I am not quite sure how I feel regarding this particular story. I am not quite certain that it is my best work. Therefore, as an (perhaps not quite so humble) author, I beg you to review and assure me that it is not utter rubbish. I shall take the liberty of thanking you in advance, as I am so notoriously bad at replying to reviews that it is quite mortifying.
My dear Caroline,
I am afraid that I must trouble you for congratulations on an event that you will surely not find as felicitous as I – I am to be married to Miss Jane Bennet. I understand that your opinion of her family is not the best, but I am quite certain that it will improve upon closer acquaintance. I trust that you will disregard all former feelings on the matter and observe it in a new manner, perhaps a more flattering one.
Now I must question you, though it grieves me greatly to do so; Darcy has informed me of his interference regarding Miss Bennet last autumn, and, in doing so, he was forced to tell me of yours as well. I must admit, I have never felt quite so much doubt in a relation as I do now. I am quite sure that you and Lousia had my best intentions at heart, as Darcy did, but his manner of informing me gave the impression that your motivations in detaching me from Miss Bennet were mercenary and unfeeling. Pray write and assure me that your intentions were as honourable as his, for I cannot stand such doubt regarding a person I hold so dear to me.
I must also, Caroline, trouble you for congratulations for another person besides myself. Though this news may also give you grief (for I have been given the impression of your cherishing a particular regard for Darcy), it strikes joy to my innermost heart. Darcy is engaged to Miss Bennet's younger sister, Miss Elizabeth, whom you were of course acquainted with during our stay in Hertfordshire. Though you may find such an event baffling, I have observed him when he is in her company, and I have never seen a man more in love than he. Though his manner of expressing such emotion is subtle, it can be seen in his eyes and in his careful attentiveness to Miss Elizabeth at all times. I am quite certain that he will experience such felicity in marriage as I certainly shall.
I remain, Caroline, your most affectionate brother,
The letter fluttered from the hands of the recipient, falling to the ground as she herself sank weakly into a chair. The dissolution of what had once been her ambition left her shocked and unable to react as a respectable lady should. Her hands trembled as she carefully retrieved the letter from the ground and allowed her eyes to scan it once again.
The information granted first was such that, while certainly not what she would have wished, was not reprehensible. Jane Bennet was a sweet girl, and she was certain her brother would indeed experience the happiness in marriage that he predicted he would.
She had not failed to note her brother's doubt in her. He was, indeed, correct in her intentions. Though she would not give such a harsh term as mercenary, it was true that the lack of fortune in the Bennets were a deciding factor in their relocation to London.
However, it was the information granted last that most astonished her. Mr. Darcy was engaged to Miss Elizabeth Bennet! Surely it could not be true!
She had indeed noted Mr. Darcy's subtle preference for Miss Elizabeth, but she had certainly never suspected that he would offer his hand to her! Her family and connections were such as would astonish those in Mr. Darcy's circle! Surely Miss Elizabeth had bewitched him in some way, for he surely would not have proposed otherwise.
Her mind instantly rejected such a thought. Mr. Darcy's feelings were not to be touched through arts and allurements. True wit and beauty (as Caroline believed she possessed) were surely what would ensnare him. That the lesser beauty and utter impudence of a dowerless country girl could entice affection in Mr. Darcy was truly astonishing!
She must, however, seek to retain her dignity that Charles had questioned in her letter. She was aware that her attempts to win Mr. Darcy were not going according to her hopes, but she had never suspected that another engagement would end her ambition. Charles expected her to be desolate at the loss of Pemberley and the Darcy estate. She must write and seek to assure him that she was quite happy (she spat the word internally) at such news. To successfully craft such a reply, however, would require use of a talent at which she had become quite adept: deceit.
She began to write:
My dear brother,
I am afraid that nearly every statement given in your letter was quite wrong! How shall you ever escape such infamy? I had thought you much more sensible than that, Charles. I must now address each mistake that you might understand my true feelings on each matter, for I would not have you think ill of me for all the world.
You are wrong, firstly, in believing that I will chastise you for your choice in marriage. Jane Bennet is a charming girl and I know that you will indeed be very happy. Please send my most sincere congratulations to her and assure her that I look forward to the day when I will hereafter be able to call her my sister.
Secondly, though Mr. Darcy may have unwittingly made it appear otherwise, my intentions in detaching you from Miss Bennet were from sisterly concern at what appeared to be her lack of attachment to you. I now know otherwise, but, at the time, I was certain that you would find yourself irreparably attached to a woman indifferent to you. Surely you would have done the same if I had been in your situation! Therefore, I assure you, with all my heart, that I regret most deeply that my feelings had been so very wrong and shall make every effort to make amends to Miss Bennet for my grievous mistake.
Lastly, I must assure you of my romantic indifference to Mr. Darcy. It is true that I once cherished an affection for him, but upon realizing that he saw me only as your sister, I was successful in repressing the attachment and now regard him only as your closest friend. I must also trouble you, then, to send my congratulations to Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth as well as to your betrothed. That two such happy couples have ever lived I am certain is impossible.
I hope to travel to Hertfordshire to send my congratulations personally as well in the near future. I await only your invitation. I remain, dear brother, your most delighted and joyful sister,
Indeed, the letter was myriad with deceit. But deceit was a vital part of her – Miss Caroline Bingley surely would not exist without it.