Letters and weddings
Ever since I saw Elizabeth at Pemberley, she has been all that I am able to think about. I can hardly focus on my breakfast before me, let alone listen to Georgiana as she talks.
"Brother, are you well?" Georgiana asks with concern.
"Forgive me, I am well. I was merely thinking about something of import to the tenants." I say, trying to ease her mind.
"You are not. I know that you think of Miss Elizabeth." Georgiana says with a small smile.
"I confess I am, dear sister." I say.
"A letter for you, sir." a footman says as he hands me a small slip of paper.
I take it and begin to read.
I have returned to Netherfield as I had planned to do, which you would know since I discussed it with you.
I have news to impart to you which is of great importance and would be perfectly happy if you were to stay at Netherfield.
Please come at you earliest convenience.
I look up, only to see that Georgiana has been curiously looking at me as I read the letter.
"Georgiana, I must go to Netherfield as Bingley requires me to do so." I say, rather apologetically, as I wish Georgiana could come with me,
"If Mr Bingley wishes you to go, you must go." she replies, upset that I shall be gone for a while.
After breakfast, I rush to my room to prepare for the journey to Netherfield.
I have just had the most delightful news! Jane is to marry Mr Bingley after all, as he returned from town to propose to her, as he had been kept in town under false pretenses, due to his sister, Caroline Bingley. I cannot forgive her for her role in Jane's extended unhappiness, however it is of no consequence now, as Jane and Mr Bingley are extremely happy.
It is late at night, but sleep eludes me, as my happiness bubbles forth and makes me feel energetic.
Oh well, I can only hope that sleep comes soon, as Mr Bingley is to visit again soon to organise the wedding with Jane.
I arrived shortly after dark, two days after I started my journey. As I ride up to the entry of Netherfield, curiousity overcomes me. I wonder what my friend could possibly have to share with me. The lane seems especially long, as I think about all of the reasons that my friend would invite me to Netherfield when he knows me to be at Pemberley with Georgie.
I can see Bingley eagerly anticipating my arrival by waiting at the door to the house. This is slightly out of character, as normally he waits inside with his sisters.
The stable-boy comes to collect my horse for me which I accept gratefully, as it has been a long journey from Pemberley, which allows me to greet my friend.
"Darce! Come in, there is so much to tell you about since I arrived back in the neighbourhood." he replies as he hastily ushers me into the house. I can only hope that I do not see Caroline on the way to Bingley's study.
We reach the study, and once inside Bingley pours me a drink from the decanter in the study. We sit down, and I stare at him, waiting for him to tell me the reason for his invitation.
"Darce, I asked you here to announce something quite special." he starts.
I encourage him to continue, as I am very curious about it, however I hide my anticipation.
"I am to be married, Darce!" he announces proudly.
All I can do is stare at him. Once the information registers in my mind, I speak.
"Whom are you engaged to, Bingley?"
"Jane Bennet has agreed to be my wife." he says, smiling. He clearly is enjoying the shock that I am in.
I give a small smile and say "congratulations my friend."
How will I be able to face Elizabeth again? I wonder.
"The Bennets have been invited for the evening meal on the morrow, will you join us?"
"I will." I say, trying to sound calm, but I am in a panic.
In the hours leading up to the dinner at Netherfield that evening, there were a variety of emotions coursing through both Mr Darcy and Elizabeth. However, Jane was serene and calm as ever, and was a great source of comfort for Elizabeth.
As we travel in the carriage to Netherfield, I am filled with apprehension due to the fact that I shall have to be friendly with Mr Bingley's sisters. I also wonder if there will be an addition to our dinner party, however I realise that this would not happen.
The carriage comes to a halt, making me realise that I have not been attentive to my surroundings and instead spent the journey with my thoughts.
I look out of the window of the carriage to find that Mr Bingley is waiting at the door of his house as any good host would. I also see another figure standing next to him, but am unable to recognise him or her.
As I stand waiting next to Bingley, I am nervous due to the fact that I am unsure as to how I will be received by at least one member of the Bennet family.
I watch as Elizabeth is handed out of the carriage by her father, and see look up to where I am standing with an expression on her face that I am unable to decipher due to the distance separating us. Bingley seems pleased that the Bennets have arrived.
We greet the family and invite them into the house so that we may sit in one of the sitting rooms before dinner is announced. I find myself fading into the background, however I am aware of the fact that Elizabeth is also walking behind the rest of her family. Out of politeness, I offer to escort her to the sitting room. To my intense surprise, she accepts with a genuine smile on her face.
We walk in silence for a while before I decide to initiate some form of conversation.
"Miss Elizabeth, you are well this evening?"
"Why yes, thank you Mr Darcy. I am well. How is your sister?" she replies.
"Georgiana is well, thank you."
At this point, I can think of nothing else to say, and so lapse into silence.
"I believe that Mr Bingley and Jane will be happy together do you not?" a voice says, interrupting my thoughts.
I look to find Elizabeth trying to converse with me.
"Of course, he seems rather happy, and so does your sister. I believe that you would wish to be happy in marriage as well?" What? You mustn't converse that way with her!
"Yes, it is my firm belief that nothing will force me to marry except for the deepest of love." she replies, not seeming to notice my discomfort.
I deliver her to her sister, as by this point we have reached the sitting room, and escape to the window at the back of the room.
"...he is so rude and disagreeable, it is a wonder that he should be invited anywhere!" floats a rather loud voice.
