Greetings, dear readers! I am thrilled to announce today's guest: the one, the only Mr. Theo Darcy! *fans self* Austen Variations authors Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds have written a delightful Pride and Prejudice variation where Mr. Darcy has a younger brother, Theodophilus Darcy. I enjoyed reading The Darcy Brothers as it was being posted online at Austen Variations, so I am excited for these authors at having published this piece.
I want to thank these Monica, Maria, Cassandra, Susan, and Abigail for having Leatherbound Reviews as a stop on their blog tour and especially to Monica Fairview for writing this special scene and Cassandra Grafton for the images and Maria Grace for the review copy.
Stop by Wednesday to read Leatherbound Reviews' review of The Darcy Brothers.
Now without further ado, I will turn the post over to Monica Fairview.
In Which the Darcy Brothers Visit Leatherberry Hall and Are Quizzed by a Reporter
By Monica Fairview
Before I do anything else, I would like to thank Jakki for the chance to appear yet again here on Leatherbound Reviews. It is always a pleasure to visit and exchange pleasantries with Jakki and her readers. Today Jakki thought it might be fun to look into the childhood of the Darcy brothers, so we have prepared you a little vignette.
Mr. Darcy swept into the room, followed by a handsome young gentleman with a ready smile and a boyish look of mischief on his face.
“Lady Leatherberry, you have always been very generous in receiving me at your home,” said Mr. Darcy. “I look forward to making the acquaintance of some of your friends. Allow me to introduce my younger brother Theodophilus.”
“Only my enemies call me Theodophilus,” said the brother, “and I hope you and I will not be enemies.”
Theo gave her a smile that was intended to melt rock, but she was made of sterner stuff. Surely the young whelp did not intend to actually flirt with her?
“Any brother of Mr. Darcy must always be welcome at Leatherberry Hall,” she said, emphasizing Mr. Darcy.
Theo raised an eyebrow then gave her a lopsided smile. “I am all gratitude, madam,” he said, with a bow and a flourish.
Reassured that he would not overstep his bounds, she smiled.
“Please come in. Many people are here already and have been awaiting your arrival.”
Just then she spotted a neighbor of hers bearing down upon them resolutely. It was none other than Mr. Lovecrowe. She had not invited him, nor had she told him the Darcy brothers would be here, but she should have known he would ferret out the information. Now that he was here, there would be no escaping him. Mr. Lovecrowe wrote for the ----shire Herald. He was as tenacious as a wasp and as difficult to be rid of. She sighed.
“Lady Leatherberry,” said Mr. Lovecrowe, bowing and pressing his lips to her hand. “I do hope you will do me the honor of introducing me to your distinguished guests. Their fame has spread far and wide. Everyone in ---shire is agog to know more about them.”
“Mr. Lovecrowe is a reporter,” said Lady Leatherberry by way of explanation, having performed the introductions.
As if she had just paid him a compliment, Mr. Lovecrowe beamed. He had exceptionally large uneven teeth that made him look like a badger. “Yes, indeed. I do hope you will not think it an imposition on my part, but I would like to write an article about you and your younger brother, Mr. Darcy.”
Darcy looked as if he would rather be anywhere else at the moment. “I am at your service, sir.” His gaze, however, slid towards the French windows leading to the garden.
Before he could find an excuse to escape, however, Theo intervened. He had no objection to being the subject of an article in a newspaper. It would certainly impress the ladies.
“A newspaper? How fascinating,” he said. “I think I should warn, you however, Mr. Lovecrowe, that as a barrister I am accustomed to cross-examining witnesses and will not part with information easily.”
Darcy shook his head at Theo and compressed his lips tightly, giving him a glance that promised retaliation later.
“You need not worry, Mr. Theo. My questions are quite benign. To prove it, here is the first one. Can each of you describe to me a golden moment in your childhood when you were together?”
“William,” said Theo, sweetly, “would you care to address the question?”
William cast him a suspicious look but did not hesitate. That was the good thing about William. One could count on him to back one up. He was reliable to a fault.
“Very well,” said William. “I do recall a very special day from our childhood.” He smiled faintly and a nostalgic look came into his eyes. “Theo must have been about five. My father was teaching us how to fish and it was Theo’s first time. It was a pleasant summer day, neither too hot nor too cold, but for some reason the fish were not biting. Theo was growing impatient. He was not the type of boy who liked to be still. He began to fidget and look longingly towards the house.
