How To Mend A Broken Heart
<<== Back Back to My Stories Forward ==>>
The days that followed were a flurry of activity as both brides-to-be prepared for their upcoming nuptials; trousseaus were to be seen to, wedding breakfasts to be planned, and celebrating the joy of both the happy couples.
Lady Suzan was delighted to be helping in the planning of the weddings but her greatest joy was giving her wealth of knowledge and advice to the brides-to-be on what to expect in their married lives. She found it particularly entertaining to make Georgiana and Elizabeth blush as they realized the prospect before them.
During the evenings, however, the joy was muted. Darcy and Elizabeth appeared in public as they always had. Darcy decided the talk of his broken engagement would be lessened if he continued attending those invitations that had already been accepted as if nothing untoward had happened. However, he was not going to do anything that would cause speculation about Elizabeth’s role in the whole state of affairs.
Mrs. Wagstaff chose not to attend any of her previously accepted invitations. It was not because she wished to avoid the gossip. It was because she could not be bothered to leave the bed she had shared with Sir Arnold since that fateful night. Sir Arnold would occasionally invite some of his friends along to their shared bed and Mrs. Wagstaff did not feel she could leave their guests unattended.
Lord Matlock was not pleased with the news that both Darcy siblings were now engaged. Mainly it was his pride that was wounded in not being consulted in the betrothals; after all, he was head of the family. Though, he did take pleasure in informing his aunt, Lady Catherine, of Georgiana’s wedding and his approval of it. They decided after her hateful letter when Darcy announced his engagement to Mrs. Wagstaff that it was best to wait to pass on the news of this new engagement until Darcy and Elizabeth announced it to the rest of the world. In fact, he had not even told Julia about their plans. When Lady Catherine responded to his letter by voicing her extreme displeasure in Georgiana’s choice and that she should have selected a more deserving gentleman than that Bingley boy, Edward was very amused. But that was the only thing that brought amusement to his Lordship. Lady Julia had taken Virginia Wagstaff’s actions much to heart and was nigh on inconsolable. She refused to leave Matlock House and remained in her rooms most of the time. His Lordship had no idea how to bring her out of her grief or even why she was grieving.
Edward Fitzwilliam naturally assumed that the loss of Darcy as a match for Virginia Wagstaff had been the source of his wife’s indisposition. The truth was that on the morning that Darcy was securing the hand of Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Julia barged into the bed chamber of her lover demanding an explanation for the previous night. She was, therefore, stopped in her tracks at the sight of her Virginia in a tangle with Sir Arnold and some unknown gentleman. Bare body parts were sticking out at all angles as Virginia was sandwiched between the two gentlemen. Appalled by what she saw, Lady Julia let out a scream bringing the attention of the ménage a trios to her.
Virginia smirked and asked, “Julia, will you not join us? There is more than enough to go around. My new fiancé truly does not mind sharing.”
Lady Julia, mortified and betrayed, turned on her heel and left. Virginia was now truly lost to her.
Several days before Georgiana’s wedding, Darcy sat in his study attending to the day’s post when General Fitzwilliam was announced.
Fitzwilliam entered the study in a highly agitated state. Pacing in front of Darcy’s desk, he said, “Darcy, you will never believe who I have just seen!”
Stopping, he turned to Darcy and repeated, “Never believe!” Then he sat in a chair in front of the desk.
Darcy smirked and retorted, “Well, I guess you should tell me.” Then he sat in his chair.
The General jumped up and placed his hands on the desk, “Wickham!”
Darcy sprang from his chair, “Wickham? Where?”
“In the Army Stockade!” was Fitzwilliam’s response.
Slowly lowering himself into his chair, Darcy said, “Then they finally caught him.” Looking up at his cousin, “And you are sure it is him?”
Fitzwilliam nodded, “However, the man in the Stockade is not in there under the name of George Wickham.”
“What! Then how do you know it is Wickham?” Darcy cried.
“I saw the man. I would know Wickham anywhere,” was the reply.
“He did not see you, did he?”
