& Moira Bianchi: Dirty Petticoats - chapter 1

quarta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2020

Dirty Petticoats - chapter 1

I have great news! A new Austenite romance!
kindle | googleplay

a web of gossip, half-truths and lovely PDA from Darcy & Lizzy.
This plot came from Caroline Bingley, the one who talks on money, you know?

“…and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain; and the gown which had been let down to hide it not doing its office.” chap 8

So, this always made me think how hard could it be to keep petticoats cleaned, 
and how to clean it and worse: 
did rich Lizzy Darcy keep her undergarments cleaned?

the blurb:
A lovely opportunity to eavesdrop on Pride and Prejudice after its ending, and collect clues to a Regency era puzzle.
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are happily married enjoying the second year of their union. Freshly presented at St. James, the new Mrs. Darcy made splendid figure whenever she went, especially for her husband’s eyes. He pampered his wife with attention fed by ardent love and luxuries provided from his great consequence. Their only nuisance is his sister’s avid interest in social activities.
Disrupting the blissful life at Pemberley, a letter from Longborn, the estate of Elizabeth’s parents, arrives unexpectedly. It conveys astonishing information of a guest who shows great intent of having moved back to Hertfordshire. Charlotte Collins refuses to disclose her motivations for abusing Mrs. Bennet’s hospitality.
Meryton, the place where two eligible bachelors found the companions of their lives, is no longer a small sleepy village in the heart of Hertfordshire. The news of the Darcys and Bingleys wedding cruised the country inciting curiosity and many investments. The romantic spa is a fashionable place full of opportunities for liaisons of all kinds.
Unbeknownst to everyone there is someone weaving gossip and using secrets as weapons to puppeteer the lives of the youngsters. Maids, family members, journals, newspaper ads – anything can be used to achieve a lifelong purpose when one is accomplished in the arts and allurements of meddling.
Starting from the famous Caroline Bingley’s derisive quote “…and her petticoat; I hope you saw if how rich Lizzy Darcy still soiled her undergarment. How would she do it? For what reason? For whom?

A romantic comedy-mystery tale catching the beloved Jane Austen’s characters in their most deserved happily ever after.

