Dear Fitzwilliam Darcy,

The countryside really is lovely this time of year. And the people, my dear friend! You once said that they were "a very confined and unvarying society,"(1) but I think them most amiable and fair, the lot of them! Jane and I are very well, and so is baby Elizabeth, so her namesake should not worry for her. We hope you and Mrs. Darcy are doing well this summer at Longbourn, and we are deeply sorry that we will not be there when you are.

I must write to you, my dear friend, about how very happy I am. It's all thanks to you, you know, and I am very sorry that I could not thank you three years ago, at my wedding. I guess I did, but I want to make a formal expression of gratitude for all you've done. When you said that I was "dancing with the only handsome girl in the room"(2) back at Meryton, I must admit it made me want to pursue Jane further, and as I did, I had such a good feeling about our relationship. Though I must point out, you were being a little stubborn about Jane's sister that night—not pretty but "tolerable."(3) But I digress.

I know the next few times we saw Jane and her sisters was mostly her father's doing, as his wife liked when their family waited on ours, and that time when Jane was sick was mostly Caroline's doing, for inviting her in the first place, but I must mention it because it was one of the many times I showed my liking of Jane to her sister. I had said something about how her pleasure would be increased in my nursing her sister, and "I hope it will soon be increased by seeing her quite well."(4) In doing so, I believe I made myself bright in Elizabeth's eyes as a perfect match for Jane. And that swayed your judgment, as I know you were falling for Elizabeth, and that would change your mind about my future wooing of the elder Miss Bennet.

I must express my anger at your friendship, though; for example,—this is a crucial flaw in our past—when you made my family leave Netherfield for London. I know you thought it was best for me to leave Jane because she was "indifferent,"(5) but you really must have had no idea about the countenance of people, because your own wife saw the love between us growing at Netherfield, "the train of agreeable reflections"(6) and how much "confidence"(7) she had in us being happily married! Did you know my Jane was "distressed"(8) when she heard I was coming back for fear that I didn't love her? Had it not been for your bad taste, she would have rather flushed at the thought of my return to Netherfield. I'm sure of some of her stress was caused by my younger sister's letters to her, something about your sister, that I admired "her greatly already,"(9) which was absolutely true, but Caroline had it in her head that Georgiana and I would be married. I might be inclined to blame you for that blunder as well, you know. I tease, my dear friend, but there is some truth behind it. I love you sister, and there might have been times when our acquaintance would make the women talk nonsense about who eligible bachelors like us would have been inclined to marry.

I know I must not only be angry at you for that time in my life. I know Caroline certainly had something to do with it. You know she was trying to get at you, you know? Back at Netherfield, she was a terror to your Elizabeth simply because she was jealous. It pains me to see such fault in my youngest sister, but when Jane was sick at Netherfield, Caroline's "great anxiety for the recovery of her dear friend"(10) was really just a ruse to cover up "her desire of getting rid of Elizabeth."(11) She was also the one who was so cruel to Jane in a letter sent shortly after our leaving Netherfield, where "praise of Miss Darcy"(12) was the chief of the letter. There was nothing more on my "regret at not having time to pay"(13) my "respects to"(14) my "friends at Herfordshire before"(15) I "left the country."(16) All Jane said about me after receiving Caroline's letter was " 'He may live in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance '"(17)! Nothing more. No hope! My dear friend, Elizabeth even told me how Jane's "sweetness and disinterestedness"(18) was "really angelic,"(19) but that she would have never shown such emotions had Caroline emphasized my untrue romantic feelings for your sister.

But really what I was writing to you about was you getting Jane and I together in the end. I know it was all for Elizabeth after you had a tumultuous talk with her at Rosings about us. That you would think of me at all during that time is a nice thought. Though at first, Jane said after the fact, she would be happy when my return to "Netherfield is over,"(20) I knew she was only thinking about what I had done and what my sister had told her, but even learning her thoughts after I had asked her hand in marriage was painful. Elizabeth loves to tease me about how Jane then began to cover up her love for me while we were back at Netherfield by saying she had learned, only, to enjoy my conversation, and how she had no "wish beyond it."(21) She must have been put off by your being there, my good friend, because she accepted my offer of marriage to her when I proposed in the days you were gone to London, as you well remember. So our marriage, my dear sir, was mostly your fault, I must say! But I thank you graciously, as does my dear Mrs. Bingley.

I am sorry this expression of my gratitude was so late. I guess the ecstasy of marriage has clouded my mind for these three years. So I thank you graciously, and hope that this letter makes up for my absentmindedness.

Yours, etc.

Charles Bingley


End Notes:

1 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 35.
2 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 8.
3 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 8.
4 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 31.
5 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 170.
6 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 83.
7 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 84.
8 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 283.
9 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 103.
10 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 44.
11 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 44.
12 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York, Bantam Books, 2003) 115.
13 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York, Bantam Books, 2003) 115.
14 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York, Bantam Books, 2003) 115.
15 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 115.
16 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 115.
17 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 116.
18 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 116.
19 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 116.
20 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 285.
21 Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Bantam Books, 2003) 293.


A/N: Comments/Criticism welcomed. Review button 'tis below, of course.