The happiness Mrs. Bennet felt upon the marriage of her eldest daughter was known by all those in attendance. With delighted pride she boasted of Mrs. Darcy and her husband's ten thousand a year. To all who would listen she congratulated herself on bringing together the two perfect person's union, which had that very day taken place. She very nearly forgot to sing the praises of her youngest daughter who was in attendance with her husband.
Of course, he would have none of that and prattled on about the blessedness of his life to everyone and no one. If Lydia was dressed in high fashion and more expensive looking silk than even the brides, none commented on it. Her husband's clumsiness, however, was. More than once he tripped and landed with his face in his wife's bosom. I wish I could say, for the sake of her family, that her marriage to a clergyman produced so happy an effect as to make her a sensible, amiable, well-informed woman, but I cannot. Instead of blushing in embarrassment at her husband's impropriety she giggled and gasped out crass comments.
Kitty was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. To her very material advantage, Kitty spent the chief of her time going back and forth between her two eldest sisters. This became easier when after, a twelvemonth, Mr. and Mrs. Bingley quit Netherfield and settled into an estate within thirty miles of Pemberley.
Pemberley was now Georgiana's home; and the attachment of the sisters was exactly what Darcy had hoped to see. They were able to love each other even as well as they intended. Georgiana who had looked up to her brother more as a father now began gain back the brother of her childhood. Though she could not talk to him in the lively sportive manner Elizabeth did, she could easily laugh when he was made the object of open pleasantry.
For a time, Mr. Bennet found his home to be considerably more tolerable since the only daughter who remained much at home was one who was content to engage herself and his wife in quiet occupation. It was the domestic felicity he had often wished for. Yet he did not relish it for long. When Jane and Elizabeth both were delivered of healthy baby boys, his affection for them drew him oftener from home than anything else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least expected, even if his wife often insisted on accompanying him. Though relieved to have had her daughters produce sons, Mrs. Bennet was still was occasionally nervous and invariably silly.
Mrs. Bennet was often a visitor at the parsonage as well. Her vexation with Lydia over her not having produced an heir invariably escalated as the years passed. Lydia would only laugh and say it was not for lack of trying. Lady Catherine limited the contact between Rosings and the parsonage to only what was necessary. Had she had it her own way she would have had the Collins's thrown out; she had been appalled by his infamous elopement. The choice, however, was not hers. Her own nephew threatened to expose her bribing Mr. Bennet to the whole of society. There was nothing else that could be done but to capitulate. Her heart was softened however when at last, after five years of marriage, Lydia did produce an heir, and because she was so much talk of at home by the boy's father, his first words had been, "Lady Catherine DeBourgh".
Soon after the birth of little Edward, Mrs. Darcy received a letter from Hunsford.
My Dear Lizzy,
It has been an age since I have written you. You must forgive me, you know I have never been one much for writing, at least not on topics that you would find at all interesting. I really don't have much time for writing. We married women don't really. Well you know. I would have written to your husband and not bothered you at all but he is so intimidating. Would you speak to him for me? Edward is such a little dear. If you love your little Abby and Bennet half as well as I do my little Edward you shall understand. I wish to give him the best future possible and to do that I need the advice of your husband. I only have five thousand pounds left of what he gave me when I married and I need to know how best to invest it for Edwards future. I know he shall have Longbourne eventually but I want to give him everything I possibly can. I hardly know myself sometimes. I love him more than any other thing in the whole world. My husband sends his longwinded regards. I have no wish to write them all out. You may imagine all they might be. Do speak to Mr. Darcy about it directly and sent back your answer as soon as may be.
Indeed, Elizabeth, upon receipt of this letter, went to speak to her husband directly. He was in his study as he usually was after breakfast tending to his own correspondence. Her abrupt entrance marked her high emotional state. He could tell she was angry, but feeling sure it could not be directed at him since he had not done anything that would warrant her ire lately, he took a moment to admire how beautiful she was when there was such fire in her eyes. His eyes would have begun to drift over her further but she had begun speaking.
