Thank you for reading this and for your reviews. A special thanks to Trini, who sends me great reviews in Spanish. I then have to get it translated to English, which makes them extra exciting. I love them Trini, I don't know any Spanish, but I love the sound of that language.
I am grateful 'and so should you ;)' for Darcysfriend, Eb Evans, and Patricia, for all their help, in making this readable. I'm not wholly content with this, but it is so difficult to convey my thoughts in English, to tell you the truth, I have problems to do so in Dutch. :D Having finished this I will now try to finish the Darcy Twins. It is about time, don't you think so Patricia?
Upon receipt of the letter Jane sent to her two cohorts, they rushed to her house the following morning, with their husbands in tow, needing to talk things out and plan for any contingency that might arise. Jane never told her sisters about the real reason she had lifted the letters. And no way was she about to do it now. Now all she wanted to do was control the damage for herself. She might even hint to Elizabeth her suspicion it was Kitty or Lidia who had pilfered them, that is; if she knew about the letters. They had nothing she wanted and would only be collateral damage. For all those years she had fooled them, now would not be different. She would survive this unharmed and if not, well she would cope, she always had. A nice sob story and Elizabeth would forgive her, she was sure of it.
As for Elizabeth, her plan to go to Longbourn to speak with her father had to be put on hold. That morning, the Darcy family as well as the Fitzwilliam's, called on the Lloyd household, unable to contain their curiosity regarding William. They all sat down after the introductions to talk about what happened twenty years ago. Indignation was palpable in the room – yet not at each other. In fact, the shared offence made it easier for everyone to relate to each other, so after only an hour they were all talking as if they had known each other for years.
An invitation to luncheon was extended, as no one was willing to let each other go for the moment. It was in the midst of that nice and affable luncheon when the arrival of Mrs. Lloyd's sisters, along with their spouses, was announced.
As always Mrs. Lydia Dexter led the troop, this time into the dining room. There she stood inspecting all the new faces unabashedly, until she spotted Mr. Darcy and William sitting next to each other. She exclaimed loudly.
"Dear Lord, William! You could be a son of Mr. Darcy here," Lydia looked astounded by her discovery. Jane cringed but said nothing. However, it was hard to maintain her composure, realizing there would now surely be repercussions for her deed, if they had found out about the letters. Still, she did not think she had done something so terribly wrong. Mrs. Kitty Pointer, wide-eyed and worried, looked at everyone in the room, her uncertainty growing within her.
"That is because he is Lydia," Elizabeth acknowledged tersely. "And if one of you would not have stolen Mr. Darcy's letters, I would have been married to him, and had not had to marry Mr. Lloyd in haste ... although I could never regret the absolute treasures he had given me." Her eyes were cold as she assessed her sisters, but warm towards her children.
"But Jane, you said it was because Elizabeth hated Mr. Darcy and we helped her avoid him," Lydia said, confused at the accusation. But Jane remained mute; she stood with her back straight, upturned nose and pursed lips. Elizabeth, beginning to realize that her dearest sister had something to do with this, looked at her in utter bewilderment. This could not be!
Lydia looked around her and saw all the accusing eyes trained on her. She looked for help at Kitty, who was consistently staring at her shoes. Suddenly she had a horrifying insight, when she realized fully what they had done. She felt the blood leave her countenance, and after a minute stuttered. "Oh, Lizzy! I am so sorry, I did not realize what was going on. Kitty, did you?"
Kitty started to sob. Shaking her head, she hiccupped, "Not completely, no. Though I am beginning to. Oh my God, Lizzy, I am so sorry." She could speak no more after that.
Lydia was devastated as well. Shocked she brought her hand to her throat and mumbled. "Dear God, what a horrible person I am. Elizabeth, I have taken you for granted, and I am so sorry about that. I expected you to give me affection, money and things as if that was my right, not realizing I have thoroughly messed with your life. I never thought about you when we got hold of all those letters from Mr. Darcy, I thought it was all a good diversion. Lord, how stupid can a person be."
She looked at her husband, and said with a small voice laced with tears. "Thom, if you will still have me, please take me home?" At her husband's nod, Lydia turned to the small gathering, and spoke in a stronger voice. "But first I want to apologise to all the people I have hurt." She looked them all squarely in the eyes and began. "Lizzy, William, Mr. Darcy, I am ever so ashamed to have hurt you. I did not fully understand all that went on that time, but I am conscious now of what I have done. I hope you will forgive me for it, though I do understand if you could not. I will leave you now, and you do not have to see me ever again if you do not want too. I am so sorry." With that she stood and attempted to leave the room. The only sound was Kitty sobbing. Lydia was near the door when Elizabeth spoke.
"Lydia... please, stay for a while. Maybe we can talk later, if you like." She felt devoid of any feeling aside from disbelief, although she was effectively beginning to put pieces of the puzzle together, realizing Lydia and Kitty's roles in the whole debacle, and who was at the heart of it all.
"I ... I would be honoured, Elizabeth," Lydia stammered, grasping her sister's hands in grateful humility. As she sat next to a weeping Kitty to take her in her arms, she cast fuming glances at Jane.
