Mr William Collins, rector of Hunsford watched the two couples taking their vows with lips pursed in consternation.
He should not even be here. He should be in Kent giving solace to Lady Catherine DeBourgh. Her ladyship must be in a state of anger and shock. The nephew whom she had thought for 23 years would marry her daughter Lady Anne,was instead here at Meryton church marrying his own cousin Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who a year ago had refused his own offer of marriage.
This was insupportable, this woman who had refused the honor of marrying him should have been relegated to spinsterhood. It had been his dearest wish that she should be forced to become a governess to someone else's children for the rest of her arrogant life.
Instead there she was taking her marriage vows to one of the most powerful and wealthy men in England. How could this have happened. In spite of his attempts to stop such a marriage as well as his noble patroness' the marriage wows were now in progress.
When they had received the letter from Lady Lucas telling them of Miss Elizabeth's engagement to Mr Darcy he was prepared to run with all haste to Rosings to inform Lady DeBourgh of the contents of the letter.
Mrs Collins however had stopped him saying that he should not be the one to give the news to her ladyship. "That news must come from Mr Darcy himself," she insisted Lady Catherine would not be happy with such news, nor the bearer she pointed out to him.
She had instead insisted that she was going to Lucas Lodge to visit her parents before her delicate condition progressed to the point where she would be unable to travel. She had even gone so far as to say that if he did not accompany her she would go alone with only her maid to protect her.
He was shocked indeed at her stubbornness. His dear Charlotte had always done just as he wanted, always obeying himself and Lady Catherine without question.
In this though she had been adamant, she was going to leave the next day and he could come or not.
She had agreed to wait two more days while he made arrangements with Mr Hardcastle the rector of Marshfield, a few miles down the road from Rosings Park to take his place at the church.
This left him with little time to speak to Lady Catherine he pointed out. Charlotte had volunteered to go to Rosings Park and tell Lady Catherine of their plans and explain her reasons for going at this time.
He wondered what Lady DeBourgh had said when she learned of her nephews engagement at the time. Now he wondered if Mrs Collins had even mentioned that she was aware of it.
He took a sidelong glance at Mr Bingley's sisters. "Well he thought, at least these too are in agreement with me, that these two marriages are not to be borne."
He was beginning to understand the breech between his father and the Bennets. They thought themselves too far above their station.
What had Mr Bennet meant in his letter "I would advise you to support the nephew, he has more to offer.
Did it mean that he and Mr Darcy had discussed his position at Rosings. Did it mean that Mr Darcy was prepared to make him an offer if a position came vacant in Derbyshire. If only he knew.
Perhaps Charlotte had been right, it would be better for them to be away when Lady Catherine received the news, though he hated to admit that his wife could be in any way wiser than he, he felt that not being in the path of Lady Catherine DeBourgh's wrath was best for all of them.
He smiled to himself as he thought of how happy Lady Catherine would be to have them back. Mr Hardcastle never listened to what she had to say. He gave such sermons as he deemed appropriate and frequently argued with her ladyship about her treatment of her tenants.
Yes, if all went as he was thinking, they would be most welcome back to Rosings Park
Charlotte gave a sideways glance at her husband, though she was very happy for Elizabeth, she knew that he was not.
She knew him well enough to know that he was seething that the young woman who had refused him was now making such a brilliant marriage. She had heard him often enough chortle as he predicted spinsterhood for all the Bennet girls after Lydia's disgraceful elopement.
She would never forget how he had paled when she read her mother's letter.
"This cannot be, he had raged, these two should never be married to men of such high esteem. They have been sullied, what is Mr Darcy thinking. He must marry Lady Anne, he must, Elizabeth Bennet shall not prevail, I will not have it."
As she pointed out to him he had nothing to say about it he had been determined to tell Lady Catherine and let her put a stop to it. Fortunately she knew him well enough to know that if she threatened to leave at once to visit her parents he would become so concerned about the impropriety of his wife traveling fifty miles with only a maid to accompany her he would do whatever she told him to.
Mr Collins was not an intelligent man nor a brave on, the thought of a scandal at his own door would bring him to do her bidding at all costs.
She smiled at Lizzie as she and her obviously happy new husband walked down the aisle.
"Well done dear friend, she whispered, well done indeed."
"Ah, Capital, capital, thought Sir William Lucas, the two loveliest girls in Hertfordshire, making such fine matches. This is a fine day for Meryton to be sure."
As he glanced at his wife he wondered what her thoughts were. She had been well pleased with Charlotte's marriage, at least until now. He knew however that Mrs Bennet's crowing over what great matches her two eldest daughters had made, and her crooning on and on about what fine carriages, jewels, clothes and what pin money her girls would have was he knew beginning to get Lady Lucas' nerves.
To make it even worse to a woman as refined as his wife Fanny Bennet found nothing untoward in Lydia's marriage to that scoundrel Wickham. She threw up her hands in despair each time Mrs Bennet left after going on and on about Lydia's charming husband and making remarks about Maria's chances of making a good match.
As he looked over at Charlotte's husband he wondered why he had such a sour look on his face, one would think he would be pleased tha his cousin was marrying the nephew of his patroness.
Mr Bingley's sisters did not seem pleased at all either. He could not understand it. Jane Bennet was the sweetest girl he knew, she would be a fine wife to their brother.
Lady Lucas sighed as she watched her son in law. When Charlotte had married Mr Collins, she had been well pleased. She had given up hope of her eldest daughter ever getting married and then the man who would inherit Longbourn came to town and won her hand.
She knew that Charlotte was his third choice but at 27 one could not be too particular.
The more she saw of him the less she thought of him. His constant ravings about Lady DeBourgh and the splendors of Rosings Park sometimes gave her a headache. To add to that she found herself becoming more and more intolerant of his toadying ways. She had been so embarrassed for Mr Darcy these past three weeks, but he took it in stride
What a fine gentleman Lizzie will have for a husband," she thought
She knew from Charlotte's letters that Lady Catherine DeBourgh was not a generous, charitable patroness but an interfering busybody.
She was happy for the two eldest Bennet girls, in spite of their mothers constant rantings about the wealth and position of their husbands and her veiled insults about the beauty of her daughters and the plainness of the Lucas girls.
"Maria is as pretty as any Bennet girl, she thought, more so than Mary. Fanny however chose to ignore that fact."
"I shall miss Elizabeth the most, she thought, she has been so kind, visiting us even after Charlotte was gone."
"I wonder if she would possibly ask Maria to their London house or even Pemberley. How wonderful it would be if Maria could meet some young men of the ton."
"Fanny is certainly counting on it for Kitty, she smiled. What a great joke it would be if Maria should find a man of wealth and position as Elizabeth and Jane have, even more than Kitty."
"Oh how beautiful Lizzie and Jane look," Maria thought with a sigh.
"Why couldn't Charlotte have found a husband who was as handsome and rich as Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley?"
