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A Slight Sprain - Part 1

April 26, 2019 07:38AM
AN: I am attempting to get back to writing. Instead of finishing "Timing is Everything" I thought I would start with a short story. I plan to post this in two parts. I plan to get back to "Timing is Everything" when I've finished this story. Thanks!

Blurb: Escaping the house the day of the Meryton Assembly, Elizabeth Bennet meets her new neighbors in a very unexpected way.



A Slight Sprain

Part 1




Elizabeth Bennet grabbed her book and slipped out the back door of Longbourn. Her mother had been exclaiming all morning over the happy prospect of a wealthy single young gentleman that had taken up residence in Netherfield Park, and Elizabeth needed some peace and quiet. It was important to evade her mother at all costs.

Mrs. Bennet was never able to understand why Elizabeth would desire dresses that would be suitable for walking through the woods. Tired of arguing over clothing, Elizabeth saw an opportunity to stockpile a supply of modest dresses when Lydia was allowed out in society. It was not uncommon to see Elizabeth scampering about the countryside wearing one of her sister’s old schoolroom gowns.

As Elizabeth came to the edge of the large meadow between Longbourn and Netherfield Park, she looked in all directions. Seeing no one in the area, she quickly climbed into her favorite oak tree. Settling herself on a branch, she leaned back and opened her copy of her favorite work of The Bard. Although it was not her intent, it was not long before her eyes had drifted closed as she drifted off into a late summer afternoon’s nap.



Fitzwilliam Darcy wondered at the pure luck of his friend, Charles Bingley. When Darcy had first learned that Bingley had only looked over Netherfield Park for half an hour before agreeing to lease the property, he was certain they would find any number of hidden problems. Instead, he found a house that was only in want of a good cleaning, surrounded by fertile land with only one farm missing a tenant.

Darcy had initially been reluctant to visit the property that Bingley had leased. With some persuasion, he decided it could be a good diversion. As he looked over an open meadow, his only wish was that he had waited a few extra days to arrive. Bingley had just informed his there would be an assembly that evening, and he had promised his neighbors that they would all be there.

“You know how I dislike dancing with those I am unacquainted with,” Darcy said. “I would much rather stay behind.”

“I have already promised that I would bring a party of friends,” Bingley replied. “My sisters will be there, so not everyone will be a stranger.”

“But I know you will never be satisfied with two sets of dances,” Darcy complained. “You will pester me until I either give in, or say something offensive.”

“Everyone I have met has been charming. I do not think you could offend them quite so easily.”

Their horses were just starting to cross the meadow when Darcy saw a large tree on the far side, and had an idea.

“How about a little wager,” Darcy said. “We race to that large tree. If I win, I can stay at Netherfield Park for the evening. If you win, I will join you at the assembly without another complaint.”

“And will you dance?” Bingley asked contemplatively.

“I will dance a set of dances with each of your sisters, but I will not promise more.”

“Agreed,” Bingley said with a laugh.

After lining themselves up, the two raced across the meadow. The two were fairly evenly matched, though Darcy typically won more races than he lost. Unfortunately for him, it was not a typical day.

As Bingley drew close to the large tree on the side of the meadow, he let out a loud huzzah of victory. Unbeknownst to him, his exclamation abruptly woke Elizabeth Bennet, causing her to fall from her perch. As Darcy went racing behind his friend, he was incredibly surprised to have a young lady fall from the sky and knock him off his horse.



Elizabeth Bennet was extremely confused. The last she remembered, she had settled down to read all about the mischief caused by the well intentioned Puck. Now, she was lying in a heap on the ground, quite certain that there was someone underneath her. She hoped that if she would just keep her eyes closed, it would all turn out to be a dream.

The first words she heard were, “Where did she come from?”

“If you were to help get her off of me, I would be more than happy to ask her that question,” was the reply.

Not a dream then.

She was just starting to open her eyes when she was quite unceremoniously scooted to the side and onto the ground. The shock brought her eyes wide open.

“Oh, hello there,” the gentleman standing above her said in greeting.

“What in the world were you doing in that tree?” the other gentleman demanded.

“Excuse my friend,” the first gentleman remarked, holding out his hand to help Elizabeth to stand. “He is just upset that I won our little race and now he must attend the assembly this evening.”

“Yes, and having a young lady fall from the sky and knock me from my horse has absolutely no bearing on my mood,” the gentleman replied standing up and brushing himself off as best as he could. The first gentleman simply laughed, then introduced himself.

“I’m Mr. Bingley, and this is my friend, Mr. Darcy. We are pleased to meet you, even with the unusual circumstances,” Mr. Bingley said with a smile.

“I’m Miss Elizabeth Bennet. I apologize for interrupting your ride, though I am thankful that you broke my fall,” Elizabeth replied with a smile.

“Do you make a habit of falling out of trees?” Mr. Darcy asked.

“It has been several years since the last time, so I would not call it a habit,” Elizabeth said. “Though, if you could refrain from mentioning this incident to my mother when you meet her, I would appreciate it greatly.”

“You have our word,” Mr. Bingley replied.

It is impossible to tell where the conversation would have led from there if there were no injuries sustained in the tree incident. As it was, as soon as Elizabeth tried to put weight on her left ankle, both gentlemen saw the look of pain that flashed across her face before she tried to mask it.

“You have been injured,” Mr. Bingley said, stating the obvious.

“Well, I did just fall out of a tree, so it’s not entirely unexpected,” Elizabeth replied.

