The ball was the talk of London society. Lady Matlock could not be more pleased with the evening, as even the jealous mammas and their perturbed, unmarried daughters had a difficult time finding fault with Elizabeth.
The gown Elizabeth wore was the palest yellow silk, a gown which Elizabeth had always dreamed of. The neckline was daringly low, which frustrated Darcy to no end. He enjoyed the view of his intended, but he did not enjoy having every other man in the room ogling Elizabeth’s assets. If Darcy had been able to have his way, he would have locked himself and Elizabeth away for the evening, not allowing anyone else the chance to caress her form with their eyes.
The gown was beautifully stitched, with small seed pearls forming intricate patterns. Her hair had been braided in many tiny braids, which were then pinned on top of her head, weaving and flowing about. With her luscious brown locks, the tiny seed pearls on hair pins enhanced the look. And she wore the necklace and earbobs which had been gifted to her by Princess Augusta. Elizabeth felt elegant for the first time in her life.
“I swear, I am a princess in a fairy tale. When I wake in the morning, I will find I am the little cinder girl once again.” She said to Jane.
“Lizzy, you have always been beautiful. My mother should not have been so cruel to you when she spoke of your appearance. She should not have been so cruel in all the things she said of you.”
“Let us not think of Fanny Bennet today, Jane. We are both ready to go down the stairs and into the arms of the men we love.” Elizabeth said as she squeezed Jane’s hand.
Fortunately for Bingley, Jane had not chosen such neckline on her dress, preferring to be more on the modest side. Even though, Bingley did not appreciate any other men watching Jane closely.
“Can we not marry tomorrow and be done with it?” Bingley asked. “I do not wish to wait any longer. And look at the way all those dandies are looking at you. Once we are married, then they had best stay away.”
“Charles, you have no need to worry. You have my heart, nothing they can do or say will ever change that.” Jane said as she wrapped her hand around his arm.
Lady Margaret was pleased to stand beside Lady Matlock as guests awaited the announcements. Though it was already known that Elizabeth had been accepted as a member of the royal family, and it was known that Elizabeth and Darcy were engaged, the crowd waited for the official announcement.
Mr Bennet and Lady Margaret made the announcement, welcoming Elizabeth as a great, great granddaughter of Duke Ferdinand Albert of Brunswick. Lady Margaret read a letter which Queen Charlotte had sent to announce Elizabeth.
Then Lord and Lady Matlock took the floor in announcing their pleasure in the upcoming nuptials of their nephew, Fitzwilliam Gerald Darcy, to Lady Elizabeth Amelie Bennet.
After the engaged couple enjoyed the first dance with each other, they were forced to separate for several sets. Mr Bennet claimed the second set with his daughter, while Lady Margaret claimed her future nephew’s hand for the set. Lord and Lady Matlock claimed the third set with the betrothed couple, and Charles and Jane claimed the fourth set. It was not until the dinner set that Darcy was able to claim his fiance’s hand once again.
“I wish this night was over. I do not like having to share you with so many people.” Darcy grumbled.
“It will be over soon enough. And we leave for Longbourn the day after tomorrow. We will have a week there, before the wedding. Then Georgiana will be returning to Town with your aunt and uncle, while we make our way to Pemberley, where we will have an entire month alone.”
“With all the people at Pemberley, it will be difficult to actually be alone, but once I have you behind a closed door, I plan to pretend we are on a deserted island.” Darcy growled, his eyes smoldering with passion.
“I will be pleased to join you on the deserted island, Mr Darcy.” Elizabeth said, lightly licking her lips.
“Dearest, please do not behave in such a manner. The sight of your moist lips is almost more than I can bear. If your tongue glides over your lips once again, I will embarrass our family by claiming those teasing lips here and now.”
Elizabeth chuckled. “Very well, William. I will refrain. Now, let us concentrate on the dance steps, before we make fools of ourselves and end up falling to the floor.”
