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Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

July 12, 2017 04:17PM
Author’s Note: Thank you so much, Betsy and Roxey. I could not have written this without you two! I know I said this was the final chapter of this story – however, I could not fit the epilogue into two posts with the Chapter 11. You’ll see it posted in a few days. Thank you to everyone for your kind words! I truly appreciated the support! Once again, I am sorry for any errors I may have missed!

Chapter 11 – Portrait of Home (Part Two)
Meryton, Hertfordshire

Catherine tried again, “Elizabeth told me you play the piano beautifully. Do you draw as well?” she asked Georgiana.

“Not very well,” was Miss Darcy’s only answer. Georgiana was taken aback, she had been so excited to see and meet Catherine. However, when they were finally introduced thirty minutes before, Georgiana felt her nerves take over.

Breakfast was completed, and Darcy arranged for himself, Georgiana, and Charles to leave almost after it. Georgiana’s nerves had been so overwhelming that she had barely eaten any breakfast. However, she was disgusted with herself now. Since she had arrived, Georgiana found her courage had all but deserted her. She had not been able to give Catherine more than one word answers in their entire conversation.

Mary and Elizabeth were sitting with Jane on the other side of the room while the men were in Thomas’s study. It was apparent to the youngest girls that the elder girls were trying to give them privacy.

Catherine was starting to get frustrated. Elizabeth had told her that Georgiana was shy and that she would have to work at getting her to open up. Elizabeth had also said that when Catherine did get her to open up, they would like each other very much.

Catherine was at a loss at how to do it. As she struggled to find a convenient topic, she offered, “I am not meaning to brag, but would you like to see my work?”

“Oh! I would love it!” Georgiana said, Elizabeth had told her so much about Catherine’s talents that she had been looking forward to seeing them. She realized she had almost shouted at Catherine, when she saw Catherine’s eyes become large and said more timidly, “Elizabeth has told me so much about them and Lieutenant Sanderson has been praising your work since I met him!”

Catherine looked shocked at Georgiana, and asked, “You have met Joshua? When?”

Georgiana looked confused, “In London. He works as an aid for my cousin: Colonel Fitzwilliam.”

A look of understanding crossed Catherine’s face as she said, “Ah! Yes! The good Colonel; much makes sense now! You and your brother are the ones who offered him a room in your home whenever he is in town.” After Georgiana nodded, she then offered, “I love painting in the bright sunlight on the far edge of the rose garden, why do not we take my portfolio out there?”

“If you wish,” Georgiana replied, she then hesitantly said, “but only if you start calling me Georgie or Georgiana.”

Suddenly, Catherine found herself offering, “Of course! I am Catherine or Kitty! Come with me to go get my sketchbook. It’s just in my room. I also have some of my favorite paintings hanging in there.”

Georgiana stood and said boldly, “What are we for waiting for then?”

Catherine laughed outright at the timid girl and replied, “I warn you though: Elizabeth grossly overestimates my talents.”

Georgiana smiled and said, “So does my brother with my talents at the pianoforte.” The girls rushed off to Catherine’s room.

A little bit after the girls left, Michael Forsythe came to visit. He had been unaware that this was the day Elizabeth was arriving and so tried to leave immediately. Elizabeth stopped him and said, “Please, do not leave on my account! Take Mary for a walk! She has much to discuss with you!” To Mary she whispered, “Ask about Christmas!”

When Bingley, Darcy, James, and Thomas came out of the study, they were amazed to see only Jane and Elizabeth in the sitting room. Instantly worried, William inquired, “Georgiana?”

“Out in the garden, I believe, speaking of art,” replied Elizabeth with a smile. “Now that you are out of conference,” she added, “Jane and I would like to walk toward Meryton to see if Madame Moberly has arrived.”

As she said this, Mrs. Bennet came back down and exclaimed, “Oh! I should come with you.”

James interrupted and said, “Actually, Mrs. Bennet, I would love to take a turn with you myself in the garden. I have spent many hours reading letters full of Thomas and his family, I find myself wishing to get to know them better. Would you accompany me?” Besides, he added with a wink toward Elizabeth, “Let the young lovers have some time alone.”

Fanny looked from Jane to Mr. Bingley then noticed Elizabeth standing very close to Mr. Darcy, she asked, “Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, do you mind being chaperones?’

