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Another Month Complete 5

July 03, 2020 04:16PM
Chapter 5

“Is Georgiana not with you, Anne?” asked Darcy as he peered into the library where his cousin sat reading by the south facing window.

“No, Fitzwilliam, she is resting in her room. The morning did not go as planned, I'm afraid.”

“Good heavens, is she ill? What happened? Tell me quickly, Anne. Please!”

“Do not be so alarmed, Cousin. Georgiana says she is well and assures me that it is simply fatigue from yesterday's journey. We were walking about and conversing happily with Miss Bennet when she suddenly grew pale and dizzy. Nothing more. Once she was seated and had a sip of water her dizziness subsided. We came home straight away and she has been in her room ever since. Perhaps she has had a long nap. I didn't wish to disturb her.”

“I see,” said Darcy, somewhat relieved. “I shall look in on her. Excuse me.”

As he made his way up the stairs, three steps at time, his mind raced as to what could have marred this first meeting with Elizabeth. He had pinned all his hopes on the two women he loved most in the world forming a meaningful friendship. Perhaps Georgiana could soften Elizabeth's heart enough for him to have another chance with her.

Surely, Elizabeth did not reveal … no, impossible! Then what had upset Georgiana enough to force her into solitude? He knew his beloved sister so well. When the world overwhelmed her, she retreated. But why? What had gone wrong?

Georgiana lay curled up on the counterpane, watching the breeze play with the large leaves of the Sycamore just outside her window. She sat up slowly when she heard her brother's voice at the door.
“Sweetling, may I come in?”

“Yes, come in, Fitzwilliam, and do not fret, I am perfectly well.”

She allowed him to approach the bed and kiss her cheek, his eyes searching hers for the answers he sought. “Tell me, Georgie. Who has upset you so? And don't pretend that you are simply travel weary,” he said quickly, holding his fingers to her lips to prevent her from dissembling.

“No one has upset me. I assure you, Fitzwilliam. No one.”

“Something went wrong during that walk with Miss Bennet and Anne. I know it. Please tell me what it is. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding of some kind. Perhaps I can make sense of it for you.”

Georgiana could not admit that the mere mention of Wickham's name had made her physically ill. She wanted to believe that she had become emotionally stronger - more capable of controlling her reactions to such feelings.. Besides, the last thing she wanted to do was to give Fitzwilliam another reason to worry about her. But the conversation with Miss Bennet had also revealed something equally disturbing and on that subject she was not prepared to be silent.

“Why are you so anxious to know what occurred during our outing, Fitzwilliam? It doesn't make sense to me. I am certain your anxiety has nothing to do with Anne, so it must concern Miss Bennet. My companions did nothing to upset me, Fitzwilliam. But you have! And you talk to me of dissembling,” she said accusingly.

He grew pale.

“Our morning started out beautifully. Miss Bennet was genuinely kind and complimentary. But to my surprise, she already knew a great deal about me from the Bingleys and from you. I, on the other hand, had never heard her name mentioned before my arrival yesterday. Why is that? Why did you keep her out of your letters, Fitzwilliam? You entertained me with tales of Sir William Lucas, Mr. Collins, members of the regiment and every other person who amused you during your stay at Hertfordshire. But there was not one word about a clever and witty young woman with whom you spent three days at Netherfield Park.” Georgiana paused and looked directly into her brother's eyes. “ She must mean a great deal to you, Fitzwilliam.” she said matter of factly.

Darcy winced. He had been caught, to be sure, but he would not make things worse by lying to her … nor would he tell all.

“Do not be hurt, Georgie. I thought it best to suppress my feelings for her as there was no future in it for either of us. The union would be insupportable. And why should you be encouraged to think that I had found the sister you long for when such a marriage was impossible. Miss Bennet is witty and clever,” he repeated softly, “ and sweet, and intelligent, and beautiful ….” he stopped, mid-sentence, his eyes staring out into the distance. When he returned to the present he placed his hand on Georgiana's shoulder and squeezed it. “She comes from a different world, Georgie. The family would never accept her, and I must think of my duty to Pemberley, to our family name and to you.”

“I have known her for only an hour, Fitzwilliam, and I would accept her in an instant. Elizabeth is a lady in the true sense of the word.”

“Yes, she is. She certainly is,” said Darcy softly. “Clearly, it was a mistake to bring you out here to meet her. I don't know what I was thinking. Miss Bennet was to leave Rosings several weeks ago, but when her plans changed I thought your being here would provide a distraction for me. I cannot deny that being in her company is difficult. I was being selfish.”

Georgiana looked at him quizzically and Darcy realized that his excuses were not ringing true. He needed to bring the entire conversation to an end. “Come, Georgie, forgive me, please, and let us both make the best of this awkward situation. By all means, enjoy Miss Bennet's company while you are here, and I shall try to finish up my work as quickly as possible. Then we shall return home to spend the summer together in leisure.”

Georgiana was skeptical, but said nothing. She simply put her arms around her brother and held him. The particulars of this sad situation were not yet clear to her, but she knew Fitzwilliam as well as she knew herself. He was truly suffering.


The next morning Miss de Bourge and Miss Darcy came to the Parsonage once again, but at a much more reasonable hour. They came to personally deliver an invitation to Elizabeth for lunch and perhaps, some musical amusements afterwards. Miss Darcy had hastily packed some beautiful duets once Richard had informed her of a young lady staying nearby who was also musical.

