Posted on Saturday, 9 October 1999
It is a truth universally acknowledged that, if a family as old and as extablished in an area, a family such as the Darcys, and they have been living in a house as fine and old as Pemberley, that house must have at least one or two ghosts about the place to add to the consequence of the property in the guidebooks. True, some ghosts that haunt are the results of some tragic death or other. A pair of lovers who die tragically together, instead of being torn apart by feuding fathers, or a scandalous murder, but it is also true that when said ghost is a child, the discoverer is usually a child or someone with a childlike heart, and for Pemberley's ghost, that was the truth.
Pemberley's ghost in the era I write about was discovered on a dark October's night, just as the bells in Pemberley Church were tolling midnight. Elizabeth Darcy nee Bennet was awakened by the sound of what seemed to be bare feet running in the hallway, she also noticed that they were headed straight for hers and Mr. Darcy's bedchamber. As Lizzie was about to reach for her dressing gown, the door was thrown open and a little figure clad in a white nightgown came hurtling into the room and made a flying leap onto the bed. Little arms wrapped around Lizzie's neck and held her choking tight. Lizzie immediately recognised the figure as being that of her cousin, Miss Maria Elizabeth Gardiner, who, along with her sister and brothers, was staying at Pemberley while their Father and Mother traveled to Bakewell, where Mrs. Gardiner's Godmother had lived until recently, when news of her passing had reached her in Gracechurch Street. The will was being read and she had been mentioned.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner did not wish to travel all that way with their children, so they prevailed upon their favorite niece and nephew-in-law to take the children for a few days, while they traveled in Mrs. Gardiner's favorite county.
"Maria Elizabeth, it is just midnight, what brings you here, and in such a manner? Dearest, you are choking me, please loosen your hold." said Lizzie, in a motherly fashion.
The little girl loosened her hold and spoke in a tremulous tone, "Lizzie, I think there is a ghost in the nursery. I heard it, a little girl crying."
Posted on Monday, 11 October 1999
Author's Note: For those who were wondering, Miss Maria Elizabeth is the younger of the Gardiners daughters. Her older Sister is Amanda Jane and her Brothers are, Edward Jonathan or Neddie and Caleb Andrew.
The so sudden arrival of her cousin in the Master bedchamber and onto the bed, combined with hearing the word ghost being mentioned had also awakened Mr. Darcy. "Miss Maria Elizabeth, has not your Mama taught you that a young Lady does not run into a room or jump onto a bed in this fashion." asked Mr. Darcy, trying to look and sound stern.
"Yes, Mr. Darcy, sir, but I heard a ghost crying in the nursery. Neddie said that I was being silly, that there's no such things as ghosts. But I heard it and I saw it too. It was a little girl as big as me, in a white nightgown." replied Maria Elizabeth, as she snuggled closer to Lizzie. Wide awake now, hearing his wife's young cousin speaking of ghosts, Darcy tried to put on his best stern face, but even Lizzie could see that he was failing miserably at it.
"William, you know something about this, I know you do, Dearest, or you would not be failing so miserably at trying to look so stern. Is it true, William? Is Pemberley haunted?" asked Lizzie, curiously.
"I cannot lie to you, My Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth, nor Miss Maria Elizabeth. Yes there is a ghost at Pemberley, though I must admit that she is, on the whole, for this ghost is female, an extremely benign little spirit. In point of fact, she is, like all Darcys, a bit on the shy side. She does tend to keep to the nursery, as she was about Miss Maria Elizabeth's age when....." replied Mr. Darcy.
"When she died? The poor little thing. How did it happen?" asked Lizzie.
"In the Great Plague. It is a sad story, but there is something of a mystery that is attached to it. I believe her name was Patience, and she would be my eight greats Aunt. Her Father was Nathaniel Darcy." replied Mr. Darcy.
"I would like to hear the whole story. Now you have me very curious about Pemberley's little ghost." said Lizzie, in a tone that belied her curiosity. In the first days at Pemberley, after she and her Dearest William had returned there after their double wedding with Charles and Jane, he had given her a more complete tour than Mrs. Reynolds had given that fateful day when she and her Uncle and Aunt Gardiner had called at the house. If William had mentioned something as singular as a ghost, she would have remembered it.
Posted on Saturday, 16 October 1999
"I suppose that I have been remiss on that subject, but as she was a child, and is seen most in the nursery, adults are not going to believe it when they are informed by a child that they have seen a ghost. I will begin the tale, but then you must return to the nursery, Miss Maria Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy, trying to sound stern.
"Yes Mr. Darcy. I will. She did not seem to be a scary ghost. She seemed to be very sad. She was crying, as if she lost something." replied Miss Maria Elizabeth.
"In a way she has. Elizabeth, as you are now aware, the earliest recorded member of my family in England was Rohan D'arcy, who came over with the Conqueror, you are aware also that the first Darcy of consequence in Derbyshire was Phillippe D'arcy, who, along with his family, sought sanctuary among his English relations in the wake of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Phillippe Darcy, as he then became known, was the one who laid the foundation for what is now Pemberley." said Mr. Darcy, trying not to sound to pompous.
Posted on Saturday, 23 October 1999
"When Phillipe Darcy arrived in England, he carried with him a magnificent ruby necklace. This necklace had been made especially for his betrothed. Now I must relate a sad thing, she was one of those killed by the mobs on Saint Bartholomew's Day. Phillipe, mourned his Helene so much so that he never married, but knowing he would need an heir, he adopted the second son of his English cousin, Geoffrey Darcy. He would be my six greats Grandfather. His name was, like your cousin from America, Lucas. The necklace was then handed down as part of the Darcy jewels. When our little ghost, Patience, was born, she was the joy of her parents, as she was the first girl child born in the family. Everyone loved her. When she was about four, her Papa bought her the most beautiful doll, whom Patience named Aimee." said Mr. Darcy.
