Final to this story. I am going to take a couple weeks off before posting my next story.
Elizabeth was still having nightmares, waking from her sleep, frightened and crying out against invisible foes. Fitzwilliam would wrap her in his embrace, holding her close and reassuring her of his love and that she was safe. This would happen every time she slept, as she refused to take anything to aid her sleep.
She had been thrilled to see Rebecca Fitzwilliam. The elder lady had comforted her as a mother would a small child. At the time, Elizabeth was ready to step down from being an adult and be a child, a time when all the scary things could be scared away by a parent’s protection. With her own mother at Longbourn, and her Aunt Helen in Town, Elizabeth could think of no one else she would prefer to have fill the role of mother than Rebecca. As Lady Anne Darcy had died so long ago, Lady Matlock had stepped in and loved the Darcy siblings as she did her own children.
Rebecca had spent the evening with Georgianna, Fitzwilliam, and Elizabeth, usually with one of the girls cuddled close. Watching the way his aunt treated his wife and sister, Fitzwilliam could feel the loss of his mother. Instead of closing off the feelings, as he had done so many times before, Fitzwilliam allowed himself to cherish the memories of his beloved mother, cradling him in her embrace. Tears crept into the corners of his eyes as he watched his wife being loved by his aunt.
So, that night, each time Elizabeth woke from her nightmare, Fitzwilliam gave her the support and love that he would have wanted, if their situations had been reversed. For the first time, since their marriage, he was truly able to open his heart, with no reservations. He had experienced love in his relations with his wife, but had always held a piece of himself back, afraid of allowing himself to be completely vulnerable. In the wee hours of the morning, as he held Elizabeth in his arms, Fitzwilliam knew his life was what it was meant to be. And he would not waste another moment by hiding his feelings from those he loved.
~~ ** ~~
Breakfast was eaten solemnly, as everyone knew what the day held in store for them. Once everyone had partaken of the food, the plan was put into place.
Fitzwilliam, who was in Elizabeth’s bedchamber, with his wife, began shouting and sounds of breaking glass could be heard. Outside the house, to anyone passing by, it appeared there was a fight occurring.
Then there were cries that pierced the air. “LIZZY, NO! DON’T LEAVE ME! LIZZY, MY LOVE, PLEASE!” Fitzwilliam’s voice sounded full of pain.
Gerald was heard calling out for someone to fetch the physician immediately, and one of the footmen was seen running from the house. Not long after, the footman and Mr Cartwright were seen hurrying back to the house.
After several moments, Fitzwilliam was heard screaming. “NO, SHE IS NOT DEAD! SHE CANNOT BE! NOOOO….”
In the shadows, Anne de Bourgh smiled. She could not be happier, hearing her cousin’s words. She continued to watch, hidden away from anyone passing by. When her uncle, Lord Matlock, escorted the physician out of the house, shaking his hand, with both men looking grave, Anne felt confirmation as to Elizabeth Darcy’s fate.
Anne returned to her rooms at the inn, dancing about the room as she felt her life would soon be complete. She would be Mrs Darcy of Pemberley, and would have great wealth and position in society. Having lived in the shadow of her mother all of her life, Anne wished to surpass her mother and become one of the grand ladies of society, one of the superior ladies who set the trends in all they did.
Opening her reticule, Anne checked to be certain the vial was inside. She had procured two bottles of what she had believed to be arsenic, giving one to Mrs Younge. Her plan was to share a toast with the man who had eliminated the obstacle to her future, giving the man a little something extra in his cup. With him permanently silenced, Anne would be able to keep her money and not worry of his speaking to anyone of what she had him do.
All she had to do was to wait for his message to arrive. Then she would meet with him, eliminate any problem, and prepare herself for her future.
~~ ** ~~
Moreland had dressed in his shabby clothes once again. Anyone who saw him would mistake him for a stable hand or one of the men who repaired ships. No one would be able to tell he was a businessman, a detective with a highly respected reputation. He had even been a member of the Bow Street Runners, after serving a few years in his majesty’s army.
He entered the inn, nearly three hours after the scene which had been staged for Anne’s benefit. Mr Moreland walked to the counter and handed a folded message to the innkeeper. “The bird in room five is expectin’ dis.”
