A sisterly conversation | Austen Authors

What would the Bennet sisters have to say to each other before their lives change forever? My first offering to the P&P200 project


The evening turned cold quickly and they all retreated upstairs somewhat earlier than usual. Elizabeth and Jane withdrew to Jane’s room. They sat together on the bed heaped high with pillows. Elizabeth brushed Jane’s hair in the crackling firelight. Her hair was so beautiful, shining like molten gold under the brush, and always so well-behaved, submitting the plait and pins as serenely as Jane herself walked through life, not like her own unruly locks.

She ran her fingers through Jane’s hair. They did this so often, she would comb Jane’s hair and Jane hers. How many more such moments would they share? Precious few. Life as Mrs. Darcy promised so much, but this she would miss.

“Have you become contemplative again, Lizzy?” Jane turned over her shoulder and caught her eyes. “You have. I can see it in the melancholy turn of your lips.” Jane clasped Lizzy’s hands. “How can you be sad when so much joy awaits us? We have already made Mama so very happy.”

“So she has said, countless times and to countless souls.” Elizabeth laughed and slowly plaited Jane’s hair, savoring the moment.

The door behind them squeaked and they both turned. Mary and Kitty, in their dressing gowns, peeked through the doorway. They and Lydia had done than when they were small, sneaking out of their beds to join their big sisters in clandestine sisterly gatherings.

“Come in come in.” Jane beckoned them in and slid toward the head of the bed.

Elizabeth patted the counterpane beside her. Mary and Kitty rushed in and piled on the feather bed, tucking their feet up underneath them.Bed piled with pillows

“Do you remember how we used to do this after Mama would say good night?” Kitty giggled. “She would get so cross when she heard us laughing. She used to call us her ‘little titter mice’”

Jane wrapped her arms around her knees. “But she didn’t send us back to bed. I think maybe she and Aunt Philips did the same thing.” She pulled her shoulders up around her ears and laughed softly.

Mary pulled her shoulders into a funny hunch and looked up like an old woman craning her neck. Her voice turned thin and brittle. “Remember how Lizzy would read us stories and do all the voices for the characters.”

Elizabeth guffawed. “I had not thought of that in years.” That would be another thing she missed. What would Mr. Darcy think of she—

“You must promise to do that for your children—” Mary said.

“And mine,” Jane added, eyes sparkling.

“You shall have the most delightful children.” Kitty clapped her hands softly.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes, not if any of Mama’s predictions were correct. “Hardly, they will be all mischief and nonsense to be sure. Jane’s, though, shall be angels, like her.”

Jane’s cheeks glowed. “Not if they resemble their father.” She looked away.

What? Jane had never mentioned—

“Indeed?” Kitty scooted closer to Jane and pressed her chin on Jane’s shoulder. “You must tell us, genteel Mr. Bingley is not as he seems? What secrets have you discovered about your betrothed?”

“Oh, Kitty, no.” Mary’s hand flew to her mouth.

Jane laughed and turned back to her sisters. “No, no, nothing so outrageous as that. But he was a most high-spirited lad, or se he tells me.”

“Nothing like your staid Mr. Darcy, I am sure.” Kitty blinked with the same feigned innocence she used on Mama so often.

Elizabeth smiled her brows lifted and she cocked her head. There were those stories Colonel Fitzwilliam had told her in Kent.

“Oh, Lizzy.” Kitty gasped.

“What have you not told us?” Mary pressed her shoulder against Elizabeth’s.

“How are his kisses Lizzy? You seemed to like them very much.” Kitty sing-songed.

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