Pemberley Arrival Musings
Caroline came down to breakfast to find the men ready to go to Sir William's for the fox hunt.
"Caroline, are you not coming, asked Charles, perhaps you can ride for the first time on a hunt, I'm sure you will enjoy it, there are to be quite a few ladies riding today."
His sister looked down her long nose saying disdainfully, "Ride with a bunch of country bumpkins, I should say not" turning to Darcy she reiterated he opinion of such an occasion expressing surprise that he should lower himself to ride with a group of such low estate. "A country hunt," she said, "you surprise me indeed Mr. Darcy."
"Where else would one hunt, Miss Bingley, one can hardly do so in town," he replied with a touch of scorn that she did not appreciate at all.
Arriving at Sir William's they were surprised and Bingley was very happy to see that the two elder misses Bennet were dressed for the ride, and he quickly joined Jane.
Elizabeth, however was talking to Sir William and seemed to be without a mount but just as Darcy was about to ask her where her horse was a groom brought out a big black hunter, snorting and tossing his head. Darcy had never seen such a magnificent animal, but noted that he seemed a little on the wild and unruly side.
The groom brought the animal over to where Miss Bennet and Sir William were standing and she turned and started to talk softly to the animal and gave him a carrot and rubbed his nose saying softly, "Ahh Sampson are you ready for a good ride, have you been waiting for me." The horse rubbed his head against her shoulder and made a soft sound of contentment before she moved to mount him.
Darcy was shocked and immediately asked Sir William if he were going to allow this young woman to ride such an animal.
Sir William puffed out "Of course, she is the only one he will permit on his back without a protest. Do not worry Mr. Darcy, Miss Eliza can handle Sampson very well, very well indeed."
Darcy however was not convinced and vowed to stay close to them just to insure her safety, and rode over to be next to her in spite of her enigmatic smile and raised eyebrow.
At the sound of the horn the dogs were released and they were off, Darcy and Lizzie in the lead. The fox was trapped within a couple of miles and all expressed their disappointment at such a short hunt.
Charlotte soon joined Darcy and Lizzie on the ride back saying, "I'm sure my father and Sampson are very disappointed at such a short ride, he was hoping Sampson would get a good workout today, for he has been very restless in his stall."
Elizabeth smiled and rode to say a few words to Sir William which made him grin widely and say, "Oh, capital, capital, Miss Eliza pray go ahead and do so."
Elizabeth then rode ahead to Jane and Bingley, removing her hat and combs she shook down her hair and putting the combs in the hat she handed it to Jane and spurred Sampson on.
"Well," said Charlotte with a little chuckle, "it looks like Sampson is going to get his ride after all, for when Elizabeth lets her hair down like that it means that she is going for a wild ride."
Darcy could not believe that they would let this mere slip of a young woman go riding off across the country alone, and spurring his own mount on he took off after her. He could not however catch her but kept as close as he could. Across the meadow they flew and at last up the mount where she tied the reins to a bush and walked to the top totally unaware that he was behind her.
Darcy sat on his mount watching her as she stood there with the wind blowing her long dark hair, she looks like some wild beautiful creature he thought.
What was the hold she had on him, she was impertinent and disrespectful to him, she enjoyed besting him at chess and cards, she had an unbelievable insight into politics and usually won any argument they had on the subject, she was well read and knew more about what was going on in the world around them than most men he knew. She was intelligent, witty, and altogether the most fascinating woman he had ever met, yet she persisted in putting him on the defensive whenever they were together.
Dismounting he walked up behind her thinking to admonish her for taking such chances with such a horse, but when she turned and looked at him with a startled look saying, "Mr. Darcy, what are you doing here, I did not hear anyone ride after me" he was left speechless at the wild beauty of her and could not reply.
Cocking an amused eyebrow at him she said with that enigmatic smile of hers that drove him to distraction she continued "Perhaps we should return before they send the hounds to find us."
As he silently assisted her to mount she said laughingly, "Do not look so stern, Mr. Darcy, Sampson and I take this ride often, I presume you followed because you felt that a mere woman could not handle such a magnificent creature as him."
She laughed as his face turned red when she hit the nail on the head," I see by your countenance that I am correct" and with a flip of her whip started back with Darcy beside her silent as usual.
If she could have read his mind she would have been more that a little shocked.
"Damn her" he thought "Why am I so fascinated by her, she is no one, she has little money and no position in society, yet she occupies my mind night and day and she shows me none of the respect that other women do, yet she is the one woman I cannot get enough of."
As they rode back into the yard Caroline Bingley watched from the window.
