Beginning, Section II
Part 2 - Married Life
Posted on 2012-07-31
Saturday 1st August 1813
Can it be nearly two months since our wedding? Time seems to have flown by so quickly. The Harvest is due in the next six weeks or so, and I am now working harder than I have ever have. I thought a soldier's life was hard and even though I have a great steward, I can now understand why my father and Darcy are always busy.
My most beloved Catherine has also been busy these last couple of weeks helping with the supervision of transforming all of the rooms, both public and private, making sure they are bright and comfortable. Nothing has missed her notice. What has been completed so far is beautiful, just like her.
Looking around with her there does not seem to have been much done to Rosings since Sir Lewis was alive. Many of the private rooms had not been in use for such a long time and are in need of much refurbishment.
Tomorrow the Darcy family arrives with the twins and of course, Aunt Georgiana. Catherine is very excited and longs to see her sister and her brother Darcy, as well has Georgiana whom she also thinks of as a sister. Hopefully, I will be able to get some more advice from Darcy about estate management.
I do not think that Darcy will recognise the refurbished public rooms. Catherine also wishes to speak with her sister and Georgiana about plants she can grow outside to soften the image of the front of the house.
The tenants houses are all completed, now no one now lives in a disreputable state and nor will they ever do so again. All seem to be very proud of their new homes and it shows in their work. This year I am told is to be a bumper Harvest for Rosings.
Sunday 2nd August 1813
Catherine has been sitting by the window looking out for the carriage; she is so nervous about having visitors for the first time. I have been sitting here with her reassuring her that everything will be alright; unbeknown to her even I am feeling a bit nervous too.
Soon the carriages arrived; Elizabeth and Darcy both emerged carrying a child, my how big they have grown. At just over three months, they both are looking around and taking notice of everything around them.
To my surprise, Mr Bennet was the next out of the carriage and then turned to help Georgiana down. Catherine was really happy to see her father. With Mary's wedding so near he needed to get away from all the female frippery and visit with his married daughters. He had been with Elizabeth and Darcy for a few days when they told him of their planned visit to Rosings, they asked him if he wanted to accompany them. He readily agreed so he could see how his youngest married daughter was settling into her new home.
I am so happy to have my family with me especially two men who can advise me about the estate and tell me if there is anything else I need to be doing. My parents are to arrive next Saturday along with my brother, Andrew. For the first time in many years there will be a ball here at Rosings. Later we will host a Harvest celebration for the tenants and staff as my father and Darcy do annually, to celebrate the bringing in of said Harvest.
Sunday 8th August 1813
My parents and Andrew are due to arrive today; poor Catherine is very nervous no matter how Elizabeth, Georgiana, Darcy and I reassure her everything will be fine. Catherine and I talked about this earlier today; she is hoping my mother will approve of the alterations to the house made so far and will also advise her on what is needed for the ball and tenants party. No matter what I said to appease her mind I could see that she cannot wait for mama to arrive.
Catherine's nerves seemed to calm as the first thing my mother said was how beautiful the house looked and how she loved the changes in the public rooms. She also said that she understood that it was a work in progress and looked forward to seeing the rest once complete. My father just gave her a big bear hug saying how proud he was of both of us and how he looked forward to future visits. Andrew patted me on the back whispering "You lucky dog." I asked him when he was going to join Darcy and I in the married state and all I got in response were reddened cheeks and a slow smile saying that he hoped it would not be too long.
Once everyone was in the house, we sat in the newly decorated music room enjoying tea and coffee with small cakes and sandwiches. I asked my father, Darcy and Mr. Bennet if they could give me some advice on a particular problem I had been having. All three agreed and so did Andrew, so we left the women discussing the ball and the flowers Catherine wanted to plant for the next year.
Posted on 2012-08-04
Saturday 21st August 1813
Today is the day of the first ball at Rosings in at least 30 years, as I do not remember our Aunt ever having one in my lifetime. When I spoke with my father about this, he said that Aunt Catherine loved to entertain in London at the townhouse rather than at Rosings when Sir Lewis was alive.
Later today Jane and her husband Bingley are to arrive for the ball. According to Elizabeth, Miss Bingley was staying with her aunt, as her relationship with Bingley is still strained due to her part in separating him and Jane. Mr and Mrs Hurst have sent a refusal as she is due to enter her confinement. As the carriage conveying Jane and Bingley arrived, Catherine and I breathed easily as we could see that no one had accompanied them (Catherine was worried in case Mrs. Bennet had persuaded Jane to bring Lydia, who was due to come home from the seminary for a few days. We later found out that she still was behaving ill so she would only be allowed a day's visit for her sister Mary's wedding). Jane gave her sister a big hug and stated that she loved the house and looked forward to the ball that evening. She also asked for a tour of the house on the morrow.
To me, the house is in an uproar, Mama, Elizabeth and Catherine are all organising the staff with a military precision for tonight's celebration. The floor of the ballroom has been burnished and the mirrors around the room have also been polished to a wonderful shine. The large dining room has had all the Holland covers removed and the furniture assessed to make sure it is up to scratch. The table itself is beautiful Mahogany and has been covered with a beautiful tablecloth my mother had made as a surprise and Elizabeth had embroidered napkins in the same style. The plates and crystal were debated upon as my Aunt had a wonderful array of fine china which I do not remember ever seeing as it was boxed up in the attics. Catherine found it on one of her explorations up there with our housekeeper and two footmen.
Now that everything is ready and the dressing bell has rung, I went to my wife and presented her with the surprise that I had Andrew pick up from town for me. A beautiful sapphire and diamond necklace, earbobs and hair comb. These will match her lovely blue eyes perfectly.
Catherine looks absolutely stunning in her pale blue gown and the jewels I have just presented her with. I cannot wait to present my wonderful bride to the families who live around here and friends, who have been invited from London. I know I have to share her with others but I will not like to see her dance with other men.
Sunday 22nd August 1813
The ball was a huge success and my darling Catherine had arranged everything wonderfully. Everyone who came expressed how nice it was to see Rosings back to its former glory.