“I will see that she receives it promptly.” The innkeeper said.
“Thanks kindly.” Moreland tapped the brim of his cap in a mock salute.
The innkeeper waited for Moreland to leave before taking the message to room five. Before his hand could knock a second time, Anne nearly tore the door open and was grasping hold of the missive.
“Thank you, Mr Gimble.” Anne handed him a coin and quickly slammed the door closed, leaving a shocked man standing with his hand still out, not having had time to react to the lady’s rapid movements.
As the door slammed shut, she was already opening the message and reading. He wishes to meet in the stables behind an inn? That will not do. How am I to manage poisoning him, if we are in the stables? What should I do? I do not have the entire amount I promised him as payment, and cannot afford to have him speak. I must find a way to get him to drink.
Anne looked around the room, then she remembered the flask she had brought with her. It had been her father’s, his way of dealing with his wife. After his death, Anne could not help but keep the silver flask in her possession, hidden from even her mother.
“Father will help me with this matter. I will put the poison in the flask. I can pretend to take a drink from the container, after that man takes a good, long swig from the flask. What do I have to put in the flask? Perhaps a bit of brandy. They should have some downstairs. Yes, this will work perfectly.”
~~ ** ~~
Anne dressed casually, not wishing to be detected in her finer gowns. She left to meet Moreland, sneaking through back alleys and out of view of anyone walking freely along the streets. Unbeknownst to her, she was being trailed by four men, each walking a slightly different path, so as not to be obvious to Anne.
She stepped inside the stables, looking about to see who was inside. There were three horses in stalls, and one man, with his back to her. Anne was certain the man was Moreland.
The man was brushing one of the horses, but he was aware of Anne’s entrance to the building. Without turning around, he spoke. “Ah, you be here, missy. The deed be done, an it time to pay up. I need to lay low, whichall cost.”
“I wish to share a drink with you first, Sir. You have done me a great service and brought you some of the finest brandy I could purchase.” Anne pulled the flask from her pocket. “My father kept this flask with him at all times. It was important to him, and you have done something important for me. It is only fitting to share a drink with you from my father’s flask.”
“Twould be a pleasure. Not often I get such a treat.” Moreland took the proffered flask and put it to his lips. He knew better than to drink the liquid, as he was certain she would have dosed it with something other than brandy. Though Anne had been unsuccessful in obtaining arsenic before, he did not wish to take chances. Keeping his lips closed, he made it appear he had taken a long draw of the fluid. He wiped off the lip of the flask before handing it back to Anne.
“No, take another drink. You have earned it. My family is fortunate enough to be able to afford fine drinks such as this, so enjoy the treat.” Anne said as she held her hand forward, in a halting manner.
“Tis good, missy, but cannot take too much. I must kep my wits bout me.” Moreland said. “Now, I be needin the money.”
Anne was nervous. She had to get him to drink the brandy, as she did not have the funds. “There is plenty of time and I am sure you have drunk more than a few sips of brandy without becoming tipsy. Please, I insist.”
A voice came from behind her. “Why are you so insistent, Anne?”
Her eyes grew round and large as saucers with the recognition of the voice. Turning around, she was face to face with her uncle, Lord Matlock.
She stepped backwards, attempting to put distance between herself and her uncle. After only three steps, she heard another voice, coming from behind Moreland. “Anne, there is nowhere to go. You are coming with us, and we are going to get you the help you need.”
Anne turned abruptly, finding her other uncle was in the stables. “Uncle Darcy, Uncle Fitzwilliam, what are you doing here?”
“A better question, Cousin Anne, is what are you doing here?” Richard said as he entered the stables, coming up behind his father. “You are supposed to be at Rosings. Why are you here?”
“I needed a holiday from Mother. You know her well enough, can you blame me for wishing to escape her?”
“You are not here on a holiday, Anne, and we all know the truth. You killed your companion so that you could escape Rosings.” Gerald Darcy stated. “And you hired Mrs Younge to murder my daughter in law. When she was unsuccessful, you attempted to hire this man. Unfortunately for you, he is a detective.”
Reality began sinking in around her, and Anne de Bourgh was furious. “Are you telling me that that whore, that chit, she is not dead? Are you saying that she is alive, and with my betrothed even now?”