"Oh! Just like M'randa. She must have been her favorite doll." interrupted Maria Elizabeth.
"Yes she was her favorite doll, Miss Maria Elizabeth. But you must not interrupt the story, it is not Ladylike." said Mr. Darcy.
"I am sorry." apologised Maria Elizabeth.
"William, a ruby necklace? But I have seen the Darcy jewels, and I would have remembered such a necklace. What happened to it?" asked Lizzie, curiously.
"I am just about to relate the sad story. The year the Great Plague struck, all of the family was in London, except Patience who stayed at Pemberley with her Nurse and her governess and her Aunt Olivia. When the Plague became bad in Town, the Family returned, not knowing that one of maids brought it back to Pemberley. Miss Patience soon fell ill of it. Since she was quite small, she sickened quickly, and she was too weak to play with her doll. The Aunt who stayed Pemberley with Patience while the Family was in Town, let Patience see the necklace and had even put it around her neck a few times. Patience's Aunt and Nurse did all they could for her, but in the end Patience died. The last thing she cried for was to hold her doll again, but somehow it was lost, the strange thing was that the ruby necklace had somehow gotten lost with Patience's doll, for the last time that she had been strong enough to play with her, she had slipped the necklace over the doll's neck. Patience haunts the nursery looking for the doll and the necklace, because she died, believing that her Papa and Mama thought it was her fault that the necklace was lost. She hopes that someone will help her find her doll. Now I believe that it is time for you to return to the nursery, Miss Maria Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy, in what he hoped was a firm tone. When he turned to face his Dear Elizabeth, she held a finger to her lips.
"She is fast asleep William. Let me take her back to the nursery. I will rejoin you shortly." said Lizzie, quietly.
"You are not afraid to walk the halls of Pemberley in the hours when ghosts are most likely to appear, now that you know there is a ghost, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy teasingly.
"No, if she is as benign as you say, I am sure I will not be afraid to carry my Cousin back to the nursery. I have never been afraid of ghosts. Some say that Longbourn is haunted, but I never saw a ghost." replied Lizzie, as she rose from the bed, to put on her dressing gown, before carrying Maria Elizabeth back to the nursery.
Posted on Wednesday, 27 October 1999
After Lizzie made sure that Maria Elizabeth was tucked back in her bed, she returned to hers and Mr. Darcy's bedchamber. She got back into bed and snuggled next to her husband. "Now you may finish the story, Dearest William. I know that there is more to the story of this shy little ghost." said Lizzie.
"I suppose if I must, I must. Little Miss Patience appears only when there are children of a certain age and a certain sex in the nursery. I have memories of Georgiana telling me about hearing her crying, but I had thought it was just her imagination. Georgiana had a very lively imagination when she was a young girl. She even had an imaginary friend, but do not, I repeat, do not tell her that it was I who told you about "The Duchess". I do believe that Miss Maria Elizabeth is just the age and I suppose that being of a bold and lively nature, as her favorite Cousin, I believe that Miss Patience has returned to haunt the nursery in the hopes that she can convince Miss Maria Elizabeth will help her find her doll and the necklace. The necklace is in actuality a part of the set that includes the betrothal ring and the cross that I gave you for your first Christmas here at Pemberley, just as my Father gave them to my Mother. I am sure that Miss Maria Elizabeth may just be clever enough to find Miss Patience's lost doll." replied Mr. Darcy.
"I am sure that if anyone could help your little ghost, it would be Maria Elizabeth. It seems to me that she is not afraid of much, and I think she would look on Pemberley's little ghost as a friend. Even though she has Amanda and her brothers here to play with, sometimes I think that she is still lonely for a friend to play with." said Lizzie.
"Speaking of ghosts and hauntings, I am wondering if you have given any thought to the masquerade ball. It is something of an October tradition here at Pemberley. It was too late last year to hold it. Should we hold it this year?" asked Mr. Darcy.
"Yes William, I will think about the masquerade ball. I am sure that there are plenty of old clothes packed away in the attics, that everyone whom we invite to stay at Pemberley can fashion a costume from what they find in the trunks and clothespresses there. As for whom we should invite, Jane and Charles of course, James and Rebecca, Marsden and Kate, Sir Giles and Anne, I am sure that they both will enjoy a holiday from Rosings, of course we cannot forget all the children." replied Lizzie.
"Yes, and if you recall, the letter we received from Georgiana and Thornewood informed us that they will be returning from their wedding trip to Scotland in time for the masquerade ball. I imagine if your Sisters had not left for America with their husbands, they would have enjoyed the masquerade ball also. Yet they were heading in different directions. I know that it will be hard for you, as I have heard from James that a war with our former Colonies is most definitely imminent. What with Mary and Lucas in Pennsylvania and Catherine and Christopher in Montreal." said Mr. Darcy.
Mr. Darcy had just finished speaking, when there came a scratching at the door. Lizzie reached out for her dressing gown and slipped it on rose from the bed, crossed the room and answered the door. In answering the door, Lizzie found Nurse with the Twins: Charlotte Jane Anne and Daniel William George. "I brought the babes to ye Ma'am, as they just woke. I s'pect they'll be wantin their mam." said Nurse, as she brought the two precious bundles into the room.
Posted on Saturday, 30 October 1999
Just as the late autumn sun was rising, Lizzie was again wakened by the sound of bare feet in the hallway. Of course they were not in such a hurry as they were earlier, but Lizzie knew that those little feet belonged to her Cousin Maria Elizabeth. She reached out for her dressing gown, which she quickly put on, just as the door was slowly pushed open, and Maria Elizabeth popped her head around the door.
"Good mornin' Lizzie." said Maria Elizabeth, a little shyly.
