A Pride and Prejudice Christmas Carol
Darcy did not stop to eat breakfast nor did he wait for an appropriate time to visit, as soon as he had finished dressing he left a short note to Georgiana apologising for his absence and left the house in a hurry. His driver was still about his duties with the horses so he did not bother waiting for them to prepare the carriage, instead he made his way through the snow to Bingley's London house where he was sure his friend would need waking.
Half an hour later he was hurriedly explaining to the house keeper that he needed to see Bingley immediately and was relieved when his friend appeared in the hall fastening his robe and looking very much like he had just woken up.
"Good lord man what is the problem is Georgiana alright?"
"She's fine I have some urgent business to discuss with you."
Bingley looked surprised but his sense of chivalry overrode his indignation at being woken so early on Christmas morning so he ushered Darcy into his study and requested tea be brought to them as soon as possible.
Once settled with steaming cups of tea and slices of toast Darcy found himself wondering what to say, he knew his friend was an agreeable sort inclined to believe those around him but even this would test his friends limits. Taking a deep breath he said instead.
"First let me wish you a merry Christmas and let me apologise for disturbing you so early in the morning but what I have to tell you is so urgent I could not wait a moment longer."
"Well go on then man!" Bingley cried impatient to hear what had his closest friend so worked up at such an early hour.
"I must say that what I am about to tell you will cause you pain and for that I can only apologise. In November when I convinced you to stay in London I told you that I believed Miss Bennet was indifferent to you. It has come to my attention that she is very much in love with you and that your sister Miss Bingley was aware of this. I can only apologise for my part in the deception I allowed my dislike of her family to blind myself to her feelings but please be assured that from now on I will give you my full support in pursuing your relationship."
"You truly believe Miss Bennet to be in love with me?" Bingley asked eagerly and Darcy smiled at his friend's choice to ignore that he had been willingly deceived.
"I do, I truly do, my friend you are the luckiest man alive to receive love from such a lady."
"I am? I am, aren't I, good lord Darcy what am I going to do, I feel I could fly, I must get back to Hertfordshire immediately, but what of Caroline?"
"Calm yourself Bingley we shall arrange everything. We can travel by horseback to Longbourn as soon as you are ready, I shall arrange for Georgiana to spend the day with my aunt and uncle Matlock and I will arrange for her to join us as soon as it is possible."
"We can't just burst in on their Christmas celebrations can we?" Bingley asked warily and Darcy smiled.
"I am sure we can if you propose when you get there."
Bingley paled and ran a hand through his hair making it messier than it already was. "Are you sure she will say yes?"
"I am positive man, go get your angel."
And they did just that, after leaving a note for Bingley's sisters they hurried to Darcy's house and bundled Georgiana into a carriage. It was at this point that his plan began to unravel for upon hearing their plan Georgiana insisted that she be included and no amount of pleading would convince her to change her mind. The distance, the difficulty of the journey, the fact they were going by horseback meant nothing to Miss Darcy who reminded her brother that she could ride just as well as he could. So it was that a half hour later the three travellers set out for Longbourn, their spirits high and for Bingley his heart in his throat.
They arrived at Longbourn around midday having found the journey easy to complete with no traffic about and the roads clear of snow which may be considered a Christmas miracle. The Bennet's were surprised but not displeased, Mrs Bennet often lay on far more than the family could eat even with the inclusion of the Gardeners and she was pleased to include three more. This was especially so when Bingley without waiting to remove his coat sought an interview with Mr Bennet. A half hour later he requested a private moment with Jane and without further ado was thrilled to announce that his angel had agreed to make him the happiest man on the planet.
Elizabeth was thrilled for her sister and could be cordial enough to Mr Darcy to shake his hand, especially when Bingley revealed that his friend had put the plan to visit in motion. This did not mean of course that she felt anything less than disdain for the stern gentleman but even she had to admit that the ice that surrounded her heart at the mention of his name thawed a little because of his actions.
Georgiana was welcomed into the family like an old acquaintance and her natural shyness soon melted away at the warmness she received from the Bennet's and Gardeners. Elizabeth in particular took a strong liking to the soft spoken young woman and was confused by the feeling that Wickham had not been entirely honest with her. This feeling was confirmed by news that she would receive later from her father.
It was then Darcy's turn to request an audience with the family patriarch and he requested that Mr Gardener join them as this news may well affect him as well.
Settled in the library with a glass of port each Darcy felt for the first time in a long time like a young boy facing a stern guardian. He was well aware that he had made no attempt to befriend Mr Bennet and thus he would prove a tough audience. Without preamble he launched into the tale of Wickham's behaviour to his family, he spoke of debts built up and young women ruined, he told his own sad story of Georgiana's near ruin, her humiliation and fear of meeting new people. He begged them to keep her story quiet explaining he would ordinarily not have spoken of it but he had heard of Wickham's attachment to Elizabeth and was concerned that the young woman would be ruined at his hands. He did not mention Lydia as this would only bring up questions he could not answer without being immediately sent to the nearest asylum but he expressed his concern that all of the Bennet daughters be kept well away from Wickham and his comrades who were too easily led into ruin by the charismatic officer.
