Posted on Wednesday, 24 September 2003, at
Miss Bingley returned to her brother's home after the hasty departure from Pemberley. She was quite affected by the encounter she had had, and spent very little time out of her rooms. On occasion, Miss Bingley joined her sister and Mr. Hurst, but she was not welcomed to Pemberley. After a year, Miss Bingley decided that she would dwell on her losses no longer, but go and find for herself a husband that would make Mr. Darcy regret his words.
Older than most single ladies, Miss Bingley was not without charms when she chose to show them, and show them she did. All over town, Miss Bingley made it quite clear that she was available, and that she was seeking an excellent match. Unfortunately, people seeking a match for the purpose of spite, are not often successful in the choice. Miss Bingley married a Sir Walter Precian, who was reputed to have a large estate and very large fortune.
Miss Bingley invited all of the Darcys to attend her wedding, for what is spite if the 'victim' is not there to see the results? Mrs. Darcy declined the invitation, being that she was soon to add to the size of the Darcy family, but Mr. Darcy and his sister did attend.
Mr. Darcy witnessed the wedding, with a little sympathy for the bride. It was clear that love was not her motivation for marriage, and he knew what she did not.
The bride wore a very fashionable gown that had clearly cost her brother a great many pounds. Miss Bingley was clearly intending to impress. Impress she did. The Precian wedding was spoken of for many weeks after the event, but Miss Bingley, or rather Lady Precian, was to be sadly disappointed.
Sir Walter was quite the man of fashion, but he was not all his bride believed him to be. The happy couple traveled to their estates soon after their wedding, and the new lady of the house was sadly disappointed. Not only had Mr. Darcy congratulated her coldly without a hint of regret at his choices, but her new home was not what the lady had expected.
The Precian estates were large, and had at one time been quite elegant and well maintained, but time and neglect had let the buildings deteriorate. There were not the modern additions, nor any new furnishings beyond them that are essential to greet a new bride. Due to a diminishing treasury, there were sufficient servants, but not near so many as Lady Precian would expect. It was to be a long life, in a loveless marriage, on an estate that is many miles from her sister or brother that Lady Precian was to endure.
Some would say that it was fortunate for the development of the English society, that Lady Precian was only to have a single child, a daughter, who would be brought up quite sheltered from the world, and society, due to her ill health and her mother's temper.
Less than a month after the marriage of Miss Bingley, Elizabeth was confined to the child bed. With Mr. Darcy pacing in the corridor outside the room, Elizabeth spent a very long night attempting to bring the next Darcy child into the world. Unfortunately, the child's cries were not heard in the corridor, but the sobs of Mrs. Darcy were.
As soon as he heard the cries of his wife, Darcy disregarded all propriety and entered the room, closely followed by his sister. Darcy paid no attention to the midwife as she attempted to claim his notice, but he moved directly to his wife's bedside.
Georgiana, however, did stop to speak with the midwife. The elder lady escorted Georgiana from the room and spoke in low tones in the corridor. Georgiana listened to the words, nodded and then looked back towards her brother through the partly opened door.
Darcy did not see the maids at the side of the room as they collected towels and other items and left the room, he was concentrating on his wife. He gently placed his hands on hers, Elizabeth flinched slightly, looked at the concern on his face and broke into sobs again. Darcy reached for her face, cleared some tears from her cheek and returned his hand to hers.
Finally, the sobs slowed, and Darcy heard his wife's voice, not full of the usual confidence, nor mirth. Elizabeth spoke in tones that she rarely used, shy and uncertain. She repeated one word over and over, saying it not less than five times. "Sorry...Sorry..."
"My love, there is nothing for you to be sorry for." Darcy said with a great deal of compassion. His face still creased with concern as he gently lifted his wife's face so that she saw him. Her body was overtaken with a new round of sobs. Not knowing what he could do, he continued to hold her and wait.
After another minute, Darcy felt a hand on his shoulder, he turned to see his sister's eyes, filled with tears. He looked at her, the question etched across his features.
