When I started this Regency Bagatelle with the first posting in May I intended it as an exercise in writing with a very Regency manner and spirit. I had no intention of writing to a plot or raising the level of drama, although the interactions between characters were given full scope. Now that the exercise should be coming near a close, I cannot end without some increase in tension, although I’m not billing it as a climax. As you can see from the previous post, Gisel has ridden out on a very spirited horse that the family believe promises to treat her to a very hazardous ride.
The family withdrew to the drawing room but Mr Darcy set a footman to watch for the return of the riders in one of the upstairs windows. Tea time came and went before he came running down the stairs to find the family.
“You see riders?” Mr Darcy asked.
“Er… one rider, Sir.”
The others gathered around as Mr Darcy asked the critical question. “Who?”
“It looks to be Bonsall, Sir.”
The master of the house started toward the door. “He is riding quickly?”
“Not a gallop, Sir, but moderate fast.”
By the time Bonsall trotted up the drive to stop at the front of the house all the house guests and most of the staff were waiting at the top of the steps. “Where is Miss Matah?” Mr Darcy demanded.
“Us found a carriage upturned Sir. Miss Matah is tending to one of the passengers.”
“Good heavens. Is anyone hurt?”
“Not excac’ly hurt, Sir. Seems so the carriage be Mr Bingley’s an’ on ‘is way to Pemberly.”
This caused a great outpouring of consternation among the family and Mr Darcy could not speak again until he had somewhat calmed the anxiety. “Mr Bingley’s? Who then is hurt?”
“Well, Sir. It do seem that young Missus Bingley is in a … what be called a delicate condition—an the bump have started … well. You knows.”
“Oh, My God,” Mrs Darcy gasped.
Mrs Bennet swooned completely away and was only caught with difficulty by Mr Bennet and Haggerston.
“We must send help immediatly, “Mr Darcy announced. “You must ride to town for a physician and a midwife. Have the stable lads get the carriage ready at once—“
“Tis most already done, Sir. Miss Matah have sent Mr Bingley post haste to Lambton on Agamennon. She have set the coachman and footman to buildin’ a fire an collectin’ water for to receive the babe. Her says her has done this afore—helpin’ her own mother atten’ to new mothers…her be some sort of physicer.”
Mr Darcy stopped in mid stride as he turned to Mr Author. “Is this true, Sir?”
“Gisel is very well versed in medical emergencies. I was not aware that she had attended to a birth before, but I’m not surprised, her mother is an excellent physician.”
“But we must go to them at once.”
“I wholeheartedly agree, but we must not preceded with dangerous haste. We must take whatever supplies and comforts are needed to convey the Bingley’s and the new child back to Pemberly.”
Mr Darcy regarded him thoughtfully. “Yes, you are correct. Haggerston, have the staff prepare the house to receive the coach party and have my carriage stocked with blankets and … well, let Mrs Darcy instruct the maids what is needed. You can do that, my Dear?”
Mrs Darcy, who had been moving with such agitation that it seemed she must fly off the steps like a dove taking to the air, now turned back to the house. “Yes, Mr Darcy. I will attend to it at once. I insist I shall be one of the rescue party.”
“Of course, my Dear. You must certainly be there to tend to your sister—-she will be much reassured by your presence.”