Darcy accompanied by his two daughters 14 year old Jane Anne and 12 year old Lizzy went to the vault to get the pearls that his wife wanted to wear to the ball that night. There were many fine jewels there but Elizabeth preferred pearls and seldom wore any of the others.
Lizzie opening a large case gasped and said, "Oh Papa what a beautiful necklace" and indeed it was, the famous Darcy jewels brought to Pemberley by his great, great, great, grandmother Miriam, the Scottish princess when she married Richard Darcy, it contained 40 diamonds and 15 emeralds.
"May I try it on, Papa" asked Lizzie, and was given permission by her father, who seldom denied his daughters anything. Lizzie soon begged him to remove it saying that it was heavy and it scratched.
Jane Anne held the necklace up admiring the way the diamonds gleamed in the light. "Does Mama ever wear this," she inquired.
"Of course not," answered her sister, you know that Mama doesn't like such large jewelry, she says too much show is vulgar."
"She wore it one time, though against her will, but I fear I was stubborn and would have her wear it, though it was against her wishes," said Darcy with a small smile as he remembered that night so long ago.
"Tell us about it, she must have been beautiful indeed," they chorused.
Darcy recalled the beautiful green dress that he had made for Elizabeth to wear that night at court. He still liked to see her in that shade of green, he thought it gave such a lovely glow to her skin and eyes.
He had brought the necklace out for her to wear, but she said she preferred something smaller. He, however was adamant, he wanted her to wear this necklace and the earbobs and tiara that went with it.
She had laughed and said such excess was not for her, and she would feel awkward and uncomfortable wearing such a dazzling display and she certainly did not wish to wear a tiara, she was not a princess.
He was determined to show off the Darcy jewels and his wife, and would not be gainsaid, and put the necklace on her himself while giving her maid instructions to put the tiara and the ear bobs on her in such a voice that she complied immediately.
"Why are you so determined that I should be uncomfortable the entire evening," asked Elizabeth getting angry.
"Is it so hard to understand that I wish to show my wife to the greatest advantage," he replied.
I don't think it is your wife you wish to show as much as the Darcy jewels, she replied in a tight voice as they went down the stairs and out to the carriage, both of the feeling angry at the other.
She fidgeted with the necklace on the way to the palace but he pretended not to notice.
When they arrived she left him as soon as possible and he seemed to have trouble finding her whenever he looked. She had given him a look as she departed him that was like a blow, he had seen that look on her face once before when she refused his proposal that day at Rosings Park and he wanted to try to put her in a better humor but she avoided him.
Finding his Aunt Rebecca, he thought to find someone who would be in agreement with him and who might talk to her and make her see reason, as she liked his Aunt and would usually hear what she had to say.
His Aunt however shocked him by saying as soon as he stopped by her that she was surprised to see Elizabeth wearing all that finery. "She usually is more inclined to refined elegance and leaves the vulgar ostentatious display to those such as Caroline Bingley," she said.
Darcy stiffened and replied, "My Mother wore those jewels to court with my father's approval, I remember his saying that she looked so beautiful each time he saw them on her," he replied.
His Aunt Lady Matlock laughed, "Your Mother only wore them when Catherine bullied her into it, she hated wearing them, they scratched her neck and were so heavy they pulled her down, the tiara always made her head ache and she went home feeling ill, and your father thought your mother looked beautiful no matter what she wore."
She gave Darcy a sharp look saying, "William, did you bully Elizabeth into wearing all this finery, you did didn't you, no wonder she refuses to look at you and seems to be having a miserable time, oh William, what have you done to that lovely wife of yours."
They were interrupted by Caroline with a sour look on her face as she watched Elizabeth talking to Lord Johns.
"I am surprised to see your wife in such fine jewels, she usually wears only pearls or some small insignificant pieces," she cooed.
Darcy looked at her with consternation, she looked like she was wearing every piece of jewelry that she owned. Such vulgar displays were typical of her, but certainly not his wife, and he was the one who was responsible for it.
Taking advantage of the fact that Elizabeth was now cornered by Sir William Lucas he walked over and took her arm gently saying, "Please excuse me Sir William, I would speak to Elizabeth, and after Sir William departed he asked her if she was going to avoid him all evening.
Elizabeth looked at him coldly saying, "I must mingle, how else am I to show off the famous Darcy jewels, that is why we are here is it not."
With that she walked away from him again and did not even look back when he begged, "Elizabeth, please."
Darcy watched his wife mingle for another hour and a half when he noticed that she frequently put her hand to her head and lifted the necklace off her neck, as his aunt's words came back to him, "She said that they scratched her neck and weighed her down and the tiara gave her a headache." He knew that his wife, like his mother, was feeling ill indeed.
Finding her standing to one side behind a curtain he told her that they were going home and turning her around took the necklace from her neck and put it in his pocket wincing as he noted the marks that it left on her skin. Putting her cape around her shoulders he held her for a moment though she tried to pull away from him he said, "My dearest love, I am so sorry for putting you through such an ordeal as this night has been for you. I promise that I will never try to force you to wear these ever again.
When they were in the carriage he helped her to remove the tiara promising again never to try to force his will on her.
"Please, William do not make promises you cannot keep, of course you will try to force your will on me at times."
"I am sorry that what should have been a wonderful evening should have been ruined for you by my Darcy pride, which I don't seem to have under control as much as I would like to think that I do. Can you forgive me, please my love."
When they arrived home she went immediately up to her room to prepare for bed, she wanted to lie down as soon as possible to ease her headache but he soon followed her.
"What is it going to take to make you forgive me, do you want me on my knees, if that is what it takes then I will get on them."
When he started to kneel before her she caught him and with a strange have laugh half sob she put her arms around his neck kissing him softly.
"I would never want you on your knees to me, I love you with all your pride and anything else," she said and she started to cry softly, as he carried her to the bed and gently laid her down on it, and brought lilac water to gently bathe her brow until she fell asleep the headache gone, vowing never to remove those jewels from the vault again, but to let her choose what she would wear for accessories.