"I am sorry, brother, but the child did not survive."
"What are you saying?"
"Fitzwilliam, the baby did not breath, I am sorry, but the baby is dead."
"Oh." Was all that Darcy could say as a tear filled his eye and then rolled down his cheek. Darcy turned back to his wife, and Georgiana left the room, closing the door behind her.
Georgiana did not know what was said within the walls of that room, but Darcy did not leave it for the whole day, nor the following night, nor did he allow any person to cross the threshold.
Finally, Darcy emerged, looking quite warn, but well enough. Georgiana looked at him, then asked. "How is Elizabeth?"
"Sleeping." Was all that he answered. It was not the expected answer, but if Georgiana wished for further information, she was to be disappointed.
Darcy joined his sister for a quiet meal, and then returned to Elizabeth's side. He dined with his wife more often than his sister over the next two weeks, as Elizabeth physically recovered.
It was a slightly withdrawn Elizabeth that returned to her duties around the house. Gradually, she began to return to her normal self, the support offered by her husband and sister contributed greatly to her recovery, but it was the twins that prevented any real despair. For a time, she feared that she may have no more children, and then, she realized how it must have been for her mother, to have lost four children and only have one. At least, Elizabeth thought to herself, I have a son and daughter, though nothing can replace the child, the son, I have lost.
As much as Elizabeth Darcy enjoyed the time she spent with her sister-in-law at Pemberley, she was very happy the day that Georgiana Darcy became Georgiana Wenterwood.
When Elizabeth first arrived at Pemberley, Georgiana was happy to have a sister but was a little concerned at sharing her brother. For many weeks, Georgiana watched as her brother was teased in a way she had never seen before, and he reacted with a smile on his face. The arrival of Mrs. Darcy led to many more smiles at Pemberley, and much more laughter. The happiness flowed from the master and mistress, his sister and through to all of the servants. The arrival of his bride was a point of concern for all of them, as they had all encountered the ladies of his social circle before, and not one of them would have been a pleasant mistress of Pemberley.
Fortunately, all fears were unfounded, and the new Mrs. Darcy was soon accepted as a fair and pleasant young woman who was open and friendly with all the servants. Previously, Mr. Darcy had been a fair and generous master, and they served out of respect. With the marriage of the master, the servants served the new mistress out of love.
It did not take many days for Georgiana to realize how good Elizabeth was for her brother and also for the house. It took barely weeks longer for Elizabeth to be accepted as the sister Georgiana always wanted and the mother she never knew. And so, on the day that Georgiana was to be married, and many days leading up to the event, Georgiana could often be found in conversation with Elizabeth, either confiding, asking questions or simply praising her betrothed.
The departure of Georgiana left a hole in the company of Pemberley. Darcy was very happy with his wife, and the small family they had begun, but to lose his sister had more impact than he had expected. He constantly sort to reassure himself, or have Elizabeth reassure him, that Mr. Wenterwood was a good man, deserving of his sister.
For days, Darcy continued to ask Elizabeth if Georgiana would be happy, if Mr. Wenterwood was able to care for her, if Georgiana was old enough to be married. And for days, Elizabeth answered his questions patiently, constantly reassuring him that all would be well, and Georgiana was happy.
But a week of these questions began to drain Elizabeth. It was not that her husband did not pay her any attention, for he was still quite attentive, but he was quite distracted, even when they were alone in their chambers. At first it began to irritate Elizabeth, but she chastised herself, telling herself that if her husband needed her support, than she would give it, he was, after all, very protective of his sister and had been for many years.
Two weeks of this insecurity, and Elizabeth graduated from worn and irritated to quite annoyed. One morning, Elizabeth had had quite enough.
"Dearest," Her husband addressed her as the breakfast things were cleared, "Are you certain that this marriage was right for Georgiana? She is to live so far from all that she has known, and will be quite alone."
"She will not be alone, Fitzwilliam, as you have noted. Georgiana is married and will have her husband with her. He will be concerned with her needs and give her every attention." His wife answered quite harshly, before standing and walking from the room.
