The vignette for this week is by Brigid Huey, a new author at Meryton Press. Her first book, A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods will be released this fall. Watch for updates on the Meryton Press Facebook page.
This vignette takes place at Rydal Mount, the home in England’s Lake District where William Wordsworth spent most of his adult life. Elizabeth and Darcy are traveling in the area a year or two before Wordsworth rented the home from Lady le Flemming.
When thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies (139-142)
—from Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth
The carriage drove over the old stone bridge, and Elizabeth Darcy leaned her head out the open window, the better to see the lovely creek below. The horses moved on—their hooves clapping loudly on the stone—and a moment later, the house came into view. It sat upon a little hill, its white plaster facade warmed by the afternoon sun.
“Oh! Fitzwilliam, it’s beautiful!”
Across from her, her husband, Fitzwilliam Darcy, smiled and leaned forward to gaze out the window as well. The sloped roof of the house was punctuated by seven chimneys, their milky tone contrasting sharply with the grey slate roof. Gardens surrounded the house; indeed, flowers and foliage seemed to burst from every corner.
“I thought you would like it, my love,” Darcy said.
“It is exactly what I would wish a summer home to be,” Elizabeth replied, her eyes glowing as they roamed over the lovely scene.
Before long, the carriage pulled to a stop, and a groom began to attend to the horses. Two footmen appeared to hand Elizabeth and Darcy out of the carriage, and Elizabeth found herself being ushered inside the house by a welcoming woman who appeared to be the housekeeper in residence.
“Welcome to Rydal Mount, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Lady Flemming sends her apologies for not receiving you herself, but she has been called away to tend to a sick relative,” the plump older woman was saying.
“I do hope it is nothing serious,” Elizabeth said, looking at her husband who was handing his hat and staff to the footman.
“I do not believe so, ma’am,” the housekeeper replied. “Lady Flemming has an elderly relative that lives but twenty miles away. She is often called from Rydal Hall to attend her. Please, allow me to show you to your rooms.”
She led the way up the rather narrow stairs to the master’s chambers. The room was simply furnished, yet there was a touch of elegance that spoke of good sense and taste. The adjoining room—the mistress’s chambers—was as bright and cheerful as Elizabeth could wish. The white walls were modestly adorned with art that looked to be painted by the residents of Rydal Hall. A large window occupied most of one wall, and as it was curtained with only gauzy cotton, the sunlight of the summer afternoon streamed through, warming the room within.
The housekeeper left them, and Elizabeth turned to Darcy, clasping his hand. “How did you know, my dear, that this house would be so perfect for our summer holiday?”
“I saw it once, several years ago,” Darcy replied, pulling her closer as he spoke. “I was traveling in this part of the country, and stopped to visit Sir Daniel Flemming and his wife, Lady Anna. Sir Daniel was keen to show me the improvements he had made to some of the outer buildings, including Rydal Mount.”
He wrapped his arms around her, pressing her body close to his. After five months of marriage, Elizabeth had grown accustomed to his casual touches, but the thrill of his embrace was as strong now as it had been the very first time she had felt his arms around her. She sighed, leaning into his chest and resting her head on his lapel.
“It was such a peaceful spot,” he continued. “The gardens were especially lovely. When I heard that Sir Daniel was looking for a tenant, I knew immediately that this would suit us—that it would suit you, my love.” He crooked his finger below her chin, drawing her face up to his. A smile played about his mouth as he leaned in, kissing her slowly, delicately.
The kiss deepened, and Elizabeth wound her arms around his neck, content to be in his arms. After a moment, however, he withdrew.
“We should change out of these dusty things,” he said.
“I suppose you are right,” Elizabeth murmured.
Darcy chuckled at her reluctance. “Do not worry, my love; there are more delights to come.”
Elizabeth blushed and looked at her boots. Darcy once again lifted her chin with his finger.
“I have a surprise in store for you, and I do not wish to spoil it. Come—let us change. I shall await you downstairs.” He gave her one impish look, and then left her. Her curiosity sufficiently piqued, Elizabeth called her maid and hurried to undress.
She availed herself of the washing basin then chose a lovely cotton afternoon dress from her trunk. It had come through the long trip largely unwrinkled, and Elizabeth was quite pleased with her appearance once her maid had done up the buttons in the back. The muslin was creamy white with tiny little sprigs of yellow flowers embroidered throughout. Delicate puffed sleeves revealed her pale and shapely arms, and a lace fichu tucked into her bodice. It was far too warm for a shawl, but she did procure her parasol.
Refreshed and changed at last, Elizabeth made her way downstairs. She found her husband in the library where she knew he would be. He sat, book in hand, with his long legs stretched before him. He looked up and smiled—the full, engaging smile that was just for her.
“There you are, my love,” he said, rising and setting his book aside. “You look positively enchanting this afternoon.”
Elizabeth looked down at her frock. “Do you like it? I had it made especially for the trip.”
