Posted on Wednesday, 25 April 2001
Despite the letter Lizzie had received along with the explanation of Lydia's revelations, with regards Mr. Darcy's presence at hers and Wickham's wedding from her Aunt Gardiner, Lizzie still had strong doubts as to whether she would ever see Mr. Darcy again, so it was a great shock to her the morning that brought Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy to Longbourn. The Gentlemen were quite civil the whole time they spent in the parlour, but still Lizzie was aware that the conversation was all Mr. Bingley's, and Mr. Darcy spent the time staring out the window at the west pasture, yet Lizzie noticed that Mr. Darcy did not spend the whole time staring out the window, his gaze fell upon her no fewer than four times. Lizzie tried not to acknowledge this, as it would cause her to be labeled as fast. So she kept her head bent over the new altar cloth she was embroidering. All too soon though, it was time for the Gentlemen to return to Netherfield, with Mr. Bingley promising to return on the morrow.
It had not taken Mr. Darcy long to realise after that visit, that it had been quite wrong of him to side with Bingley's sisters to "convince" him that Miss Bennet had been indifferent to him, so he decided to make a little confession to his friend, and then return to Town, to give him time to press his suit.
As Darcy's traveling coach left Hertfordshire and made its way to Town, he rubbed his jaw, as it was still quite sore where Bingley had hit him, after he had confessed his part in his sisters' duplicity in separating him from Miss Bennet and keeping from him all knowledge of her presence in Town. He knew that he had deserved the facer his friend had landed him. He then sent Bingley off to Longbourn with blessing and the advice to "go to it, then".
Darcy had not been back in London for four days, when he was surprised by the arrival in Grosvenor Square of his Aunt Catherine, his Cousin Anne and Miss Jenkinson. As he was just about to begin his breakfast, Lady Catherine swept into the morning room at Darcy House, like a battleship under full sail, drawing Anne and Miss Jenkinson along in her wake, in a meek fashion.
Darcy smiled understandingly at his cousin in response to her "what was I supposed to do?" gesture she made behind her Mother's back
"Aunt, Cousin! what an unexpected pleasure. What brings you to Town? A visit to Uncle and Aunt Matlock perhaps?" asked Darcy, in a curious tone. " I do not believe that they have returned from Scotland as of yet, but I was distinctly given the impression that Uncle and Aunt Matlock were going to the Court instead of returning to Town. Marsden was going to return to Town, as the renovations in Brook Street are now complete."
"Darcy! That you can even ask me that question. I have just come from Hertfordshire with all possible haste to save you from yourself. That my only sister's only son could forget what is owed to his family. You are descended on your Mother's side of the family from the Earls of Matlock. You would so dishonour your own Mother's memory. To ally yourself with such a scheming jade, I will not have it. I have come to demand that you send announcements of your betrothal to the Times and The Morning Gazette as soon as is possible to nip the aspirations of that impertinent, audacious chit in the bud. Darcy! are you attending to me?" demanded Lady Catherine, when it became evident that her nephew was not listening to her.
Darcy was incredulous. Why had his Aunt and Cousin traveled to Hertfordshire? More than that, why had she called upon Miss Elizabeth Bennet? He became even more shocked, when his Aunt had informed him that she had received knowledge that the older Miss Bennet was betrothed to his friend Bingley and that it would not be long before the betrothal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to none other than his nephew would be announced.
"I traveled to Hertfordshire to prevail upon the impertinent chit to admit that was no betrothal and to extract a promise from her that would not enter into a betrothal with you." said Lady Catherine in her most imperious tone.
Darcy was surprised by what his Aunt had just revealed to him. That Lady Catherine was under the impression that there was an understanding between himself and Miss Elizabeth Bennet was amazing. Where she may have gotten such information was not hard to discern, for as soon as the news of the elder Miss Bennet's betrothal to Bingley was made known, it more than likely made its way to Kent, and from the vicarage in Hunsford, it made its way directly to Rosings. Perhaps, Lady Lucas had assumed that since Miss Bennet was betrothed to his friend, likely he would soon be so attached to Miss Elizabeth Bennet. He smiled mischievously to himself at the thought that she had actually stood up to his Aunt and refused to promise not to enter into a betrothal with him. Of course he was quite aware of what came next. If anything needed to be nipped in the bud, it was the false impression that his Aunt laboured under. If needs be, he would have his Mother's last letter fetched from the safe. Evidence enough that there was no betrothal, formal or informal, between himself and Anne. He soon became aware of the fact that his Aunt was becoming impatient with him.