~~ ** ~~
The carriages arrived at Longbourn, coming to a stop in front of the main house. Mr Bennet was greeted by his long time housekeeper and butler, Mr and Mrs Hill.
“Welcome home.” Mrs Hill exclaimed, pleased to see her Master and his two eldest daughters. “It is wonderful to have you all home.”
Elizabeth embraced the elder lady. “Hill, I cannot begin to tell you how pleasant it is to be here. I know you have met Mr Darcy before, but as he is now my fiancé, I believe you should be officially introduced. Mrs Jemima Hill, this is Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. William, this is Mrs Hill, the wonderful woman who assisted in caring for me all of my life.”
“Madame, I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for my fiancé. She has told me many things you have done, and how dear you are to her. You will always be dear to my heart for such kindnesses.”
“Oh, Mr Darcy, I am certain that Miss Lizzy…forgive me, Lady Elizabeth has exaggerated my actions. I did no more than any good housekeeper would have done.”
Elizabeth placed a hand on Hill’s arm. “I will have none of that. I have been Lizzy to you all of my life, and I refuse to have you calling me Lady Elizabeth now. And I would not exaggerate all that you have done. If anything, I have not listed even half of what you have done.”
Everyone entered the house and were shown into the drawing room. “Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, we were told you are opening Netherfield Park, as the guests who will be arriving will be far more than the inn at Meryton can hold. If that was incorrect, we can change the room assignments easily.”
“No, Mrs Hill, I have already sent to Netherfield to have it readied for us.” Bingley announced. “Miss Darcy is generous enough to act as hostess for me until after the wedding.”
“Very good. The cottage near the house, which had been used by Mr Lane, the steward, has been cleaned up and made readied. It has three bedchambers, and I thought it would be perfect for Mr and Mrs Gardiner and their children. Or Lady Margaret and her younger children. The nursery here has been prepared, in case the Gardiner children would prefer staying in it.”
Mr Bennet nodded his head as he listened. “Did you clean out Lydia’s room, as well as Mrs Bennets?”
“Yes, Sir. And we moved your belongings, as you requested. You stated you would take the room which had been Miss Lydia’s.”
Jane and Elizabeth looked at their father strangely. “I did not think it fair for me to keep the set of rooms for the Master and Mistress. After the wedding, Jane and Bingley will be the married couple living in the house. Therefore, they should have the rooms. I also desire a change of rooms, as I do not wish to have the memories associated with those chambers. Hill has had the rooms cleaned, painted, and new furnishings in them. Much more fitting for newlyweds.”
“That was not necessary, Papa, but I am grateful.” Jane said, as she embraced her father.
“It is generous, Mr Bennet.” Bingley said, shaking Mr Bennet’s hand.
~~ ** ~~
The days leading to the double wedding of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet to Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley were filled with activity at Longbourn and Netherfield. Guests began arriving three days before the wedding, including the Gardiners, Lady Margaret and all of her children, Elizabeth’s uncle, Albert, Lord and Lady Matlock, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Mr Hurst arrived the day before the wedding.
Hill had made many of the arrangements before the family had arrived, seeing to the flowers, decorating the church, seeing to the wedding breakfast. All the things which Fanny Bennet would have loved to arrange were handled by the housekeeper, and were handled with the Bennet sisters’ preferences rather than Fanny’s preferences.
The only thing which went wrong in the days before the wedding was the arrival of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and her clergyman, Mr Collins.
“The wedding of Fitzwilliam Darcy cannot happen. He is engaged to my daughter, Anne. It was the fondest wish of his mother and me, agreed upon when they were babes. What have you to say to that, Miss Bennet?” Lady Catherine demanded of Elizabeth.
“If there was an arrangement, then why has your brother given us his blessing for our wedding?” Elizabeth said, not allowing the vulgar woman to make her angry.
