Posted on: 2010-11-25
If we do not reach Pemberley on the morrow, I may throw myself in front of the first fast moving coach I see! The ride from Ramsgate to London was dreadful, with Fitzwilliam in such a temper! I did not think I would prefer that to his stony silence and constant looks of judgment. It is not as though he is perfect - I know, for my dear G told me plenty of stories. What a good laugh we had over them!
I suppose I should be kinder to Fitzwilliam, but it is so difficult after how he treated my dearest love. G did mention he had used Fitzwilliam ill in the past, but it was so very long ago, and something done as boys can hardly be an excuse for Fitzwilliam refusing to listen to any explanation.
Oh, why did I write Fitzwilliam and tell him of our plans! I was so certain Fitzwilliam would have been pleased for me; and I have always dreamt of having him beside me when I wed. I should have listened to G, for it has turned out just as he said it would, and now everything is ruined! Fitzwilliam would not even consider entertaining an offer of marriage – and not only because of my age; he told me so himself, before he called my G all sorts of dreadful names!
I do not know how I shall bear this separation. It might be bearable if we could write one another, but it is so very risky. I do hope he is able to find a way to write me, but even if he cannot, I shall wait for him as he asked. How could I not, after he has told me how he is toiling away to find his fortune so that Fitzwilliam will have no reason to object to our marriage?
"Are you… comfortable?" Darcy asked for the hundredeth time. Georgiana only nodded, which Darcy followed with a quiet resigned sigh. Then a stifling silence descended on the two.
This pattern had repeated itself many times since they had left London, and as they were still a few hours from Pemberley, was likely to play out at least once more.
What else was there to do? The events of the last week made it impossible for either of them to concentrate on anything in the presence of the other, and there seemed to be an embargo on every topic of conversation not already covered at least once that day.
"As soon as I am able to find you a new companion, we may return to London," Darcy said. His grim face belied the conversational words. "Colonel Fitzwilliam is checking the references of a Mrs. Annesley, so it may not be long."
Georgiana nodded. She could not help but think Annesley was a terribly dreadful name. Then again, she was probably inclined to think poorly of any name except Younge or Wickham.
Unfortunately, she was in no position to express an opinion. Even Colonel Fitzwilliam – who tended to agree with her more often than her brother – had demanded Mrs. Younge's dismissal, though it had already been done.
With the complete lack of conversation, she did the only other thing she could. She closed her eyes and attempted to rest. It was unlikely she would be able to find sleep, but at least she would not have to bear her brother's glares.
When next she opened her eyes, a sight she never grew tired of welcomed her. Pemberley! This time it was not just Pemberley, it was salvation! Here she would more easily be able to dodge her brother's watchful eye. And if she was very careful, she would be able to finally reply to the letter she kept tucked away in a secret place.
March -, 1812
I wonder how long Fitzwilliam shall continue punishing me for wanting to elope with G. A good opinion once lost, cannot pertain to one's own family, can it?
Fitzwilliam denies that ordering me to Rosings with him is punishment. He considers it "fulfilling my family obligations." I, however, know he has dragged me to Kent because he does not fully trust Mrs. Annesley yet, and will not leave me unattended.
Truly, I am amazed I was able to convince him to go on to Netherfield without me! (Was it not rather ingenious of me to fall ill the morning we were to travel?) Nonetheless, a daily letter was a small price to pay to be out from under Fitzwilliam's constant eye. I am quite certain he returned sooner than was planned because of me though; but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
If only Fitzwilliam had not dismissed Mrs. Younge. I shall admit Mrs. Younge allowed G and me a little more privacy than is thought to be proper amongst my circle, but that was no reason to dismiss her! And without reference too!
I do hope she is doing well, though my conscience is clear in that regard. I did protest her dismissal quite vehemently; I do hope she knows that. Though I was not able to secure her a position, Fitzwilliam has assured me that he supplied her with a full two months of wages. As resourceful as she is, she should be able to make that go quite a long way.
Mrs. Annesley is not as dreadfully boring as Anne's companion, Mrs. Jenkinson, but she does not understand a young girl is in want of a little intrigue before she is married. Thankfully summer is near, and Fitzwilliam and I shall return to Pemberley. Surely I shall be permitted more freedom in my own home. Perhaps I will even send Mrs. Annesley on holiday then.
If only G and I had been married, then he, too, could join us. What fun would be had by all! It would be just as it was when we were young! I miss him so dreadfully. It has been almost a full year since I have last seen or heard from my dear G.
Alas, the past cannot be undone. And as G says, I must have faith in him. Soon he shall come into his fortune, and then Fitzwilliam shall have no reason to object to our marriage. I am giddy at the mere thought of it! It is so difficult to wait, especially when there is no news from him. Nonetheless, I must persevere, and so I shall.
Georgiana plunked away at the pianoforte disinterestedly. It did not seem to matter what she played, or how well she played it. Much like everything else at Rosings, including herself, her brother, and her cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, it was only present to stroke her aunt's vanity.
It felt as though she had been playing for hours, but there was little else to do at Rosings. She had already gone riding earlier this morning with her cousin – what a disaster that had turned out to be. There was nothing like a sermon on social propriety and family expectations before one had even broken their fast! Nor did she want to hear her aunt pontificate on any other pastime she might be inclined to take up.
She cast a glance over towards the other occupants of the room for an inkling on when she might be relieved. Unfortunately for her tired fingers, it did not appear that it would be any time soon.
Her brother sat near cousin Anne - as Aunt Catherine had instructed – disinterested at the instruction Aunt Catherine was providing her clergyman and his wife. Colonel Fitzwilliam sat nearby, putting up no pretence of listening to the conversation at hand, preferring the paper instead.
