Be Not Alarmed
Darcy was furious and agitated as the door slammed behind him. How eagerly he had been entering that same door not an hour ago. He now felt as if he could not get away from Hunsford fast enough. The tumult of his mind was painfully great. A lovely evening it was, the sky so clear, the flowery fragrant breeze resembling a soft caress and the singing of the birds amongst the light green foliage seemed to be all in praise of the scenery. This was however wasted on the tall man, who at a determined - almost aggressive - pace hurried on trying to blind himself to nature's delights. To him they were a mere insult. His stern face revealed traces of a torment he was not able to suppress. He was exposed to humiliation and shock as detached fragments flashed in his mind '...the last man in the world whom I could ever marry...' He still felt the twinge of pain that had made him startle at those merciless words from her sweet lips. To suddenly realize that she thought so little of him... that she in fact looked down upon him. It was almost unbearable. He remembered how he had told her of the strength of his feelings; that he had not found it possible to conquer them. At those recollections the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. '... your arrogance, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others.... your character was unfolded in the recital from Mr. Wickham .' His rage blazed up again and he burst out: ' In that at least, I must defend myself !' whilst running up the entrance steps to Rosings. Making haste as he passed the hall; yet he could not escape her indignant words echoing in his head . 'You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy ... merely spared me the concern I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner .' An inarticulate sound escaped his lips.
Halfway up the stairs, he had to slow down as his cousin appeared downstairs in the hall to inform him that their aunt was expecting his company. Darcy flinched from the thought of being forced to endure such tiresome conversation, maybe even an unfeeling and unveiled cross-examination performed by Lady Catherine. He absolutely wished to be alone and pleading some pressing matter, asked Fitzwilliam to convey his excuses to Her Ladyship.
At last he was able to close the door and be safe in his room. The last hour had been one of the most bewildering in his entire life and actually, his self-reliance had been shaken to its foundations. The effort to keep his feelings back, had been exhausting and he remained immovable for a moment, before he composed himself and sat down at the writing desk. He placed an empty letter-paper in front of him, and thus began his letter to Miss Bennet.
' Be not alarmed , madam, on receiving this letter... of its containing any repetition of those sentiments or renewal of those offers which were, last night, so disgusting to you ... '. He let the pen drop and leaned back on his chair. His eyes were lost watching invisible scenes from the parsonage.
They reflected distress and it was painful to remember her words and the expression on her face - and it was likewise distressing to think ahead. What foolish anticipation of a happy evening and of continued high spirits for the days to come. Totally unaware of her opinion about him, he had devoted his mind to the construction of a castle in the air. And only a few hours ago ... As he walked over to Hunsford, he had contemplated the happiness before him.
To be entitled to meet with Elizabeth every day...to be able to present her to his relatives at Rosings and to her relatives at Hunsford, as his future bride...and not merely that.... He had been meditating on the pleasure that her sweetness, her gentleness could bestow. He had permitted himself to indulge in pleasant dreams of her lively and passionate abilities, when it came to love.... dreams of her bringing some relief to his ardent desire. He had pictured her quite as gifted and breathtaking in those matters, as he knew her to be in conversation and society. He blushed at his power of imagination and groaned as he considered his own conceit. Such self-assurance! Certain that she would be flattered at the prospect of becoming Mrs. Darcy, that she admired him, that she would feel honoured and gladly accept his proposal. How wrong he had been! The presumption of it all!
She was not a woman who would marry for money. He knew that now. She did not like him - to say the least - and so she would not be prevailed upon to have him for a husband, no matter who he was, how fine his estate or how large his income! What a precious woman! No wonder he had not been able to repress his feelings. And he loved her even more now, when there was no hope of her returning his affections.
If Miss Bennet's heart was available, it was to another...Any tender feelings of hers were certainly aimed at another more fortunate man ... he shivered with repulse and jealousy at the thought of George Wickham. Was that scoundrel to enjoy her smiles and be in her good graces ... no no, it must be prevented ... everything must be laid before Miss Bennet. He was certain of her discretion and reliability. His confidences would not be put to any improper use by this sensible and thoroughly honest woman whose sparkling eyes were so bewitching ... He moaned and renewed the torture of recollections from his recent Hunsford visit.
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