“No, I heard his voice and angled around to get a look at
him without being seen. I was at the
Stockade to visit a friend, Colonel Rempson, who had just been made the
commander. So it was quick work to find
out what I needed to know. It seems
Wickham has been hiding out in
“So Wickham is sitting in the gaol praying that no one finds out who he really is?” Darcy grinned at his cousin.
Nodding his ascent, Fitzwilliam said, “Praying and sweating. What do you think we need to do with this bit of knowledge?”
For the next half hour, the two cousins drew up their plans on how best to remove George Wickham from their lives permanently. Then each went about their assigned task of ensuring Mr. Wickham a fate that would be commensurate with his devious actions.
The knowledge Lady Suzan had passed on to the future brides had differing effects on their reactions to their intendeds.
Elizabeth, who was usually out-going and fearless, was reserved and almost shy around Darcy. While Lady Suzan had assuaged her fears about his size, the fact remained that his desire for her would become alarmingly evident when they were alone. She did not want to provoke him and make him uncomfortable even though she wished to speak with him more frankly about what was to happen after their wedding. They had always been open and honest with the other, but for some reason this topic seemed off limits for her.
She may have lain abed imagining having him with her, but the fact the actuality would soon come to pass, filled her with apprehension. The thought that she had offered herself to him when he was engaged to Mrs. Wagstaff made her feel a bit hypocritical now. But she knew why. It was those feelings in her body that had made her so bold, so wanton. Lady Suzan and Aunt Gardiner had both assured her that everything was fine; that she would enjoy and take pleasure in the intimate dealings with her husband. But they had not witnessed what he planned to use to deflower her. Maybe her aunt was correct, and it would be pleasurable but she was not totally convinced that having him, all of him, lodged inside her was going to be comfortable.
The few times she had found herself alone with Mr. Darcy…er…William, he would invariably take her in his arms and would kiss her most passionately. She was lost to all sense, giving only into those pleasant sensations. The tips her of breasts would tingle and develop such a sweet ache in them that she could not help press them firmly against his chest. Then the area between her legs would flood with moisture as the sweet ache continued from her breasts to her stomach and on to that area between where her legs joined the rest of her body.
She loved kissing him, dueling her tongue against his. She loved his smell, all masculine and woodsy. She loved the feel of security she experienced when he held her tightly to him. She loved when he brought his hands up to massage her breasts or pinch the tips of them. However, when his hands wandered to her buttocks and he pressed her tightly against him so that she could feel the full length of him against on her belly, she would panic. Scolding her silliness, she would try to put things back to right but the moment would already be lost. Mr. Darcy realized that he had gone too far and back away.
While she longed for his touch, she felt she was teasing him in an unmerciful manner which required of her to keep some distance from him.
Darcy was becoming frustrated at her reluctance at being alone with him, and when they were alone, she seemed to shy away from him.
So, one day, after Lady Suzan had discreetly left them alone, Darcy broached the subject of her shyness around him. “Elizabeth, have I done something to displease you?”
Stunned, Elizabeth replied, “No, William, I am not displeased with you.”
“Then why do you not want me to touch you or kiss you when we are alone?” he queried.
Blushing, she answered, “Because I do not want to provoke you into having to leave my presence.”
Laughing, he said, “Elizabeth, you will always provoke me in that manner. Though when we are married, you will be leaving the room with me.”
She smiled at him. “It is just that I have noticed when we are alone…it seems…er…you appear…um…”
“That my desire for you is manifest?” he offered.
He rose and pulled her from her seat and took her in his arms, “Elizabeth, I cannot help the effect you have on me, but I am a gentleman and can control my urges. You need not fear anything inappropriate will happen.”
Looking up at him, she stated, “You were not able to control yourself the other day in my sitting room.”
“Yes, ‘tis true. Though I will admit to not being in control when you expose your fully naked body to me; so it would seem quite advisable that you keep your clothing on.” He laughed.
Placing his hands on her buttocks he pressed her against him so that she could feel her affect on him. Lowering his mouth to her ear, he whispered, “I do not mind this power you have over me; I rejoice in it, for I know that you will only use your influence for good.”