Harold Seymour spoke up. "I think I can give you insight on this despicable event that has transpired. Mrs. Seymour and I had been married for three months when I found my wife's journal in my nightstand. It was put there on accident by one of the servants, although I initially thought that my wife had left it there for me to read, to get to know her better. Well, she did not, and I wished I had not seen that thing in my life. It divulged many things, none of them good. She spoke in it of what she had done with Mr. Darcy's letters and why. She wrote about why she married me. To say I was not happy about what I had read is an understatement. It revealed to me the woman I married as a viper."
With apprehension Jane Seymour listened to her husband speak. 'So that is why he changed his attitude so shortly after our marriage. He never said a word. I must have my journal back.' But she kept her poise like good gentlewomen do.
A collective gasp was heard. Seymour addressed Elizabeth, "Sister, I am so sorry to have to tell you and Mr. Darcy this. Your sister had always been jealous that Mr. Darcy admired you. She wanted to be the one to have the biggest catch – and in her view, this was Mr. Darcy—as she believed that it was she who deserved that. In her world it was impossible to let you have him, because she was the one who wanted him, or rather his wealth. To tell you the truth, she hates you for your prosperity. She has deceived you all her life." Those last words were said in spite, although Elizabeth could also discern the truth and long-suffering agitation in them, though this was hard to hear.
While Seymour was talking, Darcy glanced at Elizabeth and saw her countenance turn white and her body sway and was afraid she would swoon from shock. He grabbed her arm and led her to her chair, casting irate glances at Jane in the meantime. The horror in Elizabeth's eyes told him she had never expected this outcome.
William was aghast that his proper, demure and composed aunt had hurt his mother so aggrievedly. He knew how much she trusted her. Before he knew it he stood before her, in all his state, to discompose her and intimidate her. For it irked him, to see her so serene, while his mother was falling apart, or so it seemed. He hissed through clenched teeth. "Who do you think you are? To think you had the right to hurt my mother in so ghastly a manner ... to interfere in her happiness? To ruin the happiness of my parents? To disturb the life of my siblings? Pray, tell?" he bellowed the last two words.
As calm as if nothing in the world of Mrs. Seymour was wrong, she replied haughtily. "Well now boy, I do not like your tone. As the bastard of that man," she nodded in Darcy's direction. "You should know your place. I do not owe you an explanation."
Williams looked her in the eyes with a steely cold glare, before he exploded, "THAT is only because of YOU, had you not meddled in my parents' life I would have been a Darcy. You are a sick woman!"
As the tension in the room was palpable already it now became unbearable. Elizabeth snapped out of her numbness after hearing what she dared to say to her most beloved son. Like William she was in front of her sister in an instant and slapped her. Hard! Twice!
"You Jezebel, get out of my house! I do not want to see that sanctimonious face ever again. If I do however, I will not acknowledge you. You are dead to me." Her whole body shook with rage and devastation.
Kitty rushed to Elizabeth's side and hugged her to her. When she saw the smug countenance of Jane she snapped. "Be proud of yourself, Jane. You will not be welcome by any family member from now on. I hope it will give you comfort when you die alone. I know for sure when Mary and Papa hear of this the will cast you out, and remove your name out of our family Bible. I never thought I would say something like this to a sister of mine, but you are a bitch, a mean old wench. To me you are dead already. To think you made me do something so despicable, because you thought yourself above us. Petty jealousy and conceit are your downfall."
When Jane thought to leave, her husband spoke harshly. "Where do you think you are going, wife?"
"If you intend to go to one of my houses, you are wrong. Because you are not welcome there anymore, do you hear? You will never see our daughter again; I will not have you influence her anymore. I will seek a divorce and you will stay in a hotel or wherever you want to go. I will settle your portion of one thousand pounds on you and you will have to do with that. Maybe you want to go and live with your not so secret friend Miss Bingley?" a shocked gasp was heard from the people gathered who knew her. "That unmarriageable wench might be good company to you, a wench and a viper... it must be so diverting. Now I will bring you to your future residence, if you would excuse us please."
Elizabeth nodded, but before he could remove himself from the room, she spoke once more. "Mr. Seymour, I hope you know you and Fran are always welcome?"
Mr. Seymour let go of his wife's elbow and returned to his sister-in-law. He bowed deeply and spoke humbly, "Thank you, Mrs. Lloyd, especially for Fran. She will be devastated when she hears of this and would miss you and your family fiercely. I think she feels more at home here as she has ever felt in her own home." He kissed her hand before he once more thanked her before leaving.
Mr. Seymour brought his wife to a seedy hotel in a cheaper part of London, before going home. There he ordered her belongings packed, and brought to said hotel. The next thing he heard of her was two days later. The message was that his wife had died. She had picked a fight with a prostitute and she did not like what Mrs. Seymour had conveyed, and had made that clear with a knife.
Mr. Darcy and Mrs. Lloyd were married six months later. They had thirty years with each other and where the happiest of couples. The ramification of William's illegitimate birth was the talk of the town for a while, but things where soon forgotten and the Lloyd's, Darcy's and Fitzwilliam's lived a happy and fulfilling life.
Furthermore, about the matter of the entailment? Mr. Bennet won!