0.5-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

0.5-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

Author:Steve Hockensmith [Hockensmith, Steve]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781594744822
Publisher: Quirk Books
Published: 2010-03-24T07:00:00+00:00


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CHAPTER 23

“I MUST TAKE MY LEAVE as well, Miss Bennet,” Capt. Cannon said as the baron’s carriage rolled off up the drive. “But I find your father’s suggestion an excellent one, and I leave it to the lieutenant here to arrange for musketry instruction, if you so choose. Limbs! Bow to the lady!”

The Limbs did as they were told, then whisked the captain away as he barked out “Hut two, hut two—on the double now!”

Elizabeth and Lt. Tindall stood silently for a moment in the shadow of the great house.

“Well,” the lieutenant said.

“Well,” said Elizabeth.

Another moment passed.

“Miss Bennet?”

“Lieutenant?”

“Would you be offended if I were to speak frankly?”

“That depends on what you might say.”

“I see.”

Another long pause followed.

Eventually, Lt. Tindall drew in a deep breath, as if gathering his strength for some powerful exertion. Which he was.

With an effort so apparent Elizabeth thought at first he was about to sneeze, the young soldier forced himself to speak.

“I apologize for my earlier coldness, which was not intended as a slight, only I find myself, in all honesty, distressed, having discovered your sister to be, in the brief time I had to become acquainted with her, a young lady of exceptional qualities, none of them having anything to do with fighting and killing, and it pains me quite deeply to see her forced into a role so alien not just to her whole sex but to her tender spirit in particular, and it is, in addition, galling to find that your father’s obsession with the unmentionables and the savageries of the East should result in your sister’s most intimate connection with a man of such patently low morals as the grotesque satyr who owns this estate, and furthermore . . . have I said something amusing?”

Elizabeth, to her own surprise, was smiling. For the first time, she found herself almost liking the man.

“No, nothing amusing,” she said. “Gratifying. Perhaps you could show me the way to the gunnery or whatever you call it, and we might talk further.”

The lieutenant nodded and stretched out an arm toward a row of tents lining one side of the lawn. “This way.”

They walked away from the house side by side.

“I appreciate your candor, Lieutenant,” Elizabeth said. “Actually, I find myself in accord with your sentiments in one or two respects. Yet I must trust in my father, as you must trust your captain. They lived through the worst of The Troubles. Whatever they think necessary, I am inclined to do, and I know Jane feels likewise.”

“That would seem sensible,” the lieutenant said, looking straight ahead.

He didn’t sound convinced. There was altogether too much emphasis, Elizabeth though, on the word seem.

“And might I point out,” she pressed on, “that what my sisters and I are doing is hardly unprecedented. No less a personage than Lady Catherine de Bourgh once took up the sword to meet the threat of the dreadfuls.”

“Yes, Lady Catherine . . . our own Joan of Arc,” Lt. Tindall said. If he didn’t seem to



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