Instead she was married to the odious Mr Collins who preached at her constantly about avoiding the pitfalls of chasing soldiers as Lydia Bennet had.
Maria had spent as much time at the Bennets as possible since Charlotte and her husband had arrived. Mrs Bennets crowing and her remarks about Charlotte being well suited to be a parsons wife, while her Lizzie was meant for greater things, were easy to ignore. Much easier than that toad Mr Collins' admonitions and his constant stories of the greatness of Lady Catherine and Rosings Park.
She had met Lady Catherine and she did not like her at all. She found her extremely rude and patronizing. She didn't know how her sister could stand the two of them.
Now she was to have a child.
Mr Collins was certain that it would be a boy and took great delight in telling Mr Bennet so.
Maria did not care if it was a boy as a girl as long as it did not look or act like it's father.
"How wonderful it would be if Elizabeth should invite me to stay with them in London some time, she thought, how I would like to go to the theater and the balls which are held in the great houses in town. I suppose there is little chance of that though."
Lady Matlock smiled softly as she watched her favorite nephew taking his marriage vows.
"Ah, Darcy you handsome devil you, you have met your match at last, she thought, and what a match it is. You have done well, my dearest nephew. She is perfect for you. She will liven the halls of Pemberley considerably."
"I had despaired of you ever finding the right girl. I feared that out of boredom and lethargy you would finally give in and marry your sickly cousin, or worse fall into the hands of Caroline Bingley. She certainly made no effort to mask her desire to be Mistress of Pemberley."
"Look at her now, the look on her face would win first prize in any sour pickle contest. Oh, lord she looks like Catherine DeBourgh."
Lady Matlock almost laughed aloud at that thought,"Good heavens, I never thought of it before, but Caroline Bingley and Catherine are cut from the same cloth. Neither of them gives a thought to my dear Fitzwilliam's happiness. All either of them think of is being mistress of the Darcy estates.
"Look at dear, Georgie, she is so happy. She is getting the sister she has always longed for. She certainly could not find one any better than our Elizabeth. They have already become such great friends."
"Yes, Pemberley will be a happy place again."
"Poor Mr Collins, he will be the one upon who Catherine will vent her wrath. I like his wife very well. How could such a sensible levelheaded woman marry such a creature as he. "
He is just what Catherine would look for in a clergyman. One who will do her every bidding with head and waist bowed."
"Mrs Collins though is made of sterner stuff, I have the feeling that she sits quietly and listens to Catherine unsolicited and unwanted advice and does just as she wishes."
"Richard, my son, how are you feeling about this. I was much surprised when after we had our letter from Catherine demanding that we prevent this marriage and if we could not, refuse to come here, you told us that you yourself were in danger of falling in love with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. If she had, had a fortune you would have asked her to marry you before you left Rosings Park.
"Though I would have welcomed Miss Elizabeth with open arms into our family, I am glad that she is marrying Fitzwilliam. She is exactly what our taciturn nephew needs. She will keep a smile on his handsome face, I am certain of that, or my name is not Rebecca Fitzwilliam."
"I am only sorry that Peter and Margaret could not be here, but I understand their reason. I only hope this first Fitzwilliam grandchild waits until we return to come into this world."
Lord Henry Fitzwilliam glanced at his wife. "Ah Rebecca, he thought, I can read your mind. You are very glad to see Darcy marry this lovely girl who makes him smile."
"I would imagine too, that you are chortling with glee at Catherine's dismay, and her rage."
He chuckled silently to himself as he remembered the day they had received her letter. Her demands that they shun this fine couple there taking their vows, only made Rebecca more determined to come to Hertfordshire with all haste to welcome Elizabeth Bennet into the family.
"Catherine, Catherine will you never learn not to give orders to everyone."
"Well done cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam thought, She is a true jewel my friend. If circumstances had been different I might have been there where you are now. As it is I shall have to look elsewhere. I only hope that I can find a woman with the beauty, intelligence, the quick wit and inborn goodness of your Elizabeth. Treat her well Darcy or you will answer to me."
"Smile Miss Bingley, people will think you are unhappy and jealous of these marriages."
The Saint Johns
Sir John smiled to himself as he watched the two couples at the altar taking their vows.
"Such fine young people, he thought. You have both done well. Sophia of course is elated that her favorite Fitzwilliam Darcy should find such a lovely sweet girl to marry.
"Of course some of her good feeling is due to the fact that Lady Catherine's long sought marriage between her daughter Anne and Darcy has come to naught. Nothing could have kept us away from this day. Nothing makes Sophia and Rebecca happier than seeing Catherine thwarted. The odious letter from Lady DeBourgh only made Sophia more determined to be here to put her stamp of approval on this marriage.
He smiled again as he thought of what had happened when Lady Catherine's toad of a clergyman had approached them begging that they assist him in preventing these marriages. The fool, accepting the hospitality of both families while trying to sabotage their happiness. Fortunately they all knew that Mr Collins had sought the hand of Miss Bennet and been refused. It was not hard to see that the man was more upset about the woman who would not have him would make such a brilliant match than he was about Lady Anne's disappointment."
"The Bingley sisters too had approached them seeking assistance in stopping the wedding but they made a hasty departure when Sophia let them know that she knew that their disappointment was due to the thwarting of their plans to make Miss Caroline Bingley Mrs Darcy and Mistress of Pemberley."
"Such gall, these two daughters of a tradesman putting themselves above the Bennets. Mr Bennet was a gentleman yet they thought themselves better than him and his family. There were all together too many of these jumped up trades people who thought that their money could buy they status."
Lady Sophia was elated. "Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thought, you have been like a son to me all these years, especially since the death of your dear mother. I am sure she would be as happy with your choice of wife as I am, dear Fitzwilliam."
"Such a handsome girl, so elegant, almost regal in her carriage. In spite Catherine's assertions, I see quality in this girl. She is no ordinary country bumpkin. Such eyes, most women would kill for those lashes and that beautiful dark hair not only such a beautiful color but all that curl is natural. There is a Welch ancestor there, I knew when I first saw her. When I asked her father he confirmed that her great, great, great, grandmother was a Welch countess, Lady In Waiting to Good Queen Bess."
"What think you of that Catherine. Of course you will never admit it, you will declare it a gross falsehood if anyone should tell you."
"Where are you now Catherine, while the man you hoped to call your son stands here marrying another woman. A young woman you find so unsuitable, yet I find her perfect for our Darcy. Are you at Rosings berating your poor daughter for being weak and sickly and unable to tempt a man."
"I would imagine though that you are off in the wood above the house, stirring your cauldron, evoking curses and plagues upon the Bennet's."
"Looking at Bingley's sisters I would say that they are with you in spirit in your endeavor."
"Poor Caroline, poor Louisa, witch number two and witch number three." All your plans coming to naught. The brother you thought to marry to Georgiana is marrying the woman he loves and the man you hoped to snare in your web, Caroline, is there taking his vows with our dear Elizabeth."
