Based on the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth and Lyde Park ftw!
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Jane Austen and her geniuses.
When one is so fortunate as to have full access to the beautiful grounds of the great Pemberley estate, one must acknowledge that even plain idleness shall be heartily enjoyed. But distressing boredom does intrude from time to time, however rare such occurrences may be. The day was an ordinary one – rather much like any other day, evidently; but Georgiana Darcy simply could not bring herself to amusement. Her brother has gone shooting with some gentlemen, and she was left to entertain herself with her sister-in-law. The slender fingers of hers moved swiftly on the piano-forte, illustrating her excellent proficiency for the instrument; but her heart was not in it. Music alone was simply not enough for today. When she ceased playing – for it was the end of a long concerto – she felt her sister-in-law's amused gaze upon her, rendering her somewhat uneasy.
That is not to say she did not enjoy Mrs. Darcy's company – oh no! Dearest Lizzy! Georgiana shall be the last person in the world to think ill of her. But Elizabeth Darcy had such a playful nature and yet was so observant, Georgiana was sure she'd noticed her absence of mind and would not hesitate to teaze her. Georgiana was not very accustomed to being teazed, as it would always make her blush. In hopes of diverting her sister-in-law's attention, she shut the lid of the piano-forte and moved towards where Mrs. Darcy sat, venturing to begin a conversation, "Is it not very nice outside today, my dear sister? A very fine day for shooting, indeed!"
"Yes, Georgiana," observed Mrs. Darcy, smiling. "It is indeed too fine a day to be shut up indoors and play music to one who knows not how to appreciate it, poor you!"
"Oh Lizzy, you know it is not so. You know you play well. You know I love to play for you as much as you want me to, and listen to any hearty advices of yours; though I must confess, dear sister, that I am rather vexed for no apparent reason today and I cannot play at all!"
"It is one of those days, I suspect," Mrs. Darcy nodded sweetly, "Where you are not in the mood to be idle, yet cannot find anything of interest to amuse yourself with."
Georgiana declared that it was indeed a day like so.
"Well, if that is the case," Mrs. Darcy lovingly pinched the nose of her young sister-in-law and suggested archly, "What says you to a story?"
Georgiana lit up with a smile and said that she would very much like to hear a story, for Lizzy's stories are always amusing, and would be much more amusing if she were to hear it on one of the shady paths of Pemberley.
Mrs. Darcy readily consented to a walk. The ladies fetched their coats and parasols, and stepped off to a path that lead to the pond.
"Oh, Lizzy, what are you going to tell me about today?"
"Shall I enlighten you with a story about my sister Jane?"
"I have no objections, Lizzy."
"Well then, did you know that when - " Mrs. Darcy began, just as the garden of Pemberley shewed itself in front of them. She smiled at a sudden recollection of an interesting event, and changed her mind. "Actually, Georgiana, what says you to a story about your brother?"
Georgiana would be enchanted to hear a story about her brother.
"Do you remember when I visited Lambton with my uncle and aunt?"
"We first visited Pemberley the day before your arrival, thinking that with the owner absent, we would not be intruding too much upon the owner's privacy. Needless to say, I was delighted with the place, and especially this garden. Well, right after I finished touring here, I went about the path near the pond. I take oath I was so very unprepared for the sight I was about to see!"
"Lizzy, do tell."
"As I was being enchanted by the greenery and the fine waters – along came your brother who returned early, most informally attired (I shall not go into details, for it still discomposes me when I think of it), wet from head to toes as if he just dived into the pond! He too seemed most unprepared for the sight of me, and after inquiring after my parents and sisters, we stood there and said absolutely nothing for a good five minutes."
Georgiana seemed rather shocked at her new discovery. "My brother, informally dressed in front of guests, and embarrassed to the point of not saying a word! No!"
"Yes!" Mrs. Darcy exclaimed, laughing heartily at the recollection. "He was stuttering everything he said, and no matter how dignified he attempted to appear, his attire would not permit it. I shall not be too harsh if I say that there was no dignity for both of us. It was so amusing, now that I think of it!"
"I am sure you did not think it so amusing as it was happening, Lizzy!"
"Of course not! I do not believe myself to have even been breathing properly at the time, Georgiana."
Georgiana was silent for a while, but began as they went around the garden for a second time, "Lizzy, I do not believe you! My brother is always so serious and composed, he cannot go about all wet and informally attired, stuttering everything he says! Aside from that, I did not know he ever had a habit of swimming in the pond."
Mrs. Darcy smiled archly and pointed out, "It was at his own mansion, and no guests he knew of were to be visiting. You must excuse him from being formal once in a while, Georgiana."
"I shall not believe it until I see it, Lizzy."
"If you wish so."
"So what happened next?"
"Why, he excused himself and went into the mansion, of course. Do you expect him to give us a tour in those clothes? One moment of lost dignity is enough to mourn for a lifetime." Mrs. Darcy said coyly, before she paused and reddened, "But dear Georgiana, do not tell your brother of this. He (and you too, though not as much) has yet learnt to be laughed at, and shall be very unhappy if you were to disclose this story to him."
"You have my word, Lizzy."
Mrs. Darcy resumed her story of Jane, as she and Georgiana moved out of the garden onto the path by the pond. Suddenly, Mrs. Darcy paused her speech and stared incredulously at the front. Georgiana followed her, and was too stupefied at the sight. Below the shades came Mr. Darcy, his suit and hat in his arms, his white shirt covered loosely over his body, his hair dripping with pond water… He did not seem to notice the ladies until he moved out of the shades, and stopped abruptly on the spot as the sun lit up the face of all three.
"Lizzy, Georgiana!" He started, and paused in awkwardness, "I, uh… did not expect to see you walking about this area at this time."
Mrs. Darcy was quick to recover, but she was grinning from ear to ear. "And we did not expect to see you here like this, Will."
"The hunt was not going so well, and all the gentlemen returned early." Mr. Darcy cleared his throat and replied with a serious face. He then realized that some wet hair was in front of his eyes, and moved it aside with haste and impatience, only to be very disconcerted as he saw a very amused Mrs. Darcy, and Georgiana's mouth open with incredulity.
"I see." An arch smile came about Mrs. Darcy's lips as she cast a quick glance at the stationary Georgiana. "Well, it is best if you go back into the mansion and quit the wet clothes. Georgiana and I shall follow, and I shall tell Mrs. Reynolds that we will have dinner early."
"Yes." Mr. Darcy nodded and stood uncomfortably about, looking from a grinning Mrs. Darcy to a rooted Georgiana, before abruptly beginning to step towards the house.
"Now will you believe my story, Georgiana?" When Mr. Darcy was out of sight, Mrs. Darcy said amusedly to Georgiana, still unable to recover from the trauma of seeing her brother with no dignity. She was startled at the address, but replied half-heartedly, "I do indeed!"
"See, even your brother needs a break from dignity sometimes. So you do not have to be so afraid of being laughed at! Believe me, whatever an accomplished lady like you does – it would never be as good a laughing stock as your brother's attempt to look dignified when he is not."
When Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy moved down the stairs freshly attired, he could not help but be vexed by the chains of giggling coming from the entryway, however content he may be with the sisters' abilities to amuse each other.
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