Chapter LXIV.


Lydia and Jesmond married in March of the year of grace, 1821. The author wishes she could say that the match was happily regarded by all, but it could not be so. Mrs Bennet, after vowing to hate the man who had 'usurped the rightful place of her beloved son,'- her words, no one else's -came to be in raptures over the wedding, not five minutes after the engagement had been announced, but the rest of Meryton decided not to join her in such an emotion.

Most looked upon it with anger, expressing the view that Lydia should have left him to meet women who had not her 'baggage' and that she was quite decidedly mercenary by choosing to marry a man of seven thousand a year, instead of seeking suitable employment. As I have mentioned before, the village at times tended to have a malicious streak when the occasion called for it.

Despite all this outside friction the couple had a happy marriage, moving to Jesmond's Sussex home a month after their union. Mr Calverley looked upon all his wife's children as his own, adopting them as soon as he could, leaving Henry the estate as his future inheritance and the girls comfortable dowries with which to seek an equally comfortable future. Henry survived to achieve it, becoming Wickham-Calverley in gratitude.

A month after the wedding, while residing at Blakeney Manor beside the river Thames in the fashionable echelons of Richmond, Georgiana Blakeney gave birth to the promised cousin for Imogen Darcy, August Sara. The two girls, having enjoyed a close intimacy with each other within months of their births, grew up to be great friends, both eventually becoming mirror images of their mothers.

Alexander Darcy also survived to achieve his inheritance, following in the footsteps of two of his uncles, by arising to the rank of Colonel at the end of the Crimean War. Two years later, he married August Blakeney. He, like his cousin Henry, took up the Bennet name in gratitude to his grandfather who lived long enough to see his grandson achieve success in his chosen career.

It may also prove of interest to the reader that Mr Bennet did out live his wife by several years as he himself had once predicted. Each year however, he would pay tribute to the wife that was Mrs Bennet, by placing a bouquet of her favourite flowers in the family crypt upon the day she departed the world.

Another arrival came to the extended family in the summer of 1822, this time to Anne and Richard Fitzwilliam. Rupert Fitzwilliam came to follow in his father's footsteps, joining his cousin Alex in the Crimean and achieving by the end the rank of Colonel. His elder brother, Michael, tragically for all of the family, died young, leaving Rupert to inherit Rosings, and fulfil a wish of his late grandmother, although not in the way she had once hoped for, by joining the name of Darcy to the Fitzwilliam-de Bourghs when he married his cousin Heloise in his seventh and twentieth year.

As for the remaining Darcy children, all save Lawrence married outside the family. While he sought and won Elspeth Bingley, Alexandra and Imogen crossed another of society's circles and became Countesses.

Mr William Collins never even came close to achieving his father's wishes of inheriting Longbourn, by dying but a year after Mrs Bennet, much to the relief of most of the family concerned. His death granted a miracle to which his wife had never looked nor even hoped for, when a gentleman of comfortable means fell in love with her and she vice versa. They married in time for Charlotte to bare two children, fulfilling the belief of her friend that anything is possible.

Lastly, we come to who, without a doubt will always be fixed upon our minds as our eternal couple, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam. Eight years of wedded bliss soon grew into four and twenty, then eight and forty, even passing over the first squared without the loss of either, much to both of the couple's satisfaction. Their marriage remained the one perfect model that the generations of their families and their relatives families sought to achieve for hundreds of decades and beyond.

The End.