The August of Fitzwilliam Darcy's twenty fourth year passed by in a rather dreary monotony of rain, the incessant attentions of one Miss. Caroline Bingley, and further amounts of rain. Indeed, after just three weeks in the Bingleys's current estate Darcy, with surprising regularity, began retreating to the library, not to share in the pleasure of the joys or commiserate in the woe of any august writer or adroit mind, but rather to read and reread with most fervent longing the letters of his sister Georgiana.
He had found himself missing her a great deal that summer, with August being particularly difficult as it bore the anniversary of their late mother's passing. It was not this however which drew Mr. Darcy back and back again to the hastily penned words of his younger sister; rather it was a certain sort of jealousy to which he was loath to admit yet which nevertheless spurred his endeavors. Though Ramsgate at this time of year was generally considered quite dull in terms of society and, being by the sea, rather wetter than the mainland, Georgiana wrote with such high spirits and ever increasing felicity that Fitzwilliam could practically feel the sunlight shining off the pages of her letters. In addition to this, though the public relationship between the members of the Bingley family was not notably intimate by any means, Darcy could not help but watch his dear friend speak and play with his sisters without some level of envy. When the four sat down to quadrille as they often did in the evenings, he almost fancied there was an air of connectedness between the other three which they could neither diminish nor perhaps detect but which was nevertheless there, reminding him of the sister who was not. Fitzwilliam and Georgiana were uncommonly close and, though it filled him with self disgust to admit it, he found himself rather hurt by the idea that she could so enjoy herself without him. It was therefore with no small amount of self disparagement at his own dependency that Darcy resolved to surprise his sister in Ramsgate, for silly and disagreeable as these feelings were they nevertheless were there, and quite likely to remain there unless immediately addressed. Darcy was beginning to realize that some time or another the heart must be listened to, no matter what kinds of utterly nonsensical things it might say.
Miss Bingley was excessively sorry to see him go, and seemed to find that the occasion required, in addition to her numerous lamentations on his early departure, copious praise of his dedication and devotion as a brother to one whom, though they had not yet met, she considered almost as a sister already. Later, alone in the safety and solitude of his private carriage, Darcy allowed himself to smirk, ever so slightly, at her presumption. Caroline Bingley played at the piano forte tolerably well, as was exhibited often at the unstoppable encouragement of her sister. In addition to this she sang, drew, painted tables, covered screens, netted purses, played the harp, spoke flawless French and Italian and it was to Darcy's great wonder that in the midst of all of this she somehow found time to stare significantly at him from across the room morning till night, day after day, after day. Darcy was somewhat used to being looked at, public appearances and social responsibilities for a gentleman of his standing being what they were, but he thought these instances might be made slightly more difficult by the blissful yet weighted silence which would stretch just until he thought she might not speak again, before being shattered by the jarring sound of another of her drawling compliments towards his proficiency as a reader, his commendable choice in seating himself, or perhaps his stately posture as he leant against the window, willing the heavens the stop this ridiculous business of rain with what he fancied his most authoritative glare.
At long last his silent pleading had been relented to, and London was rewarded for its patience with two dry, if stifling days, which had been enough for Mr. Darcy to assure and reassure an ever attentive Miss Bingley of the absolute safety of the roads, bid farewell to his friend and most gracious host, and set off at last towards Ramsgate and young Georgiana.
As the busy streets of London grew smaller and smaller in the distance and the sun just deigned to peer out from behind its grey veil, Darcy began to wonder if perhaps he ought to have sent a letter of warning to either Georgiana or at least Mrs. Young, mentioning his impending arrival. However, as he breathed deeply in the salt-laced air, he was suddenly filled with a playful spirit he had not felt since his youth, and the thought of surprising his younger sister, the vision of joy and excitement on her face, stretched a true smile across his own for the first time in a very long while.