“She is my daughter in law, Anne. She is married to Fitzwilliam, which is something you never will be. He never wished to marry you, and you were told the truth years ago. Elizabeth is Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy. There is nothing you can do to change that fact.”
“NO!!” Anne grabbed the flask from Moreland’s hand and chugged the contents down. “I will not go back to Rosings. I would rather die than return to my mother.”
Lord Matlock gave a grim chuckle. “You will not be returning to Rosings, nor will you have to worry about your mother any longer. I was just there yesterday, and your mother should have arrived at the prison hulk where she will await transportation to Australia. With all the crimes she has perpetrated, and covered up for you, she can rot there.”
Anne was clearly not in her right mind. “You mean I am Mistress of Rosings now? I have such plans for the estate. I will redecorate the entire house, as I never liked Mother’s tastes. And Fitzwilliam will come to live with me at Rosings, until the time he becomes the Master of Pemberley. We will be so happy.”
The men could not believe their ears. Gerald decided it would be best to humor her, so that she did not fight them. “Anne, what was in the flask you just drank?”
She became horrified at the realization that she had drunk the poison she had planned to kill Moreland with. “No, oh, no. Please, send for a physician. I cannot die, not now. Now that all my plans are coming true, I must live.”
Richard stepped forward. “Cousin, what was in the flask?”
“Arsenic. I could not afford to pay that man, and did not wish for him to tell anyone of his involvement. But now I will die, just when my life is to begin.”
“Where did you get the arsenic? Did you get it from the same place as the poison you gave Mrs Younge?” Gerald asked.
“Yes. If only I had known, I would not have drunk the brandy. Oh, foolish me.” Anne began to sob.
“Then let us take you back to the house and have the physician attend you.” Lord Matlock said, stepping closer to his niece.
“Please, yes. Thank you Uncle Fitzwilliam. I cannot thank you enough. And you rid Rosings of my mother. You have done me a great service. Thank you so much.” Anne forgot all about Elizabeth, about her failed attempts to be rid of her, and about the reality of her situation. All she could think of was a bright future, with her mother long gone from her life.
~~ ** ~~
Richard had gone ahead to inform Fitzwilliam of the situation. He told his cousin that it would be best that he remain upstairs, out of sight, with Elizabeth and Georgianna. Once Mr Cartwright had sedated Anne, a discussion would be held to determine what they would do next.
Though Fitzwilliam’s first instinct was to throttle Anne and confront her for all the atrocities she had heaped on his beloved wife, he knew that it would not make the situation any better. Elizabeth and Georgianna needed his support more than he needed to exact vengeance.
Lady Matlock decided she wished to see how Anne was for herself. Though her son had described the girl’s extreme changes, and her lapses in memories, Rebecca could not believe her niece was not pretending to garner sympathy from the men.
She walked down the stairs and witnessed the men bringing Anne inside the house. Seeing her aunt, Anne smiled.
“Aunt Fitzwilliam, have you heard the news? My mother is no longer at Rosings. I will be able to run the estate and the house as I wish. I told my uncles I plan to redecorate the house. I have always detested my mother’s taste in furnishings, and the colors she has preferred are horrid. Once I am through with the improvements, Fitzwilliam and I will hold a ball. I wish to show the world that I am more capable than my mother at being the Mistress, and that I have a very handsome husband who loves me. He will be pleased when he sees all the changes I have in store for our home.”
“Anne, you must sit down. I sent someone to fetch Mr Cartwright, the physician. Remember, you drank the contents of the flask. We must see to your health.” Gerald stated.
“Oh, I had forgotten all about my foolishness. Why did I drink that horrid concoction? Please tell me I will be well, as I cannot die. Not now, when Fitzwilliam and I have so much for which to live. Where is Fitzwilliam? I expected him to be here. I wish to tell him of my mother’s fate.”
“Fitzwilliam is not here.” Gerald lied. “I sent him and Georgianna to Town, after all they have been through.”
Anne frowned. “What have they been through?”
“Do you not remember, Fitzwilliam was married to Elizabeth? You caused her death.”
