Chapter 7: They Meet Again

Elizabeth woke on Monday morning with an air of uneasiness. She had spent the previous day with her family. They attended church in the morning and enjoyed a quiet afternoon at home. Her aunt and uncle were everything gracious and generous. Both seemed to notice her disquiet, but neither inquired about it. She could not ask for better family to comfort and support her, but she still felt uneasy telling them of her betrothal.

She did not even understand her difficulty. She had already spoken of it to Jane and had written a letter to Mr. Darcy herself. She wondered that her uncle did not question why she was writing to a gentleman, but most likely, he did not see it, for she had finished it only moments before the post had been picked up.

While she prepared her toilette and ate her breakfast, she pondered over her feelings. Perhaps it was his silence that disturbed her. She had written the last part of her letter to him in haste, and he had apparently heeded her words. Miss Bingley would not have come otherwise. Was his absence now an indication of his anger towards her for demanding his action? She would not have an answer until she saw him again.

The rest of the morning afforded no more clarity. In the afternoon, the post arrived with a very thick letter for her.

"Elizabeth, who has written to you?" Mrs. Gardiner looked at the letter with curiosity, although she knew it must be from Hertfordshire.

Before Elizabeth could catch herself, she blushed. It must be from Mr. Darcy! She could recognize the fine script from her previous letters. She gasped as she read the direction. "It is from Longbourn."

Mrs. Gardiner laughed at Elizabeth's confusion. "Well, of course it is. Your only other correspondents are in Kent, and you only just finished seeing them. It seems that everyone has written something in your letter, for it is very large. Go on and read it, if you please. It has been some time since I have heard the absurdities your mother creates, and I could use some amusement."

Elizabeth hastily looked at Jane, who was far from suspicious about the letter. One nod confirmed to Jane that the letter had been written by Mr. Darcy. Unsure of how to escape the embarrassment, she opened the letter and perused the pages. Only one page was dedicated to Mr. Darcy's letter. Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, and Mr. Bennet had also written. In a bid for time, she dropped the letters to the floor and hastily moved to collect them together.

Slowly, she read the list of who had written to her, stating Mr. Darcy's name last. When she finished, she looked up to see her aunt's confused face.

"Why is Mr. Darcy at Longbourn?"

Elizabeth looked down at her father's letter and read the first paragraph before replying. "He needed to give my father the settlement papers." Her voice was more timid than she had ever used before. Unfortunately, her aunt did not back down in her curiosity.

"Settlement! Who is he to marry?"

Elizabeth finally looked up and defiantly said, "Me." There, it was out in the open. Her cowardice was over.

While her aunt now expected that response, she was no less shocked. "When were you going to tell Edward and me about your engagement?"

Elizabeth wished she had a logical explanation for this, but she could think of nothing. Why had she waited so long? Was she hoping for an escape? It did not seem practical. "I do not know for certain. I am unfamiliar with the circumstances myself. It happened very suddenly. I have not even spoken to him since we became engaged."

Mrs. Gardiner laughed before responding, thoroughly shocking Elizabeth. "From you, I would expect nothing less. I remember your opinion of him in December. Let me guess. You refused him when he first proposed to you."

Elizabeth could not prevent a small smile escaping, either from the memory dancing through her mind or from her aunt's uncanny response. "I refused him most adamantly. I am ashamed of what I said then." She continued and explained the events of the previous week. It was a shock for her to realize that it had not even been a fortnight since the proposal. After half an hour, her story was caught up to the letters in her hand. She began reading aloud with her mother's letter.

Longbourn, Hertfordshire

Sunday, April 19, 1812

Dearest Lizzy,

I always knew you would make a splendid match one day. Mr. Darcy is a treasure, and it was very sly of you to catch him while he was visiting his aunt. I will have to ask you all about it when you return. If your sisters were to employ your methods, they could all be married within the year. Just think of all the money you will have. You must encourage him to buy you a new carriage if he does not think of it himself. That is what is expected from a rich gentleman. You will be able to buy all the trinkets and clothes you wish with your pin money, but your carriage should be a present from him. Such is the fashion.

Mr. Bennet has refused to let me set a date, stating that you must be the one to decide. Do not wait too long! He will go elsewhere if he feels undesired. Encourage him in any way you can. I am including this letter with Mr. Darcy, since he was adamant about writing to you this evening so that it could travel on the post carriages first thing in the morning. I do not even have time to list out the warehouses where you must purchase your fabrics. Nothing from any of the Meryton or Longbourn shops will do. You must purchase your material in London.