Darcy watched as his wife left the room, a little shocked at her reaction to his questions. He sat and drank his tea, thinking how unlike his wife it was to be so short with him, though she had begun to be so whenever he began to speak of his sister.
His first feeling was anger, how could Elizabeth care so little for his sister? They had seemed to get along so well, and now that she has only been out of Pemberley for two weeks, Elizabeth had gradually become cold whenever the subject of Georgiana was raised.
Darcy went to his study in an attempt to deal with some correspondence that had been piling up since the wedding of his sister. Unfortunately, Darcy could not concentrate. He found himself rewriting his letters two or three times before deciding that he would not continue this occupation.
He put his pen down and stood from his desk. He walked as far as the sofa in the room, and sat down, pouring himself a drink even though it was barely midday.
As Darcy swirled the drink in the glass, he began to think when Elizabeth first began to resist the subject of Georgiana. First he thought back to when Elizabeth arrived at Pemberley. He quickly dismissed this, Elizabeth and Georgiana had become fast friends, and close sisters.
Next he thought about the time after the birth of the twins. It took barely a heartbeat to dismiss the thought at this time too, Georgiana and Elizabeth spent a great deal of time together caring for and playing with the children. No, it was not at this time either.
The next change that Darcy could think of was the announcement of his sister's engagement. Again, Elizabeth had been nothing but supportive of his sister through her engagement and up until the day of her marriage. No, it was not Georgiana that was a problem for Elizabeth.
'She does not regret her marriage?' Darcy thought suddenly, sitting dead upright as the though flowed into his mind. He thought of their time alone, talking, joking and... well, no, she did not seem unhappy in her marriage. 'It is only when I mention Georgia... oh no."
Realization struck Darcy hard. 'For two weeks' he thought 'I have been asking Elizabeth to confirm that Georgiana is happy...No it has been ever since Mr. Wenterwood approached me that I have sort the reassurance and support of Elizabeth, and that has been five months. How could I have been so blind. I was so preoccupied with my sister that I created the tension. She has answered me so patiently, always confirming that all is for the best, and yet I repay her by asking again and again.'
Mrs. Reynolds confirmed what Darcy suspected, Elizabeth was walking about the grounds, only informing the servant that she would be back for luncheon.
Darcy knew better than to attempt to find his wife when she was walking the grounds of Pemberley, as it was so vast and Elizabeth was always happy to divert from the path. 'No,' He thought to himself, 'I shall repay Elizabeth for all that she has done for me, but I have' he checked his watch, 'barely half an hour'.
Darcy set off to make the necessary arrangements.
Posted on Wednesday, 1 October 2003
Elizabeth had indeed been walking the grounds, angry and frustrated. Not once did she question her love for her husband, or his for her, but his actions recently had been a trial.
Knowing that her children would be needing attention soon, Elizabeth remained near the house, out of view, but near enough that she would hear the commotion if any of the servants sort her.
As Elizabeth began to walk, her mind began to slip into the past. As she looked at the trees and the gardens, the paths and the water, Elizabeth's mind returned to those thoughts that filled her mind the first time she saw them. At first there was the hesitation of seeing the place when she feared the owner may arrive, then the beauty of the place that overtook any apprehension, and finally the happy confusion that resulted from the gift of a simple flower before her return journey.
After remembering the confusion, her mind moved forward to the day of the picnic. Miss Bingley and her behaviour, but more the actions of the master of the estate. His attention in collecting her personally from Lambton, the pleasant time they spent in each other's company, and their walk back from the picnic site, though no much was said, how clearly they began to understand each other.
Time had been moving forward as Elizabeth was thinking of the past, and it was inevitable that her children would require a meal and, for some reason, Elizabeth found herself aching to be with them. This desperation to hold her children led Elizabeth back to the house.
Elizabeth entered the house, removed her coat and gloves and sorted out her children. She was certain that the time for luncheon was approaching, so, hoping that the children would be with their father, she walked to the small dining room they often used when they were alone.