"Darcy! You are not attending to me. What are you going to do about this? Are you going to nip this adventuress' aspirations in the bud and send the announcement of your betrothal to your cousin to the papers? Darcy, you must do this to honour your Mother's memory. You have always known that there was a betrothal that was made between yourself and Anne." continued Lady Catherine.
"Aunt, neither my Father nor my Mother informed me of such an arrangement. I will even allow you to read my Mother's last letter. In it, she told me not to take your insistence that I marry Anne seriously." countered Darcy, as he had his butler, Ames go fetch the letter.
"A letter, my sister wrote during the last month of her life, and therefore, not in her right mind." countered Lady Catherine.
"You go to far, Aunt. Now you dishonour my Mother's memory. My Mother was in full control of all her faculties when she wrote this," said Darcy, as he took the letter from Ames." As she was, right up to the last two weeks of her life, but this is how far we will take this."
"So you will ignore your duty to your family and what you owe them? You will throw it all away on an impertinent chit with no particular fortune, or family. I am aware of that hole and corner wedding. I know that it was an affair patched together by that gel's father and uncles. You wish to go through life with that man as a brother-in-law." countered Lady Catherine.
"I am aware of what I owe my family and my name. I also know just what I wish in a wife." replied Darcy.
"If only you were aware of who was truly behind that wedding, you would be very surprised." Darcy thought to himself as he poured his Aunt and Cousin a cup of tea.
"So you intend to be just as perverse as Marsden, as unnatural and unfeeling as that impertinent gel, and go your own road? I am most displeased with you nephew." said Lady Catherine, as she placed her tea-cup back on its saucer.
"If need be, and you insult a Lady. I am of age and have been for seven years. I shall choose to marry where I will." replied Darcy.
"You will cut yourself off from all who are near and dear to you. To hold yourself up to the ridicule of your peers, you would suffer that, rather than make a respectable marriage." countered Lady Catherine.
"I feel the only person I shall cut myself off from is you, Aunt. My only wish with regards to marriage, is to have the same sort of marriage my Father had and my Uncle had." replied Darcy.
"Matlock was a fool to marry for love!" exclaimed Lady Catherine." My Brother Matlock and Marsden were foolish to allow themselves to be tricked into marriage by scheming hussies, you will also allow yourself to so tricked by another scheming jade. Please Darcy, I beg of you, do not do this. You would go through life, snubbed by friends and family alike." pleaded Lady Catherine.
"I make my own choices. I am of age and am capable of knowing my own mind and heart. I shall marry where I will, not where someone else dictates. I will also know the joy of knowing a marriage such as my parents had, and if Miss Elizabeth Bennet is of like mind towards me, I will be a happy man." countered Darcy.
"Then I take my leave of you, nephew. If you insist on going through this folly, then I must cut the all communication between us. Come Anne, Miss Jenkinson." said Lady Catherine, rising from her chair and swept from the room, followed by Anne and Miss Jenkinson.
Mr. Darcy stood in his morning room, still bemused by his Aunt's revelations. Was it true? Was it possible that Miss Elizabeth Bennet's feeling toward him had changed? He had to find out. Darcy was about to call for his bags, and order his traveling coach, when he took note of Ames, who coughed discreetly in the doorway.
"Excuse me, sir, but Lord Marsden has arrived and wishes to speak with you." stated the butler, as he brought his employer his cousin's card.
Darcy wondered just what his cousin had to say to him. When he had returned to Town from Hertfordshire, he had received a short letter from Brook Street informing him that the Marsdens had returned from Scotland, and that he was invited to see the renovations on the Brook Street house. He quickly told Ames to inform his cousin that he would join him in his study.
Upon entering his study, Darcy saw that his cousin, the Viscount Marsden had taken one of the chairs in front of the fire place, and had placed the brandy decanter and two glasses on the little table between them.
"What brings you here, Marsden?" asked Darcy in an extremely curious tone.
"I am here to perform a commission from Kate. I am to ask you all about the young Lady you have fallen head-over-ears in love with. Just what sort of lass, Kate's words, Darce, is Miss Elizabeth Bennet?" replied Marsden.
"I am head-over-ears in love, what ever gave Kate that idea?" replied Darcy, in a mock haughty tone." How she even heard of that name, I will never know."