Cousin Anne – sole heiress to Rosings – was a slight , pale thing that could be blown over by a puff of wind; a sharp contrast to her tall, hale and hearty brother. Anne was continuously sick, though the doctors could discover no root cause. Some speculated it was from having such an over-bearing mother, while others decided her maladies were all in her head, and she could be healthy as an ox if she simply put her mind to it.
Georgiana could not be made to care one way or another. She did not wish her cousin ill – after all she was family – but Anne had been sick all of her years, and Georgiana simply took it as fact that it would continue to be so.
"I shall like to hear how your family appreciates the improvements to their rooms I have provided, Mrs. Collins. Does your father plan to stop in Bromely?" Before Mrs. Collins could get a word in edgewise, Lady Catherine continued. "I know the proprietor of the inn there. Should they mention my name, they will be treated quite fairly."
Visitors! Georgiana thought fumbling her fingering. She could not help but hope they would provide more entertainment than the current residents of that home.
It wasn't that she disliked Mr. and Mrs. Collins – indeed, Mrs. Collins seemed pleasant enough – despite her soft spoken, demure demeanor. Mr. Collins was another matter. He spent most of their visits hanging on Aunt Catherine's every word, and when he did speak, it was only to thank Aunt Catherine for her generosity and advice. Some additional company would provide some additional entertainment, would it not?
"Georgiana!" Lady Catherine bellowed, startling the young girl from her woolgathering. "What is that tune you play?" Georgiana stuttered, "It… it is a… tune from when I was young."
"Aunt Agatha played it often when Georgiana was younger," Darcy interjected. He flashed Georgiana a sympathetic, almost apologetic, smile.
"Yes, well," Aunt Catherine harrumphed, "you should play something befitting your talent." Turning her attention back to Darcy, she inquired, "You do see that she practices daily, do you not, Darcy? She will never be a great proficient if she does not."
"I assure you, aunt, Georgiana practices quite often."
The discussion continued on, but Georgiana paid it no attention, instead focusing on the music again. It was best not to draw her aunt's attention. As she played a particularly melancholy sonata, that was a favorite of hers, she let her mind drift off, remembering more pleasant days that had been spent by the seashore, in the company of a handsome, but unfortunately poor, gentleman.
Posted on: 2010-12-01
March -, 1812
Yesterday I met Miss Bennet! Or rather I should say Miss Elizabeth. The Miss Elizabeth Fitzwilliam wrote of in his letters from Netherfield! She has joined the party visiting from Hertfordshire, and is staying at Hunsford.
The lady has little to recommend her, except for the reaction her appearance here at Rosings stirred in my brother. He could hardly stop staring at her, and after dinner, did all in his power to be near her! The black looks he cast at Richard while Richard spoke with Miss Elizabeth were priceless!
My mind is all a flutter of what do with this information! I cannot interrogate Fitzwilliam. Surely, he will deny any interest in the lady, especially given her station in life. (Imagine! Five sisters and her father' estate entailed away to Mr. Collins!)
Still, I cannot help but think this is an act of Providence!
If only I could convince Fitzwilliam to marry the girl. Once he is married, he can have no objection to my marrying G – regardless of his fortune! After all, his prospects would no longer be diminished by my marriage.
I shall barely sleep for the excitement of it all! But how shall I convince Fitzwilliam to present an offer? Perhaps Miss Elizabeth could be compromised in some manner - nothing terrible, but grave enough that Fitzwilliam would be obliged to give her an offer. I should not think such wicked thoughts, but I miss my G so dearly! The sooner Fitzwilliam is married, the sooner I can be reunited with my love!
Georgiana walked the lane between Rosings and Hunsford, her brother's watchdog, Mrs. Annesley, dutifully strolled alongside her. Mrs. Annesley had attempted to make conversation a few times, but had gently been rebuffed. Her charge was much too preoccupied to engage in idle conversation.
It was fortunate, companions, even hired ones, are not given the power of mind reading, else Mrs. Annesley would have put a quick end to where Miss Darcy's thoughts took her.
Georgiana, at the moment, was pondering how to bring two occupants of the nearby houses together in holy matrimony. It was not Miss Elizabeth that was consuming her energy; Miss Elizabeth was the simple part of the equation. After all, a woman in her situation could hardly say no to an offer of marriage from someone like her brother. Why, her brother's income was three times that of her father, not to mention the royal blood that coursed through his veins. No woman would refuse such an offer.
No, the problem lay fully at her brother's feet. She had to convince her brother to marry Miss Elizabeth. That he was smitten by her was quite obvious. The man positively forgot everyone else existed when she entered the room - and the daggers he cast whenever anyone but him spoke to her! No, interest was certainly not the issue. Convincing Fitzwilliam to marry someone so beneath him was the chore at hand, and no little one!
She stifled a giggle behind her gloved hand at the thought of Fitzwilliam married to such a woman. It would serve him right if everyone from town gave his bride the cut direct. He deserved a month of misery for every day she spent away from her George.
"Good morning," a familiar voice called. Both Mrs. Annesley and Georgiana turned to find Colonel Fitzwilliam approaching them. "The staff is setting out the mid-day meal in the back gardens. I hope you intend on joining us."
Georgiana bobbed her head obediently and stepped in line with her cousin.
"The party from Hunsford has already arrived. Our aunt was rather put out only Darcy, Anne and I were present to welcome them."
"Do you think my brother will announce his engagement this year?" Georgiana asked, struck with a bit of inspiration at the mention of her brother and cousin.
The unexpected question caused her elder cousin to stop mid-stride. "Engagement? To whom would he be engaged?"
