Georgiana Darcy is a woman in love, a woman secretly married to a man with a bizarre name, an officer in the British Navy. She feels obliged to keep this brand new marriage a secret because her two old guardians, Darcy and Fitzwilliam, have longed all of their lives to see their little girl presented at court and given a season on the London marriage mart. Here she is, Georgiana, and the love of her life... (play the recording as you read about Darcy's little sister)
It was Presentation day and Georgiana Darcy was already dressed and waiting for the others. She checked and rechecked her feather to make sure it wouldn’t dip or bend betraying her clumsiness and her naivety to the monarch. She bowed, she dipped, she bounced up and down on her toes and her heels until she was satisfied that the Regent himself would have to run up to her and rip it forcibly from her head before it would fall; and even then he would need to have braced his feet against her chest for enough leverage. She sighed and nodded. One worry out of one thousand alleviated.
Her dress was another story; a huge white old fashioned monstrosity which stuck out on the sides with panniers, flat in front and back and a ridiculously low cut tight fitting bodice, with short puffy sleeves and ruffles everywhere. She was humiliated and she could not easily pass through doorways; she had to travel sideways like a fiddler crab. She looked like a busty Little Bo Peep. Would this season ever be over? The entertainments were getting larger and the parties louder and the shyness she had hoped to have conquered was now often paralyzing her. Georgiana missed the quiet country.
Pacing back and forth she wondered if she would see Beverly that day. It had been four days since their secret wedding and four days since she had been briefly alone with him, still a bride in name only. In a few days his ship would be gone and she was already feeling the longing ache of missing him. Six months he would be gone from her and six months may as well be an eternity when you are nineteen. She heard a sound; a stone hitting her window causing her to look up briefly, but her mind had moved onto new worries: her curtsey. Heaven forbid but her curtsey had to be knee to floor, graceful and fluid, whatever that meant. She resumed her practice.
“Knee to the floor, knee to the floor, knee to the floor…,” she repeated until she had reached the acceptable bowing position, her arms gracefully loose at her sides. She attempted the required graceful and fluid rise and could not. “Can’t get up, can’t get up, can’t get up…” she panted. She panicked. She was stuck. How in the name of St. Timothy’s shin bone was she supposed to stand back up? The muscles behind her legs screamed at her as she made one or two attempts. Nothing. She was frozen. Suddenly another, larger, stone cracked against the window, frightening her. She toppled back onto her rear, her legs shooting out from under her. “OOOFFF!”
Her arms flew around wildly searching for purchase, and in a terrifying moment one of her breasts popped out from her low cut bodice. “Oh good gracious,” she whimpered and quickly stuffed it back within her gown. A small brick hit the window frame. She could no longer ignore this racket. She made her way clumsily back onto her feet and ran to the window to see her bridegroom, Lieutenant Beverly Ashcroft, standing beneath it, straddling a fallen tree trunk. He waved at her and threw her a kiss then motioned for her to go out to the garden and meet him.
She ran down the stairs sideways, weaving her way through the servants who where streaming upstairs and down with furniture and candles and hundreds of other unidentifiable things, yelping and dodging her as she passed. All was in chaos, everyone busily preparing the great hall for the following day’s ball. She nodded her thanks to one and all, trying not to break into a run. She finally reached the downstairs door, opened it, slipped outside and jumped into his arms.
“Oh my darling,” he whispered into her ear. “Are you as undone as I am?” She nodded quickly smothering his mouth with her kisses, her hands cupping the beautiful sides of his magnificent face.
“Perhaps getting married secretly wasn’t the best idea. All I can think of now is what I am missing.” He crushed her closer to him and kissed her senseless for a few minutes. “Do you have some time now? Can we go somewhere to speak ? Anywhere? To speak dearest, I swear. Just to speak.” He looked so pathetic that her heart swelled with desire and love for him. Truthfully though, he could have looked like a tomato and her heart would have swelled with desire and love for him.
“Yes, please. I would dearly love a good conversation right now.” She dragged him through the rear vegetable gardens to the recesses of the property, back into a storage shed. Realizing that the floor would dirty the hem of her gown, he removed his coat, placing it on the floor for her to stand on; then closed the door behind them. It would have taken only a moment for their eyes to adjust to the light, but in that moment they were already in another world of senses and emotions.
TO BE CONTINUED...