How To Mend A Broken Heart
<<== Back Back to My Stories Forward ==>>
While Lady Suzan and General Fitzwilliam were eliciting a confession out of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet sat in her private sitting room pondering her meeting with the same Mr. Darcy earlier that morning. She thought of how she had shamelessly offered her virtue to him, hoping he would fulfill her request of him.
Never would she have thought of giving herself to a man in such a fashion. But she had and willingly. She loved him with every fiber of her being, and the thought of not having a part of him always with her was beyond abhorrent. Knowing she would never have him, she sought to gain a small part of him by conceiving his child. A child, his child, would ease the heartbreak of watching him wed another woman and living his life with that woman.
Looking out on the fresh blooms and blossoms in the garden below, she began to craft a cover story to explain how a maiden, such as herself, had come to beget a child. It would be easy to find a story to tell her family as they would not know what she had been doing during her time in London. It might be a bit harder to think up a story that would not arouse the suspicions of her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner. Her biggest obstacle would be how she would explain a child to Lady Suzan.
Soon thoughts of covering up her future sin of fornication were replaced with images of herself with a small child. They were walking hand in hand through a beautiful garden, laughing at the butterflies flitting from flower to flower. Reaching down she picked the child up and hugged it close while showering kisses on its chubby little cheeks. Life would be joyous to have such a child in my life. Maybe Mr. Darcy would learn of his progeny and come for a visit. Elizabeth, you are playing with fire. Just be happy to have what you can from him and be thankful for it.
After returning with his mother to Crandall House, General Fitzwilliam went directly to the study and penned a request to have Sergeant Major John Hawkins attend him at his earliest convenience. Calling for a footman, he requested that the message be delivered immediately. Within the hour, Sergeant Major Hawkins was shown into the study General Fitzwilliam used while he was in residence.
While the gentlemen were confabulating and strategizing on a most secret and discreet mission, the ladies of the house were upstairs in a favored private sitting room passing the time. Elizabeth worked on embroidering a handkerchief while Lady Suzan attended to her correspondence.
Blushing as she discovered that she unconsciously stitched Sweet Williams surrounded by Forget-Me-Nots, Elizabeth returned to her earlier thoughts of the morning involving a certain Mr. Darcy and how they both had professed their love for each other. Filled with both happiness and sadness at the event, she hoped he would grant her favor. Never believing that she would ever want intimate relations with a man, her desire for him was overwhelming. She wanted to know what her Aunt Gardiner, Lady Suzan, and Lady Emily felt with their husbands—what it would be like to be with a man who loved her and whom she loved in return. She still believed the best thing that could happen would be to conceive a child with him so that she would always have a part of him. Surely, a well conceived lie here or there would cover her indiscretion. After all, she had been living with lies and secrets these past three years, what was one more.
As Elizabeth pondered her future, Lady Suzan was doing the
same. How am going to help her through this mess Darcy has made? After finishing her last letter, she placed
it on the salver that held the outgoing posts and sat back watching
Gathering her courage, Lady Suzan went to join
Looking up from her embroidery,
“This morning I went to visit Darcy, and he informed me of what happened last night,” Lady Suzan stated.
Looking down at her handiwork,
Lady Suzan looked confused at first until she realized what Elizabeth was referring to, and then she smiled before pronouncing, “No, I am quite proud of you for standing up for yourself in such a situation though I will say I am surprised at my son for instructing you in such a way.”
“Do not blame him. I
believe he was trying to prepare me for every eventual circumstance that I may
find myself in.”
Taking a deep breath, Lady Suzan continued, “Darcy also informed me of what happened afterward.”
“You and I both know that it was more than that. Why did you not tell me that Darcy proposed marriage to you in Kent?”
“Darcy explained his foolish behavior at that time, and I think you were well within your rights to refuse him.”
Lady Suzan gave a quiet chuckle and continued, “Yes! Though I do believe there are few, more likely none, who would refuse a proposal of marriage from the much sought after Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, master of Pemberley. And therein lays his attraction to you. Darcy is a man not used to courting young ladies, they court him. He had no idea of what it would take to win the hand of such an extraordinary young woman such as yourself. His forthright and honest character did not serve him well in your singular situation. But you know he is still in love with you, do you not?”