If you can manage it, you must order some new dresses before you return. I am certain Mr. Darcy has seen all of the dresses you own at this point, and you must not bore him with the ordinary. Your neckline has been very modest, but now it is appropriate for that to change. To think that you will be the first to marry makes my heart flutter. I am so happy for you.

Mr. Darcy sat in church with us this morning, and he looked so regal in his fine clothing. Lady Lucas and many others were dripping with envy when we announced that you two were to marry. Sir William is to host a dinner in your honor as soon as you return. Be ready with a new dress! I believe you will look the most alluring in a dark blue fabric, since it will hide your dark skin. Your lighter dresses make you look very dark. I do not understand why you always prefer them.

I must end now. The light is hurting my eyes. I work so hard to help you. Where would you be without me?

Francine Bennet

Elizabeth had blushed and faltered a few times as she read the letter, but her response was more that of amusement than alarm. Telling her aunt had lifted a burden from her shoulders, and she now felt equal to the tasks ahead of her. She shifted to her sister's letter.

Dearest Lizzy,

You have quite a catch in your hands now. You must remember me when you are so very rich and cannot think what to do with your money. I need more pretty things than you because I will look better in them. We all know I am tall and beautiful and you are, well, Papa would scold me if he knew what I would say. He has been very cold this past week. I actually heeded his words when he asked me to pick flowers for the tenant children, such was his distemper. At least I was able to make pretty packets of them before giving them to the poor Fitzgeralds who will destroy them within minutes. I cannot believe how well you have done for yourself. It is good of you to marry rich so that we may spend your money.

Mama says I will join you next season in town. I will not waste the time reading like you will, to be sure. It will be such fun. You must agree to house me and buy me a new wardrobe. Nothing I own now will do. Mama agrees with me. We were talking of it before your Mr. Darcy started writing you a letter and Papa said we should all write something. Mary and Kitty were not in the room at the time, so they have written nothing. I suppose I should say something about them sending their love, but I do not feel like it.

I hope to see you when you return, and if you do not have at least one new dress for me, I will tear your bed clothes. It is the least you can do considering Wickham is no longer part of the regiment. I want to believe that Mr. Darcy had something to do with it, but he was not in town at the time. If you have not heard, Mr. Wickham was discharged after some debts from the village shops came to light. He has not been seen since. The poor man has been sorely used by someone, I simply cannot think who. His pretty face has been missed at every party. Mary King has been whisked away by an uncle, so he cannot even marry her to pay the debts they say he has.

Your sister,


"Well, I cannot say that I am surprised by her reaction. What can she mean by speaking of Mr. Wickham like that?" Mrs. Gardiner exclaimed.

Elizabeth was fighting an inner battle and thus could not respond to her aunt until the question was repeated. "I am sorry, aunt. You must remember we all thought well of him at Christmas time. I know better now, but Lydia will never hear reason, even if we tell her the truth. I do not believe we should tell her anything, however. I do not trust her to keep silent. She has always been a gossip. Let her continue pining for him in his glory."

Jane gasped. "Lizzy, you are unkind. If Mr. Wickham has left Meryton, so much the better. We have no need to speak ill of Mr. Wickham now, even if he is a bad person. Besides, I do not believe Mr. Darcy would wish for his tale to become known."

"You are right, Jane. It will be unnecessary, and as you said, Mr. Darcy would not wish for his history to be known. He is a very private man." Elizabeth shifted her letters to read the introduction from her father. Without warning, tears began forming in her eyes. She quickly blinked them back before excusing herself. "I am tired, Aunt. I should like to retire now, if I may. I can read the rest of the letters to you later."

Mrs. Gardiner allowed Elizabeth to flee and took the seat next to Jane. "We must help her see the good in Mr. Darcy, Jane. If we do not, she might stubbornly go on hating him. I wonder when he will come. Does he know where we live?"

"Yes, aunt. We wrote to him on our first night here. I wonder that you did not notice. I suppose we should have said something about it. My thoughts were that Lizzy would tell you. She always confided everything to you before."

"I have never had cause to worry about who you write to before. I had assumed you were writing to your mother, especially since you were together. It certainly was no love note based on your facial expressions at the time."