The grounds had always been one of the best aspects of Rosings with its topiaries and gardens, but it had little colour and so it looked a bit on the drab side. The park was wonderful as Elizabeth stated and needed no alteration, but she would have plants such as roses, peonies, sweet peas, scabious, lilies, violets, freesia, gardenia and delphinium, scattered through the formal gardens, as they are so fragrant, plus they will add that bit of colour needed and break up the greenery. Mama fully agreed with this, like she said 'My sister was someone who preferred order and as long as it looked in an orderly fashion she was not bothered about anything else'. In the kitchen garden, Catherine, Mama and Elizabeth agreed that plenty of herbs could be grown there besides the fresh vegetables. Mama, suggested that they look at the greenhouses and see what was being grown there and if they are not in proper use, perhaps we could grow such treats as grapes, oranges and pineapples.
They then met with the head gardener to ask his opinion of what would grow well in both the gardens and if the greenhouses could be used to grow exotic fruit. He stated that there had always been a pinery in the greenhouses and also other fruit was being grown there. Lady Catherine had always had him sell the pineapples to the local market as she did not like pineapple and thought it would be bad for Anne. As to other fruits, they had always been served in either pies or fresh on the table.
I must admit I was surprised at this; I knew about the grapes, peaches, lemons and oranges, but not about the pineapples so it was agreed that pineapples would also be brought into the house as well as the rest of the fruit.
Saturday 11th September 1813
After speaking with my father, Darcy, Andrew and Mr. Bennet, I am proud to say that I have managed to sort out the problem we have been having with some the lower pasturage. The land there is not very fertile and so Darcy suggested he send some of his sheep from his Estate in Oxford, to which I have agreed. He shared with us, that his steward found that leaving certain area's fallow* for at least 2 years, helped the land and the farmer would be able to get money from selling the fleeces. In addition once established they could sell some of the new lambs to others in the markets.
My steward, Mr. Owens suggested, and I agreed, that if this is venture is successful we may be able to keep some cows in some of the lowest fields as those fields are not really good enough for grain crops as they are prone to flood at certain times of the year. He mentioned that the drainage system that we put into practice is working but the land is still not workable for grain.
* Fallow: to be left a period of time unsown. From what a friend tells me(her father is a farmer) they still do this today swapping fields for livestock and grain it keeps the land in good condition.
Today for the first time we are hosting a Harvest Ball for the staff and tenants. It will be held in the large barn, which has been cleared out for dancing. Large tables have been set up for eating and they will roast a pig on a spit. The kitchen is also preparing vegetables and cider. Catherine, Georgiana and Elizabeth are arranging games for the children, such as apple bobbing, sack racing, as well as my favourite: the egg and spoon race! There will be dancing for the adults after 8pm; once the children are all tucked up in their beds with grandma and grandpa to look after them.
The maids here are busy making little nosegays and corn dollies for good luck; these will be placed on each table.
The evening was wonderful, the children enjoyed the games and I especially enjoyed presenting the prizes to the children who won each game. Once the weary children were taken home the dancing started. Mr Simonds one of the tenants and a couple of his friends played the fiddle, squeeze box and the mouth organ; with this jovial music the dancing began. We had a couple of competitions for the adults, where they could win a couple of roosters which I had bought specially for the evening. Catherine, Elizabeth, Georgiana, Darcy and I enjoyed a wonderful evening we then left the tenants, servants and towns-folk to carry on enjoying themselves while we returned to the big house.
Sunday 12th September 1813
Darcy and I met with my steward Owens, to look over the accounts and other things that are needed, Owen's also mentioned that the crop this year is the best that has been known for many a year and this makes me feel very proud, especially as I am still learning the ropes so to speak.
Papa and Mama left last week after the Rosings ball; Papa needed to be back at the Matlock Estates overseeing his own harvest celebrations. As did Mr Bennet, he decided to go with Jane and Bingley so he could return home to make sure Mrs Bennet had not mortgaged the estate to pay for Mary's wedding.
Such a wry sense of humour he has; I can see where Catherine and Elizabeth get theirs from. Jane thanked us, in her quiet way for having her and Bingley to stay, saying how much she loved the room they had stayed in; it was so cheerful. Although, as she did not know what it was like before our marriage, she thought that Rosings was a beautiful estate.
Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana and the children are leaving like us tomorrow to attend Mary's wedding, Catherine and I have also decided to travel with them.
Posted on 2012-08-10
Saturday 25th September 1813
Today we arrived at Netherfield, as we were to stay with the Bingleys along with the Elizabeth, Georgiana, Darcy and the twins. Mr and Mrs Hurst arrived not long after we did, I could not believe the change in them! Their faces fairly glowed, and everyone could see that the babe in her arms was the source of that happiness.
To say that Mary was the plainest of all the Bennet girls was an understatement, but she looked very pretty in the dress she wore with flowers weaved in her pretty curls. She is nothing to my Catherine but to Mr Sheffield she is the most beautiful person in the world and it was written all over his face has he watched her walking down the aisle. Catherine whispered to me that she had never seen her sister look so beautiful.
Lydia the youngest girl was with her mother sitting quietly, her head down looking at her hands. From what I have understood she and her parents have had another disagreement about her misbehaviour. She was only allowed a few hours with her family, just to see the wedding. After the wedding, I noticed an elderly lady, escort her to a carriage. Poor Lydia was crying that she did not want to go, but as her father stated, she must return to her school until she can behave like a true lady.
Friday 8th October 1813
The livestock Darcy sent us arrived today; there were a couple of rams along with two dozen ewes, which were brought by two of his most trusted shepherds. My steward, Mr Owens, was happy to see what a good herd had been sent, and so were the two farmers, Mr Green and Mr Stockton, who were to look after them for the next two years.
The shepherds from Bartlow Estate in Cambridge who explain when the lambing season would occur and when the sheep would need shearing. Their sons would stay with the two farmers until after the lambing season and help them when necessary. Then when the shearing is to be occur, their fathers would return to show them what to do. Mr Owens then showed the young men where they would live until next June.
I must admit that I am curious as to what is needed and will go to the fields when the lambing occurs. As Master of the estate, I feel that I too should learn. I was also surprised how the sheep were herded into prepared pens by two dogs who followed whistle signals by the shepherds. I asked if we could train a couple of dogs to use with our herd. To this, I was told that ones were already in training and would be brought to us before lambing. The fields at present would be too wet for the sheep to be let out in so we are to keep them in the pens in the barn over the winter period until the middle of March.