curious? Here you'll find more details and links.
here's the first chapter

PG 13 - Regency - P&P continuation

~ chapter 1 ~

‘It is written somewhere that elder sisters have to comply with the wishes of the little ones. I am sure of it.’
‘I was never made aware of such law, sister.’
‘There is, I assure you. One of these days I shall endeavor to find time to research the library. Perhaps an early edition of the Scriptures...’
‘Before the latest revision, you say?’
‘…Or a family scrapbook of some sort.’
‘Ah, it runs in the family!’
‘Yes! It simply shall be done.’
Elizabeth sighed, refilled her cup with the expensive tasty tea. ‘But I am Bennet at essence, you see? Raised in a nest of sisters. If I didn’t fight for my piece of worm, I’d starve! Mamma bird couldn’t possibly feed all five daughters with attentions all the time as Fitzwilliam showered you.’
Georgiana Darcy discarded the fashion magazine she perused with little interest and tossed it aside with the previous week newspaper forgotten under other equally outdated magazines and shook her hands in front of her face. ‘It is not an exchange of civilities between siblings, Lizzy; I’m talking to my sister.’ She widened her big puppy eyes. ‘The sister I so longed for, with whom I could talk about most anything… Any delicate subject as nephews and nieces! ‘Tis a matter I could never discuss with Fitzwilliam.’
‘My marital bliss should not be something you could discuss with me either, sister.’ Elizabeth Darcy mumbled.
‘What do you mean? I only asked when will you give me nephews. Or nieces. Two at a time would be lovely.’
‘And pray, where do babies come from?’ Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. 
Georgiana frowned.
‘You don’t know?…’ Elizabeth blushed.
Georgiana blushed darker. ‘From Fitzwilliam.’ She said defensively.  ‘And…’ Pointed a gyrating finger at Elizabeth. ‘You. In bed.’
Elizabeth let out a relieved breath. For a moment she thought she’d be responsible for sullying the girl’s understanding. 
‘But that has nothing to do with bliss. It is duty and mother’s love. Aren’t you anxious to have little ones? Already two years since your matrimony! When I wed, I shall have as many infants as possible in the first year.’
A big smile lighted her face for bliss was what filled Elizabeth’s days and nights since she was taken as Mrs. Darcy. ‘Almost two years.’ Georgiana was still naive in the arts and allurements of love; the girl would learn about it when she did wed a worthy gentleman. ‘I want to enjoy my husband for a little while more before the need to divide my attention with the nursery. Our second season is about to start, the first since I was presented at court. Finally, we can enjoy the Ton, Fitzwilliam does not need to fear the matchmakers, I do not need any more instructions in society. We will be free this season.’
‘Hmpf!’ Georgiana crossed her arms and pouted. ‘That was what he said.’
‘So you did talk to him about this subject?’
‘I mentioned the house was too quiet, we need children.’
‘Maybe we can invite my aunt Gardiner after the season. She can bring her troop!’
‘She has several children…’
‘As we shall have.’ A happy smile. ‘I can imagine a little Fitzwilliam carrying a blanket with a frown.’ Elizabeth pouted lovingly. ‘Maybe with my eyes.’
‘You do dream of children?…’
‘Of course!’
‘But then, Heaven is mad at you, because you don’t want them. Your refusal is punishment.’ Georgiana blinked.
‘Nothing of the sort!’ Elizabeth laughed.  
‘Good gracious, we need to visit the monastery of Glastonbury.’
‘Heaven blessed me with a wonderful husband and a mind obstinate enough to love him without sharing!’ She put down her cup. 
‘Then, as the result of every matrimony is heirs, what can be happening?...’ A loud gasp.
‘Listen, married ladies have a way to control nature…’ She bit her lip. ‘Don’t know if you can hear about this.’
‘Do tell. I am in tatters here thinking you might be ill.’
‘I am perfectly fine, rest assured.’ She patted the younger girl’s hand. ‘Tis only a trick. Let us say it like this: a trick. The married lady’s trick is to count nights starting from the strawberry peppered petticoats’ day.’
‘We’re not in berry season, sister.’
‘Mamma taught us to say it this way, when we first transitioned from girlhood. Jane and I had it almost together, it came as such a terror to us to see our petticoats smeared in red and that funny pressure-’ She touched her tummy, Georgiana nodded. ‘Maybe that was why she spoke of the delicious fruit.’
‘My companion explained the monthly courses telling me to watch out for dirty petticoats.’
‘Dirty petticoats happened when I had leisure time to visit neighbors or walk to Meryton and got six inches of mud on my skirts!’ A giggle. ‘Nowadays I drive a phaeton or am driven around during my rounds to the tenants.  Hardly have time to wander the park…’
‘Do you regret being Mrs. Darcy?’
‘The way you said it…’
‘You misunderstood me.’ Elizabeth rolled her shoulders.  ‘I just miss the small adventures I had back home, tis all.’
‘Your home is not even the same anymore…’ Georgiana felt a small sting, she wanted her new sister to like Pemberley best than she liked her parents’ estate.
‘Yes!’ A giggle. ‘Meryton is such a fashionable little village, unbelievable!’ Elizabeth blinked mischievous eyes to the distance contemplating the silliness of the idea of her birth place being so changed.
‘You spend nights counting nothing, that is the reason of your boredom.’
‘I am not bored.’
‘I heard you.’
‘You most certainly did not hear me say that.’
A pout. ‘You could play the pianoforte with me every night. You’d be more proficient.’
Elizabeth tilted her head to regard her new sister-in-law curiously. ‘You speak about Fitzwilliam’s heirs in what purpose, Georgiana?’
‘Why, what reason could I have?’ The girl snorted.
‘Does it come from your heart?’
‘The yearning for little nephews and nieces? Of course!’
‘Are you certain no one is prompting you to bring this subject to my attention?’
‘What is it you suspect, Lizzy?’ Georgiana sighed impatiently.  ‘We are sisters, partners! When I choose a man to marry, I expect you to be the one to talk to me about such matters. Mamma’s advices were never an option for me, with no other relative I have such closeness only with you.’
‘You have aunt Catherine…’ Elizabeth raised one eyebrow. 
Georgiana giggled. ‘Imagine her advices on children! On accepting courtships, they are so confusing…’
‘Has her periodic letter arrived? Maybe she sent one especially to you and I am entertaining the notion that being a good girl, you cannot resist abiding to her orders…’
‘I hate when you do that.’ Georgiana again pointed a gyrating finger to her own face mimicking Elizabeth’s expression. ‘And speaks slowly. Do I seem gullible to you?’
‘You are, sister.’
Elizabeth pursed her lips and nodded.
‘You are mistaken, Lizzy. I speak my own mind. No one shall never deceive me again. Life has taught me very hard lessons and I pride myself in having found strength of will.’ A nose slightly elevated in defiance. ‘Georgiana Darcy is a lady of her own.’
‘Well, she’d better remember how Fitzwilliam Darcy resents Lady Catherine for trying to interfere in his life on the occasion of our engagement.’ Elizabeth cautioned and saw Georgiana’s assured expression melt a little. ‘Several months of cut relations with the old aunt until Charlotte and I finally managed to convince them both to make amends. Still there is bad blood between them, no further interference will be forgiven on his part.’
‘Aunt deserves brother’s ire.’
‘She had no right in accosting you before brother had a chance to offer his hand. Aunt Catherine likes gossip too much.’
‘And you?’
A gasp. ‘Do you compare me with her? How insulting!’
Elizabeth laughed. ‘Such an accomplished actress!’
Georgiana stuck her tongue out. 
There was silence for a moment. 
‘I received no letter from aunt. I demand a nephew because your sister is about to give an heir to Charles Bingley and your other sister has given two to George Wickham-’
‘Do not speak that name in this house!’ Elizabeth pointed an incisive finger at the girl. ‘Especially you, Miss Darcy. I warn you that I shall not be able to contain my husband’s ire if he hears you find ways to speak of the man who almost compromised you.’
A deep blush took over the girl’s face. ‘I’m merely comparing you to your sisters…’
‘How very kind! Such politeness... You very well know that my other three sisters are always welcomed here. Jane, Mary and Kitty can visit as they please, but Lydia is married to that vile man who once was Fitzwilliam’s best friend and this place’s son. His betrayal in trying to seduce is unforgivable. Be warned, sister. Provoke your brother and prepare to live locked in the tower!’
‘Pemberley has no tower… And I will need to accept courtships from eligible gentlemen, you know. Soon. Your mamma offered to help me choose.’ 
Elizabeth felt a shiver run down her spine. ‘I bet your brother will have a very tall tower built only to toss you in. Every now and then I can put a new book or music sheet in the bucket you hoist up with your meal.’ She jested.
Several blinks were necessary to cool Georgiana’s head. ‘Very funny.’ Her brother’s wife rolled her shoulders, incarceration was a real possibility. ‘Maybe aunt is apoplectic, her letters are delayed, aren’t they? She always writes once every two months…’ She said in a little voice.
‘Anne would have told us.’
‘Oh, Anne died and forgot to lie.’ Georgiana sighed, looked around her, fidgeted with her dress’ ribbon. ‘What do you need to count, anyway?’
‘Marital bliss.’
‘Never mind, Georgiana. ‘
‘Tell me.’ She ordered. ‘Or I shall ask Fitzwilliam.’
Elizabeth knew her husband would never talk about their dirty book with his sister, but it might make him upset to discover the subject was discussed with the pure girl who’d already been in the hands of a cad once. So she did tell.
‘You take notes of the days you suffer from monthly charges in a book? And those help you avoid being with child!… How modernity has evolved!…’
‘Aunt Gardiner says it has been done like this for ages, not at all modern. And it can fail us. But we have been doing it so far.’
‘Can I see it?’
‘Absolutely not!’ Elizabeth blushed and blushed for her commonplace book also contained naughty notes recording special dates and aphrodisiacs they enjoyed best. Her husband took special pleasure in keeping it updated.
‘I thought having a sister would be different.’
‘I am very pleased with the gift of your sisterhood.’
‘Huh.’ The girl raised her nose. ‘You want me to feel guilty.’
A chuckle.  ‘It’s not fun if you realize it!’
Georgiana tried to contain her smile. ‘It will not work.’
She didn’t answer directly, but her head was quickly filling with potty ideas. ‘I shall enjoy season with you in London. It is my first after St James court as well.’
‘Yes, yes…’ Elizabeth smiled weakly. Would she be prepared to help her husband help his sister choose a husband? Another chill ran down her spine. ‘What time is it?’
‘The clock is right behind you.’
‘Oh, please, do be as impertinent as a little sister can be!’ She let out a delicate groan and raised her derriere to turn completely on the seat so as to face the clock. ‘Still early for Fitzwilliam to return…’ Elizabeth whispered to herself. 
‘Why did you do that?’ Georgiana giggled. ‘Are you a porcelain doll now?’
‘Got a stiff neck, must have slept in an awkward position.’
‘Mrs. Reynolds has camphor alcohol.’  
Elizabeth twisted her nose and was about to answer looking to the side as much as she could without moving her neck when the door opened. 
‘My love.’ He kissed Elizabeth’s forehead, held her hand and leaned to kiss Georgiana as well.
‘Do you want tea, brother?’
‘No, thanks.’ Darcy shook his head. ‘Were you expecting me?’ He asked Elizabeth. ‘Facing the door…’
‘So soon?’
‘Well, you left early…’
‘I have got this discomfort, it pains me.’ He flexed his left arm. ‘Must have slept in an awkward position.’
Elizabeth smiled. ‘Poor you…’
‘Lizzy suffers as well.’ Georgiana was frowning.  ‘I told her Mrs. Reynolds could help.’
‘Yes, of course. Camphor.’ Darcy nodded pulling Elizabeth to her feet by the hand he never let go. ‘It brings great relief.’
‘If you say so, I am obliged to believe, husband.’
‘So you are.’
Before Georgiana could realize she had been abandoned, the couple was mounting the first steps to the upper floor.
‘Mrs. Darcy?’ The butler called.
‘Yes, Mr. Bert?’ Elizabeth stopped and turned all around moving her feet little by little. 
‘Your mail has just arrived, madam.’ He bowed. ‘Yours as well, sir.’
‘Take it to my study, please. I shall tend to it later.’ 
‘Very well, madam.’
As they restarted climbing hand in hand, she grinned. ‘Did I do it right?’
‘Perfectly! No mistress of Pemberley would waste her safe days with mail.’
‘Husband comes first!’
He kissed her hand as they reached their bedroom door.


I'll post the 3 first chapters, come read more and pick it up on Valentines!

See ya!

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