Posted on: 2011-02-26
Once carried through the current
And being swept away
The king is in the closet
He's hiding from today,
And though he owns all fortunes
This room is where he'll stay.
And his world is filled with darkness, turning grey.
Gazing out the window
Of the 42nd second floor,
He is separate from all others
No one knocks upon his door.
And it might as well be raining 'cause the sunlight hurts his eyes,
And his ears will never hear the children's cries.
Once proud and full of passion
He fought the cause of man;
Many people loved his courage
Many followed his command.
He changed the old into the new
And the course of things to come,
And then one day they noticed he was gone.
At first it didn't matter.
Nobody seemed to care.
They all became too busy
To find him anywhere.
No one knew,
Not even him,
The problems he would find
On the day he journeyed deep into his mind.
I close my eyes, I go far away,
Away from this battlefield.
In my dreams, well, here I will enjoy it
Where innocence plays with all the laughing children,
The kind who are crying right now.
A taste of freedom from the pain
Of everything here I see.
Life is sweet but I took it all for granted,
And now I don't know if I could even tell you
Just what we permit, we allow.
Allow me to forget the life I've made my own.
I've held this nation in my hand,
And yet it's not my home.
Allow me just one answer, just one reason why -
Why this refugee of the family of man must die;
Tell me why.
Daydreams filled his nighttimes,
And night dreams filled his days.
Confusion and uncertainty
A puzzled mind of haze.
You thought he was so powerful,
And set upon his ways.
Well, he left us all to travel through this maze.
I heard the king was dying;
I heard the king was dead.
And with him died the chronicles
That no one ever read.
The closet's fully empty now,
It's occupied by none.
I'll draw the drapes now destiny is done.
Being the only servant permitted in the master's library, the butler found it fell to him to stoke the fire. The master sat alone sipping his brandy and staring vacantly at the flames, as he did after every meal. He did not notice the entrance of the butler, nor did he distinguish the man going about his duties. The gentleman was, as usual, lost in imagining a pair of fine eyes and the conversation that perhaps would have taken place if the owner of those eyes had been present to share his meal with him.
Years past his prime, the gentleman's chocolate brown hair was now streaked with silver, being nearly white at the temples. If any prior acquaintances could have had the opportunity to see the gentleman now, they would note that he was still quite attractive. At second glance, they might notice the deep creases in his brow and around his mouth. It is likely that they would recognize that life had not been as kind to him as it could have been, for these lines were the obvious result of an almost constant frown. But there were none who cared to look, and he told himself on a daily basis that he cared not.
The master's steward handled all of his business affairs so that the master had no need to speak to tenants and tradesmen. His solicitor now was dealt with only through the post, never in person. It had been a slow process of giving up his duties to others, but he had become such a bitter man that it was better this way.
His steward, butler, and valet comprised almost all of the human contact he had experienced in recent years. When in the master's presence, none of the three men dared to lift their eyes high enough to meet the man's blazing, angry gaze.
The footmen once stationed in the hallways of this beautiful mansion had been dismissed when the majority of the house had been closed off. The heir, his sister's son, could do as he pleased once he inherited the mansion, but in the master's mind it was wasteful to keep the house open for only one person.
After all, no one visited--ever. None were even welcome here.
The maids moved silently through the rooms the master continued to use--except the library, where only the butler was allowed entrance--but only when they were absolutely certain he was not present. The servants were not permitted in the master's hallways; they could use the service corridors only. The housekeeper dealt directly with the steward or butler--never with the master. When the previous housekeeper had retired, the master had felt no wish to interact with another.
Frequently he reminded himself that he was better off with his life this way since he could not have the life he wished for.
The only visitor allowed to pass through the entrance of the grand house was his former housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds. Here was the perfect example of his benevolence--the absolute proof that she had been wrong about him, he told himself--he had gifted his former housekeeper a small cottage and a yearly stipend upon her retirement!
Today was Mrs. Reynolds's monthly visit. When she walked into the room, she was struck with the realization that though she was approximately twenty years older than he, it appeared as if he were the elder of the two. The thought caused her eyes to fill with tears as she found herself remembering all that he had once been. Yet, she knew that he would never see her tears for he no longer looked in her eyes.
After greeting her former master, Mrs. Reynolds handed him the letter that the butler had asked her to deliver to him. Noting the direction before she entered the room, she knew she would be dismissed almost immediately after he saw who it was from. The master had always been impatient to begin the ritual that she knew would follow the receipt of a letter from this source. She shook her head as she left the room, finally allowing her tears to fall as she made her way through the shadowy halls that had once been filled with light and love.
Pulling out the worn pages from the file that always lay on the table beside his favorite chair by the fire, the gentleman began his routine. The file was full of letters from the investigator under his employ whose sole assignment had been to keep the master apprised of what occurred in her life, along with the sketch that had been done by an artist he had hired years ago to draw her without her knowledge. The gentleman would always first review all past correspondence in date order before reading the latest news.