Posted on 2012-08-14
Saturday 16th October 1813
Catherine and I have come to town to enjoy the little season. Due to our town house being shut up or rented out for the last 20 years, much needed to be updated here as well. Once the Holland covers were removed, most of the furniture either needed new fabrics, or needed to be replaced. Catherine has decided to buy new furniture where needed and has employed an army of workers to paint the rooms and freshen the drapes, carpets, wallpapers etc, so that it will be ready for us to occupy in the season next year. We have now happily left the Housekeeper and her husband to supervise the work being done and the hiring of staff we will need to maintain the townhouse. Darcy and Elizabeth have invited us to stay with them for the little season.
Tonight we are going to the Opera House to see Mozart's Marriage of Figaro** with Darcy and Elizabeth. I must admit I have heard much about this opera when I was in the Army, and I am glad to finally see it. Catherine, Georgiana and Elizabeth seem to be glowing with enthusiasm. All three are looking forward to seeing the opera, especially Georgiana, she has quite a few of Mozart's scores and is looking forward to hearing it sung and played live. It was first viewed last year in England to full houses. I am glad that Darcy owns his own box, as we will comfortably seated and have the best view of the stage.
'Oh My Word' I agree with what Andrew said to me just before the Rosings Ball. Catherine had this sea green/blue dress on with her locks tightly curled around her face and a few curls over her shoulders. She wore the jewellery that I had given her for the ball at Rosings. My amazement must have been showing on my face as Georgiana whispered "Richard I suggest that you close your mouth or you might swallow something unpleasant." Then started giggling at me, when I came out of my stunned silence I realised that everyone was having a laugh at my expense except, my darling Catherine.
**Mozart's Marriage of Figaro was written in 1784 as a comedy with 4 acts. It was well acclaimed in Austria and was not played in England until the beginning of the 19th century.
Andrew is also going to join us and introduce us to a lady who he is rather smitten with. Her name is Lady Violet Stanhope, the only daughter of the Earl of Chesterfield. The lady arrived with her companion, she was very friendly and seemed to be just as moon eyed as my brother. At least he did not choose one of those brainless twits who are in the marriage mart every year. Lady Violet seems to be more like Elizabeth, well read and witty.
Wednesday 20th of October
While in town, I have contacted my solicitor, Mr McAllister to have him show me the De Bourgh jewels. I would like to choose something from amongst them and have it updated so that Catherine can wear them when we go to The Drury Lane Theater in a couple of weeks time. Catherine, Elizabeth and Georgiana have gone dress shopping with their aunt, Mrs Gardiner and Mama.
The jewels do not look like they have seen daylight for quite sometime and will need to be updated. Some are very beautiful like the lovely tiara and necklace set which I am told was a favourite of my aunts when she was first married. I am going to have it modernised. I have also told Mr McAllister that I will bring Catherine to his office later so she can choose the ones she would like to wear and the ones she would prefer to have modernised.
Saturday 6th November 1813
Tonight we go to Drury Lane to see Mr Shakespeare's play 'As You Like It'*** I cannot wait to see what colour Catherine's dress is and give her the present I have in my room. The delicate Tiara and necklace will look beautiful on her, but then again she would look beautiful in sack cloth. As I get ready for our evenings entertainment I feel so excited about giving her such a wonderful gift and cannot wait for my valet to finish tying my cravat. Once done I made my way to my wife's chamber and found that she is wearing a dark blue silk dress. Her maid was in the process of doing her hair, so I placed the box in front of her while I watched her face light up at the sight of what it contained. Her maid immediately started to do her hair so that the tiara looked wonderful leaving two long strands of her hair falling over her right shoulder. I then had the honour of placing the necklace around her neck. Once the maid left she jumped into my arms thanking me for such a wonderful gift, as she had never seen anything so beautiful. At this I smiled saying that she looked very lovely and that I enjoy spoiling her.
*** As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden. It also contains the most famous quote 'All the World is a Stage'
Once downstairs I noticed we were not the last to arrive, Andrew and his lady arrived with Mama and Papa. With a big smile on his face, Papa announced to us that Andrew was now engaged to Lady Violet. Darcy and I patted his back saying, 'About time, too.' Catherine, Elizabeth and Georgiana congratulated Lady Violet and welcomed her into the family. I went up to her and gave a hug welcoming her. Papa announced that there would be a ball over the New Year Period at Matlock for Andrew and Lady Violet as it was too late to do so in town, then again he said they would also organise one when we returned to town at the end of March.
Jane, Bingley, Mary and Mr Sheffield arrived and we all then set off to the Theatre. Catherine's face fairly glowed as she watched her favourite Shakespeare play. As the play came to its end and the young couples married, I could see tears in her eyes so I passed her my handkerchief. As to the play itself if anyone asked me what happened up until that point I would not be able to tell them as my eyes were on Catherine all the time
Saturday 13th November 1813
We have arrived home safely today. Mama and Papa have come to spend Christmas with us so Catherine and Mama are planning a Twelfth Night Ball. Catherine has arranged for one of the footmen to get a Yule log and another to dress as the kissing bow. Apparently, at Longbourn every year they made Christmas decorations with different coloured papers which were strung round the parlour with different types of greenery in the house and of course Mistletoe.
Wednesday 8th December 1813
Mr and Mrs Bennet, Jane and Bingley are due to arrive today for the Christmas and New Year period. Mary and her new husband are spending their first Christmas with his parents. Andrew, Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana, the twins plus Mr and Mrs Gardiner with their children arrive tomorrow. I must admit that I am looking forward to a large family Christmas and New Year. I have made sure that all the presents I have bought Catherine and the rest of the family are well hidden. I know that Catherine, Georgiana and Elizabeth, spent time shopping for presents.
The weather so far has behaved itself as there has been no snow, only the occasional rainstorm. At least the road is now passable since it was repaired. Mama is so happy working with Catherine, her sisters and Georgiana making the house look bright and cheerful for Christmas. I have never known this type of festive decoration at Rosings before.