Darcy was not in the room, but what surprised Elizabeth more, was that the servants had not laid out anything for the meal. Elizabeth was a little confused, she looked again at her watch, then decided that she should check the clock, it is possible her watch, though still ticking, may be inaccurate.
Elizabeth walked through the dining room and toward the hall where she would find a grandfather clock. As she approached it, the chimes began, confirming that it was, indeed, time for luncheon.
Now quite unsure of what was occurring, no sign of her husband, nor had the servants begun to set out the meal. Elizabeth decided that it was time to seek out Mrs. Reynolds.
As Elizabeth exited the study (having checked there for her husband) she nearly ran into Mrs. Reynolds.
"Oh, excuse me, Mrs. Darcy."
"No, Mrs. Reynolds, it is I who must ask forgiveness, I was not watching where I was walking." Mrs. Reynolds looked at the younger woman, and Elizabeth continued, "It is past the luncheon time, and I have seen neither hint of the meal, or Mr. Darcy, would you be so kind as to advise me if there are any troubles that I should know of."
"Mrs. Darcy, I had not realized that you were not informed. Luncheon is out in the garden beside the rose garden, I believe that all of your answers will be found there." Mrs. Reynolds smiled at Elizabeth in that way she had of indicating that she knew much more, a surprise even, that would please Elizabeth but there was no way that the housekeeper would say another word. The first time Elizabeth had seen that smile, she had questioned and attempted to trick Mrs. Reynolds into answering, but the housekeeper would not be swayed. Finally, Elizabeth decided to allow Mrs. Reynolds her secrets.
"Thank you, Mrs. Reynolds." Elizabeth gave a smile that was a mix between thanks and curiosity, as she walked to the mentioned area of the garden.
Elizabeth moved to collect her coat before walking to the sitting room. As she walked, she wondered how it was that she had wandered about the grounds without receiving any hint that the luncheon was to occur out of doors, but upon recollection, she realized that any number of things could have occurred and she would not have noticed for her mind was so engaged.
The light cool breeze was first felt on Elizabeth's face as she considered what could have motivated this change, and without her knowledge. It was clear that her husband had plans, but what was his motivation, his reason for taking such action.
Elizabeth rounded the corner of the rose garden only to see her husband and children sitting on a blanket surrounded by dishes of picnic fare. The look that had graced Elizabeth's face as she considered what could be happening softened into a less intense, and more radiant, smile.
Darcy stood, ensuring that the children were well settled, at least as well settled as two year old's can be, and moved toward his wife.
The smile on Elizabeth's face proved to Darcy that his wife did like the surprise he had organized for her. He moved toward his wife, taking her hands first, and then embracing her.
As he held his wife tight, Darcy began to whisper his apologies for his behaviour and his thanks for her patience into her ear. Eventually, the flow of words ceased as Darcy's lips met his wife's.
With the kiss, their surroundings disappeared. No longer were they a couple who had been married for three years, they were a couple, alone and in love. Neither one of them noticed that their children had been moving. It was a yelp and jump from Elizabeth as she ungracefully reacted to a small hand on her ankle, that reminded them that they were not alone.
Instinctively, Elizabeth jumped away from the hand, but fell over as she landed on a soft piece of grass. Both Jane and Simon found this to be an excellent thing, as they quickly decided that their mother, lying on the ground laughing was a perfect obstacle to climb. Both were climbing towards their mother's arms so they could receive a hug for their effort, which meant that the scene before Darcy was quite comical as two children each vied in their uncoordinated way, to be first into their mother's arms.
The scene was not only comical, but irresistible. How shocked would a passer by be to see the master and mistress of Pemberley, on the ground with their two children, rolling, laughing and tickling. Fortunately, the only passers by on this day were the servants and they were not in the least shocked, or inclined to gossip, as the master and mistress often played with their children.
