Just finished the first draft of my next Regency Romance. So now it is time to solicit from those who might be interested, aid by enlisting you in my army of Beta Readers.
The premise of this work, is one little tidbit that Jane Austen relates in regards to one of the characters from Pride and Prejudice. Caroline Bingley has a marriage fortune of 20,000 pounds.
As we know, that is a lot of money, ranging in value in todays dowry of estimates of 1,000,000 pounds to $40,000,000.
It is at least four years of the money that Charles Bingley has yearly. Other estimates place that a Regency Gentlemen could survive in London on 100 pounds a year, and should they maintain a household at the high end of 2,000 a year, that is ten years of living large.
One should note that the richest dowry was for the Wiltshire Heiress, Catherine Tylney-Long had a fortune of 40,000 a year. (Four times what Darcy had) and married the nephew of Arthur Wellesley who would become the Duke of Wellington.
But back to Caroline. She may have a sharp tongue, and not a friend to Lizzie Darcy, but she is sister to Jane Bingley and we can be sure that Jane would rather have her out of the house. The only way to assure that is to marry her off.
But who wouldst ever take such a shrew…
“She’s a shrew!” Said Darcy.
The Honourable Colonel Stephen Fitzwilliam chose his words carefully. “Of course she is. If you had been passed on left on the shelf, you, as taciturn as you are, would also be rather shrewish, I would wager.” Though the Colonel, for lack of funds, found that he could but wager not more than ten guineas a year. His allowance, and his pay, did not go as far as one wished, especially when having to underwrite so much of the mess bill for the regiment. And the man he usually would wager with, was sitting next to him.
Cards however, that was another story.
“Damn, man. My wife…”
“Your wife is the very definition of good manners, and that, should Ms Bingley learn to imitate them, would not only be flattery, but would be greatly becoming.” Fitzwilliam said. He had given that some thought. Those who were intimate with Elizabeth Darcy knew that Caroline and Bingley and she were not close friends. That they tolerated each other was because of Ms Bingley’s brother being married to Mrs Darcy’s sister.
“I cannot for the life of me fathom how you ever could set your intent upon Caroline Bingley.”
“If you would refrain from saying her christian name in public, it would be more seemly. That I must give you a scold shows that this has unhinged you, cousin.” Darcy was more often apt to remind the Colonel about such matters.
Darcy shook his head. “Yes, you will forgive me. Have you asked for her hand? Charles certainly would have informed me the instant he knew of your intent.”
“I have not, but before the end of this Season, I inform you that she shall be my bride. I thought to let you know first for…” Here Fitzwilliam found the choice of words difficult.
“Because for the love my wife bears you, as not only my cousin, but one of my two closest friends, you think she will take a pet against you.” Darcy was able to articulate the thought.
“The thought had occurred to me. Mrs Darcy is perhaps the most respected amongst our set, and should she act favorably to this notion, then all our future shall be the more blessed for it.” Fitzwilliam was not sure if Darcy would warm to the idea quickly, for Ms Bingley had muddled her future countless times in regards to her treatment of Mrs Darcy.
“As you know Mrs Darcy well, and she regards you as a brother, she will let you know herself of her opinion. I confess, I am always amazed at her thoughts on certain matters. As you well know I am sometimes unable to make correct predictions in what my wife may think on certain issues.”
Fitzwilliam grinned at his cousin.The Colonel said, “I do indeed know this. Well has it cost you to my benefit on more than one occasion.”
Darcy’s love for his new wife, though their marriage was near a year before, his cousin had made some small wager with Fitzwilliam on how Mrs Darcy might react, or act upon some issues. Fitzwilliam was never sure if Darcy intentionally lost these, but as yet if led into a wager on the matter, Darcy had not won these small bets. Though they both well knew that the new groom should never have indulged in them. Thus they never spoke of them unless in private such as they were then at their club.
So opens the story that I solicit you to come to my aid, read, review, point out my glaring typoes and mistakes, throw out half way through and say, sorry David, can’t help. Read to the end because you enjoyed it and thought it fun….
Post a comment, send an email, get on your horse and ride over for me to personally hand you a copy.