Tonight we were laughing at the new antics of the twins, Thomas has now started to walk around the furniture, but Anne, can walk unaided. Tonight though, it seems like she got fed up with her brother holding on to the furniture and not going anywhere so she grabbed his hand and dragged him to his father at the other side of the room letting him go half way. Thus he had to walk the rest of the way or fall down and crawl the rest of the way.* Darcy looked so proud of him calling to him which gave him the confidence to carry on. Papa said 'Now they are both walking you will need eyes in the back of your head as they will be into everything.'
This is what happened with my son, Matthew. My niece who is nearly twelve months older than him dragged him across the room then let go of his hand and instead of falling to his knees and crawling, he walked the rest of the way to his dad for the first time on his own.
Tuesday 14th December 1813
Today, Mr and Mrs Bennet, Catherine and her sister have received some sad news. Mrs Collins, a long-time family friend, wrote to say that her husband had passed away due to pneumonia. I am sad to hear this, even though I did not like the man. She wrote to say that she would be moving to her parents home as soon as the weather allows, and thanked us for the wonderful parish that she had enjoyed living in with her husband.
Wednesday 22nd December 1813
I feel like a giddy teenager again, I cannot wait for Christmas day. I hope that everyone will enjoy their gifts and that Catherine especially will enjoy the ones I have gotten her. I have really enjoyed these last few weeks having all our family stay with us at Rosings. I have noticed that the servants seem to be going about their business with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step.
Thursday 23rd December 1813
Today I spoke to Papa and Mama about the ball they wanted to hold for Lady Violet and Andrew. I asked if they would not mind if we held the ball here at Rosings as everyone would be here for the Twelfth Night Ball. Mama stated that Lady Violet had gone to see her brothers and their family and it had been decided that there would be a ball given for them in March when everyone in both families would be available. She thanked me for my thoughtfulness, I then explained that it had not been my idea but it had been Catherine's.
Tonight both Catherine and Georgiana entertained us on the harp and the pianoforte with Elizabeth singing carols for us as well as some of the songs they had heard at the opera. Elizabeth has such a wonderful singing voice. She states that she also plays much better now; she has had Georgie help her correct some of the technical mistakes she was making. The children were brought in so that their Mama and Papa could kiss them goodnight, Elizabeth then with Georgiana's help, sang a lullaby to them and the nurses took the sleepy infants back to the nursery.
Posted on 2012-09-02
Friday 24th December 1813
Christmas eve, the servants are now starting to put up the kissing bough, it looked and smelled wonderful with rosy red apples, ribbons, holly, bay leaves, mistletoe rosemary and ivy. It was shaped into a ball and hung in the middle of one of the parlours just off the music room. My father and Mr Bennet had brought the ends of last years Yule logs to burn and a Christmas Candle was to be lit to burn through to the next day. I must admit I do not like the idea of a candle being left to burn unattended just in case it could set something alight so I had it set up in the hallway on a copper plate so once all the wax had melted it would burn out and not burn anything else.
This evening we were going to open the house to visitors for the first time, as far as I know my aunt never did so, but at Matlock and Pemberley it was a regular occurrence. Catherine is very excited to do this and has prepared a few treats for our visitors like Mama always does.
Later that evening
Well I am glad that is over! Catherine, Elizabeth and Mama seemed to have really enjoyed their time with the visitors giving out warm drink of mulled wine and gingerbread to the children. I have never seen so many come to Rosings before.
Saturday 25th December 1813
Christmas day has arrived; I cannot wait to give Catherine my gifts to her but must wait until after the Christmas Service and afternoon tea. I have brought some of the jewels home that have been modernised. I know her eyes will sparkle with delight when she sees them.
Later that afternoon
Once it was time to give our presents, I had the servants bring in the presents we had bought for the Gardiner children and as the Darcy children were only still small we bought them teething rings and rattles along with building blocks. The Gardiner children were given hobby horses for the boys and dolls for the girls.
Catherine then brought out the presents for our parents. She had gotten her father a set of books and her mother a silk shawl. Mama was given some lovely pottery figurines and my dad's eyes sparkled when she gave him a humidor for his favourite cigars. Elizabeth was given a bottle of her favourite perfume in a lovely vanity set. Darcy was also given books. Mr Gardiner was given a new fishing rod and Mrs Gardiner loved the small musical box. Jane and and Bingley were given some lovely glassware. Andrew was presented with a new riding crop and boots as he loves to ride.
When it came to my turn to give Catherine her presents, I gave them to her one by one. Her face lit up at the beautiful jewels. Mama recognised them saying what a wonderful job the jeweller had done in modernising them. Catherine then shyly gave me her present which was a new writing slope and desk set made out of bronze for my study, it is beautiful.
Once all the gift giving was over we went into the music room and sang carols until Dinner was ready. I must admit I was really looking forward to the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and all its trimmings tonight. I think that for the fish course we are having salmon. The rest I am told is to be a surprise.
Oh My Word!!!! Christmas Pudding* and White Wine Sauce, Mama knows I love this pudding and can nearly eat one on my own. Catherine smiled a rather secretive smile towards my mother and nodded to the serving waiter who then brought in another favourite of mine, Christmas Pies made of mince with lots of brandy sauce. I was in heaven!!!!
*known as plumb pudding in other places, today Christmas pies are known as mince pies here and are made with various different fruits and spices.
Sunday 26th December 1813
Oh my word!!! Catherine gave me another wonderful Christmas Present last night. She whispered in my ear that I am going to be a father in May. I can't believe it! She said that she had wanted to wait to speak with Mama, Elizabeth and Mrs Gardiner to confirm her suspicions before telling me, as she did not want to get my hopes up. They had told her to wait till she felt the quickening and she had felt that over the last few days.
A father I cannot believe it, I am going to be a father. I wonder if it will be a boy or a girl. If it is a girl I would like to call her Margaret Anne Francine after Cousin Anne, my mother and Catherine's mother. If it is a boy Catherine wants to name him Edward Richard Thomas. I cannot wait to announce this at dinner tonight, that is if I can manage to wait that long.