“My brother has always been jealous, not wishing for Anne to marry Fitzwilliam. He would prefer one of his sons marry Anne, for she is quite the catch. With her bloodlines and her natural beauty, Anne would make any man the perfect wife. But my sister and I planned the marriage and Fitzwilliam will do what is right by my daughter.”
“I will do no such thing, Aunt Catherine.” Darcy said as he entered the room. “I am not bound to any agreement, especially one which my mother had no part in, nor did she desire it. As a matter of fact, Mother wrote me a letter, which was given to me by the solicitor when I was last in London. In the letter, Mother informed me she had no desire for me to wed Anne, and that it was all you, for you feared no one would ever wish to marry Anne. Mother stated you feared for many years, as no one offered for you until you were near thirty years old.”
“I chose to wait, as I had not found the proper match for the daughter of an earl. I could not marry just anyone.” Lady Catherine stated, stammering through her words.
“And why is this fool with you?” Darcy asked, pointing to Mr Collins.
“Mr Collins is aware of his cousin’s desire to marry you for your connections and wealth, and he has come here to speak with her. She turned him down, which would have been a brilliant match for her, as she wished to aim for someone far above her station in life.”
It was clear to Darcy that his aunt had not heard any of the news from Town. “Actually, Aunt Catherine, I am the one who is beneath her, if truth be told. Lady Elizabeth Bennet is the great, great granddaughter of Duke Ferdinand Albert of Brunswick. May I introduce you to her aunt, Lady Margaret, and her uncle, Lord Albert? Perhaps you would care to explain to them how their royal bloodlines are beneath those of a wealthy, but untitled gentleman such as myself.”
“But…but, my cousin is not related to royalty.” Mr Collins spat. “Your words are lies, Mr Darcy, as Miss Elizabeth is not a member of any royal family.”
“Forgive me, whoever you are, but I beg to differ.” Lady Margaret said, her hands balled up and resting on her hips. “I am the great granddaughter of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, as was my sister, Constance. Constance is Elizabeth’s mother, not Fanny Bennet. Elizabeth is my niece, by blood, acknowledged by our family. I would suggest you read the newspapers from Town, for there was a formal announcement made recently. Now, you little toad of a man, I would suggest you apologize to my niece immediately. Your behavior towards her is offensive and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
“I…I…I…please…Miss…I mean Lady…Elizabeth, please…please forgive me. I had no knowledge you were not Mrs Bennet’s child. I believed you to be a twin to Miss Jane. I meant no disrespect. Please forgive me.” Mr Collins nearly threw himself at Elizabeth’s feet, groveling and attempting to kiss her hand.
“Mr Collins, control yourself.” Darcy declared. “I will ask you to refrain from touching my fiancé anymore. You are slobbering on her, ruining her shoes and the bottom of her gown, not to mention the disgusting mess on her hand.”
Mr Collins pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, attempting to wipe Elizabeth’s hand.
“I said not to touch her anymore, Mr Collins. Do I need to call you out, to demand satisfaction for the insult you have laid at my betrothed’s feet?”
“No…no…oh, no, Mr Darcy…I meant no insult…please, Mr Darcy…I meant no insult to your betrothed.”
“Then leave this house immediately. I am certain my future father in law has no desire to have you here any longer, and my aunt will be leaving soon. You should wait for her in the carriage.”
Mr Collins groveled all the way out of the house, bumping into items as he refused to turn his head away from those he was pleading with for forgiveness.
“You may dismiss my clergyman so simply, but I will not be easily sent away.” Lady Catherine announced.
“You will leave my home, Madame.” Mr Bennet declared. “I have no fear of you, for you are of no importance to myself or my family. I will not stand here and allow you to treat my family rudely, especially my daughters. Elizabeth is marrying Mr Darcy, and that is final. If you wish to contest it, then you will be barking up the wrong tree. Mr Darcy has a special license, the blessing of his aunt and uncle, his cousin, his sister, and has my consent, as well as Elizabeth’s approval.”
