Hello dear readers! I am very excited to welcome back author Linda Beutler to Austenesque Reviews today! Linda’s first visit here was quite a few years back when she published her first Austenesque novel, The Red Chrysanthemum! I’m so happy to have Linda here today to share an extra special exchange between Jane and Mr. Bingley (looks like she knows me well!) from her new release, My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley!
Hi, Meredith! Thank you for hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley. I know the great affection you hold for Charles Bingley, and hope you will enjoy this tale of a Bingley who is just a bit more his own man. Just for you, and the readers at Austenesque Reviews, I include here an exchange of correspondence between Jane and Bingley not included in the story, but certainly easily imagined. If it were in the story, it would take place in Chapter 16, after Elizabeth and Darcy have met unexpectedly at the theatre. Jane and the Gardiners witness the awkwardness of this first “post-Hunsford” meeting, which does not go at all well!
20-24 Gracechurch Street
I have such astounding news to relate, I hardly know where to start after reminding you how very dear you are to me, lest you lose sight of it amidst my revelations. But you will not lose sight of me ever again, not with your marvelous spectacles. I had better not dwell on them, or I shall go distracted and forget all I have to say.
Last evening Aunt and Uncle took Lizzy and me to the theatre. The play was Othello, but it could have been anything because the more compelling performance of the evening was presented by Mr. Darcy in the adjoining box! Yes, Mr. Darcy! He was with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. The colonel seemed agitated, and I could only wonder why until the conversation Lizzy and I had later, but I do not want to get ahead of myself. Mr. Darcy was graciousness itself when Lizzy informed them we are to be married. He made an acceptably sincere expression of congratulations, but otherwise he was as ever. Lizzy stared at him until the first intermission—nervous as a cat—as if she might fear him and wish to flee. She mirrored his grim countenance, and yet there was something unspoken between them. They were not happy to be in company with each other, and I could only wonder why. Lizzy was not at all herself and barely spoke. On the return to Cheapside we quizzed her, and it ended in a flood of tears! Oh, Charles, you will never believe it. Once we were alone, I japed and prodded and cajoled until she admitted she is in love with him!
He declared himself to her when they were in Kent apparently, expressing a profound affection, and she would have none of him. She told him so! Knowing how sharp her tongue can be, and the many sins she accused him of well, it cannot have been a pretty conversation. (I do shake my head at having some culpability in this, as I gave her direction wrong to Aunt Gardiner, who had explained much of Mr. Darcy in a letter.) Mr. Darcy gave her a letter the morning after their set-to, explaining himself about everything, and Lizzy had our Aunt’s letter, too, but too late to avert the contretemps. She realises she has wronged him, but had no chance to apologise. I daresay neither was ready to see the other last evening.
The upshot is this: Mr. Darcy and Lizzy are in love, but they do not know it, and have wholly misunderstood themselves. She believes he cannot still hold her in any esteem after all she said, but I saw how he looked at her, and how quick he was to retrieve a shawl she dropped. I have never seen my sister gaze at anyone as she did him—a look of sadness and regret. She assumes he cannot care anymore, but I am certain he still does. Men are not such fickle creatures are they? You were not! Dear Charles, you regretted me through the Festive Season, and you returned. You persevered even though I was an unconscionable trial to you and my family. What can I have been thinking? It matters not. For now we are to be the happiest couple in the world.
Lizzy would have my hide if she knew I was confiding all of this to you. These to-doings have made her a little wild. Am I misguided to hope on their behalf? Are they truly suited, do you suppose? I can talk to Lizzy about how honourably Mr. Darcy has acted, and how he seeks to restore your good opinion until I am weak from the effort, but how are they to come together?
You call me your dear daft daffodil, but I hope my wish to see my sister happily settled with Mr. Darcy is not too ridiculous. It is true we shall be reunited in a fortnight, but do respond promptly if you know Lizzy has no hope. Has Mr. Darcy expressed anything of his feelings to you? You have not been close since your return to Netherfield—at Lizzy’s request—but her feelings have materially changed, and if you are no longer quite so angry with him, perhaps you might extend a stouter olive branch? Perhaps an olive limb?
Imagine our joy, my love, if we could stand up with my dear Lizzy and your Mr. Darcy as we take our vows! Nothing would make me happier.
Your adoring Jane
Jane’s letter went out by the morning post, and Bingley had it by the next morning. His agitation upon receiving her news necessitated a quick response and a Netherfield footman was sent directly to London with it, arriving just before dinner that same day.
My dearest Jane,
Drat. Caroline has mended the pens very ill, but I shall continue as best I can. Your news explains some highly cryptic undecypherable scribbling of Darcy’s, which I have only just received. He congratulates me and wishes us well, before going on at great length in an surprisingly uncharacteristically woeful. He says he cannot imagine such happiness as ours, and intimates implies much sadness.
Your lovely note explains so much. In intend to write him directly that all may not be as dire as he now thinksbelieves. What a turn of events! Perhaps I shall write his cousin the colonel, too. He may know more of this. It is all very exciting. They are so alike, Lizzy and Darcy, when one comes to think on it.
Drat again! I must close, sweetest Jane, and send a man into the village for new pens.
Your adoring Charles
Oh, I love how the tables have turned! Instead of Darcy trying to reunite Bingley with Jane, it looks like Bingley and Jane will be trying to reunite Elizabeth with Darcy! Mr. Bingley and Jane are so adorable together!!! I really, really can’t wait to read My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley now!
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~ My Mr. Darcy and Your Mr. Bingley Blog Tour ~
Thank you to Janet Taylor, Meryton Press, and Linda Beutler for making this blog tour possible! Click the image above to check out the rest of the tour!