Jane laughed. "No, it was not a love note. She was angry, but I believe she has warmed to him since she came here. I hope what he has written helps her. She deserves the best."

Mrs. Gardiner smiled warmly. "As do you, my dear. Do you look forward to seeing Mr. Bingley again? We cannot pretend that he is not behind his sister visiting you the other day."

Jane paled. "I do not suppose that he will renew his attention to me. He is very amiable. I will… be pleased if we can be… friends, especially considering his closest friend will be marrying my sister."

Knowing how much Jane must be feeling, Mrs. Gardiner let the subject drop. The two moved to the kitchen to speak to the cook about dinner plans before attending the children. They avoided Elizabeth's room for the rest of the afternoon. Near the end of respectable visiting hours, Mrs. Gardiner ordered tea for her and her family, assuming no one would call. They rarely had visitors, but Mrs. Gardiner had been prepared all the same. Elizabeth came downstairs with a smile that almost reached her dry eyes. There was no mention of the letters or Elizabeth's betrothal until a commotion at the front door caused quite a stir.

Mr. Gardiner, returning home from the warehouse, arrived at the same time as a grand carriage stopped in front of the steps. Therefore, he met Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy on the front steps of the house. Mr. Darcy with all his grandeur stood silent, wondering how he would be received and how much her family knew of their situation. Mr. Bingley, on the other hand, was impatient to see Jane again and began immediately to shake Mr. Gardiner's hand.

"Hello, good sir. My name is Charles Bingley. My sister and I are friends of Miss Bennet and her sister. When Darcy told me he intended to call on them, I insisted that I come along. I hope you are willing to receive us." Mr. Bingley, good man that he was, assumed Mr. Darcy already knew Elizabeth's family and would have no difficulties.

Mr. Gardiner stood warily in front of the gentlemen. Knowing the story of Mr. Bingley abandoning Jane, and remembering the visit from Miss Bingley a few days previous, he felt he needed to be guarded, especially since he had seen how heartbroken Jane was over the winter. The title of friend seemed more than farfetched. Civility, however, dictated that he invite the gentlemen in. "My name is Edward Gardiner. My nieces, Jane and Elizabeth, are staying with me. I have heard much of you Mr. Bingley. Who is your friend, if I may be so bold as to ask?"

Mr. Bingley sputtered. "I thought you knew Mr. Darcy. My apologies. Mr. Gardiner, this is my very good friend who stayed with me in Hertfordshire where we met the Bennets, Mr. Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire."

Mr. Darcy bowed respectfully and offered his hand to Mr. Gardiner. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Gardiner." He correctly realized that Mr. Gardiner's lack of recognition of the name meant Elizabeth had not yet told him of the engagement.

"It is a pleasure to meet you. Please, follow me inside. My wife likes to meet everyone she can from Derbyshire. She spent part of her youth in Lambton, if you are familiar with that village."

"Lambton is not five miles from my home." Mr. Darcy responded as they passed through the entry and into the parlor, where the ladies were sitting in stunned silence. While he sounded indifferent, he was anything but. Many thoughts were swirling around his mind.

Mr. Gardiner recognized the silence as ill-boding, but he made the introductions nonetheless. "Magdalena, Elizabeth, Jane, Maria, this is Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. They claim an acquaintance with Jane and Elizabeth." He looked pointedly at his nieces, who appeared very distressed by the introduction.

Jane could not speak, such was her surprise at seeing Mr. Bingley again. He looked every bit as handsome as before, and he smiled shyly at her. He seemed to be as worried about her reception as she was about receiving him.

Mrs. Gardiner, now knowing what had passed between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, looked awkwardly at Elizabeth, signaling for her to enlighten Mr. Gardiner without delay. Elizabeth rose and curtseyed to the gentlemen before turning to her uncle.

"Yes, Uncle. Mr. Bingley leased Netherfield the previous autumn. Mr. Darcy is a very close friend of his. I gave him permission to… call upon me." Elizabeth could feel Mr. Darcy's eyes boring into her, however, she felt unequal to turning to him.

Mr. Gardiner barely allowed Elizabeth to finish speaking before he replied in a controlled but angry fashion. "How and when did you give him permission to call upon you?"

"Uncle Edmond, I meant to tell you earlier. Mr. Darcy and I are… engaged."

