By way of introduction,
James Bennet is a gentleman, he is well liked and respected by his neighbors and he loves to read. He is the father of six children, five daughters, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. His only son is named Arthur. Mr. Bennet can often be found spending time in his modest library with a good book in hand and a cup of tea nearby. Elizabeth is his favorite child, she is very much like him. They share the same quick wit and sense of humor.
Fanny Bennet is known by her neighbors to be a very loud outspoken woman, who freely gives her opinions to anyone whether they have asked for them or not. She is often very silly and overly anxious. In her youth, Mrs. Bennet was a known beauty, a fact that attracted Mr. Bennet's attentions even though the two were so unequally matched in both temperament and intellect that no one considered it a good match. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet spend very little time in each others company.
Jane Bennet is older than Elizabeth by just under three years. She is very beautiful, she is the prettiest of all the Bennet girls with golden blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and porcelain-like skin. Miss Bennet is a very kind, gentle, calm girl, with a very forgiving, nature. It is widely thought that she will marry well.
Arthur Bennet is older than Elizabeth by one year. Arthur, Jane, and Elizabeth are very close. He has a sweet nature and very kind heart. He is a handsome young man with dark hair and bright blue eyes like his father. He shares the same love of reading as Elizabeth and their father, but is not satisfied with merely reading about will inherit Longbourn and break the entail to the family estate.
Mary, Kitty, and Lydia are the three younger Bennet sisters. Mary is three years younger than Elizabeth, she is very opinionated, likes to play music, read books, and enjoys the quiet solitude of her own company to spending time with others.
Kitty and Lydia Bennet are like two peas in a pod. Even though Kitty is more than a year older than Lydia, she is influenced by her all the time. Lydia is the baby of the family and has been spoiled terribly by their mother. She is very silly like her mother, loud, and obnoxious. Elizabeth is not at all close to any of her three younger sisters.
This is the story of Miss Elizabeth Bennet… she is the second daughter born to James and Fanny Bennet, of Longbourn Estates. She lives in Meryton, which is a small village in Hertfordshire County, near London and she is a very clever girl…
Jane knocked at the door, "Lizzy are you still awake?" she asked as she opened her sister's door.
Elizabeth smiled, "Yes Jane, I am awake." she told her as she motioned for her to come inside.
Jane saw the journal in her sister's hand, "You do like the journal, don't you Lizzy?" she asked, "Arthur so wanted to get it for you. He asked me to help have the lettering done on the inside cover." she said pointing to the engraving written there.
Elizabeth smiled "Yes Jane, it is a very beautiful journal and I do like it very much." she told her as she ran her hand over the leather binding.
Jane walked over and sat down on the bed next to her, "Lizzy you have been enjoying yourself here in London, haven't you?" she asked her.
Elizabeth nodded her head, "Yes of course I have." she told her.
"You don't mind terribly that we celebrated your birthday here and not at home?" Jane asked her.
Elizabeth shook her head, "OF course I don't mind." she told her, "I love seeing my Aunt and Uncle and besides it has allowed me that much more time with Arthur. We both know his visit home this time will be for of very short duration."
Jane shook her head, "I am glad you to hear that you have been enjoying yourself." she told her, "When Mama suggested we both come stay with our Aunt and Uncle I did not wish to make you come but I am so glad that you did." she told her, "Because of you I have had every opportunity to spend more time with Mr. Hayes."
Elizabeth laughed, "Oh now I see, that is why you have come into my room so late at night. You have something to tell me." she guessed.
Jane smiled, "Lizzy, how do you always know?" she asked her.
"Because I am very clever." she told her.
Jane took in a deep breath, "I do have a secret to tell." she began to tell her.
Elizabeth being the sensible and observant girl that she was said, "I know your secret Jane. Mr. Edward Hayes is going to speak with father, and ask for your hand in marriage."
Jane laughed, "Oh Lizzy you are too clever." she told her as she sat down on the bed near her.
"I am correct, though, aren't I?" she asked while arching her brow.
"You are indeed correct," Jane told her. "I think he will come very soon. Perhaps even by next week or the week after. He left this morning to go back to Surrey and speak with his father."
Elizabeth smiled as she took her sister's hand in her own, "Oh dearest Jane I knew he would make his affection for you known before too long. I saw the way you looked at him, I saw it in your eyes at the Lucas's party."
"Lizzy, you do think that father will give his consent, don't you?" she asked her voice filled with concern. "I am only eighteen, he might feel that I should wait another year to marry."
Elizabeth shook her head, "I do not think so. Father knows you are a sensible girl, and you have never been overly flirtatious with any other young men. Mr. Hayes is two and twenty, and he has very good prospects of his own. When he comes to call on father, he will give his consent." she told her, "Besides mama would never give father a moments peace if he should withhold his permission for you to marry. She thinks only of marrying each one of us off as quickly as possible. I think she would marry off Lydia if the gentleman asking had enough money."