My God, she thought she looks like a wild thing, her hair is a complete mess and her riding dress is not in the least attractive. I am sure that Mr. Darcy will see that she is most unsuitable after this escapade. Patting her hair in place she started down the stairs to meet him sure that he would see how well she looked in comparison.
The Ride 2
Miss Bingley would not have felt so smug if she had stayed at the window to see what ensued.
Darcy reached up and lifted Lizzy off Samson his hand around her waist, after setting her on the ground instead of releasing her he maintained his hold on her waist, looking at her mouth thinking how wonderful it would be to kiss her soft lips until she could not breath.
Lizzie was perplexed by his staring at her lips, thinking she must have something on them she ran her tongue over them, an action which made Darcy clasp her tighter, totally unconscious of what he was doing. "Mr. Darcy," she said in confusion as he reddened and let go of her immediately and with a bow and a sweep of his hand indicated that she should precede him.
Elizabeth shook her head as she proceeded to walk toward the house, what a perplexing man he was. He comes chasing after her like a knight in shining armor and then when they reached the hilltop he say's nothing at all only stares at her mouth and arriving back at the house does the same while clasping her waist, what was going through the man's mind.
As they entered the foyer they were met by Caroline Bingley angry and upset by the length of time it had taken them to return.
"Well, Mr. Darcy I see that you have succeeded in rescuing our wild gypsy," she said in a tight voice as Elizabeth went up the stairs to change.
"I rescued no one and I certainly didn't see any gypsies" he replied sharply as he heard Elizabeth's laughter from the top of the stairs.
"Really, I could have sworn I just saw one precede you into the house and go up the stairs" she answered with a disdainful look.
Darcy gave her look of complete disgust and asked her to excuse him as he was going to bathe and change for dinner and stalked up the stairs after Elizabeth.
As he lay in his bath he tried to ascertain what it was that drew him to this altogether unsuitable young woman, and while dressing he could hear her laughing with joy as she rode wildly across the lea. Caroline was perhaps right in that she looked like a wild thing when they returned.
Caroline had made arrangements so that she would be seated next to Darcy at the table, at first she thought that she wanted to sit across from him so that she could keep his attention but decided that sitting next to him would be more conducive to intimate conversation. She had donned one of her best gowns and her riches jewels and laces, looking across the table At Miss Eliza Bennet she could only think how plain she looked in comparison to herself, the only jewelry she ever wore was that silly ruby cross around her neck.
Somehow though, things were not working out as she had anticipated when she asked Lady Lucas to seat her next to Darcy. Miss Elizabeth Bennet was seated across from them and he spent his time watching her and listening to her every word, totally ignoring Caroline.
Seated on the left of Darcy and one chair down was Lord Peter Herendon, who spent the dinner time espousing the King and the house of lords, making ever more outrageous statements as the time went on and he consumed more wine.
He finally avowed that the king could do no wrong and when Miss Bennet replied quietly with a soft smile that she thought that only God could do no wrong, "surely you do not put his majesty above God, I don't think that even the king would do such as that" she said.
Caroline gasped in shock at her audacity, while his lordship sputtered and glared at her across the table.
"Did you ever hear such impertinence" she said to Darcy as they left the table, I believe that even Miss Bennet has gone too far this time, embarrassing a peer of the realm, don't you agree Mr. Darcy."
"She certainly stopped his babbling," replied Darcy with a hint of a smile as he turned to go to join the men, and she was left standing there wondering what she would have to do to break the hold that this girl seemed to have on him.
Darcy could not sleep that night, every time he closed his eyes he saw Elizabeth riding, with her hair flying in the wind. Finally he arose and went to the window, slamming his hand on either side of it he admonished himself for thinking so much of her, he must avoid her from this time hence if at all possible, he feared that he might be falling in love with her and that would not do at all. He vowed that he would stay in his room on Saturday night when the ball was to be held at Netherfield, Bingley had suggested it in jest but he felt it would be best for his well being if he avoided any chance of encountering her, he must get back to London but he could not leave Bingley, he might do the unthinkable and ask Miss Jane Bennet to marry him.
He felt a great sense of relief on Friday when a message came from Bingley's attorney asking him to return to London as soon as possible.
This was the chance he needed. He could go to London himself after Bingley and with the help of Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst convince Charles that the match would be most unsuitable. He must approach it in the right way though by convincing him that she did not return his affection. This was the only way, as Bingley would not agree if he was told that she was unsuitable to be his wife, indeed he would only become more stubborn and determined to marry her if they used this approach. He was sure the sisters could be quickly packed and ready to go when he talked to them.
