Over the course of the summer, Miss Georgiana Darcy and Mrs. Younge traversed all along Ramsgate. However, the past couple days were peculiar from the rest. Mrs. Younge was fidgety and acting nervous from her usual calm and collected self.
"What is ever the matter, Mrs. Younge?" Miss Darcy asked.
"Oh nothing. Merely that an old acquaintance will be coming to visit and he says that he knows you from your hometown in Pemberley. Maybe you remember him, a Mr. Wickham?"
"Mr. Wickham? I remember him. He was a friend or maybe an acquaintance of my brother. Oh what a pleasure it will be to see him after all these years. I wonder why he left Pemberley after living there for so long. He didn't even come to say goodbye," Miss Darcy answered.
The next morning Mr. Wickham was scheduled to arrive in Ramsgate and visit the ladies in their home that afternoon. Georgiana and Mrs. Younge went back to their residence to get ready for the visit.
"A Mr. Wickham is here to see Mrs. Younge," the butler said aloud in the sitting room.
Georgiana exclaimed, "Oh, he's here already. And not even 1 in the afternoon yet."
"Show him in please." Both ladies stood up in a flurry of skirts as the butler announced Mr. Wickham into the room.
"Ah, it has been so long since I last saw you Mrs. Younge. You look just as lovely as you did three years ago. And Georgiana Darcy, it seems you remember me. I had hoped you had but it has been four years from when your father passed away and I had left. You were so young then and now look at you. A vision to brighten these dreary sea shores."
"You flatter me. I do remember you but why had you left so suddenly? And there has been no word since?"
"That was a long time ago and merely water under the bridge. There is no need to talk about that sad time. Let's talk instead about what you have been doing in Ramsgate. I've never been here before and I hope that you lovely ladies can take me around."
"Of course we would love to take you around. You should stay for lunch, we were just going to sit down for it," Mrs. Younge suggested.
As Georgiana leads the way into the dining room, directly behind her, Mr. Wickham and Mrs. Younge exchange a look.
When Mr. Darcy arrived in Ramsgate two weeks later on Tuesday, he was optimistic. For a whole year, Georgiana, his dear sister, his responsibility, was away from him in school and then in Ramsgate. He had left her under the secure hand of Mrs. Younge until she would reach majority and begin looking for a husband. But at age 15, she is too young to enter into such a serious engagement. The man must be worthy of her too. No poor, weak man for my sweet sister, instead a man like me, a strong man that has the money to take care of her the way she deserves.
"She will be pleasantly surprised that I am here a full 3 days before schedule," he thought driving into the city. "Normally, I am so strict but I thought to come earlier than planned. Mrs. Younge better be taking care of my sister otherwise there will be need for reprimanding."
"Oh hello my dear, how are you. Are you feeling okay? You look a touch under the weather," Darcy asked his sister after noticing her pale skin and raised breathing.
"Um yes," clearing her throat. "I am perfect, just surprised that you are here. We were expecting you here in a couple days."
Miss Darcy thought to herself, "Oh no. What am I going to do? Why couldn't he come in just a few days? Everything would have been done and over. Should I tell him? No I will wait and talk to Mr. Wickham, he will know what to do."
"Come now, let's go around the city. I have a need for food and fresh air," Mr. Darcy told the room. Miss Darcy and Mrs. Younge go upstairs to get their pelisses and umbrellas and hurry back down to go for their walk with Mr. Darcy.
After walking for a couple minutes, Mr. Darcy steps into one of the stores to look at their wares while the women stay outside of the sidewalk. Down the street they see Mr. Wickham walking and then noticing them, turning into a brisk walk towards them.
"Hello darling, how are you? Are all the plans complete? I profess, I cannot wait for Thursday, and it will be spectacular!" Wickham exclaimed.
"My dear, I am in distress. I am not sure what to do. My brother is in town. In fact, he is in that store." Georgiana watched as Mr. Wickham's face paled to a ghostly white when that tidbit was made known to him. "Are you okay?" she asked worriedly.
"Um, yes. I'm fine. Let me go, I will think on this matter and will come to see you later. I will tell you what to do then but don't tell your brother anything. The plan will still go on."
As Mr. Darcy walked into the sunlight, Mr. Wickham walked away quickly to avoid the inevitable confrontation.
"Oh I don't know how long I can deceive him for. I look up to him like a father and not telling him would offend him. I will tell him after dinner," Miss Darcy said to herself. Feeling better with herself for this decision, she sets herself to entertaining her brother and waiting for the right time to reveal her secret.
After the plates were cleared away by the servants, Georgiana broached the topic.
"Brother, have you noticed anything different about me today?"
"Not particularly. Why has something changed about you?" he inquired, wondering what he had obviously missed.