"And when were you planning on telling Magdalena and me?"

Elizabeth lifted her chin. "My aunt knows, and I have now told you. Shall we have tea?" She did not wait for a response before she claimed her seat and poured tea for the three gentlemen. Her knees would not have supported her much longer.

After a quick look from his wife, Mr. Gardiner took his seat quietly. Civility must be maintained for now, but he would make certain all of his questions would be answered after dinner.

The cold reception from Mr. Gardiner made Mr. Bingley pause before sitting beside Jane. It was another few moments before he could apologize for not calling previously. Had he known Jane had been in town, he would have most emphatically called before now. Mr. Gardiner was not appeased, but Jane visibly softened towards him. They were able to converse sporadically with help from Mrs. Gardiner.

The same could not be said for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. He could not take his seat, such was his fear of her reception. The animosity and confusion, which floated so thick in the room, prevented camaraderie. After what seemed like years to the two of them but was really only about five minutes, Elizabeth looked up at Mr. Darcy for the first time since their previous encounter. Gone was his demeanor of indifference. Here was a man who was hurt and afraid. The master of Pemberley had been reduced to almost nothing. She instantly took pity on him and motioned for him to sit beside herself. After a deep breath, she began with, "Good afternoon, sir. I trust you are well."

Speaking was difficult, and Mr. Darcy could not manage more than an unfeeling, "I am well, thank you."

Elizabeth read into those words everything she needed to know. He repented his actions, and he did not know where to go from here. She smiled and relaxed immediately. "How do you prefer your tea?"

Mr. Darcy did not apprehend her new attitude, but he was grateful that she was trying to be civil. It was more than he deserved. "I prefer my tea with only a small helping of cream and no sugar. Thank you."

After fixing the tea, Elizabeth gently handed the tea cup to him. Their hands brushed together as he took the cup, sending a small shiver through her arm. She attempted to ignore the feelings that her body were stirring. "What are your plans for the rest of this week?"

"I have no fixed engagements beyond dinner with the Bingleys. Is there anywhere you wish to go?" Mr. Darcy looked down at his tea as he spoke, feeling the anguish caused by her indifference.

"There has not been time to think of anything." She lowered her voice. "Thank you for speaking to your friend. It could not have been easy for you."

Mr. Darcy was relieved that she was finally speaking sensibly to him. "Nothing of late has been easy, but you were correct about everything."

"Not everything." Elizabeth immediately thought of her mistaken impression of Mr. Wickham's character. Wanting to change the subject, she said, "I received your letter this afternoon. It was very kind of you to write."

"I wanted to keep you informed of my doings, but I was not certain how you would respond."

"You have made my mother very happy. I am afraid you will never be free from her nervous complaints. Her letter was full of instructions on how I should behave. She worries that you will lose interest in me if I continue as I have done."

Mr. Darcy looked at her closely. She was just as beautiful as ever, especially with the warm blush spreading over her cheeks. "You have no need to take her advice, for it would be impossible for me to lose interest in you. I only wish to please you, as you deserve."

"Thank you."

Following this conversation, silence reigned, but it was not as uncomfortable as it had been at the beginning. A very small weight lifted off their shoulders as they realized that both of them would work together to be happy in their future.

The silence was not broken until Mrs. Gardiner moved to sit close enough to join their nonexistent conversation. "Mr. Darcy, will you stay for dinner? I remember that your estate is Pemberley. I grew up in Lambton, and I heard much of your family from your tenants. As I recall, your mother and father were very well respected in our town. I should like to hear about Pemberley, but there will not be time if you do not stay for dinner."

Mr. Darcy looked to Elizabeth, and, when she nodded, he accepted the invitation. "I would be pleased to stay for dinner." The relief that came over him to know Elizabeth did not mind his presence was palpable, and he felt he could finally breathe with ease. "Who did you stay with during your time in Lambton? Was your family living there?"

"No, I was staying with an aunt while my mother was ill. I was ten at the time. I had such a good time that I remained for a few years after my mother recovered. My aunt was much older than my mother, so she welcomed my help."

Mr. Darcy felt he needed to continue the conversation, although he was uncomfortable. Speaking with strangers never came easily for him, but Miss Elizabeth had told him to practice the art of conversing with strangers during their first evening at Rosings. This seemed his first opportunity to show her he was taking her words to heart. "What is your aunt's name?"

