Perspectives: Lizzy's Wedding Day
The day on which Elizabeth Bennett was to relinquish her name was bright and cold. It was barely six in the morning and even the servants were not stirring yet, but Elizabeth was acutely and vibrantly awake. To tell the truth, she has been awake for quite some time which, considering the fact that she had trouble falling asleep the night before, was nothing less than miraculous. To her prejudiced mind, everything seemed so perfect: the quiet of the house (she fancied she could hear the inhabitants breathe quietly in their sleep), the vague stirrings outside, everything. Burrowing deeper into her pillow she let her mind wander with such pleasant thoughts that more than quarter of an hour passed until she was recalled to the more mundane immediacy of her surroundings. Well, not exactly mundane: her beautiful wedding dress stood quietly in the corner, and she felt her heart beat more strongly when her gaze fell upon it.
There was a scratch on the door, and Jane's fair head peeked cautiously in. Evidently she was not the only one kept awake by the impending ceremony.
"May I come in Lizzy?" asked she softly. "I thought I heard the noise in your room and decided to risk it. I cannot seem to keep still!"
Lizzy had never seen Jane so happy: her beautiful older sister glowed gently.
"Yes, you may,"she called out cheerfully."Just close the door, so as not to wake Mama. She'd be complaining on our not conserving our strength" she mimicked Mrs Bennet's admonishion from night before.
By then Jane was on the bed, so all that admonition got her was a pillow thrown with surprising accuracy by her usually meek sister. Gleefully she hit back, and in a minute a good, old-fashioned pillow-fight was on.
"Be careful, Lizzy! Darcy might be frightened by the amazon side of you." cried Jane, trying to duck, talk and laugh all at the same time.
-"Not likely. My fiancee is a very brave man," retorted Lizzy, her voice softening on the word fiancee . "Besides it's too late for him to change his mind...got you there!" she interrupted herself as another pillow hit the target with exquisite accuracy.
Their hilarity was suddenly interrupted by a shocked exclamation from the door. Mrs. Bennet, a bit grotesque in her curlers and night-gear was glowering at them.
"Girls, girls, on your wedding day! What would Mr. Darcy think, Lizzy, of marrying a wild woman!" she was quite at a loss why the girls started laughing again at her comment.
"And Jane! With your sweet temper! Oooooh, my nerves can't stand the aggravation! Suppose Mr. Bingely were to find out!"
"Do not fret yourself, ma'am," replied Jane soothingly, since Lizzy still seemed to be incapacitated by her laughing fit.
"Yes, they need never know our shameless secret," added Lizzy, still choking.
But Mrs. Bennet was not to be calmed. Her mind was wandering off on its own tangent.
"And everything going so nicely too, a special licence...as good as a Lord, Lizzy, as good as a Lord! Not that Jane's Bingley isn't a nice man as well, but so tall...so exceedingly amiable...I wonder if Hill remembered my ribbons, I wanted them especially...and Jane to live at Netherfield, so near to us! Lady Lucas is green with envy! I wonder that those Collinses dare to show themselves at the wedding...and dear, dear Lydia not present. I think it very hard, very hard indeed!...Jane, will you need any help with you hair this morning? Of course you will...And Mr. Bennet is most vexing, most vexing, girls! He thinks marrying off three daughters is nothing out of the common way..."
She paused for breath and seeing an opening Lizzy diplomatically asked about the ribbons. Mrs. Bennet decided to bring them to be seen, since she was one of those people who could never describe a thing, but must show it.
On her way out she paused and told Lizzy:
"I offered Mr. Darcy to spend the wedding night here, but he declined...do you know why? Does he have pressing business engagements? You would have been quite comfortable, quite comfortable...Mr. Bennet was for some reason amused when I repeated this to him... No pillow-fights, girls...my nerves...my palpitations..."
As door closed behind her, Lizzy winked at Jane.
At Netherfield, Darcy looked in the mirror. He was grinning like an idiot. A hopeless, extremely feeble-minded idiot. An idiot in love. It was very early, but Darcy could no more sleep than he could fly to the moon, walk underwater or do other absolutely impossible things such as stop thinking of Elizabeth, soon to be his dearest loveliest Elizabeth. The master of Pemberley never did this before, having had no talent, but he suddenly felt like whistling. After a second's thought he did so, horribly and joyously off-key.
He twitched his sleeve nervously. The wedding costume was a perfect fit, and James his valet had been more than careful in helping him to put it on, but he couldn't stifle an insecure thought that perhaps, just perhaps, something was out of order.
He couldn't sit still, couldn't stand still. All his senses felt so invigoratingly, acutely alive, so extraordinarily keen.
Elizabeth...he savored each syllable of the name on his tongue, slowly, as if it were rare wine.
Mrs Elizabeth Darcy...Mrs Darcy...Lizzy...my wife he was getting dizzy just from thinking. Was she awake also perhaps? Looking outside her window at that glorious morning, drinking it all in, greedily, the way he was doing. The very coldness and crispness were to him the perfect weather for their wedding. Perfect. He had a sneaking suspicion that he would find pouring rain and sleet equally perfect on this day.
Tiptoeing out of his room, so as not to wake the rest of the house he descended downstairs looking for a decanter in the dining room. Making his way to the cabinet, he was only belatedly aware of a slight figure sitting in one of the armchairs in the corner.
"Good God, Bingley!" exclaimed Darcy. It was obvious Charles Bingley was suffering from a very bad case of pre-wedding jitters.
"Hello, Darcy," replied Bingley dispiritedly. It felt very odd to be the cheerful one.
"What's wrong, man? You look as if you were led to your execusion instead of your wedding!"
"I am so demmed nervous," confessed Bingley. "I want everything to be so perfect...for Jane. She is so glorious she deserves nothing less. I am nervous I'd bungle somehow," he smiled a singularly crooked smile.
It was disconserting to see his cheerful friend so depressed.
"Bingley, stop worrying! You are a good man, Miss Bennett loves you, you dote on her, and if I may add, sickeningly so," he joked. "What could go wrong?"
"Caroline says-" began Bingley
"Come on, haven't you learned yet not to mind half what Caroline says in one of her moods?" Bingley looked at him hopefully, and seizing his advantage, Darcy continued: "You two are perfect for each other, and it's your weddding day! You are marrying the woman you love and you sit hereglum. And you call me "fastidious and rarely pleased"! " Bingley had to laugh at this.
Being a cheerful, easy-going man, any trace of uneasiness was gone by the time they drank the health of their respective brides, Bingley with his exuberant: "To Miss Bennett!" and Darcy with his quieter: "To Elizabeth."
The well-organized servants were up by that time and the two men could hear the bustle of the beginning activity.
"Best get out of their way, Darcy!" joked Bingley, his good-spirit completely restored. "They are full of a most extraordinary zeal today!"
Taking his advice Darcy was back in his room a few minutes later. Looking out of the window his gaze tried to follow where his love, his heart and his soul already were: at Longbourn, with Elizabeth.
The ceremony was over, Darcy and Elizabeth driving off. He was looking at her and Lizzy had never seen such a tender look in her husband's eyes. She couldn't, didn't want to withdraw from the intensity of his regard. They were spell-bound in a world of their own. Mrs. Bennett had to shout more shrilly than her usual wont to make her well-wishes penetrate their dream. Darcy waved back. Suddenly, his eyes crinked at the corners with a suppressed smile: "Mrs Darcy, what was that pillow-fight your mother kept worrying about?"
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