“It is a lovely invitation, Anne, but I'm afraid I shall have to decline. I cannot go off and leave Mrs. Collins yet again. We have made our plans for the day in any case.”

“Oh no! Heavens no! How thoughtless of me,” cried Anne. “Of course Mrs. Collins should come as well. I didn't mean to separate you from your friend. What a lovely party we shall make all together, don't you think?” In Anne's mind, the problem had been solved and she waited for Elizabeth's positive response.

“No Anne, it not so simple. I don't believe her Ladyship would extend a personal invitation to the Vicar's wife unless it concerned church business, do you ? Has your Mama ever invited Charlotte to dine without Mr. Collins?”

“Well, no...”

“Lady Catherine would probably accept the idea of my coming for lunch, given that Miss Darcy would like to play duets together, and perhaps, even understand that Mrs. Collins could not be left out, but.... only because you both wish it, Anne. Under normal circumstances Charlotte would never receive such an invitation again, and that would be hurtful. It is best to forget about the luncheon. Perhaps I can find some time tomorrow to play duets with you, Miss Darcy. We can all meet in Mrs. Jenkinson's room.” Elizabeth laughed, knowing full well that Miss Darcy would never be allowed in that part of the house.

“Will we see you tonight then?” asked Miss Darcy, hoping to observe Miss Bennet in her brother's company.

“No, Miss Darcy. We have not been summoned. And I do understand her Ladyship's desire to be alone with her family. After all, I believe an extended visit such as this does not occur often. I shall make every effort to make time for us to be together tomorrow.”


Over the next few days, Georgiana, Elizabeth and Anne enjoyed playing, singing and laughing together for an hour or two each afternoon. Their conversations led in all sorts of directions, enabling the ladies to get to know one another more intimately and to further strengthen their friendship. Anne kept a mental note of the number of happy days that would soon be coming to an end and wondered how she would ever endure the loneliness that then awaited her.

“Have Mr. and Mrs. Collins received an invitation to dine this evening, Elizabeth?” asked Anne, hopefully.

“No, they have not. You know her Ladyship is most content with the guests she already has at Rosings.”

“Yes, but there is a very compelling reason for us all to be together, if not tonight, then tomorrow night. I know both Richard and Fitzwilliam would love to hear the duets you and Georgiana have been preparing. And Mama would not refuse the gentlemen if they petitioned her for a concert. Georgiana and I shall speak to them this evening.” She looked to her cousin for approval.

Georgiana was anxious to finally see her brother and Elizabeth together. Did Miss Bennet reciprocate her brother's feelings? Was she disappointed that he did not show her more particular attention ... or did she already understand the reasons for his coldness?

Darcy, on the other hand, was dreading any meeting with Elizabeth in the company of his sister. “Lies will always out,” he thought, angrily. Having told Georgie the reasons for his rejection of Elizabeth, he could hardly continue to pursue her. And how would Elizabeth feel if he suddenly ignored her completely? No, that would never do! He would not, could not, injure her! They had somehow settled into a more mellow place on these evenings at Rosings and it had encouraged him. Now, instead of Georgiana being his go between, as he had hoped, her presence would keep them apart. “Damn! Damn! Damn!” What had he done? He was his own worst enemy!

On his return to Rosings that evening he was greeted with a letter from London. He recognized the hand immediately. Charles was returning the long and painful missive he had written two weeks earlier. Did he dare open it? Did he really want to know what Charles felt after learning of his sisters' conspiracy and his own interference? Had he lost a good friend forever? Darcy waited until he was in the privacy of his own bedchamber. He sat down heavily at the ornate desk and tore the seal. “There are always consequences to one's behavior,” he murmured to himself. “You're about to get your comeuppance.

To his great surprise, the letter's mood was almost giddy. Charles was elated and could barely form a cohesive sentence. In short, he had been very angry at first, but knowing that Miss Bennet was still in town, did not waste a moment on bitterness. He went to see her immediately and begged her forgiveness. Now, after ten days of intense courting, his precious Jane had accepted him. He was overjoyed! He actually thanked Darcy for having had the courage to tell him the truth.

Darcy sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. This was such good news! He was immensely happy for Charles and Miss Bennet, and very grateful that his friendship was still in tact. At least on this subject he could now breathe easy.

He was so very tired, and had been since Elizabeth's painful rejection. His depression, his inability to sleep, the brutal periods of self recrimination and loathing, his anxiety over Rosing's estate troubles and the never ending undercurrent of worry concerning Georgiana had taken its toll. He was exhausted. Weary in body and spirit. How he wished he could have a tray sent up instead of going down to dinner. He breathed in deeply and allowed his mind wonder, but then sat up abruptly and smiled!

His biggest fear, these last few weeks, had been that once Elizabeth was gone from Huntsford he might never see her again. Now he realized that Charles's letter had changed all that! How quickly life could be altered! He would now have the time and the opportunity to show Elizabeth that he could be a man worthy of her love and admiration.. The next few days would not necessarily determine his future happiness. He had been given a reprieve. He still had a chance!

Another Month Complete 5

Gaby A.July 03, 2020 04:16PM

Re: Another Month Complete 5

AntonellaMTCJuly 07, 2020 04:02AM

Re: Another Month Complete 5

Gaby A.July 07, 2020 06:28PM

Re: Another Month Complete 5

MichelleElleJuly 07, 2020 12:41AM

Re: Another Month Complete 5

Shannon KJuly 03, 2020 07:03PM


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