“You are no one of importance, Sir. Now, where is my brother? I demand to speak with my brother. He has been hoodwinked and needs to learn the truth of the harlot. She is not worthy of marrying Darcy.”
“CATHERINE, YOU WILL STEP OUTSIDE THIS VERY MINUTE!” Lord Matlock had just entered the house. “You are leaving immediately.”
For another hour, Lord Matlock and Lady Catherine continued to argue, though it was done outside the house, chalking up one battle won by Lord Matlock. Finally, Lady Catherine entered her carriage and was driven away at top speed. It was clear that she was furious, but she finally gave up fighting the issue.
~~ ** ~~
The Longbourn chapel had not looked so beautiful in many years. Mrs Hill had seen to the cleaning and decorating of the chapel. Ribbons were tied about, with flowers placed tastefully.
Elizabeth and Jane were dressed in gowns of elegant cream colored silk. Both were modestly styled, nearly identical, except for the ribbon each wore. Jane wore pink ribbon, while Elizabeth wore blue. Mr Bennet had presented Jane with a necklace and earbobs which had belonged to his mother, made of perfectly matched pearls. He had another necklace with a single, large pearl in a silver setting, on a chain, which had also been his mother’s, which he gave to Elizabeth. He knew that she planned to wear the set which had belonged to her mother for the wedding.
“I wish to have a part of Mamma with me as I become a wife.” She explained. “I have never met her, but I know she loved me, and that I was formed from her love of you, Papa. Knowing of her love for you, and that she wanted me and loved me, fills me with a sense of belonging I never realized was missing before. Fanny hated me, and I guess I just accepted that that was the way my life was. Now my life is filled with people who love me and care for me.”
“Your mother would be so proud of you, Lizzy. She was always filled with love and kindness, much like you. I am so proud of the young lady you have turned out to be. And I know Constance will be with us today.” Mr Bennet replied.
The trio made their way to the outer vestibule of the chapel, waiting for the vicar to announce their entrance. Both of the sisters were nervous, as their lives were about to change forever. As the door opened for Mr Bennet to escort his daughters into the chapel, they stopped at the sight of Sadie, wearing blue ribbons tied around her neck, and with a small, white pillow fastened on the back of her neck. On the pillow was a golden ring, fastened with smaller blue ribbon. Just then, Darcy whistled, and Sadie walked towards the altar. Elizabeth began to giggle at the sight of her beloved dog being a part of the wedding ceremony, carrying her wedding ring to her betrothed.
Smiling at the creativeness of her beloved, all of her worries evaporated. She walked towards her destiny with confidence and strength, knowing her life would be filled with love.
Sadie stood beside Darcy until Elizabeth arrived at his side, then Sadie laid down between the two. She remained there throughout the service, as if she were a part of the marriage. Elizabeth was touched by the loving way Darcy had included the beloved dog, making Sadie a part of their family, rather than just an animal from the estate.
When it came time for the wedding ring, Darcy knelt before Sadie, who sat up and handed him her paw. Darcy smiled and removed the ring from the pillow. The ring was gold, with a diamond center, which had been his mother’s ring, and his grandmother’s before her. Once the ring had been removed from the pillow, Sadie walked over to where Georgiana was sitting, and laid down on the floor beside Georgiana’s feet.
The vicar pronounced the couples to be wed, introducing Mr and Mrs Charles Bingley and Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy to the audience. The newlyweds made their way to the back of the chapel to sign the registry, before stepping outside the building to greet their family and friends.
When they were outside, Elizabeth leaned over to her husband. “You have been spending time with Sadie, I see.”
“She is a quick learner. And I thought you would like having her a part of the wedding. In a way, she is like our child, a part of our family, so it is only natural she be with us on the most important day of our lives.”
“Thank you, William. I was thrilled that you thought of her and included her.”
