A/N: Just to keep us on track as far as the timeline goes, this is the morning after Elizabeth’s arrival in town with Lydia and the morning after both Darcy and Elizabeth have learned of Mr. Bennet cutting ties with Darcy. I know the time has been spread out over many words and weeks of posts, so thought it feels like this break between families has been ongoing for some time, it is fresh for our characters.
Richard rode up Gracechurch Street and then down. In front of the Gardiner’s home, there was a carriage being made ready for travel, but he had not seen more than one small truck and a bag being loaded. Surely, if the Bennets were travelling, there would be more luggage than that. He took one more tour of Gracechurch Street before determining that he was not going to be able to speak to Mr. Bennet on the road as he thought he might be able to. He would have to knock and ask for a conference despite the early hour. So, that is what he did. He knocked; he requested; and now, he waited.
There was scurrying to and fro above him. Doors opened and closed. Heavy feet hurried up the stairs and down a hall, while at least one other set of feet descended the stairs and passed through the hall just outside the closed door to the room in which Richard paced.
Richard took one more turn around the small sitting room, pausing at the window long enough to see Sir William and Maria entering the carriage. Sir William agreed to something Mr. Bennet was saying, and then the door was closed and the carriage moved away. As Mr. Bennet turned to enter the house, Richard took a seat and waited for the man to enter the sitting room, which he did.
“Colonel Fitzwilliam, I had not thought to see you again,” Mr. Bennet began, giving only a small tip of his head in greeting. He lowered himself into a chair slowly as if he were a man twice his age and weary to the bone.
Richard imagined Mr. Bennet was exhausted. Worry could do that. If Richard were to pause and recall his own concern for his cousin, he would likely yawn and scrub his face. He had slept very ill, and he suspected the same was true of the man sitting across from him.
“I told you yesterday that I would see the matter regarding Mr. Wickham through. I will not go back on my word, no matter how you have treated my family.” He pitied the man’s having to worry for his daughter, but he was not going to take a gentle approach. Mr. Bennet needed to feel the weight of his responsibility in this matter.
“Your family?” Mr. Bennet’s eyes grew wide as his face reddened. “It is your family, who has endangered mine.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam raised a brow. “I disagree,” he said before adding, “How is Miss Lydia this morning?” Continue reading Thursday’s Three Hundred: With the Colonel’s Help, Part 15