Darcy awoke and looked with sleepy eyes at his wife lying beside him, "Well my love, We went to all that trouble, but I came down to dance with you at the ball and made a disaster of it, didn't I, we really had a battle that night didn't we.
"But I couldn't stop loving you anymore than Charles could forget Jane, so here we are the two happiest men in England married to two women who were declared totally unsuitable and loving every minute of it."
"What did you say," asked Elizabeth sleepily.
"Nothing my love I was just dreaming of a wild gypsy riding a black hunter across the wilds of Hertfordshire." he replied and proceed to kiss the gypsy awake.
They had just entered the front gate of Pemberley and Darcy turned his head enough to gaze down at the face of his beloved wife as she slept on his shoulder, her long thick lashes laying on her cheek like a black fan.
"Dear God, thank you for bringing her to me," he prayed silently. He watched her even breathing and thought of how happy he was since she had at last accepted his name. Not even in his wildest dreams, had he thought he could know such happiness. He had had the happiest of childhoods but this was different, with Elizabeth he felt complete for the first time in his life, she fulfilled him to a degree he would not have dreamed possible.
Reaching across he put his left hand on the small one that had been lying on his knee for the last hour while she slept, and kissed the dark curls lying on his shoulder. She moved her hand to turn it up to clasp his own. Turning his head again he saw her smiling up at him and leaned to kiss her softly. She smiled at him in that way she had and said, "I love you Fitzwilliam Darcy."
Unable to stop himself the Master of Pemberley Estates kissed his wife with increasing ardor until he heard the door of the carriage and a small, "Oh, sorry Master."
Turning he looked into the red face of the footman who had been given the honor of greeting the Master first by opening the door for him and the new Mistress. He heard a soft chuckle as Mr. Darcy stepped out and giving his hand to the new mistress assisted her from the carriage.
As Elizabeth exited the carriage she was a little disconcerted by the large group of servants lined up to greet her, so many, she thought and I must learn their names and positions. She was glad that she had kept up a correspondence with Mrs. Reynolds while she was in town and knew where most of them worked, but she had to put the names with the faces.
Darcy fairly glowed with pride as he introduced the new mistress of the house to each of them and saw her give each a smile and a few words, bringing answering smiles from each. At last there were only Mrs. Reynolds and Horace the Butler left.
"Mrs. Reynolds, how now nice to see you again," said Elizabeth and received a large smile and a greeting in return. "I am so happy to be here at last and I hope that all is going well for Christmas and New Years."
"Yes, Ma'am we have carried out all of your instructions and only the little last minute things are left.
Darcy looked at them both with surprise.
They had planned to spend only a week in London after their marriage, but it had become more like three when his friends met his lovely bride and seemed to be vying for their presence at parties and balls held in their honor. After three days of parties and teas Elizabeth had declared that she had had enough and wanted to go home to Pemberley.
"Home to Pemberley," he said. "Do you feel that Pemberley is home already."
"I think that I shall always consider Pemberley home," she said. "I much prefer it to the hubbub of town, I hope you are not disappointed by these feelings."
"Not at all," he replied, "but I thought that most women preferred the social whirl of town."
"But I am not most women," she replied cheekily. "I thought that was why you pursued me so diligently," she said as she turned to him with that sassy smile he loved so much.
"Indeed you are not" he laughed, "and I am not like most men" and kissed her to prove his point.
"Ummm," she grinned up at him, "and my mother told me that this was a duty that I must endure. If this is duty, then I must volunteer."
"Then let us complete our duty," he said with a grin.
They had left town after two days but the trip was long because of the two stops they had made to spend the day with friends who lived north of town and had insisted that they stop on their way home.
They had planned to stop at the Blue Boar Inn for the night on the way, but the Maxwells' estate was so close to the inn that they had decided to go all the way to Derbyshire from there, making the last day's journey a rather long one, but Elizabeth had slept on his shoulder for the last hour and a half.
As they entered the house, he was surprised to hear Elizabeth and Mrs. Reynolds discussing plans for Christmas and New Years. He had been worried that they had so little time to plan before the holidays were upon them, but it seemed that his wife had again taken care of things, and his worries had been for naught.
Darcy, you are indeed fortunate in your choice of wife, he thought, she continues to astound me with her grasp of running such large houses and her forethought in planning for anything thrown in her path.
He was more than happy to see the respect shown her by the staff and especially Mrs. Reynolds and Horace.
How could he know that their acceptance of her was due not only to the planning she had taken care of for the holidays, even if it was by post, but most of all by the joy and pride that they could see in his face.
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