"I have received a letter this morning, which has astonished me exceedingly . . . from Mrs. Collins."
"What can she have to say that has upset you so?"
"Well, she begins with an apology for her lack of correspondence, but I shan't sport with your intelligence by, eh, reading her remarks on that topic. But here, I shall come to the point, here. -I only have five thousand pounds left of what he gave me when I married- Can you guess what she means? Surely if you had given her money I would know about it! Surely you cannot have kept this secret from me for five years!" Her voice had by now nearly reached the shrill levels he had only ever thought Mrs. Bennet could produce.
He opened his mouth to speak unsure of what to say but before something stupid could inevitable tumble out she spoke again. "She said that is all she has left. How much did you give her in the first place!?"
At least here he could give an answer. "I should not be surprised, I suppose, that she spent half of it in the last five years."
The news of this knocked her down and she fell into a chair staring at nothing. "Ten thousand pounds," she nearly whispered to herself.
"I am sorry-" he was cut off abruptly by his angry wife once more. She was up on her feet and leaving the room.
"I do not wish to hear another word from you or even to look at you." And she left.
That night as Elizabeth kissed her little ones goodnight, Bennet asked, "Where is father? Why isn't he with you mother?"
She could only reply, "I am sure he will be in to say goodnight."
She had not seen her husband all day. He had heeded her words and not appeared for meals or the time they usually spent together with their children. As she retired to her chambers and sat brushing her hair, she eyed the large bed behind her in the mirror. It received infrequent use, and the prospect of sleeping in it tonight alone was not an inviting one. Her anger had abated somewhat. It was enough at least to hear any explanation he had to give.
Fitzwilliam Darcy thought for sure he would be spending the night alone. He had said goodnight to his children just after his wife had left the nursery. They both had so much of their mother in them. He squeezed them extra tight and gave them extra kisses. He was already in bed when his wife burst in upon him for the second time that day.
He was glad for her simple demand. It made it easier for him to speak. He told her of how he had arrived that night and mistaken her sister for her. He explained how she was planning to leave in the middle of the night and how she stated the only way she would marry Mr. Collins would be by receiving nothing less than ten thousand pounds. He got out bed and took a few tentative steps towards her.
"I was desperate, Elizabeth. You know how much I love you. You know how many things aligned to block our way to matrimony. It was the last problem, the last obstacle to overcome, and when its resolution became a sum of money, something I readily have, I did not hesitate."
Unable to do anything except soften at this speech, she closed the distance between them and asked, "But why did you not tell me? Why have you kept it a secret all these years?"
"Your sister and I spoke just before they left the inn the day we married. I told her of the arrangements I would make for her to receive it. I posted the letter instructing my solicitor about your sister's account with my instructions about your settlement at the same time. I did not give it much thought afterward. I did not mean to keep it a secret. I only did not think it important."
Knowing her husband, as only a woman married for five years could, she could easily believe it of him. Once he had finished writing those instructions and posted them, he would not give it another thought unless it was brought to his attention. She leaned in to his embrace and rested her head on his chest.
"Lydia wishes to invest what she has left for her son. She would like your help."
"She shows great wisdom in her choice."
She smiled, his teasing arrogance lightening the mood.
"I am sorry for today. You know I love you Fitzwilliam."
"I would not mind if you showed me how much you love me, I am in need of a little reassurance." She could not deny him and dragged him backwards saying, "Give me your hand. What's done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed to bed."
LAST AN: Well that's all folks. I hope you enjoyed it. It took me a long time but I did it! I finished my first longish story, even though I stole A LOT of it from Jane Austen. Whether you have been with me from the beginning or just found my story I thank you for reading it. Thank you to all of you who reviewed! And for the last time, at least for this story, I ask you to review and let me know what you thought. I have been thinking of writing another story set in some futuristic time, in a society where there are only women in the civilized advanced world, men exist but only in the wild. Most people/women don't even know about them or what they are. The story would be how Elizabeth and Darcy find their way to each other overcoming a whole bunch of obstacles. What do you think? PM me or REVIEW and tell me.