Jane laughed, "She does hope to see each of her daughters married so that none of us will end up destitute or a burden to Arthur."
"I do realize that the motivation of mama's heart is one of love and a desire to see each of us well cared for, but she does carry on so," Elizabeth told her.
Thinking of her mother Jane grew quiet for a moment. She considered the last time their mother went into society in London, "Lizzy do you think that Edward's family will have any objections to him marrying me?" she whispered softly.
Elizabeth knew well what her sister was thinking, "Jane, father is a gentleman who owns property. I realize some might look down on the fact that we do not inherit because of the entail, but once Arthur comes of age there will be no question of our standing in society." she reminded her.
"Yes, but besides father we have very little connections. It is only because of Arthur that we have any real standing at all. Without him Longbourn would go to our father's cousin, Mr. Collins." she reminded her younger sister.
"Jane, you forget we have Aunt and Uncle Gardner who can recommend us. They are very respectable and hold a place in society in London." she told her, "Besides if Mr. Hayes truly loves you, he will not care about such things. He will want to marry you no matter what obstacles he must overcome."
"Lizzy, you are such a romantic." Jane teased her.
"Perhaps I am." she sighed, "But Jane truly the only way a marriage can be a happy one with both parties content is if they love and respect one another," she said thinking about their parents' marriage. "I shall never marry any man unless I love him and I am assured of his love and respect for me."
Jane nodded her head, "You are right of course." she told her as she wrapped her arms around herself, "I do love Edward you know." she told her, "He is strong-willed, intelligent, and has such ambitions. He very much enjoys the social circles of London and is always talking about how he longs to show me off to his many friends in town. He says they will all be so jealous because he will have the most beautiful bride in all of the London."
Elizabeth smiled, "Jane you will be so happy." she told her.
"I hope I will." she said a bit apprehensively.
Elizabeth took in a deep breath and reached over to hug her sister, "I know you shall be." she told her before wishing her a good night. After Jane left she walked over and sat down at her writing desk. She opened on the journal and ran her hand over the gold letter, Elizabeth on her sixteenth birthday. She let out a small sigh and picked up the pen. She thought of what to write.
I have decided to name my journal after you dear brother. I can think of no one else so deserving of such an honor. I suppose I should write something about myself. It should probably be something thoughtful, and involve some self-examination where I discover a very serious flaw in my character, and promise to work on it henceforth. However, as I write this, nothing comes to mind so I shall simply share that today, I turned sixteen, and my dearest brother Arthur gave me this writing journal. When I opened this gift, I thought it a rather odd thing since I am not much of a writer and have shown no real inclination of being one. However, I did not want to appear ungrateful for Arthur's sake so I happily accepted it and will endeavor to put it to good use as often as I am able. I am not sure how one goes about keeping a journal? I do not fancy myself interesting enough to write about every day. I am not so vain as to believe that some future generation will read the things I have jotted down and consider them gripping enough to hold their attention. So, for now, I will leave you.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet August 20, 1806
Elizabeth was up early the next morning and eager to spend time with her brother. When she came downstairs, Arthur was already waiting for her in the dining room, "So Lizzy what do you have planned for us to do today?" he asked as she came in and sat down.
"I thought perhaps if you like we shall go to that bookstore on Wendell road. I stopped in there last week and spoke with Mr. Wilson. He gets his new shipment of books today." she told him, "Then if you don't mind I wanted to stop in that hat shop on Church street and look for some ribbon for Charlotte. I promised I would look and see what new ribbons they had."
Arthur smiled, "I very much would like to go and visit the bookstore with you." he told her then said, "And since it is for Charlotte I will happy escort you to the hat store where I will patiently wait for you to buy ribbons."
Elizabeth smiled, "You are the best brother." she informed him as they ate their breakfast. Once they finished their meal Elizabeth retrieved her bonnet and they headed out the door. She wrapped her arm around his, "You haven't even told me about school yet," she scolded him, "or about the daughter of your headmaster, Miss Emma Cummings." she teased him.
Arthur blushed, "Both school and Miss Cummings are doing very well." he told her then said to change the subject, "Tell me Lizzy did you like my gift?"
She looked up at him, "I will admit at first I thought it an odd gift?" she told him, "I have never been much of a writer. Tell me, Arthur, why did you think to give it to me?"
He smiled, "Because Jane wrote to me. She told me how much you miss getting to share all the details of your day with me now that I am away to school." he told her as they walked down the lane together. "So, I thought perhaps I would give you a journal, then you could write to me each evening. You could tell me everything that happens just as if I were at home talking with you still like we did before I went away to school."