She had endured a miserable life, as well. It served her right! The youngest sister--the one he had personally witnessed acting in a perverse manner on multiple occasions, flirting shamelessly with any man in a red coat no matter what the man's character--had ruined the entire family. After the scoundrel she had run off with had abandoned her, the girl had died alone during childbirth in a worm-ridden room within a dilapidated hotel in London. Their father had died searching for his wayward daughter; while seeking the harlot in the most dangerous parts of London, he had been attacked by robbers, stripped of his gentleman's clothing, and left to die in an alley. The remainder of the family had been almost immediately turned out of their home by the heir to their estate--coincidentally the man whose wife she had been visiting when she had refused his offer. She and her sisters had never married, becoming governesses or ladies companions out of necessity. They were fortunate they had been able to find employment at all after what had occurred! Even if pressed, he never would have admitted to having given recommendations to their employers. He himself could never understand precisely why he had done it in the first place.
When he opened this latest letter, he sat staring at the words in shock for several minutes before the meaning became clear.
Elizabeth Bennet has died of pneumonia.
A crushing pain filled his chest; his breath became labored and an unending torrent of tears poured from his eyes unchecked. Suddenly his entire life became so clear.
Only now could he see that he had been wrong… wrong about so many things! The realization made his head spin and bile fill his throat.
Before this moment, he had been convinced that his only failing had been that his temper could be considered resentful, but he had thought that he had been careful that any resentment he had harboured had been rightly earned. His good opinion once lost had been lost forever. He could not move past the anger he felt toward others for their offenses against him; therefore, he could never forgive them.
This thought brought to mind the rejection he had received from Elizabeth. Anger had taken root in his breast instantly upon her response, and it had grown until it drowned out almost every other emotion he had ever felt--for anybody.
But he had thought it better this way. It had been a torture to see his sister and cousin happily married, and eventually he had refused to admit them into his presence again. He had felt they should not dare to live happy lives when he was so miserable.
When his sister and his cousin had informed him that they did not wish to expose their children to a man who did nothing but complain, he could not understand their reasoning. At the time it all had been so clear to him--how else was he supposed to act? Their children's voices grated on his nerves; he feared their games might damage his possessions and the estate grounds; their laughter was too loud, and the affection their parents showed their children irritated him down to his very soul.
They had come to him again to state that he needed to change his ways. He became furious and told them to leave his house, refusing to listen to another word.
Even while feeling they had no right, he had listened to their ridiculous complaints, first from his cousin and then his sister--that his manners displayed his arrogance, conceit and the selfish disdain for the feelings of others. This had been the final straw!
They had repeated her accusations, her attack upon his character! Though he had never breathed a word of what she had said to him that day at Hunsford, it was as if they had been there in the room during her ridiculous allegations! He had thought it had all been such utter nonsense! After all, had he not spent a portion of his income lowering himself to help others by donating to charities? What better proof was there that their statements were untrue?
If they thought of him in that manner, let them! Their opinions did not matter, he told himself, because they were askew. He would not hear their urgings to take their assessments to heart and "mend his ways." There was nothing amiss with his behavior! It had been she who had been wrong! It had been they who had erred! Not he!
Bingley might have understood and probably would have supported him, he thought--but Bingley had gone off and gotten himself killed! His friend had desperately sought to escape the heartache that followed after his removal from Hertfordshire. Leaving England, Bingley had hoped to start his life anew in America, trying to forget. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship had been capsized by the French, or the Americans, or perhaps by pirates. Because there were no survivors, nobody was quite certain who was responsible, but it made no difference; Bingley was dead.
Her voice interrupted his thoughts. "I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry." Who had she thought she was to have refused him?
She was responsible for his misery. She should have loved him! She should have accepted him even if she did not love him! She had been a complete fool to throw away all that he had offered her!
He had always blamed his misery on her. Her insulting speeches repeated in his ears every time his mind was unoccupied. Her incensed features appeared before him every time he closed his eyes--those fine eyes flashing so beautifully, even when she was angry, driving him almost mad. She haunted his dreams every night and would continue to do so for his entire life! She had no right to do so!
Shaking off these notions, he looked about the room. This had once been the room he had been most proud of in his younger days. No other private library in England could compare to the collection gathered here at Pemberley. Elizabeth would have loved this room.
"Oh! Elizabeth! I have been wrong!" he moaned as the pain in his chest became stronger.
How very wrong he had been! His lack of understanding was so apparent to him now. Why could this revelation not have come years ago?
He had been a selfish being all his life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child he was taught what was right, but he was not taught to correct his temper. He was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. His parents, though good themselves, allowed, encouraged, almost taught him to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond his own family circle--to think meanly of all the rest of the world, of their sense and worth compared with his own.
