Life at Longbourn
"My dear Mr. Bennet! Wonderful news!" Mrs. Bennet came charging in the Longbourn library waving a letter.
Mr. Bennet looked up from his book. He knew his wife was expecting him to answer, but as usual, he did not, to vex her a little.
"Well, do not you want to know what news I have received from Jane? I might as well tell you. We are to be grandparents! Jane and dear Charles are expecting their first born. 'Tis the best news I had in months!
Mr. Bennet was quiet. He remembered the day when the same woman, although twenty four years younger, came in his library, to tell him he was going to be a father. They had only been married for six months, when this event took place. He still loved her then. During her preparations for the baby's arrival, he realised what a silly woman he had married and he became silent and grave. He was only twenty three when they first met, and he was struck by her pretty appearance and happy manners. He loved her, or so he told himself and after three months of acquaintance, he asked her for her hand in marriage. Maybe it was merely from a desire to be independent, to get rid of his father's authority.
Miss Fanny Gardiner... she was only twenty one, and she had a considerable fortune of ten thousand pounds, from her father, who made a fortune in trade. They met at a ball and he had danced four dances with her, and with nobody else for the whole evening. Her mother was very pleased with the acquaintance, knowing that her daughters admirer was to inherit the Longbourn estate...
Mr. Bennet was interrupted from his reverie by his wife who was asking him what the best name was for his grandchild: Emily or Charlotte?
"My dear," he replied "You do not even know if it is going to be a boy or a girl."
"But of course it shall be a girl and she will be so pretty, and rich, and she will make a good match, and dear Jane and Bingley will be so happy!"
Mr. Bennet laughed inwardly at his wife's folly. Everybody was dear to her. It was dear Jane, and dear Mr. Bennet and dear Lizzy and Kitty and occasionally there was even a "dear Fitzwilliam". Her husband had no doubt that his first grandchild should be a very sweet kid. What else could it be, with such lovely parents. No, he was more curious about the children his second daughter would have. With their father's sense and their mothers wit. Or with Darcy's pride and Elizabeth's prejudice? No no, that could not be.
It was time for dinner. He arose from his chair to escort his wife to the dining room. They had the house all to themselves. Mary was lately married to a clergyman in Somersetshire and Kitty stayed at Pemberley. At dinner he was quiet at usual, but when the servants had gone away, he started a conversation with his wife.
"My dear, do you not miss our daughters around?"
Mrs. Bennet was very surprised, but she checked herself and answered: "Of course I do. But they are all very well off now. Do you know that Catherine is very likely to be engaged soon? Elizabeth has taken care of it all, having balls at Pemberley every winter. How good it is to have all your daughters so well married! Five daughters married. I do not have anything to worry about anymore. Oh, and what shall I do? I shall miss them most cruelly!"
"There is no need for that, my dear. I shall try to make life more comfortable for you. I have not really been a good husband to you. My neglect is unpardonable. I realised it last fall, when Lydia eloped with that scoundrel of a Wickham. I shall make it up to you, I promise."
Mrs. Bennet looked at her husband in disbelief, realising that it were the first kind words he had said to her in five years or so...
Whatever could he mean?
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