October 29th, Scotland
It seems ages since I kept a journal but at this moment I am at a loss of what to do with my thoughts. As I child I spilled out my tortured thoughts on pages when my mother died. Later I used my journal to help me find my way when my father died. Now as a man alone I find myself turning to these empty pages again to find solace.
This empty journal was in my writing folio waiting for this moment to be needed. It is an empty canvas for which I may splatter my thoughts. And hopefully I can make sense of my jumbled emotions. If only I could sort out where I have gone wrong. I feel so lost, so lonely and so completely alone. I have a letter from Richard and I have no idea how he came to this place. His news shocks me. Richard has married. And I have no idea who to.
I am traveling. Going home to London. There is that word, home. What does it mean? I have no home. I have houses. The London townhouse is luxurious, grand but empty of joy. Yes, Georgiana is there and sometimes Richard. But Georgiana seems so withdrawn, sad and looks upon me with regret. Pemberley is a vast estate, the jewel of Derbyshire yet no family calls it home. I have many other properties, my estate in Scotland, but none is home.
Home would be where ever Elizabeth resides if only she would love me. If…if I had been a gentleman.
I have just been severely reprimanded for not caring about the feelings of others, again that accusation of being cold and thoughtless. Where those not Elizabeth's words? I believe so. I am taken back in time to that moment when I proposed to Elizabeth. When everything went so horribly wrong.
And I remember vividly her response. "From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others…and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."
After her rejection I hid at my estate in Scotland. Admit it, I was drinking, numbing my heart by drowning it in whiskey. I was grieving, angry, and sorrowful. I was pining, feeling sorry for myself, being pathetic. I was shocked awake from my stupor by a letter from my solicitor. Georgiana has requested a meeting to determine if she must remain under my guardianship. She wishes to be left to the sole responsibility of my cousin Richard. What is this about? After everything that I have done for her to treat me like this. I must return to the land of the living. Deal with Georgiana, my properties, my position and responsibilities. I must live. And to live I must have her, Elizabeth. I must have her in my life, as my wife. So I must become a better man. I am returning to London.
Just as we were departing I received yet another letter from Richard. I tucked it into my coat to read as I travelled. After we got underway, I took Richard's letter out and to read. It was dated nine days ago. He had married. It was then that I realized that perhaps I should have been reading my correspondence all these months.
You did not come and I am angry. What excuse could you give me for not coming? It was my wedding, the most important day in my life. And in addition, in all your letters there was not one word of approval, not one word of any opinion regarding my decision to marry. I wanted you at my side on this ever so important day. I thought you felt as I do, you are my brother, my best friend. I even delayed the ceremony in hopes that you would come. You did not come.
Georgiana was sure you would come at least for her. Now she will have to remain with my parents while I am on my honeymoon. She will be fine but you know she prefers us. You have been away for six months now. She misses you terribly. She has asked to come and live with me at Sandhurst after my honeymoon. She wishes for a home and family. My wife and I will give that to her.
Georgiana also fears that you will not approve of my bride. She fears that you will not allow her to live with us and has asked that I take action to free her of your power over her future. Do you not see how your absence hurts her? Do you not see how your treatment of her, disregard for her feelings and wishes harm her?
My wife listens to her. My wife cares for her. My wife is good for her. How I love writing that phrase, my wife. Georgiana is so very attached to her and she blossoms and grows under my wife's love. Georgiana is healing. She is not the shy paralyzed creature that she once was.
If it is true that you do not approve of my wife that I pity you. Do anything to hurt either Georgiana's relationship with my wife or my wife and you will face my wrath. Alliances change. My wife and Georgiana come first.
I hope to see you upon my return. Meet me at Matlock on November 2nd. We need to discuss Georgiana's future. And I would like to know why, why did you not come?
Coronel Richard Fitzwilliam
After reading Richard's letter I asked my valet, Victor, to locate my correspondence from Richard at our next stop. I reveled to Victor that I did not actually read Richard's letters over the last six months. I had just skimmed for news of Georgiana's wellbeing. Typically Richard's opening lines will update me as to my sister. I just threw the letters aside, not reading Richard's drivel. But it seems that I missed some important details for now Richard has married and I don't even know to whom.
That is when Victor had the nerve to inform me that this behavior is just another example of my disregard for the feelings of others. He used Elizabeth's words to scold me. My pride, my arrogance, my selfish disdain for the feelings of others will leave me a lonely hateful man. He actually said that. Victor actually dared to scold me so, and where did he hear those words, Elizabeth's words. According to him I frequently muttered those words in drunken stupor. I have made no progress towards being a better man, one deserving of Elizabeth. I have failed already.
Victor scolded me further saying that if my cousin wrote me than the information imparted was important to my cousin. I should read everything that he writes, that anyone writes out of respect that individual. If Richard took the bother to write it than I should have read it. My letters are packed in my trunks and he will not be getting them down until we reach the inn and only if it is convenient to him.
Victor threatened to leave my service as he wishes to be employed by a gentleman and not a cad. He is lucky I do not dismiss him for his unsolicited scolding. Yet I cannot loose Victor. He has been with me since before I went to college. He was there when my father died. He is my one constant other than Mrs. Reynolds. What a sad state of affairs. My only constants are paid servants. I cannot loose guardianship of Georgiana. Not only because she is all the family that I have but because I believe that Elizabeth will be more apt to consent to be my wife if Georgiana is part of my life. I realize that I have so very little in my life that is of true value. I only have Richard, Georgiana and a handful of paid servants, and Bingley. I cannot forget Bingley.
Victor is absolutely correct. I should have read all that Richard wrote, Georgiana too. I have not attended to the business of my estate, my family. I have only thought of myself. Now everything has changed and I am completely at a loss as to what has happened. Who did Richard marry? I remember no lady that caught his interest.
Victor glares at me from across the carriage. I do need to change. I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, and indeed in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own.
And now I wish to win the hand, the heart of a woman for whom my fortune means nothing. I cannot win her by luring her with my possessions as I could any other woman of my circle. I can only win her by my love for her. I don't even think that will be enough. I must win her with my actions of care for others. If I cannot care for the feelings of my dear sister and my best friend, my cousin Richard, than I surely will loose her. So I must reconcile with Richard and win the good will of this wife of his.
I have written too much and am tired of this carriage. I think that at the next stop I will ride for a while.