gone for the day. Let’s see what our young lad is thinking as he waits for his dear mama.

After the phaeton was loaded, Fitzwilliam waited patiently in the foyer for his mother to come down the stairs. Although he loved to go on an adventure with George Wickham, he was glad that his childhood friend had gone into Lambton with his own father today and would not be accompanying them.

For some reason, George always had a way of turning an adventure into something dangerous or a situation where he, Fitzwilliam, got into trouble. It was not much more than a week ago that the boy had finished serving his punishment for their last disastrous escapade.

That particular day the afternoon had been warm and sunny when Fitzwilliam and George Wickham returned from their daily ride. Walking back from the stables to the house, George noticed two snakes sunning themselves on top of some cut logs piled against the side of the wood shed. The curious boys could not resist taking a closer look. Although the snakes slithered under the logs when the boys approached, that did not stop the two adventurers. They began to dislodge log after log until they came upon a small nest of smooth snakes.

Thinking it would make an interesting study, Fitzwilliam took hold of one of the snakes by the back of its head and held it up. “I need to take this snake to the Nature Room so I can make some notes in my journal. George, will you please put the logs back and join me?” he called out, not waiting for an answer as he began running towards the back of the house.

George was not pleased to be left with the task and grumbled while he haphazardly threw the logs back on the pile. “What makes you so special, Fitzwilliam, giving orders as though you have already inherited? Humph!”

Hurriedly entering the Nature Room from the outside entrance, Fitzwilliam knew just where to look for a holding cage. After securing the snake inside, he quickly took out his journal and began making notes and sketches of the reptile.

Not long after, he was joined by George who idly strolled in and draped himself over the edge of the table. Taking little interest in what Fitzwilliam was doing he remarked, “I simply cannot understand why you must make drawings and write about every single creature you find in that old journal. It is so boring. Would it not be more fun to take the snake down to the laundry and scare the washerwomen?”

“No, George. It would not. And as the future Master of Pemberley, I forbid it.”

“Why is it that every time I get a great idea you challenge me with that Master superiority? What makes you any better than me?”

“I never said I was superior, George. But Papa says that because I will one day be the Master, I must begin to take responsibility where the estate is concerned.”

“You know, Fitzwilliam, I would be a far better Master than you. I am two years older for one thing. Furthermore, I am far handsomer and will have much more success with the ladies.”

“I care nothing about ladies,” he flatly said. Do you not remember how silly those Bennington girls were when they came here last month with their father? They tittered and whispered and were not in the least bit interesting.”

“Well, you were not exactly friendly. You just sulked around looking at the floor. I do not think you said more than three words to those girls the whole time they were visiting.”

He shrugged. “I had nothing to say. Besides, a gentleman has far better things to do than placate young ladies.”

George let out a roaring laugh. “What are you saying? Miss Bethany was stunning. Did you not notice her long flaxen curls and how her eyes fluttered every single time I spoke with her? Fitzwilliam, are you even listening to me?!”

“Not really. I have a lot of work to do here if I am going to put this snake back before afternoon tea. I promised my mama I would visit with her then.”

“If you say so. I for one cannot take any more of your study. I shall see you later, Master Fitzwilliam! I am going in search of my own adventure.” George laughed with abandon as he left the Nature Room.

Continuing on for another hour or so, Fitzwilliam drew pictures and studied the movements of the snake, making appropriate notations in his journal. The snake was moulting and he was able to secure a piece of loose skin for later study under his mother’s microscope. After examining the snake until the last possible moment, he quickly put everything away and then returned the snake to the nest before joining his mother. Fitzwilliam knew that he should alert Mr. Reynolds about the snakes, but he wanted one more day to study his find before the staff dismantled it.

In retrospection, he should have realised the snakes’ nest would be too tempting for his friend George to ignore. After Fitzwilliam left the nature room, George snuck back to garner one of the collection boxes with the intention of extracting all of the snakes to carry-out his great idea. Early in the evening, George placed the box of snakes close to the entrance of the hen house, opening the lid just enough for them to slither out of. Finding a place to hide, he eagerly waited for the fun to begin.

When the hens were alerted to the presence of the snakes, the coop turned into complete chaos. By the time one or two of the workers came to investigate the commotion, the hens were clucking frantically with feathers flying in every which direction. As soon as the snakes were spotted, panic took over. In the rush to catch the reptiles and secure the hens, a lantern was carelessly set aside and subsequently knocked over causing the straw on the floor to catch fire. Fortunately, no one was injured, although nothing could be done to save the hen house.

James Darcy was not pleased when he learned of the disaster. He was sure the fire must have been caused by some form of negligence and wanted to know who was responsible. Fitzwilliam had accompanied his father to the site, as did George and his father. When Fitzwilliam saw the partially burnt collection box lying by what was left of the wooden door, he immediately looked to George with a furrowed brow and knew what had happened. George shrugged when he saw Fitzwilliam’s glare and bolted in the direction of the stables.

Fitzwilliam ran after him and caught up with George just outside of the barn. His father had told him that even though he was yet a boy, as young Master, he was also responsible for the estate and those who were under his charge. While George was his friend, Mr. Wickham was an employee of the estate. Fitzwilliam would have to insist that George come with him, and the two of them would make the confession together.

“George Wickham! Why did you let those snakes loose in the hen house? My father is going to be very angry when he finds out.”

George frowned and then stood boldly. “Why does he have to find out? It was just an innocent prank. I really did not mean for any harm to come to the hens.”

“George, the hen house is completely destroyed! People could have been hurt putting out that fire. You and I are going to talk to my father, NOW!”

Laughing out loud George chided, “And who is going to make me? Is it you, Master Fitzwilliam?!

“YES!” Without waiting, Fitzwilliam took a flying lunge at George and the two began fighting as if their lives depended upon the outcome. In the end, the boys were so exhausted that they could hardly move from where they lay on the ground.Finally, Fitzwilliam grabbed George by the hand and pulled him up. “Come on, George. You know that we have to tell.” George groaned, holding onto his side as they continued back to the house in silence.

Both James Darcy and Jeremy Wickham were in the study going over the damages and discussing plans to rebuild the structure when their two dishevelled sons appeared at the doorway. Upon seeing his son, James stood up from behind the desk with a very cross expression on his face.

“What is this, Fitzwilliam?”

The boys entered, and Fitzwilliam began to tell his father the story of the snakes. Although George had ultimately been the cause of the damage, Fitzwilliam took the majority of the blame upon himself.

“Sir, I am truly sorry. It is my fault. I knew of the snake’s nest and decided against telling Mr. Reynolds because of my own selfish interests. Had I spoken up when we found the snakes, this disaster would not have happened.”

Both fathers were very disappointed in their sons. As a punishment, the boys had to assist with the clean-up and rebuilding of the hen house, and once that was completed, they would spent the remainder of their free time confined to their respective living quarters for the following two weeks.

I hope you enjoyed our little journey to the past and I would love to hear your thoughts about both Fitzwilliam and George. Your comments will enter you in my giveaway for one of TWO eBooks of A Mother’s Touch. The giveaway will be open through May 16, 2020. Thanks so much for stopping by, and if you have a chance, please take a look at my Pinterest page where I have 74 pictures for this book.

Jen Redlarczyk ♫

Thank you, Jen, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

To grab your copy of A Mother’s Touch, visit Amazon or Books2Read to buy from other ebook stores. Happy reading!

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