A Missing Guest
Darcy stood by the window that overlook the entrance to Rosings. His vigil was rewarded when he spotted the party of Hunsford making its way up the lane. However, it did not take him long to discern that the one member of the party that he longed to see was not present.
Darcy's long stride quickly carried him to the top of the staircase were he observed the arrival of the guests without being seen by them. He waited until they were taken into the drawing room, before he descended the staircase. He was not eager to join the assembled guests, though he was about to when he heard his aunt voicing the question he wanted to ask, so he remained outside the drawing room, eavesdropping on their conversation.
"And where is Miss Bennett?" his aunt demanded to know.
"My cousin sends her most humblest apologies, for she was devastated not to be able to visit with you today, indeed, who would not feel ...." Mr. Collins began.
"Where is Miss Bennett?" Lady Catherine forcefully cut into Mr. Collins blathering. Darcy mentally thanked his aunt for the interruption.
Charlotte began to speak, "I am afraid that Miss Bennett has . . . "
"Taken ill, which is why she had to forgo the very great pleasure of your company," Mr. Collins finished for his wife.
If Miss Bennett is ill, then what are you doing here? thought Darcy, but he knew that Mr. Collins would leave his cousin at death's door to answer a summons from Lady Catherine, though he did not believe Mrs. Collins would leave her friend if she was truly in distress.
"It is just a headache," Charlotte said quickly, as if she was aware Darcy was listening, "I believe that some rest is all that she needs." Darcy was relieved to hear this.
Darcy could hear the servants approaching. He left the hall before anyone saw him, for he did not want to sit and listen to his aunt pontificate or Mr. Collins grovel. He returned to his room, retrieve his hat and gloves, went down the back stairs and out the side door. He eyes glanced down the lane toward the parsonage and he began to walk towards it.
© 1997 Copyright held by the author.