“And I believe your feelings for him are quite the opposite of what they were at that time. Am I correct in that as well?”
A slight nod from
Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves,
“Of course, you would not,” Lady Suzan said as she moved to
sit closer to
Tears pooled in
Lady Suzan pulled her into her embrace and placed
Once her tears were spent, Elizabeth sat up and wiped her eyes before stating, “Perhaps it is best if I return to Hertfordshire in the next day or two.”
Elizabeth looked at her friend and replied, “Yes, if we are to no longer have any communications, I would like to wish him farewell.” She was also thinking about what this would mean to his decision of granting her favor.
“Very well! Next, I wish to speak as the selfish being that I am. I do not wish for you to leave me. Your friendship and companionship has done more good for me than you can ever know. My life after Jamie’s passing was stark and bleak and colorless. You have brought back a life full of vibrancy to me and given me a sense of worth in this world. I do not wish to lose that. In fact, I was going to ask you if you would stay with me on a more permanent basis.”
“You mean as a companion, as I did for Lady Emily?”
“More as a friend or surrogate daughter for that is how much I have come to value you,” Lady Suzan stated as her eyes misted at verbally putting into words what her heart dearly felt.
“Do you think that wise considering…” Elizabeth looked astonished at Lady Suzan for her heartfelt sentiment.
“Considering my relation to Mr. Darcy?”
“Things can be arranged. I am sure there will be times when you would wish to visit your family. Or when I am obliged to family duties where he will be in attendance, you could remain here or at Heathgate.”
“Yes, it was my family’s estate where I passed my younger years. I have deeded it to Richard, but as he does not have need for it right now, he has offered its use to me when I do not wish to be in London or at Dovecote,” Lady Suzan explained.
“Lady Suzan, I am honored that you would think of me in such
a way. Are you sure you wish to have me
become so much a part of your life?”
“Yes, very much. You are already so much a part of my life. I know you have thoughts about your future and what you will do. However, I do not believe you have made a decision. Please allow this to be included in your consideration.”
“Yes, I will definitely give it due diligence in my
“There has been something I have always wanted to do and
that is to visit
“Excellent, I will begin making plans tomorrow. Now, are you ready for tea?”
After Lady Suzan rang for tea, they were joined by Richard.
“Ah! I have found my favorite ladies in one place,” Richard Fitzwilliam cried.
“Richard, you are just in time for tea,” Lady Suzan replied.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to take tea with you this afternoon as I have been bidden by special invitation from Miss Georgiana Darcy to have tea with her,” Richard announced.
“Georgiana, whatever would she want with the likes of you?” Lady Suzan asked as she turned to Elizabeth with a wink to show her teasing manner with her son.
“I will have you know that I am her guardian and she does not need to have a reason to request my attendance on her.” Richard smiled.
“Though I am sure she has some grand scheme to discuss with you,” his mother stated.
“Yes, so I am off. I will be back in time to escort you lovely ladies to…um…where is it that we are to be tonight?” Richard asked.
“Lord Westhampton’s dinner,” his mother replied.
With a grimace, he stated, “Ah, yes. What a bore that will be!”
“Richard!” Both ladies cried in admonishment.
“He is a doddering, old fool who does not know how to
entertain his guests with any excitement or intrigue.” He gave
After he departed, Elizabeth turned to Lady Suzan and inquired, “Do you think that Mr. and Miss Darcy will be in attendance?” She was not sure if she was ready to see him again tonight as there was much to think on before she met with him in the morning.
“I do not believe Darcy will be there as he expressed a wish for a quiet evening tonight. However, he was to check with Georgiana to see about her wishes. But I believe she will leap at the chance to stay home and out of sight from Society.”
With a sigh of relief or sadness,
Later that evening, the ladies of Crandall house sat in a small parlour on the first floor awaiting Richard so they might leave soon for Lord Westhampton’s dinner party. He had arrived back from Darcy House less than an hour before while they were dressing for their outing.
Raising an eyebrow,
“I am afraid this dinner party will be dreadfully dull, and I will need your assistance so that I do not make a spectacle of myself if I take a nap when the soup is served.”
The ladies were startled by a deep, male voice, “I am sure the sight of Lady Matlock asleep at the dinner table will be enough to make this evening a complete success for the host and hostess.”