"Good morning Dearest. Did you hear the ghost again, or did you sleep soundly after I tucked you back into your bed?" asked Lizzie.
"I slept soundly, but after you have your breakfast, will you come to the nursery and tell Neddie that there is too so a ghost in the nursery, that I am not silly at all. He said that I was silly, when I told him that there was a ghost in the nursery. Please Cousin Lizzie, please come and tell him." pleaded Maria Elizabeth.
"I will come to the nursery, but before I have my breakfast, I need to give the Twins their breakfast and I am afraid that you need to return to the nursery to have your breakfast and then dress." replied Lizzie, smiling, as she gave her cousin a hug.
"Thank you, Lizzie." said Maria Elizabeth, quietly.
Even though Lizzie and Maria Elizabeth had been spoken in whispers, so as to not wake up Mr. Darcy, just as Maria Elizabeth was about to leave the bedchamber, he woke. "And just what have you two lovely Ladies been whispering about so early this morning, or need I ask." said Mr. Darcy teasingly.
"Good morning, William, Dearest. It seems that Edward is still skeptical about the ghost in the nursery. Maria Elizabeth came to ask if we might tell him that there is a ghost. Perhaps though, it will be hard for such a dignified young man to believe in a ghost, when it is only the younger of his two sisters who is able to see her." replied Lizzie, smiling at her Dearest William, as she reached out to hug him Good Morning.
"Just as long as it will keep peace in the nursery. I will tell young Master Edward that the ghost is real, but only Miss Maria Elizabeth is able to see Miss Patience, as I told you, she is like all Darcys, very shy, but I think that Miss Maria Elizabeth is clever enough to help her find what was lost." replied Mr. Darcy.
Posted on Thursday, 4 November 1999
Lizzie had just come from the kitchens, where she had been consulting with Mrs. Reynolds and Cook about the Masquerade Ball, when she was met by sounds of laughing, giggling, and feet hurrying down the stairs. She was about to quiet them, when Mr. Darcy, who had been in his study since breakfast opened the door. "Young Ladies and Gentlemen do not come downstairs in such a fashion." said Mr. Darcy, in a mock stern fashion.
"William, I was just going to ask you to accompany myself and the children outside. It is such a wonderful autumn day, and I noticed a number of large piles of leaves that Matthew and Mr. Samuels have raked up. I know of only one use for large piles of leaves like that, other than burning, but I do not suppose that a dignified gentleman like yourself, William would even know what that is." said Lizzie in a teasing tone.
"Being a Lady yourself, My Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth, you probably never indulged in the practice." replied Mr. Darcy, in a similar fashion.
"I cannot believe it. You liked to jump in piles of leaves, William? My Sisters and I loved to play in the leaves at Longbourn when we were young. My Cousins have finished their lessons for the morning. Since they are here on a short holiday, their governess has decided to give them a half day's lessons only. If you will excuse me, Dearest William, I will just have Anna Rose bring my pelisse and bonnet." said Lizzie.
"I suppose that I must have my greatcoat and hat fetched, if I am to join you in your morning's outing. I will return shortly." replied Mr. Darcy, who then hurried up the stairs two at a time and whistling "Voi Che Sapete".
"Lizzie, do you think that the little girl ghost will be sad that I am away from the nursery?" asked Maria Elizabeth, worriedly.
"I am sure that she will be fine. Mr. Darcy did say that she is shy, so maybe she will like the quiet. Maybe you will see her later." replied Lizzie.
"I would like to play outside for awhile, but I think that the little girl ghost will be sad while I am. I will help her find her doll." said Maria Elizabeth, in a determined tone.
Posted on Saturday, 6 November 1999
Darcy, Elizabeth and the Gardiner children exited the house as soon as they had all put on their coats and pelisses. The children were all excited that were nice big piles of leaves to play in.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please try to curb your excitement until we are outside. You must not yell or shout while you are inside." said Mr. Darcy, in a mock stern tone, as he smiled at Lizzie, who, minx that she was, winked back, as she took his proffered arm, and Miss Maria Elizabeth Gardiner took his hand. The merry party soon had reached the foot of the front steps and all hurriedly stepped down on the ground.
Master Edward Jonathan and Master Caleb Andrew, with Miss Gardiner to try to keep them from getting too far ahead of Lizzie, Mr. Darcy and Miss Maria Elizabeth ran as fast as they could in the direction of the piles of leaves. Lizzie laughed as the little boys made prodigious leaps into the first pile they came to. Darcy also smiled.
"That was a most prodigious leap lads. I used to be very good at this myself. I wonder if I am still able?" Darcy thought to himself, not realising that he had been voicing his thoughts aloud.
"Try it, and see. That is what Papa always says, if we are not sure of something." said Miss Gardiner, in a shy tone.
"Yes, William, do try it and see." said Lizzie, as she came up to the pile of leaves.
"Only if you accompany me, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth." replied Darcy, in a teasing tone.
Posted on Wednesday, 17 November 1999
"Of course I will accompany you My Dearest William." replied Lizzie, as she took her husband's proffered hand. They started running towards one of the big piles of leaves and made a prodigious jump. They landed softly, but the thought of two such grown-up, dignified people, like Mr. Darcy and their favorite cousin jumping into the leaves made the Gardiner children start to laugh and giggle.
"So you think that is funny, do you?" said both Lizzie and Darcy, in a mock stern tone as they stood up.
"Oh yes, you look so funny." replied the children, which caused all members of the party to laugh. The children laughed the most when Lizzie and Mr. Darcy began to throw leaves at them, and so the children threw them back at Lizzie and Mr. Darcy.
"I have not played in the leaves since I was ten years old and I was informed by my father that, that was way too undignified a practice for the future Master of Pemberley, so I must thank you my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth for reminding me of how much fun this is, but I suppose one must have children with you to truly enjoy the practise." said Mr. Darcy, smiling at Lizzie.
