I'm currently studying English Literature at university and one of my upcoming modules is called 'Jane Austen: Then and Now' as more than a little bit of an Austenite, you can imagine my joy, so over the summer I've been looking here and there for the 'now' part of this module, hence why I stumbled across this part of the of the site. I've been writing on it for a number of years and never really thought about looking for Pride and Prejudice themed stories – don't know why. But since I reread the book last week (for the fifth time) and one again fell in love with Elizabeth and Darcy, I thought I'd check it out, which is why my name may start appearing on your review lists. I'm currently reading Death Comes to Pemberley by the wonderful P.D James and after having read some of your work, I have found myself inspired. This story is just something that won't leave me alone, so I kind of had to write it, I hope you enjoy it.
I'm hoping that owing to my degree I know enough about Nineteenth century prose- form and style to make this as authentic as possible but do forgive any variations you may find.
Now, I've mentioned university before and I start again on Monday so updates (should you want me to continue) make take some time to appear, but since it fits in with one of my modules and I'll need some escape from the stress of dissertation year, I plan to update it as much as possible.
My author's note is the same here as it ever is: I DO NOT own Pride and Prejudice its characters or plots (they belong to the very talented Jane Austen and although I wish I did own Mr Darcy, alas I do not) and all recognisable dialogues will be clearly marked in italics.
The ornately decorated carriage ground to a halt somewhat abruptly, its wheels having met with the resistance provided by the gravel surface of the wide, sweeping frontage of Pemberley Park. For a moment, the passengers sat unmoving, their eyes the only means of communication as they regarded each other with the same strong, penetrating stares. It was only at the slight commotion caused by the coachman, Patterson, as he dismounted and made his way to the door that the pair thought better of simply passing the night in this quietly contemplative manner.
Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, revered master of Pemberley, was first to alight. Patterson stood quietly by, awaiting orders as was his duty as did Lessing, the stable-hand who had arrived at the first inclination that the Pemberley carriage was returned to its estate. Darcy spoke kindly to both men who offered him hearty congratulations, thanking them for their well wishes and assuring them that he would duly pass them on. Both young men appeared pleased by this and were only too happy to oblige when their master instructed them that the horses should be returned to their stables. Having received this order, the coachman and stable-hand set about the task as quietly as their working men's boots and indeed the horses, allowed them and it was as they were about to deliver the horses to the stables that their master stopped them, with his tone of quiet command.
"After you have seen the horses safely delivered, please take this night of celebration as an opportunity to return early to your own families." He told them, his voice lighter and perhaps more playful than either man could reasonably account for.
"Yes sir, thank you sir." They replied, if not in unison at least with the rehearsed air of men eager to please.
Darcy awaited the customary bow at his dismissal of his staff for the night and having received it, returned his thoughts to the second passenger in the carriage. He turned towards the door, wondering slightly at the reason he did not at present find himself in the company of his companion, but as he reached into the carriage, his hand extended in a show of gentlemanliness, he found her to be staring up at the somewhat imposing, exuberantly beautiful structure of Pemberley with an attitude akin to awe taking over every aspect of her face. He did not think this strange despite the knowledge that she had in the not-so distant past, been received at Pemberley and had experienced the majesty of its halls and gardens. Then, she had simply been Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn, a woman still fearfully prejudiced towards his nature. Of course, the truth along with his gentle nature had been revealed and now she was returned to the estate as Mrs Elizabeth Darcy and the splendours of Pemberley were hers too, splendours from which he hoped she would take delight.
Several long moments passed until suddenly the intensity of his expression seemed to awaken Elizabeth's awareness that she was indeed being observed in her somewhat girlish wonder and she lowered her chin, fixing him with an equally powerful, almost defiant stare as she tried with little success, to distract his attention from the flaming blush which crept across her cheeks.
Choosing to indulge her wishes, Darcy did not take the opportunity to observe her blush, to use this observation to humiliate her as he might have previously been wont to do. Instead, he directed the subject of his own attention towards that which had so arrested hers.
"It is beautiful, is it not?" He asked quietly, reservedly even. He appeared humbled by the grandeur of Pemberley and the expectation of the man who lived there.
"It is sir, quite beyond compare." She replied with the strength of conviction which had first caught his attention at the Meryton assembly.
"Would it bring you pleasure to become further acquainted with your new home Mrs Darcy?" He asked her, leaning further into the carriage and causing their fingertips to meet in one charged movement.
"Indeed it would Mr Darcy." She replied with a wry smile as curled her cold fingers around the comparative warmth of his.
