Another sneak preview of my book. Mr Darcy’s Struggle

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Elizabeth enjoyed an early breakfast and then went straight to Jane’s room to help her prepare for Mr Bingley’s visit. He’d whispered to her last evening, while Darcy and Elizabeth were in the library, that he needed to speak with her most urgently on the morrow, and would it be quite convenient for him to pay an early call? Shyly Jane had acquiesced. The gentlemen thanked Mrs Bennet for a pleasant evening and then left to return to Netherfield. As the hour was late everyone retired, except for Mrs Bennet. She had slipped into Jane’s room and began instructing her on what actions and expressions she should make to encourage a proposal from Mr Bingley. It had been a most uncomfortable few minutes leaving poor Jane quite upset, indeed she had fretted until she fell asleep. The next morning she was still upset, and Elizabeth was annoyed at how thoughtless her mama had been. Seeking to offer her sister some reassurance she told her.
“Jane, Mr Bingley fell in love with you when you were just being yourself. Continue in this vein and he will not be disappointed I assure you. Mama will not be present and so will have no knowledge if you choose to ignore her directions. Come, wear the dress she indicated and she will be certain that you are adhering to her council.”
Jane wished she had as much common sense and foresight as Elizabeth. She donned the pale eggshell blue dress adorned with the small white baby breath flowers as instructed by her mother. Then Elizabeth and Cissy dress Jane’s hair in a simple but becoming style. At last they were ready to go down and await the arrival of their guests. They had barely seated themselves in the parlour before Mrs Bennet joined them and began fussing over Jane.
“Now I have told the other girls to stay in their rooms until I send for them, I am sure we can do without their giggling for one morning. Sit up straight girl and remember all I have said. Goodness Jane you look excessively pale’ and she walked over and pinched her cheeks sharply. ‘Bite your lips child, it helps them look plump and inviting” she continued.
“Mama, please!” Jane said casting Elizabeth a pleading look.
“Come mama, let us not be caught unprepared, shall we take our seats now and not have idle hands when Mr Bingley arrives?” Elizabeth said.
Taking her mother by the arm she gently guided her to her favourite armchair.
“You are right Lizzie. We must not look contrived and I would have you at your ease Jane. Just think, two daughters wed. One with five thousand pounds a year and the other with ten thousand, I am so distracted I can scarcely contain myself.’ She effused ‘I cannot wait to tell your aunt Phillips, she will rejoice in our good fortune I know. But as for Charlotte Lucas, who is very plain indeed, she is welcome to Mr Collins I’m sure, they are well suited.”
“Mama, Charlotte is our friend and undeserving of such censure. She is a good match for Mr Collins. Surely you would prefer someone we know to inherited Longbourn rather than a total stranger.” Elizabeth said defending her friend.

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