‘We cannot go home until we have caught some fish,’ said Father.
“Theo tried his best, but, finally, he could bear it no longer. He brought out his rod, reeled it in, then cast it – into my hair!
“‘Look, Father,’ he said. ‘I caught a fish.’ Darcy smiled. “Since Fish was Theo’s baby nickname for me (instead of Fitz), my father burst into laughter and agreed that we could go home. My father rarely laughed, so it was a moment I treasured.”
Mr. Lovecrowe gave out a bellowing, insincere laugh, displaying every one of his irregular teeth. “A remarkably good story, Mr. Darcy. Now on to my next question. Can each of you tell me about an embarrassing event you witnessed involving your brother?”
Theo grinned. “That is very easy, since William is readily embarrassed.
When Darcy was twelve, we had a neighbor called Isabella Worthington. She was three years older than Darcy and quite a hoyden.” He gave Darcy a quick look. Darcy’s face was impassive. For a moment he wondered if he should be telling this tale, but he did not see any harm in it.
“She was my brother’s first love, but she was too conceited to care for a young boy’s admiration. One day William crept into Father’s study and took his opera glasses. Then, with me along as a lookout, he crept onto their estate and climbed a tree where he could observe her, cutting flowers in the rose garden. She must have spotted him almost at once, but she pretended she had not. Not five minutes had passed before she had crept up behind us and, before we knew it, she was standing, brandishing a riding crop.
“How dare you trespass on my property and watch me?” she kept saying, lashing out with the whip.
“She began to hit the tree in which William was sitting. I am ashamed to admit that I ran away as fast as my legs could carry me, abandoning William to his fate.
“Needless to say, he was cured of his obsession, but the very mention of her name after that was enough to turn his face red as a lobster. George Wickham and I used to tease him about it, which, in retrospect, may not have been a good idea.”
“Probably not,” said Lady Leatherberry, “but you need not be too severe on yourself, considering you were no more than nine years of age at the time.”
“Well, Mr. Darcy, it is now your opportunity to get your own back by telling a tale of Theo,” prompted Mr. Lovecrowe.
“I will not besmear the name of my brother for the amusement of others,” said Darcy, stiffly.
“Do your worst,” said Theo, a challenge in his voice. “How bad can it be?”
“Very well,” said Darcy. “Be it on your head, then.
“It was the first day Theo wore breeches.”
Theo groaned. Darcy gave him a quick grin. It seemed, for the moment, the brother’s positions were reversed.
“As you can imagine, Theo being Theo, he was strutting about in the most insufferable manner possible. He was very pleased with himself for being so grown up. For the first time, he was invited to partake of dinner in the dining hall with the adults instead of in the nursery. Father had given a dinner party to mark the occasion and my uncle, Lord Matlock, was there.
“’Who is this fine young gentleman before me?’ said our uncle. ‘Come here. Let me look at you.’
“Unfortunately, Theo, who was unaccustomed to having his legs covered, caught his breeches on a piece of furniture. There was the sound of a rip and, lo and behold, there was Theo, with a large piece of his breeches missing. To make matters worse, as he tried to extricate himself, he tripped and knocked over a tureen of soup carried by one of the footmen. The soup sloshed over into Lord Matlock’s lap. As you can imagine, chaos ensued, and Theo was sent to bed without supper.”
“Which was vastly unfair,” said Theo. “It was punishment enough that I had embarrassed myself so thoroughly. I am still smarting with the injustice of it.”
Mr. Lovecrowe threw back his head and again gave that insincere, sniffling laugh of his, his uneven teeth revealed in all their yellow glory.
“If you do not mind, gentlemen, I would like to ask one other question.”
Both Theo and Darcy groaned aloud, looked at each other, and shook their heads with a smile. For a moment, the two brothers were in complete accord, wearing identical expressions.
Realizing that it was time to rid herself of her unwanted guest, Lady Leatherberry intervened quickly.
“I do believe that the Darcy brothers could do with some refreshments after their long journey, Mr. Lovecrowe. We must not trespass on their patience. Perhaps later in the day—”
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the Darcy brothers’ past. Thank you once again, Jakki, for the opportunity to stop here on our blog tour. I hope everyone will take the opportunity to ask our team some questions.
Thank you again, Monica, for the entertaining insight into the Darcy brothers as children.
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