Welcome to our board! Log In Create A New Profile
Use mobile view

Advanced

The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

November 11, 2016 05:38PM
Okay, so this is the point, in a regular, non-fanfiction story, where I would begin to wrap things up for our couple, and very little attention would be paid by readers to any of the minor characters who had appeared only briefly, such as Lydia and Charlotte and Mary and Collins. However, this is fanfiction, which means that everyone has interest and opinions and questions about all the characters, as well as worry about events not even hinted at in the narrative (such as the flight from Brighton). I did want to answer them if I could.

And so, apropos of nothing but reader curiosity and satisfaction, I give your Lydia/Wickham twist. Please tell me if you like itsmiling smiley

Thanks to all my betas, but special thanks to Liz, who alone noticed that I had misspelled my original character's name for at least half the chapter. *whew*


Chapter 17: This Young Gallant


One morning at Longbourn, Mrs. Bennet let out a shriek and came running into the parlour. She had a letter in her hand. “Oh, Mr. Bennet!” she cried. “Mr. Bennet! I have had a letter from Lydia!”

“There seems nothing remarkable about that,” he said.

“Oh, but Mr. Bennet, only think! She writes that she is engaged!”

“Engaged!” Everyone looked at her in astonishment.

“She is engaged to a young captain in the militia, Captain James Turley! Oh, Mrs. Lydia Turley, how well that sounds! She says he proposed to her in a garden, next to a statue of the Regent—how romantic!—and that he is vastly handsome. Mr. Bennet, we shall have four daughters married, four daughters!”

“I hesitate to contradict you, Mrs. Bennet, but as Lydia is underage and I have not given my consent, she is not engaged.” Mr. Bennet rose, looking unusually stern, and held out his hand. “May I have that, please.”

She gave it up, with a huff. “How can you be so vexing? You know you will consent. How could you not consent? A handsome young captain for our Lydia? I daresay he has a fine fortune to go with his commission!”

Mr. Bennet perused the letter with a frown. Next to Elizabeth, Darcy stirred. “Perhaps I ought to leave you,” he murmured.

“No, please don’t.” She clasped his hand. “Stay with me.” He relaxed back into his seat, returning her grip.

“I wonder, did you perhaps observe this passage?” Mr. Bennet directed his wife’s attention to a certain portion of the page.

“Yes, and I was excessively shocked, but how fortunate that dear Captain Turley should come along just then. No wonder they fell in love!”

“Hmm.” Mr. Bennet looked sour, and left the room. Elizabeth and Darcy looked at each other as Mrs. Bennet returned to her excited exclamations. Elizabeth attempted to ask her about the captain, only to find that Lydia had apparently given no information of use about him, except that he was dashing and handsome and a very good dancer.

After about half an hour of quiet speculation between the two on the chaise, a footman came in to tell them that Mr. Bennet requested their presence in his study. By this time, Mrs. Bennet had gone to write Mrs. Gardiner about wedding clothes. They went dutifully, wondering what they would hear from him.

Mr. Bennet was sitting behind his desk, several papers spread around him. “Come in, Lizzy,” he said, “and you too, Mr. Darcy. You are soon to be a part of our family, so I thought you might as well hear it all.” They came in and sat down, looking at him inquiringly. “Upon examining my unopened correspondence, I found that I have, indeed, received a letter from this young captain of Lydia’s, as well as one from Colonel Forster. Both of them attempt to shed light on Lydia’s rather muddled account of how she first came to meet Turley.”

“What do you mean, Papa?”

“It would appear,” he said, drawing the words out with wry inflection, “that Captain Turley rescued our Lydia from the violent embrace of none other than that same fellow Wickham that you warned me about, Lizzy.”

“Wickham!” Darcy exclaimed.

“Papa, no! Did he harm her?”

“Evidently not, thanks to this young gallant. He appears to have played the role of the hero to admiration.” He frowned. “But to you alone will I say that I am quite suspicious of Lydia’s role in all this.”

“Why, what do you mean?”

“Well, Mr. Wickham evidently claims that Lydia—” he consulted a paper— “lured him into the hall, cast herself into his arms, then began to struggle just as Captain Turley came walking by.

“Mr. Wickham is not a man to be trusted,” said Darcy. “I would give his account no credence at all.”

“No more would I, except that the timing of all this does seem rather too convenient, does it not?”

“The timing?”

“Oh, yes. I mean, how fortunate that he should come by at just that moment, when there had been no commotion to attract others’ notice before. And it was not, I understand, a particularly secluded spot; for a would-be ravisher, Mr. Wickham appears to choose his localities ill.”