James coughed and said, “I would actually prefer my man Jones, and Elizabeth’s maid to be the chaperones for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.” He noticed her sharp intake of air and gently said, “William is courting Elizabeth with my blessing,” he added with another wink at Darcy, “and finally hers.”

“Finally?”

James offered his arm to Fanny, “Oh, Fanny! We have much to discuss, you and I! Let us be off.” To Darcy he said with a stern glare, “Do not forget Jones and Abby.”

“Of course.”

As James walked Fanny to the door, the remaining occupants heard, “Now, my dear Fanny. Let us go back to Easter. You remember that Elizabeth went to Kent?”

To say that the entire day was pleasant would be a lie. The two couples actually met up with Mary and Michael while out walking and they all set out for Meryton. Madame Mobley had indeed arrived at the local inn and was quite pleased with the accommodations. However, when Elizabeth and her party were shown into the private sitting room assigned to the seamstress, Elizabeth could tell she was extremely upset and arguing with the other lady who was in the room with her.

Elizabeth was only slightly surprised to learn that Miss Bingley was the women with whom the modiste had been arguing. Charles, shocked to see his sister, shouted, “Caroline! What is going on?”

Caroline turned around and flushed with a mixture of shame for being caught and anger for her plans going awry. She only said, “I thought to welcome Madame Mobley to the area.”

Madame Mobley was a short, stout woman. She had seen too many years of women seeking to take advantage of nobility, and nobility taking advantage of the lower classes. She was not a fan of either. She could tell what type of woman Miss Bingley was the moment the maid had introduced her. Madame Mobley was not happy and was not going to let her take advantage of Elizabeth.

“Actually, Lady Elizabeth, she came to see if she could have a fitting while I am here.” The seamstress informed them, “I informed her, I was being paid by you for the sole care of yourself, Miss Darcy, and the Miss Bennets. I hope you understand, Lady Elizabeth, to get all the dresses done within the time frame you have allotted, I simply cannot take on another client.” She then pointed to the two young ladies she had with her, “In fact, I have only brought two of my seamstresses to help.”

Elizabeth stepped forward and addressed Madame Mobley, “I understand Madame.”

As she attempted to soothe the seamstresses, Charles stepped forward and grabbed Caroline’s arm, and said, “Caroline we are leaving now! I assume you called for my carriage? Let us go wait for it!” He turned an apologetic face to Jane and said, “I will be by later with Louisa and Hurst, my love. We will see you for dinner. Please inform your mother of Caroline’s inability to attend.”

“Of course, Charles,” Jane replied promptly.

As soon as he left, with his sister in tow, Elizabeth introduced Madame to her cousins. Madame Mobley insisted the entire group stay for tea. Michael begged off and Mary walked him home.

When they returned to Longbourn, Jane could not contain her excitement, “Lizzy! You picked out the most perfect fabric! I absolutely love it!” Madame Mobley was delighted with the Bennet sisters. She had not worked with a client who was not a member of the “quality” for years and was very pleased with the two. Their excitement over their marriages was simply contagious and Darcy found himself not twenty minutes later learning more about fabrics than he ever anticipated and was somewhat upset he had not thought to bring a book.

He was content to let the ladies speak together as they walked back to Longbourn. Upon entry, however, his concern for his sister came to the forefront again. As each took off their walking outerwear, they could hear a huge argument happening upstairs. When the four people went into the sitting room, Darcy immediately went to his sister, who had James’ arm around her. Her face was pale as snow.

Catherine was sitting to the side of the room concerned for her new friend. James relinquished his goddaughter to her brother and stood and stated, “That child needs to be dealt with!” and stomped up the stairs to the Lydia’s room where she was being scolded by Thomas.

Elizabeth asked Catherine, “What happened?”

“Lydia came out of her room without Father knowing and joined Georgie and me outside. We tried to ignore her but she just kept talking about how great her time was in Brighton at Brighton and how she wished she could go back. She then mentioned how almost becoming Mrs. George Wickham had ruined the duration of her stay Georgie asked her to repeat it and Lydia made another comment about how only a fool would believe Wickham and she was not a fool. Georgie dissolved into tears.” Catherine said as she held out her hands as if she did not understand the connection.

