Monday, August 13, 2012

A Promise


I am sharing with you the first chapter of the Pride and Prejudice Variation I wrote last April.

You can download the entire story @ amazon.com

I am thankful beyond words for all the readers that have purchased it. I am honored that you allowed me to share a part of me with you.

This is a work of fiction. Please respect my rights as an author. Do not copy any part of my creation without my written permission.

©Carla Roel de Hoffmann, all rights reserved.





Chapter One

Fifteen-year-old Lizzy Bennet couldn’t believe her luck! Her aunt and uncle had invited her on a trip to the Lake District. After a week of travels, they were staying in a beautiful town, where her aunt had lived in her youth, Lambton. Her relatives were visiting old friends and had let her wander by herself. She walked outside the lovely town, towards some wilderness and a churchyard.

As she came closer to the walls, she heard someone sobbing. Her heart broke at the sound! Lizzy couldn’t help herself and went to find the source of such sadness. She found a little girl, no more than ten years of age, dressed all in black, clutching a beautiful doll, also dressed in mourning, and crying her eyes out, leaning on the wall of an old and crowded graveyard.

“What has happened to you?” Lizzy asked the blond little girl.

“My father died some weeks ago and my brother and I came to say goodbye before we travel to London.” The little girl responded while a river of tears ran through her cheeks and she frantically searched for a handkerchief from between her doll’s dress.

Lizzy handed her handkerchief to the girl while saying, “I am very sorry for your loss, is your mother traveling with you as well?”

“No, my mother died after my birth. It is only my brother and myself now…” and she began crying in earnest again.

Lizzy couldn’t resist the urge to console this fragile, lonely girl. She kneeled before her and hugged her while rubbing her back gently. After some time, the girl regained some composure and let go of Lizzy’s embrace.

She blushed as she saw the dampness her tears had left in the kind lady’s dress. “I am so sorry, please forgive me”, she uttered.

She followed her eyes to the front of her dress and laughed, “Do not fret, I have three younger sisters and I am used to looking like this after they have hurt themselves if I am close enough to assist and hug them. As you see, I am quite used to embracing crying girls who are unable to find their own handkerchiefs.”

The girl’s lips curled upward a little and she met the older girl’s eyes. “Thank you for your generosity. You do not know me and here you have spent quite some time listening to my sorrows and trying to comfort me.”

“Are you by yourself?” Lizzy asked while turning around and not seeing anyone close.

“No, I came with my brother… but…” Tears ran through her cheeks again, “I couldn’t stand a minute longer without crying... next to him in front of our parents’ graves… so I retreated… so I could cry without making my brother sad… I am not sure if he noticed me leaving…”

“You walked here?” Inquired Lizzy.

“No, our carriage went to town to pick up some things my brother needs to take to London while we…” sighing the girl’s eyes welled up again.

“Oh… are you going to live with someone else, some relatives? Is that why you are going to London?” asked Lizzy.

“No, my brother is my guardian along with our cousin, the Colonel, he and I… We will live together, he has some business to attend now that everything… I just couldn’t stay by myself now… I begged him to allow me to accompany… I don’t want him to be alone…” The girl uttered.

“You are a good sister indeed, I am sure he feels better knowing you are taking care of him.” Lizzy’s eyes softened as she complimented the girl.

“Georgiana! Georgiana!” The worried voice of a man came to them.

“In here Fitzwilliam!” the young girl yelled, then lowering her voice, she added, “Oh dear, he is worried, I hope he is not mad…”

“I am sure he just wants to know where you are. See, he noticed you were not by his side.” Lizzy winked at the girl and she giggled.

A young man came hurriedly from between the graves, his face etched with grief and worry. As he saw his sister, his face relaxed, but the sadness in his eyes remained.

“Are you well dear?” He ran and kneeled before the girl, taking her hands in his.

“Yes Fitzwilliam, thank you… I was overwhelmed and needed to…” Her eyes went to the lady standing aside.

He noticed the young lady and stood straight and bowed. His eyes met hers. The look of compassion and understanding that he saw in her eyes took his breath away.

She curtseyed and looking into his red-rimmed eyes she said, “Sir, I am very sorry for the loss of your father.”

“Thank you,” he murmured while swallowing the lump on his throat.

The sound of a carriage startled the group. Lizzy has never seen such an elegant set of horses and means of transport!

“Dear, are you sure you want to come with me all the way to London? We can go back to Pemberley and you can stay with Mrs. Reynolds. I will be back in a fortnight.” The man asked gently.

“Yes Fitzwilliam, I am sure. I do not want to be alone after…” Her eyes welled up again and he hugged her.

“All right then dear…” He said, leading his sister by the elbow, as the carriage stopped on the other side of the graveyard’s walls and a footman jumped off the carriage and opened the door for them to climb up.

Georgiana was almost at the door, when she suddenly turned and ran to hug the lady that stayed behind, witnessing the love and devotion and sorrow those two siblings were feeling.

Lizzy’s arms came around the little girl in surprise. As Georgiana let go and looked up, Lizzy smiled at her and told her in a small voice, pointing to the doll, “Take care of your brother and take care of that beautiful lady. May you introduce us please?”

“Oh, she is Anne, as my mother. Anne, may I introduce you to…?” Georgiana asked.

“Elizabeth Bennet” she curtseyed, “I am glad to make your acquaintance Lady Anne and Lady Georgiana.”

Georgiana smiled and hugging her again said, “Thank you.” She finally let go and ran to the carriage where an older lady was waiting inside, as she sat, Lizzy heard the woman admonishing the young girl for God knew what.

Fitzwilliam was shocked by his sister’s reaction. She was always shy and reticent with strangers. Had she hugged and talked to a stranger and smiled?

He met Lizzy’s eyes, bowed and murmured “thank you”, turned around and climbed onto the carriage. As soon as the door closed and the footman sat aside from the driver, the horses were leaded forward and they were gone.

Lizzy watched the carriage go with tears in her eyes, her heart breaking at the sight of those two sad, lonely, bereaved siblings. Looking frantically for her handkerchief as the tears rolled down her cheeks, she began to laugh. Georgiana had taken it with her! She had no other choice to use the back of her hand and return to the inn to get another one.
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