Two billiard balls careened around the table as Darcy executed a finely-tuned shot. His yellow ball slowly revolved towards the corner pocket and sank lightly into the awaiting hole. While he lined up his next shot he chanced a look across the finely adorned billiards room at Netherfield towards a frowning Charles Bingley. It wasn’t often that Bingley frowned, given his affable nature, but playing billiards with Darcy seemed to bring out an under-compensating guise upon his face. Darcy quickly sank two additional shots before pausing to take a sip of cognac.
“Bingley, I do believe that we should all retire to Town for a few months,” Darcy finally voicing the troubles that had been swirling around in his head. “I daresay, haven’t you had enough of this simpleton country life for awhile? Doesn’t your mind ache for some increased stimulation and proper society?” Darcy watched the frown deepen on the other man’s face as he began to state his case.
“I have so enjoyed myself here that I may never wish to leave,” Bingley stated. His face lit up in his usual merriment as his mind likely wandered to all the raucous balls and other sordid affairs that they had attended recently. “Darcy, the society here may be lesser than what is to be found in Town, but I find myself infinitely pleased at the simply pleasantries I have experienced at these ‘country balls’ as you deem them.”
“Bingley, I do know that your sisters seriously desire to retire back to Town as soon as possible and are both infinitely bored and at odds with society here. You sir may be enjoying yourself, but I assure you the rest of us are not. Think of your sisters’ happiness sir, and how that compares to the qualities of the society in Meryton.” Darcy himself thought that departing for Town was infinitely necessary. He desired to escape the fine eyes of Miss Elizabeth Bennett before he found himself considering a rash, inexplicable course of action.
“Darcy, I know that my sisters are not overly fond of society here, but I daresay that it will grow on them in time,” Bingley paused and wielded his cue stick in a half hearted attempt to sink his next billiard ball. Missing of course as the inner turmoil welled within him, he continued, “And there is the matter of my growing feelings for Miss Jane Bennet,” Bingley cast out. “I so enjoy her company and she is the most lovely dancer in all of Meryton. She has a most pleasing countenance and I look forward to seeing her smile whenever possible.”
“Ah, Miss Bennet,” Darcy began with some hesitation, gathering his thoughts. “I do concur that Miss Bennet is a lovely lady. However, I have severe reservations of her character, not to mention her family relations. My astute observation is that she is indifferent and pleasing to all. I cannot wager that if another gentleman asked her to dance that she would turn her smile upon him, much as she has to you.” Darcy watched the frown return to Bingley’s face and sought to clarify his position. He sorely needed to escape Meryton and Miss Elizabeth Bennet and needed to make his friend see reason.
“Jane Bennet is most likely not interested in you dear sir. I doubt that she has any intentions at all upon you, as she just appears to go through life with a naïve smile upon her face. Anything and everything appears to please her. I fear that she has no real emotions connected to you my friend.”
Bingley looked quite crestfallen as he assimilated this information. He started to speak but closed his mouth, gathering his thoughts. “Pray tell, do you truly believe that she has no feelings for me? I do actually see what you mean Darcy, in that she smiles at anything and everything.” He paused again, walking around the billiard table in deep contemplation.
“With other people that Miss Bennet interacts with, do you generally see a smile upon her face? Much like the one that she wears when dancing with you?” Darcy inquired. “I do not want you to be taken in just because she smiles all the time. It is if she has no real emotions or feelings and simply smiles at everything and everyone.”
“Indeed sir, now that you bring this to my attention, I do recall seeing her smile upon other gentlemen during dancing much like she smiles at me. Could it really simply be her everyday countenance? I suppose that you are right. I fear that I may have been caught up too mightily where regard was not truly offered.”
Darcy smiled inwardly, pleased at his friends realization. Moving in to firm up the issue he added, “And that is without even taking into account her dreadfully improper family. Her mother alone would make any true gentleman run back to Town. Her shrill words give me nightmares even to this day. God be with me if I ever found her as my mother-in-law.” Darcy shuddered visibly at the thought, sure that Bingley noticing the quiver.
“It is settled then. Let us retire to Town the very next day,” Bingley announced, his normal smile gracing his face in pleased countenance. “My sisters will indeed be so pleased. My apologies Darcy for dragging you here and subjecting you to this society, I appreciate your intelligent counsel.” Bingley seemed a little shaken at the moment, perhaps realizing that he might have been about to make a huge mistake in a pursuit of Miss Bennet. He shook his head as if to clear it of a momentary distasteful thought and looked back at Darcy.
Darcy resumed the game with a staid nod of his head. Thankfully, he would soon be free of the allure of Miss Bennet’s fine eyes in the near future.