Elizabeth immediately saw red. She turned Darcy, who was also extremely angry and he said, “Elizabeth, I believe it is time that Georgie and I leave.”

Catherine stood and went to Georgie and tentatively asked, “Please do not leave. We were having great fun! I do not know why Lydia upset you and you do not need to tell me. But I would love to continue our conversation. Your description of Pemberley is lovely.”

“You do not understand, Catherine. Lydia is right! I am a fool!” wailed Georgiana and she buried her head in Darcy’s coat.

“Poppycock!” Catherine exclaimed before anyone else could speak, “I have never heard Lydia speak the truth of anything. She twists what she wants until it suits her. And what do you mean, she is right?”

“I believed Wickham and almost married him. I am a fool!”

Catherine was stunned at what she heard; the room went all silent except for Georgiana’s sobs. All at once, Catherine started laughing. Darcy glared at her and Elizabeth looked at her in wonder. Finally, Georgiana became as curious as to her laughter that she stated, “I am glad my pain brings you pleasure!”

Catherine instantly sobered, and said, “You are a fool, Georgiana Darcy.”

“Excuse me?” cried the blonde. Darcy stood to take control of the situation but before he could say anything, Catherine continued, “You are a fool if you allow someone like my sister Lydia or
that fool Wickham to cause you tears. Neither is worth it. Both are so full of themselves they cannot see straight. Why give them that power?”

“What?”

Catherine stood from where she had been crouching in front of Georgiana and said, “Lizzy once told me that people only have power over you if you let them. Why are you letting Lydia and Wickham to determine your happiness?”

“But it was my fault –”

“I say again, poppycock. I do not need to know what happened to know that Wickham is a liar. I have seen him do it. He convinced half this town that he was a gentleman and your brother was not. I do not believe for one second that you are responsible for his idiotic behavior.”

Georgiana squared her shoulders and said, “You are right.” She looked at her brother and said, “I will be with Catherine in the garden if you need me.” She turned and grabbed her new friend’s arm and marched outside.

“Elizabeth, something needs to be done about Lydia,” was all Darcy said as he watched his sister march out of the house.

“William, please go find a book in Uncle’s library.”

“What are you going to do?” he asked.

“Make my uncle and grandfather finally deal with her.” Elizabeth spun out of the room and stormed up the stairs. When she reached Lydia’s room, she threw open the door. James and Thomas were standing near Lydia as they both tried to get her to understand that what she did was wrong.

Elizabeth thought they were past that, and immediately decided to appeal to the only side Lydia care about: herself. “Lydia –” she started but was interrupted by the child herself.

“Do not start too! I do not see that what I did was so wrong. Miss Darcy must be very simple if she cried at what I said. I do not even understand why what I said upset her so!” she exclaimed.

“Stop speaking immediately.” Elizabeth said in a voice neither James, Thomas, nor Lydia had ever heard. “You will not speak until I say you may. Do you understand?”

Lydia nodded, “Good. Now, first, you are not the first girl with whom Wickham has attempted to elope. Hopefully you will be the last. Georgiana was also convinced she was in love with him; and he prayed on both your and her naivety to achieve this effect. The difference though is clear: he hoped to gain her money, with you he hoped to gain what money he thought I might have had or possibly have in marrying Mr. Darcy. When that did not produce anything for him, he got money from Mr. Darcy, someone who, at the time was completely unrelated to you!”

Lydia’s jaw fell open. But Elizabeth was not done, “You will not speak of this conversation, or either of the circumstances that happened between you and Wickham, or Georgiana and Wickham ever again. If you do, I will take you myself to a convent where you will never be allowed to leave for the rest of your life. Do I make myself clear?”

“But Papa!”

“No, Lydia!” exclaimed Elizabeth, “Do you understand?’

Lydia sat back defeated on her bed. When she saw Thomas would be backing Elizabeth in whatever she decided, she said, “Yes.”

“Good. Now, let us discuss school: you will leave for school as soon as we can make arrangements for it; hopefully it will be in the next week rather than the next month. You will not attend any family function until you have proved you can act appropriately. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes.”

Elizabeth softened her tone a bit and offered, “If your conduct improves over the next few years in school, I would be more than happy to sponsor a season in town for you,” Lydia’s face immediately riveted on Elizabeth’s and the elder continued, “But only if your behavior improves. Do you understand?”

