I must admit that Anne de Bourgh is a genius. She exactly, precisely, in every single detail predicted our future down to the last detail right there in the parsonage five minutes after I first started her lessons in teasing. Exactly as she predicted, all of my sisters were now at Pemberley a few weeks later, with everyone she predicted plus a few more. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had betrothed myself to the handsomest man in England and he was not in fact bankrupt. Exactly as Anne predicted, my mother and Lady Catherine were thick as thieves and nearly inseparable. Exactly as she predicted, Jane, Mary, myself, and oddly enough, Caroline Bingley were standing in Pemberley's chapel getting married at the same time. As I said, Anne de Bourgh is a genius!
Now, you may question whether Anne actually predicted Mary or Caroline in the mix, but I will tell my children, and they will tell their grandchildren and it will be established truth soon enough, so why quibble.
I will have to tell you that Caroline's manners had improved immensely by a month later. I will tell you that twice, or possibly thrice so long as you do not check for crossed fingers behind my back. Her intended called her My Hellcat, and she did her best to earn the title; but we were not concerned. The colonel was happy enough, and therefore we were happy enough. Why he felt the need to punish us all with her presence was a mystery, but he simply told me that I owed him, which I could not understand, but so long as my groom stuck his leg in the shackles or mousetrap depending on your preferred metaphor, I was satisfied.
This peculiar wedding arrangement all came about when Jane and I went back to Longbourn, dragging our newly betrothed to beg for our father's permission and my mother's blessing (my apologies, I could not resist that tiny bit of humor). I have no idea how these ideas cascade into an explosion, but we were attended by Lady Catherine, and the lunkhead and his father, the Earl of Matlock and his brother the Viscount.
It was the oddest experience, and I do not mean the Colonel somehow attaching himself to Caroline's fortune and her fiery temper. That was perfectly normal for Periwinkle. I mean, he had the oddest conversation with me.
"Miss Elizabeth, I understand you are well-read and intelligent."
"I like to think so, Colonel."
"And you are aware of the Scientific Method?"
"Yes, hypothesis, theory, experiment, verification… I have the general idea."
"I had a theory I would like to test. Would you serve as my observer?"
"I am at your disposal, Colonel."
Right at that time, his brother the viscount happened to walk by, and the Colonel engaged him in some fairly ridiculous conversation, before seemingly by accident, tripping him so he fell flat on his back. I gasped in surprise and dismay and went to help the poor man, but the Colonel held me back.
Mary was standing beside us, and he stepped over to her, and pushed her down right on top of his hapless brother.
Five minutes later, he finally replied.
"Yes, the theory is confirmed."
I had no idea what he was talking about, but I can tell you this. Ten minutes later when the viscount and the soon‑to‑be Lady Mary climbed unsteadily to their feet smiling from ear to ear, I had to admit that perhaps there was more than one genius in the family… even if he was a lunkhead.
A/N: Well my friends, we come to the end of another story. I hope you enjoyed it. As we say in the biz, this is the rarest of all commodities, a project that was on time and under budget. It was not my most absurd story (see Seven Brandies), but I do have to admit it was a pretty close second.
If you follow me, fear not. I'll be back soon with another one. I currently have four in various stages of repair. I'm debating with myself about the relative merits of finishing another lighthearted fluffy short story "Say Nothing" (less absurd though), or starting on my next novel, which is an epic adventure story. Follow me and you'll know when I decide.