Posted on Sunday, 7 January 2001
Lizzy walked into the Rosings church, followed closely behind by Charlotte and Maria. Church was always a pleasant time for her. She had always loved the smells of the flowers and the incense, the beauty of the church, the harmony in the songs. It made her forget about life for an hour or so and relax.
She walked down the aisle and inhaled the strong, sweet incense. She found a pew that was only half full and walked in to sit down. She smiled at Charlotte and Maria as they sat down as well, and she took off her bonnet and placed it next to herself. As she was doing so, she decided to take a glimpse at what person she was sitting next to. To her surprise, it was none other than Mr. Darcy! He was sitting with the Colonel at his left, then Lady Catherine, and then Anne deBourgh.
She quickly reprimanded herself for not looking to see who else was in the pew. If she had known Mr. Darcy was there, she could have easily found another seat. But here she was, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with Mr. 10,000-a-year-I'm-better-than-you himself! Her thoughts wandered to their first meeting, how proud and arrogant he was, how he had slighted her...as her feelings grew more angry she quickly told herself that such thoughts were not to be had in a church, and so decided to treat Mr. Darcy indifferently. When the service was over she could laugh at him as much as she wanted.
Darcy had felt someone's gaze on himself, and so turned to his right to see whom exactly it was. His gaze rested on none other than Miss Elizabeth Bennet! He looked at her, and saw a glare in her eyes. The glare disappeared, but she turned away. He realized he did not know what he felt for her. He could not discern one thought from the other. He knew he was partial to her, but was that all? He could think no longer for Mr. Collins had begun the service.
Time ticked slowly by as Collins started the service with a word of prayer. Lizzy began to wonder how one could pray for so long, but then Collins finished and invited the congregation to sing the hymn.
"But," he had said, before they could begin, "make sure that you do not sing too loudly, as my esteemed patroness's daughter, Anne deBourgh, can get a dreadful headache from loud singing. I would imagine a light, airy tone of voice would suffice. A..." Here he paused to think about what Italian word meant very soft... "A fortissimo volume, perhaps." He finished, pleased with himself that he remembered the word. Lizzy, being a musician, stifled laughter. Her eyes watered trying not to laugh. She looked over at Mr. Darcy and realized he was trying not to laugh, as well. There was a smile on his face and his shoulders shook. Lizzy was surprised at the thought of there being a laughing Darcy underneath the pride. But the choir started to sing and the congregation was forced to, as well.
Lizzy knew the hymn well and began to sing to the best of her ability. She sang the first verse with great ease and stopped singing, as the next verse was for the men. She looked over at Mr. Darcy, whom she expected would remain silent, but no! There he was singing with the rest of them. She noticed he had a wonderful voice that was pleasant to listen to. Lizzy, being a great lover of music, unconsciously altered her opinion of him. Any man who sings well, she thought, surely cannot be so bad underneath? But the verse was over, and the next verse was for the women.
Darcy had noticed that she was staring at him, but had just sung along. He allowed himself the pleasure of listening to her sing. She had a beautiful soprano voice that was not professional, but all the same pleasing to listen to. He listened to her sing and realized that he loved her for the first time. He allowed his thoughts to wander but not so much as to forget to sing the last verse, which was for the women and the men.
The two of them burst into song, thoroughly enjoying the music. They sang so well that the congregation sang softer so that they could hear the pair. Their voices complimented each other perfectly. As the song ended, Lizzy realized that the congregation was in awe of their "performance". But Lizzy was thinking about Mr. Darcy. Surely he cannot be so bad? she thought.
Darcy was happy that he had sung, together, with her. He was not afraid to admit that he loved her.
Collins went on as if nothing had happened. Lizzy was close to a nap as Collins started his sermon. Lizzy's thought wandered, but her thoughts were broken by the sound of someone's voice. She turned to see Mr. Darcy whispering something to the Colonel, who in turn struggled not to laugh! Lizzy found herself wondering what he had said.
Collins finally finished, and the service was over. As Lizzy got up to leave, she thought about her feelings for Mr. Darcy. He had slighted her, he was proud and arrogant, he had destroyed Wickham's future...but what else was he like? She walked out of the pew, following Charlotte and Maria, but soon remembered that she had left her bonnet. She told them to go ahead while she retrieved it. As she turned, she found Mr. Darcy, holding out her bonnet!
"I believe this is yours," he said, smiling a little.
"Indeed, it does look familiar!" She replied, smiling as well. "Thank you." He kissed her hand, and she smiled to him. She then walked out of the church.