When the family finally moved toward their picnic, quite hungry from their activities, Elizabeth was in for another surprise. She looked at the food before her and noticed that the menu included all of the dishes that she enjoyed at their very first picnic on the grounds of Pemberley.
Noticing his wife's smile grow, Darcy smiled as he spoke. "I see that you notice the menu."
"Indeed, dear husband, I find that every dish that we ate those years ago with the Bingleys, Hursts and Georgiana are before me now. And there is a rose, one of a very familiar colour."
"Dearest Elizabeth, I have been such a dolt, and wanted to show you that I remember those times that were of so much value to us." He paused, and then a little reflectively "I had wished to picnic at the very same site, but I thought, perhaps we may walk to that site, if you can assure me that your ankle will not be affected by the walk."
"I am certain, Mr. Darcy, that my ankles will both be quite happy with the walk. Unfortunately, Simon and Jane will be in need of a nap after such a wondrous lunch."
"I do not remember stating, darling, that the children were old enough to make such a long journey on foot. I had hoped to have you all to myself."
And so, the small Darcy family ate their lunch and then returned their youngest members to the house. While Mrs. Darcy took her children to the nursery and the care of their nanny, Mr. Darcy made it quite clear to Mrs. Reynolds where they were walking and that they were not to be disturbed for any reason.
Posted on Thursday, 9 October 2003
Darcy and his wife walked to the river. They were quite alone, and the laughs escaping from Elizabeth began to fade. At first, Darcy did not think a great deal of the slight drop in her mood, but as they walked further, the smile also began to sag. Finally, Darcy had to ask his wife to explain.
"Elizabeth, I am truly sorry for the way that I have behaved. It is wrong of me to continue to seek your reassurance of Georgiana's happiness, please say that you forgive me."
She looked at him. Tears began to well in her eyes. Darcy moved to begin pacing, then he looked back into his wife's face. The tears had begun to spill and run in small rivers down her cheeks and he was overcome with such concern. He moved to sit on the ground next to his wife and collect her into his arms. "You do not need forgiveness, Fitzwilliam, but if you need me to say it, I will. I forgive you Fitzwilliam. Truly I do."
"Oh, Elizabeth, I know that you are speaking the truth, but what of these tears? Please tell me what I can do to stop them."
"I can hardly say. All I require is for you to hear me. I have been concerned about how to tell you, and I do not wish to cause you more worry, but soon I shall not be able to hide it from you, I do not know how you have gone so long without knowing."
"What is it? Please Elizabeth, tell me anything you wish."
"I am scared, Fitzwilliam." He collected her in his arms and held her as the tears fell again. "After last time, I do not know what to do, I do not wish for it to happen again."
"Please, Elizabeth, tell me of what you speak." Darcy spoke with a mixture of desperation and concern. What could be causing his wife so much pain?
"I am with child again. I did not know how to tell you, and you have been so concerned for Georgiana, I did not wish to bother you with my concerns and fears."
He pulled back a little so that Elizabeth could clearly see his face. He lifted her chin so there was no doubt that they could each see the other. "Elizabeth, this is happy news. I am sorry that you have had to keep this to yourself, I am so sorry that I have been so occupied with Georgiana." He kissed her deeply, then pulled her into his arms again.
Perhaps a tear or two fell from Darcy's eyes as he reflected on his behaviour. Gradually, the tears stopped and their lips moved to meet each others. It was there, by the river, that Fitzwilliam truly felt forgiven and Elizabeth no longer felt scared and alone. Together, they could do anything.
**Authors note – I must take this opportunity to thank Beth for all of her assistance in reading and editing for me. And at this point, I will add another paragraph, one which Beth requested but has not yet seen. I thought the story ended above, a little mystery and all of that, but on one topic, it seems closure is wanted. If you are happy with the end so far, I thank you for reading, am glad you have enjoyed the story, I welcome any comments. But if you think a little closure is a good thing, read on.**
It was truly surprising to Darcy that he had not noticed that his wife was again to have a child. Elizabeth had been aware of her condition for a few months and had even begun to wear the dresses that were a little altered and were necessary during her last pregnancy.