"Darce, you know that my "bonny Kate's" perspicacity knows no bounds. She was aware of you behaviour in Town in the spring. Then just before you left for Pemberley, James mentioned Miss Elizabeth's name. How you were utterly smitten. So Kate wishes to know what sort of lass has stolen her favourite cousin's heart." replied Marsden.
"Let us just say that Miss Elizabeth Bennet has all of Kate's most excellent qualities, but in a more compact package." replied Darcy, as he took a sip of his brandy.
"Found yourself a little "Pocket Venus", have you Darce. James told me that you like to battle with words. That she is brave enough to stand up to you." said Marsden.
"I will keep that to myself, Marsden. It is good that you arrived when you did, as I was about to return to Hertfordshire to lend support to my good friend Bingley. He is to marry Miss Elizabeth's elder Sister." said Darcy.
"I noticed Aunt Catherine's carriage leaving. I take it she was after you to marry Anne once more?" said Marsden.
"Yes, she was. She was also here to inform me of the fact that Miss Elizabeth Bennet, like Kate, stood up to her. I was not sure that she returned my feelings, but now I have reason to hope, cousin." said Darcy.
Posted on Saturday, 28 April 2001
After Lord Marsden departed Grosvenor Square, Mr. Darcy found himself in deep contemplation of that morning's events. That his Aunt Catherine had gone into Hertfordshire, after hearing rumours to the effect that he would soon be announcing his betrothal to Miss Elizabeth Bennet and his cousin arriving on his doorstep to hear from his own lips what sort of young Lady, Miss Elizabeth Bennet was, and that he had described her as having the same good qualities as his cousin's wife, but in a more compact package, really surprised him, though he was given reason to hope that Miss Elizabeth Bennet was the least bit amenable to his addresses, he still had that nagging doubt that if he went into Hertfordshire and attempted to press his suit, Miss Elizabeth would once again reject his offer. He just did not know how to go about making a second offer of marriage to his "virtuous woman". He needed some very good advice, so he called for his curricle and pair, and was soon pulling up in front of Matlock House in Berkeley Square, as he descended from his curricle, he was greeted by Lady Jersey, who was on her way to Bond Street for some shopping.
Darcy hurried up the steps of his Uncle's house, and loudly applied the knocker. His Uncle's butler answered the door, and Darcy enquired as to whether the Colonel might be in, to which he received an affirmative reply." Master James is in his Lordship's study, and wishes you join him there." Darcy thanked his Uncle's butler and made his way to the study, where Colonel Fitzwilliam waited by the fireplace, resting his leg. A decanter of brandy and two glasses sat on the little table between the chairs. Darcy took his place, and Colonel Fitzwilliam asked Darcy what brought him to Town. "Lady Catherine invaded Matlock House not too long ago, decrying: you, Father and Marc. So you are going to go through with it? When did you have a chance to make an offer for her? The way Aunt Catherine complained, the announcement of your betrothal would be appearing in the papers."
"Actually, James, I first need to make a confession, I made her an offer of marriage, while Miss Elizabeth Bennet was staying at the Vicarage at Hunsford. She refused my offer most emphatically. Miss Elizabeth Bennet had at the time been under the influence of Wickham. He had told her lies, and my unfortunate behaviour in Hertfordshire made it easy for her to believe him, I also made the mistake of acting with duplicity regards Miss Elizabeth Bennet's elder sister, but this has been resolved, and Miss Bennet will soon be married to Bingley. The perplexing part of all this is, Aunt Catherine came to Darcy House in order to "save me from myself". She wanted me to send announcements of my betrothal to Anne to the papers, the problem is, while I was lately in Hertfordshire, I did not make a second offer of marriage to Miss Elizabeth, but I am now almost certain that if I returned to Hertfordshire, Miss Elizabeth would accept my suit, but I am just not quite sure. James, I am in need of some very serious advice. How should I go about it? How would you go about it?" asked Darcy.
"Darcy, were I, you, I would not, knowing Miss Elizabeth's personality and temperament, I would not beat about the bush. I would come right to the point, and ask her if her feelings have changed. Darcy, I do not know what happened, but once you were a man of action. You were never so reticent. I can only say, take as your guide, our great, great, great, great, great-grandfather, the Sixth Earl. He rode up to the door of the woman he loved, and rode away with her. Just go to Miss Elizabeth and make your feelings known and if her feelings haven't changed, let that be an end to it." replied Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Posted on Thursday, 3 May 2001
Mr. Darcy left Town with all possible haste, when he finished his interview with Colonel Fitzwilliam. Arriving at Netherfield, upon entering the house, Darcy soon ran Mr. Bingley to earth, and wished his friend all possible happiness with Miss Bennet, and the two Gentlemen quickly made plans to call upon Miss Bennet and Miss Elizabeth Bennet on the morrow and perhaps go out walking.