Lydia only nodded.

“Good.” She indicated that James and Thomas needed to follow her out. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, Elizabeth turned to Darcy and said, “Would you please join us in the library?”

When everyone had sat down, James looked at Elizabeth with amusement, Thomas with a little trepidation, and Darcy with confusion.

“First, Uncle Thomas, I apologize for being so heavy handed in there. Lydia needed a stern hand. She will not be convinced of anything by any member of this family. She needs a strong hand outside to curb her nature, if it can at all be curbed. I am aware I overstepped my authority but I felt it was needed.” She said as she looked at Thomas. “Will you please forgive me?”

Thomas sighed, and replied, “Of course. You were also right. She does need a strong hand.”

“Good.” She said, “I will not beat around the bush. Darcy is courting me and if we do decide to marry, Georgiana will be around Lydia many more times. She needs to behave like a lady, or I will not see her.”

“Is that not a bit strong?” Thomas asked incredulously.

“I do not believe so. At the moment, Lydia does nothing that does not entertain herself, she cares not if her words wound, and her actions are completely wanton. I believe that by withholding higher society from her and stressing that her behavior should be above reproach, she has a chance at changing.” She added, “She does not need to turn into a nun, as I may have implied, but moderation will be important.”

Sighing, Elizabeth looked between the three men who were most important to her and added, “I do not wish to break her spirit, only cultivate her character. I believe this will be the best way to do it.”

All were in agreement with that statement. It was then that they started to discuss options on how to get the girl to school sooner than the appointed time. In the end, it was decided that James would send a letter express to the school to see if they could arrive early. If they could, he would send Jones and Abby with Lydia to her school. Three days later, the express was returned: she would be welcome anytime.

Lydia left for school two days before the first of her sister’s weddings. For the two weeks in between the letter and her departure, she was confined to her room and had no visitors.



James and William had somewhat of an unspoken understanding; each day one of them would walk out with Elizabeth during her morning walk. Although each day they would trade, they never spoke of it. It happened that about a week before Mary’s wedding, James felt it was time to speak with Elizabeth about the settlement he and Darcy had spoken of and her relationship with his godson.

Elizabeth realized early on in their walk that something was on her grandfather’s mind. She directed their walk toward the back of Netherfield’s property where members of either Longbourn or Netherfield were not likely to go. When they were a safe distance away, Elizabeth calmly asked, “Grandfather, something has been bothering you and William for a while. Has something happened between the two of you?”

“I forced Darcy to do something he was not comfortable with and then asked him to do the unthinkable,” the duke responded after a few moments.

Elizabeth, now extremely curious, asked, “Oh dear! That sounds serious! Why do we not sit and talk about it?’ She pointed toward large fallen tree off to the side of the meadow they had just entered.

As soon as Elizabeth made herself comfortable, James started pacing in front of her. “First, I have to say that I made Darcy go with me to my solicitor’s. The entire appointment, he was not comfortable with the meeting because he had not asked you to marry him nor were you present to discuss the details.”

Elizabeth laughed and replied, “You make it sound as if you two planned William and my wedding without me!”

“Almost, it was your marriage settlements,” James said.

Elizabeth’s laughter stopped as she studied her grandfather. Finally she asked, “You made marriage settlements without Darcy even asking me to marry him…again?”

James nodded, slightly ashamed, “I felt it was necessary, and Darcy was pig headed about the whole thing. He felt as you obviously do: he should have had your acceptance first, but he also wished to include you in the discussion.”

“And you do not?” questioned Elizabeth, “Do I not have a right to decide what my life will be like and that of my children? I know the ton frowns on such a thing: the bride being involved, but really Grandfather, I had thought better of you!”

James stopped his pacing and said, “I had every intention of involving you in the proceedings, which I told Darcy, numerous times!” He waved his hands in the air as if to grasp the words he wanted to say, and finally cried, “It is only that, these things, especially with how your inheritance is set up, it is fairly a large amount of business. I simply wished to get on with it.”

Elizabeth remained silent for only a moment before she said, “You mentioned you asked him to do something unthinkable?”

James nodded and came to sit beside Elizabeth, “I did not actually ask him to do it. I only informed him of the decision that you two will have to make.”

“Which is?” prompted Elizabeth.

