Mrs. Reynolds stopped the footman to inquire if he had given Mr. Darcy the message that Mr. Wilkens was in the morning room waiting to see him on estate business.
"Did you tell the master that he was wanted, as I asked?" she inquired.
"No ma'am, the master was busy," he answered.
"I am sure that the Master could have no business in the library that can not wait, what is he doing that is so important that you could not give him a simple message?" she asked.
"He's kissing the Mistress, and I don't think he would welcome interruption. He's been away more than a fortnight you know." he replied.
"Very well, go on about your duties," she told him, and she herself hurried along the hallway toward the library to deliver the message. She knew she would have to hurry, before they would be gone upstairs or the door would be locked. There always seemed to be locked doors when Mr. Darcy had been away for some time. When the door was unlocked, Mr. Darcy always emerged looking like a cat that had been at the cream jar, while the Mistress would go looking for her maid to seek help for her disheveled hair.
She arrived at the library to be met at the door by the Master in the act of closing it. He did not seem at all pleased at the interruption, but told her to tell Mr. Wilkens that he would be there directly. She heard Mrs. Darcy laugh as he turned to tell her that he would not be long, but he thought that perhaps she would be more comfortable upstairs, and he would be up as soon as he could get rid of Wilkens.
Mrs. Reynolds could not hear her reply, but as she went off down the hall, she heard them both laughing as they emerged from the library.
Mrs. Reynolds smiled, thinking, what joy she had brought to this old house. From the first day she had come there with her Aunt and Uncle to tour Pemberley, thinking the family was in London, the Master had been a happy man, even though the path to their marriage had not been a smooth one.
He had come running into the house that day wet to the bone wearing naught but his shirt, breeches and boots, his hair in disarray, shouting for dry clothes as he dashed up the stairs and leaving a trail of wet ones behind.
A few minutes later he emerged, pulling at his dry clothing and, not bothering with the steps, slid down the banister like a child and went clamoring out the front door.
A hour or so later he returned with such a happy light in his eyes, and she wondered if the young lady had anything to do with his high spirits.
She started to apologise for letting strangers into the house when the family was there, but she had not expected them for another day.
"Please do not distress yourself. I am glad you showed them Pemberley, the young lady is an acquaintance of mine," he replied
"She said she knew you a little and enjoyed the tour very much, she returned to your portrait twice, smiling up at it before we quitted the gallery" said Mrs. Reynolds.
"Did she indeed," he answered with a smile, you must tell me more about their visit, when I have finished my business with Mr. Wilkens" and went whistling out the door.
Good heavens, I have not heard him whistle since he was about twelve years old. she thought, this young lady certainly gave his spirits a well needed boost
Mrs. Reynolds still had to laugh as she thought of the events of that day.
Mr. James had come down the stairs with a somewhat dazed look on his face, picking up wet clothing and boots as he came.
"What has gotten into the Master?" he asked. "He came into the dressing room dressed in only one leg of his breeches, striping off the right leg while hopping on his left. I certainly hope that none of the maids was in the hall at the time, as they would have surely had a full view of the Master's bare bottom and heaven knows what else. He flopped onto the bed to remove the other leg, snatched the shirt over his head, leapt into his clean breeches, hurriedly stuffing the shirt in whilst throwing his arms into his weskit and coat and his feet into his boots at the same time, and when I tried to tie his ascot, he told me he had no time for that, and ran from the room, tying it haphazardly on the run. He would not let me even run a comb through his hair, saying he was in too much of a hurry for that.
"I have one consolation after all this hubbub, that he is here in the country and will not be seen in public in such a state of disarray, or I should never be able to hold my head up again.
"I thought that there would be a great clatter of boots for he surely must have run down the stairs in great haste but there was a strange silence instead."
Mrs. Reynolds never revealed to Mr. James the Master's downward plunge, she felt it would be too much for his sensitive soul to stand.
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