"Oh yes, Dearest William. I especially love you for that, because I know that deep down inside you are still a child at heart." replied Lizzie, smiling in a mischievous way at Darcy, before throwing a very large handful of leaves at him.
"You are a hoyden, Mrs. Darcy, but I will have my own back, make no mistake about that, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth." said Mr. Darcy, who was bigger and taller and so could throw an even larger handful of leaves at her, and so the battle was engaged earnestly, until there came an outburst from Miss Maria Elizabeth,
"Oh do look up at the nursery window, Lizzie! I see my little ghost, she looks so sad." said Miss Maria Elizabeth, pointing up at one of the windows, and sure enough, Lizzie could see the sad face of a little girl.
Miss Maria Elizabeth's exclamation about the little ghost, made Master Edward Gardiner begin to laugh and say how silly his little sister was. "Everyone knows that there are no such things as ghosts." that young man said in the tone of an older brother.
"There are too such things as ghosts, I saw her in the window, and so did Lizzie." replied Miss Maria Elizabeth, matter of factly.
Posted on Wednesday, 24 November 1999
"I do believe that I have mentioned this to you be fore, Master Edward. It is not gentlemanly to make fun of a Lady, even if the Lady is your youngest Sister. Perhaps there is a ghost, but only Miss Maria Elizabeth may see her. After all, she is a very shy little ghost. Now I do believe that your Cousin needs to return to the house to take care of the Twins." said Mr. Darcy.
"Yes, I believe I must. The Twins will be needing their Mama, but I will come back outside later." replied Lizzie, as she started back to the house, after making sure that her Dearest William would be able to keep a good eye on her Cousins. But as Lizzie was walking back to the house she began to notice that she had a little shadow behind her. "Oh Maria Elizabeth, do you not wish to stay outside with your sister and brothers?" inquired Lizzie.
"No Lizzie, I would like to go to see if my sad little ghost is all right. When I saw her face in the window, she looked very sad. She looked as if she wanted to go out side or for me to go back inside. Can ghosts go outside of a house, Lizzie?" asked Maria Elizabeth.
"I do not know Dearest. But maybe she feels safer if she is inside the house. Maybe when you see her, you will know." replied Lizzie, as the two cousins reentered the house.
Posted on Wednesday, 9 February 2000
Lizzie and Maria Elizabeth entered the nursery where the twins' nurse was waiting. Lizzie sat down in the rocker that Mr. Darcy had told her, had been used by his mother for the same purpose she was going to use it. "Lizzie, will it be all right if I go to the schoolroom and draw pictures?" asked Maria Elizabeth.
"Of course Dearest." replied Lizzie, as she readied herself to nurse her twins, and watched as her cousin disappear into the room adjacent to the nursery that was used as the schoolroom. Lizzie soon put her mind to the task at hand and was soon in that peaceful and content state of a mother nursing her infants. She was so relaxed that it was not until she heard voices from the schoolroom, that she realised that it might not just be Maria Elizabeth, but her gentle phantom friend. The twins were now fast asleep and Lizzie and Becky, the twins' nurse placed them back in their cradles.
As Lizzie came close to the schoolroom door she heard her cousin say "Do not be sad little ghost, we were just outside playing in the leaves with Our Cousin Lizzie and Mr. Darcy. You are scared of him. When I first saw him, I was, but that is because he is tall. He knelt on one knee so he did not seem so tall. He rescued M'randa, she's my fav'rite doll, 'cause Lizzie made her for me. You like Lizzie. Your fav'rite Auntie played with you and your fav'rite doll. I like Lizzie too, she is our fav'rite cousin. She plays with us. Do you think she will help us find your doll, I think so."
Lizzie was just entering the schoolroom, when she heard her cousin say, "Do not go away little ghost, it is just Lizzie."
Posted on Saturday, 25 March 2000
"See, little ghost, Lizzie won't hurt you. She will try to help you too." said Maria Elizabeth, as Lizzie came into the schoolroom.
"You were speaking with your new friend Dearest?" asked Lizzie, as she gathered her cousin up into her arms.
"She said she was afraid of Mr. Darcy. She didn't like coming to the nursery when he was a boy because he made too much noise, and it scared her. Miss Darcy didn't scare her, but she had her favorite doll to play with, and all Patience would like is to find her doll. May we look for it tomorrow, Lizzie?" asked Maria Elizabeth, earnestly.
"Perhaps, but if I remember correctly, Lord & Lady Thornewood will be arriving at Pemberley in a few days, and I must help Mrs. Reynolds make sure everything is ready for them. It will be their first visit back to Pemberley since Georgiana and Lord Thornewood were married. I must make sure everything looks nice, then we will look. Where would she like us to look first?" asked Lizzie.
"Maybe we should look in the attics. Her doll maybe up there." replied Maria Elizabeth.
Posted on Saturday, 17 June 2000
The following is dedicated to alethea and all other fans of Miss Maria Elizabeth Gardiner, and this my little ghost story.The following morning, Mr. Darcy proposed a visit to the attics, to search through the trunks and boxes for possible masquerade costumes. The proposal sounded as an adventure to the ears of all four of the Gardiner children, and so they enthusiastically joined in the expedition. As Mrs. Reynolds had the key to the attics, the first thing that needed to be done, was to fetch the key from the housekeeper's parlour, which Lizzie gladly offered to do. As Lizzie hurried to Mrs. Reynolds parlour, she happened to look down to see that her cousin Maria Elizabeth had followed along with her. Lizzie smiled at her youngest cousin.
"Lizzie, I told the little ghost that we were going up to the attics, and she got all excited. Maybe her doll is up there." said Maria Elizabeth.
