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Words Unspoken A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Iris Lim Book

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Words Unspoken A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Iris Lim Read Book Online And Download

Overview: Born unable to speak, Elizabeth Bennet remains hidden from society, her very existence denied by her family, until she is discovered by a wandering Mr. Darcy keen to escape a stifling Netherfield Park. The pair strike up an unlikely acquaintance, and their private interactions forge a friendship that grows deeper by the day.

Her insights broaden Darcy’s perceptions; his recognition opens up her world. And when circumstances push them together towards the possibility of marriage, Darcy would have it no other way.

A sweet, short Pride and Prejudice variation of finding hope, love, and family in the most unexpected places.

Words Unspoken A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Iris Lim Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Words Unspoken A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Iris Lim Book

Words Unspoken A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Iris Lim Book Read Online Chapter One

He stomped across the field with long, tired, angry steps, turning every so often to prevent the late morning sun from searing his eyes. Netherfield, and Hertfordshire in its entirety, might well be unfamiliar grounds for Fitzwilliam Darcy—but he had to escape. After the treatment he was receiving in his friend’s house, thanks to one overeager Miss Caroline Bingley, Darcy knew he had to go somewhere, anywhere, for his sanity’s sake.

Darcy panted as he paused by a solitary tree.

It had been his sense of honor alone that had spurred Darcy to join Bingley on this trip despite his own troubles with Georgiana a mere two months ago. Knowing what he did of Bingley’s disposition, Darcy had almost hoped that his cheerful friend would prove to be the source of ebullience he so desperately needed in these dark times.

What Darcy had managed to expose himself to instead had been, at best, a distracted friend and the distracted friend’s distinctly unrestrained sister.

“Mr. Darcy, do help me down the stairs.”

“Mr. Darcy, shall you not admire my playing?”

“Mr. Darcy, you are such a dear. Would you not do me the honor of a promenade in the garden?”

Miss Bingley’s voice haunted Darcy’s mind, even in the midst of a still and quiet morning.

Darcy almost wished, rather selfishly, that Bingley had not met the Bennet family and their four daughters. It would have been much easier to convince the effusive young man to leave Hertfordshire without the distraction that was Miss Jane Bennet. It was not as if the lady, though pretty, exhibited any particular preference for the young tenant of Netherfield. As was almost always the case with Bingley, the distraction seemed most one-sided indeed.

A flock of birds flew overhead, interrupting Darcy’s thoughts, and he resumed his trek across the unfamiliar land.

Netherfield Park was known to be the largest among the local estates, and Darcy was fairly certain he could wander far without leaving his friend’s rented premises. And even if he did wander too far, the neighbors had proven nothing but understanding during the duration of their three weeks’ stay.

The sound of small splashes directed Darcy to turn to his right.

He frowned.

The sight of a small hand—perhaps a boy’s—repeatedly re-emerged through the thickness of the grass as it tossed pebbles into what Darcy now saw to be a small pond. He did not remember Bingley ever mentioning a pond in this part of the estate, and Darcy could only assume that he had indeed wandered onto neighboring land.

And despite his every inclination to be alone, Darcy stepped towards the hand.

More skids and splashes echoed through the air as he approached. It seemed that whoever it was tossing pebbles was most proficient at the task. Since a servant could hardly take leave at this hour of the day, Darcy knew the loiterer had to be related to one of Bingley’s new neighbors.

It was, perhaps, slightly contrary to his nature for Darcy to approach a stranger for company, but he had been so driven to his wits’ end by his actual acquaintances that the thought of conversing with someone who had no preconceptions regarding him felt almost enticing. He marched onward until he reached the edge of the pond.

“Excuse me, sir, I hope—” He stopped short at the sight before him.

Instead of a boy, a young girl—a lady, by the condition of her clothes—sat amidst the grass with a sleeve rolled up and a pile of pebbles gathered on her lap. She blinked up towards him with large, enchanting eyes; a healthy blush colored her cheeks. So unexpected was the sight of her that Darcy was rendered speechless for the better half of a minute.