Looking up, they saw General Richard Fitzwilliam standing in the doorway attired in his dress regimentals.
Smiling at her son, Lady Suzan asked, “And how was your tea with Georgiana?”
“Enlightening, very enlightening!” was his response.
“So what type of scheme has she cornered you into?” Lady Suzan requested.
“No scheme at all. She just requested my consent and blessing for her upcoming nuptials,” was his reply.
Both ladies gasped at the news. But it was Elizabeth who put into words what they were both thinking, “To Mr. Bingley?”
Richard grinned as he confirmed, “Yes, Mr. Bingley and our little Georgiana are to be married.”
“Oh, my,” Lady Suzan cried. “A summer wedding at Pemberley, how delightful.”
“I am afraid you presume too much. There will not be a summer wedding at Pemberley but a wedding here in London the first week in June.”
“The first week in June,” both Elizabeth and Lady Suzan cried.
“Richard, that is not even a month away.” Lady Suzan sat contemplating the suddenness of the wedding but not sure how to put it into words.
Seeing the range of thoughts that appeared upon his mother’s face, he stated, “I believe the haste with the wedding is due to the impatience of Bingley and Georgiana to move forward with their marriage instead of anticipating it. It seems that they had come to an agreement several weeks ago, but it took until today before they could gain Darcy’s consent.”
“Why did it take so long for him to agree? I thought him in favor of the match,” Lady Suzan asked.
“He is in favor of the match. He asked my opinion on it months ago. I believe it was Georgiana and Bingley who were the delay. From what I gather, it was quite a unique proposal, and they wished to make certain that they were not being impetuous in agreeing to such a momentous undertaking.”
“Unique proposal?” Lady Suzan queried.
“It seems Georgiana gave him her answer before he even proposed.”
The ladies were quite amused by this bit of information.
“I also believe that they took their time to plan out exactly what they wanted before approaching Darcy. They had valid arguments for every item on which he might object. In fact, I think Georgiana has the whole wedding organized because she distributed tasks for all of us once everything was blessed. It seems Bingley is responsible for the special license, Darcy for securing the church and exact date, and I have the honor of placing the announcement in the newspapers.”
“I must say that my niece is quite thorough,” Lady Suzan chimed in.
“Yes, she is most adamant that this wedding takes place as soon as possible and to everyone’s satisfaction as witnessed by her resolving Bingley’s problem as to who is to stand up with him. He had always planned when the time came to have Darcy serve as his best man, and now he is trying to find someone else for that office.” Richard related.
“So, I can assume that you will have the post,” Lady Suzan stated.
“No,” he smiled. “Darcy will stand with Bingley and I will escort the bride down the aisle and give her to Bingley.”
Both ladies gave him an astonished look. Then Lady Suzan said, “She is quite a resourceful girl. And who will attend her?”
“Well, that is not for certain as she has yet to ask Miss Bennet for that honor.”
Lady Suzan and Richard tried unsuccessfully to hide their mirth. But a sheepish Elizabeth could not fail to join them.
Leaning over to pat Elizabeth’s hand, Lady Suzan explained, “Elizabeth, Georgiana is very fond of you. I believe she quite sees you as the sister she has always wanted. She has been a shy and retiring young lady, but you have effortlessly brought her out and given her a sense of self-confidence. She sees you as a role model, so there should be no surprise in her asking you to stand up with her at her wedding.”
Looking to Richard and then Lady Suzan, Elizabeth said, “Well, she is a lovely girl, and I will be most honored to grant her request of me.”
A quiet fell over the parlour as each occupant contemplated how this wedding would affect their lives over the next few weeks.
Lady Suzan and Richard were happy for the engaged pair but concerned over how Darcy and Elizabeth would fare. Having spoken to both Elizabeth and Darcy today, Lady Suzan knew both of them were aware of the consequences if they appeared interested to each other. She gave herself hope that by the time the wedding day arrived they would have had enough practice acting as common and indifferent acquaintances and everything would work out well.
Elizabeth’s thoughts tended toward the image of it being just William and her standing at the altar before the vicar. Though she knew that nothing would come of it, the memories that would replay in her mind later and the result would be more to her satisfaction. Besides, if Mr. Darcy was inclined to grant her favor, it would seem like it was sanctioned.
<<== Back Back to My Stories Forward ==>>