Smiling, Anne looked as if she were floating on a cloud. “Oh, yes. He is free from that scheming chit. We will be happy together, just wait and see. And when our child arrives, he will be overjoyed. I know I am carrying a son, his heir. Is that not what he wants, Uncle Darcy?”
“Let us get you tended first, then we will worry about Fitzwilliam’s fatherhood.” Lord Matlock suggested. “I do not wish for you to become ill from the drink you took.”
“Thank you, Uncle. You are too kind to me. I wish I had known you better, when I was younger. Mother always forbade me from being close to any of you, but I outsmarted her. And now, she is gone forever.”
It was clear to everyone that Anne was living inside her mind, in a delusion she had created due to her instability. Her eyes were glazed over and it was obvious that she believed what she was saying. To Anne, she was married to Fitzwilliam Darcy and they were to have a child. In her mind, she did not require punishment for what she had attempted to do to Elizabeth. Lady Matlock could not stand the situation any longer. She turned around and walked back up the stairs.
“Uncle, is something the matter with Aunt? She seems upset.”
“Do not fret, Anne. Ah, here is Mr Cartwright. He will see that you are given proper care.” Lord Matlock gave a weak smile as he attempted to keep his niece calm.
~~ ** ~~
Lady Matlock shook her head as she walked into the sitting room where her nephew and two nieces were keeping hidden. “She is truly deranged. She now believes she is already married to you, William. And she believes she is carrying your child. I could not stand listening to her any longer. The damage that was done to her mind by her mother is extensive. How Catherine could harm her child so severely, oh…I just wish to do the same to her. The woman does not deserve to have any sympathy.”
Fitzwilliam leaned over and embraced his wife tighter. “They will place Anne in the asylum, and she will be kept there for the rest of her life. She will no longer be able to cause any harm.”
“I no longer fear her, William. I am angry, but I cannot allow her to have control in my life. I must forgive her, so that I can move forward. Forgiving her is for me, not for Anne. And definitely not for Lady Catherine. But I need to heal, body and soul, and I cannot do so if I allow anger and fear to fester inside me.”
“Well said, Lizzy.” Lady Matlock said, taking hold of Elizabeth’s uninjured hand. “Well said.”
~~ ** ~~
Not long after the events of that day, the Fitzwilliam and Darcy family members departed for Netherfield. Anne de Bourgh was removed to the asylum at which had been decided with Mr Cartwright, and was being medicated. She still believed that she was married to Fitzwilliam Darcy, and that she was with child, but she had decided that her husband was preparing Rosings for her and their child while she recovered from drinking the poison from the flask.
As they thought, there was no arsenic in the flask. The man Anne bought the vials from had tricked her into believing she had poison, when all she had was sugar water and flavoring. It relieved everyone that there was no need to fear for any long term damage from the doses Mrs Younge was placing in Elizabeth’s drinks.
The family decided to journey to Netherfield, as Elizabeth could spend time with her family while she continued to recover. It had been difficult for the Bennets to remain at Longbourn, but Ruth required assistance with some minor issues at Netherfield, and Mr Bennet decided to be useful and help Ruth. If he had made the trip to Ramsgate, he would be of no real use to his daughter and family. And Mr Bennet was not one to sit about, worrying and feeling useless.
The house at Netherfield was large enough to house the Darcy family, as well as the Fitzwilliams, and still have room to spare. The families would remain there for two months, before the Darcys went on to Pemberley. By then, they would know more of what would happen with Lady Catherine, the next heir to Rosings, and more.
~~~~~~~ ** ~~~~~~~
Elizabeth had been feeling less nausea, and able to eat more food, as her “condition” progressed. She was still anxious of her husband’s reaction when he learned the truth. Taken into her confidence were her father in law and her husband’s aunt. They made things simpler for Elizabeth, distracting Fitzwilliam’s attention when needed, and being a shoulder to lean on when she was worried.
The family decided to remain at Netherfield until after the holiday season was over, so they could celebrate together. They had received word that Lady Catherine would be transported the first week of December, which was difficult for Lord Matlock. Though he was disgusted with his sister, and despised what she had done, she was still his sister, the last of his family. He was determined that she be taken to Australia to live out her days, but it did not quell the pain in his heart to know what had become of the sister who had been so kind to him when he was a small child.