The guests of the wedding began to exit the chapel and make their way to the newly wed couples. Mr Bennet made his way to his daughters, giving each of them a kiss and welcoming his new sons to the family.
Everyone then made their way to the main house at Longbourn to enjoy the spectacular meal which had been prepared for the celebration.
Elizabeth was overwhelmed with the number of people who came to wish her well in her new life. Sir William and Lady Lucas brought their younger daughter, Maria, and their two sons to congratulate Elizabeth and Jane. Lady Lucas took a moment of Elizabeth’s time to slip a letter into her hands.
“Charlotte wished she could be here, but you know how difficult it would have been with her husband.” Charlotte had married Mr Collins several months before, and she lived at the parsonage at Hunsford. “Lady Catherine forbid even a mention of your wedding, and Mr Collins was quite upset when he returned from his journey here last week. But Charlotte asked me to give this letter to you, and to tell you how happy she is for you. We all are. You deserve some joy in your life.”
“Thank you, Lady Lucas. Would you be willing to pass on any letters I send you to Charlotte?”
“Of course, my dear. I know Charlotte would be grateful to hear from you. You were always such dear friends.”
Many of their other neighbors came to wish the couples joy. Mrs Long and her nieces, Mr Calden who owned the bookshop in Meryton, Miss Weber who had been the seamstress in Meryton, and many more. Even Mr and Mrs Phillips, Fanny’s sister and her husband, came to wish Jane and Elizabeth well.
“I do not understand Fanny’s behavior.” Mrs Phillips stated. “She was a fool all her life, and she is paying for it now. In her last letter, she informed me that she has been quite ill. And Lydia has run off with some sailor, and has not been heard of for more than a fortnight.”
Elizabeth did not wish to be rude to the woman she had known as her aunt, but hearing of Fanny and Lydia was not what Elizabeth wished on her wedding day.
Mrs Phillips continued on, unaware of the discomfort of her niece. “Well, I told Fanny that she has no one but herself to blame, as she could have moved to Sussex. But no, she would not have any of that. She had to live her own life, and now she is paying the price. Why she could not be nicer to you, I will never understand. You were always a good girl, and my sister treated you so poorly. I am pleased you have found a good man to love you, and to think, ten thousand per annum. And you are of royal descent. My, my, how wonderful things have turned out for you.”
“Ah, there you are.” Mr Phillips made his way to his wife. He could see, from across the room, that his wife was rambling on about things that should not be discussed at a wedding breakfast. “I am ready to return home, my dear.”
“But I have not finished speaking with Lizzy.” Mrs Phillips replied.
“Well, it is not polite to monopolize all of the bride’s time. There are any others who desire a chance to wish her joy. Come, dearest. You can always write to Lizzy.”
As Mr Phillips led his wife away, Elizabeth said a silent prayer of thanks for her uncle’s interruption.
Darcy came up beside his wife and took her hand, placing it on his arm. “I believe it is time for us to leave for Pemberley, my love. I have already spoken with your father and sister.”
“Thank you, William. I am ready to take my leave.”
The couple made their way around the room, saying their farewells to those they loved. Soon, they were stepping into their carriage and on their way to their new life. And, of course, Sadie was already inside the carriage, waiting for them to join her.
~~~~~~~ ** ~~~~~~~
Elizabeth sat on the chair which had been brought outside for her to sit on. In the beautiful blue silk gown, she had been sitting for her portrait to be taken for the previous two days.
It had been nearly two years since her wedding, a year of joy like she had never known. Her hand instinctively caressed the swell of her belly, where the greatest joy of her life was growing.
Darcy had made her the happiest of ladies, happier than she had ever known possible. And their love was blossoming, moving about inside her womb. She thought often of her own mother. The love Elizabeth found in being with child was incredible, and she was certain that her own mother must have felt the same. It brought her a sense of closeness to the mother who had given her life to bring Elizabeth into the world. Darcy was nervous about the news of the baby. He fretted constantly over the possibility of losing his beloved wife, even though he was reminded daily that she was healthy and the physician saw no danger for her.