She laughed and kissed him; resolving then and there to be done with her fears and simply rely on the word of her experienced advisers.
William Davis lay on his cot in the London Stockade of His Majesty’s Army. He still could not figure out how that sailor had caught him cheating at cards. He should be on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea right now courting a rich widow who would give him the means of leading a life where he could indulge in all those things in which he found pleasure.
Why had that idiot clerk gone on leave? He should have returned by now to verify my identity so I could get out of this hell hole?
Hearing boot steps coming down the corridor, his hopes rose – maybe he would finally get out of here. Sitting up and swinging his legs over the edge of the cot, he looked up to see his worst nightmare.
“Wickham, it has been too long!” General Fitzwilliam exclaimed.
Fear ran through him as he realized that he may be in a situation that he would not be able to talk himself out of; he took a deep breath and replied, “Davis, my name is William Davis.”
“Come now, Wickham, although it has been a few years, we would know our childhood friend anywhere. Would we not, Darcy?” General Fitzwilliam smiled at the stricken man.
With his glare fixed on Wickham, Darcy concurred, “Yes, George, you are not an easy man to forget though try we have.”
Over three years ago, William Davis had been George Wickham. Then he lived in London with a little tart of a girl whom he had made a pretty penny off of by selling her favors. The cost to him was a pint or two of ale. Lydia Bennet was a foolish girl to think he would marry her, not when she would spread her legs for him or any other man, for that matter. When he learned there were men out searching for deserters for the bounty, he knew he needed to leave. He would have taken Lydia with him for she had proven herself a cash cow, but, to be honest, he had had enough of her whining about marriage and she was with child. There were few things that would drain a pocketbook quicker than a wailing babe, or hinder its mother in encouraging a willing man to seek her favors. No, women liked to have him seduce them. He was good at it. He would find another pretty chit of girl, who would not whine about marriage, to pleasure him and his many deviant tendencies just as Lydia had.
After appropriating a tidy sum from some gullible pub owner, George Wickham had enough money to make his way to a port city on the south coast of England and secure his future, somewhere far from England, where fear of the militia and his unpaid debts would not hold back his ambitions. Just where to go was his dilemma; there were many parts of the world where the English had consequence, and exalted bona fides were seldom questioned. Changing his name to aid in his escape, he had the misfortune of meeting with two gentlemen recruiting for His Majesty’s Army. After a few tankards of ale and a few hands of card, he found himself tricked into a wager where the stakes entailed a ‘commission’ into the regulars.
Though fortune smiled on the newly commissioned Lieutenant William Davis, he was stationed at the garrison in Cork, Ireland. Cork was a staging area for men and supplies bound for the continent in support of Wellesley’s efforts to rid the world of Napoleon. Life in Ireland was comfortable for Lieutenant Davis. When he was on duty, he just stood around and watched ships being loaded. When not on duty, he found the ladies obliging, and the men not likely to return to collect any debts of honor should he be unlucky at cards.
But the thought of a life of leisure was still foremost in his mind. When one of the usual dispatch couriers fell ill from a tainted pint of ale, Lieutenant Davis willingly volunteered to take his place for the next set of dispatches to be couriered to London. His plan was to deliver the documents and then find a ship to take him to the West Indies and a new life with the daughter of a rich plantation owner.
That plan would have been realized if not for General Richard Fitzwilliam. As he stood before the clerk waiting for the papers to be verified, he spied his former nemesis walking across the yard heading to the building where he was standing. Fearing that his true identity would be found out, he left without getting the receipt of delivery for the dispatches. Immediately on his escape from Headquarters, he went to the docks to book passage on the first ship leaving England. Had he not stopped for a pint and a hand of cards as he awaited to board the ship, he would be on the high seas now instead of a cell in the Army Stockade.
Now his worse fears were realized as the two people he never wanted to see again were standing before him. Assuming a false bravado, Wickham asked, “What are you doing here?”
Fitzwilliam turned to Darcy. “You see, I told you it was our old friend.”