On the following morning, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley arrived on the doorstep of Longbourn at half past nine, when an invitation of a walk was made, it was soon agreed that Miss Bennet, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy with the Misses Elizabeth and Catherine would take a walk together. A similar invitation was made to Miss Mary Bennet, but was politely declined on the grounds that that young Lady was behind on her correspondence and her journal wanted updating. Perhaps she would join them on another morning.
The party started in the direction of Lucas Lodge, as Kitty evinced a wish to call upon Maria. Seeing Miss Catherine safely on her way, the two couples continued on their way. Mr. Bingley and Miss Bennet, lost in a world of their own, soon began to lag behind, so much so that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy were able to outstrip the other couple. For the most part, they walked in complete and utter silence, though it was obvious that each had something to say to the other and neither knew just how to begin the conversation. .
Darcy, wanting badly to take his cousin's advice of not beating about the bush, was contemplating how to make an opening, and star on the subject at hand, when Miss Elizabeth started to speak:
"Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and, for the sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how much I may be wounding yours."
Darcy glanced at Lizzie in surprise. Could it be that she had in mind his aunt's recent visit, notable, if the account he had heard was truly accurate, for the Lady Catherine had used language that would have given offense to anyone? His aunt's remarks had hardly been calculated to improve Miss Elizabeth's opinion of his family.
But she continued," I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express."
This surprised Mr. Darcy, as he had assumed that his actions were a secret know only to the Gardiners and the Wickhams.
"I am exceedingly sorry." he replied, in a tone of surprise and emotion," that you have ever been informed of what may, in a mistaken light, given you uneasiness."
He then added a bit more cautiously," I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted."
Lizzie's quick reply was quite enough to give him great comfort on that score.
"You must not blame my Aunt. It was Lydia's loose tongue that first betrayed to me that you had been concerned in the matter; and, of course I could not rest 'til I knew all the particulars."
After a few moments, Lizzie continued, but this time more slowly.
"Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you take so much trouble and bear so many mortifications. . . . . . . . for the sake of discovering them."
Darcy recollected their last conversation at the inn at Lambton and her distress that she had confided in him, in the knowledge that he would not betray it. He recalled his decision then to pursue the fugitives, no matter what it cost him in money and respect, so that Miss Elizabeth could regain that peace of mind which he believed that only he had the power to restore.
"If you will thank me," he replied, in an earnest tone," let it be for yourself alone."
He then continued: That the wish of giving you happiness to you might add to other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny."
The next words he wished to say, Darcy chose with extreme care, remembering all too clearly. part of the conversation they had had at the vicarage at Hunsford in the Spring.
"But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, believe me, I thought only of you."
Following this speech, Darcy noticed two things, Miss Elizabeth's silence and her flushed face, and after a short pause, he came to the decision to put his "fortunes unto the touch", thinking of a poem that was one of his favorites, and spoke with great purpose and determination," You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were in April, tell me so at once.
The painful wound which was opened up by his speech so unhappily familiar over the past few months, came vividly to his mind, so much so that he had to gather all his resolution once more, before he had the strength to continue.
"My affections," he paused," and wishes are unchanged." He stopped for a moment, remarshaled his resolution, and forged on," But one word from you will silence me on this subject forever."
Posted on Wednesday, 9 May 2001
What you are about to read is, once again my version of Lizzie's reaction to Mr. Darcy's speech. I would like to think that when Mr. Darcy made that speech, Lizzie was the least bit surprised at it.
On hearing Mr. Darcy's speech, Lizzie was quite surprised. She never thought that he would dare attempt to make another speech of this sort to her, but she did have some small proof of his regard in the letter that her Aunt Gardiner had sent with her reply to her enquiries as to Lydia's thoughtless revelations with regard to Mr. Darcy's involvement in the matter of her youngest sister's wedding to Mr. Wickham. How should she answer such a speech. It was most earnest in it's wording.
