Chapter One: At Netherfield
Incident: Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy conversing in the gardens of Netherfield whilst Jane is ill (Chapter 10)
Elizabeth detested being confined at Netherfield. She might have easily endured it, especially for Jane, had it not been for the loathsome presence of the Bingley sisters and Mr. Darcy. So it happened that she escaped from the house one day, before she could get trapped into condescending conversation, to stroll around the gardens of Netherfield. And so it happened that she heard an unexpected conversation.
From the other side of the hedge Elizabeth was walking next to came a simpering voice:
"I hope," said Caroline, "you will give your mother-in-law a few hints, when this desirable event takes place, as to the advantage of holding her tongue; and if you can compass it, do cure the younger girls of running after the officers."
Elizabeth was about to steal away, as was only polite when confronted with a personal conversation, when her curiosity was piqued. Mr. Darcy was engaged? Strange indeed that nobody has spoken of the subject. Unless he had not proposed yet, Elizabeth supposed. But she couldn't see the haughty Mr. Darcy enjoying such company as she had just heard described. Indeed, it sounded more like her own family than anyone thus acquainted with either of the conversants! Stranger yet, how could Miss Bingley be talking so insultingly about Mr Darcy's beloved? Before she could reason it out, Miss Bingley continued
"- And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check that little something, bordering on conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses." Elizabeth frowned. Miss Bingley must have been joking, teasing Mr Darcy about a mutual acquaintance. She would never jeopardise their relationship thus otherwise.
"Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity?" returned Mr. Darcy. It was clear from his tone that he was merely humouring Miss Bingley; Elizabeth suspected he was rather bored of the conversation.
"Oh! yes." continued Miss. Bingley. "Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Philips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Put them next to your great-uncle the judge. They are in the same profession, you know; only in different lines."
Elizabeth's eyebrows shot up. Philips! Now she dearly wanted to know who they were talking about. Although… Philips was not an unusual name, it was more likely that they did not mean her own aunt and uncle. After all, Mr. Darcy must have expressed at least a slight inclination to be teased, which Elizabeth knew did not exist between he or any of her sisters.
"As for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not attempt to have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?" Elizabeth? They were talking about her? She barely noticed the compliment, it was completely absurd that Mr. Darcy had expressed an admiration towards her.
"It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eye-lashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied." This compliment was easier to catch. Elizabeth had assumed Miss Bingley had made it up for her own benefit, but here it was, out of his own mouth! Although flattered slightly, it had not much changed her opinion about him; he was still abominably rude and proud. Still, it softened the blow somewhat. But Miss Bingley wasn't finished.
"I'm afraid that I am unable to see the, presumably manifold, attractions of Miss Bennet. Would you care to elaborate?'
"What," rejoined Mr. Darcy, "so you can tease me further? Very well. Miss Bennet is beautiful, witty and intelligent. A man would have to be deaf and blind to not notice her. Will that serve?"
Elizabeth was speechless. Admiration of her eyes was enough, this flattery upon flattery was ridiculous! She found it impossible to appreciate it, since it came from such an unexpected source.
"Oh, Mr. Darcy, I'm surprised that you have not declared yourself already!" mocked Miss Bingley.
"You know very well that I have no intentions of the sort. Am I not allowed to admire a woman without scrutiny of my actions?"
Unsurprised by his words, he clearly had no such intentions if he was willing to let Miss Bingley abuse her so, Elizabeth decided that she had heard enough. Unfortunately, nature had decided the same. Enthralled by the overheard conversation, she had neglected to scout the path ahead. The hedge abruptly came to an end, and Elizabeth barely managed a quick turn to make it appear as though she had come from the other direction before coming into sight of the two confidants.
"I did not know that you intended to walk" said Miss. Bingley, in some confusion, lest they had been overheard.
"It has been to nice a day to neglect the sun." Elizabeth smiled. She looked at Mr. Darcy quickly, but he merely bowed and said nothing, although his stare now had new meaning to it.
Elizabeth curtsied and went on her way, with a slightly different opinion of Mr. Darcy.
Firstly, anything you recognise from this one-shot is directly copied from Chapter 10 of Pride and Prejudice, as shown on - I own nothing.
Thank you for reading this one shot, which may or may not become a series. If it does, there is little chance of a next chapter soon, as it's GCSE season. In fact, I'm a very good procrastinator, so you can thank tomorrow's RE's exam for this one-shot. Also, the chapters will be unconnected, almost in their own universe's, since they would presumably be random conversations overheard by a myriad of characters.
Finally, I know that these kind of plots have been done before (in fact, I just looked it up and on this site alone there are at least 5 similar stories.) if the plot is similar, I apologise, I haven't knowingly stolen any ideas, or even read said fic. I can only blame it on the fact that there are few ways to interpret such defined characters.
Thanks for reading!