I claim no rights. I own nothing. All belongs to honoured and esteemed Jane Austen
I had to update this story :) wasn't quite pleased with what it looked like before
Lady Catherine de Bourgh was not pleased with the current events at all. In fact, she was most vexed! Where she would usually ignore servants she suddenly came to life and commented on every single thing. A maid had broken down in tears when the lady had exclaimed that the vases on the windowsill were all wrong! This was said with the most unbecoming language for such a grand lady as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
However, her ladyship soon calmed down for, as she always said, "there is no kinder person than I! I give always to those lesser than me!" – And as such she could not bear a grudge.
This brought up matters of the upcoming wedding of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet. Although the lady did not see herself as someone to hold a grudge for too long - although others might disagre - it was most vexing that things proceeded in a way they should not. How could she ever allow herself the slightest to accept such an unbecoming relationship? The thought of Pemperley put in disgrace put her mind towards more sly ways of handling this Miss Bennet!
As so, not soon after a letter arrived to one Mr. Darcy, requesting his presence at Rosing's Park, with his Darling fiancé and family, to celebrate the happy circumstances. It was set the following Friday, and Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet and her family rode in 2 carriages to Rosing's Park.
Elizabeth was not happy about this dinner, but refusing it would not inspire friendliness and peace, and the last thing Elizabeth wanted was to make enemy with someone who had the power of destroying her family's reputation. A small hope that her ladyship would not do so was in her heart, although, mostly due to the fact that her ladyship hardly wished to see the Darcy name smeared. More so than her ladyship already thought it was.
Mrs. Bennet was of course thrilled! "Oh this is so exciting!" She repeated often up to the day they were to depart. "Look! My dear, dear Lizzie is already being a wife! And she's not married yet!" Mrs. Bennet spoke as she glanced towards Lizzie who was forcing her will through to put everyone in the 2 disposed carriages that would take them to Pemperley. There were certain people who should not sit in the same carriage!
"Lizzie! Lizzie dear! I must sit in same carriage with you! I must! And Lydia too! For I have barely seen her! I must give you both advices!" Mrs. Bennet spoke. "And I must get to know my new family!"
Of course things could not go smoothly.
"Mama! I would rather have you sit with me! For I have so many questions and I am in dire need of your advice! And Lydia and Mr. Wickham should sit with us too!" The angelic Jane spoke, glancing at Lizzie who looked saved from having to put Wickham and Darcy in same carriage.
"Well, well, this is not to be a problem now," Mr. Bennet spoke, knowing the details of the happenings around him, "Mr and Mrs Wickham shall sit with Mrs. Bennet and Jane as well shall Kitty," he nudged towards them to enter the carriage. Mrs Bennet was disappointed that she could not sit with Lizzie too, for she was not as good with fashion as Jane and needed most advice!
Mr. Bennet took the last carriage with Mary, Lizzie, Mr Darcy and Miss Georgiana and then they were off.
Rosing's Park was both a beautiful and frightening sight to behold. Although the nature was pleasant the company certainly did not promise anything agreeable. Both Darcy and Lizzie wondered both of the nature of this call, but pretended they did not mind. Georgiana stayed close to them and Lizzie, as her new sister, tried to keep Georgina from an uncomfortable mood due to certain persons.
A manservant let them into the vast entrance hall, a hall which Mrs. Bennet immediately took in for future reference.
Not soon after were the small party let into a rich room in which Lady Catherine and her sickly daughter sat in. Both woman stood, the latter let her eyes fall to the floor, ignoring everyone's gaze.
"Lady Catherine, what a pleasure to be your acquaintance once more," Mr. Bennet spoke, stepping forward to kiss her hand. She barely indulged and she moved back almost immediately.
"The pleasure is all mine," she spoke, although no feeling was evident in her voice but a firm smile, pressed to its limits. "And this is your offspring, whom I did not have to time to be introduced to," her smile widened in what could seem as children friendly, but which Lydia gave an insecure glance and then moved closer to her husband.
"Yes!" Mrs. Bennet spoke up, rivalling the uncomfortable atmosphere, "this is Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia!" Mrs Bennet spoke as each girl bowed respectfully, "my youngest, Lydia, married only months ago!" Mrs. Bennet informed proudly and gave Mr. Wickham a small push so he may step forward.
"Ah yes," Lady Catherine said as her eyes bore into Lydia with a cold glare, "I heard of that escapade. It is a good thing you managed to get them married, or surely the child would've shamed the entire family!" Lydia looked taken aback by then frontal attack whilst her mother looked surprised and unsure. Everyone else seemed pleased that the Lady had voiced the truthfulness of the situation.
