I had a lovely time at More Agreeably Engaged both enjoying the artwork and letting the dastardly George Wickham have a go at introducing himself.
(From More Agreeably Engaged, Nov 30, 2017)
Teaching Eliza…Riana Everly
Welcome, Riana Everly, to More Agreeably Engaged. It is great having you visit and share with us some tidbits about your new release, Teaching Eliza. Mr. Wickham’s visit is,…um, well, shall we say, exactly what I would expect from the man. You notice I left of ‘gentle’? 🙂 I couldn’t quite bring myself to state it otherwise. He is quite the gossip, is he not?
Dear Readers, Mr. Wickham will enjoy speaking much of himself and his looks in your presence. Enjoy, but beware. He forgot his purse and his coins.
Oh, and Mr. Wickham, there is a giveaway of books that might ‘flatter’ you somewhat as the story must surely mention you, by name and by deed!
Mr. Wickham visits the blog
Well, hello there! I didn’t see you walk in. Come, sit down and keep me company for a while. Allow me to introduce myself. The name is George Wickham, recently arrived in London from more provincial parts. Much more exciting, London is, than that little village where I was stationed. Better food and drink in the pubs like this one as well, and so many pretty girls!
Ah, I see you have nothing to drink. Let me call the serving girl. What will you have? An ale? Tea, perhaps, or plate of bread and cheese? Ah, here she is. A tea and biscuits for my companion, and another ale for me, there’s a good wench. Oh, this is embarrassing. Perhaps the other pocket. Heh, heh, heh… I seem to have left my bag of coins in my rooms. Would you mind, just this once? I shall treat next time, to be certain! Thank you so much.
Did I mention I had been with the militia? We were stationed in this little village in Hertfordshire, nowhere you would have heard of, I’m certain. Meryton, they called it. Not much going on there, although some of the girls were very amenable. They liked me, although I do wonder if they liked my red coat more. But no, for I think I look just as smart and handsome in this dark blue. I do believe it brings out my eyes. Do you think my eyes are my best feature? They are a most attractive shade, are they not? Or it is my golden hair? Many a lass has cooed over these curls. Or really, perhaps I ought to be most proud of my fine and straight nose and square jaw. I must admit I do not mind a mirror at all, for I am a rather handsome fellow, am I not?
But, to the point, I enjoy sitting here in this pub. It is close enough to where the Nobs live that their servants frequent these tables, and I hear the most salacious gossip at times. It is remarkable, really, how people will talk on and on when they are confronted with a silent companion. You would not imagine the most intimate details one hears! Why, just the other day I heard from his very footman that Lord Sommersby was seen leaving rooms not his own…
Forgive me. You did not come to listen to this second-hand rumour, although it can be most diverting. What are more interesting still are the stories from people who do not frequent these tables. For what happens is this: A gentleman confesses a confidence to his valet, whose discretion we shall not judge, but who is overheard by a footman in the corridor. Well, the footman might have a friend in the stables, who in turn tells the tale to his girl at the bakery, who tells it to her brother, and before long the story has made its way from Mayfair to the alleyways. And most of these stories end up here, if a man has the patience to sit and listen for them. Better still, when one such as I has connections, one may put out a request for such juicy items of gossip, and they veritably fly to my ears! Do I profit from these gems, you ask? Well, a gentleman never tells. But, heh, heh, heh, I am no gentleman!
Look! The lady author Mrs. Everly has even written about some such events in her novel. I never read such things myself, for the effort is surely greater than the reward, but I do say that if ever a book were to be interesting, I should be the subject of it. Here, let us see what wonderful words she has to offer about me!
George Wickham is well entrenched in the gossip mills, but perhaps he does not always listen as carefully as he ought! Perhaps he should start paying a bit more attention to details.
Ale and brandy were consumed in quantity and money was wagered and lost even more liberally, and by the time Wickham returned to his rooms in London three days later, his purse empty and his head full and pounding, the immediate ado over Darcy’s engagement had subsided, to be replaced by some scandal from the palace and a rather cryptic article about the Duke of S’s wife and the Earl of P and some unusual event at the recent races.
It was two days after this that Wickham’s head and stomach had settled sufficiently for him to contemplate a visit to his usual drinking spot, and at last, he finally heard the news.
“D’ye hear the news, Georgie boy? Yer old pal, Darly or sompin’ like dat, he’s gettin’ hisself leg-shackled!” Wickham knew the man only as Higgins; he was some ten years Wickham’s senior, a retired petty naval officer on half-pay, and a regular denizen of the tavern. Although often somewhat in his cups, the man was usually clean and well-enough dressed that he was not to be thought of as a complete reprobate. Mrs. Higgins, whoever she might be, took some care of her wastrel husband, it was clear. Wickham had spent many an evening relating his tale of woe to all who would listen, and Higgins, a good-seeming soul behind his drunkenness, was happy to listen. In turn, he had told his own story, dwelling on the battles he had seen and the final assault on his ship that had left him with his injury, but Wickham had not bothered to pay more attention than was needed to nod, frown, or comment suitably. This was one of Wickham’s most valuable skills, he considered: the ability to listen only to what he felt was important, whilst leaving the appreciation of the details and specifics to those whose smaller intellects might need them. A smart man such as he could always supply the details from his imaginings, if ever they were needed.
Taking his flagon over to the table where Higgins sat, Wickham grabbed a chair and placed himself upon it. The man’s news intrigued him. “Darcy, you say?”
“Aye,” came the affirmation.
“Getting married! Well, this is news indeed! Tell me what you know. I have been out of… town for some days, and had missed this item!” He leaned forward and placed his elbows on the low wooden table, bracing himself above his ale, encouraging his companion to speak.
Always happy to relate gossip, Higgins grinned, belched, and threw back a large gulp of his own ale, before relating all of his meagre information. “‘Twas in the newspapers some days back – yesterday, day b’fore, p’rhaps. I didn’ read it none meself, but I done hear the nobs talking.” The tavern was a fairly respectable spot, as often frequented by gentlemen on their way to some slightly unsavoury entertainment or gaming house as by the more presentable of the underclasses, such as Higgins. Its location, just off the streets that housed more acceptable establishments, with its slightly seedy character, allowed these ‘nobs’ the conceit of feeling they were bashing at the walls of society, living rough, and taking wild risks, all the while never really leaving the safety of their fashionable part of town. It was, in short, a marvelous place to hear gossip.
“So, as I was sayin’” Higgins continued, “these nobs was talkin’ ‘bout yer man, Darcy, being engaged for a shackling, and how the other one’s sister had best start lookin’ elsewhere, as should everyone else’s.”
Wickham suppressed a snicker. Caroline had said nothing at all about this, the little minx! Had she known he would ask when they last met? Or had it been so inconsequential to her, in the light of being with him, George Wickham, that she had not thought to comment? Oh, how Darcy would suffer! “What do you know of the girl?” Wickham asked, feeling he should make the appropriate inquiries, all the while celebrating his triumph.
“Some little thing from the country, they was sayin’. Father or brother or someone has an estate out not too far from town. She must be sompin’ mighty pretty to catch his eye like that, and mighty wealthy too! From all ye’s said of the man, he wouldn’t let hisself go for less than his sister’s dowry.”
“Then let us raise a glass to him, Higgins,” Wickham proclaimed with all good cheer. This was certainly Caroline. His Caroline, the woman he had tumbled only short days before, and whom he would have again, and again, before her wedding… and if he had his luck, even after! Ah, yes, at last things were going his way!
What? Can it be? Darcy and Caroline? You might have to read the book to see what’s going on!