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Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapter 48

June 30, 2023 12:28PM
Chapter 48

The maid finished with Lizzy’s hair. “You look absolutely beautiful, Miss. Your young man will be speechless. Now let me put on the final piece.” The maid took out the emerald necklace the Countess was lending to Lizzy for the night.

Lizzy took in a breath as she looked at herself in the mirror. “I've never worn jewellery so expensive before.” She also was certain she had never looked so good before. She had arrived with the Earl and Countess the day before, and as soon as she had refreshed herself, the Countess was going over her daughter’s old dresses for the maids to refit on Lizzy, taking in the hems and reshaping the dresses for the current fashion. The dresses were of a more expensive fabric than what she was used to, however the Countess assured her that her daughter would never wear them again as she did not fit into them anymore.

Lizzy stood and twirled in front of the mirror. The emerald necklace complimented the burgundy dress, and the maid had outdone herself with Lizzy’s hair.

Lizzy walked out and down the stairs. Lizzy saw Darcy waiting at the bottom of the stairs, wearing his finest clothing. Her heart skipped a beat as he looked up and their eyes met.

He stared, spellbound as she descended. “You look stunning, Elizabeth. I'll have to keep close watch on you to be sure noone else tries to steal you from me.” He took her hand, giving it a kiss before tucking it into his arm.

The Earl and Countess, who were also waiting in the foyer, looked up. “You look lovely, dear,” said the Countess.

“Thank you for letting me wear your necklace, my Lady,“ said Elizabeth. “I've never worn anything so exquisite before.”

The Countess waved the offered thanks away. “We are portraying the image we want people to see. By having you here shows we are fond of you, but by lending you my jewels to wear shows that we are fully accepting you as one of the family.“

They entered the carriage. “How was the visit to see your sister and the Gardiner’s? How is your uncle doing?” asked Darcy.

“Mary looks quite well. She looks happy helping with the Gardiner children. She’s developed quite a bond with the two eldest, as she likes to help Henry with history and geography studies, and she enjoys teaching Frances the piano. She’s developed quite a friendship with the governess and the Gardiner’s housekeeper, so she has a rhythm going.”

Lizzy sighed as she thought about her uncle. “My uncle has recovered outwardly. His strength is nearly back to normal. We all went and visited my aunt’s grave.” Here Lizzy paused to think back on it. “It was good to go. It was the final moment of closure for me. I think it helps my uncle to go. It helps him to reconcile that she is really gone. When he is back at home.... there are too many reminders of her that it makes him quiet and sad. When he is at home, I can see that he struggles to engage with the children, or anyone. Mary says he has been very busy catching up with work and spending long hours at the warehouse, and she suspected that it is so he can avoid coming home and remembering that his wife is no longer there.”

The Countess squeezed her hand. “It will take time.”

“We should invite him over for dinner tomorrow night, to get him out of the house. Just a family dinner,” offered the Earl.

Lizzy smiled at that. “That's sounds like an excellent idea. Thank you, my Lord.”

The Earl waved away the thanks. “Bah, no thanks are needed. I enjoy his company. He talks sense.”

They joined the carriage queue in front of the theatre. “I imagine the rumour that you will be in attendance should be well circulated. I've told one of my closest friends that you will be here, and she will have told her closest dozen friends, so you should be expected, “ said the Countess lightly to Lizzy. “Are you prepared to make your London society debut?”

Lizzy merely raised an eyebrow in return.

Their carriage got to the front of the queue. The Earl descended first, assisting out the Countess, to be followed by Darcy who helped Lizzy out and walked into the theatre with Lizzy’s arm on his.

On entering the foyer, it was clear that they were expected. One of the Countess’ friends made her way to them immediately. “Lady Eleanor, what a delight to see you here. I heard a rumour that you were back,” said an imperious woman, slightly older than Lady Eleanor, wearing fine clothes and a ridiculously high headdress of long, expensive features.

“Your Grace,” said the Countess. “May I introduce my guest, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. And you know my nephew, Mr Darcy. Miss Bennet, this is Lady Sophia, the Duchess of _____.”

Lizzy and Darcy curtseyed and bowed respectively, making small talk. Darcy was soon interrupted by one of his acquaintances, who had come for no other reason other than for an introduction to the attractive woman on his arm.

