A Treasure Beyond Price
Author's note: As you know me, this story WILL be full of angst but I can assure you that you'll love the outcome!!!!!!
Five beautiful girls ran through the garden of Longbourn. It had snowed, the sun was shining and their laughter filled the air. There was Jane, the eldest. She was an angelic creature. Her blonde hair, blue eyes and her charm was adorable. She had always been the one who was caring for everyone except herself.
The second one was Elizabeth. She was a pretty and very interesting young woman. Her dark curls and fine eyes made one forget that she wasn't as beautiful as Jane. She was always cheerful, loved to read and was the favourite of her father. For six months now she had been engaged to Francis Collins, the younger brother of William Collins.
Francis was in trade and very successful there. Normally he lived in Meryton but he had to go on a business-trip that would last a few weeks. He had been introduced to Elizabeth by her parents and was charmed by her wit and intelligence. He had been looking for a sensible wife for a long time and he was very happy that she had accepted his proposal.
The three other girls were Mary, she was now fifteen, and already very bookish. Kitty was fourteen and Lydia, the youngest, was eleven. The last two were very childish but charming in their own way.
Elizabeth and Jane would go to a ball at that night. It would be in the assembly room in Meryton. Mrs. Bennet had heard that Netherfield Park had a new owner. He was single and had a great fortune. She was certain that he would be the ideal husband for Jane. Therefore both girls had to go with her.
And there were rumours that Mr. Bingley, that was his name, would bring a few friends. If he wasn't the right one for Jane, perhaps one of his friends would fall in love with her.
Kitty and Lydia cried about not being allowed to dress themselves up for the ball. Elizabeth couldn't help but smile as she went in her room to dress herself. Her thoughts were elsewhere. How should she enjoy a ball without the company of her betrothed.............
Chapter one, Part one
"Bingley, do we HAVE to go there????" Mr. Darcy asked again. Well, what can be said about our hero? He was handsome, of high birth, twenty eight years old and he had studied in Cambridge. But what was his profession? He had none. He was a Landlord, liked by his tenants but most of the work was done by his servants and people he had appointed.
To describe his character is as easy as Mommsen described Caesar's character. He was difficult in more than only the meaning of the word. He had a good nature, a kind heart but all those lovable things were ruled by his pride and arrogance. It was only bad judgement and the lack of people to correct him that made him become like this.
His parents had been good people but they were not able to humble his proud nature. On the contrary, they had supported him in his point of view of the world.
Another important part of his controversial nature was a tendency to a deep felt melancholy. He loved the beauty of nature and Ossian's songs about the serene beauty of the dawn had made him cry many times. So one may would like to know why a man of such pride and self confidence would cry because of a few sad songs. But to answer this is impossible. As a humble narrator I can only tell my dear readers what we'll see when we'll follow his path through life.
What had guided him to the lovely estate that was called Netherfield Park? The answer is simple. Pure boredom. He didn't know what to do with his time and followed his dear friend, Charles Bingley, to his new estate in the country. But not without refusing the trip at least one time. One of his most visible tendencies was to make the life of everyone difficult. Not because he wanted it, but his spoiled nature and his controversial character made him do so.
It was impossible for him to come to a clear decision without coming to another one only a few moments after the first one. His servants knew about this only too clearly.
Mr. Darcy's parents died a long time ago, leaving him a little sister to look after. She was named Georgiana and she seemed to be the only one who was able to understand him fully. She was more then ten years younger but it were their natures that were so alike. But Georgiana wasn't proud. She was very modest and shy. But we are slipping away from the subject.
Mr. Darcy was angry with himself for coming to Netherfield. He hated the country for it's lack of changing society and it's being close confined. He felt like a lamb that was brought to the slaughter when he thought about the ball in Meryton.
"Yes!!! And if you ask again, I'll still tell you that we'll go there!" an angry Mr. Bingley answered.