"Perhaps, it is, and perhaps you and Mandy might help me choose the perfect masquerade costume, as you search for the doll." replied Lizzie, as she knocked on the door of Mrs. Reynolds parlour. Lizzie, asked the redoubtable housekeeper for the keys to the attics, Mrs. Reynolds offered to go along with the party. When they rejoined the rest of the party, they soon made their way to the attics.
When they arrived at the top of the house where the attics were, Mrs. Reynolds unlocked the door, and let the footmen, who had also accompanied the party into the attics to place lamps about, for light. Pemberley's attics were large and expansive, and full everything imaginable, besides trunks, boxes, and armoires. They certainly were in better order for attics than Longbourn's, thought Lizzie. "Look at all the trunks, Lizzie." said Amanda Jane.
"What do you supposed might be in them, Mandy" replied Lizzie.
"There is magic in them, Miss Gardiner." said Mr. Darcy, as one of the footmen moved a trunk so that Mrs. Reynolds could unlock it.
Posted on Wednesday, 21 June 2000
As Mr. Darcy made his way through the attics, he lighted upon a likely trunk, which he quickly dusted off and made Miss Gardiner & Miss Maria Elizabeth laugh when he sneezed a mighty sneeze. "Now, remember ladies, one must be very cautious when opening trunks and boxes, for you never know just what might be in them." said Mr. Darcy, as he opened the trunk. Maria Elizabeth and Amanda Jane hurried over to peer into the open trunk.
"Oh Lizzie!" both little girls exclaimed. "Oh do come and see what is in the trunk!" Which she did. Mr. Darcy reached into the trunk and brought out a coat that spoke of sailing the High Seas and privateering.
"Oh William, this will be perfect for Marsden, who did this belong to!?" asked Lizzie, in a tone as excited as her cousins.
"If memory serves, this coat belonged to my Great, great Uncle Matthew Darcy, and he was truly a privateer, and yes I believe that this coat will be perfect for Marsden. He married a red headed woman who, if the rumours are true, was his mistress originally. Yes, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth there were black sheep in the Darcy family. He was actually very colorful character indeed. Since he was the captain of a privateering vessel, he kept logs, and he also kept private logs that are in the library. I spent many a happy hour doing my best to make out what he had written. They were some of my most favorite tomes in Pemberley's library. I am sure that we might find a dress that would be fitting for Kate, as his wife had an amazing wardrobe and it is here in the attics."
As Lizzie, Mr. Darcy, and Amanda Jane went through the trunks, they did not notice that Maria Elizabeth had wandered away, but not before she told them that she was going to see where the cats had gone, for Hero, Lysander, and Niagara had come up into the attics with them.
Posted on Saturday, 22 July 2000
"Remember to be very careful," Mr. Darcy reminded Miss Maria Elizabeth, as she began her search in the attics.
"Yes Mr. Darcy, sir. I will remember." replied Maria Elizabeth, as the little girl walked away from the trunk that he, Lizzie, and Amanda were looking into, with the cats in tow.
Author's Note: I decided to put the cats that Mary brought to Pemberley in "The Darcy's Christmas Miracle", because I have always believed that cats are naturally born psychics.
Lizzie smiled as her littlest girl cousin walked towards a far corner, carefully carrying a small lamp with her. Lizzie smiled, for she wore a look on her face that was most familiar, for it was her own look of determination. Lizzie had been thus, at the same age, when confronted with a puzzle, she was ever ready to discover the solution. "The cats will watch out for Maria Elizabeth, William. Now what sort of costumes should Georgiana and Lord Thornewood wear?" asked Lizzie, in a rhetorical fashion, as a footmen brought another trunk from another corner of the attics.
"What about an angel?" suggested Amanda Jane. "Miss Darcy always seems like one to me."
"You think so, Miss Gardiner?" asked Mr. Darcy, in all seriousness.
"Oh yes. Maria Elizabeth and I truly think that Miss Darcy is like an angel." replied Amanda Jane.
As Lizzie, Mr. Darcy and Amanda Jane discussed possible costumes for the guests at the Pemberley October Masquerade Ball, Maria Elizabeth and the cats scurried here and there, and as they made their way about the attics, Maria Elizabeth once again heard the sound of crying, as if from behind a wall.
"Are you here little ghost? Where are you?" called Maria Elizabeth, as she moved her hands along the wall, and suddenly! not realising it, Maria Elizabeth's hand landed on a switch, and a section of wall moved and the little girl tripped over the threshold and fell into the dark room, and before she could get up again, the section of wall slipped back in place, shutting her and miraculously the cats in.
Posted on Thursday, 24 August 2000
Now a more ladylike (silly) little girl who is suddenly shut up in a secret room would more than likely start to scream and whine and cry, but not an intrepid child like Maria Elizabeth Gardiner. Yes she was startled, because of the sudden darkness and when one of the cats brushed up against her ankle, yet she was not scared. The first thing she did try to do was find a way out. Not finding one, she decided to explore the room. Maybe she would find a treasure just like Lizzie had done.
(This is a reference to Our Dear Lady Patroness Ann's delightful little story," The Painted Cabinet". Your Gentle Author.)
Maria used her candle to look around to find a place to set it down. She soon found a little table and she set her candle down. Maria looked around the little room and noticed that the three cats all sat in front of what looked like fireplace and their eyes glowed gold in the candlelight, and they all sat so still that they appeared to be cat statues. Maria also noticed that the cats were looking at someone or something that at first she couldn't see. Yet it was not long before Maria's little friend Patience the shy little ghost had appeared in front of her. "Hello little ghost, I do not know how, but I am stuck in this room. My Cousin Lizzie found another room like this in Mr. Darcy's study. She found a treasure, Mr. Darcy said. Do you think your doll is in here? I will look for it." said Maria, to her friend.
