Beginning, Section II
The next day Mr. Bingley did come to Longbourn and Mr. Darcy duly came as he had promised Elizabeth. As soon as they arrived it was clear Mr. Bingley wished only to talk to Jane and Mrs. Bennet had a great desire for them to left alone. Even before they arrived, Mrs. Bennet told Elizabeth she would be very happy if Elizabeth would take Mr. Darcy around the grounds. Elizabeth agreed and as Mary was buried in some book, Kitty and Lydia had gone into Meryton, Mr. Collins had mysterious disappeared and Mr. Bennet was in his study, Mrs. Bennet's plan seem to be working out very well.
Soon after they had been seated, Mr. Darcy went to the window and Elizabeth followed him, supposedly to enquire what he was looking at. He turned when she came up behind him and she quietly said, 'My mother has instructed me to take you for a walk around the grounds. I think she wishes to Leave Mr. Bingley alone with my sister and it would give us a good opportunity to talk.'
'You are quite right. In truth I have never walked around the ground and I should like to do so.' He replied, smiling a little.
Elizabeth shook her head slightly at this and then told her mother that Mr. Darcy wished to see the grounds and she would show him round.
Mrs. Bennet was very happy with this, Jane looked half terrified and even Mr. Bingley did not look entirely comfortable. He looked at Darcy who smiled a little and bowed his head. Mr. Bingley seemed to take this as a good sing and he relaxed a little.
After fetching her bonnet, gloves and coat, Elizabeth met Mr. Darcy in the hall and they wandered out of the house together. The y walked silently into the Shrubbery and then sat down on one the seats and Elizabeth said, 'Well, we here. Perhaps I may as to be informed about Mr. Wickham.'
I am sure that he told you that my father was his Godfather. That perfectly true, his father managed our estates for many years and my father respected him. When his father died my father provided him everything and funded his education. He wished Mr. Wickham to enter the Church and intended to provide him with living once he had finished his education at Cambridge.
However, my father never knew that Mr. Wickham's habits were as dissolute as his manners were engaging and his dying wish was for Mr. Wickham to be given a very valuable living. I was perfectly happy to compile with my father's wishes but Mr. Wickham made it clear he wished to study the law. I wished rather than believed he was being truthful and he received 3000 pounds instead on the living.' Darcy said and then looked carefully at Elizabeth. She looked horrified and slowly she said,
'3000 pounds is great deal of money, Mr. Darcy. Do you think Mr. Wickham spent it all on drinking and gambling?'
'I can not say. After that meeting I hope that we would not meet again, but we did and under some very painful circumstances.' He replied and became grave and silent.
'If it is too painful, I beg you do not tell me. I shall ask no more questions on the subject.' Elizabeth said quietly, seeing this.
'No. It is right for you to know.' He said and gently took her hands in his for just a moment.
'You must know and the world must be warned of his behaviour.'
'Very well.' Elizabeth said, looking into his handsome face.
'My sister, Georgiana, is more than ten years younger than me. When my father died she was left to the guardianship of myself and my cousin and she was sent to school.
Last year my sister was taken from school and an establishment was from for her in London. Last summer I allowed to her to go Ramsgate with the lady who presided over the establishment, a Mrs. Younge, and Mr. Wickham followed her there. With Mrs. Younge's help he so far persuaded her to believe herself in love with him as to agree to an elopement. She was then but Fifteen years old.
I happened to join them a day or two before the intended elopement and Georgiana; able to bare the idea grieving a brother she looked up to almost as father, told me everything. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. Mr. Wickham left the place at once and Mrs. Younge was of course removed from her charge.
His object was my sister's fortune, which is 30, 000 pounds and to revenge himself on me. If he had succeed his revenge would have been complete indeed.' Darcy said gravely.
'You were right to tell me. This is terrible and everyone must be at least warned of Mr. Wickham. My own sister, Lydia is only 15 and though she has no money, he may have ruin her as he nearly did to your sister.