Oh my dear readers, how easy is it to describe our second hero! Not complicated, always cheerful and kind and very charismatic, that's Mr. Bingley. He was not as handsome as Mr. Darcy but his cheerful nature made him socially more agreeable.
He had brought two of his sisters with him and was sorry for it. Louisa, the eldest was married to a Mr. Hurst. She was a rather plain woman without a special character.
Caroline, the second was unmarried and hopelessly in love with our Mr. Darcy. She was an overdressed, rather supercilious woman whose pride was equal to Darcy's but it wasn't that justified. As much as Mr. Darcy loved to read she abhorred it. All she could think about were clothes, make up and silly jokes.
All of them were ready now for the ball in Meryton. We'll follow them unwatched and see how their fates will find their fulfillment there..........
Chapter one, Part two
The ball in Meryton was very enjoyable. Our Elizabeth met many of her dear friends who made her forget the absence of her Francis. It was a joy to watch this lovely young girl. Hunger for life and happiness sparkled in those fine eyes, the little hands were restless, her feet were eager to dance. A lovely blush made her nearly irresistible.
There was something untamed in her wild nature. She had never learned to submit or to accept fate as it was. Everything that she disliked asked for a rebellion. She knew about her duties but the childish stubbornness was always there. Her purity and lovely manners reminded everyone of a child.
Always free, from one joy to the next, she seemed to fly like a beautiful butterfly and nobody was able to catch her. Not even her beloved father. But he didn't care about it. He loved her natural behaviour and her honesty. But sometimes this lead to misunderstandings. Being very proud and self-confident herself she didn't like other proud people. And she felt herself mature enough to be the judge. Always following her first impressions and instincts she had scared away many possible friends.
Our lovely heroine had a charm that was quite unique in her time. Some people liked it but there were also many people who called her shrew, not womanlike, childish, daring, etc. She didn't realise it and even if she had realised it, she wouldn't care about the opinions of others.
Now one may ask why such different people like Darcy and Elizabeth are the heroes of our story. But only fate knows the answer to this question. Fate puts together and separates again without any pity.
Why did a girl like our shrew Elizabeth catch the eye of a dandy like Mr. Darcy? It was her being different that interested him. And nothing else. A little, diverting game. And nothing else. She was interesting because she didn't fit in any scheme.
As Darcy entered the ballroom his nightmare became true. No breeding, no beauty. And such old dances. He remembered the balls in London and sighed melodramatically. Our special, strange hero was bored to death by the assembly his friend seemed to enjoy so much.
Bingley even asked this blonde girl for a dance! The mother of the girls tried to force him to dance with the plain creature that was her daughter! He fled from her and went into a quiet corner. Oh Darcy, if you only knew how childish your behaviour is!
Elizabeth didn't pay attention to the behaviour of our hero. She thought about her betrothed. She missed him but she would see him soon. The arrogant behaviour of Mr. Darcy annoyed her. But his offense was forgotten soon and she wouldn't have thought about it anymore if our hero wouldn't have put oil in the dying fire.
"Come on Darcy! You must dance a little! I hate you stupid manner of standing here and doing nothing! You must dance!"
"I certainly shall not! In an assembly such as this! It would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged at present and you know very well that it would be a punishment for me to stand up with any other woman in the room!"
"Good God, Darcy! I wouldn't be as fastidious as you're for a kingdom! They are all very nice and the girls are very pretty!"
"YOU have been dancing with the only handsome girl in the room!"
"Darcy, she is the most beautiful creature I've ever beheld! Look! Look! There's her sister. She is very pretty too! I dare say very agreeable! But don't fall in love with her for she's engaged already!"
"She is tolerable I suppose. But she is not handsome enough to tempt ME! Bingley, I'm in no humour tonight to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. Go back to your partner and enjoy her smiles! You're wasting your time with me!"
Author's note: Sorry for the short post, the next one will be much longer!
As it seems now, our two heroes dislike each other a great deal. Both of them were unable to understand their different natures and ways to think. Pride without much foundation fought again a prejudiced mind.