"Charles is so obviously happy, the way he smiles at his Jane throughout the ceremony, while Fitzwilliam stand there stiff as a ramrod looking neither to the left or right. Elizabeth looks at him covertly with a small smile on her lovely face. How typical of the two men.
As they two couples exited the church Lady Saint John could not but chuckle, "Ohh Fitzwilliam, such a smile I have not seen on your face in ten long years."
"Pemberley will again be a place for all who wish to enjoy themselves with good company will gather. Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy will be a most gracious hostess, that I know"
"Darcy will be a very happy man. I do love the way she gently teases him with that beautiful smile, and he responds so joyfully. Thank you God for putting this wonderful young woman in the path of our dear Fitzwilliam."
"Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy, may your life together be long and full."
Mr Long watched his wife with a sour expression.
"What a silly goose you are Miriam, he thought. "Do you really think you will be able to somehow trick the new Mr and Mrs Darcy or the Bingleys into finding our Mary a rich husband. I can tell you now wife I have no intention of going to the Bennets after this wedding to fawn over the newlyweds and listen to your remarks about how happy it would make you if your dear Mary should be invited to town and presented at court by either of them.
I am going home as soon as this ceremony is over. If you wish to go to the reception it will be without me. I certainly do not want to be there when you find out that the Darcy's are going to leave within the hour after the ceremony." "
Thomas told me that Mr Darcy wishes to get to London before dark. That should dash a great many hopes. I am sure that you are not the only one hoping to ingratiate yourself with Mr Darcy."
"Good, God Mary wipe that silly look off your face. I can assure you that a man of Colonel Fitzwilliam's position has no time for a silly 16 year old girl. You are becoming as bad as Lydia Bennet , chasing after anything in a red coat."
"Look at the smug look on Fanny Bennet's face. She will be impossible from this day on, going on and on about her daughters rich husbands."
"What carriages, what jewels, what company they will keep, what pin money they will have, Mrs Long thought , I have heard it all so many times already that I fear I shall become ill if I have to listen to it all again."
"The worst thing is her snide remarks about what a pity it is that the other girls in town have no chance whatsoever of making such marriages."
"I will have to bear it though, I must find a way to get one of them to ask our Mary to London for a prolonged visit. I know that Fanny is even now planning how she will get Kitty and maybe even Mary there to meet Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley's rich friends."
"I must succeed, I must. Mary must be presented at court and at Almacks."
Almacks most of all. If she is to meet people of quality she must be seen at Almacks."
"Mr Darcy says he does not go there if he can avoid it. I do not believe that at all. He must take his sister there. She is of the age to start looking for a husband. I am sure he will be content only with a title for her."
"What a coup it would be for us if some titled gentleman should fall madly in love with Mary and insist on marrying her."
"Robert scoffs at the idea and declares that he will have no part in my plans. I don't understand why he thinks so lowly of his own daughter. Mary is as pretty as the Bennet girls and she is certainly better mannered than any of the three younger ones. Certainly far better than Lydia, to be sure."
"Lydia, what a scandalous affair that was but her mother finds nothing untoward in her action. Instead she goes on and on about her handsome charming son in law."
"Handsome, yes, but charming that is in the eye of the beholder. If he is to be called anything it is cad, rogue, villain."
"Poor Thomas I do feel sorry for him. How he will miss Lizzie."
"I fear for dear sweet Jane though. From what I have heard from Fanny she will give them no peace or privacy. She plans to visit them daily taking her two remaining daughter with her. She has asked me to go with her, but I will not be a party to intruding on those two dear people. I have enough of listening to Mary pontificate and Kitty whine about missing Lydia without placing myself in their path daily."
"Lady Lucas agrees with me but she says Fanny will not hear a word about leaving them to themselves for a few days. She is sure that Jane cannot manage to get through a day without her. She declares she must go there to teach Jane about how to run such a large house."
"What a joke that is, everyone know that Lizzie and Jane have run the Bennet household since they were but twelve and fourteen. She had better stay at home and tend to her own business."
"Silly, frivolous woman."
"I must be on my guard though never to let her know what I really think. I cannot afford to alienate her before Mary finds a husband."
"Look at that silly toad of a husband of Charlotte's, he does not seem pleased with these unions. I suppose it is because Elizabeth refused his offer."
"I still cannot understand how Charlotte, such a fine intelligent woman could marry such as he. I suppose though that she was desperate for a husband. she was after all seven and twenty."
"Oh Lizzy, Mary Long thought, how fortunate you are. Such a rich husband, and so handsome."
"His cousin is so handsome in his red coat. I wonder if he is looking for a wife. Mama says that he is a younger son, so he has no fortune and must marry for money. She says that I shall have a dowry and a much better one than any of the Bennet girls. I wonder how much. Would it be enough for a handsome soldier to live on with his family."
"Papa just snorts and looks at me when I ask him. He tell me not to get any high flying ideas."
"I do hope Mama can get me an invitation to Darcy house and Pemberley. I have heard that Pemberley is the most beautiful estate in England. Lucky, lucky Lizzie. An estate in Derbyshire and a house in town."
"I should so like to go to court and most of all to Almacks even though I should be frightened by all the men and ladies of such high society who I should see there."
With a smile Mr Edward Gardiner cast a sidelong look at his wife.
"Maddie, dearest Maddie, he thought, you could not be more happy or proud if it were our own Rachel or Sarah there taking their vows with these two fine young men."
They are almost like daughters to us are they not, my love. They have spent so much time with us since the death of their grandmother Bennet. How different things would be if she had lived. How proud she would be of these two, her eldest grandchildren. She would have kept a tight rein on the other three as she did Jane and Elizabeth, teaching them to be proper ladies.
"There would have been no wild flirtations as there have been with Kitty and Lydia, and there would certainly have been no such scandalous marriage as we were forced to witness between Lydia and her rogue husband."
"Wickham, how I despise that man."
"My silly foolish sister, however, thinks he is the most charming man in all of the kingdom; merely because he flatters and cajoles her."
"Fanny was a silly spoiled child and is till the same. As a matter of fact she gets worse with every passing year. Now she will make life miserable for those she calls her friends. She had better stop or she will find herself quite alone in the community."
"How can I make her understand that reminding Lady Lucas and Mrs Long daily of what fine matches her own daughters have made will only serve to drive them from her company."
"Even our sister Phyliss, who is as silly as Fanny, is getting a little tired of listening to her boasting."
"Such a smile, dear Madalaine."
"Are you thinking of Mr Darcy's secret. I do hope that you can keep it. I have little fear though after all these years. You can be trusted I know, my dear.
Looking at his eldest daughter he was struck again by how much she resembled her mother. Especially when she smiled as she was now.
"How good it was of the girls to invite Rachel to the wedding," he thought
She was so proud and felt so grown up, he knew.
"Dear me, can it really be that she is 14 years old, he thought, before I know it, it will be her there at the altar taking her vows."
"I can only pray that she finds as fine a young man as these two."
"Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst, however, do not seem so happy as my family," he thought with a soft chuckle.