Elizabeth was truly moved by the gesture. She stopped and hugged her brother, "Arthur that truly is a very kind and generous gift that you have given me." she told him as a few stray tears filled her eyes. She held him close for a moment longer then whispered, "Every time I write in my journal I will imagine myself sharing all my secrets with you as we did before you left for school."
"I am glad." he told her then said, "Perhaps it will help you not to miss me so much." he told her.
"No, dear brother, I shall continue to miss you terribly, but writing in my journal I do believe will help." she conceded. She wiped away a tear, cleared her throat then asked, "Now tell me all about Miss Cummings?" she teased as they made their way further down the road.
Arthur blushed, "Lizzy there is very little to tell." he began to say, "She is a wonderful and sweet girl who happens to share my love of writing and books. We are friends because we are very close in age and have those things in common."
"Jane said that in your last letter you mentioned getting to dance with Miss Cummings at the party Mr. Cummings had for his wife's birthday." she teased him further.
Arthur smiled, "Yes, I did get to dance two times with her." he admitted then said, "But Lizzy we are only friends." he told her again.
Elizabeth smiled, "Yes, you are friends for now, but in a few short years you could be much more." she laughed as they walked on together.
Arthur shook his head, "In a few short years, I will be back here at Longbourn and she will be in London society with a hundred young men waiting to dance with her." he told her growing serious for a moment.
Elizabeth took in a deep breath, "Arthur there is hope that mother and father may allow you to stay on in London once your studies are done and allow you to go on to university. I know father would approve of you doing so."
Arthur shook his head, "But mother would not and father always gives into her." he told her honestly, "We both know how fearful she is of me being away. It took everything I could manage to convince her to allow me to do my studies at school. If she had her way I would never leave Longbourn. She would keep me by her always."
Elizabeth felt bad for her brother, his whole life their mother made sure he understood the weight of his responsibility as the only male heir to Longbourn Estates. Mrs. Bennet was often overly protective, allowing her son to do very little in the way of activities that other young boys did. Elizabeth knew that was the reason her brother loved to write so much. It allowed him the freedom he craved and a way to escape their mother's controlling nature. He wrote about the grand adventures he longed to have but was always denied the opportunity. Their mother was forever reminding him how important he was to the family's future. She would carry on about when their father died he would be all that kept them from the streets because of the entail to the Bennet family fortune. "Don't give up hope Arthur, Jane and I shall convince father and then mother will have nothing to say about it."
Arthur smiled, "Lizzy, if father will listen to anyone it is you." he told her then said, "Now you must tell me all about Jane and Mr. Edward Hayes." he laughed, "To hear our dear mother tell it, Jane will soon be married and living in Surrey."
Elizabeth laughed, "To mama, all of her girls should be engaged or about to be. You know she can be prone to exaggerate the details." she told him then said, "I cannot tell you one way or the other what is to become of our dear Jane. I only know that Mr. Edward Hayes has spent a good deal of time with Jane and I do believe he cares for her. He singles her out at every party, or dinner given. He calls at least twice a week to sit with Mama and Jane in the parlor and have tea."
Arthur laughed, "He calls to Longbourn to see Jane, even though mother is always there?" he repeated her words, "Mr. Hayes really must be a man in love to put up with Mama so often."
Elizabeth laughed even harder, "Oh Arthur that was exactly what I thought too." she told him as she stopped walking in front of the hat shop. "If you like I will go and get the ribbon and then meet you at the bookstore just around the corner." she offered. "That way you will not have to wait for me."
Arthur looked relieved, "I think that is a marvelous idea." he told her as he let go of her arm and watched as she went into the hat shop before turned to go to the bookstore.
Elizabeth went inside and headed toward the ribbon display case. There were many to choose from of various colors and design. The shop was very busy and she found herself getting pushed aside twice as she waited for one of the sales clerks to help her. She was just about to give up when she heard a young girl crying softly to herself. She turned and saw a girl sitting over in the corner who looked to be about the same age as her youngest sister Lydia. She was very nicely dressed with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Elizabeth noticed that she seemed upset so she walked over to her, "Hello." she said cheerfully.
The young girl looked down at her hands. She twisted a hankie around her finger, "Hello." she whispered softly.
Elizabeth could see she was shy, "My name is Elizabeth Bennet." she introduced herself, "I just came in to shop for some ribbons." she told her then said, "Are you shopping too?"
The girl shook her head, "No." she told her, "I came with my governess, Mrs. Bishop, she brought me here so we could buy some ribbons and lace to add to one of my hats but the shop was so busy that we got separated. I thought perhaps she went outside to look for me but I did not see her anywhere so I came back in hoping she was still here." she explained. "It has been a very long time and I am afraid my brother will be very worried for me when I do not return home."