Our hero was not able to enjoy the ball, he was annoyed with the simple society and their uncivil behaviour. He wasn't able to realise that it were his supercilious and arrogant manners that made everyone despise him. He thought their actions were based on respect.
How different this is to the enjoyment that our Mr. Bingley took from this ball. He enjoyed the lovely dances, liked the old fashioned music and was charmed by the simple beauty of the eldest Miss Bennet who seemed to enjoy his happy manners.
Darcy couldn't understand his friend in this. All he saw was no breeding and little beauty.
The fact that he wasn't able to escape from Caroline Bingley's eager advances made him even more annoyed.
How should I describe Caroline? A woman without a character? Certainly not. A woman with a bad character? I would describe her as woman who didn't know her own nature. Being brought up in high society without much care turned a nice little girl into a vain and ignorant woman who was called an old maid already.
She thought that she loved our hero and had already written him an ardent love-letter. But Caroline, for whom is the letter? Poor Caroline!
After the ball and their return to Netherfield the Bingley-family, including our hero sat together in Netherfield's richly furnitured salon and blamed poor Mr. Bingley for forcing them to attend such a ball.
Poor Bingley's good nature wasn't valued there.
Four months later
A long time has passed since our last meeting with our heroes and everybody's disposition has changed dramatically. Elizabeth's fiance had returned to his loving betrothed and had found her very unhappy. Why was our heroine unhappy? We'll follow her footsteps now and find out.
The bells of the church invited everyone to pray and Elizabeth had been praying there for an hour. But her peace didn't return. Since the ball on Netherfield Mr. Darcy had called on her almost every day. Bad rumours had been made up immediately. And still, she couldn't give up her friendship with him. After the ball he had called on her the next day and declared his feelings. She had to follow her duty and refused him. It was obvious that she had wounded him deeply but our dear hero was obsessed with the treasure he couldn't get and continued to be near her. They had both told the other that they would remain dear friends.
So they read Ossian and Homer together, discussed their favourite passages and sang together while Elizabeth was playing on the pianoforte. But what Elizabeth couldn't see was the unhealthy turn that Darcy's love for her took after a while. Her dark eyes followed him everywhere, he couldn't watch another woman without comparing her with his treasure beyond price. He wasn't able to recognise that her feelings for him had not changed, that his open and deep passion embarrassed her and depressed her.
Although duties called our restless hero away from his beloved he refused to be reasonable. If he couldn't have her he would remain at her side. She was his essence of life, his reason to live. He was happy as long as Elizabeth's betrothed was away and he could imagine that she was his. Now every loving glance the couple shared in his presence wounded him, whenever Francis and Elizabeth walked hand in hand at his side Darcy felt like being tortured.
But the most horrible thing for Darcy was his growing friendship with Francis Collins. He liked the intelligent and reasonable young man whose nature was so different to his own. He didn't envy this man, he couldn't. Our dear hero knew that Francis deserved Elizabeth's hand and love, but still his heart was bleeding at every moment they shared together.
As Darcy reached the steps of the church of Meryton he could see Elizabeth leaving the church. She was pale and looked very unhappy. With a few hasty steps he was at her side and kissed her hand desperately.
"Mr. Darcy........You? Here?"
"I always flee to God to pray to be released from my suffering"
"Mr. Darcy, I beg you....."
"Miss Bennet.....Elizabeth, I'm sorry. But I cannot stop thinking about our heavenly evenings together. As we sat together in your family's garden and the stars seemed like a divine smile, blessing our relationship......"
"Francis loves me and I'm his betrothed!"
"Francis loves you!!! Who wouldn't love you?"
"Mr. Darcy,,,,,,,," Elizabeth put one hand on his arm. "Is there no other woman in this world who is worthy of your love and free to return it? I don't belong to me anymore! Why do you still love me?"
"Ah, Ask a fool why he has lost his reason!"