He had received word that Lady Catherine was not adapting well to her new environment. To that news, Henry Fitzwilliam could not feel sorry for his sister. She had caused the situation which led to her being where she was, and he would not lift a finger to change the fact.
The week leading to Christmas brought news that Anne de Bourgh had developed a fever, and three days later, she succumbed to the illness. The news of his niece was harder for Lord Matlock to take. For all her horrendous deeds, Anne de Bourgh was just as much a victim as the people she had injured.
“It is better this way.” Lord Matlock stated, wiping the tears from his eyes. “She would never have been able to live a full life, and now, she is at peace. For the first time in her life, Anne is safe and well.”
~~ ** ~~
Mr Bennet was pleased to have his favorite daughter close by, as not being able to be at her side when she was injured was difficult for him. As close as they had always been, it was simple for the father to detect that something was troubling her.
“Lizzy, we must have a talk. What is weighing heavy on your mind?” Mr Bennet asked when he had a chance to be alone with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth smiled. “You know me too well, Papa.”
“Your forehead has a tiny wrinkle in it when you fret. Most people would not recognize it, but, as you said, I know you too well. What is it that troubles you?”
“I have the best of news, yet I know it will cause pain for my husband.”
“Because you are carrying his child?”
Her eyes rounded. “How…did Gerald tell you?”
“Lizzy, as I said, I know you too well. You have a look about you. Just as your mother did when she was carrying you and your siblings.” Mr Bennet smiled. “I assume that you have not told your husband.”
“Not yet, but I will need to tell him soon. I am beginning to notice my clothes are not fitting well and he is not blind.”
“Then you should tell him.”
Elizabeth could feel tears stinging her eyes. “How can I tell him? I know that he will be frightened, after losing Lady Anne when she gave birth to Georgianna. He will be unhappy, and it will cause a rift between us. I do not wish to lose his love so soon after getting him back as my dearest friend and the love of my life.”
“If you keep the truth from him, it will cause you more pain than will telling him. Please, Lizzy, take him for a walk and tell him the truth. He loves you, and he will love your child. Be honest, and sympathize with his feelings. Between the two of you, I am confident that you will be able to manage.”
~~ ** ~~
Elizabeth took her father’s suggestion and decided to speak with her husband in the library of Netherfield, as the weather was too cold to walk outdoors.
“Lizzy, is there something on your mind? I have had a feeling for some time now that there is something you wish to tell me, but have not done so.”
She cuddled close into his arms, resting her cheek against his vest. “There is something, but I fear your reaction.”
“Because of my mother?” Fitzwilliam asked, surprising his wife.
“What do you mean?”
He smiled down at his wife’s head as he placed a gentle kiss on the dark chocolate curls. “I mean because my mother’s death involving her giving birth. I know what an idiot I was, for many years, after Mother’s death. I did not wish for love in my life, as I feared that it would end in pain. It is due to you, my dearest love, that the ice has melted from my heart and I can love again. And I can open my heart to include our child.”
“How? How…how do you know?”
“Dearest, I know every inch of your body. Do you not think I would notice the changes? Your breasts are fuller, more sensitive. Your intolerance for certain aromas makes you queasy, where it had not before. The illness you had in Ramsgate, it seemed to be worse in the morning, and you did better with bland foods. And I can perceive a small swell in your belly. If I had missed all of those signs, I could not miss the glow about you. New life is beaming from you, making your complexion radiant and even your hair shimmers in the light.”
Tears streamed down Elizabeth’s cheeks. “And you…are you well?”
Fitzwilliam laughed. “You are worried about me? You are the one who is with child.”
“I feared you would be worried and upset, not wishing to have children.” Elizabeth stated. “Since I learned of my condition, I fretted that you would return to your previous state of detachment.”
“I admit, when I first determined what was going on, I was, indeed, scared to death. I do not wish to lose you, my Lizzy. After we arrived here, I had a chance to speak with Mr Cambrey, the rector. I was able to discuss my fears, my reservations, my feelings from Mother’s death. And I know that death is a part of life. As much as I wish to keep you wrapped safely in my arms, protect you from any harm, I cannot. We are not promised a certain amount of days or years, we get what God gives us. Wasting my time fretting over the possibility of losing you as I did my mother is reckless. So I plan to cherish each and every day that I am blessed to be with you. Mr Cambrey also stated that your mother has birthed four children with no problems, so there is no reason to believe you would have any difficulties.”
