Epilogue part 1
In the week leading up to the ball to be held in Georgiana’s honour, there was an air of anticipation to be found in Pemberley as preparations continued for the ball. A few days before the ball was to be held, the guests began to arrive, namely Jane and Charles Bingley who were expecting a child. Their arrival was met with great excitement, particularly on the part of Elizabeth who had not been able to see her beloved sister for several months due to her extended wedding trip.
Their arrival came when both Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam were reclining on the loveseat in the music room as they listened to Georgiana play on the pianoforte. A butler announced their arrival which brought great joy to those in the room and the Bingley’s were swiftly admitted. They were met with a flurry of laughter and smiles.
“Jane, dear sister, it is very nice to see you after all this time. I hope you are well?” Elizabeth asked, hoping that after this absence, everything was well with Jane.
“Oh, Lizzy! It is good to see you! Everything is well, as Charles has decided to give up Netherfield altogether and purchase an estate nearer to Pemberley for he knows of our close sisterly relationship and wished for me to be happy.” Jane replied happily.
This sudden news produced a greater level of excitement from Elizabeth who was forced to control her excitement in front of her guests and husband.
“That is quite sudden. I was of the opinion that you were fond of being close to Longbourne?” Elizabeth enquired, for she had been quite certain than this had been the case.
Jane shook her head somewhat ruefully, and then replied, “At first everything was well, however over time mama became overbearing and caused my kind natured husband to quickly become impatient.”
“Really? I did not think him capable of that. I believed that my husband would reach a point similar to that before Charles would; he is too kind for reacting in such a manner. However it would be nice to have you so close when your child is born.” Elizabeth replied, somewhat amazed at this turn of events.
“What is this, my Lizzy?” Fitzwilliam asked, as he and Charles came to be seated close to their wives.
“Nothing, my dear. We were merely discussing the news of Jane and Charles giving up Netherfield completely and settling in Derbyshire, perhaps very near to us.” Elizabeth replied with a smile.
Fitzwilliam gazed in bewilderment at his closest friend before smiling.
“I shall assist you if you wish it. I know of the best estates in the local vicinity if you choose to settle very close to Pemberley.” Fitzwilliam declared joyfully, glad that his friend would live close, at least for the sake of his wife.
“Thank you Darce, I may just take you up on the offer, however it will have to be after the ball, as Jane seems quite content to spend time with Elizabeth.” Charles said with a grin as he turned to observe his wife conversing with her sister.
Georgiana had been observing this scene in silence. She was glad that her brother would have a friend living close by, as most of his acquaintances lived in London. She was also happy that her sister was to be close to her too, as she enjoyed spending time with both Elizabeth and Jane.
Much of that afternoon was spend in conversation and laughter as Elizabeth announced to her sister that she was to have a child, which was announced after the evening meal when the gentlemen had decided to join the ladies in the drawing room.
“Jane, I have some news to share with you.” Elizabeth declared happily.
“What is it, Lizzy? Has something happened?” Jane asked curiously.
Elizabeth smiled before responding, “Jane, I am with child.”
Jane hugged Elizabeth tightly, happy for her sister.
“Oh Lizzy, that is exciting news. Charles!” Jane called, eager to share the good news with her husband.
“My dear, are you quite alright?” Charles asked, his concern apparent in his features and tone of voice.
“I am quite well. However it seems the Darcy’s have withheld some news from us which I lately discovered.” Jane said with a smile in the direction of the gentlemen.
“Darce, really. I am your friend. Please tell me this news or I shall have to ask Jane later.” Charles said in mock severity, which caused Fitzwilliam to grin.
“Oh, it’s nothing really. Elizabeth is with child, that is all.” Fitzwilliam declared.
Charles paled in shock, but soon recovered, stating, “All? Darce, you and I are to be fathers.”
The mood for the remainder of the evening was light and happy, as a real family should be.
At length, the day of the ball arrived. Georgiana could hardly contain her excitement at finally being able to attend a ball and in her honour, no less. Below stairs, the servants were abuzz at being able to hold such a ball for a beloved member of the Darcy family. Mrs Reynolds could be found overseeing the last minute decorations, ensuring that everything was perfect for Miss Georgiana as she was affectionately known as below stairs.
The formal and grand laneway to the brilliant Pemberley was lined with torches that were lit as the sun went down, reflecting on the lake, which contributed to an ambient glow that would signal to the carriage drivers the path to the house. Both Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam were in the receiving line, alongside Georgiana. Georgiana had selected a modest white gown that flattered her slight figure, accentuating the curves of her waist and complimenting her hair which was styled up for the special occasion. As she stood next to him, Fitzwilliam could feel Georgiana’s palpable excitement as she greeted her aunt and uncle, in addition to her cousin Richard who was attending the ball with his mother and father, who were the Earl and Lady Matlock.
“Mrs Darcy, a pleasure as always.’ Richard greeted, causing Elizabeth to think about their first meeting at Rosings Park, and thus eliciting a laugh from Elizabeth.
“I am sure, Richard.” She replied with a smile.
“Not getting any ideas, are you Richard?” Fitzwilliam joined, with a smirk, happy to be able to tease his cousin about those early days in his relationship with Elizabeth.
“Of course not. Mother and father will not be pleased if I am not with them, and I see that they have already moved on.” Richard said, with a slight bow.
Fitzwilliam continued to smirk as he gazed at the guests entering the foyer of his home, until his eyes focussed on a most unwelcome addition to the guest list.
Elizabeth noticed a sudden change in her husband, causing her to search for the cause herself. She caught sight of the one person that she most wished never to see again and she was sure that her husband shared her sentiments wholeheartedly. She only hoped that Georgiana remained ignorant of the intruder, for the sake of her enjoyment of the evening and the other guests, as it would not do to cause a scene.