"Cousin Anne. Aunt Catherine says it is time for him to marry, and he has not been courting anyone else. Lady Catherine has made it clear she anticipates him and Anne to marry, and Fitzwilliam has not objected. I thought perhaps he brought me to Rosings this time because he had intended to announce his engagement to Anne."
"Dearest, no!" the colonel replied with a hearty chuckle. "Darcy has no intention of marrying our cousin. Anne is hardly a suitable wife for your brother, or anyone else for that matter!" He paused, slightly mortified. "You did not hear me say that," he hissed, looking around for prying ears.
Georgiana smiled demurely and they set off again towards the house.
"Cousin, is it terrible of me to be grateful Fitzwilliam will not marry Anne?" she inquired after they had gone a bit farther.
For the second time in less than ten minutes, Richard was stopped dead in his tracks. "That is a bit ungenerous, Georgiana. May I inquire as to why this pleases you?"
With enough grace to blush, Georgiana replied, "I have always wanted a sister, but one who was a bit more lively. Anne is content to sit around the house all day and do nothing. I …"
"Anne cannot help that she was born with a weak constitution. You should not think meanly of her for something beyond her control." Richard interrupted.
"Yes, sir," the young girl demurred. "But is it wrong to want a sister with whom I can ride across Pemberley, visit Bond Street, and share a good laugh over tea while mending bonnets and painting screens?" When Richard smiled and shook his head, she continued on. "I think I should like a sister more my age. Someone who is kind and spirited, someone like…" she smiled triumphantly, "someone like Miss Elizabeth."
"I see… What is all this talk of sisters? Are your brother and I not enough for you anymore?"
"I love you both, as you well know," the affectionate tone was genuine, "but there are some secrets a girl can only share with a sister. I suppose I must own to a bit jealousy when Miss Elizabeth speaks of all the time she spends with her sisters. How she and Miss Bennet stay up late at night talking and reading to one another. A brother," she looked up at her cousin who was fifteen years her senior, "or a cousin, is just not the same." She looked down at the ground, and lowered her voice. "I must sound terribly ungrateful."
She raised her head only when she felt her cousin's heavy arm lay across her shoulders. "Do not fret, my dear. You shall have a sister soon enough. Your brother can not escape the shackles of marriage forever. Now, no more talk of marriage so close to the house. We would not wish our aunt to hear us talking of such things!"
Posted on: 2010-12-09
April -, 1812
My brother is such a… cocklehead! Twice I have convinced Lady Catherine to invite the residents of Hunsford to dinner, only to provide my brother another opportunity to speak with Miss Elizabeth. Instead, he stands off in a corner casting bolts of lightning from his eyes to anyone who deigns to speak to her, myself included! I even convinced Miss Elizabeth to serve my brother his tea after dinner, and still he barely said a few words to her.
How is he to propose marriage if he will only sit in the corner admiring her? I believe even Richard has noticed his interest in Miss Elizabeth, as I overheard him teasing Fitzwilliam.
I must figure out another way to bring them together. I never thought I would be grateful for my stay at Rosings being extended, but I would endure another month here if it meant I could be with my G. soon after!
I wonder what he is doing now. I do hope Mrs. Younge has received my letter and is able to pass on the good news. He will be so pleased at my efforts! If only I was able to receive word from her about my dear G, but Fitzwilliam no doubt reviews the direction of every letter received.
How it breaks my heart to think of my dearest love working at the docks or the tannery in London. The other day, I thought I had heard Miss Lucas mention my G when speaking of the militia that was in Hertfordshire, and my heart was all aflutter! Of course now, I am quite certain my ears had played tricks on me, so desperate am I to hear word of him. My G is too kind and gentle to be the soldier type, and besides, how is he to make his fortune while in the militia?
But would it not be such a lark if he were in Hertfordshire? Miss Elizabeth has said Meryton is not so very large, and he would have likely met Miss Elizabeth and her family. What a merry family we would be!
Alas, I am quite certain my G is slaving away somewhere in London, but I shall not dwell on that. When we are married, he shall be a man of leisure, and never have to set foot in a factory again. With my dowry, and whatever fortune he is able to make, we shall be able to live quite happily. We may not have an estate as grand as Pemberley, but then few estates can compare. I shall be quite content with a house and a few servants.
"May I ask you something, brother?" Georgiana asked timidly. She was undoubtedly treading on thin ice, but the situation was nearing desperation.
"You may ask me anything, dearest. I shall do my best to answer."
"Why did mother agree to marry our father? Was her marriage arranged? Or did she marry for love? I mean, why would she would marry our father when her grandfather was duke? Was she not expected to marry someone with a title too? Aunt Catherine married a baronet , and our uncle married the daughter of a marquis. Why did mother not marry someone with a title?"
She was pleased to see Darcy stammer a bit before being able to form a reply. "I suppose some might say our mother married beneath her, but a title need not be the only consideration in marriage. Pemberley's income is greater than many of those with titles, and then there is the fact that father was a gentleman, and the Darcy name has long been respected."
"Was mother and father's marriage arranged?"
Seeing this would not be a quick conversation, as much as he may have wished it to be, Darcy sat the two of them on an old stone bench. Such conversations made him uncomfortable, especially as he, too, had been pondering the topic of marriage far more often than he would care to admit.
"I mean," she said, unable to look at him, "Cousin Henry's marriage was arranged by our uncle, and Aunt Agnes is forever trying to find a match for Richard. But you do not have anyone to arrange your marriage, how will you decide whom to marry?"
She dared a peek at her brother, and was surprised to find confusion, instead of anger written on his face.
"When I meet the right woman, I shall know." He smiled down at her. "Am I so old and boorish, you are trying to get rid of me?"
