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Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

May 12, 2023 11:33AM
Chapter 38

The next day there were tearful farewells as Mrs Bennet, Jane, and the three remaining Gardiner children with their nurse, departed to return to Longbourn.

As the carriage disappeared from sight, Richard turned to them all. “Are you prepared for what must be done?”

With grim looks on their faces, Lizzy, Kitty and Mr Gardiner all nodded. “Do you think the thieves are still in the area?” asked Mr Gardiner.

“We've no sightings of them leaving. They are not in nearby towns and we've got officers along the roads. This is the best idea we have to flush them out,” replied Richard.

Not long after, the Sheriff arrived and all the staff were briefed on the plan. The Sheriff gave everyone a part to play. The servants got busy, with some going into town to pass on the word that the Earl and Countess were going to Pemberley, along with their servants, to assist and prepare for Georgiana’s coming out ball.

Others would let it be known that Mr Gardiner had taken a turn for the worse after the funeral, developing pneumonia. He had felt so bad at the wake that he had fainted whilst trying to get outside, breaking the door lock on doors leading out from the ballroom. Richard and Darcy were to have a drink at the local tavern later and would loudly speculate.

During the next two days, a myriad of carriages and visitors would come, but would leave with one less person. In this way, Officer Johnson and the other officers would make their way and stay in the Earl’s house.

Lizzy and Kitty were to spend a small amount of time outside, looking anxious, reading letters, and in general looking unhappy. They were not to wander too far from the house. The guard who had been put on to guard Lizzy would stay, as his removal would look too suspicious.

And so two days passed. Mr Gardiner continued to improve, even if they were pretending his condition was deteriorating. Lizzy and Kitty continued to help him exercise inside the house. They spent time with Georgiana, Darcy and Richard. Lizzy was pleased at the friendship between the two girls and how it improved Kitty’s manners.

Meanwhile, on the day after Mr Bennet had returned to Longbourn, he rode out to see Mr Bingley. “I've come to thank you for the use of your carriage to attend the funeral. It was greatly appreciated.”

“Has everyone returned from the funeral?” asked Bingley hopefully.

Mr Bennet shook his head. “Mrs Bennet, Jane and the children will all return today. Lizzy and Kitty will remain with Mr Gardiner at Matlock for another week.”

They discussed the current progress of the investigation. Eventually the conversation turned to Mr Bingley’s estate management efforts. “I heard that you have resolved some border disputes with Longbourn since I've been gone?”

Bingley tried not to blush. “Yes, I've been trying my hand helping out the steward with estate management.”

“I believe Jane fixed a fence that had been broken for some time?”

“She dealt with it most expediently.“

“And I don't suppose you in turn fixed the issue with Mr Henderson’s pigs getting into Mrs Paxton’s garden?”

Bingley said he was unaware of there being an issue.

“Hmm, I'll send Jane to you tomorrow to help resolve it.” And with a tip of his hat he departed.

Chapter 39

Lizzy was back in the carriage, riding along the road with her aunt and uncle. “Stop” she heard called out and she saw the two highwaymen blocking the road on their horses. Next she was covered in blood and the carriage was tipping over.

Lizzy was in her bed. She opened her eyes to see the two men leaning over her, their pistols pointed at her head. “Kill her then dump the body,” said Mr John.

Lizzy sat up straight in her bed. The sun was shining through the curtains and no one was in her room. It was another nightmare.

On the second day after Mrs Bennet’s departure, Lizzy and Kitty went to farewell the Fitzwilliam’s and Darcy’s at the front of the house.

Georgiana turned to them both. “Oh Lizzy, Kitty, you two are so terribly brave to stay. I would be terrified out of my mind.”

Mr Darcy, partly jealous that his sister could talk to the two women so informally, agreed. “This feels very wrong to me to be leaving you two unprotected like this.”

“They are hardly unprotected,” said Richard. ”There's four officers in the house, plus the Sheriff and another two watching the house from afar.”

“And don't forget that the two of you have been disappearing from here for the last couple of weeks, “ said Lizzy.

“Yes, but that was when we knew they weren't here, “ replied Darcy.

The carriages had been packed with mostly empty boxes, as they only intended to be away for a few days, yet they were pretending to leave for a month.

Lizzy and Kitty watched them enter the carriage or mount their horses and depart. When they could no longer see the carriage, Lizzy and Kitty turned and entered the house.

“Isn't this strange. We have this place to ourselves, almost like it is ours,” commented Kitty.

“It is a little surreal to be mostly alone in a house like this. What shall we do?” asked Lizzy.

They met Mr Gardiner inside, who had been watching from the window, as he was pretending to have pneumonia and hence could not be seen outside.

“I know what I will do,“ said Mr Gardiner. “I've heard there is a fine library here so I will discover it.”

So the day passed with a pretense of quiet companionship, which all used to cover their innate nervousness. Kitty did chatter more than her usual want, which both Lizzy and Mr Gardiner mostly ignored, being caught up in their own thoughts.

That night they had dinner in Mr Gardiner’s room, making it look from the outside that they were dining in his room due to concern for his condition. There were minimal lights downstairs or in the servants quarters or other working sections, to make it look like there was only a skeleton staff on duty.

Two of the officers who had been on duty during the day were dining now and would then go to sleep. The other two, who had slept all afternoon, were being roused now to eat and take the night shift till roughly 2am.

Lizzy, Kitty and Mr Gardiner finished their meal, then made it look like they were preparing for sleep. They all changed, then first doused the lights in Mr Gardiner’s room, followed by Lizzy’s room and then Kitty’s, making it appear to the outside observer that they had gone to sleep.

Lizzy and Kitty snuck out of their allocated rooms, then went to rooms down the hall in darkness, entering other bedrooms and crawling into the bed.

At the same time at Pemberley, Richard and Darcy were sitting alone in Darcy’s study as the Earl had retired early. Darcy stared at his glass of whisky. “This doesn't feel right.”

“I know how you feel. I feel completely useless here when Miss Elizabeth and Miss Catherine are taking the risk, “ said Richard. “But we must have faith this will all work out and we'll be back in Matlock in a couple of days.”

“What if things go wrong? What if they attack tonight instead of tomorrow? Or if they get past the officers who are on guard?” asked Darcy.

“We are doing our part, which was to make the house look empty and like a very tempting target, a target too good to pass up. This wouldn't work if we were there.“

Darcy had a thought. “We only needed to come to Pemberley. I don't believe we need to stay. We could return on the morrow and stay with the Sheriff.”

Richard smiled. “I didn't want to miss out on the action. However, we need to dress like normal people, to not give ourselves away.”

Lizzy tried to go to sleep, but she just rolled from her right side and onto her back, then back again. She was listening to every sound, trying to make out when the thieves would attempt to break into the house. Every creak and groan made her eyes open wide.

And then there was a sound that was unmistakable. She could hear her door opening and footsteps approaching the bed.

Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

Anne VMay 12, 2023 11:33AM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

Maria Teresa CMay 12, 2023 11:08PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

LisaYMay 12, 2023 10:29PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

mathgalMay 12, 2023 03:19PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

IngaMay 12, 2023 05:10PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 38-39

Anne VMay 12, 2023 10:20PM


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