Madalaine Gardiner turned her head enough to glance at the husband and returned his smile as she turned back to watch the wedding vows being taken.
"Edward, what are you chuckling about, I wonder," she thought.
"I know you are as well pleased as I about these two marriages."
"Who would have ever dreamed, when I was growing up in Lambton that one day my dear niece would become Mistress Of Pemberley, and that I, Madalaine Forrester, would be welcome in its halls. Sometimes I awake thinking it is all a dream."
"To think that in a few weeks we shall be there for Christmas. How dear of Mr Darcy to invite us as a surprise for Lizzie. I shall not divulge his secret, however much I would like to."
"Oh Jane, Elizabeth, I am so proud and happy for the two of you. There are no finer men in England than the two you are marrying."
"Mr Darcy, Master of the Pemberley estates. So handsome and so much in love with our dearest Lizzie. You will have a happy marriage, Lizzie, with a husband who adores you, and who I know you love so very deeply."
"Jane, dear, sweet, loving Jane. There is no other man so well suited for you. And Mr Bingley, sweet amiable, Mr Bingley. You too will have a happy marriage."
"I wonder how long you will stay at Netherfield though. In spite of her brothers advice to let you have a few days at least for yourselves, it sounds like your mother means to spend most of her time at Netherfield from this day on."
"You will always be welcome at our home if you decide to flee to London to escape her. I know that Mr Bingley has a fine house in town, but I think you will want to be from Miss Bingley too. I don't think she will give up her charge of that house gladly. I can tell that by the sour looks on the faces of her and Mrs Hurst."
"Poor Caroline Bingley, she wanted more than anything to be the one standing there taking these vows with Mr Darcy."
"I could feel some pity for you, Miss Caroline, had I not seen and heard your viciousness against our dear Lizzy there at Pemberley. You sought to put her down in Mr Darcy's eyes and only succeeded in making him respect her more and you less."
"Your part in trying to prevent your brothers marriage to Jane does not endear you to us either. Your coldness and your lies when you came to visit us I shall not soon forget."
"Dearest Edward, already you make plans that we might go to Pemberley for Christmas without worry. Is it any wonder that I love you so very dearly."
Mrs Gardiner smiled at her eldest daughter standing there enraptured. "Rachel dear, what are you thinking, with stars in your eyes."
Rachel Gardiner stood watching her cousins completely enraptured.
"Oh, cousins Your are so fortunate. I hope I can find a husband as dear and handsome as Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley.
Mr Darcy especially, he is so handsome, Lizzie, and he was so nice when he came to our house when Lydia got married, and when you came to town to see your new home there."
"He took time to talk to us and learn how well we did with our reading and our sums. He admired my drawings, even though I know they are not that good. I love him too, cousin Lizzie. I should like to marry him, but he loves you."
"Mr Wickham did not even speak to my brother and sisters."
"I don't like him. He flattered me but mamma was right, he didn't mean it. I didn't like the way he looked at me. It made me feel like I needed to bathe."
"Mama's cold looks at when he tried to to be charming to her soon quieted his gushing about her loveliness and taste."
"I am glad they are not here. Lydia tried to get Papa to send her money to come but he refused. I am glad. Lydia would ruin everything. She is so vulgar. I know I should not even think such a thing, but it is true."
"Ohh, it is over, they are coming down the aisle. Ohh, Lizzie, how Mr Darcy looks at you. If he were to look at me like that I am sure my heart would melt with joy."
The Hurst's & Miss Bingley
"Hee, hee, hee, Robert Hurst chortled silently, So Caroline all your grand plans have come to naught. Miss Elizabeth Bennet is to be Mistress of Pemberley not you."
"Good for her, she will grace the place in ways you never could. This is a young woman of taste and refinement, in spite of what you think."
"You think too highly of yourself, Caro, everyone else knew that Darcy had no plans toward you but you persisted in your dreams of becoming Mrs Darcy, wife of one of the richest, most influential men in England. What a joke."
"Smile, Caro, dear, people will think you are not happy to be here to witness these marriages."
"I wish I had brought a flask with me, I could use a drink after watching your countenance these past 20 minutes."
"Oh dear, this is taking forever, Louisa, thought, at least it seems that way."
"Charles, must you look at her with that silly grin all the time. This is a somber time, yet you smile as always. Do you have no pity for your poor sister Caroline. You know that we had great plans for you to marry Miss Darcy. You, however have shown no thought for your sisters, you continued in your pursuit of Jane Bennet and here we are now watching this disastrous marriage take place."
"Caroline will be impossible to live with for some time because of your actions. She was so sure that if you married Miss Georgiana Mr Darcy would choose her to be his wife, but you were so stubborn in your refusal to consider such a marriage. How selfish and thoughtless of you, brother."
"Robert was not at all happy when I consented to let Caroline live with us now. What a rage she was in when she came to our townhouse announcing that she would never spend a night in that house again if Jane Bennet was to be the mistress there."
"What else could I do but make her welcome to our home. I could not throw her out into the street."
"She has to stay somewhere, it would not be proper for her to take a place of her own as she threatened."
"I could not send her to Bath to live with Aunt Grace as Robert suggested. Besides I am sure Aunt Grace would never accept her into her house. They have never gotten on at all."
"Charles, Charles, what havoc you have wreaked on my life with this most unsuitable marriage."
"The thought of having to call Mrs Bennet a relative is more than I can bear."
"How I despise you Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Caroline thought savagely, I shall never call you Darcy in my heart."
"This is so unfair, it should be me there taking those vows, not that stupid country nobody."
"What did she do right. What did I do wrong that she should win him."
"I catered to his every wish, I made certain he won at any game we played and praised his prowess. I read the books he likes, though I detest reading, it is such a bore. I went to the plays he prefered, though I do not understand most of Mr William Shakespeare. I detest opera, yet I went with him and Charles."
"I allowed Lord Herrick to escort me to the theater and his grace the Viscount Hester to take me out for a few evenings also. I thought to make you jealous, Darcy but all you did was congratulate me for seeing men of such high rank. You seemed to be happy that I was seeing other men."
Louisa and Charles told me that jealousy was not one of your vices but I thought that if you thought that I was interested in others it might make you look at me as a choice for your wife."
"What a fool I have been all these years, waiting for you to appreciate me. The only person you ever thought anything of is Miss Elizabeth Bennet."
"Stupid, fool, do you not see what you have missed. I am much more qualified to be Mrs Darcy, Mistress of Pemberley and all the Darcy estates."
"What can she bring to you, she has no money, no position. She is ill qualified to run such a great house. Why could you not see that."
"I do not like the Gardiners at all. She looks at me like she knows my every thought. She made me most uncomfortable when I went there to visit Jane when she was in town last spring. I do not like her, her husband, who Darcy seems to value so highly, or their four brats."