"My feelings are. . . . . . . . my feelings are. . . . . . . Mr. Darcy, I quite find that my feelings have undergone such a complete and utter change that they are quite the opposite of what they were in April. You have showed me by your actions that you put aside all thoughts of family and duty to act in behalf of my undeserving sister, shames me. I who am usually a good judge of character allowed myself to believe what Mr. Wickham said of you, after having observed your earlier behaviour while at Netherfield. Than I heard of how well you care for your friends, now I am aware that you who weren't so well acquainted with my elder sister's character, you mistook her serenity for indifference, just as I now know that I have mistaken pride and arrogance for a charming reticence. After I made your sister's acquaintance at Pemberley, I should have recognised that you have struggled with shyness all your life." replied Lizzie, as she allowed Mr. Darcy to take her hand and laced his fingers with hers.
As they walked along thus, they spoke of the events that had brought them to this point. The letter he had written the morning after the disastrous proposal at the Vicarage at Hunsford. His childhood and growing up years. He had been quite spoiled in some ways, but she, his "Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth" had saved him from himself." My Mother herself, in her last letter to me, begged me to avoid acting reticent with strangers. She wrote me of what was between herself and my Father. She told me not to settle for less, to go and search for my "virtuous woman", then ask myself whether I was willing to pay such a high price for her. You are that woman, Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy, as they came nigh one of the trees that Lizzie was wont to climb, he gently turned her to face him, bent his head to Lizzie's, put his finger under her chin, gently teased it up and gently touched his lips to hers. It was not a long kiss, but Lizzie felt something akin to exhilaration flow through her.
As Mr. Darcy raised his head, he began to smile at Lizzie. "I love you, Miss Elizabeth!" he exclaimed, as he lifted her up and swung her around, holding her close to him.
Posted on Thursday, 14 June 2001
The following morning, the gentlemen once again came to Longbourn to ask if the young ladies wished to come walking. Jane and Lizzie agreed readily, Kitty, upon hearing the agreed upon destination, decided that she would rather stay at home to re-trim her favourite bonnet with some lace that Maria Lucas had given her the day before. Mary, also decided that she wished to stay at home, as she had found a special volume at the Meryton lending library that she wished to read, besides Dame Mousebane, the kitchen cat was heavily with kittens, and she wanted to be near if she was about to give birth. Lizzie replied to her sister's decision with a teasing wink, as she knew just what sort of book her sister had found at the lending library.
The two couples left the house, and just as quickly, they became separated as they made their way up Oakham Mount. As Lizzie and Mr. Darcy reached the summit, Lizzie pointed out where she had seen the two gentlemen who had so turned Meryton upside down. Lizzie also began to relate the story of the fair that had been held three weeks before Mr. Bingley and his sisters had arrived to take possession of Netherfield. There had been an old Gypsy woman who read palms, and Lizzie, being brave enough, took her friend Charlotte's dare and had hers read. The old woman had told Lizzie that her destiny would arrive on a jet black horse. She also told me that the road to my destiny would have many twists and turns to it.
"Now I understand what she meant. You were that destiny." said Lizzie, as Mr. Darcy brought his arm around Lizzie's waist, and snugged her close to him, as they made their way over a more difficult spot on their climb up Oakham Mount. Arriving at the top, Mr. Darcy eased his arm from around Lizzie's waist.
"Yes, I was. I also had an odd feeling, after Bingley told me that he had leased a property in Hertfordshire, that I too would meet my match here. When I saw you at the Assembly Rooms in Meryton, I knew that you were the one, but I became afraid, because I could see that you were not like any woman I had ever known before. After our acquaintance grew, I began to think of My Mother, that is another reason why I traveled to Town, I needed to retrieve something from the safe at Darcy House." said Mr. Darcy, as he brought something from the pocket in his waistcoat. The something turned out to be a jewel box. Lizzie gasped, when Mr. Darcy opened it the box to reveal a tastefully set ruby ring.
"This was My Mother's ring. There is a tradition that the Darcy betrothal ring is a ruby. There is a sentiment engraved inside the ring, Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy, as he went down upon one knee, taking the ring from it's box, offered Lizzie the ring.
"Miss Elizabeth Bennet, will you do me the honour of making me the happiest of men and deign to give your hand in marriage?" asked Mr. Darcy.
"I will accord you that honour, Mr. Darcy, for I have found that I love you with all my heart and soul." replied Lizzie, as she took the ring from Mr. Darcy. Lizzie smiled at Mr. Darcy, after having read the following sentiment: "Her price is above rubies" Proverbs 31:10.