"I am sure they both intended-" Mrs. Bennet tried to gracefully rescue her daughter from the shameful blush, but Lady Catherine held up a hand.
"I am aware of what went on it that girl's head," Lady Catherine spoke forcefully, "I might be old, but I do know and I praise your luck. Had you not forced them to marry…" she let the rest wander is silence and then turned around, gesturing towards a cosy settlement of sofas and chairs where they might take their seat.
"How dare she?" Whispered an angry Lydia to Lizzie, who was sorely tempted to tell her she agreed with her Ladyship.
"Miss Darcy, how are your lessons going with the piano-forte? I hear you are working well! Keep up with that! I have always said that one must work hard to be good at anything! Some chooses not to do so – she glanced towards Elizabeth – which is a shame, of course." And so the rest of the evening proceeded till dinner was served.
After a nice dinner the Ladies of the house, or castle, excused themselves as they went to check on the finer details of desert. Lizzie, she too, excused herself, needing to use the lavatory. As she made her way back she heard something she should not, and although the better part of her told her to leave it be, she knew her curiosity would not be satisfied were she really to leave.
"… get him back," Lady Catherine finished stating as Lizzie put her ear to the door.
"But mother," Anne de Bough spoke softly, "I do not love him and he does look good with Miss Bennet," her voice was soft, but barely audible.
"Silence!" Lady Catherine spoke angrily, "this is not tolerated! This is destined to be so! You will do your job! Do not be impertinent, that is for the poor people to be!" Steps sounded and Lizzie quickly stepped away and hid in the shadows on a staircase. Lady Catherine stepped past her quickly, not even seeing Lizzie, but Anne was not so blind and gasped when she saw Lizzie and hurried off, soft sobbing sounds following her wake.
Barely had Lizzie returned to the others when a very composed Anne de Bourgh asked for a walk with her. For a moment Lady Catherine looked surprised, but covered it up with a knowing smirk and let the two young ladies wonder.
"I apologise," Anne de Bough whispered when they had entered the garden. Lizzie said nothing. "My mother and Mr. Darcy's mother decided that he and I should marry in time," she looked up at Lizzie for a brief moment, but received little information of the other's feelings. "Please do not be angry with me," Abruptly Anne stopped and Lizzie opened her mouth to speak.
"I do not like Mr. Darcy," Anne spoke quickly.
"It did not seem as the case before," Lizzie said as she admired the nature they passed.
"My mother wishes it to be… and I don't hate Mr. Darcy, for he is surely an agreeable man, but I have little interest in him and have never had…" Anne continued walking and Lizzie was inclined to follow.
"Will you be My confidant, Miss Bennet?" Anne asked quietly as they rounded some bushes. With few words Lizzie agreed.
"I… I do not have much power here at Rosing's," she gazed quickly at Lizzie, "when my mother is set on something it is rare you can talk her out of it," silence reigned for a moment, "she asked you here so she could know who she was up against and give me a chance to get Darcy back or in any way put you in ill light," again Lizzie opened her mouth to speak, but Anne hurried on.
"But I do not wish to do so!" Anne spoke reverently. "You seem very pleasant and I do not wish you any ill harm! Nor do I wish to follow my mother, but getting out of it is much difficult…"
"And how do you propose we make her end it?" Lizzie finally spoke and Anne let her shoulders slump ungracefully, "should I perhaps marry Mr. Darcy sooner than planned?" For a brief moment Anne looked up with widened eyes, but also with a hint of hope. Lizzie laughed.
"Do not worry, my dearest friend, I believe there is something we can do in this matter. There are plenty agreeable men in this world and should you choose one of them I am sure your mother would be delighted!"
"I do not," Lady Anne spoke, "for my illness keeps me inside and she fears my health when I am out. She gives me no pleasures at all," Lizzie looked at Anne curiously and Anne replied to the unspoken question, "the doctor is unsure of it exactly, but is seems my internal defence is low…"
"And why might that be," Lizzie replied without thinking and immediately apologised, but Anne did not disagree. "Perhaps your mother would not mind were you to come and stay with me for some time?" Anne looked enquiringly at Lizzie. "You might pretend that you observe me and find whatever dirt you can," she smiled softly to Lady Anne, "but in real we will give you some space," Anne said nothing to Lizzie's proposal but linked her arm with the future Mrs. Darcy. A friendship was in bloom with vast possibilities, and perhaps Lady Anne de Bough might feel a little better from now on…
I know it wasn't much, it is was my first Jane Austen story :) I hoped you like it... I suppose it was more meant to leave something for your own imaginationg. This was just a short ficklet of how things might've been