There were very strange noises coming from the drawing room, accompanied by some hassled looking footmen. Although it wasn't her intended destination, Elizabeth decided it might be prudent to briefly divert her intended course, and discover what was going on.
Gently cracking open the door, her curiosity became confusion, when she beheld, sitting in front of the fireplace next to a collapsed coffee table and surrounded by a variety of smashed ornaments, a large, grey beast, apparently in peaceful slumber.
Georgiana was sitting on a delicate chaise opposite, seemingly engrossed with her needlework, and completely un-phased by her companion, who was snoring loudly.
Elizabeth stood in the doorway for several moments, on the crux of both entering and leaving, and only waiting to determine which of the two she would follow through. Hearing footsteps behind her, she found a litany of hurried servants, carrying a strange selection of objects in various directions. Despite the sudden flurry of activity, nobody seemed unduly shocked or surprised by the events. If anything, it was apparent they were well versed in what should happen in such a circumstance, and Elizabeth wondered if elephants in drawing rooms were a regular occurrence in the realms of high society. She hoped not.
Eventually, her curiosity overcame her trepidation, and she cautiously joined Georgiana in the drawing room, where a couple of footmen were attempting to cover the animal with a large blanket.
Miss Darcy looked up for her sewing, and gave Elizabeth a pleasant smile.
"Good morning Elizabeth."
"Georgiana, why is there an elephant sleeping in front of the fire place?"
"Oh! My aunt did not rest particularly well last night, as I am sure you remember her mentioning at breakfast."
Elizabeth nodded, dimly recalling the reference, and wondering how Lady Matlock's sleeping habits could be relevant.
"Well, she fell asleep in the armchair reading, and I am afraid I really didn't notice until it was too late." Georgiana cast a dark look at the elephant, who much to the disgust of the footmen, had just rolled over. It flailed about a bit, kicking a hole in the plaster, and causing a fine portrait of a sheep to fall from its placement, before settling down again in a contented rhythm. The footmen, armed with a new blanket (the previous now irrecoverably sandwiched beneath the elephant and the floor), attempted to recover the sleeping beast.
"You mean to tell me that is Lady Matlock?" asked Elizabeth incredulously.
"Yes. Family trait, though she always has the most unhelpful dreams. Richard is rarely anything but a kitten, and Jack usually takes an item of furniture."
"I see." Replied Elizabeth gravely, though she was still very much bewildered. "Does this happen frequently?" Elizabeth's thoughts strayed to the guest chambers she had had newly furnished for the Matlocks' visit.
"Not all the time, but I understand it is very much dependent on the person. It is not generally spoken of in polite company."
"I can imagine. Is there anything I should do?"
"No, not really. Now she's asleep it would be risky rousing her. She became a tree once at dinner, and when they tried to wake her, she toppled over and destroyed half the dining room. It's better if she turns back naturally."
Elizabeth was beginning to understand why Mrs Reynolds displayed a flicker of apprehension when she had informed her of the Matlock's intended visit. Half the dining room!
"You would think they would be more careful."
Georgiana pulled a tight smile that expressed her agreement
"You should probably tell my brother though. He will want to have the wall fixed."
"You are quite right." Said Elizabeth, casting another apprehensive look at the snoring heap of flesh. "I will see you later." She dropped a light kiss on her forehead, and left in search of Fitzwilliam, finding the whole encounter fairly surreal.
"If Georgiana is to be believed, the elephant in the drawing room is in fact your aunt."
Elizabeth paced before of her husband's desk, as he watched her with an irritating calmness.
"I trust the servants are doing what they can."
"They seem to know what they are about."
There was a pause, where Elizabeth stopped pacing, and Darcy pursed his lips in thought.
"Has this upset you?"
She sighed, and sat down. "I wish you had told me."
"I apologize. I confess, it slipped my mind." This earned him an incredulous look. "They avoid falling asleep in company!"
"You stay in the same house as Richard regularly!"
"My aunt is the only one with a flair for the… dramatic. Richard happens to have an affinity for kittens."
"So I hear." Replied Elizabeth wryly. "Well, Lady Matlock's 'flair for the dramatic' has kicked a hole in the wall, and broken both a coffee table and an arm chair, and probably some of the miniatures and the carriage clock. Georgiana thought you should know."
"Don't worry, it was the green one."
There was another pause, but without the tension, as each repressed a smirk.
"You know, I had never seen a real elephant before."
"I wouldn't get your hopes too high. To my knowledge, neither has my aunt."