"Well yes, I have changed. I feel alive now, alive with the love of a man!"
"What is this? Don't you believe you are too young to be married? Who is this man, I would like to meet him and exchange words."
"Well," now she became nervous, wondering at his reaction to her next words. "You have already met him in fact. The man that I fell in love with is Mr. Wickham. Do you remember Mr. Wickham? Papa thought so well of him when he was alive. He came to Ramsgate and had known Mrs. Younge. After seeing her, he recognized me and remembered who I was. I've spent the last few weeks showing him around Ramsgate. He is such a sweet and flattering man. I can't wonder why he left in such a haste after Papa's death at Pemberley. But he is such a nice man and really so attentive. He loves me and asked me to marry him. On Thursday, we are going to Gretna Green because I am too young here. But it doesn't matter, he said he would take care of everything and I will believe him."
"Wickham! That scoundrel, he is not the man you think he is. You are only 15 years old. How can you be in love at such a young age, you haven't even finished growing yet. How can you think you are in love if you've known him personally for only a few weeks? At Pemberley, you weren't in close contact with him. Do you know why he really left Pemberley? I won't tell you the truth, which is up to Mr. Wickham to tell you," he coldly replied.
"That can't be true. He wouldn't lie to me. Oh no," she bursts into tears and ran out of the room. Mrs. Younge looked at Mr. Darcy with fear.
She tried to defend herself saying, "I'm so sorry. I didn't know that he was going to try to elope with her. I just thought he wanted to meet her."
"I hired you with the assumption that she would be cared for from everything, including men. She could have been kidnapped under your care from a man you introduced to her. This is completely your fault and you will be punished accordingly. You are hereby dismissed from my service. You will have your bags packed and ready to be taken away within the hour. You are not to speak with Miss Darcy anymore. Good-bye."
Mrs. Younge began sobbing but curtsied and walked away to pack her life away. Left alone, Mr. Darcy began thinking of the coincidence of Mr. Wickham being in Ramsgate at the same time Miss Darcy was there. Did Wickham really want to meet his sister because he cared for her or because of revenge for Mr. Darcy not giving him the money Mr. Wickham thought he deserved.
Dear Mr. Wickham,
I have come to a very startling conclusion this past night. After coming to visit my sister a couple days ahead of schedule, I find out that she has fallen in love. And who other than with you, my dear Wickham. Now my sister falling in love wouldn't have been worrisome. She is at that age where girls can be fanciful and passionate. But that she fell in love with you, a man that has caused me deep troubles, this I find troublesome. Based on our history together and your unfounded resentment towards me, I can only deduct that you have chosen to woo and potentially marry my sister for two reasons. Either you have no money and are in need of her dowry or because you wish to tarnish my sister for the future and to take her away from me. Considering both reasons aren't reasonable or honorable enough to warrant marriage towards my sister, I suggest you leave Ramsgate. Never enter into the vision of either my sister of myself for a long time. You are a disgrace to the memories of your father and mine. If you are in desperate need for money, I will forward you some money to cover the commission into the militia. I suggest you to be very careful over the next few years.
Within a couple days, Mr. Wickham vacated Ramsgate. After receiving the letter, he found it in his best interest to leave without trying again for Miss Darcy's dowry. However, he made one last attempt at grasping the money by trying to contact Miss Darcy. Mr. Darcy believed something like this would happen so he forbade Georgiana and Mrs. Younge from meeting with Mr. Wickham. He soon left and joined the militia to salvage his life.
Mrs. Younge left shortly after and Mr. Darcy was left with the difficult task of consoling his sister.
Georgiana wept in pain, "Why did he have to leave me? I thought he was a nice man that loved me."
"But that is the problem. When I went to confront him about your impending marriage, I convinced him that he should wait until you were of age. It isn't the thing to get married so young and I was trying to protect your virtue. People would have talked otherwise."
"But why couldn't he wait for me? It's only a few short years," she inquired, slowly getting herself back together after hearing of his love for her.
Mr. Darcy continued his tale, "He was already beginning his engagement with the army. Because they were leaving town in a few weeks to go north by the Lakes District, he wasn't permitted to wait for you to get married. Mr. Wickham was forced to leave you behind. Don't think for one second that he lost his love for you, in fact his love for you was so strong, he was almost disconsolate with grief. He did not leave Ramsgate with a smile." Mr. Darcy thought of his last sentence with a dark mind. Mr. Wickham would regret using Georgiana when Mr. Darcy would always protect her.
Mr. Darcy brought his sister back to London at the end of the summer. They had enough problems without needing more. After this episode, Mr. Darcy became even more arrogant. He faulted all the poor people for being greedy and thought himself above people like them. Mr. Darcy went back to his friends with a different attitude: people were not to be trusted anymore, especially those of the poorer side.
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