“Yes, that you did,” Darcy said, as he continued to glare at George Wickham.
Turning his attention back to the man in the cell, Fitzwilliam explained, “Imagine my surprise when I came to visit my old friend, Colonel Rempson, to hear your familiar voice as you cheated that poor guard in a game of cards; you do know who Colonel Rempson is, do you not Wickham?” The general smirked.
Grimly, Wickham nodded his head. This was worse that he could ever have imagined.
“Then to find out that there was no George Wickham in custody. I was completely astonished by such a fact. So I immediately went to my cousin and asked him to accompany me here for assurance that I had not lost my mind.” Switching his gaze from Wickham to Darcy, he stated, “Thank you, cousin, for the peace of mind you have given me that I have not lost my wits.”
Briefly looking at his cousin before returning his glare at Wickham, “It is my pleasure to assist you in your quest for sanity, General Fitzwilliam.”
Fitzwilliam’s expression turned solemn as he addressed Darcy. “Now that we know the whereabouts of George, what do you think we should do with this knowledge? I understand he is wanted for desertion from the militia. An extremely serious charge, extremely serious. Our old friend could face the gallows most certainly for such an offence, especially in these times when every available man is needed in service to our King.”
George Wickham’s complexion went ashen at the thought of his impending demise. He would not put it past Fitzwilliam and Darcy to guarantee his death by less than natural causes, either by the noose or actual warfare.
Darcy simply stood glaring at his childhood friend, his hatred of Wickham’s perfidy seething within and apparent on his mien.
Fitzwilliam broke the silence of the somber moment by stating, “Wickham, after much discussion and arguing about your fate, we have decided to offer you a way out of this predicament which we all have found ourselves today. While we…” He looked at Darcy before returning his gaze back to George. “…would like nothing better to see your blood spilt for all you have done, we still are gentlemen and above all that. Besides, we were all friends once and old Mr. Darcy did think fondly of you, though I am without a reason as to why.”
Finally, Wickham gathered his courage to learn his fate, “What is it that you want from me?” He knew that his case was lost. A general in His Majesty’s Army would certainly be listened to and believed over a lowly Lieutenant. He saw no other option than to agree to whatever they suggested and hoped he could make an escape at a later time.
Darcy spoke up, “We want you to leave England and never show yourself here again.”
Looking at Darcy for a long moment and then at General Fitzwilliam. Wickham could not believe his luck. Everything he wanted, a chance to leave England and start a new life, was being handed to him by his old nemesis, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Something was not right.
“And how is this to be arranged?” Wickham asked as he glared at Darcy.
General Fitzwilliam answered, “There is a ship leaving in three days. If you agree, we will make sure you have passage on it. I will arrange to have you released from the stockade and someone will escort you to the dock and make sure you board the ship.”
Turning to look at General Fitzwilliam, Wickham asked, “And where is this ship headed?”
“Far away from England,” Fitzwilliam stated and then added, “But I will tell you that your destination is not the Continent, and it is east of there.”
Wickham’s eyes lit up. Constantinople! Baghdad! India! He could envision himself lying on plush pillows, his member throbbing, while nubile young girls danced around him with translucent veils that revealed their lush bodies. He may not speak the language, but he did know the language of erotica and considered himself very fluent. Then he thought of the tales he had heard of soldiers posted to India that had stayed when their commissions were up. These men had become fabulously wealthy in the many different enterprises that India offered a man with a bit of ambition. He would do well in any of those destinations but most certainly in India where at least there was an English contingent and the language barrier would not be such a problem. Yes, India!
Nodding his head, Wickham asserted, “I will agree.”
As Darcy turned to leave, Fitzwilliam could not help but have the last word, “And Wickham, the warrants for your arrest for desertion to duty with His Majesty’s Army and the militia will remain in effect. If you ever try to return to England, a noose will be here to greet you.”
General Fitzwilliam gave Wickham a smirk as he turned to follow Darcy away.
Wickham stood for a few minutes as he listened to the boot steps of his old ‘friends’ echo on the wooden floor as they made their way down the hall. With each step they took, the smile on his countenance grew. He could hardly believe those two gentlemen had given him exactly what he sought – a chance to leave this country forever.