It grasps my attention enough to look for the source of this apparent insult. My eyes rest on Mrs Bennet, the apparent source.
"Mama, please do not speak that way." I hear Elizabeth reply. This makes me happy in a way that is difficult to describe.
For the remainder of the night, I endeavor to engage in conversation wherever possible in an attempt to prove that I am not rude and disagreeable.
A few weeks later...
It is the day of Bingley's wedding. I am happy for my oldest friend, however I am saddened by the fact that I could have been as happy as he is, if only I had proposed in a more gentleman-like manner.
Jane and Mr Bingley's wedding was everything that anyone could hope for- the bride was blushing and beautiful in an elegant gown and the groom was smiling the entire time. Even the groomsman could be said to have a small smile on his face, despite the fact that he tried to hide it, putting his impassive and cold façade on for the world to see. This was what Elizabeth observed, as she watched Jane, Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy enjoying the day. As for Elizabeth, she did not know how to feel about Mr Darcy, even though she could barely contain her joy for her sister and new brother in law.
A few weeks later...
I cannot sleep. Jane is gone, married to Mr Bingley.
As I reflect on the events of the past few weeks, I hear the door open with a loud bang and angry voices below.
Even though I am upset at the interruption to the peace of the early morning, I am curious about the visitor. I put on my robe and make my way downstairs.
I stare in disbelief at the figure before me- it is Lady Catherine. What can she want? Her nephew is not here.
"Miss Bennet, I wish to speak to you." Lady Catherine says in a haughty tone, clearly expressing her displeasure at visiting me in my home.
"Lady Catherine, I will indulge you for a moment, however it will need to be brief in order to not disrupt the rest of the household even further."
She stares in shock at me, as I am most likely one of the few people to actually talk to her in such a manner.
"Miss Bennet, you surely can be at no loss as to why I am here."
"You are mistaken, your ladyship. I am indeed at a loss as to the honour of your visit." I say, as I begin to become confused at this sudden appearance.
"You have an understanding with my nephew do you not?"
I take a deep breath to control my anger.
"Your ladyship asks an impossible question."
"Are you or are you not to become the next Mrs Darcy?"
"I am not."
"If you do, you will allow the shades of Pemberley to be polluted. My nephew will marry my daughter."
"Please offer him my congratulations when you see him next."
"I will take leave of you now, you have satisfied my questions. Never speak to my nephew again."
Once she has gone, I run back to my room, but not before my papa asks me to join him in his study.
"Lizzy, who was that woman? She appeared most discomposed when she arrived and your eyes have simmering anger in them."
"It was Lady Catherine."
"The lady Catherine?
"What did she say?"
"She ordered me to promise never to speak or enter into an engagement with her nephew."
"Oh Lizzy. You always hated him since the Meryton Assembly did you not?"
"Papa, I hardly know. I thought I did, but now I am not sure. I have to tell you- he proposed to me in Kent."
"Lizzy, do be serious. Do you like him now, because he flattered you?"
"His aunt's visit has confused me, Papa."
"Oh Lizzy, if you disliked him, would you not be more angry at the presumption of his aunt's visit?"
"I hardly know, Papa."
"Alright, my child. Be off to bed with you."
I tell Papa that I cannot sleep and therefore express my desire to think about my feelings in private. I tell him that I will be going for a walk, and not to worry about me.
As I walk, I admire the scenery around me- it is all so beautiful in the pale morning light. I also think about what Papa told me, and I realise that it is true. I do love Mr Darcy, despite the way he originally proposed to me. I find myself wanting to see him this morning, walking towards me in the cold morning light.
I smile. Lizzy, do stop being silly. This would never happen.
I couldn't sleep, there were too many thoughts running through my mind. I get out of bed, annoyed with myself for being so agitated when I am normally so calm. One thought keeping looping through my head- I need to see Elizabeth. I need to apologise to her for my treatment of her, especially during the proposal but for everything I did after that at Rosings.
All of a sudden, I heard a loud commotion going on in the foyer of Netherfield. It sounded like an argument.
Before I knew it, my door was opened, and standing in the doorway was my esteemed aunt, Lady Catherine, with Bingley behind her with an apologetic expression gracing his features.
"Nephew, I have been to the home of the country girl who you proposed to. You must know what I am going to tell you."
"Aunt, it is early in the morning." I protest, before her words fully register in my brain. She went to see Elizabeth. Oh no, she is going to hate me even more now.
"I do not care, I demand an answer."
"You had no right to do that." I sputter, as I begin to get angry.
"I had every right to do it. I needed to know if the rumour had any foundation."
"It does not, and furthermore I made her promise never to enter into a marriage with you, due to the fact that you are promised to my daughter, Anne."
"If you will excuse me aunt, I need to go for a walk. I refuse to enter into any more discussion on this point." I say, with barely restrained anger.
I do not listen to what insults my aunts hurls at me- I am focused only on seeing Elizabeth as soon as possible to reassure her that my aunt's words are false and have no foundation, even though she does not love me, I at least want to feel respected in her eyes.
As I walk, I think. Engaged to be married to Anne? Impossible. Surely Elizabeth would not believe such a falsehood.
Sorry for the short chapter, but I realised that it had been ages since I last updated and didn't want to keep everyone in a state of suspense! Hopefully will have the next chapter up soon, depending on how long it takes me to add more detail to it! As always, keep reviewing so that I know that people are enjoying it or are still reading it!