After dinner, I announced to our wonderful family that Catherine and I would be parents in May, to which everyone congratulated us. There was quite a bit of backslapping by my brother, cousin, Bingley and the three older men.
Saturday 8th January 1814
How I look forward to this New Year, we will become parents near the end of May. I love the idea of being a father. Catherine laughs at me as she says that everywhere I go I have a silly smile on my face. All our visitors left on Monday to make their way back home.
Mama and Papa are very excited about being grandparents for the first time. Mama said that she will come near the time for Catherine's confinement in to give her the support she needs. Just before the Bennets and Bingleys left, Bingley announced that they too would be parents! Their happy event is expected at the beginning of June. He like me had such a big smile on his face while Jane as usual sat with a serene look on her face blushing prettily.
Saturday 29th January 1814
We are to travel to town in a couple of weeks for the ball mama and papa is giving for Andrew and Lady Violet. Catherine, like her sister, is not suffering any problems due to her new condition except for some tiredness. Town is not that far from Rosings, it is only a day's journey if we travel slowly. Catherine received letter from our housekeeper in Town to let us know that the townhouse is now available for us to move into for the season. I very much doubt that we will go for the season, as we are only going to show support for Andrew and Lady Violet at their engagement party. Once that is over we will then return to Rosings to await the birth of our child.
Saturday 5th February 1814
We are to travel today to the townhouse for Andrew's Engagement party. The party is set for March 5th which gives Catherine time to order a nice ball gown and a couple of other dresses as she says that she is in need of them. I have noticed the small swell in her abdomen where our babe lies. Our doctor Mr Myers, has said that she should be okay to go to the ball but stated that she must not dance too many dances. I am going to make sure she rests on the day of the ball and sits watching the dancing, perhaps we may dance one or two, but nothing too energetic. We have talked about this and Catherine agrees that she does not want to stay all night as it will be very tiring, but at least she will be able to enjoy a few hours.
Later at the Town House
The decorators have done a wonderful job and so have the carpenters and upholsterers. Catherine is over the moon with how the townhouse looks. Her parents and youngest sister Lydia are going to visit us before the engagement ball. Apparently, Lydia has been behaving herself and so has been allowed to come to town for a few days. Catherine is overjoyed about this and is looking forward to seeing her. I must say though, I am a bit worried in case this is all an act so she can have time off. A leopard does not change its spots that easily.
Saturday 12th February 1814
Catherine's family arrived today, I must say I am very impressed with the change in Lydia and also their mother. They both were more refined in their speech and actions. Catherine was as amazed has I was, gone was the silly, childish, flirtatious Lydia and instead we met with a lovely demur young lady. I hope that this change is permanent. Even Mrs Bennet seems to have improved, gone are the crass remarks, in her place is a lady who thinks before she speaks.
I spoke to Mr. Bennet about the change in his youngest daughter. He stated that he thinks Mary's wedding gave her something to think about rather than her own selfishness. She started to settle down at school and made friends with a number of the girls there. Many of her schoolmates like Georgiana, display actions and speech much more ladylike. Lydia has found that she enjoys maths, embroidery and playing the harp like Catherine does. Maths will come in useful when she has a home of her own for such as keeping household accounts. He also mentioned that Lydia has always been good with her hands; with such as embroidery and gardening, thus she has excelled at school in these areas as well. Mr Bennet seemed very pleased that Lydia was settling down and becoming a true lady. He told me that he promised her a season in town when she finishes school in the next two years. I was amazed at this and can only hope the improvement is a lasting one.
We are due to have a dinner party next Saturday. Catherine is really looking forward to this and had made plans long before we arrived that she finalized with the staff the morning after our arrival in Town. The entire seating plan is done and the arrangements for the meals have been done with our housekeeper, Mrs Beddows through letters.
Posted on 2012-09-16
Saturday 19th February 1814
Today is the day for Catherine's first dinner soiree in Town. She looks so happy and seems very relaxed. Our housekeeper, has surpassed herself in getting everything organised. The chef we have is French and along with Mrs Stones, our English cook, they have made an excellent menu for us.
Everyone was ready and waited in a receiving line to welcome our dinner guests. I was really surprised at Lydia, she wore a lovely lemon dress with a simple pearl necklace which she had been given by her sister Elizabeth. Rather than stand in line with us she went into the parlour and sat with her elder sisters, not putting herself forward as was her usual wont.
For the rest of the evening she listened to the conversations around her, and like her mother thought about what to say before replying. Darcy, Bingley and I could not believe that this beautiful girl was the hoyden Lydia we had known. Later she and Georgie entertained us on the piano and the harp. The evening went well and my Catherine looked exhausted, but pleased, when it came to an end.
Saturday 26th February 1814
Today the Bennets leave for Longbourn and Lydia to her school. I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed their company. Catherine was happy to see the difference in Lydia and hoped that once she left school that she would find someone like me to love her and look after her. There again she said that I was unique, so Lydia would need to look a long time. Now that makes me feel appreciated, as well as very happy and loved.
Saturday 5th March 1814
Today is the day of Andrew and Lady Violet's engagement ball, Catherine has been so tired lately I have been wondering if she should should attend, but she has reassured me that once she has had an afternoon nap she will feel able to go for a few hours. If it was up to me I would take her back to Rosings so she can rest till the birth of our child. While Catherine was sleeping I spoke to mama and she agreed that she would encourage Catherine to sit with Georgie. As Darcy has put off her coming out until she is eighteen, when she will be better able to cope with the Haut Ton and their fickleness. Elizabeth and Catherine will also be presented as married women at the same time.
Well, the ball seems a success. Lady Violet looked wonderful and Andrew could not keep his eyes off her. They have decided on a wedding date of Saturday July 9th. Catherine should be recovered well from the birth of our babe by then. Catherine tonight looked wonderful, even so she did not dance, Georgie danced with myself, my father, Andrew and her brother. Then when we decided to leave before supper she said that she would accompany us as she was tired. So she stayed the night with us with her brother and Elizabeth's permission.
Saturday 12th March 1814
Thank goodness we are now back at Rosings, I have been so worried about Catherine. She has been really tired lately so we travelled very slowly from London, making sure that she sat next to me. We had not been travelling long when she then fell asleep until we arrived at Bromley to change horses. Once there we went in and had some refreshments, but as soon as we were on our way again she fell asleep again till we made it home to Rosings.