“Miss Bennet, may I introduce my friend Mr Spencer who was a friend from my university days. Mr Spencer, this lovely lady has accepted my offer of courtship.”

It became clear that Lady Eleanor was also circulating the fact that her nephew was formally courting Lizzy, and as the two walked through the foyer arm in arm, it was clear this new rumour was circulating. People turned to look at them, and anyone who felt they had either a connection with the Earl, Countess or Darcy was pressing to get an introduction.

Darcy leaned in and whispered to Lizzy. “This is now a novel experience. I'm used to people looking to see who is on my arm, however, the people are now more interested in the fact that I am on YOUR arm.”

Presently, Lizzy heard a familiar, but unwelcome voice call out to her from behind. “Miss Eliza, Miss Eliza, there you are. How good it is to see you again.”

Lizzy leaned in and whispered in Darcy’s ear. “Can I ignore her and pretend I didn't hear?”

Darcy smiled. “You could, but considering you'll be related to Caroline by marriage, it might make Christmas uncomfortable if you gave Miss Bingley the cut direct. You wouldn't want to avoid visiting your sister if Caroline was there.”

Lizzy sighed. “True. Can I ignore her pretending that I didn't think she was talking to me because she got my name wrong?”

Darcy smirked at that. “That seems acceptable but you know it's a delaying tactic.”

On cue, Caroline changed her target. “Mr Darcy, is that you?”

No longer able to delay the meeting, they turned together. “Miss Bingley, how good it is to see you.”

Caroline, surprisingly, ignored Darcy, focusing on Lizzy instead. Lizzy could see a gaggle of Miss Bingley’s friends behind her. “Miss Eliza, did you not hear me calling?”

Cool, but politely, Lizzy replied. “I thought you were talking to someone else. It's been awhile, and we weren't that close since last autumn, that I'm not surprised you don't remember my name properly. It was Miss Elizabeth.”

Some of Caroline’s friends tittered at the clear put down, especially as they had followed Miss Bingley over to see if she could offer an introduction to the famous Miss Bennet, whom Caroline had claimed to know.

Lizzy smiled insincerely at Miss Bingley. “But I am certain we shall be closer as we shall be family. We were all delighted with your brother’s engagement to my sister. I can not think of any two people more suited to be together.”

Caroline returned the insincere smile, but was still relieved at the intimation of a closer connection, as she had bragged to her friends about knowing the famous Miss Bennet. “May I introduce my friends?” And here Miss Bingley introduced her four friends who were with her.

Lizzy chatted politely with each of them before the Countess came by. “Elizabeth dear, I’d like to introduce you to Lady Byron.”

Elizabeth politely excused herself, and with Darcy on her arm, headed in the direction Lady Eleanor indicated. Darcy leaned in to whisper in her ear. “You showed greater courtesy to Miss Bingley in paying such attention to her friends. She did not deserve it.”

Lizzy smiled an evil grin. “Oh, she would have hated every moment of it. Now her friends will talk about how very well bred, connected and amiable I appear to be. I may even become friends with one or two of them and they may end up liking me more than they like her. It will drive Miss Bingley absolutely mad.”

Darcy smirked in return. “You are absolutely evil. I will be sure not to cross you.”

“You already know not to.”

The closeness between the two did not go unnoticed by the Ton. It was with relief that they made it to their Box for the start of the play. Lizzy noticed that they were observed by many in the boxes. The Ton watched as Darcy would often lean in to whisper in Lizzy’s ear, often earning a smile or laugh from her. His smile was hard to miss, as was his evident protectiveness of her at intermission, where he did not leave her side.

The next day, the courtship of Mr Darcy with Miss Bennet made the top of the society pages. There was plenty of praise for the beauty and charms of Miss Bennet and mention of the evident approval of the Fitzwilliam family towards the match. The Countess was greatly pleased with the excellent start. “We have started with you. Soon we will introduce the rest of your sisters. We'll introduce Mary when we go to the concert in a week. I suspect you will be very popular.”
To emphasise that, the butler brought in the first of many cards and invites.
SubjectAuthorPosted

Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapter 48

Anne VJune 30, 2023 12:28PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapter 48

LynetteJuly 01, 2023 01:23PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapter 48

EvelynJeanJune 30, 2023 10:49PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapter 48

Maria Teresa CJune 30, 2023 08:32PM



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