Shock, horror! Did I mention the ‘C’ word? lol
Yes, I did say Christmas…. there, I did it again! :O CHRISTMAS!!
What on earth is the matter with her? Doesn’t she know it’s June? I hear you cry!
Yes, I know it’s June, but… if I don’t get cracking with Christmas at Longbourn…. yes, you read that correctly, CHRISTMAS AT LONGBOURN, then I won’t have it ready to release by Christmas for you!
I want to thank every single one of you for your encouraging emails and messages on Facebook asking when I will get round to writing book 4 in my Pride & Prejudice Continues series. The good news is that I am now back to writing it. I am not pushing myself, but taking it slowly.
Christmas at Longbourn is a step between Wickham and the climax book for that story — yes, this step is necessary.
The focus is on Mary and Kitty Bennet!! Hurrah! At last!
The fun part of this novel is that Mrs Bennet is back with her flamboyant dramatics! She’s such fun to write!
I thought I’d share a little snippet of the opening scene with you, to whet your appetites. Please remember this is unedited and a first draft ❤
The date of the Merryton Christmas Assembly was set back, again, and looked as though it would not happen at all this year. It snowed much earlier and harder than usual that year. The whole of England was having the longest and hardest of winters in living memory, some said. However, only two out of the four inhabitants of the family in Longbourn minded in the least.
Mary, the eldest of the five girls remaining at home, and Mr Bennet found very little difficulty in finding occupation for themselves or in suggesting it for Mrs Bennet and the youngest unmarried daughter, Kitty. Their entreaties more often than not fell on deaf ears.
“My dear Mr Bennet, when will this tedious snow end?” Mrs Bennet cried with ear-splitting volume as she poked the fire in the grate with such vigour that she almost put it out.
“My dear, if I were privy to such information, I would be a very rich man indeed!” he replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm, without looking up from his newspaper.
His wife huffed, pouted, and whined some more. “Oh, but we cannot venture out of doors for fear of falling and breaking our necks, or catching our death of cold.”
Mr Bennet ignored her and continued to read his newspaper.
“Must we always rely upon Mr Bingley’s benevolence to send their carriage for us should we wish to visit our dear Jane and Lizzy?”
“I’m afraid so,” came the short reply.
“Ooh! You do try my patience!” She griped as she returned to her chair with a flourish of her skirts. “Why, can we not use our horse, Nelly, and take our own carriage to see the grandchildren?” She smiled in such an encouraging manner Mary knew she hoped that it would add weight to her petition.
Yet, Mary watched impassively and knew her father remained unmoved. He folded his newspaper, and she knew he was certain of constant interruption if he persisted in attempting to read in the drawing room, and prepared to depart for the private and quiet seclusion of his book room. “Because, my dear, Nelly cannot be spared from her duties on the farms, as you are well aware.” He rose and silently closed the door behind him as he left.
Mary buried her face in her book to hide the smirk that lifted the corners of her mouth.
Mrs Bennet continued to moan despite his absence. “Duties? Duties, indeed!” She folded her arms and pouted. “The ground is as hard as granite and there are no fields to plough at this time of the year. What other duties could Nelly possibly have on our farms? And what are they compared with taking us to Netherfield Park to see our newborn grandsons?”
Nelly was the family’s horse and they shared her use with the tenant farmers on Mr Bennet’s land. This vexed Mrs Bennet greatly who did not see the enormous expense or waste in keeping a horse purely to pull a carriage that they used perhaps only once per week at the most. She was bored stuck indoors now winter had come early and she longed to visit with two of their five daughters, who both had recently been delivered of sons, as she mentioned umpteen times an hour—daily. Jane, the eldest daughter’s son, Charles, was born in the summer. He was growing to be a fine lad. Lizzy, the next eldest daughter’s son, William, was born two months later, also at Netherfield Park.
“And goodness only knows if the Christmas ball will ever take place.” Her youngest remaining daughter, Kitty, bemoaned, joining her voice to her mother’s.
“Hmm… Yes, it is so unfair.” Mrs Bennet sighed. Together they sat, looked out of the window at the falling snow and decried winter in its entirety.
“We could walk…” Mary sighed as she flicked the page over in her novel. “That is how the newspaper is fetched each and every morning.”
“Walk?” Mrs Bennet fairly shrieked at the suggestion. Her face grew red with ire. “What a notion!” She pulled her shawl tighter about her shoulders. “Have you any idea how difficult it would be to trudge through all that snow? We should freeze to death for certain before we even got past the church, to be sure.”
“Perhaps Mary has a point, Mama. A servant could be sent to Netherfield. They could ask Mr Bingley to send a carriage for us.” Kitty perked up as though it were her own suggestion.
“Now that is a thought!” Mrs Bennet half-rose in her seat and then sank back down again, her face showing her thoughts had taken a dire turn. “But what if the servant were to die in the snow before reaching Netherfield? We would not discover them until spring!” She shuddered at the thought. “No, we had better wait at home and hope that Mr Bingley or Mr Darcy have the good sense to send a carriage for us.”
“It shall happen eventually,” Mary interjected in a bored monotone, “for Christmastide is upon us and we shall all meet as a family, shall we not?”
The smile on her face fell as her mother rounded on her, “Christmastide? That is a full month away, child. Are you dim-witted? We cannot sit and wait here for an entire month!”
Mary closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I am merely pointing out that it will not be forever, Mama.” She bit her tongue, tired and irritated at always being the one to be looked down upon. She felt it was unfair and hoped for a reason to leave the house and venture into Merryton town—if only, she thought.
“Merely pointing out?” Mrs Bennet exploded. “No one wants your opinions, Mary, I am sure.”
Mary watched as her mother returned to her seat by the fireside to talk with Kitty. She swallowed down what she would like to say. Just for once she would like to be listened to and taken seriously. She was tired of being thought of as the odd-one-out.
© 2017 Karen Aminadra. All rights reserved.