What do you suppose has become of our beloved couple after they stood before God and family in the church at Meryton to take their wedding vows? As we listen, we hear that their story has not come to an end, but rather has only just begun. When we look, Through the Window, we catch a glimpse into their daily lives, we can share in the moments of our beloved couple as their story is unfolding. Each moment has been captured and carefully written down to share here with you. Through the Window, is William and Elizabeth's story.
So please find a comfy old chair, pour yourself a cup of tea and take a moment as we catch up with William and Elizabeth and learn of their struggles and triumphs, their joys, and sorrows, as they live, laugh, and love each moment of their life at Pemberley and beyond.
In Book One, of Through the Window, come along as Elizabeth and Darcy travel to Longbourn to rescue Mary from a most terrible fate.
Chapter One: An Autumn Walk
Elizabeth came down the stairs to find her husband still busy working in his study. "William, I am going to go for a walk," she announced before turning and heading back over to the door.
Darcy looked up. "Elizabeth, could you wait a moment?" he called out to her. "It is rather chilly outside, are you sure you should go for a walk this morning? The weather here can be rather unpredictable at this time of year. If the weather should change, I do not want you to get caught in a storm."
She walked over and looked out the window. The skies were clear, but she knew William was only concerned for her well-being, so she smiled. "I will take my bonnet and wear my coat. Please do not concern yourself. I shall not be gone long," she assured him. "I promise if I so much as see a cloud I will return to the house at once."
He smiled at her; he knew she would not be so easily dissuaded. He pulled his watch from his pocket to check the time. "What direction are you headed?" he asked her.
"I am not sure. I thought about heading down towards the apple orchards. I wanted to see the Autumn colors in full bloom," she told him. "You and Georgiana made it sound so beautiful that I thought I should like to see it for myself."
Darcy hesitated for a moment. He looked down at his books and then up at her. She looked so beautiful standing there before him. He wanted to share the beauty of Pemberley's Autumn with her. "I will come along with you," he told her as he closed his ledger and put away his pen.
Elizabeth felt bad. It was not her intention to interrupt him while he was going over his books. "Oh William, I did not mean to distract you by coming in here as I did," she told him. "I know you wanted to go over your accounts this morning. I can manage on my own. I do promise not to be too long," she told him again. "You should stay and finish going over your accounts."
Darcy stood up and walked over toward her. "I know that you can manage very well without me," he told her as he wrapped his arms around her waist. "But I do not wish for you to do so," he said as he looked into her eyes. "It has been my intention to show you around Pemberley for some time. I intended to do so before now, but I allowed myself to get distracted with other things. I very much wanted to share some of my favorite spots with you. I hoped we might enjoy the colors of Autumn as they reach their peak. So, if you do not mind I would like to escort you on your walk?"
Elizabeth smiled, she had no objections to his joining her. "Well then, I would be very happy to have your company," she told him. "Just let me go and get my coat and bonnet, and we can be on our way."
Darcy followed her out to the front closet and retrieved his coat as well. Before long they were headed out the side door and walking down the path to the gardens. She looked at all the flowers and shrubs as they walked along the path. "I think it very beautiful…even now in late autumn with winter around the corner. I still find these gardens so lovely," she commented.
Darcy looked around him. Most of the flowers had all died off and lost their petals. "That is one of the things I love about you, my darling Elizabeth," he began to say, "You see beauty even in dying flowers and shrubs," he teased her.
Elizabeth laughed. "They are not dying, Mr. Darcy," she pretended to scold him. "They are merely going to sleep for the winter. Then come next spring, when the winter chill is gone, and the snows have all melted away, at just the right appointed time they will awaken and come to life once again," she said softly. "I do not see the gardens as dying off," she told him. "Instead I choose to see the promise of what they will be again in the spring when you and I will walk this path and enjoy their magnificent beauty and sweet perfume."