"I take it that you are familiar with words, Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy, as he slipped the ring onto Lizzie's finger.
"I am quite familiar with the words, Mr. Darcy. That is quite my favourite passage from the Bible." replied Lizzie.
"It was My Mother's favourite also. My Father told me that the verses from Proverbs were read at his wedding, they were also read at My Mother's funeral. So I was quite familiar with the words." said Mr. Darcy, as he once more bent his head and touched his lips to Lizzie's in a passionate kiss.
Posted on Saturday, 16 June 2001
When Mr. Darcy realised that his kissing Lizzie, even if she was now his betrothed was not quite proper, he lifted his head and stepped back, but not quite releasing his hold of Lizzie, who smiled back at him.
"I shall speak to your Father after dinner tonight, if that is acceptable to you, Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy.
"It is acceptable to me, though just what my Father will think I cannot guess. I do know that he will be quite surprised by your applying to him in form for my hand, but I think he will be quite agreeable, though I think he will never forgive you for taking his favourite daughter from him. We must ask him to Pemberley whenever possible." replied Lizzie, as the couple began to make their way back down the slope of Oakham Mount, where they found Jane and Mr. Bingley awaiting them. Jane, observing the look of utter happiness on her next younger Sister's face, she quickly guessed what had occurred at the summit and quickly embraced her Sister warmly and both Jane and Mr. Bingley wished Lizzie and Mr. Darcy happy. The two couples soon returned to Longbourn. Where Lizzie and Jane entered the house to ready themselves for dinner and Messrs. Darcy and Bingley returned to Netherfield to do likewise. The Gentlemen returned half an hour later.
Of course, the Bennet dinner table was just a bit noisy, but not as noisy as it had been the first time he had been asked to Longbourn for supper, but then there was at least one less family member at table that evening. What he did not like was that Mrs. Bennet had fixed the seating arrangements so that he was quite separated from his Elizabeth by Miss Catherine Bennet, who to him, seemed quite in awe of him. So much so that she became quite flustered by his complimenting her gown. Miss Mary who sat opposite him, was doing her best to keep all knowledge of his first visit to Meryton and yet he truly wished inquire of the third Bennet sister how her cousin in America was faring after he left England, but surely he might have time to inquire after her cousin later. (The above was a shameless reference to "Lucas' Visit", which will be finished one of these days. LYLAS, YGA)
Following dinner, instead of remaining at table for port, Mr. Bingley wished to retire to the Drawing Room to sit with Jane. Lizzie announced that she had an important letter she wished write. Mary wished to continue reading the book she had begun earlier. Kitty assisted her Mother in winding some wool for knitting. At this point, as he had been praying for not only the bravery to speak to Mr. Bennet, but also for the opportunity to speak to him, not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Mr. Darcy noticed Mr. Bennet entering his library, he waited a full fifteen minutes and then knocked on the library door and Mr. Bennet bid him enter.
"Ah Mr. Darcy, you have discovered my true sanctuary. Were you looking for a particular volume?" Mr. Bennet asked, in an amiable tone.
"Not at this time sir, for I have come to inquire something of you." replied Mr. Darcy, in a tone that belied his seeming confidence.
"What do you wish to inquire of me, Mr. Darcy?" countered Mr. Daniel Bennet, in a curious tone, considering that this was the very man that had overset his sweet Lizzie at times, yet not five minutes before dinner the evening before, Lizzie had informed him of just who had truly been behind everything to do with his youngest daughter's wedding.
"I wish to ask you for your permission to pay my addresses to Miss Elizabeth. I will say that I have asked her today and she has not said me nay." replied Mr. Darcy.
This did surprise Mr. Bennet at first, but he soon agreed to the betrothal, and asked Mr. Darcy to send Lizzie to him in the library.
Mr. Bennet's interview with Lizzie lasted all of fifteen minutes. After its conclusion, both Lizzie and Mr. Bennet came to the Drawing Room, where another happy announcement was made. The reactions of those present were as various as shrieks of "utter joy" from Mrs. Bennet, to hugs, kisses and backslappings and handshakings on the part of the others.
Unseen and unheard by the Bennets and Messrs. Darcy and Bingley, Tess and Monica observed the happy couples.
"You did the right thing, Angel Girl. Now they will live a long and very happy life together." said Tess.
"Thank you Tess. Miss Elizabeth and her sister will soon be busy readying themselves for the weddings. It will be a perfect day for both couples." replied Monica.