“I’ll put you on my horse and take you home,” Mr. Darcy said, approaching her. “I’m sure you will want to have it looked at.”

“I’m sure it is nothing that serious,” Elizabeth replied, limping towards a rock in order to sit down. “Neither of you happen to have an extra cravat about your person, do you?”

“You don’t want to have it looked at?” Mr. Bingley asked, perplexed. His sisters were constantly calling the doctor for one reason or another. He was certain that if either of them had fallen out of a tree and injured an ankle they would lay on a chaise for at least a week.

“Although it has been a few years since sprained ankles were a common occurrence for me, I have not completely forgotten how to care for them. After the first one, it quickly became apparent that if I did not hide it from my mother, I would suffer more from her care than I would by wrapping it myself and taking it easy for a few days. Which brings us back to my question,” Elizabeth said, gingerly sitting upon the rock. “Do either of you have a spare cravat you are willing to lend me?”

“If you are not going to call the doctor, I will look at it before taking you home,” Darcy stated, kneeling in front of her. “Now, give me your ankle.”

“No,” Elizabeth replied. “I only need something to wrap it in.”

“Is there any blood,” Mr. Bingley asked, standing rather far behind his friend.

“Do not be ridiculous,” Mr. Darcy stated. “If you wrap the ankle, but it is a break instead of a sprain, you could cause more damage by attempting to walk on it. Give me your ankle so I can examine it.”

“Is your friend always this demanding?” Elizabeth asked Mr. Bingley.

“Trying to be a gentleman by assisting an injured lady does not make me demanding,” Mr. Darcy replied, not seeing the slight nod from his friend, with an amused smile.

“If I let you look at my ankle, will you let me have your cravat so that I can wrap it before I walk home?”

“Fine,” Mr. Darcy replied, holding out his hand. “Now let me see your ankle.”

To the relief of all involved, Elizabeth’s ankle did not show any signs of a break. She was a little put out when Mr. Darcy insisted on wrapping her ankle himself instead of just handing over his cravat, but it was getting late and she did not want to waste any more time on arguments.

“Thank you for your assistance. Please, pretend this never happened,” Elizabeth said with a smile. Taking her farewell, she began walking in the direction of Longbourn.

“You are not walking home on that ankle,” Mr. Darcy declared before she made it very far.

“Why not?” Elizabeth replied.

“We would be happy to escort you home,” Mr. Bingley interjected. “You could ride on one of the horses to spare your ankle.”

“I thought we had agreed that we weren’t going to tell anyone about this?” Elizabeth replied. “If I show up at home, being carried on a horse with two gentlemen I have never met, then the whole story will come out. No. It would be much better for me to walk home on my own.”

“You would risk further injury to your ankle in order to avoid telling anyone that you fell out of a tree?” Mr. Darcy asked.

“Yes.”

“Why must you be so stubborn?” Mr. Darcy asked.

“If my mother learns that I fell out of a tree, then she will know that I was climbing a tree, something that she has expressly forbidden. If she learns that I have sprained my ankle, then she will insist I lay down with my ankle elevated for a week. If I am confined to the house for a week, I will have no way to escape. Trust me. The discomfort from walking home on a sprained ankle is much preferable to being confined at home.”

“May we at least walk you partway home?” Mr. Bingley asked. “It would relieve our minds to know that you are safely returned to your home.”

“Very well,” Elizabeth replied after a moment’s hesitation. “But, if we happen upon one of our neighbors I expect one of you to have a plausible explanation if they question why Mr. Darcy is not wearing a cravat.”

“Deal!” Mr. Bingley exclaimed, offering her his arm.

They were fortunate to not meet any neighbors along the path to Longbourn. As they drew close to the last bend in the path before the house came into view, Elizabeth bid the gentlemen farewell, promising to see them again that evening at the assembly.

“You are still planning on attending the assembly?” Mr. Darcy asked.

“Of course,” Elizabeth replied. “See you this evening.”

With that, she performed a quick curtsey, then walked as quickly as she could out of their sight.

“What a most remarkable lady,” Mr. Bingley said as they mounted their horses and set off toward Netherfield Park.

“A hoyden barely out of the nursery, you mean,” Mr. Darcy replied.

“What makes you say that?”

“Did you not notice her dress?” Mr. Darcy asked. “It looked as if it was made for a child. I would wager that she is barely out of the schoolroom.”

“I’ll take that wager,” Mr. Bingley replied. “What should we place as the forfeit.”

“If I’m right, then I do not have to dance with your sisters this evening,” Mr. Darcy replied.

“Very well. But, when it is proven that this is not her first season you will not only dance with my sisters but with at least two other ladies over the course of the evening.”

Mr. Darcy gave his assent. As they readied themselves for the assembly, both were in an excellent mood. Mr. Darcy because he was certain he would not have to dance a single dance, and Mr. Bingley because he was certain he would see his friend dancing that evening.
SubjectAuthorPosted

A Slight Sprain - Part 1

BethWApril 26, 2019 07:38AM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

Lucy J.April 27, 2019 07:29PM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

Shannon KApril 27, 2019 04:20AM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

KarenteaApril 27, 2019 12:11AM

I'm not usually a fan of Elizabeth but

LisaYApril 26, 2019 11:00PM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

LiseApril 26, 2019 08:15PM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

MichaApril 26, 2019 04:19PM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

BrigidApril 26, 2019 12:46PM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

AlidaApril 26, 2019 08:28AM

Re: A Slight Sprain - Part 1

TrudieApril 26, 2019 08:18AM



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