"Not at all." She leaned her head lovingly against her brother's arm. "It only seems the matter of marriage is so complicated. Aunt Agnes married beneath her, since her father is a marquis, and she only married an earl, yet everyone says it was good a match. Cousin Henry married the daughter of an earl, but I have heard Aunt Agnes repine the marriage, saying Henry could have done better, and she is determined Richard shall do so."
"Fortune, titles and connections are important considerations, but there are often trade-offs, depending on the needs of family. Some marriages are formed because of the fortune that can be had, others consider titles more important. When forming a marriage, you must consider the effects a marriage has on the rest of the family. For example, my marriage reflects upon your prospects. Since I wish for you to marry well, I must consider a partner with good status and fortune." He smiled down at her. "You are a bit too young to be… When the time is right, Richard and I will help direct you towards a good match."
Georgiana nodded, knowing full well what had caused her brother's stall. She was glad at the discomfort it gave him. She was not too young to think about marriage, or to know what true love was.
Thoughts of George quickly refocused her on the task at hand, which was not going well at all. If that was truly all her brother would consider, he would never offer for Miss Elizabeth. "Fortune, titles, and connections," she sighed. "It all sounds so terribly boring."
Darcy could not help but chuckle. "It is not all about fortune and titles. I shall help you find someone like minded, someone with whom you can converse, and share your interests." His tone took on a wishful edge. "And, of course, she must be kind, respectable, honest and caring."
Georgiana smiled, not having missed the use of the word "she" instead of "he." This was where she needed her brother's thoughts to be. "But what if the person is all of those things, but does not have a title or great fortune? Surely if she were a gentleman's daughter, it would not be frowned upon too greatly, would it? You said it was all right that mother married our father because he was a gentleman."
Darcy audible sighed, the only sign of his frustration at the topic of the conversation. "It is a bit more complicated, dearest, and I have had enough talk of marriage for one day. Rest assured, I am in no hurry to marry, and when your time comes, Richard and I shall help you pick a suitable match."
Knowing better than to press her brother any further with such direct questions, she nodded and stood to continue their walk. After some time she muttered, "When you marry, I do not think I would care so much about her fortune if she did not mind having a much younger sister."
She was pleased when she heard Darcy chuckle, rather than become angry. "Very well then, anyone to whom I intend to propose marriage to, I shall ensure has ample experience in being a sister." Changing the topic once and for all, Darcy inquired, "You are not overly disappointed I have extended our stay at Rosings, are you? I know Aunt Catherine can be bit meddlesome."
"Not at all. The party at Hunsford has provided excellent company. Miss Maria is a bit silly, but Miss Elizabeth is ever so friendly, even though she is several years my senior. I think it is because her youngest sister is a year my junior, and Miss Catherine is but a year my senior."
When a clipped, "I see," was the only reply, Georgiana feared she had pushed her brother too far. "You are not angry, I visit the parsonage as often as I do, are you? It is all right that I associate with them? I know they are not of our circle, but...."
"It is quite all right." Darcy interjected quickly, his demeanor softening. "Miss Elizabeth is of excellent character; as is Mrs. Collins."
With a broad smile, she asked, "Fitzwilliam, would you mind terribly if I were to keep up a correspondence with Miss Elizabeth after we return to London? I like her very much, and she is a faithful writer. She has told me of all the letters she sends to her sister, Miss Bennet. I think I should like such a friend."
Whatever emotions Darcy was feeling at the moment, he chose to hide, and hid them well. A short, "I have no objections," was all that he said.
Posted on: 2010-12-15
April -, 1812
I have no idea what has gotten into my brother! We abruptly left Rosings, and are now stewing in London. Fitzwilliam is not himself. He suffers the most egregious mood swings. One moment he is his usual, genial self, the next he is in the blackest of moods. The staff all tread lightly around him, and I fear are beginning to think him mad.
When I try to ask him what is wrong, his only reply is, "It does not concern you." Does he know how infuriating that is? He expects me to tell him all my darkest secrets, but he can stomp around the house fit to be tied with no explanation whatsoever!
I have even asked Richard if Aunt Catherine had done something to anger Fitzwilliam, but he has no clue as to the cause for my brother's sudden change. My brother shall find himself committed to Bedlam should things not change soon.
To my own discredit, I cannot say I have been the most supportive sister either. Though one can hardly be surprised, my spirits, too, are quite low. I am certain our abrupt departure from Rosings means there is no understanding between Fitzwilliam and Miss Elizabeth, and with Fitzwilliam rarely leaving the house these days, it is unlikely he will marry in the near term. And so, I must revert back to waiting for my G to make his fortune, however long that shall take.
Oh, how I wish I could write to my dear G! He is a clever sort of man, and would know what to do. Alas, I dare not even write Mrs. Younge and tell her the bad news, for I caught Fitzwilliam reading the direction of my letters the other day. I am quite despaired, but am determined to find a way to assist my dear G in his noble endeavor.
Perhaps I should write Miss Elizabeth. Fitzwilliam can hardly object to our corresponding. She is a gentleman's daughter, even if she does have such a lowly connections and fortune. If only we had not left so abruptly, I could have gained her promise to write.
The two siblings were seated in the family dining area, eating in silence. Though Georgiana would have preferred conversation, Darcy's presence at the table was a vast improvement to the solitude she had experienced these past weeks.
"Aunt Agnes sends her regards," Georgiana stated, breaking the silence. She dared not look at her brother, afraid it might send him from the room. Her relief was palpable when she heard him reply, "How are our aunt and uncle?"
"They have decided to quit town early this year. Uncle's stomach has been bothering him again, and the doctor has advised the fresh air would do him well. They were wondering if we would be interested in travelling with them."