Elizabeth felt a nudge of a wet nose against her hand. “Ah, Sadie, how is motherhood treating you? I have not seen you all day.”
Sadie licked the palm of Elizabeth’s hand before moving her head underneath the hand. “Forgive me, my dear girl, how shameful of me not to be petting you immediately.” She laughed.
Darcy had found a male dog, similar in breed and personality, and Sadie was pleased to have a mate. They had had a litter of pups just a month before. Sadie had become a devoted mother to her four pups, tending to their every need. Elizabeth was pleased to watch the pups grow, from the blind, helpless newborns, to the little bundles of fur who were learning to discover the world around them. Georgiana had already laid claim to one of the puppies, a sweet little girl who was the smallest of the litter.
There had been so many changes which had happened since the wedding. Jane and Charles had a son born ten months after the wedding. Jane was pleased, and Charles was nearly giddy with delight. Mr Bennet had set about fixing up the nursery, demanding it be refurbished for his grandchildren. Jane’s recent letter announced she was sure she was increasing again, though it was quite early to be sure.
Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, returned to her parents’ home, after the sudden death of her husband. As his cook had left to tend her daughter during her confinement, Mr Collins decided to try his hand at cooking. He had followed Lady Catherine’s advice in how to cook turnips, only he mistook one of the plants near his garden to be herbs, and poisoned himself with hemlock. Fortunately, Charlotte had been ill and did not partake in the poisonous dish her husband had made. She was grateful that her husband had been very frugal, and had built up a savings, which would allow her to pay her way in life.
Word had been received, shortly after the wedding, that Margaret’s husband had been lost at sea when his ship had been ripped apart in a violent storm. Margaret decided to leave Scotland, as her eldest son and his family took up the management of the estate. At first, Margaret stayed at Pemberley, but then decided to move to Town for some time. Finally, Margaret took the offer from Mr Bennet to come to Longbourn. He suggested she live in the cottage behind the main house, giving her the freedom of her own home, yet the closeness of others nearby.
Thomas Bennet had become fond of Margaret, spending a great deal of time together. Jane had reported that Mr Bennet was seen almost every day taking walks with Margaret and talking of books. It pleased both Jane and Elizabeth to see their father find peace and comfort in his friendship with Margaret. Margaret had come to realize how lonely she had been, all the months when her husband had been at sea, leaving her alone to raise the children. She loved her husband, and mourned him, but she was looking towards the future.
Not too surprising was the news Mr Gardiner relayed to his family of his sister’s death. Having turned to a life which was known for its many diseases and dangers, it was not a shock to the family when Fanny contracted one of the diseases. She was dreadfully sick for nearly a month, before her body gave up and she died, alone in her room at the brothel. It was only after the stench from the room grew that anyone realized she had died. Everyone had avoided Fanny’s rooms when she became ill, for she moaned and demanded so much from everyone, so the quiet was enjoyed by the other women of the brothel.
Lydia had vanished without a trace. No one knew where she went, as there were so many different tales of her. One person stated she had run off with a sailor, living on the ship he was crew on. One version was she had stowed away on a ship bound for the Americas, wishing for a new start in the distant lands. There were more tales as well, but no one could be certain. And, to be honest, no one truly cared. Lydia had made her decision to be like her mother, and nothing that anyone did had changed her.
The Bingleys received word that Caroline Bingley had become pregnant, which did not shock the family in the least. It was an unspoken belief that Raymond would be kept busy by Miss Bingley. Caroline died in childbirth, along with the baby. Raymond was devastated, and he disappeared into the barren land during the middle of a snow storm. His body was found frozen near a pond, two months after he disappeared. Louisa remained at the estate, having little contact with anyone. She sat in a chair, staring out the window, rarely speaking to the servants. One night, several months after the death of her sister, Louisa died in her sleep. The servants claimed it was as if she decided to stop living.