“Elizabeth,” James started, “Are you aware of why your father changed his last name from Bennet to Talbot?”

Elizabeth nodded, and before she said anything her eyes grew round, “Oh! For my children to inherit your title, they have to be Talbots…that means William would have to change his name!” She rose and started pacing herself, “But he will not do that! His family pride, the honor of being a Darcy!”

She looked up, and with astonishment cried, “Pemberley must stay in the Darcy line! Not the Talbot line! But what of Heythrop? Should it not remain in the Talbot line not the Darcy line?”

James nodded, thankful that Elizabeth immediately saw the problem, “If Darcy does not take my last name, then: your children cannot inherit the dukedom. If that happens and Robert does not have a child with his widow, the title will become extinct. You know that.”

“But if Darcy does take your name, our children will be Talbots, not Darcys!” cried Elizabeth. There was something about that thought that repulsed Elizabeth, “If his children are not Darcys the Darcy line will become extinct!”

She sat down and said with more than a little sympathy, “Oh! William! How you must be conflicted now!”

James asked, “We have not spoken of it since London, do you have any idea what he will choose?”

Elizabeth sighed and replied, “The man who proposed in Hunsford would never change his name. His pride would not allow it. However, William, I do not know. I wish I could say that his pride would not allow it, but I….do not know.”

James turned and took Elizabeth’s hands in his own and asked, “And what of yourself?’

“What of me?”

“Which name do you wish to wear?”

Elizabeth almost responded immediately but stopped the words from leaving her mouth to seriously consider her grandfather’s position. After a few minutes, her heart sank and she looked forlornly at her grandfather and asked, “Would you be upset with me if I said I care nothing for your title?”

James shook his head, and Elizabeth continued, “You would not be hurt if your line did not go on?”

James considered his granddaughter’s question and replied, “In so many ways, you have never been a Talbot. We are a tenacious and arrogant breed. I will forever be grateful for your grandmother helping me to mend my ways. As Darcy pointed out, my line, or at least the Talbot name, will continue: our Talbot cousin is an earl, remember?” he drew a deep breath before he concluded, “I have lost sleep many nights asking myself your very question and the answer is simple: I do not feel as if my line would stop. You are still my granddaughter; in fact, you have only, these past weeks, gone by your Talbot name.”

He looked deep into Elizabeth’s eyes and asked, “Tell me truthfully, have you ever really considered yourself as a Talbot? Not my granddaughter but a member of the Talbot family?”

Elizabeth shook her head, and said softly, “No. I love you, but I have never cared for the title. It has always seemed like a hindrance to me; something that kept you from me for so many years.”

James smiled through tears that started to gather in his eyes, “Yes, I fully agree.”

The two continued to talk about what James and Darcy had discussed in London regarding the settlements. They spoke of how they could repay the Bennets for welcoming her into the family so many years before, and now welcoming James.

It was with glad and calm hearts that they returned to Netherfield. Darcy realized something had happened on the walk, but could not figure out what. The day before Mary’s wedding, he finally found the time to speak with Elizabeth about it.

The day dawned bright and clear. William had the pleasure of walking out with Elizabeth, something he had missed a few times that week. With two weddings approaching quickly, Elizabeth had found that her time was not her own, until this very morning. Wordlessly, they started out on their walk. William noticed Elizabeth’s distraction and knew she would speak when she wished. As they approached the summit of Oakham Mount, Elizabeth said as she stopped to admire the view, “I have always felt this to be the most beautiful spot in Hertfordshire, or at least in Meryton.”

William nodded and said, “You have mentioned that before, I believe.”

They stood in silence for a few more minutes before William finally asked, “Is there something wrong? You have been more quiet than usual. Are you feeling alright?”

Elizabeth smiled as she replied, “I am fine. Only a little nostalgic; Jane, Mary, Catherine and I took a walk down memory lane yesterday while Georgiana was playing and Aunt Fanny was in with Mrs. Hill. We were going through all of our things. Catherine will be moving in to Mary’s room after the wedding. Mary needed to finish going through her things. After finishing with my own, I had offered to help Jane with hers. Mary and Catherine both completed their tasks earlier than expected. I found myself in the middle of the room surrounded by my cousins as we re-hashed memory after memory.”

Darcy nodded, “So you are feeling homesick? After all, you have not been home for a while.”