"I think it is best we finish the season in town." Darcy looked thoughtful for a moment but then continued onward. "Have you any objections to inviting the Bingleys to Pemberley with us this summer?"
"I… I… If you would like their company, I can have no objection," Georgiana stammered, shocked that her opinion would be asked at all. He had never asked her preference on a matter, only told her what would happen, and then expected her obedience.
"I know you are a bit young to take on entertaining guests, but I think you quite capable." He smiled at her. "But if it makes you uncomfortable, I shall not mention it to Bingley. I would not have you distressed in your own home."
Though she was tempted to ask her brother if he was feeling all right, she decided against it. She was uncertain if she liked the change in him or not. Requiring more time to ponder this, and determine if this was a onetime occurrence, she smiled prettily at the compliment. "Thank you, brother. I shall do my best."
"I shall ask Mrs. Reynolds to help you, if you would like."
Over the next few weeks, there were more strange occurrences like the one at dinner. Her brother became more and more solicitous to her desires, and to Georgiana's surprise, she found she often did not know what she wanted.
Even stranger, Georgiana noticed his congeniality did not end with her; it extended to everyone around him, regardless of rank and position.
The night he had told Mrs. Reynolds to see to the transportation of one of the servants who was going to tend to a dying family member across town, Georgiana had seen enough.
"Brother," she asked when they were alone in the music room. "Are you well?"
"I feel fine. Why do you ask?"
"It is… well… it is only you have been different these last weeks." To her utter surprise, Darcy only smiled broadly.
"Well!" Georgiana pressed. "Are you ill? Whatever brought this on?"
Darcy chuckled. "Does this change displease you?"
Georgiana had to think about it a moment, and came to the conclusion that now she had adjusted to it, she did quite like the change. She could not quite put her finger on why, but she did indeed like it. "No… it is… I was only curious as to what brought it on."
Darcy smiled, with a touch of remorse. "Nothing so grave to concern yourself over, my dear. I have only been trying to act upon a lesson I was recently taught. A true gentleman is defined by his actions, not the accident of his birth."
To say that Georgiana was curious and perplexed at such a statement coming from her brother would be an understatement. Uncertain how to voice her thoughts, she settled for placing a tentative kiss on her brother's cheek. "I have always thought you the best of brothers."
"Brother, perhaps," came the reply accompanied by a wan smile. "A gentleman, sadly, no. A true gentleman does not think himself above his fellow man because he was born to riches. I have not always been concerned for the happiness and well being of all those around me as I should have been. We are all in want of the same thing: to have food in our belly, a roof over our head, to be loved, and to be happy and healthy. Some of us were born with more than others, but that does not make us any greater in God's eyes. It is a lesson I have learned only recently, but now that I have, I wish to practice it as often as may be."
Posted on: 2010-12-22
May -, 1812
It seems I am to be blocked at every attempt to be reunited with my dear G, and I cannot say I am pleased at all! I am quite certain that something grave indeed occurred between Fitzwilliam and Miss Elizabeth. I finally gained my courage to write Miss Elizabeth, only to be discovered by Fitzwilliam. I have never seen such a mood descend upon him so quickly. Though he did not outright forbid me to write her, I know very well that when he "does not think it a good idea," he is being politic, and means to forbid me.
Nonetheless, I shall not despair. After all, I persuaded Fitzwilliam to attend a concert tomorrow night. I cannot believe it has taken me so long to realize the theatre is the perfect place for me to see my G. Even if we are not able to speak to one another, what I would not give to at least look upon him again, and let him know I am still waiting!
G is such a clever man, and has likely thought of this well before me. I only hope he has not given up searching for me there.
My brother has invited Mr. Bingley to join us, something about owing a debt to him. I cannot imagine how a Darcy could be indebted to a Bingley, especially after all the kindness my brother has shown Mr. Bingley and his family. Perhaps the Bingleys do not understand how much their standing is improved because my brother associates with them?
Nonetheless, my brother's invitation no doubt was extended to Miss Bingley and the Hursts, and so I will have to suffer the attentions of Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. Still, it is a small price to pay if I am able to get a glimpse of my dear G.
"Miss Darcy!" Miss Bingley coo'ed loudly. "It has been an age! You look positively charming! That colour looks absolutely delightful on you, and is so in looks!"
Georgiana returned the compliment, and then dipped a curtsey in greeting to Mr. Bingley. She looked about for the Hursts, but apparently they were not to join them. How unfortunate. With Mrs. Hurst present, Georgiana could ignore her and Miss Bingley, as long as she provided the requisite nod or 'Truly?' on occasion. Now, she would be required to attend the conversation or appear impolite.
As they made their way to Darcy's theatre box, Miss Bingley took Georgiana's arm, wrapping it around her own. "Shall you return to Netherfield in the fall, Miss Bingley?" Georgiana inquired, filling the silence between them.
"Heavens, no!" Miss Bingley sniffed, a scowl marring her features. "Upon my word, if I never see that dreadful place again… Why I have never seen a place with such little taste!" She gently cleared her throat, collecting herself. "I dearly wish my brother would give up that dreadful little estate and find something further in the north. Perhaps your brother could advise him on such a place."
Georgiana nodded politely. As if she had any influence on what her brother did!
At intermission, Miss Bingley once again took Miss Darcy's arm in her own and led her to the edge of the box. "It is dreadfully warm this evening, is it not, Miss Darcy?" She looked towards Darcy, who was speaking with her brother, and then back at Georgiana, as if trying to come a decision. In the end, she remained where she was and began prattling about the latest gossip, while her eyes wandered appraisingly over the nearby boxes.