"Very well, as destiny separates us forever, leave Meryton! Leave me, leave me!"
"Ah, what words have I heard?"
"The words that you had to hear from me. Perhaps the absence will make it easier for you!"
"To make me forget is not within her power!"
"Why forget? Think about Elizabeth, on the contrary, think about her peace! Be brave, be good!"
"Yes, my only wish is to see you happy. But never seeing you again.....It's impossible! NO!"
"My friend, I'm not so rigorous as to ask a permanent exile. You'll come back to us soon! Wait.....Let's say for Christmas!"
She had left. The withered leaves beneath his feet made cracking sounds as he left the steps of the church. She had left for the little feast in the garden of the church. Dark thoughts went through the mind of our unhappy hero.
Yes, for her peace.......I must leave immediately! I want to......Oh Lord, why can't you stop my senseless life? You call yourself our father and let us suffer such pain. Oh Lord in heaven have mercy on me! Release my angel of the plague of my existence! Take me to you! Call me! Call me!
Suddenly he heard someone coming. It was Elizabeth's little sister, Kitty. How old could this charming girl be by now? Fourteen? She was whistling a little song as she approached him.
"Here you are! Please join us! The dance has just started! We're all missing you!"
"Forgive me! I'm leaving!"
"Immediately? But...But without doubt you'll come back soon? Tomorrow? Soon?"
"No! NEVER! Farewell!"
"Mr. Darcy! He has left.....Nothing....Oh my God, only a few moments ago I was so happy!"
Elizabeth, Francis and Jane had followed Kitty and found her now, crying.
"Oh my God! She is weeping! Kitty!"
"Oh Lizzy! Mr. Darcy has left!"
Francis was startled about this. "He....."
"He said he would leave forever and fled like a fool!"
"Forever........" Elizabeth couldn't oppress the word.
Suddenly the truth opened itself to Francis. He LOVES her! He took the arm of his bride, tightened his grasp and led her back to the feast.
The 24th December. The drawing-room of Longbourn. In the background a harpsichord. A little desk at the right corner with many papers on it. More central a working table with a burning lamp. It is late in the evening.........
Our lovely heroine found herself in a turmoil of feelings since Mr. Darcy had fled from her. He wrote her every day and those letters didn't calm her, on the contrary. His writing was wile, the obvious loneliness that spoke through those letters was torturing her.
Elizabeth sat down at the desk, looking at the letters.
Mr. Darcy.....Mr. Darcy...... Who could have foretold the place he holds in my heart today? Since he left, everything, despite myself, is wearisome, and my thoughts are full of him. She takes one letter. These letters....Ah! I re-read them endlessly.....with such delight but also with such sadness. I should destroy them.......but I cannot!
She begins to read.
"I'm writing to you from Pemberley, a heavy, grey December sky weights on me like a shroud....... .....And I'm alone, always alone!" Ah No one beside him! Not a single sign of tenderness or even pity! Oh Heaven! How did I summon up the sad courage to condemn him to this exile and isolation!
She takes another letter.
"The happy cries of my little sister and her friends rise beneath my window, and I think of that time, so sweet, when all your dear little ones played around us. Perhaps they will forget me......." Oh no! Mr. Darcy, in their memory your picture remains alive and when you will return.....But will he return? Ah, this last note chills and terrifies me! "You said to me: At Christmas! and I cried: Never! We shall know soon which of us spoke the truth! But if I should not reappear before you on the appointed day, do not blame me, but mourn for me! Yes, with those eyes so full of charm you will read these lines again, you will wet them with your tears, oh Elizabeth, and you will shudder!"
Our poor heroine pressed the letter at her lips as if it was the beloved hand that had written it. Her wedding day in January was like the sword of Damoscles to her, a constant threat. She loved her betrothed dearly and was certain of his faithful affection but still........ Her heart was aching for another.... She felt terrible, faithless, as if she was betraying her honour. Suddenly she heard Kitty's voice.