Darcy looked over at her with admiration. "You do have a rather poetic way of describing it, I must admit," he said as he considered her words. "Perhaps I will have to look upon this garden with new understanding now. You have opened my eyes to see what it can be…"
"That is very kind of you to say, my love," Elizabeth said. "I have always thought to look for the beauty in things whenever possible. It has helped make the long gray days of winter seem less dreary," she told him as they walked on down the path.
Darcy took in a deep breath and let out a small sigh. "I suppose I have often struggled with this time of year. It was at this time when my mother first grew ill," he began to say. "I can remember walking this very path after the doctor was called. I was not allowed to be in the house at the time, so I explored the gardens to occupy my time. I remember thinking how very sad the flowers looked and how very sad I was feeling at the time. I think even then, deep down I knew my mother was dying, but I did not want to come to terms with it. She had grown increasingly weaker that summer and stayed mainly in her rooms. It was a very difficult time for me," he admitted.
Elizabeth stopped and turned towards him. She searched his eyes and saw the faint glimmer of that sadness remained still. "I am sorry William, I did not intend for my words to bring up such sad and painful memories."
He pulled her into his arms and smiled. "Do not concern yourself, my love," he told her. "I was merely sharing some very old and deep wounds with you just now because, for the first time in my life, I felt that I could," he told her. "You see before I met you I could not share these things with anyone. But with you, Elizabeth, I know I can speak freely and entrust my heart."
She was moved by both his love and confidence in her. "Oh, William thank you for telling me." She whispered softly trying to keep her emotions in check. She reached up and gently caressed his cheek.
Darcy looked into her eyes and pulled her close, he leaned down and placed a soft and tender kiss upon her lips. "Now, my dear, shall we continue our walk?"
Elizabeth nodded her head yes, and then wrapped her arm in his as they made their way down away from the house. The air was crisp for November, but there was little wind, so walking was not uncomfortable. "Of course, it is a bit late in the season, some of the trees have already lost their leaves," he told her. "The apples will have already been picked for the season," Darcy explained as they walked towards the orchards. "In fact, I am sure Mr. Hathaway has already chosen some of the best of the crop to send up to Mrs. Dawson for cooking."
"I think you are right, when I was speaking to Mrs. Dawson about what meals to prepare for the week I saw Mr. Hathaway come up around the back to bring her apples," Elizabeth told him, then said. "Mrs. Dawson did mention that she would be making fresh apple cobbler this evening. She commented that it was one of your very favorite desserts."
Darcy smiled. "I must admit, I do love her apple cobbler," he told her. "Mr. Dawson
makes a very delicious cider as well. I think you will like it."
"Hill used to make apple wine for us all the time," Elizabeth told him. "It is one of my father's favorites. When we were younger, Jane and I looked forward to helping her."
Darcy stopped near the top of the orchards. "It seems we are just a bit late to see the leaves at their peak of color. I am afraid they have already changed," he told her as he pointed towards the tree line. "Next year we shall come sooner, and I will show you some of my favorite places."
Elizabeth looked out over the fields towards the trees. The leaves were beautiful with lots of bright yellows and dark copper orange hues setting a warm glow against the sunlit sky. "Oh, it is still very beautiful William," she whispered as they began walking further along. "You must have had such grand adventures playing in these woods as a young boy," she said.
Darcy looked over at her and nodded his head. "Richard and I did spend a good deal of our time here," he told her. "In fact," he said pointing over towards a large old maple tree just near the end of the path. "That tree is where Richard broke his arm."
Elizabeth's eyes opened wider. "Oh no! How did that happen?" she asked.
He smiled as his thoughts returned to those days. "Richard and I often played with Mr. Hathaway's children once our work was finished for the day. John was the oldest of Mr. Hathaway's boys. He and Richard often competed against each other. One particular afternoon there was some discussion as to who could climb the highest in that tree. Of course, Richard said he could go higher than John, and the two of them argued until it was decided they both would climb the tree at the same time. Whoever got to the highest point was the winner. So, they both began climbing from one limb to the other. Things were going pretty well until one of the branches gave way and down came both John and Richard."