"Mrs Reynolds and her husband Carstairs seem well pleased with this match. Do you not see that Eliza Bennet is more on their level than yours, foolish, foolish man. How long will it take you to regret your choice. I could not believe that you actually invited two of your servants to witness you marriage. You can be sure that this would not have happened if you and I were there taking our vows. As a matter of fact if I were to be Mrs Darcy we would have a new housekeeper and a new butler."
"It is too late for me to snare either his grace or Lord Herrick.
Viscount Hester is wed to Lady Margaret Meade, a fit choice for him."
"Herrick married Millicent Fellows of all people. She had only ten thousand pounds and nothing else to recommend her."
"What am I to do, I am four and twenty. Most people think of me as an old maid already. Who am I to marry, and marry I must. Colonel Fitzwilliam, cuts a dashing figure, but he is only a younger son, he will not do. Besides his mother does not like me at all."
"I must marry a title, I must."
"How I detest having to smile at Miss Eliza and pretend that I like her and wish to be a friend. I must though, as must Louisa. If we do not we will be barred from Pemberley. If we become estranged from Darcy we will also be barred from Almacks. All of those we now call friends will avoid us and we will be back where we started, the daughters of a carriage maker."
"I must continue my friendship with Georgiana most certainly. She is so dear to her brother."
"I have one consolation, Mr Darcy, stupid man, will have to put up with the entire Bennet clan, including Wickham."
"How diverting, the man he hates most in this world is now to be his brother."
"I could laugh aloud as I think that he also must welcome Mr William Collins into his family. What a stupid odious man he is. I thought Charlotte Lucas had more sense than to marry such as he, but I suppose she had no choice, she was seven and twenty when she became Mrs Collins."
"I would rather get me to a nunnery than marry such an odious creature."
"At last this ordeal is over and they are going down the aisle. I cannot wait to get back to town and away from here and all the Bennets."
"I wonder how long it will be before they descend upon Pemberley. I can just hear Mrs Bennet screeching through the halls assessing everything she sees, and Mr Bennet making sly comments about her and her two younger daughters."
"Congratulations, Darcy, a fine family you have now. It is no more than you deserve."
Georgiana, Mrs Reynolds & Carstairs
Georgiana couldn't stop smiling. She was so pleased and happy. She loved Elizabeth as much as she would if they had been blood sisters, she thought.
"My brother is so happy, she thought, I cannot even recall ever seeing Fitzwilliam smile so much as he does now. He loves his Elizabeth so very much and she returns that love."
"I knew when I saw them together at Pemberley that he was very much in love with her, but after he told me of her refusal of his first proposal I was not sure of her feelings for him. Now I have only to see how she gazes at him to know that she truly loves him very dearly."
"I knew that he would never marry our cousin Anne because of Aunt Catherine. He said each time we returned from Rosings that he would never allow Aunt Catherine to take over the reins of Pemberley and marrying her daughter would mean just that."
"I feared out of boredom and the need to father an heir to Pemberley, that he might marry Miss Bingley. I knew he did not care for her, but I was fearful anyhow. I did not want her for a sister. I like Mr Bingley very well, but his sisters think themselves above everyone, because of their money. I have never heard a kind work about anyone from either of them, except Fitzwilliam, of course."
"Miss Bingley made no bones about setting her cap for him."
"How hatefully she glares at Elizabeth even now.
"I do not understand why they dislike Jane, she is the sweetest, most loving person I have ever met. They seem to think that Mr Bingley is somehow marrying beneath himself by taking Jane as his bride. Her father is a gentleman and their own father was a tradesman. That puts them above all of the Bingleys. I know she does not have a large dowry, but Mr Bingley has no need for money from his wife's family. He is quite comfortable."
"How sad that one should be ashamed of ones parents, as Mr Bingley's sisters are. Fitzwilliam say's that Mr Bingley was a fine amiable man, much like his son. He worked very hard to give his children the best that money could buy and all they give to his memory is that they wish to forget that he ever existed." Is this not the most cruel thing imaginable."
"I do not want to think of them any longer. As Elizabeth says, "Think of what makes you happy."
"Having five new sister makes me very happy, even though I have not met Lydia."
I love Jane and really like Kitty and Mary, I know that in time I will love all of them. I think that we will be great friends."
I like Mr Bennet too, though he sometimes seems to enjoy being a little cruel to his wife and younger daughters."
"I even like Mrs Bennet, she is, granted, sometimes a little silly, but she has a good heart and only wants what is best for her girls. What mother does not want that."
"I truly like aunt Aunt an Uncle Gardiner, not only do I have four new sisters, but six Gardiners to welcome into my family. They are so kind. Mrs Gardiner seems to understand why I have some trouble among strangers and she always seems to be there to help me when Elizabeth is busy with others."
"I am so happy with my new family."
Mr Carstairs Reynolds stole glances at the guest before them in the church. This was the last place he expected to be today. He was sure they would be back at Pemberley preparing for th arrival of the new mistress.
Mr Darcy had written asking him and Anna to accompany Mrs Annesley and Georgiana to Hertfordshire. He felt that they should have a man to travel with them and had requested that he and Mrs Reynolds do so.
Anna had been beside herself with excitement. She was already very fond of the new Mrs Darcy. After the visit of Miss Bennet and the Gardiners to Pemberley last summer she had expressed the desire to see Mr Darcy marry the young lady.
"She is just what he needs, she said, she makes him smile. It has been all to long since we have heard such laughter in this house as there was when Miss Bennet was in our Masters company."
"This was a lady of elegance and taste, she had asserted. She will not try to change Pemberley by adding gaudy colors and try to impress the neighbors with any outrageous changes as Lady Catherine of Miss Bingley would."
They knew that Miss Bingley longed to be Mistress of Pemberley; she made no secret of it. How often they had heard her speak to her sister of the changes that would be made, should she marry Mr Darcy, including the servants."
He feared they would have been forced to leave Mr Darcy's employ should he marry Miss Bingley. This would have been very painful, not only for themselves but many other who, like them were members of families that had served the Darcys for generations.
Mrs Reynolds could naught but smile at the happy look on their dear Georgiana's face as she watched her brother marry the woman he loved.
Mr Darcy too smiled and laughed a great deal of late.
She loved these two as if they were her own children. After all she had raised them for many years when their mother was so unwell and after her death.
"Dear, kind Mr Darcy, she thought, he had used the guise of not wishing his sister and Mrs Annesley to travel across England without the company of a gentleman."
She was sure however that he wanted them there to watch him take his vows. She knew him so well, better than he knew himself."
"What a fine mistress she will make for Pemberley, she thought, a lady of elegance, taste and refinement. Not at all like the overdressed over bejeweled, Miss Caroline Bingley."
"See how she looks at Mrs Darcy, she thought, can there be any doubt of her anger at this fine young woman. She may present fine smiles and sweet words to their faces but one only has to watch her to see that she is not at all happy with these marriages or the Bennets. I would say he despises them," she whispered softly.
"Lady Catherine declined to attend, I see, it is just as well. The wedding is far better without her interference. I can imagine her anger, she has lost any claim to Pemberley forever."