Darcy took in her gown, his eyes moving over her in a way that made her shiver slightly. “It is quite beautiful,” he said, “though I confess that the gown is not what caught my attention.”
He took a step closer, and linked her arm in his. “It is you, my love—your fair cheek, your lovely lips, those eyes that will forever bewitch me. You are lovelier than any dress.”
“And you, sir, are charming,” Elizabeth said archly, but her heart beat faster at his words, and she drew him closer to her side.
“Are you ready for your surprise?”
“I think you are the better judge, husband of mine. Will I suit the surprise?”
“You are perfect. Come, let me lead you.”
He drew her out of the library toward the back of the house. A small door at the end of the hall opened upon the back of the property. As soon as she stepped through the door, Elizabeth felt she had been transported to a fairyland. Flowers of every sort were in full bloom, their heady fragrance filling her senses. There were roses—dozens of roses—as well as foxgloves, lavender, agrimonies, daisies, and bellflowers.
“Oh, my darling,” Elizabeth breathed. “It is so very beautiful!”
Darcy placed his hand on the small of her back, leading her forward through the blooms. “As are you, my love.”
Elizabeth leaned her head against his shoulder in reply as they walked arm in arm down the garden path. Were it not for her deep love of Pemberley, she felt she should be happy to live her whole life in this very garden.
They rounded a bend, and she glimpsed her surprise at last. A lavish picnic was set upon the neatly trimmed lawn beneath a beautiful horse chestnut tree. A large blanket held all sorts of culinary delights, and two footmen stood at a discreet distance, ready to attend them.
Darcy led her to the blanket, holding her hand as she settled herself down. Then he relaxed next to her, leaning back on his shoulder. “Do you like it, my dear?”
“Of course I do! It is the perfect beginning to our summer holiday.”
“I am glad it pleases you.”
“It does, indeed, and you do, as always.”
She leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss, despite the footmen. Darcy merely raised an eyebrow at her boldness.
“We are here for two whole weeks,” he said. “I thought the vistas of the fells and lakes could wait while we recover from our journey.”
“A very good thought,” Elizabeth replied, taking a piece of ham from the basket and setting it on a plate for her husband. She served another for herself. “Though you may regret it.”
“I may never wish to leave this garden nor the charming house. Rydal Mount is exactly where I should like to live, had I not been blessed with the good fortune of being mistress of Pemberley.”
Darcy took her hand, raising her fingers to his lips. His eyes blazed with the passion she had come to know these past five months. “Wherever you are, Elizabeth, is where I wish to be.”
“And where I wish to be, my love, is by your side.”
Aww, that’s a good ending! Rydal Mount sounds like a lovely place for a summer holiday. Would you like to visit and have a picnic in the garden?
Remember that comments will not show up immediately, but will be checked often. Once approved the comments will be visible. Please share your thoughts with new author, Brigid Huey and Meryton Press. Thank you for stopping by and enjoying another Darcy and Elizabeth Summer Holiday.
Books by Brigid Huey
Loved this vignette, Bridgid! Darcy and Elizabeth’s love is a beautiful thing to see. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂
We can never get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth’s love, can we! Thank you for your support, Kelly.
Thanks, Kelly! I just never tire of seeing them happy together.
What a lovely vignette! Thank you so much for sharing, Brigid. <3
Wasn’t it a lovely vignette! Thank you for visiting and commenting, Nicole.
Thanks, Nicole! It’s such a treat to be able to share it here at Meryton Press.
What a lovely extract, I feel transported to the Lake District already. Just a little thing (I’m a picky Brit), we don’t usually use the word ‘creek’ we would use stream or brook. Being from the North of England and having holidayed for years in the Lakes, I would say brook is the better alternative. Small thing but it doesn’t detract from a super glimpse of what awaits us with the rest of the book in the autumn.
Thank you for stopping by, Debra. Your thoughts are appreciated as is your suggestion for the use of “brook” as opposed to “creek.” These summer holiday vignettes are stand-alone scenes and not associated with a book. That is part of what makes them so fun! We’re happy to hear you will be looking for her book to release later. Good luck in the giveaway. Be sure to visit all the vignettes that are posted each Friday.
Thanks, Debra! I’m glad you liked it despite the very American use of ‘creek’. I’m from the Midwest, can’t you tell? ‘Brook’ is such a musical word – it would work so well in this scene! Thanks for your interest in my upcoming book. Although Rydal Mount is not part of that story, I hope to include it in a future work.
Congratulations to a very talented women on this beautiful piece and the forthcoming novel! Can’t wait to read more from Brigid Huey! (Any chance I can get a signed copy? 😜)
Thanks for dropping in and reading Brigid’s summer holiday vignette! Wasn’t it beautiful!
Thank you! I’m glad you like the vignette. I know you love a good piece of Austenesque fiction, so it means so much that you enjoyed it. One signed copy, coming your way soon(ish)!