The little ghost appeared to smile at Maria Elizabeth, and began to appear excited as she pointed at the trunks in one corner. "They look heavy, Patience. How can I get them? I know, maybe if I knock on the wall, I can get Lizzie's attention."
Posted on Saturday, 26 August 2000
Maria Elizabeth began to knock upon the walls in an attempt to get her cousin's attention. While she knocked on the inside wall of the secret room, back in the attics, Lizzie, Mr. Darcy and Amanda were going through another trunk. In this one, the found some of the dresses that Mr. Darcy had said belonged to his Great great Uncle Matthew's wife. "Oh my, I do believe that Kate would love to wear one of these dresses, William. I do think that they not only are suited to her colouring, but they are also suited to her personality, do you not think so?" asked Lizzie, in a teasing tone.
"But of course, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth. They are quite to Kate's taste, but I think that this one would be to your taste and if you wear this, I know just what I will wear." replied Mr. Darcy in a similar tone, as he moved to another trunk in a very confident tone, as if he was very positive he knew what it contained. Just as Mr. Darcy was about to lift the lid of the trunk after unlocking it, Amanda Jane began to hear what sounded like tapping on the wall.
"Lizzie, do you hear that? It sounds like someone is tapping on the other side of that wall. Lizzie, where is Maria Elizabeth? She said she was going to look for the cats, but now I do not see her anywhere. Oh! there it goes again." said Amanda Jane, in a tone, that was full of concern for her little sister.
"Why I do believe you are correct, Mandy. I do not see either Maria Elizabeth or the cats. Maybe Mr. Darcy will help us find them, and together we will be able to solve the mystery of the tapping sound." replied Lizzie.
Posted on Tuesday, 12 September 2000
"Mayhap Mr. Darcy will help you with what, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth?" asked Mr. Darcy in a teasing tone.
"It would seem that we have another riddle to solve, My Dearest William. It would appear that someone is on the other side of that wall, and yet there does not appear to be a door to the other side of this wall, and it would appear that we have misplaced Maria Elizabeth and the cats." replied Lizzie.
"How do you come to believe that there is someone on the other side of that wall, Elizabeth?" asked Mr. Darcy, as he went over to the wall in question.
"Because Amanda and I heard someone tapping on it, and it is surely coming from the other side of the wall." replied Lizzie in a very confident tone.
"I believe that you are correct, Elizabeth. There is another secret room here at Pemberley, and yes it is here in the attics. I became aware of this particular room when I was about ten years of age. I discovered it with the help of Marsden and James. We all took the measles at the same time, during summer holidays from school, and Marsden and James were visiting here. We discovered the secret room while we were recuperating. There is a stairway leading from this room to the schoolroom. I am surprised that an intrepid child such as Miss Maria Elizabeth had not discovered the entrance from there, but then she was more than likely trying to assist her new little friend find her lost doll, now if I can just remember where the latch is, ah hah! there." said Mr. Darcy, as the wall slid back, and the three cats hurried out of the room followed by Miss Maria Elizabeth.
"Oh Lizzie! There are more trunks in here. Little Patience thinks maybe her doll is in one of them, but they are too heavy to move." said Maria Elizabeth, as she hurried out of the little room, straight into her cousin's out-stretched arms.
Posted on Tuesday, 17 October 2000
"Are you all right, Dearest?" asked Lizzie, as she hugged her little cousin tight.
"Were you not very frightened?" asked Amanda, as she hugged her little sister tight.
"Oh no, I was not frightened, for I had my little ghost friend, and the cats. The cats knew that little Patience was in the secret room." replied Maria Elizabeth, as Mr. Darcy and two of Pemberley's footmen carried candles into the secret room. When the room was sufficiently lighted, the two footmen began to move the trunks out where they could be opened and the contents examined.
The contents of two of the trunks seemed to be a surprising collection of theatrical properties. This brought ohs of delight to the little girls faces, and surprise to Lizzie's.
"William, where did all these treasures come from?" asked Lizzie, in a curious tone.
"As the trunks say, Dearest Elizabeth, Hadley and Seyton Traveling Players. I believe that this group came to Pemberley, one summer when my Father was a boy, and in leaving, they left these trunks behind. I had forgotten that they were placed in here. Yet, if I recall the time my Cousins and I "discovered" this room, we did have many an enjoyable afternoon with the contents of these trunks." replied Mr. Darcy, as he placed the three lovely crowns on Lizzie's, Amanda's, and Maria Elizabeth's heads.
All the trunks contained similar items, but there was no sign of Patience's doll or the necklace, and yet, after all the trunks were moved into the main attics, Maria Elizabeth noticed that her gentle little phantom friend stood in front of the wall where all the trunks had been piled up against.
"Lizzie!" said Maria Elizabeth, in an excited tone. "Maybe there is something behind that wall too. Maybe Patience's doll is behind the wall."
"William, do you suppose that this particular room, hides another secret?" asked Lizzie, in a very curious tone.
"I do not know about another secret room, but I recall that a strengthening wall was built perhaps within ten years after the Plague, and perhaps there maybe something behind that particular wall, but perhaps we might continue our investigations after nuncheon, as I believe it is just noon." replied Mr. Darcy.
Posted on Thursday, 4 January 2001
Masters Edward and Caleb Gardiner joined their sisters, Lizzie and Mr. Darcy for nuncheon. They had decided that a visit to the attics to look for costumes for the Pemberley Masquerade Ball did not seem to be something that interested them, besides Miss Adams thought that the boys were becoming neglectful of their lessons, especially geography and Latin. So they had spent the morning in Pemberley's schoolroom, so they were a bit envious of their sisters' adventures, especially Maria Elizabeth's, but they also thought that the discovery of a secret room was quite "smashing". They had heard of Lizzie's discovery, and thought that there were more discoveries to made that afternoon made the two lads very excited about joining their sisters, Lizzie and Mr. Darcy up in the attics.