Georgiana nodded and fanned herself in silent agreement, all the while sighing inwardly at Miss Bingley's less than subtle antics. Though she did not particularly care for drawing attention to herself – especially since she was not yet out – it was easier than offending the lady. Besides, it would not matter one jot if Miss Bingley appeared as an intimate friend of hers.
Georgiana might have afforded Miss Bingley some understanding or sympathy if the woman felt any true affection for her brother, but she did not. That fact only made the situation rather pathetic.
Fitzwilliam would never make her an offer of marriage, yet Miss Bingley still pursued him, day after day, season after season. Did she not recall her father was in trade?
"What a divine performance," Miss Bingley effused, "but then I am hardly surprised. Mr. Darcy had mentioned you requested to see this performance, and I have never met anyone your equal when it comes to music."
Georgiana bore the unnecessary flattery as her upbringing had taught her. It was simply the way things were done in her circle. Though this did not keep her from wondering what Miss Bingley would say if the truth were known; her request to attend the theatre had nothing to do with the performance, and she had certainly not encouraged her brother to invite the Bingleys to join them.
Still, their nearness to the edge of the box provided her an excellent view of the floor patrons, which was precisely what she wanted. She peered over the mass of people below, hoping she would catch a glimpse of the handsome face she had etched in her heart. It was not until she heard Miss Bingley declare, "We shall become as sisters!" that she realized she had become too inattentive to her guest.
Searching frantically for a proper response, she smiled politely. It could not possibly mean what Miss Bingley's words implied! Needing to hear her fears refuted, she blushed and said softly, "Forgive me, Miss Bingley. I… I… was admiring your broach and did not hear you."
Her heart pounded loudly in her ears, waiting for Miss Bingley's response.
"You are too kind, Miss Darcy! A gift from my brother. He can be quite generous when the mood strikes. As I was saying though, I am quite looking forward to joining you and Mr. Darcy at Pemberley next month. You can hardly imagine my surprise when by brother told me we were to accompany you and Mr. Darcy! Why, I have heard that very few have ever been invited. You must tell me if that is true."
Georgiana no doubt looked a bit like a fish – her mouth opening and closing as it was - but she quickly recovered. "My… my father did not entertain much after my mother passed. And as I am not yet out, my brother has limited…" She paused, realizing the end of that thought might imply something more than what she wished. She was saved from continuing as the lights began to dim.
Posted on: 2010-12-31
July - , 1812
In a fortnight, Fitzwilliam and I leave for Pemberley, and I must own I am looking forward to returning to our home estate. Despite my desire to remain in London in hopes of seeing my G, I am beginning to wonder if he has gone elsewhere to seek out his fortune. I have been in town these many months, and have not heard even a whisper of him. I do hope he is well!
I have recently finished a novel in which a man's suit was rejected by the girl's family and he took to the high seas to make his fortune. Perhaps my G has done the same? Would that not be utterly romantic? But then, how I would worry for him. My cousin says weather conditions at sea change from moment to moment! I am resolved not to think on such dreadful things.
It is true, the Bingleys are to join us at Pemberley, but I am confident my brother has no designs on Miss Bingley. While I am relieved at his assurances, I am uncertain how I shall endure Miss Bingley day after day. She likely thinks the invitation is a prelude to Fitzwilliam making her an offer, and will no doubt provide countless suggestions on how to decorate each of the rooms. How little she knows.
My brother would never marry the daughter of tradesman! Truly, I am still surprised Fitzwilliam associates so openly with the Bingley family at all. Though I suppose with Mr. Bingley attempting to purchase an estate, it could be viewed as rather generous of Fitzwilliam to show him the ropes, so to speak.
I pray some time away from town will lighten my brother's spirits. It is true, he no longer walks about the place in a temper, but there are times when he thinks no one is looking, and I see him staring off with a wistful, yet sad look about him. I do wish he would tell me what troubles him! Surely I cannot be the cause? I have done very well appearing happy and content, despite my missing G. He does not dwell on the events of last year, does he?
"I apologize, dearest, but I must see Mr. Harley as soon as may be." Darcy smiled apologetically at his sister. "You will arrive at Pemberley early tomorrow, and can suggest taking a rest until dinner to recover from the travels."
"Of course, brother," came the reply. Her smile belied her true feelings towards being left alone with the Bingleys and the Hursts.
As planned, the following day, Georgiana found herself sinking gratefully into the sofa in her sitting room. She would likely be deaf in her right ear for some time after listening to Miss Bingley's unending squeals of delight on the grandness of the estate.
The journey had been exhausting. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst seemingly took turns complaining about the weather, the condition of the last inn, the stuffiness of the carriage, and the unevenness of the roads. At one point, Mr. Bingley had threatened to leave his sister – possibly both of them - at the next post stop.
While it had ceased Miss Bingley's complaints, it had failed to silence her. Instead, she had turned her attention first towards Georgiana, expounding on the girl's many great accomplishments, and then towards Pemberley and all its intricate details. When was the last time the dining room had been updated? Was it done in the English tradition, or had it taken on the French style that was now so popular? How many seats did it support, and what of the ballroom?
After enduring a ride of such inanity, one can only imagine the girl's temper at hearing a knock on her door. Her inward debate on whether or not to answer the call was answered when she heard her brother's voice calling her. "Are you awake, Georgiana?"
Obediently, she answered the door, stunned by the sight in front of her. Her brother looked as though he was suddenly ten years younger, and he was ready to burst with excitement. "What is it, Fitzwilliam?" she inquired after closing the door.
"Miss Bennet is here, and she wishes to become reacquainted with you!"
To say Georgiana was shocked would be a gross understatement. All at once, she became confused. She had given up on seeing Fitzwilliam married any time soon. Was it possible there was still hope?
