From the author: This excerpt from Chapter Seven takes place the morning after Darcy’s disastrous first proposal. Elizabeth is on her way to mail a letter to Mr. Wickham.

Observing that it would still be an hour or more before the postal office opened, Elizabeth decided to detour close to Rosings’s lush, green park. Her natural buoyant personality soon could not be contained in such beautiful surroundings, and she proceeded toward one of her favourite walks. Recollecting that Darcy sometimes went there, she stopped and instead of entering the park, she turned up the lane that led farther from the turnpike road. Soon, she passed one of the gates into the grounds. She was tempted by the pleasantness of the morning to stop and look into the park.

The five weeks she had passed in Kent had made a great difference in the country, and every day was adding to the verdure of the early trees. She longed to enter the park and ramble among the greenery, but she caught a glimpse of a gentleman within the grove that edged the park, and fearing that it might be Darcy, she began to retreat. The person who advanced, however, was now near enough to see her, and he stepped forth with eagerness.

“Miss Bennet,” he called out.

She stopped and reluctantly turned to face him.

“Mr. Darcy,” she murmured, returning his look without flinching.

“I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope of meeting you. Will you do me the honour of reading this letter?”

Elizabeth stepped back as he held out the folded, white pages with her name written across the outside. “I . . . I cannot,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

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