Darcy made up for all of his perceived neglect over the next months. Elizabeth was treated to the most attentive husband, and if it weren’t for the two young children who often sort her attention, she could have been forgiven for believing her husband to be courting her again. Many picnics, special meals and visits from London relatives were all in abundance for five months. All of these treats did distract her, but not totally, from the fear and apprehension that arose as she considered her pregnancy.
It was earlier than the doctors had predicted that Elizabeth found herself confined. She was large enough for the baby to be healthy, but was early. This timing, combined with the result of her previous pregnancy caused her to be quite anxious as her time came.
Darcy could sense her unease, in fact he had noticed it growing for months. He did all that he could to distract or assist his wife, but on this day, he could do nothing.
Georgiana and her husband were in residence at Pemberley. Although Darcy could not convince anyone that he should be allowed to be with his wife, he was able to ensure that Georgiana would be there to hold her hand.
While Georgiana was with Elizabeth, Darcy was with her husband. Some would assume that the gentlemen would be sitting in the study with port and cigars, but Darcy found that he would wish to be with his children if not with his wife.
It was fortunate that Mr Wenterwood was a sensitive gentleman who did not view it as improper to be sitting on the floor to play with young children. He not only watched as Darcy played with his children and answered their questions as to why they could not visit their mama, but Mr Wenterwood sat on the floor and joined the games.
It was this picture on the floor that Georgiana found after a number of hours. She stood in the doorway and watched for a few moments before remembering the reason for her moving to the room.
“Fitzwilliam, you are wanted above stairs.” Georgiana beamed at him. Darcy stood quickly and began to move toward the door when Simon stood as if to follow. Unsure of what he should do, especially after Elizabeth's last confinement, he looked at his sister. “Take them with you, I will be along in a moment to take them to the nursery.” She said with a wide smile.
Darcy stepped back into the room, picked up Jane under one arm and Simon under the other. Both children were giggling at being treated as luggage as their father quickly left the room.
Laughing at her brother, Georgiana went to her husband, who had risen from the floor. “Are you quite happy on the floor, dearest?”
“Only with the children as motivation.” He said with a smile.
“Only my brother's children?” She asked, absently rubbing her abdomen.
Mr Wenterwood looked from his wife’s eyes to her hand and shock registered on his face. He looked back to her face and each had a bright smile as he stepped towards her and took her in his arms. Understanding was complete and both were happy. Mr and Mrs Wenterwood began walking to the stairs to collect the children that would be the eldest cousins to their own.
While Georgiana was sharing her news with her husband, Elizabeth was sharing hers with her husband.
Darcy entered the room and placed his two eldest children on their feet, but kept a restraining hand on their shoulders so they didn’t run and jump onto their mothers bed.
The midwife came to take Darcy’s place holding the two children back so that Darcy could walk to his smiling wife. As he approached, he noticed that, just as two and a half years ago, there were two small bundles in his wife’s arms.
Days after the birth of the newest twins, Elizabeth joined the family for dinner in the dining room. Georgiana and her husband were joined by Mr and Mrs Gardiner and their elder children (the younger being in one of the rooms above stairs).
During the second course, Georgiana asked Elizabeth if the babies had names yet as “I am quite tired of referring to those adorable children as baby boy and baby girl.”
After all at the table had laughed at Georgiana’s exclamation, Elizabeth answered the question.
“Yes, Georgiana, we have names for the baby’s. I must say that gaining the agreement of Darcy and myself and Jane and Simon was quite a task. Jane wanted to call them sleeping beauty and the prince.” All laughed again, but the looks that followed told Elizabeth she should tell the names, but Darcy beat her to it.
“After a family conference, we have decided that Anne and David shall be their names.”
And so it was, the Darcy’s of Pemberley were a family of six. Although the son that was lost was not forgotten, the Darcy’s were happy for the family that they had.
Georgiana’s family grew to a family of four (no twins and no lost children) and they spent a great deal of time with their Darcy cousins.