"Good morning Lizzy! Oh it's Christmas! I'm so delighted! What about you?"
"Oh Kitty......." Kitty embraced her sister tenderly and looked at her. "What is it? Are you ill?"
"Why do you think that?"
"Your hand is ice-cold and your eyes are all red. Oh my dear! You're missing your beloved! But cheer up! Francis will return soon!"
"Oh no! It's nothing. I sometimes feel a little sad.....lonely. But if my heart was truly troubled for a while I no longer remember!......See? I'm smiling!"
"What you need is to laugh, to laugh again as you once used to!"
"Ah laughter is blessed, joyful, light, hearty. It has wings; it is a bird of the dawn! It's the heart's light shining forth in rays! Listen, I'm of an age to know the reason for many things! Yes! All the faces here have become dejected since Jane left for Netherfield and Mr. Darcy fled away! But why should he leave without news those who have remained true to him?
Elizabeth disengages herself from Kitty's arms and returns to the desk.
Everything, even this child speaks of him!
"Tears! Oh forgive me! Please! Yes, I was wrong to speak of all that....."
"Oh let my tears flow, they will do me good my dear! The tears that go unshed all fall back into the soul, and with their steady drops hammer and torture the weary heart. It's resistance is finally exhausted; the heart is riven and weak, it is too large, nothing will fill it, and being too fragile, everything breaks it!"
"Lizzy believe me, please change your mind and join our Christmas celebration later! We can make you forget your cares, we'll sing and everything will be better!"
Elizabeth turns away. Christmas! Ah, that letter! "If you do not see me reappear before you on the appointed day, do not blame me, but mourn for me!"
"Then it's settled! You will join us?"
"No, no, for sure!"
Elizabeth tries to smile. "For sure......."
"Really and truly?"
"Yes, I'll join you all. I promise my darling!"
"Yes darling.........Oh come back! Let me embrace you again...."
Kitty had left for Meryton.
Ah my courage fails me! Oh Lord God, Lord! I have followed your commands, I have done, and always will do, my duty! In you alone I hope, for harsh is the trial and weak my heart! Lord God, Lord! You can see into my heart, alas, everything wounds and terrifies it! Have pity on me, sustain me in my weakness! Good of love, come to my aid! Hear my prayer, oh God of love! Oh powerful God! Oh merciful God! In you alone I hope!
Suddenly the door opened and Mr. Darcy rushes in.
"Heavens! Mr. Darcy!"
"Yes, it is I! I have come back.......and yet while away from you I have not let an hour, a moment pass without saying I would rather die than see you again! Then when the day arrived that you had set for my return.......I came forth. At the threshold of the door I again resisted.....I sought to flee. But what does all that matter? Here I am!"
"Why these bitter words? Why not come back, when everyone here was expecting you.....my father....my sisters....."
Mr. Darcy approaches her.
"And you? You too?"
"Look! The house has remained just as you left it! Seeing it again like this, don't you feel that it has remembered?"
"Yes, I see.....Nothing here has changed....except hearts! Everything is still in its familiar place!"
"Everything is still in its familiar place......"
"Here is the harpsichord which hymned my happiness or trembled with my pain when your voice joined with mine!"
"When your voice joined with mine......"
Mr. Darcy approaches the table which is full with books.
"These books over which so often we bent our heads close together. (He sees the pistols that hang on the wall, to himself) And these pistols....One day my hand touched them. I was already impatient for that long rest for which I yearn!"
"And here are those lines of Ossian that you had started to translate....."
"Translate.....Ah! Many a time my dream took flight on the wings of these verses, and it is you, dear poet, who far better than I put my thoughts into words! All my soul is there......."
He starts to read.
"Why awaken me oh breath of spring? On my brow I feel thy caresses, and yet the time of storms and of sorrow is nigh! Why awaken me oh breath of spring? Tomorrow the traveller will come into the dale recalling my former glory, and in vain will his eyes seek my splendour; they will find naught but mourning and despair! Alas! Why awaken me oh breath of spring?"*
"Do not go on! Alas! This despair.....this mourning.....it reminds me......I....."