"Julie Denvers. She had married John Denvers, the blacksmith, the year before I came to stay with her."

"I knew Mr. Denvers. He came every time we needed to shoe a horse. He was an excellent blacksmith. I never met Mrs. Denvers."

"Of course, you did not. You would have had to travel to Lambton, for she never followed John when he went to work. She kept a very clean house, and she had to spend hours keeping it up. My coming helped her get ahead of the dust that her husband would bring home. She hated baking, so that was my main occupation. She had always said that baking reminded her of the smithy and the soot her husband would carry around on his clothes." She laughed lightly at her memory.

Elizabeth sat in awe, watching Mr. Darcy slowly open up to her aunt. She could see that he was clearly enjoying the conversation. She was so happy that when he looked around, he caught her smiling at him. The smile was infectious, and Mr. Darcy gave his betrothed a soft smile in return.

Mrs. Gardiner felt like she was interrupting a private moment, so she quietly turned away to speak with Mr. Gardiner. With the others engrossed in their partners, she was able to give her husband a quick update to Elizabeth's situation. While she could not say much, she was able to relay the more important points.

Mr. Darcy barely noticed Mrs. Gardiner's exit. He was beyond pleased to see her smile. He had been certain that he would never be graced with another. Emboldened, he moved his hand and placed it lightly on hers.

Elizabeth felt the contact, and the shock of it made her confused so she looked away. Sensing that he had pushed her too far, he removed his hand. Elizabeth did not recover quickly, but a few moments later, she returned to their conversation. "There is still an hour or two before dinner, and I promised to take my cousins to the park. Would you care to join us?"

"I would be pleased to join you." Mr. Darcy spoke with a dejected tone, although he tried to hide his disappointment.

With his acquiescence, she turned to Jane and Mr. Bingley. They readily decided to go for a walk as well, so Elizabeth and Jane departed to fetch the children. Mr. Gardiner used their absence to speak with Mr. Darcy.

"You must allow me to apologize for my earlier rudeness, sir. I knew neither who you were nor how you were connected with Elizabeth. You will be welcome here at any time."

"Thank you, Mr. Gardiner. I appreciate your honesty. I understand your reticence. I have a sister who is about to enter society. I am her guardian, and I cannot imagine I would be calm if I were to experience your circumstances."

"Then I hope you have no such trouble with your sister." Mr. Gardiner only slightly relaxed. A pregnant pause filled the room for a few minutes before little Edward ran into the room yelling for his mother to button up his jacket.

Mrs. Gardiner was glad for the distraction, and she led her son from the room in time to see Elizabeth open the front door. The other children were quietly standing with her. Mrs. Gardiner admonished her children to behave before she ushered them out the door. She had nearly shut the door when Mr. Darcy came into the hallway with Mr. Bingley and Jane right behind him. They slowly followed Elizabeth who had run ahead with the children to the park.

She reached the park out of breath, and she continued running with Eddie as he chased a group of pigeons until the others caught up. She paused when Mr. Darcy offered her his arm and they walked around the park in silence for one turn before Elizabeth finally gathered her courage enough to speak during the second turn. "I suppose you are preparing to scold me for behaving so unladylike in a public place."

"I assure you I would say no such thing."

"I would not wish for you to keep your thoughts to yourself. I know that running is improper at my age. My cousins sometimes make me forget myself."

Mr. Darcy scowled at this description of his thoughts. "Miss Elizabeth, while it is true that running is deemed improper in polite society, I have no qualms with your behavior. I would not wish for you to change for me. I have never found your behavior lacking in any way. In truth, your lively ways are what drew me to you in the beginning. Have no fear of a reprimand from me."

Elizabeth was shocked. She had always assumed he disapproved of her ways when he stared at her so frequently. While she had begun to think he was not demeaning her with his looks, now he confirmed that he had been admiring her all that time. "Thank you, sir."

"You have no need to thank me."

"I feel as though I am only now getting to know you."

"In a way, that is true. I was very reserved with you before. I had assumed you were aware of my attentions in Hertfordshire. I thought you were expecting my addresses. Your behavior when you refused me opened my eyes to how unworthy I was of your affection. Your family's behavior during my last visit with them also helped me to see how abominably I behaved over the autumn in Hertfordshire. I hope that I have begun to repair that damage. I would not want you to be uncomfortable in your hometown whenever we visit."