“Papa!”

“You suspect your daughter… used Wickham?” Darcy’s expression was hard to read.

“I do not consider it impossible. If she admired Captain Turley, but had been unable to capture his attention? I would not put it past her. And since I had expressly warned her against seeking Wickham’s company, she might have thought him the ideal, er, dupe. I understand,” he consulted one of the letters again, “that Turley gave him quite the bloody nose.”

Darcy opened his mouth, and shut it again. “Did he indeed.”

Elizabeth looked anxiously at her betrothed to see how shocked he really was. He was shocked, but there was something else there in his face, something that was… oh, good. Amusement. “This is all speculation,” she said.

“Oh, yes, of course, of course.” Mr. Bennet did not sound convinced. “You must admit, though, that it seems more in character than Lydia refusing his advances.”

“Papa!”

“Perhaps,” said Darcy, recovering himself, “we might do better to consider the situation as it is now. You said Turley wrote to you?”

“He did.”

“Was his letter a sensible one?”

“Surprisingly, yes. I would not call it a model of erudition, but for a man actually desirious of marrying Lydia, he sounds remarkably sound of mind.”

At this point Elizabeth began to wish that her father would not make such a point of mocking his own daughter. There was little he could say on the subject of Lydia’s folly that she would not agree with, but for him to repeatedly harp on it, and in front of Darcy, mortified her. “What did Colonel Forster write?”

“Colonel Forster wrote his own explanation of Lydia’s encounter with Wickham, as well as to give me information on Turley. He assures me that Wickham has been dealt with—whatever that means—and that I might do worse in a son-in-law than this fellow. Here, I will read it to you.” He adjusted his spectacles and held the paper closer. “‘I have made inquiries and ascertained that he comes from a respectable family in Devon and that, though not wealthy, he is due to receive a modest inheritance upon his mother’s death, as he has no sisters. His colonel speaks well of him, as a man who fulfills his duties. He is a quiet fellow, but well liked by the men, and I must say that he seems much taken with Miss Lydia’s liveliness.‘ There you have it. A quiet fellow with modest prospects who does his duty. A match made in heaven, wouldn’t you say?”

Elizabeth wasn’t sure what to reply to that, when Darcy filled the silence. “He would not be the first man of quiet disposition to be capivated by a lively woman,” he said.

She broke into a brilliant smile, while Mr. Bennet laughed. “Bravo, Mr. Darcy,” he said. “Spoken like a proper lover. However, I must admit that I still fear for Captain Turley’s sanity.”

“But will you consent?” asked Elizabeth.

“I think I may ask him to pay me a visit here first. It does not seem too much to ask to meet a prospective son-in-law, does it?”

“I would never consider otherwise,” said Darcy. “And if I may suggest, Mr. Bennet, Miss Lydia is young for marriage. You could stipulate a long engagement.”

“But would she agree to it? I fear Lydia will never rest easy until she is married and can lord herself over her unmarried friends and sisters. I would never hear the end of it.”

“I think she would be content, if she were engaged,” ventured Elizabeth. “She would be able to boast about it as often as she wished to her friends. It is the idea of marriage that Lydia wants, Papa, not the reality of it.”

“A captaincy in the militia is not enough to support a wife on,” said Darcy. “They cannot marry now for that reason alone.”

“Yes, yes you are right.” He studied the captain’s letter again. “Yet I have the strongest feeling that I ought not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, as the saying goes, by making him wait for his wife.”

“If they are not well suited, it would be better that they discovered that before marriage. Papa, surely you will not let them marry soon!”

“Perhaps I may be of assistance,” said Darcy. “Tell them that if they are willing to wait to marry until Lydia is whatever age you consider proper, I may be able to help him to a commission in the regulars.”

While Elizabeth was not precisely certain how much commissions cost, she was very sure that this is was a generous offer. Unable to speak the love and gratitude that welled up inside her, she took his hand. His fingers tightened on hers, but he kept his gaze on her father. Mr. Bennet had displayed some surprise, but now looked only meditative.

“I can see, Mr. Darcy,” he said at last, “that you are the kind of man who is accustomed to getting his way. You make it impossible for me to refuse. However, I do reserve the right to negotatiate this wait with Captain Turley in person. I have a feeling he may prove to be more reasonable than my daughter.”

“And what will you write to Lydia?”

