Mr. Bennet was walking about his study, waiting for Lizzy to come, his anxiety building up.
She had agreed to be Mr. Darcy's Wife! Was it possible that she really loved him?
Mr. Bennet had always presumed, that if Elizabeth ever was to marry, and of course she was, being so beautiful, her husband would match her in every way: he would be intelligent, witty, outgoing person of applicable wealth. A promising young lawyer from London, perhaps. Not this rich young landowner from Derbyshire. He was everything she wasn't. He was proud, arrogant, even menacing at times.
Still he had to admit, that Darcy had seemed to be nervous, even fearful, when asking for his consent. And after having it, he had given him a wide, Bingley-like smile. Yes, Mr. Darcy seemed to show some human emotion after all.
Suddenly, without knocking, Elizabeth entered the study. Before she had time to say anything, her father burst out talking.
"Lizzy what are you doing? Are you out of your senses, to be accepting this man. Have you not always hated him?" There, now he had said it. Now, it was her turn to speak.
"Indeed you are mistaken, father. I love him very much. I know, that it is hard for you to believe it, but I couldn't be as happy with anyone else!" For some reason, she seemed embarrassed. This, Mr. Bennet understood. Very much like himself, his second daughter had never been very good in conveying deep emotions. But now that was exactly, what he wanted her to do. She continued:
"I do not hate him. I haven't hated for a long time. She lifted her head to look her father in the eyes.
"He really is the best man I have ever met." Mr. Bennet flinched at her words. Himself included? But he soon mastered himself again and shooed away his self-pity. After all, he was above that, right?
"But you're so different! You are lively, witty, amiable and he is...well..."
"Please, father, you don't know as I do. I assure you, he is perfectly amiable. He is well behaved, intelligent, a good brother..."
"But surely he has some reservations about an unequal marriage."
Mr. Bennet was really nervous now. "Is he not afraid of your... err...relations?"
"He has already met my aunt and uncle and he liked them very much."
Mr. Bennet felt suddenly very much left out. Apparently he was the last one to know about her daughter's affection. In his mind he could see the Darcys, the Bingleys, the Fitzwilliams and the Gardiners gathered in Pemberley as a big happy family. He couldn't fit himself in the picture. As if sensing her father's thoughts, Lizzy tried to further comfort him.
"I'm sure you will like him once you get to know him."
Mr. Bennet Held her gaze for a long time, as if trying to read his favourite daughter's mind.
"Father, Mr. Darcy and I have come a long way to love each other. Misunderstandings and fate have kept us apart for a long time. Even though it was painful back then, I believe it was for the best. I myself am not perfect and he too has his flaws, but I wouldn't want it to be any other way."
Again Mr. Bennet was silent. Now Lizzy was anxious beyond words.
"Lizzy, I have given him my consent. He is indeed the kind of man to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask. I shall now give it to you, if you really are ready to spend the rest of you're life with him."
A look of immense relief diffused over her face. Tears were flowing down her cheeks, as she said: "I shall stand by his side, till the eternal sleep claims us both."
Mr. Bennet had difficulties keeping his own eyes dry. Elizabeth saw the time proper to inform her father about the truth concerning Wickham and Lydia and their marriage arrangements.
His reaction was spontaneous:
"Are you not happy father?"
"Yes, of course! This will save me a world of trouble! But why didn't he come to me?"
"He didn't know you well enough to approach you in this matter. After all he blamed himself of Wickham's success."
"Well I suppose it makes sense..." Suddenly a new, scary idea crossed Mr. Bennet's mind.
"Lizzy, surely you are not accepting out of gratitude?"
"No, no! Of course not! I only learned of his interference a few days ago. I have been in love with him for months now."
"Well, then my dear, if this be the case he deserves have you. To tell you the truth, I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to any one less worthy. Now go to your fiance. He must be waiting for your return."
Possibly happier than ever before, Lizzy rose to leave. Just when she was about to close the door behind her, her father said to her: "If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure."
After sitting for a while, contemplating the events, Mr. Bennet decided, that it was time for him to have a real conversation with Darcy. He sincerely hoped he would turn out to be more interesting fellow than that ever-complying Bingley or that revolting Wickham(funny while fawning over his family) whom with he had had nothing to talk about.
He wasn't disappointed.
Six weeks later, Mr. Bennet was standing by his wife's side as they were waving off the newly-wed couples. "Oh Mr. Bennet, life couldn't possibly get any better for our little girls!" For the first time in his life, Mr. Bennet agreed with his wife.
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