"Heavens have I understood? In that faltering voice.....in those sweet eyes filled with tears, do I not read a confession?"
"Ah! No more!"
"Why try to deceive ourselves again?"
"I beg you!"
"No! We both lied in claiming victory over the immortal love that trembles in our hearts!"
"Ah! That first kiss, my dream and desire, longed-for bliss that I glimpse today, burns on my still unslaked lips, that kiss sought for the first time!"
"Ah my reason deserts me......"
"You love me! You love me! You love me!"
Elizabeth repulses him.
"NO! Can all that divides us be forgotten?"
He throws himself at her feet.
"You love me!"
"No more remorse!"
"No more torment!"
"Nothing exists but us; and all else is unreal!"
"Oh Lord, protect me!"
"Love alone is true, for it is the divine decree!"
"Lord protect me against myself! Lord protect me against myself!"
"Come I love you! No more remorse! No more torture! Love alone is true for it is God's divine order!"
"I love you!"
"I love you!"
She falls into his arms.
"I-I........in HIS arms!"
"No, you shall never see me again!"
"It is you, you from whom I flee with a broken heart! Farewell! Farewell FOREVER!"
Author's note: While musing over "An angel learns to fly" I continued this one! ENJOY!
.........."Farewell! Farewell for ever!"
With tears streaming down her cheeks our tormented heroine flees from the room and from her love.
""NO! It is impossible!.... Hear me! My voice pleads with you!....Come back!....You shall be sacred to me!" Waiting, always waiting..........
"Nothing......! Not a word, she is silent. So be it then! Elizabeth has pronounced my doom!" He flees from the room and enters the garden. "Do your mourning, Nature! Your son, your beloved, your lover is about to die, bearing eternal torture with him! My grave can be opened......."
Francis found himself in a state of complete desperation. He knew about his fiance's disposition but still he couldn't act upon it. They had been betrothed for such a long time, he couldn't bare it to give her up. As he approached Longbourn he could see the doors wide open. His steps became faster, he had heard about Mr. Darcy's return.......
"No one here? The doors open? What is going on? Elizabeth? Elizabeth?"
As Elizabeth heard her fiance's calls she got up from her chair, wiped away her tears and followed his voice.
"Elizabeth, what's the matter?"
"You seem upset, agitated. Tell me! What's troubling you?"
"You-You startled me...."
"And who was here?"
As Elizabeth was about to open her mouth to answer a servant entered, bearing a letter for Francis.
"Thank you. A message. From Mr. Darcy!"
"I'm leaving for a long journey. May God bless you both!"
"He is.....leaving...... Horrid fears!"
"Go to him!"
"Do you think me such a fool? I can see that you love him! Do you think I would ever force you to marry me without love?"
"No, no buts. Follow your heart"
"Francis, I cannot thank you enough......"
"You must not!" he answered with a bitter smile and left the room.
For a moment Elizabeth's heart was beaming with happiness but suddenly......... She flew to the door and grabbed her cloak and bonnet.
"GOD! You must not want me to arrive too late!"
Mr. Darcy's study at Netherfield Park. A three branched candlestick dimly lights up the table, laden with books and papers, on which it stands. At the back, a little to the left, a large open window through which are seen the trees of the garden. Moonlight shines into the room. Our hero, seriously wounded, is stretched out near the table......
Somehow Elizabeth managed to ride through the snowstorm. Her eyes burned with tears, her heart pounded with fear, her whole body shivered. As she reached Netherfield she thanked God that Mr. Bingley and Jane had left for London a few weeks before. The doors were wide open, snow had fallen into the entry-hall, the candles had gone out. Elizabeth didn't even put away her cloak. She ran upstairs, screaming Mr. Darcy's name.