“Nothing. She did not bother herself to write to me, so I see no need to make a greater effort in return. Her mother, I am sure, will say more than enough for both of us. I will, however, write to Captain Turley, and request that he wait upon me here as soon as he may get leave to do so. Then we will see what kind of man has voluntarily decided to surrender his freedom for a lifetime of companionship with your silliest sister. I daresay I am almost as excited to meet him as I was to meet Mr. Collins.”

Mr. Bennet’s question was everyone’s question. What kind of man was this, who had offered for Lydia? He was brave enough to rescue her from Wickham—although who was the real victim seemed at question—and had spirit enough to knock him down. (“I almost begin to feel sorry for Wickham,” said Mr. Bennet once. “You need not,” answered Darcy.) He must be handsome, or else Lydia would not look at him. His letter seemed to indicate at least a moderately good understanding. His prospects seemed as good as most men to be found among the ranks of milita offers. No one but Mr. Bennet would say it, but everyone except Mrs. Bennet was thinking it: Why, then, did he want Lydia?

Two weeks later a carriage arrived from Brighton. It bore Lydia inside it, and Captain Turley rode alongside.

“Oh, la!” cried Lydia, as she alighted, her hand in his. “To think here is Longbourn, looking just the same as it did! How long it feels since I went away, and yet nothing changed but me! Oh, Lizzy, are you still here and not married? Perhaps we will marry first. You must admit,” at this as she took the fellow’s arm and brought him forward, “even though you did get yourself a rich husband, he is not near so handsome as my dear Turley!”

Captain Turley blushed, stammered, and bowed. Elizabeth looked at him in surprise. He was very handsome, in a youthful fashion, and did look smart and dashing in his militia officer’s uniform. He was also, it would appear, rather painfully shy. As he responded to Mrs. Bennet’s rapturous and Mr. Bennet’s laconic greetings, one reason for this became very clear: Captain Turley spoke with a distinct stammer. Anxiety had probably made it worse, but no one stuttered that much because of mere nerves; it must undoubtedly be a life-long condition. Yet Lydia did not seem to mind, and when Mrs. Bennet’s face grew slack with bewilderment, it was Lydia’s gushing enthusiasm that seemed to convince her there was nothing to be alarmed about. After a few moments, she recovered herself and went on as before.

“My C-Colonel gave me l-leave,” said Turley, when Mr. Bennet inquired whether he had deserted his regiment just for them.

“Of course he must have,” said Elizabeth, fearing that her father was going to have fun at his expense. “Should we go inside now, Mama?”

In the parlour was more of the same. Mrs. Bennet and Lydia talked around and at poor Captain Turley more than to him, and Mr. Bennet interposed the occasional question for no apparent reason other than to make the captain talk. Darcy’s delicacy had kept him at Netherfield during this first meeting, and Jane and Bingley had not arrived yet, so there was no one to assist Elizabeth—but she concluded after a few minutes that assistance was perhaps not needed. For all that Turley was nervous, he actually seemed to relax whenever Lydia spoke, and his blushes when she bragged on him were ones of pleasure as well as embarrassment.

The Bingleys arrived just as conversation was lagging, so there were more introductions, more blushes and halting conversation. At length, Mr. Bennet rose and invited the captain to join him in his study. Off they went together.

“Well!” said Lydia, slumping back in her seat. “It is very pleasant being home again, I must say, even though it shall not be for long! When does Kitty return?”

“The day after tomorrow,” said Elizabeth.

“Whatever did they find to do in Derbyshire for so many weeks? Are my cousins here?”

“They are upstairs, in our old nursery quarters. Mama said they must stay up there while our company are here.”

“Oh, Turley will not mind! He never minds anything. I daresay I shall go up and see them presently. How fat you look, Jane! I hope I never get so fat when I am with child! Lizzy, you must tell me when you and Mr. Darcy mean to marry, so that we may have our wedding first. I should like to say that I was married before two of my older sisters.”

“We have not decided yet, but with you and Kitty both home, it will probably be soon.”

“Or we could have a double wedding. I have never thought I would like to marry at the same time as someone else, but it could be very amusing, I dare say.”

“Lydia,” intervened Jane, “will you tell me more about Captain Turley? He seems very amiable.”

“Of course he is amiable! I would not like to marry a man who was not. I knew as soon as I saw him that I wanted to marry him. He was in full colours, and dancing with this plain, odious little creature named Sarah Hargrave, and she looked absurd next to him, because he is so handsome. He dances so well, you can’t think, and is never tired. We danced for hours one night. And that night he rescued me from Wickham, he says he knew too. It was love at first sight. He is utterly devoted to me, you know.”