Elizabeth gasped as her eyes opened wider. "How awful for them both," she said as she imagined the entire scene. "So, Colonel Fitzwilliam broke his arm, but what happened to John? Was he injured as well?"
Darcy tried to remember. "As I recall, John sprained his leg. They both spent the rest of the summer laid up in bed and were forbidden to climb any more trees," he told her. "The funny thing about that day was after that time they became very good friends. In fact, John went into the military with Richard."
Elizabeth smiled, "And John, what became of him? Does he still come to visit his father?"
Darcy nodded his head. "Yes, he does still come every year in the early spring to see him," he told her. "When next he comes, I will introduce you if you like?"
"I would like that very much," she told him as they made their way back down towards the orchards. "Tell me some more of your childhood memories," she encouraged him. "Were you a very active little boy?"
"I was," he told her. "When Richard was not here with me, I spent a good deal of my time playing with Wickham, and Mr. Hathaway's children," he said to her. "I raced up and down these woods, played in the leaves, had apple wars, and even received my first kiss very near here," he commented.
Elizabeth laughed. "Oh really," she said with more interest. "Tell me, Mr. Darcy, who was this fair young lady who charmed you into behaving so recklessly as to steal a kiss?" she teased.
His eyes narrowed, as he thought for a moment. "No, as a true gentleman I cannot reveal her name," he told her, then continued, "I can, however, say that as a very mature young lad of four years old, she was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. I remember very clearly thinking that I had found my one true love."
"Oh, you must have been so adorable," Elizabeth said as she imagined her husband as a toddler giving his first kiss.
Darcy laughed. "I am sure that I was very charming, although, as I recall she did not think so," he told her. "After I kissed her she promptly wiped her cheek and ran away crying to her mother."
Elizabeth laughed. "Oh poor William, to be rejected so young, how you must have felt it," she teased him.
"It was a devastating blow to be sure," he let out a heavy sigh and smiled at her. "Alas, it was not to be," he told her as he took her hand in his and they continued walking.
The sound of the fallen leaves crunching beneath their feet as they walked reminded Elizabeth of some of her favorite things about this time of year. "I have always loved the Autumn season," she told him as she stopped and reached down to pick up a leaf from the ground. "The harvest, the preparation for winter, the smells...it is all so familiar, so comforting," she said with a touch of melancholy in her voice. "This time of year, Jane and I would usually spend our afternoons helping Hill with storing the fruits and vegetables from the gardens. Charlotte would come to visit, and we would take long walks to Meryton together to explore the newest books Mr. Mills would have come into his shop. And then, of course, we would often sit together by the fire in the evening, either reading or doing our needlework."
Darcy thought he detected a bit of sadness in her voice. "Are you missing home Elizabeth?" he asked her. "I only ask because I have noticed over the past few days you have seemed a little melancholy."
She turned back towards him and smiled. "Oh, I suppose it is only natural that I might be missing it just a little," she admitted. "But do not mistake my present mood, William, I am so very happy here with you," she assured him.
Darcy walked over and wrapped his arms around her. "Perhaps we should send a note to Jane and Charles, ask them to come and spend some time with us at Pemberley," he suggested. "You could also invite your sister Kitty if you like."
Elizabeth smiled, "Not yet," she told him playfully. "I do miss my sisters, but we have only returned to Pemberley a few short weeks ago," she said to him. "It is too soon to share you with others," she said as she reached up on her tiptoes and kissed him.
Darcy pulled her closer as their kiss deepened. He loved that she was so willing to demonstrate her love and desire for him as he was for her. In all ways, they were a perfect match. As he pulled back and looked into her eyes, he whispered softly. "I have no wish to share you either," he told her. "But I want you to be happy."
Elizabeth laid her head against his chest and let out a small contented sigh. "Oh William, I am very happy," she told him. "I could spend all my days right here with you, in your arms and be perfectly content."