"But first, we need to consult the house plans, before we form our campaign." said Mr. Darcy, taking a sip of cider from his mug, for he had asked his steward, Mr. Evans to have the house plans brought to the small Drawing Room, after nuncheon." For Miss Maria Elizabeth has discovered something puzzling about the attics. Something that may solve a mystery that has been puzzling everyone here at Pemberley since the Great Plague."
"Mr. Darcy refers to Miss Patience?" asked Mr. Evans, as all members of the Pemberley staff knew of the benign little spirit, that was something of a guardian of the nursery, and all who resided there.
"Yes, it would appear that she has returned once more, and has made Miss Maria Elizabeth her particular friend." replied Mr. Darcy.
After nuncheon, the Gardiner children joined Lizzie and Mr. Darcy in the small Drawing Room, where Mr. Darcy was looking through the plans for the attics section.
"Ahh! Here it is. You observe, Dearest Elizabeth, that the "secret room" in the attics is clearly defined, and has always been on the plans, while "your secret room" is harder to define in the plans." said Mr. Darcy, pointing out Maria Elizabeth's secret room.
"I see, and here is that wall you mentioned, William. One wonders what is on the other side, if it is not another secret room." replied Lizzie, as her cousins soon gathered around her to look at the plans also.
Posted on Saturday, 31 March 2001
"Yes. one does wonder if there is, and how I came to be acquainted with two such determined and intrepid treasure hunters. One wonders if the propensity for discovering puzzles and the curiosity to want to solve them is a family trait of yours, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth. If I had known just how intrepid you were, mayhap I would not have been so hasty to refuse request your hand for a dance that night in Meryton." replied Darcy, in a light teasing tone, bringing a delightful flush to Lizzie's face with a boyish wink and mischievous smile.
"It is shameful of you to bring that up, Dearest William, for now I will be forced to punish you for it, but we have no time for that. Maria Elizabeth has informed me that Miss Patience is most insistent about finding her doll and the necklace." said Lizzie, rising from her chair.
"Yes, and it grows darker earlier now." said Darcy, also rising from his chair, looking for all the world like Colonel Fitzwilliam, mustering his troops for a campaign.
"William, you are doing a very poor job of it imitating James as he is mustering his troops for a campaign." said Lizzie, with an equally mischievous smile.
"Mayhap I should send for James, Rebecca and the twins. They are visiting Uncle and Aunt Matlock at The Court. I am sure that James and the twins would love to go on a treasure hunting expedition, but you have mentioned that time is of the essence." replied Darcy, as the whole treasure hunting party, its way back up the stairs to the attics. They were a merry party.
Returning to the attics, the treasure hunting party soon found itself once more in the secret room, of course, Neddie and Caleb found two wooden swords amongst the theatrical properties, with which they staged a mock battle fought with a great deal of boyish bravado, which brought a certain smile to Mr. Darcy's face, a smile that Lizzie noticed immediately.
"William, you are remembering something about those swords, are you not?" asked Lizzie.
"Yes My Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth, I am remembering the battles Marsden, James and I myself fought with those selfsame swords. We had begun to recover from the measles, and were bored, that is how we discovered the secret staircase up here from the nursery. Afterwards, we three swore a blood oath that we would never reveal that we had been up here." replied Mr. Darcy.
Posted on Wednesday, 4 April 2001
Mr. Darcy had sent for Mr. Willis the estate carpenter, arriving shortly there after, he began the serious work of testing the wall for a possible hollow spot, and it did not take long to discover that, yes indeed there was a hidden space behind the wall.
"Looks loike ye gots a spice behoind the wall. but it's only this hoigh." said Mr. Willis, showing a height of about three feet. It was obvious that it was too low for Mr. Willis or Micah Dane, Mr. Willis' apprentice.
"I can do it," said Maria Elizabeth, bravely." I know I can. My little ghost friend wants me to find her doll. I think she is waiting for me on the other side of the wall to show me where to look."
"You are very brave, Miss Maria Elizabeth, but first Mr. Willis must determine if it is safe to go in to the space." said Mr. Darcy.
Mr. Willis soon had the wall down, and indeed there was a space just big enough for someone small of stature to crawl inside. Mr. Willis had Micah hold a candle inside to determine if it was safe. When Mr. Willis determined that it was safe, Maria Elizabeth readied herself for the task by changing into an old dress that was destined for rags anyway. She began to crawl into the opening to admonitions of "be careful". There were candles that Micah had put into the little room. As soon as Maria Elizabeth was fully into the room, she picked up a candle and she found a little table. Maria Elizabeth was happy to find Prudence waiting for her, over which she exclaimed.
"Where should I look, Patience?" the others heard her ask. "Over there? I see something, Patience."
Looking in the direction that Patience had indicated, Maria Elizabeth found a bundle in a corner of the little room, it looked to be about the size of Patience's doll, and Maria Elizabeth could see that her little ghost friend was becoming excited.
"Is this what you were looking for, Patience? Is your doll wrapped up in this bundle?" asked Maria Elizabeth, to which the little ghost nodded.
Receiving an affirmative answer, it was a very jubilant Maria Elizabeth who carefully made her way back out to the outer room. "I found Patience's doll! I just know it." exclaimed Maria Elizabeth, as she brought the bundle to where Lizzie and Mr. Darcy were waiting.
The bundle was an old quilt that was obviously wrapped around something. Everyone gathered around Maria Elizabeth to for a better look.
When what might be such a doubly precious treasure is discovered either wrapped up in a bundle, or locked up in a chest, there is usually a somewhat heated discussion about who should be given the honour of opening the chest, or unwrapping the bundle. There was just such a discussion of the bundle in question, but with Solomon-like wisdom, Mr. Darcy decided that this particular honour should go to Maria Elizabeth, as it was she that Miss Patience came to for help.