"William! William!........Nothing!" Beaming with fear she flew into the study. Suddenly she perceived William's body and threw herself on him, then she uttered a cry and recoiled in horror.
"Oh God! Blood! No, no it's impossible! He cannot be dead! William! William! Ah, come to yourself! Answer me, answer! Oh, this is horrible!"
Slowly William opened his eyes and recognized Elizabeth.
"Who is speaking?......Elizabeth....It's you.......Forgive me!"
"Forgive you, when it is I who murders you, when it is I who has spilt the blood that flows from your wound!"
"No. You have done nothing but what is right and good. My soul blesses you for this death which preserves your purity and spares me remorse!"
"I-I must get help!"
He raised on one knee.
"No. Don't call anyone. All help would be useless..... Only give me your hand...... You see......I need no other help but yours. And then, no one must come here to separate us again! It is so cozy here.......In this last hour I am so happy. I die in telling you I adore you!"
"And I, oh William, and I, I love you! Yes, from that very day my eyes first fell on you I have felt that an unbreakable chain bound us together! Rather than forget my duty I chose your pain, and in not losing myself, alas, I have lost you!"
"Go on! Tell me more! I implore you!"
"But if death approaches, before it takes you....oh, at least, your kiss, you see, I return it to you!" Bending down her head she kissed him ardently, his head lied in her lap, his arms embraced her tightly.
"Let my soul merge in rapture with yours! In this kiss let it forget for ever all ills, all griefs! Let it forget all sorrows!"
"Everything......Let us forget everything!"
From afar Christmas-songs are heard, they're sung by children.
"Noel, Noel, Noel!"
Elizabeth lifted her head.
"Oh God! These cries of joy, this laughter at this moment of sorrow!"
"Jesus is born! Behold our divine master, kings and shepherds of Israel!"
William raised and released Elizabeth's hand, raving in a kind of hallucination.
"Ah......the children......the angels!"
"Noel, Noel, Noel!"
"Yes, Noel, it is the hymn of redemption, it is the hymn of forgiveness repeated by innocents!"
Elizabeth took his hand again, frightened by this onset of delirium.
"Why these tears? Do you then think that my life is ended at this moment? Do you not see, it is beginning!"
"Noel! God allows us to be happy! Gladness is in the air! Everyone is joyful! Gladness is in the air! Noel! God allows us to be happy!"
Suddenly his whole body started to shiver, his hands grabbed her dress and cloak in an effort to remain standing but he couldn't. As Elizabeth touched his cold hands her heart was beaming with fear.
"Ah, his eyes are closing.....his hand is growing cold! He will die! Die! Ah........Pity! MERCY! It must not be.....it must not be! Ah, William answer me! You still can hear me! Death will not dare to take you from my arms! You will live! You will live! See, I fear nothing more....."
"No......Elizabeth......I'm dying.....yes....but listen carefully! At the end of the cemetery are two tall lime-trees. It is there that I would rest for ever!"
"No more! have pity!"
"If that were refused me, if Christian ground is denied to the body of a poor soul, set my grave near the path or in the solitary dale. The minister will pass by, averting his eyes......."
"Ah! No more!"
"But secretly some woman will come to visit the outcast, and with a gentle tear dropped in his shade the dead man, poor wretch, will feel hallowed......."
His eyes closed themselves.
"William! William.......NO! William! Answer me! Please! Please!"
Suddenly she heard Francis' voice from downstairs.
"Francis! Help me! We're here!"
Francis found her immediately.
"Oh Francis! he cannot be dead!"
"I've brought a physician! He'll take care of him!" Francis couldn't tell if Mr. Darcy was still alive or not. The physician and two of his helpers carried Mr. Darcy away, Elizabeth remained alone, Francis had left her alone in her beloved's room.
"Whatever will be, you'll survive!" she whispered to herself. "Whatever will be, I'll love you forever!" she vowed before she left to follow the physician to Meryton.
© 2001 Copyright held by author