“William, I feel as if we will be blessed with many children to come. All will be well. Our child was created from our love.”
“Do you think it is a boy or a girl?”
Elizabeth looked at her husband. “What do you wish for?”
“I wish for my wife and child, healthy and happy. Anything else is unimportant. There is no entail on Pemberley, so son or daughter matters not.”
“I wish for a son, with his father’s blue eyes and wavy black hair. Just like you when you were a boy.”
“Then I wish for a daughter with your sparkling brown eyes and chocolate curls, bouncing about, as yours did as a girl. I loved watching the way your curls flew about when you ran or the wind blew through them.”
“After our child is born, the first place I wish to take him or her is to the hill overlooking the river. The place you first kissed me. It will be warm weather then, and we can have a picnic together.” Elizabeth said, resting again in her husband’s embrace.
~~ ** ~~
Christmas arrived with much to celebrate. The news of the next generation of Darcys brought joy to their family and friends. Mrs Bennet was thrilled with the news of the coming of a grandchild, and was constantly found giving Elizabeth bits of sage advice on motherhood. Her daughter found it difficult to keep from openly laughing at her mother’s enthusiasm.
One Christmas gift which was received was from Richard Fitzwilliam to Miss Jane Bennet. The gift was a ring, as he asked her to be his wife. The news was not surprising, as everyone had seen the way Richard had been unofficially courting Jane. Mrs Bennet was thrilled at the prospects of planning her eldest daughter’s wedding, having been denied all the pleasures she had planned when Elizabeth’s had been advanced in date.
Lady Matlock was pleased as well, as her eldest born was still unwed. He spent most of his time at Matlock, working the land. So she was excited to finally have one of her children married. Fortunately, she and Mrs Bennet were able to work together in the plans they would make for the grandest wedding the neighborhood would ever see.
~~ ** ~~
The months leading to the birth of the baby went by quickly and with little difficulty. Though Fitzwilliam fretted over his wife’s health, he learned to appreciate all the changes his wife’s body went through. The first time he felt his child moving inside Elizabeth’s womb, Fitzwilliam was heard shouting with joy. From that moment on, it was common for Fitzwilliam Darcy, heir to Pemberley and Darcy House, to be caught speaking to his wife’s belly, having chats with his unborn child. Elizabeth found her husband’s behavior amusing and loved watching him.
The nursery at Pemberley was refreshed, with new paint and paper, new furnishings, with two exceptions. Elizabeth insisted on using the same cradle for their child that her husband had used as an infant, and the rocking chair, which had been Lady Anne’s, was to remain unchanged. During her confinement with Georgianna, it had been common for Lady Anne to sit in the rocking chair, caressing her swollen belly, and sing to her unborn child. When Elizabeth sat in the chair, she felt as if her mother in law were with her, wrapping Elizabeth in her embrace.
When the day came for Elizabeth to deliver, Fitzwilliam was in a state of nerves. He continued to bark orders to all the servants, as he constantly looked at his pocket watch to tell the time.
“Why is everyone standing around? I asked to send for the midwife, and the physician. Where is Mrs Reynolds? There needs to be water brought up, and towels, and…oh, lots of other things. The babe could be born before anyone is with my wife to assist her.”
Gerald could well remember the nervousness on the day his son was born. Fortunately, Thomas Bennet had been visiting his cousin and friend, and had kept the port flowing into Gerald’s cup. “Fitzwilliam, Mrs Reynolds is in the birthing room, preparing for Lizzy to be moved in there. The physician and midwife are on their way, everything will be as it should. Now, why do you not come to the library with me? We can have some port. Believe me, I learned, on the day of your birth, it will sooth your nerves.”
“I do not wish to be unable to assist my wife, if she so requires me to be at her side. i cannot be addle minded by drink.”
“William, all is well. Now, come with me. Mrs Reynolds will remain with Elizabeth. If there is any hint of a problem, she will send for you.”
Finally, Fitzwilliam agreed with his father’s demands. “A glass or two would not harm me, but no more.”
Gerald chuckled under his breath. He would make certain his son was relaxed.