Elizabeth smiled, although he could not see it. "I am relieved to hear you say so. Your letter said something similar." She paused as they came around another corner. This time the silence was more enjoyable. They were not interrupted until Eddie ran over to tell Elizabeth about the spectacular way he had caught his older brother. "Very well done, Eddie, but now you are covered in dirt. I believe it is time to return home before your coat is completely ruined." To prevent his arguing, she released Mr. Darcy's arm to claim Eddie's hand and ran away, laughing and teasing as she went.

The children and Elizabeth returned to the house much faster than Mr. Darcy, Jane, and Mr. Bingley could walk. As a result, she had to wait at the door to welcome her guests upon their return. Mrs. Gardiner watched the interaction from the parlor window. While very little affection was displayed by the foursome, it was enough for her to settle her concern over her nieces' futures.

Dinner was fairly solemn. With the entire group close enough for no private discourse, the conversation frequently lagged. Those that chose to speak could not find enough neutral topics to keep the conversation flowing. Most were lost in thought throughout the dinner, barely even noticing the others at the table unless specifically called to contribute. The gentlemen did not stay long after dinner. However, Mr. Darcy was able to have a quiet conversation with Elizabeth before he left.

"Have you thought about when you would prefer to marry?" He prompted as they sat down on a sofa away from the others.

"Yes, however, I have not come to a decision."

"I understand. Do you have any plans for the summer?"

"Yes, my aunt and uncle have invited me on a tour of the lakes with them in July. I would like to join them."

Mr. Darcy kept his face stern as he realized that he could not force her to hurry. He had no desire to force her hand any more than he already had, but he could not deny that he looked forward to marrying her despite her reluctance. "Very well, perhaps we can set a date when you return." He paused for a moment before he added, "It is late, and I did not tell Georgiana that I would not return for dinner. She will worry for me if I do not return soon."

"Then you had better go." Elizabeth kept her voice calm, but she was relieved that he was leaving.

"May I call tomorrow?"

Mrs. Gardiner, who had been listening to their conversation from a short distance away, interrupted to say, "That would be lovely, Mr. Darcy, however, I believe we must begin to shop for a new wardrobe for Elizabeth and Jane. Their mother gave explicit instructions in her letter."

Mr. Darcy smiled. "I am certain she did. She gave me very explicit instructions as well. I am to hold a ball while you are still here, and I need to order a carriage for you before we marry as well." He looked at Elizabeth and hoped she caught his teasing.

"That sounds very like her, but I cannot see you hosting a ball on such short notice. We will return to Hertfordshire in a fortnight."

"It can be arranged. My aunt, Lady Susan, will know everything that needs to be arranged and would even write the invitations if I asked her to. Let me think, Next Tuesday is the full moon, so perhaps Wednesday will be a good night. I assume you would be available."

Mrs. Gardiner beamed. "My sister will be thrilled to hear your news, sir. We have no engagements, so we would be delighted to attend, assuming you manage everything for the ball. We will not consider it a slight if you decide to postpone the ball until our next time together in London."

"I would be honored if you would attend. I shall manage the preparations. My staff is very well trained for such things. I should really be going now. Can the carriage be sent for?"

"I will call a servant." Elizabeth dashed out of the room. When she returned, she found everyone seated around the pianoforte.

Mrs. Gardiner stood to greet her. "There is some time before the carriage will be ready, Elizabeth. Would you favor us with a song? It has been a long time since we have had enough company to constitute an evening party."

Elizabeth agreed and sat down at the pianoforte. She riffled through the sheets until she found a song that was appropriate. Jane turned the pages for her while everyone else listened with rapt attention. Mr. Darcy sat closest to Elizabeth, and he had a good view of her profile. She did not sing, but she did shyly glance at him every once in a while. When she finished, he was the first to applaud her.

Before she could begin again, a servant entered to announce the carriage's arrival, and Elizabeth and Jane escorted the gentlemen to the front door. The goodbye was short and to the point, and both gentlemen felt momentarily discouraged that they were not able to have more time with their ladies. While they rode towards Mr. Darcy's townhouse, Mr. Bingley noted that the visit had been very productive and that Jane had forgiven him wholeheartedly. Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, felt he had made some progress today, but he knew that the day was not much of a success compared to what hurdles he needed to pass in order to win Elizabeth's heart.