Darcy strode off, white with rage. He knew not how he reached the grounds of Rosings, or the house at length.

"Shall I inform her Ladyship, Sir, that you would be joining the guests presently?" asked the manservant that let him in. Darcy recollected that his relations were with the visitors from the Parsonage. He did not feel inclined to meet anyone then and told the servant that he was repairing to his quarters for the night and asked him to convey his apologies to Lady Catherine.

"Could you ask my man to prepare hot water for my bath?"

"Very well, Sir," said the man and left Darcy by the stairway. Darcy ran up into his room and shut the door forcefully. The 'bang' of the door closing coincided with his frustrated outburst,

"The humiliation!

"All this while I have struggled to control my feelings and conquer my passion; only a belief that she would accept me led me to- confess myself. Such a shameful rejection! I wish I had followed the good advice I gave Bingley!"

"...so immoveable a dislike... your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others...you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry..."

Her unbelievably mortifying words leapt into his brain at random.

"Do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man, who has been the means of ruining, perhaps forever, the happiness of a most beloved sister?"

"It is on her sister's account that she has rejected me! I could not have been wrong in that instance at least-I watched Jane Bennet so closely-although Elizabeth Bennet is probably in her sister's confidence and may be right; or she wishes to be right!"

"In what imaginary act of friendship can you here defend yourself?"

"That abominable Wickham-interfering with my life again! Is she in...love with him? I wish I knew! She thinks I wronged him?! She does not know what a rogue he is!"

"I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry"

He tore off his coat and waistcoat and tossed them on a chair by the fireside.

"Does she love him? Oh! If only I knew! First, my sister; now, Elizabeth..." He had to hold on to the railings on top of his four-poster bed to stop himself from shaking.

"You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it"

"While I have been developing an admiration, affection for her, she has been nurturing abhorrence towards me! I will not, I cannot let her keep her false impression about what happened between Wickham and me. She must know the truth. At least in that I must defend myself!"

The fact that Elizabeth thought so ill of his disposition made Darcy's head ache with shame and frustration. A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.

"Your bath is ready, Sir," announced his valet.

Darcy immersed himself into the almost-stingingly hot water.

"How do I explicate myself?" he pondered, "I cannot face her again, 'You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it...' Oh! It tortures me! I will write to her, yes, I will write to her my reasons for keeping Bingley from her sister and of my dealings with Wickham. Dare I tell her about Georgiana, though nothing exposes Wickham for what he is more than his behaviour to my beloved, innocent sister?"

His valet poured a basin of water over his heated head.

Darcy completed his bath and in a little while lay on his bed tossing, and turning; trying to sleep. He could not help going over in his mind repeatedly, the disastrous scene of the evening. As an uneasy truce between wakefulness and sleep settled on him, her condemning expressions kept recurring in his dreams.

When the first rays of the early sun fell on his face and woke him from his stupor, he had made up his mind on what he would say to Elizabeth and how much he would reveal. After washing his face, he sat down at a table near the window and began to write. Words flowed effortlessly from his pen-he never had any trouble expressing himself thus-the bitterness oppressing his heart made him more eloquent than usual.

As he neared the end of his epistle, Darcy could not help feeling that this, in all probability, was the end of any real interaction between the two of them. Tenderness made him excuse her prejudice and blame it on ignorance instead. He finished at last; he had not written such a long letter even to Georgiana. His heart bled as he added the final "God Bless You!"