Our housekeeper, Mrs Webster, had some rejuvenating rosehip tea for Catherine. When Doctor Myers examined her he told us she was only carrying one child as he could only hear one heartbeat. The most accurate date he could give us was the end of May and possibly the beginning of June, but then again he told us that babies tend to come when they are ready. He said that I was a late babe of about two weeks. He also told her that this tiredness will soon pass if she drank the rosehip and camomile tea as it would give her more energy
Saturday 9th April 1814
Catherine's energy seems to have returned as she states she very rarely needs a nap in the afternoon now. She is not a great walker like her sister Elizabeth, but I am finding her nearly everyday either in the orangery painting or in the walled garden. Darcy says I am lucky! He nearly had to tie Elizabeth down. Even though she could not walk too far she managed to go for a short walk daily either with Georgiana, a maid or footman or Darcy himself.
Saturday 30th April 1814
Yesterday Mama and Papa arrived as mama wants to be with Catherine when she has our child. Four Weeks! In only four weeks and I will be a father. Catherine, I have noticed seems to have more energy and regularly goes for a walk with Mama in the groves or the gardens. She does not go far as she takes her sketch book along with her to draw the scenery. The pictures she draws are so beautiful.
Today I have engaged an artist to paint our picture after she has had the child so as to record this blessed event. I, according to Catherine, will be holding our child in the Fitzwilliam Christening gown. I am sure that Mr Turner will do a wonderful job when he comes in July this year.
Saturday 14th May 1814
Catherine has been tired, the last few days, and has been ordered by Mr Myers to begin her confinement. She rests in her rooms, and can only come down for her evening meal with the help of myself or a maid. Mama stated that the baby could come at any time now. I am so looking forward to becoming a papa but I am very nervous as Darcy was. I think that I am now even more nervous than he was.
Tuesday 17th of May 1814
Elizabeth and Darcy arrived today with the twins to 'help give me the boost of morale I need' according to Darcy. He has brought with him a fine brandy to celebrate the birth of my child. Elizabeth went straight to her sister's room with the twins. At Pemberley, they are now both running around in the nursery and enjoying rides on their new rocking horse. Both children are at the moment very tired, as Elizabeth took them upstairs holding their hands, I heard Thomas ask if her Aunt Kitty had nerves like grandmamma, which brought a smile to my face. I must admit I am glad that my family is here to support us.
Mama and Elizabeth along with the children are keeping Catherine occupied in her rooms, she keeps telling us that she feels as healthy as an ox only that she now waddles not walks. I heard both mama and Elizabeth chuckle at this statement, little Anne then said "You don't look like one of daddy's cows or ducks Auntie Kitty, you look very cuddly."
Posted on 2012-09-22
Thursday 2nd June 1814
Catherine has been brought to bed for her confinement. I hate to hear her scream like she has been doing, I am so glad that Darcy and Papa are here to support me. Darcy has suggested that we go for a walk in the gardens as Catherine's screams are upsetting the twins. As we walk outside in the fresh June air with Thomas and Anne racing ahead of us, I feel like I am able to relax a bit. I remember when Elizabeth had the twins it nearly took a full day for her to birth them. I can only hope that my child will not take so long to be born. I have had Mr Myers with us for the last couple of weeks to keep a good eye on Catherine as I do not wish to lose my wife.
Thomas and Anne ran back to us after having a good look around asking why Auntie Kitty was was so upset. With tears in her eyes Anne asked if it was something to do with what they may have said or done. Darcy and I then explained that Auntie Kitty was going to have a little cousin for them to play with. The only reply to this was 'I hope it is a boy so we can play pirates.' Darcy smiled at this saying that Anne was a tomboy and played many games which boys played as well as learning the piano with Auntie Georgiana. I then explained that 'the child would be too young to do so at the moment but once it was a couple of years old it would most likely love to play pirates with you.'
Later that afternoon
Once back at the house Darcy took the children to their nanny and she put them down for an afternoon nap in the nursery. I asked Papa if he had heard how things were and if Catherine had delivered our child yet. No sooner had the words left my mouth, Mama came to the library door saying to go to Catherine and my family refusing to tell me what gender the child was. She just kissed me on the cheek and congratulated me.
Once at Catherine's bedchamber I could hear low voices behind the door. Plucking up the courage I needed, I tapped on the door and heard Catherine's invitation to enter. There in her bed with a mound of pillows behind her was my wife holding a small bundle. As I got nearer I saw a little arm reach up grasping Catherine's finger. I then walked to the bed and the seat which had been placed near for me. Catherine smiled and introduced me to my son, Edward Richard Thomas Fitzwilliam. The name we had agreed on earlier this year. He is being named after my Father, , myself, and Catherine's Father.
Catherine asked me if I would like to hold him so that I can take him to show the rest of our family. I took him from her supporting his head as I had been shown; he has Catherine's beautiful blue eyes, which I hope do not change colour and my dark brown curly locks. As I observed him I noticed that he was looking at me too; wanting to know who this new person was. I noticed that Catherine was getting tired so I told her I would show our son to the rest of the family and then return him to her by putting him in the cradle next to her bed.
As I walked down the hallway I spotted the Housekeeper and asked her to assemble the servants in half an hour, but first I wanted to take my son through to see the rest of his family. Darcy, Elizabeth, the twins Anne and Thomas plus Mama and Papa were all in the drawing room enjoying afternoon tea when I arrived.
Everyone complimented me on the birth of Edward and asked how Catherine fared; I explained that she was now asleep and that after I had introduced him to the servants I would return him to his mama. Anne and Thomas looked at their new cousin and asked 'when will he be big enough to play with?' Elizabeth replied 'that he should be big enough to play peek-a-boo and other such games in a couple of months but not other games for a long while.' Anne and Thomas both then looked a bit disappointed at this.