Mr Bennet listened quietly, occasionally interrupting to ask for specifics or a name he would then jot down to be contacted later for confirmation. Mr Gardener did not say anything but listened carefully, his expression growing more serious as the tale was told. Finally Darcy sat back feeling anxious, tired and resisting the urge to beg that they believe him; he could only rely on the reputation of his family and his own social standing and hope they would not dismiss him outright.
Mr Bennet steepled his fingers and contemplated the young man sat before him, he had heard of his pride and arrogance and what he had found was a young man desperate to protect the young women of Meryton. Though he might be considered a rather absent father Mr Bennet was protective of his daughters, even the ones he considered silly and he would do anything to protect their reputations. He could not dismiss this tale though he would certainly look into it before doing anything about it.
"Mr Darcy I must say I am surprised that you of all people have shown such concern for my family and friends." Mr Gardener looked surprised at this but Darcy merely bowed his head and accepted the statement without comment. "However, I cannot ignore the charges you have laid before my feet. If Wickham is all you say he is my daughters must be kept away from him and I will rely on my brother Gardener if the need arises."
Gardener immediately offered his assistance and Darcy felt his stomach begin to unclench. They believed him, he let out a breath he did not know he was holding and Mr Bennet chuckled.
"I cannot believe you have done this without any ulterior motive, if the story of your sister were to get out she would be ruined, please do not worry this story will not go beyond this room but you took a large risk. Why?"
Looking at the amused face of Mr Bennet, Darcy straightened in his seat.
"I am in love with Miss Elizabeth, I would do anything to protect her."
"In love with my Lizzy? This is very peculiar, she has claimed you only ever looked to her to find fault and it is well known that you believed her merely 'tolerable' which as her father I should warn you has not endeared me to you."
"I understand Sir, I am immeasurably sorry that my thoughtless comment was overheard, I must admit that when I first came to Meryton I was in little mood to impress and did not look at Elizabeth when my friend offered to introduce us. I was worried for my sister and wanted nothing more than to be away from the company of strangers. I cannot say why she would believe I only find fault with her I have long since considered her one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance with a wit and spirit that is both pleasing and intriguing."
Mr Bennet softened at the young man's declaration, Lizzy was his favourite daughter and he would not want to lose her to anyone but he could not deny that if anyone were to seek his daughters hand Mr Darcy would be welcomed heartily.
"I cannot say your journey to capture her heart will be easy, Lizzy has a rather prejudiced view of you which can only be changed by you. I will not force her to do anything she does not wish and I admit that as my favourite daughter I am not thrilled at the thought of losing her so soon. However, you appear to be an honest and forthright gentleman, I give you my blessing to try your best and wish you all the luck in the world." Mr Bennet paused and Darcy was gratified to see his eyes grow misty, "I can only request that should she love you as you love her you will take care of her, she is precious to me and I would not wish to see her unhappy."
"On my honour as a gentleman I would give her the world should she request it."
Mr Bennet nodded and standing said as jovially as a father with a broken heart could, "Let us join the ladies and Mr Bingley, there is time after Christmas to investigate your accusations of Wickham, right now there is cheer to spread and a goose to be eaten."
Following the man he hoped soon would be his father-in-law Darcy felt that his heart was light as a birds and he looked forward to the challenge ahead of earning Elizabeth's approval.
It was a short period of time later that Bingley stood to toast the family and friends sitting around the dining table, raising his glass he said merrily, "God bless us, every one!"
A/N: Well that's it. I hope you enjoyed this last chapter. There are obviously things that need tying up but as I mentioned at the end of the chapter there will be a sequel, after all who doesn't want to witness a reformed Mr Darcy seeking the heart of a lady not so willing to give it.
I also promised I would reveal my choice of spirits. Obviously Mr and Mrs Darcy were obvious as the role of the ghosts who warn Darcy they are after all his parents and would have a concern for his future.
Georgiana as the ghost of Christmas past, this ghost has nearly always been portrayed as childlike and I thought that it fit Georgiana perfectly. I also needed someone who Darcy would be inclined to humour until the reality of his situation hit him.
Bingley was perfect for the jolly ghost of Christmas present, who else could be so jovial whilst delivering a message of potential doom?
Elizabeth I chose because she is Mr Darcy's future, at this point in the story she pretty much wants him to jump off a cliff so having her reveal what his pride has the potential to do to those he cares about seemed apt.
I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Merry Christmas to you all and have a wonderful New Year.