"Pleeeease, Papa?" my sister Maria begged. She was known for her talents in the way of persuasion and manipulation, but she was not getting very far here.
"Absolutely not," Papa replied. I could see a slight smile on his face, but the beginnings of parental guidance hid behind his eyes.
"But why, Papa?" Maria asked, a frown on her pretty face.
"For one reason, and one reason only. I do not wish to send you to London only so you can flirt with Leland Smith!"
"Papa..." Maria began petulantly, with a slight pout. "You know that is not why I wish to go to London. I simply would love to visit my cousins, the Darcys, and Rebekah Bingley, who have planned a trip there. In fact," she paused to glance at the clock. "They should be there already. What a good joke it would be if we showed up, too!"
"I don't think they would enjoy that, my dear," Papa stated. "They have a slight... aversion to you, though why they ever would avoid you, I cannot think. I just don't..."
"My dear," Mama interrupted. "Why on earth are you so against us going to London? After all," with a slight glance at me, "you would not wish to take away from the girls their one change to find an eligible husband, now would you?"
"I would not," Papa said. "But-"
"Oh, never mind your worries!" Mama interjected again. "The girls and I will be fine on our own. You can stay at home, Wickham, though I will be desolate without you."
At this Papa's eyes snapped.
"I most certainly will not let you go to London by yourselves!" he said. "It is far, far too dangerous. We will discuss this matter later. Girls?"
Maria and I looked up.
"Go to bed now. Your mother and I have some discussing to do."