Jealousy, a Fault Indeed
What things lovers talk of in the early days of their lives together. Questions must me answered and curiosity succumbed to. What follows is a brief narrative which takes place between Elizabeth and Darcy some weeks after their marriage.
Even in the throes of love and in the absorbent environment of a new and happy marriage there are those trifling little questions that demand answers. Elizabeth's curiosity was never more piqued than when she considered her husband's comment,``It taught me to hope as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly.'' Oh to have been party to this conversation! Had not her own refusal to oblige Lady Catherine been insult enough? With what little tolerance his aunt must have heard her nephew's declarations and with what bitter sentiments toward herself. But curiosity could not be satisfied that day or that hour, and neither did Elizabeth truly desire it for her walk with Mr Darcy and the renewal of his proposal of marriage were diversion enough to quiet even her inquisitive mind. What followed his universally known. Their marriage and their wishes to avoid recollection of past mutual misunderstanding were viewed with equal admiration. Prejudices and misplaced pride must all be forgot, sharp comments, aloof behaviour and insults rarely dwelt upon. How perfect it would be to accomplish such refrain yet how little inclined Elizabeth was to such repression. Her spirit seemed evermore playful since matrimony. Knowing Darcy the better brought about a tendency to tease him a great deal more than she would have imagined herself capable of and the reward of his reactions did not induce her to resist the temptation. She was inexplicably fond of his reluctant smiles, endeared more by these than his readier ones. To tease him, to make him laugh at life and human folly was her great delight. Being naturally enquiring it would not be long before she would ask her husband to give her particulars of Lady Catherine's attempts to prevent their union. "He is fond of faithful narratives, I imagine he could, if coaxed, give a detailed account of the meeting. Oh, I seem meddlesome, but if amusement were my only design I should not trouble him with it. It would be amusing to hear without doubt but moreover I think I desire to know in what manner he defended me? Elizabeth was at once surprised by her own character, "What trickery is love that it induces me to long to hear of my husband's gallantry, of his declarations of love for me? Are not his hand and his attentions enough?" thought she.
Coming upon Elizabeth in pensive mood Darcy questioned, she replied and it was all decided upon in moments. To narrate the tale of his aunt's adamant opposition to their union could hardly be pleasurable to him, but his wife's insistence, her guileless yet persuasive ways soon had him relaying the tale as if the idea of it had been his own.
"Lady Catherine was so determined to influence me and so disgusted with my impertinence in refusing to oblige her that I need not ask what tone she adopted when approaching you." said Elizabeth.
Darcy smiled, "You need not ask Elizabeth, but you are desirous to know it all the same. She was hardly going to flatter the woman who was to be the means of destroying her hopes for her daughter's future."
"Oh yes, the engagement, the one ╬of a peculiar kind'! It seems to me a very peculiar kind of engagement that relies so little on the approval of the proposed husband."
" My approval was of little consequence, my aunt and, I confess, my mother were set upon the idea when we were in our infancy. I daresay their whims were conjured even before then."
"With so little thought given to their children's happiness? It seems an extraordinary style of mothering."
"The securing of fortune, the marrying of wealth to wealth is happiness enough for Lady Catherine. For my own mother's sensibilities I cannot vouch entirely but I believe her to have been less likely to have frowned on you than my aunt is."
"You told Lady Catherine you loved me? I hope with less reference to the emotion being against your better judgement than your first proposal contained?"
"Elizabeth! Agreements must be adhered to. I shall not recount the tale if you persist in reminding me of former misconduct."
"Oh Fitzwilliam, you do not frighten me, you know how little offended I am by that memory, do not be troubled by the recollection, it was meant in jest."
"And it was very funny indeed Elizabeth, as a recollection only, the reality was the cause of great pain to both of us. It is best forgot. The distraction of it has lead me from straight thinking, you wish to know in what way I convinced my aunt that I was determined to make you my wife? I am a determined character, used to my own way, I was decided upon you. My love and admiration for you were unconquerable. It is now quite inconceivable to me that I ever attempted to triumph over it when to endeavour to suppress or deny it was useless. Lady Catherine, if she could not concede that my love was genuine was forced to admit that my willfulness was to be respected. On that point alone she resolved not to pursue me."
"It was a wise decision on her part but did you really appear so resolute to her? I know enough of your stubborn nature, but Lady Catherine seems to be a woman little disposed to accept defeat."
" She began defeated Elizabeth, she knew you would not oblige her in refusing me and I made it clear that I would not oblige her by refraining from pursuing you. There was of course the advantage of my cousin's interest in you. Colonel Fitzwilliam had praised you very highly to our aunt, more perhaps than she could bear."
"Colonel Fitzwilliam?" ASKED she astonished.
"You blush Elizabeth, yes Colonel Fitzwilliam holds you in high esteem as you are fully aware, I think his admiration for you must be held in part responsible for reawakening my own determination to marry you. The prize is never more highly valued that when the likelihood of losing it to another is apparent."
"I certainly will blush now Fitzwilliam, I am astonished, I had thus far believed your decision to propose again to be all lady Catherine's doing. But wait, for a man without fault, jealousy seems to me to be a very particular type of flaw."
"I consider it a most advantageous imperfection, I could not suffer the indignity of your having a preference for my cousin. The idea of his admiring you I fully comprehend and do not resent but the very notion that you could be lost to another was never so emphatically brought to my attention than when I recalled the expression of his countenance at the sight or mention of you. Elizabeth," said he grasping her hand in his, "if two of our family were to fall so easily in love with you then I was not safe, my position in your heart, if I had one at all, was by no means undefended. The world is full of men, I could not stand the thought of another loving you, moreover I could not contemplate your loving another."
"I could never have contemplated loving another, you are exactly the sort of man I would have designed, your skill lies in having concealed it from me for so long."
"You really did despise me?"
"I was resigned to. You did little to persuade me to feel otherwise."
"I was foolish, on guard. Embarrassed."
" And all this you would have continued to be had you not imagined your cousin to be falling in love with me?"
" You may condemn me for my envy Elizabeth, it will not lessen my feelings."
"I should never wish to be the cause of decreasing your feelings for me Fitzwilliam, in fact I am disposed to behave in a way that will further them."
"Every word you speak furthers my feelings, Elizabeth."
"I cannot always speak in words, where love is concerned it is not the only language."
"Ah poetry, you know my feelings on that and music...."
Elizabeth put her hand to his lips, "I must interrupt you, for no language speaks clearer than a kiss between lovers. I only hope I am handsome enough to tempt you Mr Darcy."
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