Do I have your permission to tell my father at least something of what you have told me?' Elizabeth said anxiously.
'Of course you may tell your father, tell him it all if you wish, but do not tell anyone else, only your elder sister if you must.' Darcy said.
'Yes, I shall do that. You must understand I trust Jane completely and we have no secrets from one another.' Elizabeth replied.
'That is only natural, I suppose. You are close in age and though you are different in character, you respect each other.' Darcy said.
'Yes, that is true.
Thinking of Jane, I wander how she is getting on with Mr. Bingley.' Elizabeth, a smile playing on her lips.
'Very well I should imagine. I have never met anyone who completes Bingley so well. They shall be very happy and I wish them every joy.' Darcy said smiling.
'You think they will marry then?' Elizabeth said, happily.
'Yes, and it shall be soon.' He replied
'Of course, that will mean we shall have too meet very often Mr. Darcy. You know what the gossips will say.' She said, archly.
'I have a fair idea but I am not afraid it has been said about me before' he said, a smile playing on his lips.
'Perhaps, we had better walk together. What will people say if they find we have been siting alone for this time!' She said laughingly and stood up.
Darcy followed her and they began to wander across the garden.
'Do you think it is safe to go into the house, Mr. Darcy?' Elizabeth said, turning to him.
'I an not say. Perhaps we had better walk a little more.' He replied smiling and offered her his arm. She took it and they wandered along without saying a word for a good while. They walked passed Mr. Bennet's window and he happened too look up from his book. It such a curious sigh that he went to the window and watched .
'Thank you for telling me the truth, Mr. Darcy.' Elizabeth said.
'It was nothing. I only hope it will help you.' Darcy replied.
'I am sure it will. I am very glad it confirmed my first suspicions.' She said.
He said nothing and then after a little way further he said, 'Did it...do you think better of me now, Miss. Bennet?'
She stopped and honestly looked at him, 'You know that I have respected you for some time and that my first impressions of your were quite wrong. What you have told me today only confirms my good opinion of you and I hope I may consider you my friend.'
'Of course and I hope we shall remain so.' he replied.
On their back to the house, Darcy and Elizabeth met a rather breathless but excited Mr. Collins.
'Cousin Elizabeth!' He cried out as he saw her and scurried towards her.
'Mr. Collins. Have you been out walking?' Elizabeth said.
'Yes...yes. I was just viewing the surrounding country side.' He said, nervously and hesitantly.
'I see, but may I ask why you were hurrying to get back, Mr. Collins?' She replied.
'Yes, indeed. I thought it might rain and I did not want to be late for breakfast. Your honoured parents have been so kind that I should hate to be the cause of any delay.' He said, unsure of himself.
'There was no need to worry, you are plenty of time for Breakfast and' she said looking at the sky, 'I do not think it will rain today, at least not until this afternoon.' Elizabeth said.
'Yes, I am sure you right.' Mr. Collins said and bowing to Darcy he walked into the house.
Elizabeth turned to Mr. Darcy with a look of surprise. 'Mr. Collins is behaving very strangely don't you think?' She said.
'Yes, he seem a little anxious about something.' He replied.
'I wander what it is.' She said and they walked into the house.
Bingley and Darcy left before the family breakfast and Mrs. Bennet had every hope of Mr. Bingley returning tomorrow and without his friend.
Later that day, when Elizabeth happened to sitting alone with Mr. Collins when he put down his large book and said, 'How far is Lucas Lodge, Cousin Elizabeth?'
'Oh, about half a mile perhaps a little more. Why, did you walk that way today, Mr. Collins?' She said.
'No, I walked the opposite way today, but I was thinking of perhaps walking that way tomorrow. Do think it advisable, cousin Elizabeth?' He said, nervous at first.