Brigid, I love the descriptions within this vignette: the gown and the garden in particular. You have a strong gift of bringing the scene alive, not just with the visual, but with the sensory as well. We feel the love between our couple. Best wishes on your upcoming debut novel!
That’s a lovely comment, Suzan, and so true. Thank you for visiting and sharing your feelings.
Thank you, Suzan! I really appreciate your thoughts about the vignette. I fell in love with Rydal Hall while researching this piece. I hope to visit it someday!
Just beautiful! I absolutely love a very happily married Darcy and Elizabeth!
This cottage sounds delightful and perfect for Elizabeth, obviously Darcy knows what pleases his wife. Loved it, thank you.
I look forward to checking out your book Brigid.
You are correct. This Darcy obviously knows what pleases his wife. I’m so happy you popped in, Glynis! Wasn’t it delightful to see such a happily married Darcy and Elizabeth.
Thanks, Glynis! I’m so glad you liked it. When I first discovered Rydal Mount, I just felt it would be perfect for Darcy and Elizabeth.
What a lovely, sweet scene! Brigid, you really have a way with words. I could picture that peaceful garden so easily. I’m looking forward to your new book being published soon. And I hope you truly do use this vignette in a future book. I dearly love a happily married Mr. and Mrs. Darcy.
It was a lovely scene, and you are right. Brigid does have a way with words and made that garden sound so lovely. This would be a great scene for a future book. Thanks, Jan.
Thank you, Jan! I appreciate such warm comments. And I’m so glad you like this scene. I had such fun researching Rydal Hall, I’m looking forward to creating a full story.
What a cute little scene! Very easy to imagine it. Much too brief, though. We want to know more of their visit.
More of this scene would be nice!
Thank you, Gina! I want to know more, too. I’ve decided I’ll just have to write the whole story.
Rydal sounds truly enchanting. Thank you for sharing not only your description of this summer home but the sweet love between Lizzy and Darcy.
It does sound enchanting. Brigid’s description brought it to life. Thanks, Mary.
Thank you, Mary! I agree wholeheartedly about Rydal Mount. When I discovered it, I just knew it would be perfect for a story.
I have my own dear “Mr. Darcy.” Can we live there? Thank you Brigid for capturing the beauty of Rydal Mount and the sweetness of true love.
Lovely comment, Susie. It’s nice to hear you have your own dear “Mr. Darcy.”
I think Rydal is perfect for you and Mr. Darcy. The gardens alone would keep you both happy!
It sounds like such a lovely and refreshing garden.
I look forward to reading more.
Wouldn’t it be nice to visit that garden! Thanks for commenting.
Thanks, Patty! I’m so glad you liked it. I love the setting so much, I’m going to try and write a longer story to go with it!
What a lovely extract. Sounds like an amazing garden. I would love to read more.
We are glad that you stopped by, Lynn. Maybe you will get to read more!
Thank you, Lynn! I had so much fun writing this little bit, I want to write a full story to go with it. Thank you for the encouraging comment!
Than you for sharing this sweet vignette. I am looking forward to the release of A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods.
Thank you, Debbie. We are looking forward to Brigid’s release too!
Thanks, Deborah! I’m so excited to share my book with such a lovely community.
As with all of these lovely vignettes, I’d love to read the back story to this one as well. Thanks so much for sharing it with us Brigid, and congratulations in your forthcoming debit work.
I’m lucky enough to live only a couple or three hours drive from the Lake District and we’ve visited there twice this year. We haven’t visited Rydal Mount as yet, but we have been to Grasmere where William Wordsworth is buried and visited the church to see his memorial inside and the family burial plot in the churchyard. It’s a pity that Darcy and Elizabeth’s time here is too early for you to have them partake of Grasmere Gingerbread, as the recipe wasn’t developed until 1854. I can highly recommend it if you ever get over here to the Lakes, Brigid.
The gingerbread sounds wonderful. I love gingerbread! My mother and I used to make it when I was a young girl. It was my favorite! Thanks, Anji. It’s always good to hear from you and have you share your thoughts.
Thank you for your kind words, Anji! I will admit to complete jealousy at your being able to ‘tour the lakes’ so easily. When I finally do get to England (it will happen someday), I will definitely seek out the Grasmere Gingerbread. I chose this setting because I have always loved Wordsworth, and it was just too tempting to merge two of my favorite literary ideals!
Sheila L. Majczan
That was a lovely vignette. Sounds like a place any couple would enjoy visiting. Thank you for the trip…in our minds’ picture.
It does sound like a lovely place, doesn’t it! Darcy knows Lizzy and what she likes.
This is a romantic vignette. I would love to visit the Lake District one day and see the beautiful gardens of Rydal Mount with my own eyes. I look forward to your debut release, Brigid.
It was a lovely romantic vignette, and the gardens sounded beautiful. Be watching for Brigid’s release which will be soon.