"You are as cold as stone, my love." He remarked as he handed his wife of these seven hours from the carriage and having done as etiquette demanded, drew her hand towards his lips, instantly warmly those fingers.
"It is fortunate then, is it not, that my heart is as warm as it is could be? I am sure I should not suffer a death of cold tonight." She told him as she settled her arm in the crook his own had made for her and they made their way to the entrance of that stately home which so often since her last visit had pervaded her dreams.
They were greeted at the door by Hendricks, a veteran of Pemberley who had been in the service of this house and its family for as many years as Darcy found himself capable of remembering. In boyhood, the distinguished man-servant had served as a stable-hand but had quickly worked his way into the affections of the then new master of Pemberley, Mr Darcy's own father and his wife Lady Anne and had been promoted from post to post until he had been bestowed with the greatest of honours – becoming the present Mr Darcy's personal valet. Darcy liked the man, respected him and had often shared his confidences with him, an occurrence not uncommon between the family at Pemberley and their most trusted staff, so he was gladdened that it was Hendricks who had been stationed at the door to receive them now.
"My warmest congratulations to you sir and to your new bride."
"Thank you Hendricks. Did Miss Georgiana's journey to Miss Abbott's home commence without hindrance?" He asked, thinking of his sister who had left the celebrations at Netherfield early to begin a month long stay of leisure with her dear friend Violet Abbott.
"It did sir." Hendricks replied, knowing of the level of affection between brother and sister in this house.
"I am pleased."
"Your journey was pleasant I trust sir?"
"Quite so, although I believe Mrs Darcy laments the distance of Pemberley from Longbourn."
"On the contrary sir," Elizabeth spoke up, only remembering her father's warning about the hasty expression of her opinion in marriage at the last moment, by which time it was too late not to follow through with her defence. "I do not grieve for Longbourn, though it has been my constant home since childhood, but rather that we should be so far from Netherfield Park." She told him honestly, feeling a slight pang of longing for the confidence of her sister although she had barely had time to miss it.
"It my understanding my dear Elizabeth that Mr and Mrs Bingley do not long intend to stay at Netherfield, perhaps they will settle somewhere close at hand." Darcy tried to soothe, knowing that an increased proximity to her dearest sister would relieve her mind.
"Forgive me madam, for speaking of matters not my concern, but it is my knowledge that Pemberley always extends the warmest welcome to friends of the master, you will not, I am confident, be refused the society of your relatives or acquaintances and the estate and house will not be a lonely place. I think you will find yourself at the excess of happiness within its walls."
"That is my wish for you too." Darcy told her, the concern in his voice clear as he considered the possibility that his dear Elizabeth may find herself unhappy in this house, with him.
Elizabeth reached out to him, hardly conscious of their audience and laid a soft hand upon his cheek, which she stroked with her fingertip. "I am already at the excesses of happiness here my love, I have never yet known such hedonism." She assured him.
"I am glad." Her husband replied with a smile which in her company, until a few short weeks ago, had been so rare on his usually severe face.
"As I am." She returned his smile and waited as he turned back towards the valet.
"Hendricks although I am sure we will not require attendance with any immediacy, would you inform Mrs Reynolds and any staff not yet retired that the master and mistress of Pemberley are returned home?"
"With very great pleasure sir, madam." Hendricks replied with a slightly exaggerated bow before he was gone.
When they were quite alone, Mr Darcy turned to his new wife, tipping her chin ever so slightly towards him. "So Mrs Darcy, once again we have a mistress for Pemberley, what have you to say to that?" He asked, his tone teasing.
"I have only to say Mr Darcy that a mistress is nothing without her master, sir." She replied, wishing to initiate that repartee they could fall into so easily if the occasion called for it. "What have you to say to that?" She repeated his question to him.
"Only that if that is true, then it is very fortunate that we find ourselves here together." He told her and although they shared nothing more than a knowing look, he felt stirrings inside of him he had feared were long dead...
Well there's the first chapter, I hope you enjoyed it. As I said it's something which has been playing on my mind and I wanted to see if I could achieve the standard I've seen on here, so do let me know what you think of it thus far.
I guess I just have Darcy on the brain and I wanted to explore what their first night as man and wife would be like, so this is my interpretation.
Please excuse any minor editorial mistakes, they are my own and I have tried to get rid of them all.
If you enjoyed this and want more, let me know. Reviews and tweets ( sassybritchelle) are much appreciated.
Thank you for reading, it means a lot to me.