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About the author:
Pristis T. Ward is a self-described writing anomalist who likes to us the mind as a creative canvas. P.T. loves to write scenarios with a unexpected twist. P.T. lives in New Mexico and loves the slow warm pace of life.
What inspired you to write your book?
I truly enjoy the interactions of people. I enjoy conversations and simply hearing people express their thoughts. I find people to be so amusing. Jane Austen is a writer that I have always admired and it was her series of books that inspired me to write.
Here is a short sample from the book:
It is true that every romantic triumph is based in two successes- acquisition and preservation. That fantastic achievement ultimately evolves into a quest to hold on to what one has in spite of whatever the tumultuous and unabating social winds are that might blow.
It was the first spring ball that Lydia had been invited to and everyone belonging to proper society would be there. “I can’t imagine not going,” Lydia explained as she adjusted her pearl necklace in the mirror. This necklace that had been given to her by her mother. It was the momento she needed. That reassurance that she would always be loved by someone.
“As you know, Lady Kenagard has personally invited us to the ball. In just a fortnight I will grace them with my presence. Accompanied by my husband of course, who is very well acquainted with Lord Kenagard due to his various business transactions in London. These interactions are not merely of a social nature but are of a much higher intention. Indeed, I believe all men of good fortune deserve to know my husband for the great man he truly is. We will be failing in our duty if we do not attend. You, Elizabeth, I mean Mrs. Darcy shall keep me company as my husband will be busy making social connections during the event,” said Lydia.
A social addict is what Lydia had become, feeding on whatever crumbs society would throw her way. She would not miss any societal ceremony that was accompanied by an invitation, especially since she and her husband had been successful at restoring their social standing and reputation. Her prowess as a prattler was without equal.
After the scandal of having gone off to elope with Mr. Wickham to Scotland it took quite some time and many very lonely evenings before Lydia received any invitations at all. It was a particularly tender subject for her mother Mrs. Bennet as it had left her in a frightful state for some time afterwards. Whenever this particular subject would come up it caused her to be quite out of countenance. She would then proceed to break out into a cold sweat followed by a deep fan with both of her hands in urgent in motion. That is to say if an actual fan was within her reach. Mrs. Bennet still referred to it as “the elopement”.
Although much time had passed it seemed as if the entire family was still recovering from the sting of Lydia’s big mistake. The improprieties that occurred seemed much too impassable for a social engagement like this to correct.
“It all sounds so boring. I don’t know how I shall stay awake during it all,” said Elizabeth.
“You will still go won’t you?” Lydia asked. “In any event it is better than lingering idle at home…And you will remember to smile? You must not be out of spirits,” Lydia impressed.
With a very large grin and forced cheerfulness Lizzy replied that she would. Truthfully though, for a number of reasons, she really did not want to go. There were some who still felt that Mr. Darcy had married beneath him and they resented the new Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Lady Catherine had continued to be incensed over the entire matter. She considered completely absurd the idea of now being associated in any way with the Bennet family. It had been said that she renounced having connections with anything called ‘Bennet’. In the mean time her lackeys, ever faithful, were always on hand to add to the strife by tittering and tattering about them whenever possible. They hurried to report anything that might be considered improper on the part of Elizabeth. They squeaked and squawked about like contentious hens.
Mr. Darcy on the other hand had become very protective of Lizzy. He had always shielded her from any who had the slightest inclination or idea of showing ill feelings or social impropriety towards her. He was a true gentleman. Genuinely in love with her, he proved himself proud to have her as his wife.
After reflecting about these things for a moment, Lizzy was still quite sure that she would be received contrarily by some in her husbands absence. With no conceivable possibility of improvement she was determined to be brave until Mr. Darcy’s return.
“Will I still go? How could I refuse?” Lizzy said. “We shall go and we shall enjoy ourselves. My dear Lydia you must not forget though that an agreeable manner and sincere sentiments will do more for your reputation than pompous displays of a false presence. It’s just a ball my sister. It’s just a ball. May I say how truly sorry I am that there are not more circumstances that will allow you to engage with others who are comparable to you.”
After a brief pause Lizzy inquired of her, “So tell me my dear sister, who in particular, do you want to become acquainted with at this event? Who have you set your sights on?”
Lydia resented what she considered to be Lizzy’s lack of appreciation and disdain for society. She wondered how it was that Lizzy had not inherited the superior disposition that she herself had so obviously obtained by birth. Simply having been birthed a Bennet should have been sufficient. Still, she began her defense by explaining, “The Kenagard family has recently moved to Sussex from London. I’m sure you have heard of the Kenagards. They live presently at Highbrooke. Their daughter Marjorie Kenagard is to receive a fortune of ten thousand pounds.
Quite soon by certitude you see. And if you knew anything about anything, you would know that they were quite often reported on in the papers. It was stated so and all were enlightened on their successful acquisition of gold from India, which only increased their already great estate of property and fortune. This is the same India where your own Mr. Darcy is forthwith seeking his fortune in business is it not?” she retorted. “It had been decided that they had settled on a refinement and would be moving to Sussex from London.