She was about to summon her maid to prepare her for a guest when Darcy stopped her. "She arrived only yesterday. She is staying in Lambton with her aunt and uncle." He grinned a full teeth-bearing smile. "I had planned to call on them tomorrow morning and invite them to dinner. Perhaps they could arrive earlier in the day, and you and Miss Bennet could become reacquainted? Mr. Gardiner is fond of fishing, so we shall not get in your way."
Georgiana pursed the giggles that threatened behind her tightly drawn lips. If she didn't know better, she would say her brother was downright giddy. Could she have been wrong about their abrupt departure from Rosings? Perhaps her brother and Miss Bennet had simply not had time to come to an understanding. No matter, they had been thrown together again, and by all appearances her brother was still smitten. There was still a reason to hope!
"Oh please do, brother! I would very much like to make Miss Bennet's acquaintance again." She did not feel it necessary to inform her brother of her reasons.
"You are quite certain? I would not wish to overburden you with duties of a hostess."
"I shall be fine," Georgiana said with only a hint of shyness. "Miss Bennet is very kind, and I am certain her aunt does not expect much, given her station." When her brother's brow darkened slightly, she realized her faux pas, but it was too late.
"Georgiana, they will be guests in our home. Regardless of their situation, they should be afforded every pleasantry. I think you will find Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner quite genteel, even a bit fashionable."
"Forgive me, brother, you are correct," she replied with just enough contrition.
Mollified, Darcy gave her a peck on the forehead, and then took his leave.
As she watched her brother veritably skip down the hall, she could not help the way her head shook, nor the heavy sigh that escaped. That Pemberley would host tradesmen! At least Mr. Bingley had given up the business and was a man of leisure, well on his way to joining the ranks of the gentry. The Gardiners resided near Cheapside!
There was nothing for it though. Her brother had made up his mind, and she could not but obey. If all went well, her brother would marry soon, and she would be free to do as she chose.
Posted on: 2011-01-05
August -, 1812
I do not know whether I am coming or going! One moment, fortune smiles upon me and throws Miss Elizabeth into my brother's path again. The next moment, she has returned to her family most unexpectedly, my brother has the house in a complete uproar, and then rides off as though the French army was at his heels! And the only explanation I am afforded is he "has urgent business in town!"
I do pray Fitzwilliam is not making a fool of himself and chasing after Miss Elizabeth. Surely he can find someone more deserving of such loyalty! The mere thought of a Darcy riding halfway across England for someone such as Miss Elizabeth is almost laughable. What would my aunt and uncle think?
No. Fitzwilliam is not one to altogether forget his duty to his family. It is one thing to marry someone like Miss Bennet – despite her poor connections and situation, she is a gentleman's daughter – but it is quite another to go chasing the lady halfway across England! Even Fitzwilliam in his most brain-addled state would remember that! I am now convinced the two departures on the same day is merely a coincidence, and can assure my guests of the same.
Georgiana sat impatiently on the velvet chaise in her sitting room, waiting for her brother. That he had not informed her of his return last night vexed her. The note she received this morning, however, promised explanations, so she set her annoyance aside, at least for the moment.
A knock on her door signaled her brother's entry.
After receiving a peck on the cheek and warm embrace, all of her concerns melted away. By all appearances, her brother was his usual self. Perhaps his and Elizabeth's departure was a mere coincidence.
"Forgive me, my dear, for not alerting you of my arrival last night. It was late, and I did not wish to disturb you or our guests. How are you?"
"I am well." She resumed her seat on the chaise, allowing room for her brother to sit beside her.
"And you did not find the Hursts and the Bingleys overly taxing? I returned as soon as I could."
"It was not overly trying." Georgiana replied with a small duck of the head.
"I am very proud of you, and offer a thousand apologies for leaving you with such haste."
"You are forgiven, so long as you intend to remain at Pemberley, and tell me what you are about."
Darcy stood and paced about room for a moment. "I am afraid I have returned only to bid our guests back to London. My… business… has not been sufficiently resolved, and I must return within the se'nnight." He sat and took hold of Georgiana's hands. "I know you are disappointed, but it is imperative I return."
"And I am to remain at Pemberley, with Mrs. Annesley." It was not a question.
"It is for the best. As soon as I am able, I shall return. I promise."
"And when might that be?" Georgiana demanded.
"A fortnight. Perhaps a bit longer?"
"Will you not at least give me some explanation for all this travelling back and forth?" When her brother stammered for a reply, Georgiana asked hotly, "Is this about Miss Bennet? Have you followed her to London?"
"I am not a little girl, Fitzwilliam! Or do you think me simple? Everyone can see you favor her! Do you truly think Miss Bingley believes you were away on business?"
"Forgive me. You are quite correct. I owe you some explanation." He paced for a few moments before beginning. "I do not know where to begin. Though perhaps I should start at the moment I first saw her." Darcy then owned to very much being in love with Miss Elizabeth, and relayed much of their history together, including Elizabeth's refusal of him at Hunsford. To say it had shocked Georgiana was an understatement!
"I know you do not fully understand, but she was right to refuse me." Darcy said with true contrition, in response to Georgiana's protests. "I did not treat her as she deserved. I did not behave as a gentleman ought. She taught me a lesson, a hard lesson, and I love her all the more for it." He paused for a moment as if lost in his own thoughts.
"I am afraid, there is more I must tell you." Georgiana nodded mutely, wondering what else her brother might say. Perhaps England had surrendered to France, and they were to dine with Emperor Napoleon.
As the tale of Lydia's elopement with Wickham was unveiled, Georgiana could do nothing but stare dumbly at her brother. It was one thing for her brother to profess undying love to someone like Miss Bennet, but this? It was some terrible nightmare, from which she was certain to waken at any moment.