Elizabeth shook her head, “No. I do not think I have ever really considered Longbourn my home; at least not since I visited Heythrop Park that first time.”

“So, you consider Heythrop Park your home?” he asked, “I was under the impression that you have only spent a few summers there.”

Once again, Elizabeth shook her head and stated, “No. Something always held me back from feeling at home there.” Before Darcy could ask, she continued, “I have also never really felt completely at ease in London. I do not think I have ever felt completely at home anywhere. I do not believe I will for a while yet.”

“Do you wish to sit?” Darcy indicated a bench to the side and asked, “Why not? Certainly you do not feel as if you have no home in this world.”

Distracted, Elizabeth cried, “Oh my! What a great idea! Who do you suppose had this placed here?” she asked, thrilled at the sight of a new looking bench at her favorite spot.

“Probably Mr. Cartwright.” William responded.

“Who is he?”

“He is a painter who is here on commission.” William replied.

“Oh. As to your other question: no, I have a home, it just is not mine, yet.”

Confused, Darcy asked, “I do not understand…?”

Elizabeth started to fidget and decided to change the subject, and asked, “The painter, who commissioned him? Is he painting the view?”

“Of course, and I did.”

Elizabeth was shocked and said, “Why?”

“So that you could have a little bit of Longbourn with you at both Heythrop Park, and your London home,” he said. Hesitantly he added, “I commissioned him for a minimum of two views of Heythrop Park, Longbourn…and Pemberley.”

Elizabeth suddenly became very attentive and asked, “Why would you do that?”

“That way you could have a little bit of each of your homes in the other….” William said quietly and added, “So you would never be homesick. I was to determine your favorite spot at Heythrop Park this winter. He has already been commissioned to paint the view from the library corner you love so much in the London House.” He sighed and concluded, “I hope that one day you will consider Pemberley your home, but understand if your preference is elsewhere. I simply wish for you to feel comfortable anywhere we go.”

The look on William’s face was almost her undoing, and so Elizabeth asked quietly, “Anywhere we go?”

Darcy started to look uncomfortable but responded, “For years I have considered Pemberley my home, but these past weeks have confirmed a change in that: my home is with you. If you wish to spend our time at Heythrop Park, or elsewhere, I will be content, so long as I am near you.”

Elizabeth felt tears welling in her eyes, she said, “Grandfather once asked me how I felt during my visit at Pemberley.” She took Darcy’s hands in her own and said, “I told him I had finally felt at peace, there.”

Darcy sharply in took a breath of air as he watched the women he loved more than anything continue, “I cannot tell you when I fell in love with you William, but I can certainly tell you where I started to realize that I could fall in love with you: at Pemberley.”

Her own voice caught as she said, “I felt my entire world start to turn itself upside down during that trip. However, I was able to think about a lot of things in the carriage ride to London from Derbyshire. The only thing I could think about that first day was how…at home I felt at Pemberley. By the time we reached an inn for the evening, I was completely convinced it was due to your presence. When you came to London, after returning Bingley to Jane, and sought out my and my grandfather’s company so often, I felt as if my life was finally starting to…start, like I was completely done with hiding. It was during the next few weeks that I realized there was simply no hope for me: I am completely in love with you.”

Darcy, overjoyed by Elizabeth’s admission, slid off the bench and knelt in front of her as he reached into his pocket and said, “Will you marry me? Will you be my wife, mother of my children?”

With tears in her eyes, she cried, “Yes!”

As all young lovers do, William and Elizabeth took the next hour to reassure each other of their constancy and love. It was Elizabeth who started to notice William’s distraction. Finally, when she could take it no more, she cried, “What on earth is wrong?” Unfortunately, William refused to comment. He held out his hand and commented on the time of day and escorted her back to Netherfield.

As they were walking toward Netherfield, Elizabeth had a feeling she knew what was bothering William and decided they needed to speak of it before he spoke with James. “William, Grandfather and I spoke last week about my inheritance.” When she felt she had Darcy’s attention she continued, “I know that he and you already started discussing the marriage settlements.”

Darcy had the grace to blush and said, “I told him I did not wish to do that until I finally had your acceptance. He would not be dissuaded.”

Laughing she said, “No, he told me as much. He was sensibly contrite, I assure you.” She then stopped and had Darcy turn to look at her, and when he did she said, “We also spoke of the title.”