Elizabeth took the girls hand in hers, "Well if you tell me your name I would be happy to help you." she told her.
The girl hesitated for a moment, "My name is Miss Georgiana Darcy, my brother is Mr. William Darcy of Kensington Square." she spoke softly. "If you would be so kind as to help me return home my brother would be most grateful I am sure."
"OF course, I will help you," she told her as she guided her through the crowded shop outside to the front of the store. "It is possible that your governess has already alerted your brother that you are missing and he is on his way here right now," she told her as they began walking in the direction of Kensington Square.
"Do you really think so?" Georgiana asked nervously.
Elizabeth nodded her head, "Yes I am sure of it." she told her then said, "So how do you like London so far Miss Darcy?"
Georgiana shook her head, "I am not very fond of it." she told her, "I prefer my home in Derbyshire."
Elizabeth took in a deep breath, "I prefer my home in Meryton as well. I think London is far too busy."
Georgiana looked around her at the people rushing from one shop to another, "I think it is far too busy as well." she agreed.
Elizabeth kept tight hold of Georgiana's hand as they walked along, "Do you like music, or reading, or sketching?" she asked trying to take the girls mind off her situation.
"I like to read," she told her then said with a smile on her face, "But I love to play music. I play the piano often for my brother and father." she told her.
Elizabeth smiled, "I imagine you are very accomplished at it then."
Georgiana looked up at Elizabeth, "You are very kind." she told her just as a horse and carriage pulled up and stopped in front of them.
A rather tall young man stepped out of the carriage and rushed over to Georgiana, "There you are." he said as he gathered his sister into his arms. "Mrs. Bishop returned home saying that you had gotten lost. I was frantic to get here and find you."
"I am sorry William," Georgiana told him. "The store was so busy that I got shoved out of the way and lost sight of Mrs. Bishop. When I went to find, her I couldn't because there were so many people." she explained then added, "but this very kind lady helped me." Georgiana told him as she looked up at Elizabeth. "This is Miss Elizabeth Bennet."
Darcy looked up her and nodded his head, "Thank you for your kindness to my sister." he told her.
Elizabeth smiled as she looked into his eyes, "I was happy to keep Miss Darcy company." she said politely. "She is right of course the shop is dreadfully busy today. I almost got lost myself in the crowd."
He looked at the neighborhood around him, "Mrs. Bishop never should have brought you to this part of town." he mumbled under his breath, then he looked back up at Elizabeth, "Well I had better get my sister home before our father is notified that she is missing and worries." he told them both.
Georgiana curtsied, "Thank you for your kindness to me." she told her. "I hope to see you again some day," she said as her brother lifted her into the carriage.
Darcy turned back to Elizabeth, "Thank you again for your kindness." he told her. "I am sorry for any inconvenience you might have had."
Elizabeth smiled, "There was no inconvenience Mr. Darcy." she told him, "I have a sister very close in age to Miss Darcy, if she were ever lost I would hope someone would stop and help her." she told him as she stepped back from the carriage.
Darcy didn't say anything more he just nodded his head and climbed in next to his sister. Georgiana leaned over and waved goodbye as they drove off. Elizabeth turned and headed back toward the bookstore.
Georgiana sat back in the seat and took in a deep breath, "William I know you wanted me to come to be with you and father while you learned more about the family business affairs but I find that I do not like London just yet." she told him, "Is it possible that next time you come I might stay at home with Mrs. Bishop."
Darcy shook his head, "Yes of course it is." he told her. He could see how upset the whole ordeal had been for her. "But there will come a time when you are older that you will be required to come to London and be a part of society." he reminded her, "You must not let this one bad experience form your opinion of London itself. In small doses, it can be a very nice place."
"I will not think about how I got lost but instead think of the very nice lady whom I met today." she told him then said, "Although I do feel very bad about one thing."
He looked down at her, "What is that?" he asked her.
"Miss Bennet came into the shop to buy some ribbons and left without ever getting any because she helped me." she said sadly.
Darcy shook his head, "I am sure that she went back to the shop after we left." he assured her.
Georgiana shook her head, "No William, I watched as she went." she began to say, "She walked right past the hat shop and went on down the way and around the corner."
Darcy could see this was upsetting his sister so he said, "I shall have Thomas go to the ribbon shop and buy several ribbons to send to Miss Bennet." he told her, "That is of course if she mentioned where she lives."
Georgiana tried to remember, "I believe she said she lived in Meryton." she told him as she thought back to the conversation. "Yes, it was Meryton because I was telling her how much I miss Derbyshire."
Darcy took in a deep breath, "I will have Thomas make sure we have the right place, then we shall send Miss Bennet of Meryton some ribbons." he told her as their carriage pulled up to a rather large home in the center of Kensington Square.