“I hope you will be very happy,” said Bingley, into the silence.

“If only he could get a good commission, we would be. I think Mr. Darcy ought to buy him one, since he’s so rich, but Turley says I am not to speak of it—oh!” she laughed merrily. “I forgot. And I did promise. He will be angry when he hears, but he can never stay angry with me for long. Oh, la! It is a fine thing to be in love, isn’t it Lizzy?”

Lizzy forced a smile. “I suppose it is,” she said, and changed the subject.

Some time later, she was walking through the passageway when Captain Turley came out of Mr. Bennet’s study. He looked overcome by some strong emotion, and as soon as he saw her, he came directly toward her and said, “Miss B-bennet, your father has t-told me what Mr. D-Darcy offered us. His k-kindness is b-beyond anything I can express. I h-hardly how to thank you for s-such a gift.”

“It was Mr. Darcy’s idea entirely,” she said. “He wished to make it possible for you to marry without distress.”

“P-please convey my d-deepest gratitude to him. I will forever b-be in his d-debt.”

“I suspect that if you will only treat Lydia well, and act as an honourable man, he will consider that debt well repaid.”

He bowed and, seeing Lydia appear behind her, hastened to speak to her. The two had a hushed conference, then, just as Lizzy was going up the stairs, Lydia broke out into violent protest. “Eighteen!” she cried. “What do you mean we have to wait until I am eighteen?” He began to speak, but she broke out again, “I think that is the most unjust thing I have ever heard! What right does he to have say when we may be married?” More low-voiced speech from Turley. “Well, why can’t he give you the captaincy now? Lizzy!” She spotted her sister on the stairs, and ran up to her. “Lizzy, tell Mr. Darcy to give Turley his captaincy now!” The intrepid captain followed her and took her arm. She shook him off. “No, she must tell him! I don’t want to wait until I am eighteen! I want to be married now!” She turned to run back down the steps to her father’s study. “Papa! Papa, you must tell Mr. Darcy that—”

Her wails were cut off at the door as Turley took her hand in his firmly, turned her around, and in a voice that hardly stuttered at all, required her to walk in the garden with him. “Oh, very well,” she said sulkily, and they disappeared down the passageway. Elizabeth was left astonished on the steps.

Bingley appeared at the parlour door, further down. “Lizzy? What is happening?” Moving to join him, Elizabeth described what had just passed. They looked at each other speculatively, but said little.

Half an hour later they were all in the sitting room when Lydia and Captain Turley came in. Lydia looked unwontedly subdued, but no longer sulky. She went directly to Elizabeth. “Well, Lizzy, even though I did want to be married first, I daresay I shall like it just as well at eighteen. I shall still be younger than you, or Jane, or even Mary were when you married. Turley says I am to thank Mr. Darcy for his offer, and indeed I am grateful, for I would not like to live off of what Turley makes now. Will you thank him for me?” She looked up when she had finished, across the room at her captain, and everyone saw the slight, approving nod he gave her.

Bingley jumped to his feet, and strode over with his hand held out. “Turley,” he said, “welcome to the family. We are delighted to have you!”
SubjectAuthorPosted

The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

Suzanne ONovember 11, 2016 05:38PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

Sandy WNovember 17, 2016 11:16PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

SarahC.November 15, 2016 02:09AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

Lucy J.November 14, 2016 06:31AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

ElizabethCNovember 12, 2016 10:29PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

BrigidNovember 12, 2016 08:55PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

LilyNovember 12, 2016 04:19PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

gioNovember 12, 2016 02:46PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

EvelynJeanNovember 12, 2016 11:50AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

NickiNovember 12, 2016 10:59AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

Tessa LNovember 12, 2016 04:58AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

AleciaNovember 12, 2016 01:07AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

ShannaGNovember 12, 2016 12:55AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

KathyKNovember 12, 2016 12:03AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

Sabine C.November 11, 2016 10:01PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

EvelynJeanNovember 11, 2016 10:27PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

EvelynJeanNovember 11, 2016 08:14PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

KateBNovember 11, 2016 07:49PM

Ditto (nfm)

LisaYNovember 12, 2016 03:18AM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

jassodraNovember 11, 2016 06:29PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

MichaNovember 11, 2016 06:28PM

Re: The Way It Ought to Be, Chapter 17

JanetRNovember 11, 2016 06:17PM



Author:

Your Email:


Subject:


Spam prevention:
Please, solve the mathematical question and enter the answer in the input field below. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically.
Question: how much is 8 plus 19?
Message: