Particular Intentions is released! I can once again breathe a bit easier while I hope that everyone is enjoying my new book. Big hugs and thanks to everyone who has already purchased their copy. Your support is what keeps me doing something I love.
Now, I have the second part of the Netherfield ball from Lydia’s point of view for y’all to read and a giveaway, so don’t read and run! Make sure you comment to enter!
If you missed the first part, you can find it here at Austen Variations.
Her father was mortifying! Why did he suddenly care with whom she danced and socialised? He huffed and crossed her arms over her chest as Kitty moved by on Saunderson’s arm. Why did Kitty get to dance and not her? She had always been more popular with the officer! It was not fair!
“If you had not disregarded my wishes, you would be dancing as your sister is.”
“We were to visit the refreshment table, Papa. Nothing untoward could happen while we drink punch.” She scanned the room. Where was Mama? She would not countenance her father’s restrictions.
“I shall not argue with you. Just know you are here by your own design.”
With a huff, she dropped against the wall behind her. He was so unfair!
“Lydia! Why are you not dancing?”
Her mother! She sprang from the wall and clasped to her mother’s arm. “I was to visit the refreshment table after my dance with Denny, but Papa pulled me away. I was so embarrassed! He would not even let me dance the next!”
Her mother stared at her father, her mouth agape and her eyes bulging. “Mr. Bennet!”
“I must confess I do not believe for one moment you were destined for the refreshment table, and in the future, Lieutenant Denny will not be permitted to dance with my daughters.” He glanced to Mary, sitting in the corner reading a book. “Not that I believe some will care.”
Lydia gave a loud exclamation and flounced back against the wall once more. “He is ruining the ball!”
Mama placed a hand to her arm. “You cannot mean to keep her from partaking in the activity for the entire evening?”
“If she cannot follow my simple instructions, then yes, Mrs. Bennet, I do.”
“But my daughters must find husbands!”
“Lydia will not find a suitor behaving as she does. In fact, I would bet my life she agreed to walk outside with this Lieutenant Denny, which could damage her reputation irrevocably as well as that of her sisters. No, Lydia will do as I say or make herself miserable.”
“But she is out! You cannot return her to the nursery!”
Lydia bit her lip and did her best not to bounce on her toes. Her father always capitulated when her mother used that shrill tone.
“If she does not learn, then I shall do just that. I will not have her create a scandal with one of these rakes in a red uniform.”
“Oh, Mr. Bennet!”
“If Mr. Darcy’s courtship of Lizzy continues as it should, you will have a home after I die. He is an honourable man and would not leave you and my remaining daughters to starve in the hedgerows. Lydia is too young for marriage and I will not see her wed before she is at least seventeen.”
“Oh, Mr. Bennet!” Her mother dabbed at her eyes, but her father merely rolled his eyes and returned his attention to Kitty.
Why would he not listen?
“Mrs. Bennet!” her Aunt Philips loudly whispered from several feet away. “You will never guess what I just heard!”
Her mother’s head darted to Aunt Philips, to Mr. Bennet, and then to Lydia. “My dear girl. Take care to enjoy yourself as much as you can.”
Lydia stomped her foot. “But you must help me! I am so bored!”
Without even so much as a turn back, her mother hastened to Aunt Philips side. Her aunt grasped her mother’s forearm and began to whisper in her ear.
She whimpered and crossed her arms over her chest again. How she wanted to cry!
Kitty bounded up on Saunderson’s arm with a wide smile on her face. The little traitor!
“Miss Lydia,” began Saunderson in an unsure manner. “May I have the next dance?”
Her mouth opened but the voice that reached her ears was not her own.
“I apologise but my daughter is not at liberty to accept invitations to dance at present.”
She made a loud wail of protest, causing a few people nearby to stop and stare. With an abrupt motion, she jerked her chin upwards. They could all hang for what she cared! No one present had to endure her father’s injustice as she had this evening. After all, they could do what they liked.
“But Papa! ‘Tis the supper set!”
“And yet, I am unmoved.”
An officer applied to her father for Kitty’s next set and her sister flounced back to the dance floor on his arm.
“If you will cease your pouting, I shall dance with you.”
She huffed. “I could not stand up with my father! How humiliating!”
With a long sigh, he faced the floor to watch Kitty once more. Perhaps he was as annoyed and bored as she was. Well, if he was, it was his own fault! She was not a child and had no intention of being treated as one!