Maria Elizabeth carefully unwrapped the bundle, but she could hardly contain her excitement, knowing that her little ghost friend was also excited that her favorite doll had been found. It took Maria Elizabeth sometime before she had the bundle completely unwrapped, she was utterly jubilant at finding Patience's doll. "Look! I found Aimee, and she has the necklace around her neck." exclaimed Maria Elizabeth bringing the doll to Lizzie and Mr. Darcy.
Maria Elizabeth gave the doll to Lizzie, who showed it to Mr. Darcy, who carefully removed the necklace from around the doll's neck. He carefully examined it to determine if it was indeed the lost necklace.
The necklace was a tasteful arrangement of rubies set in gold. Though it was an old-fashioned setting, Lizzie found it quite lovely.
"William! it is very beautiful. I love old-fashioned settings like this." exclaimed Lizzie, as she looked at it also.
Posted on Saturday, 26 May 2001
Mr. Darcy, happy to have a lost bit of Pemberley property found, smiled at both his clever young wife and her young cousin
"I would have to say that it suits you, my Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth, and I would deem it an honour if you wear it with your costume at the Masquerade Ball," said Mr. Darcy, as he caught Maria Elizabeth up, and sat her upon her shoulder." As an expert treasure hunter, Elizabeth, would you not say that a celebration is in order?"
"But of course a celebration is in order, William. As soon as we return Downstairs I will have one ordered up, for I was sure that I observed some biscuits and cherry tarts being made earlier. I am sure of that." replied Lizzie.
The treasure hunting party returned Downstairs, with Maria Elizabeth, the heroine of the moment, born aloft upon Mr. Darcy's shoulder. Lizzie quickly rang for the tray, and soon the gallant treasure hunters were all partaking of delicious assortment of Cook's best biscuits, small cakes and tarts, with cups of tea. In the middle of the impromptu celebration, Mr. Reynolds, Pemberley's staunch butler entered the Drawing Room, in the midst of the festive mood, to announce the arrival of The Marquis and Marchioness Thornewood, who had returned from Scotland and Wales, where they gone on their wedding trip. Lizzie welcomed her sister-in-law most warmly, as Darcy welcomed his brother-in-law.
"Oh my!" exclaimed Georgiana." It appears that we have arrived in the middle of a party, Gareth."
"It certainly does, my love." replied Gareth, recognising the Gardiner children.
Miss Maria Elizabeth, not wanting to keep the happy news in much longer, hurried over to Lizzie, bringing her little ghost friend's doll with her to show Georgiana.
"We have been treasure hunting, just like Lizzie and we found Patience's doll and the lost necklace. I saw Patience, and knew that she wanted me to help her." exclaimed Maria Elizabeth, happily, holding the doll out for Georgiana to examine.
"Oh William, who would have thought That when you married Elizabeth, we would have two such clever treasure hunters. I can remember seeing Patience, but I just could not ascertain where to look." said Georgiana, smiling at Maria Elizabeth. as the young couple entered fully into the Drawing Room to join in the celebration in honour of the recovery of both the Lost Darcy Necklace and Miss Patience's doll.
Posted on Wednesday, 30 May 2001
Later that night, while Lizzie and Darcy lay in their bed, Mr. Darcy was aware of the fact his "Dearest, Loveliest Elizabeth was having a hard time falling asleep.
"What is wrong, Elizabeth?" asked Darcy, as he snugged her a bit closer to his side.
"Oh William, I am afraid that Maria Elizabeth is going to be learning something about ghosts. She is going to learn that now that Miss Patience's task on earth is completed, she is going to have to finally go to heaven, and she will not be seeing her shy little friend anymore. I am worried how she will take that." replied Lizzie, in a concerned tone.
"I am not so sure, Elizabeth. Miss Maria Elizabeth is a very resilient and resourceful young Lady. I am sure she will understand this if it were explained to her in a most tactful manner." replied Mr. Darcy.
"But who will be the one to explain the facts of ghosts to her. I am of the opinion that Maria Elizabeth rather enjoys the idea that she has a ghost for a friend." countered Lizzie.
"I am sure that we will be able to explain this to her together." said Mr. Darcy, as he kissed Lizzie on the top of her head, breathing in her sweet lavender scent. A very pleasant moment indeed, and it would have become, on the whole, more pleasant, if there had not been a somewhat timid scratching on the door. Lizzie reached out for her dressing gown, donned it, rose from the bed, crossed the room, and opened the chamber door to discover that the subject of the conversation above, stood in the doorway, her eyes filled with tears.
"What is wrong, Dearest?" asked Lizzie, as she gathered her cousin into her arms, and held her close to her.
"Oh Lizzie, I cannot find my little ghost. I thought that she came back to the nursery, after came back from the attics, but I could not find her." replied Maria Elizabeth through her tears.
"Oh Dearest, I am afraid that Patience has probably went to heaven to be with her family. She has been away from them for a long time. Ghosts usually go to heaven when they finish up what they were supposed to do, or think they were supposed to do. In this case, find her doll and the lost necklace. Do you not think that Miss Patience needs a rest after all the years here on earth, in the nursery?" asked Lizzie, nudging her Dearest William, who was trying his best to look as serious as Lizzie was." William, this is a very serious matter, the least you can do is look the part." whispered Lizzie, just loud enough for her husband to hear.
"Of course, Lizzie. You are correct. Miss Maria Elizabeth, your parents have been away from you for sometime, and I am sure that you miss them. I am sure that Miss Patience misses her family, and wishes to be in heaven with them." said Mr. Darcy, as ruffled Maria Elizabeth's curls.
"I will miss her. She was a nice little ghost." replied Maria Elizabeth, as she snuggled next to Lizzie and fell fast asleep.