'Certainly, walking is very beneficial exercise, Mr. Collins and as you are going that way, you may like to call at Lucas Lodge. I am sure Sir. William will be very glad to see you.' Elizabeth said, thinking this would be an excellent way to get him out of the house.
'Yes, yes. I had not thought of that! You are to be admired, Cousin Elizabeth and I am sure you will make a certain noble gentleman a very fine wife.' Mr. Collins smiled happily.
Elizabeth was about to object but Mr. Collins stood up, shook his head and with a parting smile walked out of the room. Elizabeth sighed and shook her head.
The day Bingley came and he was alone. Elizabeth really did have to write a letter and he was left alone with Jane.
After Elizabeth finished her letter she went to the Library to find her father engrossed in a book. She quietly closed the door and went and sat down.
'How will you get on without your sister, Lizzy?' Mr. Bennet said, closing his book.
'I shall manage, Father. I am not tided to Jane and besides it is not definite that she will marry Mr. Bingley.' Elizabeth said smiling.
'I am sure you will, but you will miss her. I must confess I will too. What shall I do when you and Jane are married for I shall never have more than four words of sense spoken together in week without you.' Mr. Bennet said.
'I suppose you will have to visit us very often, Papa and when we least expect you! Jane will not be far; though she may choose to move away little as four miles is really to close to one's family and I am not marry yet.' Elizabeth replied.
'Yes, she may and I believe you will be married soon enough, Lizzy. Your Mr. Darcy seems very admiring of you and I must say I have never seen you like a man more than you like him. He is a very fine fellow I'm sure and you will make him as perfect a man as a young woman could ever want.' Mr. Bennet said smiling.
'Father! Elizabeth cried, blushing. 'You can be quite impossible, he is certainly not my Mr. Darcy and I do not love him!'
Mr. Bennet would have begun to argue that she did when there was the sound of footsteps in the hall. Elizabeth rose and walked out to meet a flushed but beaming and excited Mr. Bingley.
'Well, I am to congratulate you and call you my brother now, Mr. Bingley?' Elizabeth said, guess from his expression what the answer would be.
'Yes, yes indeed!' He said happily and put out his hand and said, 'How shall you like such an brother-in-law, Miss. Elizabeth?'
'She shook his hand and half laughing said, ' Very well, Mr. Bingley. I shall go to Jane now and you had better go to my father, he is quite alone.' Elizabeth then turned away smiling and quickly scurried of to find Jane.
She was upstairs with Mrs. Bennet and as soon as Elizabeth entered her mother cried, 'Oh Lizzy have you heard! Jane is to marry Mr. Bingley!'
'Yes, I have. I met Mr. Bingley downstairs. He is with my father now. She turned to Jane and embraced her saying, ' Dearest Jane, you shall be the happiest woman alive.'
'I hope I may deserve such as happiness as I feel.' Jane said
'Of course Jane! You are the most deserving person I know and Mr. Bingley is truly the best match for you!' Elizabeth cried.
News of Jane's engagement spread quickly and Mrs. Bennet had all her neighbours congratulating her especially when they heard that Jane was to be marry in January. Mr. Collins made it clear he did not approve of so short an engagement but no one cared for his opinion as he was to return home in two days and they were all too happy to mind what he said.
The day after Mr. Collins had gone home; promising to return very soon, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy came too see the visit the family. Bingley naturally wondered off with Jane and Mr. Darcy found himself alone with Elizabeth. She suggested they should go for a walk and he agreed. As they wandered along to late Autumn lanes arm in arm, Darcy said, 'I am afraid I must go to London on Business soon.'
'Oh, really?' Elizabeth said quietly, she was disappointed.
'Yes, I am to go in two days but I have promised to Bingley's groom's man and so I shall return in time for the wedding.' Darcy said, looking at her.
'Well, I glad that you be here that.' Elizabeth said, blushing and turning away.
'Will you... I mean, do you think you miss my company when I am in London.' Darcy said uneasily.