Richard Fitzwilliam surprised everyone when he arrived at Matlock with his betrothed on his arm. Miss Emily Weston was the daughter of Richard’s commander, and the two had developed a close bound. It was not long before they decided to marry, and Richard resigned his commission. Richard was living at his estate, getting the house prepared for the day when he brought his bride home. They were planning to marry after the harvest, though Elizabeth was sad at the fact she would be in her confinement and unable to attend the wedding. Lady Matlock was thrilled, and she began the process of introducing her future daughter to society. Elizabeth laughed at the memory of her own first encounter with Lady Matlock and her desires to introduce Elizabeth to everyone in society.
Looking down, Elizabeth saw her devoted friend looking up at her, the love Sadie held for Elizabeth written in her eyes. “Sadie, you are quite fortunate in how little time you are with child. I do not like having to wait so long to hold my babe in my arms.”
Sadie gave her a pitiful look, as if sympathizing with Elizabeth. “There are my ladies, commiserating over the joys of motherhood.” Darcy said as he approached. “The portrait is nearly complete.”
“I am pleased, for I am becoming restless, having to sit still so long.” Elizabeth said as she took her husband’s hand and he helped her to her feet.
“Mr Lowe says he has a number of sketches to work from, so he will be able to work in the conservatory on the paintings. I looked over the sketches and am quite impressed with his work. I chose the sketch which I wish to have my copy painted from.”
“And why have you not posed with me for a portrait? I wish to see one of us hanging in the portrait hall.” Elizabeth said.
“You wish to see me have to sit still, which I have done several times over the years.” Darcy laughed, gently poking his wife’s nose. “We will one day have a portrait together, perhaps after our babe is born.”
“I have a feeling that our child will be much like me when it comes to sitting still. I must have bruises inside from all the kicking about.” Elizabeth rubbed her belly.
“Just like his mother, always moving.” Darcy placed a kiss on his wife’s lips.
“Oh, so now you think it is a boy? Last week you spoke of our having a daughter.”
Darcy laughed. “Why not one of each? Besides, we will be having many more children, so sooner or later I will be correct.”
“Not if I have only boys or only girls.”
“No, my dearest, we will have sons and daughters. I am certain of that. And I love watching your belly grows larger. You glow with the life growing inside you.”
“Are you going to talk to my belly every time I am carrying your child inside me?” Elizabeth teased.
“Of course. It is not fair that you have this time of feeling the babe moving about inside you, and I have to wait until you give birth. So I am talking to our child, feeling their kicks through you.”
“I received a letter from Jane today. She says that Mr Hurst has been spending a good deal of time with Charlotte. It is believed he will ask to court her.”
“Hurst deserves the love of a good woman, and now, he is free to do as he wishes. Mrs Collins is a good woman, kind and wise. He could do far worse than her.” Darcy said as he gained a faraway look.
Elizabeth knew what was bothering her husband. “When is Georgiana to return? Her letter was so filled with joy.”
Darcy shook his head. It was difficult to realize his little sister was a young lady now. A young lady who had fallen in love. “Do not remind me of her engagement. My aunt is thrilled, yet I do not wish to think of Georgiana being old enough to marry. She is still my baby sister.”
“You have been more of a father to her, but my dear, she is grown up and ready to start her own life. You had best hope we have only sons if you are going to have such a difficult time giving away your girls to worthy men.”
“Oh, I plan to build a convent on our estate, where the girls will have to live until they are at least thirty.” Darcy said. “Richard says that he plans to do the same if he is blessed with daughters. No men are to be allowed near them. If necessary, we will build motes around the convent.”
Elizabeth began laughing. “Fitzwilliam Darcy, you are a silly man. And I am grateful that you are my silly man.”
“And I am so grateful I was blessed to marry a royal Bennet.”