“I—I beg your pardon, miss,” Darcy corrected his previous address once he found his tongue. He chastised himself for approaching now, for it simply could not be very proper to intrude upon a lady privately. “I—I heard the stones and could not help but think—”

A larger splash interrupted him. He looked back towards the girl.

She was smiling—beguiling and sweet. It was a smile that he had never seen upon the Miss Bingleys and Mrs. Hursts of the world. In a warm and comforting way, it almost reminded him of Georgiana’s sweetest childhood smiles.

In an instant, she stood on her feet, pebbles spilling with a multitude of thuds on the ground.

She curtsied, almost formally despite their circumstances.

Darcy could not help but bow. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

She curtsied, smiling, once more.

“Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Derbyshire, at your service,” he introduced himself. Again, it was hardly proper for them to meet this way, but one could only salvage propriety as one could, at times. “And may I know the honor of your name, miss?”

For the first time since their chance encounter, the lady’s smile faltered. She curtsied again, bowing her head for a quick moment before looking back towards him with a pensive, almost apologetic look.

“Miss?” Darcy prodded.

She blinked, her wide and wonderful eyes glistening slightly more than they did before.

Then she shook her head.

“I—” Darcy cleared his throat, taken aback by the unnamed lady’s mysterious behavior. “I understand the circumstances of our acquaintance to be uncommon, but I assure you of my every sincerity. I do not wish for you to consider me strange or unworthy of your trust.”

Her face melted back into a gentle smile.

Darcy had met his share of quiet women—some shy, some coy. He had admired the restraint of sensible women and condemned the harsh words of those who yearned to gossip or to blame. He knew that the lack of words did not always mean good, nor evil.

But this lady’s refusal to speak seemed to be rooted in an entirely inexplicable cause.

“Miss, please—”

She responded by lifting her hands—proffering him the pebbles she cradled in her palms.

Darcy watched her, bewildered.

Eyes bright, she gestured towards the pond with a tip of her head. It was a friendly gesture, if a strangely wordless one.

Slowly, Darcy lifted a hand and picked up a single pebble from her offering. She nodded eagerly in response.

He turned, unsure of what exactly he was attempting to do, and tossed the pebble into the pond. It skipped once before sinking to the water’s depths.

And, in a moment of unexpected relief, Darcy smiled.

• • •

He found the following day after his mysterious encounter to be slightly more bearable than the ones that had preceded it, no doubt due to the calming company of the unnamed lady by the unspecified lake; but Miss Bingley, for all her outward trappings, displayed her inner scruples so ostentatiously against Darcy’s short-lived patience that Darcy found himself in need of further respite a mere two days after his previous journey.

He left that morning, as he did two days prior, long before any other occupants of Netherfield Park had roused. Despite all his days in Town, he had always preferred country hours.

He traced his previous steps to the best of his ability—trailing a familiar tree or recognizing a muddied footprint of his own making every so often. The cooler temperature kissed his skin, the slight fog twisting around his every move.

He sighted the lake—a pond, really—after nearly half an hour of straying. And his heart lightened at the view of the occupant of this particular site.

“Miss,” Darcy greeted immediately upon his approach. It was indubitably the same young woman, her eyes eloquent and sweet. “We meet again.”

She smiled from her seat on the grass. The way her cloak settled around her indicated that she had been stationed at the pond for quite some time.

“I—I hope I am welcome,” said Darcy, a slight uncertainty creeping into his otherwise unwavering confidence.

She smiled in reply. She seemed always to smile.

Then, as she stood, he noticed the slate she held in her hand, a slate she gently handed him.

‘My name is Elizabeth Bennet’—the words on the slate informed him in patient, clear handwriting.

“Miss Bennet,” Darcy greeted with a slight bow, glad to have a name for her face. “Are you with the Bennet family who resides in Longbourn?”

She smiled and nodded vigorously. Darcy could not help but smile in return.

“I am glad to make your acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

She smiled brightly—her eyes sparkling as if heavy with heavenly dew. She reached her hands out, puzzling Darcy for a brief moment, before he realized that she wished for the slate back. He quickly obliged. And with a brief flick of her chalk, she was scribbling once more.

