This is a two-shot of how Caroline Bingley might have learnt the news about Darcy and Elizabeth's engagement. Though I started with my best imitation of Austen's aloof manner of writing, I'm pretty sure I may have slipped several times along the way, for which I'm dreadfully sorry. So PLEASE DO REVIEW and set my fears at rest(if they're false, of course).
This chapter begins immediately after Darcy asks for Elizabeth's hand from Mr. Bennet in Chapter 59. This story picks up after Darcy and Bingley's departure from Longbourn that evening.
Disclaimer: I am not Jane Austen. Therefore, I do not own Fitzwilliam Darcy. I don't own the rest, either, but Darcy is all I care about, really.
Insipidity, Noise, Nothingness, Self-Importance
After thus being assured of the sole event that would give him all the happiness that he would ever require, Mr. Darcy took leave of his soon-to-be family, and made to Netherfield with the equally happy Mr. Bingley.
As they trotted towards the stately park of Netherfield, Bingley, who could only yet guess at the events of the day, could contain his curiosity no longer.
"Well, man, what ever happened today? Are you going to tell me or not?" he burst out, a trifle excited.
The joyous smile that graced Darcy's noble features could have said it all for him; as it were, Darcy affirmed, "Miss Elizabeth has accepted my hand in marriage."
Bingley congratulated his dear friend with characteristic enthusiasm, especially dwelling on the happy thought that they would soon be brothers.
"I could never have imagined it, my dear fellow, that one day we would be brothers; never indeed! Save, of course, when-" At this point, Bingley stopped abruptly his effusing speech, and seemed to be instead in thoughtful consideration of some deep, pressing matter.
Even Darcy was struck by this sudden silence. Before he could he remark upon it, however, Bingley turned to his friend with a smile that could only be described as dazzling.
"Well, well, Darcy, my dear fellow. You are indeed a lucky man. Miss Elizabeth is a wonderful woman, and I can but imagine your happiness at this moment, blessed as I am with my lovely Jane's hand."
Whatever queries Darcy had for his friend were forgot; at the mention of his affianced, he could only agree heartily with Bingley's sincere sentiment.
"I rather doubt it, Bingley, for I am of the opinion that you are not half as happy as I am at this moment."
Bingley grinned good-humouredly. "That is what we all believe, Darcy."
"Perhaps, but I believe I speak the truth."
"Believe all you want, old boy, I shan't be surprised if it is true. Indeed, I have never seen you more content."
Darcy only bowed slightly in his acknowledgement of the compliment; although, in his heart, Darcy knew that the compliment could only be intended to his lovely Elizabeth, for she was the one that brought him such uplifting joy.
"And seeing as you are the happier among us two, I should think it is obvious that you should be given the honour of performing a most joyous task," Bingley continued, his voice teasing, his eyes sparkling with mischief.
Darcy sighed with mock distress. He had seen his friend in such a state several times in the past, and always not to his benefit. "What ever on earth is passing in that skull of yours now, Bingley?"
"Nothing, my dear fellow, nothing of import, that is. I do not see why you should greet my statement with such solemnity?"
"My dear Bingley," said the unusually evocative Darcy condescendingly, but affectionately, "You have used that tone with me atleast half a dozen times in the past that I can recall; each occasion led to an incident of entirely questionable results- the cases of Mrs. Tanner's dog and Don Metzger's cravat, for example."
"Ah, Metzger the Butcher. Quite the dandy prat*, was he not?" –said the normally courteous Bingley reminiscently. His loose words earned him a quick reprimand from his companion.
"Bingley! Have a heart to give the poor man some justice. He was more of a sorry blunderbuss*."
The mirth that this careless bout of canting produced several more moments of scandalous speech and, in consequence, cheerful laughter for the men.
"To return to the matter at hand," Darcy said finally after they had relapsed into companionable silence, "what is it that you require me to do?"
"Nothing, really, of much significance," Bingley answered immediately, resuming his teasing tone.
"Out with it, Bingley."
"I think I am not in error when I assume that you would like to announce your engagement to the world as soon as is possible?"
"Letters, announcements in the papers and the like?"
"Whenever you deem yourself ready to divulge your thoughts properly, Bingley," said Darcy with ill-disguised sarcasm, "Do let me know."
"Patience is a virtue you haven't been blessed with, I see," Bingley commented wryly.
"I suppose not," Darcy said, smiling, for he was swiftly reminded of Elizabeth Bennet and his eagerness to see her once more.
"Thinking tender thoughts of a particular young woman we both are acquainted with, are we?"
"Of course we are, my good man."
"Well, turn your head around the captivating Miss Elizabeth Bennet, for I want you to think about another certain young woman we both are acquainted with- and I do not speak of my Jane." -Bingley added hurriedly before his friend could in turn begin to tease him.
"Ah. I attend."
Once again flashing a grin of dazzling brilliance, Bingley announced, "I should like to confer upon you the honour of informing Caroline about your engagement."
Mr. Darcy's expression was one of astonishment. "Your sister?"- cried he.
"Of course, Darcy, which other Caroline are we familiar with?"
"I cannot do such a thing!"- Darcy announced with dubitable firmness.
"Of course you can, my dear fellow. She is my sister, after all, and I give you permission to speak with her upon the matter."
"Bingley, you smug fool, I cannot! It would be… too cruel."
"Nay," Bingley quipped immediately, "It would be too cruel to deny me, one of your dearest friends, this little wish; after all, Darce, you did say you owed me."
"I owe you nothing," said Darcy dismissively.
"Bah! You seem to have a questionable memory, old friend, for I remember you assuring me the very opposite when you begged me for my forgiveness." Comprehension dawned on Darcy, and he said, not without some confusion,
"I did not beg."
Bingley laughed. "Very well, my conceited friend, you did not beg. But perhaps I have not forgiven you yet…"
Darcy let himself sigh, knowing that his friend had already won this battle.
"You presume a lot when it comes to me, Bingley."
"Only the best, I assure you."
"Very well. Your wish is my command. I shall tell her."
"Capital! And Darcy?"
"Make sure you tell her when I am around. I need some entertainment tonight."
With the sigh of a martyr came- "Of course."
Bingley could only smile triumphantly as he urged his horse to move a little faster, impatient to view the spectacle that was sure to happen during the course of the evening.
*18th century slang:
dandy prat: a little, puny fellow
blunderbuss: an awkward fellow