'Mr. Darcy...' Elizabeth began to protest then seeing his earnest uneasy face she looked at him, trying not to blush and said, 'Yes, of course I shall. I consider you a friend, Mr. Darcy and it would have be very wrong of me not miss a friend.'
'Miss. Bennet, could you ever consider... No it is wrong me to ask that.' Darcy began and stopped and stood still. Elizabeth removed her arm from his and said,
'What is it Mr. Darcy ? Please tell me, for true friends should have no secrets.'
'Could you ever...ever consider me more than a friend? Could you love me as your...husband.'
Elizabeth paused and taking his hands her said, 'I would be honoured to have you as my husband.'
Darcy's reaction to this was quite amazing. His whole face lit up and Elizabeth had never seen him smile so much.
'Dearest Elizabeth! My brilliant, perfect, wonderful Elizabeth, you have taught me to love and you have humbled me. By you, my pride was properly punished and all my pompousness was washed away or at least I hope it has.' He cried holding her hands tightly.
Elizabeth, blushing and laughing said,' I have done all this, Mr. Darcy! I do not deserve such praise.'
'But you do!' He cried, almost wildly and then more gravely he said, 'When I return from London I promise I shall propose to you properly.'
Elizabeth laughed, saying there was no need and that it was only necessary for them not to talk about to anyone until after Jane was married. He agreed but Elizabeth suspected that it would not be an easy promise to keep for either of them.
As Christmas approached and the whole family looked forward to the arrival of their Aunt and Uncle Gardiner from London and Kitty was looking out the window when she saw a large carriage coming up the drive.
'Lizzy, that isn't our Uncle's carriage is it?' Kitty said.
Elizabeth came to the window and said, 'No, indeed it is not. I don't know whose carriage it is.'
They both went and sat down and after a few minutes there was the sound of a voice in the hallway and a servant opened the door and announced, 'Lady Catherine de Bourgh.'
Everyone stood up and looked amazed and puzzled as a very grand lady entered to room.
'Which of your daughters is Elizabeth?' Lady Catherine said addressing Mrs. Bennet
'Elizabeth is over there, your ladyship.' Mrs. Bennet said indicating to Elizabeth.
Lady Catherine looked at Elizabeth and said, ' She is pretty enough I suppose, typical country town fashion and her skin is too tanned but pretty enough for a parson I suppose.'
Mrs. Bennet was about speak when Lady Catherine said, 'Miss. Bennet, I wish to talk to you. We shall walk in that pretty sort of wildness, if you will oblige me.' Lady Catherine tried to be civil and failed.
Elizabeth said nothing and quickly went up stairs to fetch her things. Lady Catherine was impatiently walking about though hall way. They walked quickly to the Shubbery and as soon as they enter it Lady Catherine stopped and began with, 'You can be at no lose to understand the reason of journey hither. Your heart must tell you why I have come.'
'Indeed, you are mistaken, Madam. I can not account for the honour of seeing you hear.' Elizabeth said coolly.
'Miss. Bennet, I am not to be trifled with! But however insincere you my decide to be you shall not find me so.' Lady Catherine said in a angry tone and then went on with, 'A week ago a report of a most alarming nature reached me. I told, not only that your sister was soon to be most advantageously married but that you Miss. Elizabeth Bennet, would be soon afterwards be united with my nephew, Mr. Darcy.
I knew it must be a scandalous falsehood but I resolved on setting out for this place to make absolutely sure.'
'If you believed it to be impossible, I wonder you took the trouble of coming so far. What could your ladyship propose by it?' Elizabeth said, starting to lose her temper now.
'To have this report at once universally contradicted.' Lady Catherine said angrily.
'Your coming to Longbourn to see me will be rather confirmation of it; if indeed, such a report exists.' Elizabeth said, calmly.
'This is not to be born! Has my nephew mad you an offer of marriage? Lady Catherine demanded.
