September 9th, 1836. Pemberley.
I came across my old journal as I was looking for some documents and re-read them. My God, what a journey I been on. I last wrote twenty-five years ago. Richard Fitzwilliam is twenty-nine. His grandfather died eight years ago. My son, Richard's son, is the Earl of Matlock, Lord Richard Fitzwilliam. He has married a woman who is much like his mother and will soon be a father. It startles me how much he looks and acts like his father.
Ben is twenty-seven and resides at Firelake. He has over thirty horses there, many the descendents of Blaze and my old friend Ageus. He fell in love with and married the daughter of my old valet, Victor. They were always such great friends growing up. When he returned from college where he studied veterinary medicine he took over Firelake and the next thing we knew, he and Meredith had run off to Scotland to be married. They got right down to business and have three children, another on its way. There love affair surprised me, but Elizabeth said she always saw it coming.
Bethany married a man named after Richard, Richard Fitzwilliam Welsh. His father was a friend of Richard's. Bethany's husband was ten when Richard died and actually has memories of him. His father brought him to the Sandhurst house often and both attended the funeral. The two lovers came together when Bethany was visiting Georgiana in London. Young Welsh was under the mentorship of Spillane. Bethany grew up to be so very beautiful. But her physical beauty is nothing to her grace and sweetness. This young Richard is a very lucky man to have such a treasure, something I remind him of every time I see him.
Georgiana and Spillane do have a wing at Pemberley that they stay in quite often. Spillane never resigned from his position and is now a General. He has worked at the war college like Richard did and later in the government. The estate in Kent he has expanded and they stay there often. For Georgiana's firstborn son is not my heir. She had three children, Helena, Richard and Joseph. Two boys and a girl just like Richard and Elizabeth and just like me.
Elizabeth gave me children. It took us four years to conceive. I remember how pressured and sorrowful Elizabeth became. I figured it was my fault. Perhaps I was sterile for she had been so fertile with Richard. She nursed Bethany until the little girl was about two and half. So that may have been some of it. Elizabeth remained unnaturally thin for a long time. So that may have been another reason. But one morning Elizabeth was ill. She never got sick so I was very worried but she just started laughing, until she threw up again. She was ill for six weeks, getting thinner the whole time. I was panicking. That stopped and about two months later she put my hand on her belly and I noticed the swell, the fullness of her breasts, the roundness of her cheeks. Her eyes were sparkling, and the smile on her face was one with lips pressed together and dimples just for me. Elizabeth gave me a son and she insisted that the name be William, William Richard Darcy. He is now twenty-two years old and has just gone off on a tour of Europe. He went to Cambridge as I did. He looks just like me but his personality is more like his mothers. I remember that day he was born like it was yesterday. I fell completely in love. Yes, I love all my children, Richard's children and mine equally. But it is different to hold the expression of the love I have with my wife in my arms.
Two years later Elizabeth conceived again. This time the pregnancy was very hard on her. She was thirty-one at the time so at first I thought it might be age. She was very ill for the whole of the first three months. She had moments when she feared miscarriage. Her feet swelled, she was so tired. All of her other pregnancies had been easy in comparison, even Bethany's. She had energy to spare. But this time she did not. However, my Elizabeth was creative and found ways to make sure that all of the children knew her love and care. I was terrified that I would loose her. I refused to make love to her as we did when she was pregnant with William. She really felt so poorly that she did not mind, at least not too much. As the pregnancy continued she never gained weight but her belly was so large. She went into labor earlier then she calculated. There was a great rush to get the midwife and doctor. The reason for her difficult pregnancy was reveled. Elizabeth gave me twins, a boy that we named Thomas Edward and a little girl that we named Helena Jane. All of our children have their father's eyes. Richard, Ben and Bethany have Richard's and William, Tom and Helena have mine.
It took Elizabeth almost six months to feel back to her old self. Our love life returned. Elizabeth's figure returned though she says it did not. She has always been so slight and thin. Now when I look at her she still has a light and pleasing figure when she dances. And she still blushes when she catches me looking at her in that particular way. Her hair is streaked with silver but her pretty face is still so young. She is fifty now and still the prettiest woman I have ever seen. I am fifty-seven. The children have kept me busy and young. I go riding almost every day. Tom is at home now, to return to college in the fall. Helena is making me insane. She is breathtakingly beautiful yet so impertinent and persnickety. She is smart, smarter then is good for her. She has demanded that she be allowed to go to college, the first true college in England that allows women to be admitted. She frightens me sometimes.
Elizabeth and I have been happy. Yes there have been some difficult times, the years that she feared she would never conceive and the entirety of her pregnancy with the twins was very trying. I have trusted her, trusted in her love. Like she promised, she has taken me places that I never imagined possible. I know that she has never once, not for one moment, forgotten Richard. I know that she has never stopped loving him in any way. Yet she loves me. I have never been alone or doubted. Sharing her heart with Richard's memories became much easier than I thought possible. Perhaps because I loved Richard too.
Our extended family is huge. Charles Bingley and Jane are often here at Pemberley. They have four children, all great friends of my children. Alicia and Davidson have four also. We gather at Pemberley or Matlock frequently. My Aunt and Uncle were never far, such wonderful grandparents to my children. They were so happy for me when William finally came. Mr. Bennet is ancient and lives with us now. I should actually say he lives in my library. Mrs. Bennet died some years ago. Mary and Kitty married very respectable men and still live near Meryton. Lydia married a sea captain and we rarely hear from her.
I was counting the people that I now call family. At one time it was just Georgiana, my cousins and Aunt and Uncle, just seven of us. Now I have six children, three grandchildren, two more on their way, five sisters by marriage and five brothers by marriage, twenty nieces and nephews, plus a grandmother and grandfather for my children and the most beautiful loving wife one could imagine.
She has just tapped on the door to my study and poked her head in. I see her curiosity. She is now sitting in my lap kissing my neck, my ear; my handwriting is getting really quite sloppy.