The ball is being held in honor of Marjorie as she is coming out into society and wishes to find a suitable match no less than a husband also of good fortune of course,” Lydia explained. “Oh how I love to danceand dance we shall. I feel we as if were invited there for a purpose. Whenever I am invited to an event I feel that while I am there, my presence makes it the best place on earth and I feel like the most important person on earth,” said Lydia. “Are you not acquainted with them?”
“I must admit that I have not heard of them. I am a little intrigued by what you have said up to now about such a prominent and distinguished family,” Lizzy confessed as she slightly let her head down in a bow.
There were a few details that Lydia conveniently neglected to mention to her sister one of which was that Lady Catherine and Lady Kenagard were quite good friends. Lydia had come upon this knowledge from her husband who also told her of how grieved and particularly unwell Anne de Bourgh had been since Mr. Darcy’s marriage to Lizzy. Perhaps Anne was truly blameless and simply needed to be recompensed. Having been convinced that Mr. Darcy was her only chance at happiness, Lady Catherine had become distracted in this prospect and was exerting in her efforts to find a suitable distraction for Anne. When the Kenagards arrived it made sense that she would be considered as an eligible companion. Lady Catherine did not hesitate to make arrangements with Lady Kenagard for Marjorie to spend a considerable amount of time with Anne.
They had all hoped that the association with Marjorie would move Anne toward high spirits. Perhaps she would discover an expanded measure and enjoyment of her life once again. A positive outcome was expected yet in spite of their best efforts, Marjorie was less than enthusiastic about the match though her manner was very cordial. Left to her own devices Anne was not likely to be so engaged with others. Marjorie often invited Anne to accompany her to visit with friends in London and to shop about. Anne didn’t like to shop neither did she fit in with Marjorie’s party of friends so in the end the connection proved to be an awkward mismatch. They did however continue to be very gracious with one another.
Since Lizzy was not in the trade of gossip, she would have had no knowledge of any of these social milestones. She had thus far no significant connections to Lady Catherine due to her offensive unheralded marriage. Before Mr. Darcy’s departure her occupation was quite limited to devotedly immersing him with her most constant attention in an attempt to cherish every moment they had together before he left for India. On those seldom occasions when she was not with Mr. Darcy, she spent the remainder of her time with her mother, father and sisters so unless she were to hear of something from the mouth of Mrs. Bennet, Lizzy would not have been privy to much community gossip, particularly rumor of that distinction.
“Well Lizzy, it is really of no great consequence that you are so blissfully unaware just as I never ever waste my time reading and I too am very content with that. In earnest, I must inform you that, all that is to be known and all that should be known comes from the lips of those who do know. I sometimes wonder how you are able to carry on without your husband.
Since like you, Kitty has found that she cannot get enough of reading, when she visits with me she keeps me well informed of the latest news. She is coming tomorrow to spend the day. Yes, since she has promised me some news it is then that I will learn of all that she has read about lately. She visits often, you know. Now that your husband is away maybe you too will visit with me much more Elizabeth.”
“Lydia I truly have enjoyed our time together and now if you will excuse me I really must go as it is getting late,” said Lizzy as she stood to leave.
She thought of how she was unable to count the times she had tried to explain the value of self-worth and the utter worthlessness of fortune and social prowess to Lydia and all to no avail. Lizzy was all too eager to depart from Lydia determined this time not to leave feeling exasperated as she had on previous occasions. She was simply unable to reach her sister’s inner sensibilities regarding the machinations of the world and the much higher ideals about life and living. Lydia seemed dead set against anything humble. Rather than failing in her duty to society Lizzy felt her sister was failing in her duty to decency and to all sense of conscience.
Lizzy could only resolve never to conform to the condescending attitudes that prevailed among those belonging to so-called proper society. It was offensive to her prudency and it amazed her how the uncanny offspring possessed the advantages of the world. Lizzy set out never to be intimidated by those who seek to gain admiration. Never to become intoxicated and led along as Lydia had by the pompous and low moral fads of the day.
Just as Lizzy was attempting to leave her, Lydia received a letter informing her that Mr. Wickham would not be able to dine with her that evening. She had received many letters of this kind and therefore it was Kitty in particular who was often left, with no choice but to remain with Lydia for this evening meal.
In this instance Kitty was unavailable and since Mr. Darcy was away Lydia automatically expected Lizzy to stay. Lydia began twisting her hair on the right side behind her ear as she read the letter. She had developed this nervous habit only recently and Lizzy found this well-deserved restlessness to be somewhat annoying.
“Mr. Wickham has been called away and will not be able to dine with me this evening,” she said.
Since Lizzy seemed to suddenly become very hurried in seeking to depart, it was also on this occasion that Lydia began to twist her hair very vigorously.
She smiled and exclaimed, “Oh how delightful Lizzy! I would have much preferred my husband of course but now…In light of the changed circumstance you must stay. You simply must stay so that we can spend even more of our sisterly time together strengthening the bonds of our family.”
“Oh Lydia I am unable. I apologize, sincerely I do because I really must go,” Lizzy said excusing herself yet again.