"Her clergyman is here as her envoy though, I see. What an odious man."
"His wife seems to be a sensible refined woman. How could she marry him, I do not know."
"She and Mrs Darcy seem to be fast friends. I wonder what Lady Catherine thinks of that."
"Did she ever really believe that our Master would marry her sickly daughter? He need a strong, lively wife who will give him fine children, and this lady will do just that. Of that I am sure. How wonderful it will be to hear the sound of children in the halls of Pemberley again."
"Mrs Darcy's family is a little silly, but they will be far from each other and I doubt that Mrs Bennets health or her nerves will stand for many long journeys. I think we will see much of Mr Bennet though and perhaps the sisters, especially Miss Catherine."
"I must admit these girls are lovely brides, Mr Phillips thought, and they are marrying fine young men. Who would have thought that two young ladies from Hertfordshire would become the wives of two of the richest men in England.
Lizzie especially is fortunate to win such a powerful man. He is the best of the lot."
"Fanny will be impossible from now on though, reminding Phyliss daily that our Margaret found but an attorney to marry but an attorney.
"Well as long as she is happy, I care not what her aunt thinks."
We are much more fortunate than the Lucas' though. How vulgar of Fanny to be constantly reminding Lady Lucas that Jane and Elizabeth were the first choices of Mr Collins. then having the audacity to tell all who will listen that they were meant for better men while Charlotte was fortunate to marry such a man as Mr Collins."
Does she not remember that she refused to speak to Lizzie for weeks because she refused Mr Collins offer and Thomas would not force his favorite daughter to marry such a toad.
The woman gets worse with each passing day. Even Phyliss is becoming tired of her crowing.
"Richard is most grateful to Mr Darcy for sending business his way and making his move to the law office in London such a success. I shall be grateful to that young man all my life."
"What laugh I have when Fanny starts to praise that oaf that Lydia married. I tried to tell the two sisters that he was no good from the first. They however were won by his smooth ways and all his empty flattery. What silly women they are. I could scarce believe my eyes when I received Lydia's letter asking for assistance that they might come here for the wedding."
"She must have tried everyone in the family or she certainly would not have asked me. Stupid foolish girl. Did she really think that I believed that she would repay me. I know her husband better than that. He tried to cheat almost every merchant in Meryton. I wonder how much it cost Thomas to pay his debts. A pretty pence I would imagine."
Mrs Phillips wiped a tear from her eye.
""These two might as well be my own daughters, she thought, They have spent so much time at our house during their life here."
"We are fortunate enough to have Jane staying here in Hertfordshire but our Lizzie will be far away in Derbyshire or in her London house."
"I always thought that those two were meant for finer things but who would have dreamed that Mr Darcy, one of the richest most powerful men in England would capture the heart of our dear Lizzie."
"Such a handsome man. Mr Bingley is handsome too, but Mr Darcy is so tall, so dark. He so much in love with Lizzie, his eyes follow her wherever she goes. And Lizzy, she is absolutely mad about him."
"I love his sweet young sister already. I cannot understand Mr Wickhams assertions that she is proud and vain. She is quiet to be sure, but it is just her terrible shyness. I am sure our Lizzie will be able to bring her out of that. See how she has taught her brother to smile already."
"I am beginning to think perhaps James is right about Wickham. He lied so dreadfully about the Darcy's. The nerve of them to write begging us to send them money to come to Meryton after all he did here in town, the debts, the seductions, the gaming."
I find it especially hard to forgive his treatment of Mr Darcy, especially since the man has been so good to our Richard, paving the way for him to start his practice in town.
They have promised to invite both Margaret and Michael and Richard and Denise to their London home. Is that not generosity.
I am so looking forward to seeing Pemberley. Madalaine Gardiner says it is quite the handsomest home in all of England.
I know that the Bennets are not technically guests but I wanted to get their thoughts in here too.
Mr Bennet sighed, "Well Jane, Well, Lizzie deserting your poor old father again are you. Permanently this time, eh, girls."
"You Jane of course will be nearby. too near for your own peace of mind and privacy I am sure."
"But, you my dearest Lizzie you are going far from me."
"It does have a bright side though. As much as your mothers nerves suffer with travel I shall be able to escape to Derbyshire when the nonsense in my own house gets too much to bear."
"Look at your mother now, I can tell by her expression that she is planning on your finding a rich husband for your two younger sisters."
"Kitty, Kitty stop ogling Colonel Fitzwilliam. he will not pay you the least mind. As he told me himself he was in danger of falling for my Lizzie but as a younger son he needs to find a woman of consequence to marry."
"Silly, foolish girl. I had hoped you would have learned a lesson from Lydia but it seems that all it takes is a red coat for you to slide back into you old ways of chasing after anyone in a uniform.
"It would seem that she tried to borrow money from every member of the family. Her mother, Gardiner, even the Phillips. The girl has no shame. That husband of hers is no better than she. Does he really expect Darcy to get him a place at court after all he has done. I hope that they do not badger Lizzie and Darcy, but I fear I hope in vain if I know those two.
I wonder what Wickham is thinking of his bargain. Is it worth having his debts paid and a commission in the regulars to be married to the stupidest, silliest girl in the kingdom.
It is no more than he deserves."
"Poor Miss Bingley, she looks like she ate some spoiled fish. I can see that she despises Lizzie for stealing the man she thought she owned.
What a pair those Bingley sisters are. Though their father was a carriage maker they still think themselves far above anyone else here, except the Darcy's, of course.
"I don't know why no one wanted Lydia here, after all they are members of the family, are they not. It is not his fault that Wickham is not as rich and well placed as Darcy. He is handsomer to be sure."
"I know that Mama plots to have me find a rich husband among Mr Darcy's friends. It is so embarrassing, she makes no bones about it. She tells everyone that she is sure that I soon will have a place in society."
Oh,how I hate that."
"Colonel Fitzwilliam is certainly handsome in his red coat. I know that he must look for a rich wife but it doesn't hurt to dream."
"I wonder if Mama expects Lizzie to find a husband for Mary too. Where would she begin."
What a shame that Mr Collins did not find Mary a suitable candidate for a wife. She would have been perfect for him. She is as dull and sanctimonious as he."
"Oh dear dreadful thought Kitty, you would certainly not want him for a brother. Ugh, the thought of having to bear his presence is too much to bear."
"I like Miss Darcy, She is too shy though. She is certainly not as Wickham portrayed her."
"Well Mama is well pleased. How mercenary. all she can think of is how rich and well placed her new sons are. How can I make her understand that character and piety are much more important than wealth and position," Mary thought.
"She boasts to everyone of what carriages, what laces, what jewels Lizzie and Jane will have. Does she not see that these things are unimportant."
"She even approves of that scoundrel Wickham. all he has to do is flatter her and she will give him whatever she has. Does she not see that his words are as empty as Lydia's head."
"I pride myself on being above such things."