Darcy’s eyes grew wary and his manner undecided as he looked at her. The two stood staring at each other for a while until Darcy simply asked, “Do you wish for me to take the name Talbot?”

Elizabeth’s eyes immediately filled with tears of compassion. In that one sentence she knew what Darcy had decided: he would give up his name for her. She felt humbled by the amount her beloved loved her: he loved her so much he would give up his family, his honor, and his duty that he had so much pride in. Elizabeth only said, “No, I do not,”

Darcy grabbed Elizabeth’s shoulders quickly in a light embrace and said, “No? What of the title? What of our children? Your family –”

Elizabeth interrupted, “My family, is and always has been the Bennets. In truth, when Grandfather asked me by what name I intended to go, I found myself immediately responding, ‘Darcy’. I am so honored, and privileged to become part of your family.”

“But James –”

“Fully supports me and my decision.” Elizabeth teased, “Besides, I think the world needs more Darcys and less Talbots.”

William drew his intended into a quick embrace. For weeks now he had tortured himself on whether or not he could give up his name: his identity. It never once occurred to him that Elizabeth would not wish him to. He felt so blessed by his future wife.

The couple, now completely free of all secrets and worries, sped like children to Netherfield to inform James of the good news.

It was James who spied the couple walking back from his spot in the library that overlooked the front of Netherfield. His heart sank as he watched the two hurrying eagerly toward the house and he knew it had finally happened. He saw his man Jones smiling from ear to ear trying to keep up behind them, and then school his features as they approached the door. Then a thought occurred to James, and he quickly went back to the library and wrote a hasty note.

The duke then met the couple at the entrance to Netherfield and cried, “Darcy! You are late! We were to meet with Thomas at 11 o’clock! Come! I will call for the horses. You had better change quickly!”

Darcy looked between Elizabeth and James a few times. He could not remember that he had an appointment with Elizabeth’s uncle, nor could he remember he was supposed to attend to anything with James. He shrugged, made his excuse to Elizabeth and hurried to change into riding gear. Elizabeth smiled and made her excuses and told Darcy and James she would find Jane and Louisa.

The reason Darcy could not remember any appointment was because James had guessed Darcy’s intent to ask for permission to marry Elizabeth. As James had watched them approach, he realized that Thomas had raised Elizabeth as a daughter and would wish to be respected and asked, even though his approval would not be needed. James felt it was something he could do to honor his friend for the task he had cherished for many years. As Darcy changed, James quickly gave the note to Jones before going to change himself. His servant left went quickly to get to Longbourn before James and Darcy did.

When James returned downstairs from changing, he did not allow Darcy any time to ask any questions. “Come along then! Let us go! Thomas is probably wondering what happened to us.”

All Darcy said was, “Yes, let us rescue him from the conversations of the lace and flowers for tomorrow.” While he had changed, he did not realize that James has seen William come back to the house with Elizabeth and therefore was aware of his wish to speak with him. They did not race to Longbourn, but William got the hint that the Duke was not willing to converse until Thomas was with them and left the Duke to his own thoughts.

For Darcy’s part, suddenly he became even more nervous than he had when he and Elizabeth were returning to Netherfield. He knew Elizabeth loved him and the Duke would grant him permission to marry her. After all, James had been the one to start the discussion of settlements. However, there was something was very nerve wracking about physically asking his Godfather for permission to marry Elizabeth. As they rode in silence, Darcy suddenly realized that Elizabeth was close to both men and knew he needed to gain the approval of not only His Grace but also Mr. Bennet. Darcy’s nervousness increased as he considered how he would also ask Thomas Bennet for his blessing on the marriage.

James was starting to feel even more melancholy as they rode toward the estate where Elizabeth grew up. He had been anticipating this for months, since he found out about his godson’s interest in his granddaughter. He had no objections to Elizabeth marrying Darcy. He had even made a point of telling both of the young people that. However, as he rode in silence to a discussion where he would give his most precious gift away, he was comforted by the fact that Thomas would be in the same position as he.

When they got close to Longbourn, they were met at the gate by Thomas, who was already on his horse and ready to go, “You are late gentlemen!”

Darcy spoke up and said, “Could you remind me where we were planning on going?”