She could not bear to stay a moment longer and graciously pardoned herself because she needed to break from Lydia. She had been in Lydia’s presence much too long and had tired of the ineffectual conversation. Lizzy felt an overwhelming sense of relief when she finally reach the outside door. She embraced the warm outside air of freedom on her face.
Rather than dine for the evening with her family she decided that she should like to dine at Pemberley alone with Mr. Darcy’s letters and maybe even a good book to keep her company. Lizzy loved Pemberley as she thought of it as the ‘house of their wedded bliss’ even though it was empty yet another night because of Mr. Darcy’s absence. It was true that he had not yet come home but she felt this was only something to be temporarily endured. Completely convinced she was. Absolutely sure that this business venture would be worthwhile because Mr. Darcy was always right. Consequently she did not doubt him at all.
With full confidence she reaffirmed in her mind and heart that he was safe and that these present circumstances would only stand to prove that their love was a true and lasting love. It was only coincidence she assured herself, that Georgiana was also away for the summer and yet the culmination of these things did mean that there really was not much that she could find to do at Pemberley.
Lizzy decided to entertain herself by challenge. She attempted to play a piece that was both melodious and lyrical on the pianoforte. After a while she was forced to remind herself of that which she had always readily admitted which was that she had never really played very well.
She continued heading towards it though, thinking that maybe it might help to pass the time. ‘One lonely evening cannot last forever,’ she thought. Then she ceased playing, stood up restlessly and then she sat back down before she began to finger with the keys again. Once more she stopped quickly after a less than vigorous attempt to sing and then she resumed the playing.
After a while her mind found a place to wonder as she began to compare her own playing to the skillfulness of Georgiana. Lizzy missed the sound of Georgiana’s playing. Devouring the air and replacing the air were the melodies. Her music used to resonate so beautifully in Lizzy’s ears. It was this thought that finally prompted her to end it. Her playing abruptly stopped ‘do-odle looo’ as she decided to retire for the evening.
Lizzy sat down in her room and lit a candle but a breeze blew it out. After closing the window so she lit it again. The warmth of the fireplace was very assuring and so with a glass of warm milk in one hand and Mr. Darcy’s letter in the other, she began to read:
My love I trust you are well. I can hardly write quickly enough to tell you all that is happening daily. I wish I could explain to you how things are here in the greatest possible detail. I can only write you plainly that the people here live in a manner that is much different from what we are accustomed. The days here are very long and the food is like nothing that we have at home.
Such excursions make us appreciate even the smallest of things that were once to us so insignificant. I must tell you though that what I miss most is you. I do believe we are certainly making progress in our endeavor though.
There is a small group of grumblers, miserable men, who I’m sure would induce a small scale resistance towards our business effort here if they were able. Things seem to be going our way and we rejoice that we have finally acquired the necessary work permits and regulatory essentials to carry out our venture to its completion.
To us this place is absent of smiles and of friendliness as some feel we are imposing on rights not ours, but we will press on. I may say in a general sense that things are going as planned here and I remind myself of this often.
Mr. Bingley and I have acquired the workers for the mine and things are moving forward accordingly. We are waiting for our supplies to be delivered so that we may officially begin.
Mr. Bingley is just as anxious to return to Jane and their newly born twins. I am so eager in anticipation of my return to you. Lizzy I do so long to see you but soon we shall be reunited.
Although this not the rainy season here in India it has been raining for several days. The air is very warm and moist yet you can still smell the strong Indian spices. It is as if they are being carried along in the air riding on the dampness.
At night as I try to listen for the silence under the sound of each rain drop that falls I often think of how I would often kiss you whenever ourselves we found to be caught in the rain. How I do miss your adoring smile. I write to you using only a few simple words my love. As I inscribe on this paper a small bit of my tired thoughts each night know that I speak of you constantly.
It is my earnest desire to compose a worthy letter that will allow me to clearly declare my steadfast love and longing for you.
How could I love you more? I could not possibly love you more for if I were to do so I would inscribe your name upon my face so that every stranger would know that I belong to you while I am here in this strange land. Yes I truly would, if it were something that their unfamiliar customs would allow.
Please know that I think of you constantly. I miss you and I long to kiss your sweet face.
I will write again soon my love.
Wiping her nose with his handkerchief, Lizzy tried to imagine what it might be like to be in India. The sights, the smells and even the rain all seemed fascinating, exciting and even challenging to her.
She felt very proud of her husband and thought about what a splendid man he had turned out to be. It was hard for her to imagine how awful they were to one another in the beginning. She reminisced about the first time they had danced together. He was so prideful and now it had all become a complete and insurmountable love. She would rather have Mr. Darcy over social acceptance any day.
Feeling very pleased but also mildly melancholy at the same time, she was sure that such a feeling as this must be normal, especially for two people who loved one another so much.
Teary eyed and tired from the activities of the day, Lizzy took the letter to bed with her, holding it as if the letter were Mr. Darcy himself.
Her arms tried to replace his letter with the warmth of his embrace. Imagining his hands caressing the lower curve of her back as he kissed her softly as he always had done every night, she quickly drifted off to sleep.