"They all seem to find our cousin Mr Collins a subject of scorn."
" I do not however, I alone see what a fine man he is. Charlotte is a very lucky woman. I hope she appreciates what she has in him."
"Oh my heart is about to burst with joy and pride, Mrs Bennet thought, what lovely men my daughters are marrying."
"Wouldn't you know that Lizzie and Darcy plan to spend most of their time in Derbyshire. Lizzie knows how trying it is on my nerves for me to travel any great distance."
"Selfish, thoughtless girl. If they would but make their home in London we could visit them frequently. But no she will have her home in the north even though she knows that I cannot come to her more than once a year at most."
"Dear, dear Jane, though, and her dear sweet Bingley. They will stay here in Hertfordshire close to her Mama."
"How I shall enjoy visiting her every day, taking tea, and showing her where improvements are to be made in Netherfield."
"I shall especially enjoy inviting Mrs Long and Lady Lucas to accompany me. How they will turn green with envy each time Jane has new furniture or new clothes. The jewels, I am sure Mr Bingley will shower her with jewels."
"I know from what Miss Bingley has said that the Darcy jewels are legendary. Oh how I will swell with pride when Lizzie and her handsome husband come for a visit and she is bedecked with them. How the neighborhood will reel with the splendor of them."
"Lizzie of course says she is not interested in jewels. What nonsense. Every woman wants them."
"I am very anxious to see the vaunted Pemberley. I wonder if it is as grand as Madalaine Gardiner says it is."
"No matter, there is not a house in the world that cannot stand improvement and I mean to make certain that Lizzie gets her share, no matter what she may say."
"I wonder why Lady Catherine DeBourgh did not come to the wedding? Charlotte says she took her daughter to Bath for the waters."
"If as Colonel Fitzwilliam says, Darcy is her favorite nephew I would think she could leave Lady Anne for a day or too to attend his marriage."
"How grand Mr Darcy's family and friends are. Lady Matlock seems to really care about our Lizzie, and why should she not. Lizzie is a far better choice than many of the women who I know have pursued him through the years."
"Thomas says that Caroline Bingley thought to marry him. I don't know why. He certainly showed no inclination toward her that I ever saw. I know he danced with her, but that was just courtesy on his part."
"How I do wish my dear, dear Lydia and Wickham could have been here, but everyone in the family was so cruel. No one would send them any money that they might attend."
"Even my own sister and Mr Phillips refused her. I shall not forget that for a long while."
"After he has been so sweet and kind to Phyliss, she will not send them a few paltry pounds, that she can well afford."
"My brother also, What does he mean, Wickham has taken enough from this family to last a long time."
"They could well afford to send them at least the fare. It would not be that much, but no, he would stand firm in his refusal."
"Lizzie too and her father and even Jane and Bingley. How can they be so cruel to deprive me of the pleasure of having all my family here for this momentous occasion."
"I cannot understand Mr Darcy, not wanting his oldest friend to be here. I know that Thomas says that Mr Wickham has lied and slandered Mr Darcy, but they are brothers now and it is time for forgiveness on his part,"
"Oh how handsome they all are, I am going to cry, I know I am. I don't care what Thomas says, I shall cry if I wish. It is my daughter's who are marrying and leaving the nest."
"I can see by the expressions on the faces of Mrs Long and Lady Lucas that they hope to profit from my girls good fortune."
"Do they really think that Lizzie and Jane will be looking for husbands for their daughters. Mary Long especially, what man of Mr Darcy's acquaintance would have her."
Maria Lucas too, why don't they take her to The Court Of St James if they wish to find a rich husband for her. They need not depend on my girls to do the work for them. I shall see to that."
I have been computerless for two weeks and it has taken me a couple of days to catch up on my reading since I have to share this pc with my family.
Though Lady Catherine and the Wickhams are not guests at the wedding they are there in thought and I thought I would try to catch what they might be thinking.
Lady Catherine DeBourgh angrily paced back and forth across the room before sitting in her favorite chair with a thump.
"Well, daughter, this is the infamous day of your betrayal by your cousin and that Bennet woman," she snapped.
"I never thought I would see the day when Fitzwilliam Darcy would deny his own dear mother's wishes and marry outside the family."
"A dark day indeed."
Her sickly daughter sniffed again and carefully wiped her rather large and impervious nose, which she had inherited from her mother.
"Yes, Mama" she sniffed, weakly.
Lady Catherine stood striking the floor with her gold tipped stick.
"Stop that sniffling, girl, sit up straight."
"Yes, Mama,"Anne sniffed again.
"Oh go to your room, girl her mother shouted, I cannot abide you sniffling today, go at once."
As her daughter quickly left the room, Mrs Jenkinson rose to follow.
"No Jenkinson, she can get there by herself, I wish to speak to you."
Mrs Jenkinson paled as she took her seat again. What could her ladyship wish to speak to her about. What had she done. Did Lady Catherine blame her for the downturn in her daughters health. Did she blame her for the fact that Mr Darcy was today marrying Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Was she to be sent packing.
"I have decided to take Lady Anne to Bath, Lady Catherine said, missing entirely the sigh that escaped her daughters companions lips. She is much in need of the waters I think, this is a great disappointment for her, she feels it very deeply I fear."
"We will have to look elsewhere for a husband for her. There should be some young noblemen at Bath this time of year. One of them will surely be interested in a girl of such great fortune and breeding."
"I wish you to go and start packing at once."
"Yes, ma'am, at once," Mrs Jenkinson agreed and she scurried from the room as quickly as possible.
In her room, Anne DeBourgh lay on her bed a smile on her face as she slipped the novel she was reading from under the mattress.
She had sniffed and wiped her nose as much as she thought she should to get her mother to dismiss her.
Anne knew that her mother lost patience very quickly with
weakness, and the best way to escape her was to feign illness.
She was glad her cousin was marrying Miss Bennet. She had never wished to marry Fitzwilliam Darcy. She didn't even like him.
She just wanted to be here in her room free of her mothers angry tirades.
Why did her mother keep Mrs Jenkinson though, Anne hoped she was not dismissing the lady from her service. Anne like Mrs Jenkinson, she was so easy to fool and so meek that she did whatever she was bid. As long as she had her Anne could have the privacy she so much craved.
She smiled to herself as she thought of her mothers indignation upon finding that all the people she had written to forbidding them to attend the wedding had indeed attended in defiance of her orders.
Anne loved her Aunt Lady Matlock, she was one of the few people who dared to defy Lady Catherine.
When she heard a soft knock on the door and Mrs Jenkinson's soft voice asking to enter she slipped her book back under the mattress and weakly called out her permission.
"OH, Lady Anne, dear child, I am here to pack for us. We are to go to Bath on the morrow. Your mother feels you will benefit from the waters there.
Perhaps we will find a husband for you too."
"Oh no, Anne thought, I should have known mama would go on the prowl.
"Well I will not marry anyone I do not wish to, no matter what she says or does."