Darcy smiled, "I find myself feeling the exact same way," he told her just as a cold north wind came up and blew the leaves up around them. The chill in the air took Elizabeth off guard, and she shivered just a little. Darcy let her go then helped pull her coat up closer around her shoulders. "We should be heading back," he told her.
Elizabeth looked up towards the sky and saw the first signs of clouds moving in. "I suppose you are right," she said reluctantly. The wind blew harder, and the skies grew darker. "It does look as if the weather is about to take a turn for the worse."
Darcy looked up at the sky. "I think you are right," he told her as it slowly began to rain. "Perhaps we should head into the barn and allow some time for the worst of it to pass," he suggested as he guided her in that direction.
Elizabeth shivered more as the wind picked up. "Oh, my that wind is frigid," she commented, her cheeks flush from the chill. "I do not remember the wind being so icy at Longbourn."
Once they reached the barn, Darcy opened the door. "Come inside," he told her. "At least in here, we will be out of the wind and rain."
Elizabeth stepped inside as Darcy closed the door behind them. She looked around the old barn. "Is this where all the apples are stored?" she asked seeing so many barrels of freshly picked apples.
"Yes, it is," Darcy told her just as an older gentleman came walking out from another room.
"This is a pleasant surprise to see you both. I am so happy to see you again, have you come to inspect the apples?" the older man said as he came up to them.
"Mr. Hathaway, it is always good to see you," Darcy said as he shook the older man's hand. "We were out enjoying a brisk morning walk when the weather turned. We came in to get out of the rain," he explained.
Mr. Hathaway smiled, "Well I am so glad that you did," he told them as he walked over and retrieved a small bench for Elizabeth to sit on. "For you, Mrs. Darcy."
Elizabeth smiled, "Thank you, Mr. Hathaway," she said as she sat down. "I was just telling Mr. Darcy how wonderful the apples look this year."
Mr. Hathaway smiled, "Oh yes we have had a very good season this year. The apples are the best I have seen in a very long time," he told her then turning to Darcy said. "Do you remember that season when you were a young lad helping me work the orchard, Mr. Darcy?" he asked. "That was a very hard season, not enough rain that year to keep the trees happy."
Darcy smiled as he thought about his time working with Mr. Hathaway. "I do remember it very well," he told him. "The apples were smaller but as I recall you still managed to make a good wage from them that year."
Mr. Hathaway laughed, "That is only because everyone else's apples were even smaller than ours," he told them.
Elizabeth looked up at Darcy. "Am I to understand you spent time actually working the orchard with Mr. Hathaway?" she asked somewhat surprised by this news.
Darcy nodded his head. "Yes, my father was a firm believer that if I was one day going to run Pemberley, then it was vital that I learn all aspects of how the estate was managed and ran. I spent many Autumn seasons learning from Mr. Hathaway about caring for the trees, when to harvest the apples and how to store and handle them."
Mr. Hathaway shook his head. "And young Mr. Darcy was always my hardest worker. I am proud to say he always listened to me ramble on about my apples with great patience and never once complained about a task he was given."
"You run the best orchards in all the county, Mr. Hathaway. It was always my privilege to learn from you. My father always said Pemberley was very lucky to have such dedicated people helping to keep her running," Darcy told him.
The older gentleman's eyes teared up just a bit. "Old Mr. Darcy was a good man," he said thoughtfully. "It has always been my honor to work here for him, and now for you."
Elizabeth could see how truly attached this man was to the family and his position. She was very moved by the older gentleman's genuine affection for her husband. As the rain came down, Darcy and Elizabeth spent much of the afternoon with Mr. Hathaway sipping apple cider and sharing stories from the past. Gone was the sadness she had been feeling that morning. She realized there was a small part of her that would always miss Jane and their time spent together at Longbourn. But now in this chapter of her life, Pemberley, and those around her were quickly becoming home.