James and Thomas faltered as they each looked to the other one to answer the question. Darcy immediately realized that this had not been planned and smiled, “We were just going for a ride, then? I will admit to completely forgetting about the appointment. I apologize, Mr. Bennet, our lateness was solely my fault.”

The elder gentlemen relaxed, and it was James who said, “Thomas was going to show me his estate and you wished to view it as well.”

“Ah! Now I remember!” cried Darcy, turning to Mr. Bennet, he said, “We will follow you then Mr. Bennett!”

Mr. Bennet shook his head as he said, “Call me Thomas, Darcy, or I will not show you a thing.”

Darcy smiled and replied, “Of course, Thomas. Lead on.”

The men rode in peace around the entirety of the Longbourn estate. Darcy was realistically surprised at how large it was when they reached the other side of it and said as much to Thomas. When the gentleman returned from their impromptu ride, even Mrs. Bennet could see something had happened that would mean yet another change for the Bennet family.



Netherfield, Hertfordshire
October 5, 1812

Robert,

I do not know whether to laugh, cry, or lock Elizabeth in her room until my death. Do you know what that girl has gone and done? Gotten herself engaged that is what! Of course, I know we both like Darcy, but she has informed me she loves him and will have him.

Never let Darcy know I said this, but it is about time. That man can be slower than molasses. Maybe not as slow as you, though.

They will wed from Heythrop on Christmas Day: so there is much to be done. With so many of our family going to be there, William and Elizabeth thought it appropriate. Catherine and Georgiana will stay with me at Heythrop until around mid-summer. That way Darcy and Elizabeth can have some time alone at Pemberley.

I have to say, a better man, she could not have found.

Did you know that Fitzwilliam George Darcy was prepared to give up his family duty and name so that Elizabeth’s children could be Talbots? Damn foolish of the man! But he told me his love for Elizabeth would not let him make any other decision.

It is a good thing that Elizabeth is smarter than both of us combined because I just might have let the boy do it!

Oh well, I am in need of your assistance it looks like…again. At first we were only having the Bennets, Gardiners, Darcys, Bingleys, Hursts, and Forsythes for Christmas. Now it looks like Darcy will invite the Fitzwilliams, as well. We might as well start to clean out all the rooms now and have Mrs. Comstock catalog what needs updated. I only had her do the rooms that were necessary.

I need to go, there is much to do. I will only say this: it has been too long since Heythrop had family there. I will write again soon, brother. Please take care.

James Talbot

P.S. Why have you not proposed to your lady yet? Darcy is quicker than you are!
SubjectAuthorPosted

Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

MarciJuly 12, 2017 04:17PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

Linnea EileenJuly 14, 2017 05:05AM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

LucieJuly 13, 2017 10:39PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

NickiJuly 14, 2017 04:02PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

LucieJuly 15, 2017 02:26AM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

StephanieBJuly 13, 2017 09:57PM

Hopefully some clarification...

MarciJuly 13, 2017 06:25PM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

AlanAugust 14, 2017 01:17AM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

AnnikaJuly 20, 2017 01:21PM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

Gloria L.July 20, 2017 10:45PM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

RoxeyJuly 16, 2017 02:10AM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

RoxeyJuly 15, 2017 04:21AM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

Trish1006July 14, 2017 05:55AM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

Sabine C.July 13, 2017 06:37PM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

MarciJuly 13, 2017 06:42PM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

Sabine C.July 13, 2017 08:06PM

Re: Hopefully some clarification...

MarciJuly 13, 2017 06:28PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

Margaret FJuly 13, 2017 02:21PM

there is hope

Maria VJuly 13, 2017 03:30PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

Lucy J.July 13, 2017 07:40AM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

EvelynJeanJuly 13, 2017 05:25AM

so sad

Maria VJuly 13, 2017 02:28AM

Throwing away a duchy

AlanAugust 14, 2017 01:06AM

Well said (nfm)

RuneJuly 13, 2017 05:24PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

GabbyC (not logged in)July 12, 2017 11:28PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

MarciJuly 13, 2017 04:00AM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

KentJuly 13, 2017 05:53PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

MichaJuly 12, 2017 11:04PM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

MarionJuly 13, 2017 02:09AM

Re: Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 11 (Part 2)

Maria VJuly 13, 2017 02:37AM



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