Deze inzending voor onze Pride and Prejudice schrijfwedstrijd is geschreven door Maarten Thoelen.

Elizabeth slowly bends down and pours ashes over the fireplace. The cinders fade and the room is no longer bathed in an orange glow. Her glass is empty and the book she was reading has lost its meaning. Time to call it a night. The echo of her footsteps haunts the empty mansion. The servants are long off and Darcy himself is on another business trip.
She has long gotten used to the fact he has to take off every now and again. And although a paranoid part of her still fears he has an affair, the logic thinker within her knows better. Good oll mister Darcy has proven himself time after time. Besides, what would he pull with that social awkwardness of his, a trait she has grown so fond off. She giggles when thinking back on the last family dinner, good oll Fitzwilliam…
Well, off to bed now. Tomorrow he will return and she has to be well rested, to tease the brains out of him. Elizabeth is about to leave for her room, when the horrific sound of the metal doorknockers breaks the silence.
Who can that be at this hour? Oh dear… hopefully papa is all right…
She rushes towards the door, opening it only a little she shouts: “Who is it?”
“Police milady, I’m dreadfully sorry to disturb you at this hour, but can you please open the door? The matter is quite urgent…”
“I’m not properly dressed.”
“I can wait milady…”

She leads him towards the living room, anxious to hear what made this young man come over at such an unholy hour.

This had to be a serious matter; Elisabeth quickly puts a coat around her and opens the door. Outside there is an officer, quite young to be in the profession, rain drips from his hat, giving him more of a lost puppy look, than a man of the law. He gives her a quick bow and she returns the favour.
“Can I come in?”
“Please, do.” She leads him towards the living room, anxious to hear what made this young man come over at such an unholy hour. It’s on the edge of her tongue to ask, but her stay with the upper classes has taught her to temper down. When finally seated she doesn’t offer the man a drink, she has done enough pleasantries for the day.
The flickering light of the candle gives him an older appearance, a more spectral one.
“Mrs Darcy, what do you know about George Wickham?”
“He married my sister. Last time I saw them they went off to Newcastle. Is something the matter constable?”
The man hesitates.
“Sir, if there is something wrong then I have the right to know!”
“We have found him in Newcastle… in the Tyne.”
“Is he safe?”
“No Mrs, he… he is dead.”
“Oh God! What about Lydia?”
“She is nowhere to be found… Mrs Darcy, this is very important: do you know anything about the current whereabouts of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley?”

(c) Maarten Thoelen