He had proposed to Elizabeth without a doubt of his reception. Only now could he see how insufficient were all his pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased! She had been correct in everything she had said about him in response. He should have been properly humbled by her reproofs!
But what had he done? He had proved her to be correct in every respect by all he had thought about her accusations and the way he had acted all the years since. He had blamed her for all that had happened in his life; he had watched her suffer from afar thinking that if he had to be miserable then so should she! He knew, and yet he had done nothing to help her! Revenge--is that what it had been? The sense of shame he now felt was overwhelming.
If only he had not been too proud to see the truth. If only he had been able to see past the anger and realize that he needed to mend his ways. If only he had tried again to win her love.
Bitter and resentful he had been, it was true, but he had never hated her as he had thought. All these years he had been hopelessly in love with Elizabeth Bennet!
At last he had been able to see the truth! But it all came too, too late.
The light from the rising sun hurt his eyes and brought him out of his stupor. Flattening out the most recent letter which he had crumpled into a ball at some point during the night, he looked down at the writing once more, searching again for the sentence that had changed… everything.
Elizabeth Bennet has died of pneumonia.
Good G-d! Elizabeth was dead! How could he live in a world where Elizabeth did not exist?
The pain crushed his chest until it became unbearable, but he accepted it willingly. He died as alone as she had.
Darcy's own screams awakened him from this horrible nightmare. Noticing the man who rushed through the door of the library, he realized it was Parkman before him, the butler from his London house, not Pemberley.
His entire body trembling, Darcy quickly turned his face away from the door and walked to the window, taking several deep breaths to calm himself. After a few moments, he cleared his throat and said, "I seemed to have fallen asleep at my desk, Parkman. As a result of the odd position I assumed, I must have had a nightmare. I apologize for having disturbed you. Will you inform Mrs. Martin that I will take a light meal and coffee in my chamber as soon as possible, please?"
As the butler left the room, Darcy thought back over his dream; he knew fate had been trying to warn him of what could be his future--if he let it. He would not let it.
The light of dawn began to break over the horizon. It was not only a new day; it was a new chance at life! It was a chance to right his wrongs… a chance to become a better man.
As he walked the halls to reach his chamber, Darcy stopped briefly at a mirror to assure him that he was indeed still a young man. It was true then, he had only returned from Rosings less than two weeks ago. Having been quite resentful of all that Elizabeth had said and done during their last meeting, last night, just before he had fallen asleep, he had decided that his resentment had been justified and he would forget her.
But the dream had taught him valuable lessons, things he must have known deep within himself but was too proud to admit openly. He truly was wrong. He would never stop loving Elizabeth and would spend his life in agony if he did nothing.
Before reaching his chamber he was resolved--he must change his manner! He had to win her love!
Calling out to his valet to prepare his bath, Darcy readied himself for his outing. He had several stops to make this morning and the sooner the better.
First, being closer, he headed directly to Bingley's house to make absolutely certain his friend had gone to Scarborough and had not run off to the Americas as had happened in his dream. All was well in that quarter, to Darcy's great relief. Though it would be weeks before his friend's return, he would speak to Bingley as soon as he had news that he was in London and explain the failure in his judgment regarding Miss Bennet's feelings for him. Surely Elizabeth had not been lying, so there must have been great errors in his own observations. He would gladly admit to his mistakes if it meant his friend's aching heart would heal, as well as Miss Bennet's.
Later in the day, he would go speak to his cousin Richard, apologize for his recent behavior, confess fully as to why he had acted in such a manner, and ask for his advice on how to mend his faulty ways.
But his second errand was of a more tender nature. One time in Kent, as he had been waiting to be announced at the parsonage at Hunsford, he had happened to see a letter on the table in the entranceway. Seeing it had been addressed to Jane Bennet in London, he could only think that it had been directed to the home of Elizabeth's relatives. He was now very happy that he had noted the exact address. Though he felt a bit guilty about this errand, Darcy knew he would not be comfortable without seeing Elizabeth alive as soon as possible.
In the park across the street from the Gardiners' house, he hid himself behind some shrubbery. Before long, a carriage pulled up in front of the neatly kept house. It seemed his timing had been perfect since there were trunks being loaded atop the carriage.
A lady a few years older than himself exited the house, followed by Miss Bennet and Miss Lucas. The two younger ladies boarded the carriage. Relief filled Darcy's soul when another figure appeared at the door. His breath caught at the most beautiful sight he had ever seen--Elizabeth--alive and looking in very good health! His heart raced as he watched her exit the house and affectionately embrace the older lady before entering the carriage.
If there had been any doubt left in his mind before that moment, there was none now. He did love her, wholly and completely. It might take some time, but he would find a way to become a better man, one that Elizabeth would be proud of… and perhaps some day he would win her love!
If nothing else, he now had hope.