George Wickham took another drink from the bottle of cheap wine on the table.
"Damme it Wickham, what a mess you have made of things, he thought as he looked across the room at his young wife sprawled on the bed smiling in what she thought was her most seductive way while patting the bed beside her inviting him to join her."
"You should have known, you fool, all you had to do was observe and you would have known she was just like her mother, silly, stupid, spoiled, vain."
What choice did he have though. She had unbeknownst to him been lurking about when he made arrangements with the coachman to pick him up after midnight that night.
He had to escape, his creditors were pressing him and he owed so much in gaming debts with no way to pay anything. He had to flee.
She had come out of the bushes giggling to confront him with her knowledge of his plans.
He had asked her to go to town with him on impulse. It was the only way he knew to keep her silent. He knew that she would think it a great game and not tell anyone, as he requested. He had been so stupid not to tell her not to leave a note behind, but it had never occurred to him that she might do so.
It had been his great misfortune that Darcy had learned of their flight so quickly and forced him to marry her or face debtors prison.
He had planned to find a way to Italy where he would find a rich woman to support him and leave Lydia there in the squalid room in London after his plans were set.
Darcy had found them however and threatened him with goal if he did not marry her at once. He had no choice, he knew that Darcy meant it when he said he had men watching them around the clock.
He did get his debts paid and a new commission but having this wife around his neck made him wonder if goal might not be better.
A sly smile crossed his face.
Perhaps there was a light in his future after all. He and Darcy were brothers now. Surely the great Fitzwilliam Darcy would not wish to see his wife's sister live in abject poverty.
Of course, he would have Lydia ask her sister to request that Darcy give them for a few hundred pounds a year and a place at court. If he could get four or five hundred from Darcy and another of the same amount from Bingley he could live quite well.
"Coming, my dear he said with a smile as he crossed the room to join his wife."
"Yes indeed, he had found the key to Darcy's pocketbook, he thought and she was lying there before him.
I think it is about time I finished this.
Sarah craned her necked and stood on her tiptoes so that she could see the couples there at the altar taking their vows. It helped little though and so she jumped up and down a few times enabling her to see a little bit.
Annette standing next to her did nothing but listen and smile at Sarah's antics.
Sarah liked Annette, even though she was French.
When Miss Jane and Miss Elizabeth, accompanied by their father had gone to town to choose the materials for their wedding gowns Sarah had accompanied them as their maid.
It was the only time in her life she had ever been to London and she was awed by all she saw. She did not care for the noise and the smells though, but it had proven to be a great adventure.
While they were there Mr Darcy had engaged Annette as Miss Elizabeth's maid. She had been the maid of a French lady of high station who was a friend of the Darcy's. When Mr Darcy had spoken to the lady of finding a maid for his new wife she had volunteered Annette saying that since she had two maids and was in need of only one he was welcome to her young apprentice if he wished it.
Annette had been in service for only two years but Sarah envied her her skills.
How beautifully she had done Miss Elizabeth's hair since she was taken on. Sarah was trying to learn as much as she could as quickly as she could from Annette before she would return to London with Mr and Mrs Darcy after the wedding.
At first Annette had been vexed that Miss Elizabeth refused to wear any makeup but had relented when Sarah pointed out to her that the Bennet girls all had such lovely complexions that to cover them with makeup was insupportable.
Annette had laughed and thanked her, saying that she had not thought of that. She was so used to ladies wearing tons of makeup, as Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst did that she had not even noticed what fine skin the sister had. Then too she pointed out with Miss Elizabeth's fine eyelashes there was no need for the kohl that the ladies in town wore, and Miss Bingley slathered on so lavishly.
Sarah whispered to the rest of the staff there at the back of the church with her what was going on at the altar.
Mrs Hill and Mr Robert had come to the ceremony at Miss Elizabeth's and Miss Jane's insistence but they had left a when the ceremony seemed to be coming to a close.
Hill wanted to get home to see that all went well with the reception which was to follow the ceremony.
Mrs Hill wiped a tear from her eye as she checked everything for the third time.
"Now, now Mildred, you knew that this day was to come. Why do you weep, you should be happy that the best of the five of our girls have found such fine husbands," her husband said kindly as he patted her hand.
"Oh I know Robert, and I am happy for them, but I shall miss them both so much. I shall especially miss Miss Elizabeth and her abilities with the tradesmen and her good sense in ordering for the family."
"What will we do now, you know Mrs Bennet has no sense at all and no knowledge of what goes on downstairs. She has always had someone else to take care of things for her. First Mrs Bennet, elder, and the Miss Elizabeth and Miss Jane, who their grandmother had so carefully trained. What a shame she had no time to teach Miss Mary. She would enjoy taking charge of the kitchen."
"I noticed that Miss Elizabeth attempted to teach Miss Mary a bit about the kitchen the past few weeks, Mr Hill replied, perhaps you can complete her training."
"Miss Mary is too sure she is always right, I fear she will not be open to learning from kitchen help," Hill sighed.
"Then we must find a way to make her think that the correct decisions are hers," Mr Hill said with a smile.
"I shall miss our Sarah too, Mrs Hill sighed again. It is most kind of Miss Jane to take our daughter on as her maid but that means that she will be in town for part of the year."
"I wonder how long the Mr and Mrs Bingley will stay at Netherfield, Robert. I have heard Mrs Bennet and her sister, Mrs Phillips talking of their plans to visit Netherfield every day, and I fear Mrs Bennet intends to invite Mrs Long and Lady Lucas too. Mr Bingley and Miss Jane are very patient, but, having guests underfoot all day everyday will soon get on even their nerves. I fear that they will be driven away, Robert and our Sarah will go with them."
"Calm yourself my dear, Mr Hill said, I am sure that Mr Bennet will put an end to the daily visits if he sees that the Bingley's are losing patience."
"I doubt it, Hill said sorrowfully, you know how little he does to control the actions of his family. He would rather spend his time in his room, with his head buried in a book."
"I wish Mr and Mrs Darcy would spend more time here in Hertfordshire, but Mr Darcy wants to be in town by nightfall so they plan to leave as soon as Miss Elizabeth changes into her traveling clothes and the toast is drunk to them."
"Mr Bingley is a nice man and so well suited to Miss Jane, but I like Mr Darcy best. He is the only one who came down to compliment cook on the meals served and the rest of us for all we have done to make his visits pleasant."
"As I said Mr Bingley is a very nice man but he would never think of coming downstairs to say thank you to the servants. His sisters certainly would never deign to do such a thing."
"Uppity daughters of a tradesman, thinking they are so above themselves because of their money."
"Breeding shows, I always say, and Mrs Reynolds has told me that Mr Darcy was taught early on to treat his staff with courtesy and respect. Certainly not like the Bingley's."
"Quiet, my dear, the guests arrive, is everyone in their places. I gave them permission to attend the wedding if they came home quickly to see to their stations, Robert Hill said with a smile. do not look so worried my dear, all will be well."
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