‘I cannot speak,’ her next message informed him.

And a dozen things that had disconcerted Darcy before, all began to clarify themselves.

“I see,” he acknowledged.

‘I do not mean to be rude,’ she scribbled next.

“Of course. I never thought you were, Miss—Elizabeth.”

She smiled at his address, and he compared her favorably once more against the cloying women of London, who exerted every feminine effort to have men begging them by name.

Here stood a lady before him—clearly educated and kind—who seemed to revel in the simplest joys of human greeting. He was gladder than ever to have proven that it was possible, after all, for such people to exist.

“Do you visit this pond every day, Miss Elizabeth?” Darcy found himself inquiring.

She nodded cheerfully in reply.

“You do not spend time with your sisters?” He frowned as her face fell slightly at his question. “That is, to say, if I am right in assuming Miss Bennet, Miss Mary, and the two younger ladies to be your sisters?”

She seemed to hesitate briefly this time.

‘They are’—she wrote.

Darcy nodded.

After a slight sigh, Miss Elizabeth began to scribble once more. Her efforts proved prolific, and Darcy found himself confronted with an entire paragraph once she returned the slate to his hands.

‘My family is kind enough to keep me despite my childhood affliction. My father made sure of my ability to communicate in words. They feed me and clothe me. They have never turned against me. My sisters are nothing but kind.’

Darcy glanced at her. She nodded in encouragement, and he continued to read.

‘If my family were to permit me to spend time in public, I would mar my sisters’ matrimonial prospects. I cannot allow it.’

“And so, you spend time, alone, by a pond every morning?” Darcy questioned without thinking as he handed the item back. It felt outrageous that the Bennets would display publicly all of their silliest daughters—and keep the sole sensible one unknown.

‘I do not blame them,’ she wrote.

“But what of what you desire—or need? Shall you never be in society or meet another soul aside from family?”

Her small, pensive smile grew slightly.

Despite all he had learned of her today, she puzzled him still.

‘I have met you, sir—a most worthy acquaintance,’ her next message read.

And Darcy could not help but stammer uncertainly.

‘I do not fault my family. They mean well and care very much for me.’

“You are forgiving, Miss Elizabeth.”

‘I am of sound mind and thought.’

“But surely they must at least converse with you at times.”

‘My father does.’

“Only your father?”

For the first time since his first meeting with her, Darcy watched Miss Elizabeth lose her smile.

She wrote her next reply slowly, as if contemplating every choice of word.

‘I am of less interest to the rest of my family. I believe my youngest sisters would rather I remain invisible.’


She rolled her shoulders as if in resignation.

And Darcy, after sharing some more words and skipping stones with her, found himself walking back to Netherfield a much-altered man.

• • •

My dear Georgiana,

I hope all is well with you. My stay in Hertfordshire has reached a full month at this time, and I find my heart laden with thoughts of your well-being.

Forgive me, my dearest and only sister, for the many times I may have overlooked your thoughts, preferences, or your very existence. I have made new acquaintances and encountered new experiences in Hertfordshire in recent days that have challenged me to reconsider how I permit myself to interact with my many family members, and I fear that I fall short in my own hour of reckoning.

Forgive me, Georgie, for the times I have treated you as a child, for the various occasions I forget that you have since grown into a young woman. So very often, I segregate you from the influence of your peers, fearing that their frivolities would wreak havoc on your morals. I have done poorly by you. For in my own selfishness, I have forgotten that you are perhaps the very answer to many other individuals’ needs. Your insights and gentleness may save many a soul yet.

A woman of virtue kept hidden from society is a tragedy of the greatest degree. I cannot, and ought not, allow such things for those under my care.

I hope to renew our correspondence, dear one. Nothing but your truest thoughts, shared upon the page, shall bring me greater joy.

I hope you are learning well with your new companion. Mrs. Younge was most unfortunately ill-equipped. Her short tenure in our employ is perhaps only further proof that I may not know quite as well as I profess to. Your advice shall be welcome indeed.

Most sincerely,

 Fitzwilliam Darcy

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