Friday 3rd June 1814
Today my father-in-law arrived with his youngest daughter, Lydia. Who again was having time off school due to her good behaviour. She is now blossoming into a beautiful woman and her speech has also improved. When asked where my-mother in-law was, Mr Bennet replied that she was not well and was being treated by the doctor, a Mr Saunders. She had fallen in the garden and twisted her ankle, but because it was a while before she was found she also had developed a fever, at first he had not wanted to leave her but Mrs Gardiner stated that she would stay with her sister-in-law while he came to meet his new grandchild.
Mr Bennet spent most of his time with the twins until Edward woke up and was brought in for him and Lydia to admire. Unfortunately, this caused a bit of jealousy as their grandfather was taking more notice of Edward. As soon as Mr Bennet saw this he asked the twins to come and sit with him and introduce him to Edward as they knew him much better. This made the twins feel better and they told him about Edward and how unfortunately at the moment he cannot play with them yet. Mr Bennet smiled and said that in a couple of months he would be sitting up and would be able to play peek-a-boo and other games and perhaps when he starts to walk then he will be able to play some games with them.
Lydia was soon holding Edward, singing to him a lovely song his eyes never left her as she sang and soon I noticed the twins went to sit at her feet enjoying her singing.
When I asked where Georgiana was I was told she had stayed in London with Mrs Annesley as she was now being courted very seriously by one of Lady Violets relatives, Viscount Stafford, Michael Conway. Before Darcy and Elizabeth had left to come to visit us the Viscount had asked permission to court Georgiana and was given permission by her brother and Elizabeth, but had insisted that she is constantly chaperoned by either Andrew or Mrs Annesley while they are here. Tomorrow both my brother and Georgiana arrive to meet their new nephew. Unfortunately, Mr Bennet is going to leave to look after his wife so that the Gardiners can visit to see their new-great nephew. Lydia will then travel back to her school with the Gardiners.
Sunday 19th June 1814
Today is the Christening of my son Edward Richard Thomas Fitzwilliam, We have asked Darcy and Elizabeth to be his Godparents and Andrew to be a godparent*. My mother-in-law is coming to the christening to see her grandson for the first time since his birth. She still uses a walking stick so I am told, but she has gotten over the high temperature which had put her to bed.
*At christenings a boy would have two male godfathers and 1 female godmother. If it is a girl then she would have two female godmothers and one male godfather.
The Christening went well and my mother-in-law spent most of the time cooing and talking to Edward, who looked on with curiosity. Many of our tenants attended most of these were the ones I spent time sorting out their homes. Some brought presents of jams, cheeses and bread to wish us well. It was so nice to know that our tenants appreciate us.
After the Christening I arranged with the local publican to hold a celebration for the servants, tenants and townspeople as well as our own celebration at Rosings.
Saturday 25th June 1814
Thank goodness everyone has left except Mama, she wants to stay and help Catherine get back on her feet and give me a hand around the place taking over the household until Catherine feels up to taking the reins again.
Good news has arrived. Jane has been safely delivered of a baby girl. Her name is Isabella Amelia Elizabeth Bingley named for his mother and Jane's favourite sister. The letter was terrible to read as it had lots of blots on it. Not long afterwards we received an express from Darcy explaining what Bingley had written. Also in his express he said that Viscount Stafford, Michael Conway, had proposed to Georgiana and he had given his permission but as her other guardian I would also need to do so.
Viscount Stafford arrived to get my permission to marry Georgiana, accompanied by Mrs Annesley, Georgiana and her maid. Georgiana I think wanted to plead her case but as her brother had already given his consent, and since Elizabeth also approved of this young man, I could not see any problem giving my consent. Even though I felt she was a little young, Darcy had told me that it was to be a long engagement of 12 months and then they could marry next June or July which I agreed to. Just looking at the young couple made me see just how much in love they were. Catherine came down after feeding Edward and brought him with her so that she could talk with Georgiana while the Viscount and I talked. He is such a nice fellow and will look after my little butterfly as he seems to love her very much.
Saturday 2nd July 1814
Catherine is now stronger and has started to take over running the house again. She is still breast-feeding Edward as she has point blank refused to have a wet nurse. Tomorrow we are travelling to London with Edward to our townhouse. It is Andrew and Lady Violet's wedding, Catherine has stated she is looking forward to the ceremony and is glad that my mother has told her she will ready a room for her to feed Edward and put him down for a sleep while we attend the wedding breakfast. Catherine has stated that once the wedding breakfast is over she wants to return to Rosings where the fresh air will be better for him. I agree with her. London in the summer is stifling and rife with disease. To my mind I wish they were having this wedding at either her fathers estate in Stafford or at Matlock.
I've been thinking more about not taking Edward to London, I am going to ask Catherine to leave him here and travel just for the wedding, or perhaps we could host the newly married couple for a few days if she stays with Edward and only I go to town. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of her staying here safe and sound with Edward. I will discuss this with her tomorrow.
Sunday 3rd July 1814
Well I have spoken with Catherine and asked her to stay here with Edward and not taking him to London to keep him in the country air. Catherine seems relieved about this and has agreed saying that she would like the newlyweds to come and stay with us for a week if possible before they set off for their honeymoon. She has written a letter of apology for me to give the happy couple with the invite so I travel early to stay at my parents' home rather than opening the townhouse for such a short stay.
Wednesday 6th July 1814
After kissing my son and wife goodbye a familiar loneliness engulfs me once I reach my parents' townhouse. At the home of my youth I think of my beautiful wife and son safe at Rosings with my batman Sgt. Reed to keep an eye on things in my absence. I know that my family is safe as most of the staff there would lay down their life for them.
Andrew said that he would be happy to break their travel and come and spend some time with us at Rosings as Lady Violet would love to see Edward. I told him that my son is getting rather chubby now; his little face is so round and cute and is starting to want to sit up and look around, especially when he is on his mothers knee in the orangery, all the bright colours of the plants in there seems to want catch his attention.
Saturday 9th July 1814
Today dawned bright and cheerful; I came downstairs for breakfast only to find my older brother sitting at the table looking particularly green. I looked at him and asked "Have you had something to eat yet?" and he replied that he did not feel that he could eat anything without throwing it all back up. I chuckled saying 'I know just how you feel, Andrew. My advice is to try to eat some toast with either butter or jam on it.' Once he ate one slice of toast he was ready to eat more as he was feeling much better. Once it was time to get ready to go to the church Andrew seemed much calmer and was ready to take his place at the altar.