"I am sorry, dearest. I had hoped to hide such ugly truths from you, but there is nothing else to be done. Miss Lydia and Wickham must marry. Anything else would mean certain ruin for all the Bennets, and I cannot allow that, not when I should have prevented it."
Her mind awhirl, she cried out, "No! It cannot be true! He… I do not understand!" Tears flowed freely down her cheeks. This made less sense than her brother chasing Miss Elizabeth halfway across the country. "Why Miss Lydia? What has she to offer him? Her family has no money… no connections…"
Darcy pulled his sister to him and let her cry against his chest. "I do not know," he consoled. "I can only think he somehow learned of my attachment to Miss Elizabeth and thought to use it against me." In a louder, firmer voice, he said, "You must not fret about seeing him. Though I must return to London, you may stay here with Mrs. Annesley."
Still pressed against her brother's shoulder, she shook her head. She then took a moment to collect herself, and dry her eyes and nose. Then firmly as she could, she said, "I wish to come with you."
Posted on: 2011-01-13
August -, 1812
My heart is broken! How could G do such a thing? Surely it must be some sort of falsehood! He promised me! We were to marry just as soon as may be. He loves ME! Not some trollop with no fortune or connections!
But then why would he run away with Miss L? Surely he knows there could only be but only one outcome for such an action. Could Fitzwilliam be correct? Could G have done it to simply vex him? There were angry words exchanged at Ramsgate, to be sure, but G had quite forgiven Fitzwilliam. He told me so!
My head does not know which way to turn! Perhaps it was just a coincidence that Miss Lydia was in Brighton. Perhaps it was simply a lark that has gone awry, and soon everyone shall have a good laugh over it. But it has been nearly two weeks since Fitzwilliam returned to Pemberley, and no one is laughing. And though Fitzwilliam has not said so, I know the wedding is in but three days.
Part of me wishes to attend the ceremony to see for myself that it is true. And yet, if it is, I do not know how I would be able to face him. If only G would write and explain himself. I think I could even forgive him for marrying another if he would only tell me it was all a dreadful mistake and he still loved me.
Darcy entered the music room in his London townhouse wearing the weight of the world. "It is done," he murmured, throwing himself onto the couch with an unusual lack of decorum.
"Then he… they are married," Georgiana inquired, rising from her bench at the pianoforte. Her voice trembled as she forced the words from her mouth. "Miss Lydia and Mr. W-Wickham."
Darcy nodded slowly, shifting so his sister could sit beside him. "I do not know how Miss Elizabeth shall forgive me. That her most beloved sister should be married to such a man, and all of my doing." He sighed heavily, absorbing the futility of his fondest wishes.
"W-Where shall they live?"
"Newcastle." He shook his head slowly. "He is to be a lieutenant in the regulars. At least I was able to arrange for them to have a modest income." He snorted. "He should consider himself fortunate for even that! He ruins a girl, and then has the gall to demand 30,000 pounds to marry her!" Realizing his sister was still beside him, he begged her forgiveness. "You need not be privy to such details."
Georgiana smiled tightly not quite able to comprehend her brother's words. Determined to know all, she pressed, "Truly, was it so very much?"
Darcy attempted to end the discussion, but something in his sister's manner convinced him to tell her more. "Indeed, but when I threatened to collect on his debts he left in Meryton and Brighton, he realized he was caught, and agreed to the settlement terms."
The amount originally requested was not lost on Georgiana. It took her several swallows to remove the guilt that had congealed in her throat.
"Enough about that sordid business," Darcy said definitively. "I had intended on remaining in town for a bit longer. I need to make a trip to Netherfield with Bingley in a fortnight. Should you like to remain in town? I am uncertain of the duration of my stay in Meryton."
Georgiana barely heard her brother's words, so tumultuous were the thoughts. Wickham's demands, and the fact that it was Lydia Bennet – sister to the woman her brother loved. It was coincidental, was it not? If no, it meant that she, Georgiana Darcy, had brought about the ruin of another girl, if not for her brother's intervention! Dread sat in her stomach like a stone.
In vain she attempted to convince herself the letter had likely never even reached him. How else could Wickham know how to manipulate her brother? There was no other explanation. He had used the information she had divulged to him in that letter to bring about his fortune, with no regard for her or the consequences of his actions.
She felt faint. Her brother had been right all along; Wickham was a scoundrel who thought only of himself. So blinded was she by her pride, she had refused to listen to her brother and her cousin. In her pride, she had almost brought an innocent family to ruin, and quite possibly forever ruined her brother's happiness. How was she to reconcile that?
December --, 1812
I have been re-reading the works of Mr. Shakespeare as of late, with a new understanding of his description of love. I see it whenever Fitzwilliam is with Elizabeth – I may call her that, as she is my sister now. His entire being seems to smile, and her eyes seem to dance and her cheeks have a certain glow about them. I can only hope someday I shall find the same, and know now that G did not love me.
I do not think of him very often, except when I am reflecting on how different I was not so long ago. It is still difficult to reconcile the events of the past, but Elizabeth says that all things take time.
My new sister is kind, patient and caring for all those around her – regardless of station – and I am ashamed I did not notice such noble qualities when I met her at Rosings, so caught up was I in her low born rank and lack of fortune. This is the lesson Fitzwilliam tried to teach me many months ago when I all but laughed at him.
Were it not for my own pride, I might have prevented a great deal of pining and misery for myself and others. Indeed, I have much to atone for, despite what Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth might say.
I am proud to have such a forgiving brother and sister, and this I am learning is proper pride. I hope to someday teach my nieces and nephews about proper pride, as Elizabeth taught my brother, and my brother and sister are teaching me.
Proper pride. It shall be a family trait. A Darcy family trait.