'Your ladyship has declared it to be im...' Elizabeth began but Lady Catherine interrupted her with,
'Yes, he has your ladyship.' Elizabeth said gravely.
Lady Catherine looked surprised and then said, 'And have you accepted him? For if you have you should know it is impossible for him to marry you as he is engaged to my daughter!'
'I have accepted him, though it is not generally know, and I am sure if your nephew was engaged he would not have offered to me!' Elizabeth said angrily.
'The engagement is not of the sort you talk but it was the greatest wish of both the families that he should marry his cousin. If you have really accepted him then I shall know how to act, Miss. Bennet. I have some control over his finances and I shall not let have him have penny of it if he marries you.' Lady Catherine cried
'Your ladyship has grossly mistaken my character if you think I am marring your nephew for his wealth. I agreed to marry your nephew because I love him and I believe I will be happy with him.' Elizabeth cried
'You expect to tell me that you think nothing of his position, and his estate!' Lady Catherine cried disbelievingly.
'If your nephew had nothing I would love him. Strange as it may same to you, your ladyship but it is possible to love rich person for themselves and not their money!'
'Very well! If the shades of Pemberley are to polluted, I will make sure is all down to you! Good day Miss. Bennet.' Lady Catherine yelled and with that she was gone.
Elizabeth sighed and after calming down she returned to the house. She had to tell a small lie to her mother about what Lady Catherine had come for and then went and sat in her own room.
Christmas came and went and it was the day of Jane's wedding. Elizabeth was terrified of seeing Mr. Darcy after everything that happened but he was very calm and smiled at her more than once during the course of the day. Eventually the happy couple returned to Netherfield and as the family waved them off and turned in, Mr. Darcy came up to Elizabeth and said,
' Miss, Bennet may I see you tomorrow?'
'Yes, of course Mr. Darcy.' Elizabeth said blushing.
The next day Mr. Darcy duly came and they sat down together in the drawing room.
'My Aunt came to see me in London, Elizabeth.' Darcy began.
'Oh.' Elizabeth said, looking away.
' Elizabeth,' He said taking her hands in his. 'I do not regard anything my aunt says and I promise you she can not hurt me. She has no control over my finances and even if she did I hope you will still give the greatest pleasure by agreeing to become my wife.'
'She doesn't. Truly? If she does not then I will marry you with all my heart, but I shall not if I am to be a cause of grief to you.' Elizabeth said hopefully, looking up.
'Truly, she has no control over my finances. Shall I swear it dearest Elizabeth?' Darcy said, earnestly.
'No, no! God forbid I should ever doubt your word! ' Elizabeth cried and then more quietly she said, 'If you will have me after all I said to your grand relation and all my teasing I will be your wife and love you with all my heart.'
Darcy smiled and only said, 'Dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.' and kissed her.
On a sunny and reasonably warm day in April, Elizabeth married Mr. Darcy in Longbourn Church. All those who knew and loved the couple were there and many a tear was shed by Mrs. Bennet.
Lydia and Kitty had the compensation of being invited to Pemberley for the Summer when it was heard the Regiment was to leave for Brighton. Mary came out of her books and began to go out more, with Jane's encouragement. Jane and Bingley bought her hose not twenty miles from Pemberley, Mr. Collins married Miss. Lucas to the great surprise of everyone and Mr. Wickham married Mary King, a girl who had the fortune to inherit £10,000 and Mr. Bennet delighted in visiting his daughters when they least expected him.
The couple's happiness was completed by the announcement that Jane was to have a child and Miss. Darcy's return from London.
Miss. Bingley was fairly miserable and Lady Catherine was furious and for some time all communication was ended. However, Lady Catherine soon saw the light and visit them, despot the pollution Pemberley's woods had received from not only having such a Mistress but from the visits of her uncle and aunt Gardiner and other members of her family.
A story in which Mr. Darcy listened to his heart and Elizabeth used her head.