Lady Violet looked truly beautiful as she walked down the aisle on her fathers arm; I had to give Andrew a nudge when they arrived to get him to face the Bishop. Once the service was over and the wedding breakfast was served, I apologised to Lady Violet for my wife's absence and asked if they would both come and stay for a couple of days, Andrew said that he had provisionally agreed to breaking their journey to stay with us if it would be okay with her. Lady Violet smiled and said that she would be happy to do so and then she could see my darling son.
Later that evening
After the wedding breakfast I headed back to Rosings letting Catherine know her guests would be coming tomorrow to stay for a couple of days. She then made sure that they had a lovely suite of rooms; aptly named the Turkish Rooms as Uncle Gardiner gifted us lovely Turkish tapestries and rugs to decorate the room.
Sunday 10th July 1814
After a rather bad nights sleep due to Edward's teething, I got up to welcome our guests. Poor Catherine arrived soon after with Edward's head on her shoulder and red cheeks sucking on a teething ring which our housekeeper had recommended we give him. The little rattle and teething ring seemed to be helping. I can see the way he likes the way it makes a noise while he sucks on the coral
Andrew and Lady Violet arrived not long after Catherine brought Edward down. The novelty of having a couple of new people to look at who were fussing over him seemed to take his mind off of the pain in his mouth for a short period of time. Violet, as she told us to call her, fussed and cooed over Edward who started to look much better. He then fell asleep in her arms. Violet explained that her elder brother had three children and her younger brother had two. She recommended to Catherine that once he was asleep to keep the teething ring near something cold so it would cool his aching gums. (This had been recommended by her brothers son's nanny).
Later, after a long sleep Edward awoke so Catherine went to feed him in the nursery only to be surprised to find he now had four teeth, two at the top and two at the bottom. Catherine said that she hoped he would not use those teeth when feeding. Our nanny has recommended that we try giving him more solid food as his appetite had increased and he did not seem to get full. So tonight the nanny will try to get him to eat some mashed potatoes with beef gravy. Let's hope he likes it.*
This evening we had a wonderful time with Andrew and Violet. Catherine and Violet played the pianoforte and harp which brought back some wonderful memories of when Catherine played her harp with Georgiana last year. Catherine gave both Andrew and Violet there wedding present two miniatures of the happy couple she had painted on ivory for them set into a gold frame.
I was sad to see my brother and Violet leave the next morning to go on their honeymoon, but they promised to stop on there way home to stay for a while longer.
*When both my son and daughter were this age I found that they were always hungry so I tried small amounts of mashed potatoes with gravy, in a really watery consistency, which they both loved. As they got older we added carrots, peas, and mashed fruit for a pudding. At first it was only once a day, but ended up being twice a day while I still fed them in the morning and night.
Posted on 2012-10-13
Saturday 15th June 1815
Viscount Stafford, Michael Conway, waited dumb struck at the alter. Georgiana looked very beautiful wearing her mother's wedding gown (she had insisted on doing so with some minor alterations to bring it up to modern day fashions). I could see that Darce had tears in his eyes as he handed her over to her beloved and sat down with Elizabeth and their children. I must admit I was shedding a few tears as Catherine handed me her handkerchief to blot them away. It was a wonderful day, I was sad to see them go. They are going to honeymoon in Bath then on to his estate.
Three Years Later.
Saturday 5th July 1817
Today we have had a wonderful garden party with all my family around us. Mama and Papa are here along Catherine's father and her youngest sister, plus her fiancé, Steven Price the Earl of Warwickshire. Lydia has grown and altered in many ways, she is no longer flirtatious and brash like she used to be. I can still sense a bit of sadness about her, due her mother passing away last year, because of this, she has had to wait a twelve month period before she could marry.
Mrs Bennet passed away in her sleep very content that she now had all her girls married to such wonderful men. Lydia is due to marry in September and Catherine and I will be at Pemberley where Darcy and Elizabeth are preparing a wonderful wedding for her.
Edward is now running around and following his cousins in playing and hide and seek in the gardens. I can see that the nurses are keeping a good eye on each of the children so they don't come to any harm. My youngest son Andrew is 18 months old and is crawling around on the blanket at Catherine's feet or is playing with his wooden bricks. Darcy and Elizabeth now have another boy called Richard Charles Darcy, who is the same age as Andrew with only a few days apart. I was so honoured that they named him after me.
Jane and Charles have now got a little boy with lovely blue eyes like his mother and blond hair. He as been named after Charles' father and Jane's Arthur Thomas he is six months old now. My brother Andrew and Violet are to arrive tomorrow with their two children. Twins must run in our family or in Violets as her and Andrew have got twin boys Anthony James and Andrew Alexander, both around six months old. I don't think that Rosings has seen as many children as this in a long time, as the house is full of children's joyful cries. Georgiana and her husband cannot come this year due to her confinement. Hopefully, she will be with us at Christmas at Pemberley bringing her child with her.
Saturday 6th September 1817
Today is the last of the Bennet girls to marry, Lydia looks absolutely stunning in the lovely cream silk gown she is wearing. It brings out the highlights in her chestnut curly hair. As Steven Price the Earl of Warwickshire, stood at the alter awaiting her arrival I remember the look that he is wearing now as the one we all do when we see our brides walking down the aisle. Catherine was her matron of honour along with Elizabeth's daughter Anne who held on tightly to the little basket with rose petals in it. My son Edward carried a small cushion with the ring tied to it by a lovely cream ribbon. He looked so proud, his little face was beaming. I was so proud of him.
Darcy and Elizabeth held a wedding breakfast in a large marquee on the lawn on the front of Pemberley Manor. The staff had really gone out of there way to prepare a wonderful feast. The Bride cake looked wonderful with different coloured icing. The newly weds were to travel first to Florence and then to come home to his estate in Sussex.
As to Longbourn, Mr Bennet left this to Richard Charles Darcy, stipulating in his will that it must not be separated from the Bennet family. Thus, as promised by Darce, Richard would have a double barrelled name of Darcy-Bennet.The End