Welcome back to
A Swan In Hiding
Wow thank you everyone all the feedback, as promised this Chapter is dedicated to Pineapple0215 who granted this story its 210th review
I own nothing sorry if this surprises anyone lol
Now with formalities out of the way I bring you
Chapter 19 the beauty of freedom
Your list of the common extent of accomplishments,'' said Darcy, ``has too much truth. The word is applied too many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse, or covering a screen. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished.''
P&P Volume 1 Chapter 8
Mary blinked at the large animal who stood quite calmly where his or her reins had fallen when the current rider had dismounted, from across the yard it had appeared safe enough, this close however it loomed large in front of her armed with what looked like powerful muscles sharp feet and teeth that look more than able to give a nip should it take it into its head to do so. Never one to hide her emotions she swallowed her fears forcing herself to take another tentive step towards the animal. Catching her emotions the Colonel stepped forward offering her a gloved hand in a gentlemanly fashion. At once she obeyed taking his hand and stepping closer as he gave her a gentle tug.
"Its perfectly safe Mary, take a breath"
His tone was the same he had used moments before when charging about the yard as if he was training to charge into battle at a moments notice. Looking up she felt her expression shift to one of surprise, answered only with a kind smile from her instructor who moving his hand gently guided her own to the creatures nose. Even through the thin fabric Mary felt the soft velvet skin and the puff of warmth breath as the nostrils quivered two ears pricking forward as the great head was lowered almost in question.
"Why, her nose is soft! I never would have thought!"
Instinctively her tone was lowered in tone, much the same way she spoke to her kitten, animals by in large seemed to appreciate a gentle tone. Glancing up at her teacher she was surprised to find he had not moved from his place by her side when his hand had withdrawn instead he was regarding her with affectionate kindness as her surprise. There was no laughter or mockery in his tone as he spoke only that of a friend addressing another.
"Indeed it is, this creature is one of the most gentle I have ever worked with her name is Lady"
Lady, it seemed to suit somewhat as Mary stood stroking the satin nose with growing confidence her hand wandered a hair up the face to rest on what she supposed to be the creatures forehead. Seeming to enjoy the attention the mare, for even Mary knew the term seemed quite content to simply stand as she was for the time being, a soft rustle of footsteps behind her caught her attention as Fitzwilliam brought what looked like a small set of steps to Lady's side.
"I think as this is your first experience we shall keep it simple Miss Bennet we begin today with a walk"
That sounded safe enough Mary reasoned, glancing at the great expanse of back that way just before her and her silent question prompted an amused quirk of his lips, a swift and thankfully concise lesson on how to scramble on to a horses back ensued with the help of the steps, something Mary was grateful for and then all at once found herself sitting up as if on top of the world. So far away did the ground seem. Sitting on her back was such an odd experience feeling muscles shift as the creature moved gently from one hoof to the other.
"Ohh I am so very high up"
Her voice was a good deal unsure then Mary had ever heard, swallowing again she took another deep breath seeming to relax a hair when a gentle hand touched her own gloved one as they rested against the creatures neck up till that moment tightly clenched. Seeming to notice her unease he gently took one hand staying completely still until she began to relax. Riding was about trust and at that moment there was no one she valued more he.
"I suppose it does seem that way Miss Bennet but I assure you Lady is a modest size for a horse"
" When you are ready we shall begin"
Ann stood glued to the high window of the grand library two stories above the heads of the riding party. Silently cheering her friend on as with slow deliberate step Lady began a slow circle about the arena with her friend clinging in a fashion of a frightened kitten to her saddle. Biting her lip gently she attempted not to giggle watching her cousin gently talk Mary out of whatever fright she was having before again clicking to Lady to walk on. Anyone with half a mind could see he adored her! His posture, soft tone of address and attention to her every movement screamed it to the world. Ann was so captivated by the subtle changes in her companion's expression the next quarter hour as she gained in confidence she did not hear Lady Matlock come in until she spoke.
"Absolutely besotted if you want my opinion, was that your clever idea Ann?"
Ann nearly jumped out of her skin at the sudden voice breaking the almost reverent silence of the room turning on her heel she quickly dropped in a curtsy her cheeks coloring like a guilty child caught with her hands in the sweets tin right before the evening meal.
Her Ladyship merely laughed waving a hand to the flustered young women as both turned back to watch in silence one with an expression of sheepish pleasure the other with kind interest as the lesson came to a close and Miss Bennet was assisted back to earth again and began a slow walk toward the house with a step Ann noticed a good deal lighter then it had been when she left. Indeed Mary had given all appearance of heading to the gallows, My My how things had changed in one short lesson.
"Would you care to make a little wager Miss Ann?"
The question caught her by surprise and she turned her head to gaze at her companion with interest. Her mother would never know Ann had what was called sporting blood running through her veins helped on by this very same lady who in her letters always supplied Ann with a small pouch to lay a small wager on the pony of her choice, this hobby proving to be quite a hidden talent of the young Deburge who with a sense of intuition had nearly doubled her allowance in the last year alone though her Mother was none the wiser for it and Ann prayed it remain so. Eyeing Lady Matlock quietly Ann turned back to the yard putting two and two together as a smile tugged at her lips
"Hmm Indeed I would, name your terms My Lady"
"5 shillings and a seat at the Opera for a year says those two fall in love and begin courting in the next six months"
Oh ho!, you do not place much faith in your son My Lady, very well, equal terms though my timeline is three, with a little. Help"
"Agreed though we must limit the assistance I think, say, one event each?"
The terms where agreed to and both women shook hands, the conversation switching to more mundane topics like the weather as tea came in bringing with it Lady Catherine and Miss Bennet who glowed the health. Or, Ann thought quietly perhaps the heightened color on her cheeks had nothing at all to do with her lessons but the man teaching them.
After all stranger things had happened then falling in love with that first taste of freedom.
Hmm so interesting plans are afoot for Mary- dodges the thrown flower petals-
Thoughts Comments and Ideas are welcomed dear readers.
No Beta at the moment for this story at the moment due to more computer issues so your tolerance for my grammatical errors and nonsense are truly appreciated lol
Whoever grants this story its 220th review shall have Chapter 19 dedicated to them
Thus stay tuned for Chapter 19. Letters From Home
Please before you wander off check out my other stories particularly A Lady Worthy Of Notice my newest fanfic, it needs a little love else I may give it up entirely and Kitty deserves her turn at romance.