Stepping to the bars that held him captive, he checked to make certain no one was around before returning to his cot. Lying down with his face toward the wall, he unbuttoned his breeches as he pictured himself plucking veils from those nubile feminine forms that had been sent to arouse him. He grunted as he took his pleasure with thoughts of what his future held in store for him.
Later that week, General Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy stood on the London docks besides the Hespia waiting for the last cart, containing George Wickham, to arrive. It was not long before it appeared and stopped near the gangplank of the Hespia. Wickham sat in the cart still in shackles. His guard jumped down and then helped Wickham down.
Wickham could not help the big grin on his face as he was led to General Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy. Upon reaching them, he declared, “I am here now; you can remove the chains.”
Fitzwilliam smiled. “I am afraid not, Wickham. This is a prison ship bound for Australia, and I could not let you board without your shackles.”
“Australia, you mean Austria, do you not?” Wickham began to panic, his dreams of naked dancing girls fading.
“No, I mean Australia,” Fitzwilliam confirmed. Turning to Darcy, “It is your understanding that this ship is bound for Australia and not Austria, is it not, Darcy?”
“Yes. It is definite that this ship is bound for Australia,” Darcy advised.
“Australia!” Wickham yelled, “what about India?”
“India?” Fitzwilliam queried. Turning to Darcy, he said, “We said nothing about India. I do not believe we mentioned India as a destination, did we, Darcy?”
Darcy replied, “I believe you are correct.”
“You tricked me!” Wickham snarled.
“No,” Fitzwilliam said as he turned back to Wickham. “We did not trick you. We may be guilty of not giving you all the facts, but it was you who readily agreed to the scheme.”
“Why are you doing this to me?” he plaintively asked.
“Darcy and I would have preferred to see you hang from the gallows and be done with you. But Mr. Darcy’s future wife expressed a wish to see you rot in hell.”
Wickham glared at Fitzwilliam then at Darcy.
Fitzwilliam continued, “I believe you know her, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. It seems her sister, Lydia, recounted to Miss Bennet the time she spent with you several years ago.”
Wickham’s eyes widened at the realization of what was truly happening. Looking at the ship and the men leering at him, he turned and begged, “I believe I would rather face the gallows. Return me to the stockade.”
Darcy grinned as he related, “I am afraid I promised Miss Bennet to provide you with a living agony and you know I am a man of my word. I simply cannot let her be disappointed.”
At this point, Wickham began cursing both Fitzwilliam and Darcy with every invective he could think of.
Fitzwilliam nodded to the guard, who walked over to Wickham and took at soiled handkerchief from his pocket, stuffing it into George Wickham’s mouth. Then the guard leaned over and hefted Wickham over his shoulder and walked towards the gangplank.
Darcy called out, “Bon voyage, Wickham, enjoy your trip to hell.”
As Wickham was hauled away, his expression to the two remaining gentleman alternated between glaring and pleading. As they made their way up the gangplank, the guard slapped Wickham on the rump and said, “Pretty boy like you will make friends fast. These lads will be without the benefit of female companionship for the rest of their lives. I am sure by the time you gets to Australia you will be quite the favorite with all the boys. I like pretty boys like you me-self. Had I known you were in the stockade before now, I would have paid you a little visit.”
On hearing the implications his fate, Wickham fainted.
Darcy and Fitzwilliam saw Wickham safely aboard and then stayed to watch the ship weigh anchor and cast off the lines. As the ship entered the Thames channel, there was heard a loud wail of pain that sounded suspiciously like it came from George Wickham.
Both the gentlemen, still standing on the docks, turned and made their way to an awaiting carriage.
Darcy opined, “It seems that George has already made a friend or two.”
Fitzwilliam nodded, “Yes, it does seems that way. At least his shipmates will have a way to silence that smooth talk of his…literally.”
Both gentlemen chuckled as they gave one last thought to Mr. Wickham’s deserved fate.
<<== Back Back to My Stories Forward ==>>