~~ ** ~~
Elizabeth was progressing in her labors, though she was exhausted. She had been in labor for over ten hours, and was ready for it to be over and done. All she wanted was to hold her infant and then sleep.
Mrs Reynolds had informed Elizabeth that her husband was being kept busy by her father in law, and that ample port had been supplied to distract Fitzwilliam from any worry. Though she knew Gerald had planned to keep his son in a semi drunken stage during her labors, Elizabeth was not prepared for what was to come.
As Elizabeth relaxed for a moment between contractions, the door from the servants’ hall opened and in walked her husband.
“Lizzy…my dearest…loveliest…most caring…beautiful…beloved…what was I going to say? Oh, ya, my wife. I thought you might need some soothing. So I will sing to you.”
It was clear that he was intoxicated, and all of the ladies were shocked at his behavior. Mrs Reynolds scolded him. “Master William, you should not be here. It is not proper for a young man to be with his wife as she is giving birth.”
“But I wish to sing to my wife, so she will be calm. Lizzy loves my voice, and it will bring her relief.” Fitzwilliam said, giving the housekeeper a sad, lost puppy look.
Elizabeth felt another pain coming, so she declared he could remain. Taking hold of her hand, Fitzwilliam began to sing.
“Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly, lavender’s green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen,
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so
Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
Some to the plough, dilly, dilly, some to the fork
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to cut corn
While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm
Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly, lavender’s green
If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you
Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, and the lambs play
We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm’s way
I love to dance, dilly, dilly, I love to sing
When I am queen, dilly, dilly, you’ll be my king
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
I told myself, dilly, dilly, I told me so”
While her husband continued to serenade her, he was oblivious to her pain and contractions. Frowning at an unfamiliar sound from behind him, Fitzwilliam turned to Mrs Reynolds.
“What is that racket? How can my wife hear my words if such wailing is drowning me out?”
“Master William, the wailing is from your child.” The elder lady bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing as the words finally sank in his mind and reality became apparent.
“My…my…the babe…the…” and Fitzwilliam Darcy collapsed to the floor, unconscious.
~~ ** ~~
His eyes began to slowly open, though the bright light of day was harsh to his throbbing head. Groaning, he began to sit up in his bed. He reached over to his wife, making certain she was next to him.
“I have had the strangest dream, Lizzy. I do not know what is wrong with me, but my head aches terribly.”
Elizabeth realized he did not remember the previous day or the birth of their child. Stifling the giggles which were attempting to escape, she decided to have a little fun. “You and your father had quite a bit to drink last night. Perhaps that is the cause of your pain today. You could not even make love to me last night, due to your inebriated state.”
As the light was still too bright for him, Fitzwilliam continued to keep his eyes shut, his fingers attempting to massage some relief to his temples. “Forgive me, my love. If it is any consolation, I am paying a high price for any enjoyment I may have had with my father. Do you know why we drank as much as we did? Were we celebrating anything in particular?”
“I am not certain, but I believe it had something to do with our child.”
“Oh, yes, our child. Strange time to be celebrating the babe. Father will likely be sending out riders to shout the birth when the babe is born. He is pleased with our upcoming blessed event.”
“He was especially pleased last night, when he met our daughter.”
Fitzwilliam took a moment to allow the words to sift through the fog in his mind. Confused, he turned and finally looked at his wife.
“Our daughter? Of what are you speaking, Lizzy?”
Elizabeth pulled back the coverlet slightly to show the sleeping infant lying on top of her mother’s torso. “I am speaking of our daughter, who was born yesterday. Your father was thrilled to meet her. That is, he was finally able to meet her after he carried you to our bed. You fainted yesterday, just after her birth.”
Vague memories began to surface. He dipped his head down into his hands as he realized what he had done. “Did I come into the birthing room and sing to you?”
Giggling, Elizabeth replied. “You did. And I must say, you aided me through the pain as I was laughing at your behavior. So I am extremely grateful.”
“Oh, dear God, I made a fool of myself. Can you ever forgive me?”
“Dearest, there is nothing to forgive. The ladies thought it was unusual, but, as you did bring me comfort as our daughter entered the world, they said nothing. It was not until you fainted that they commented, and mostly, they were shocked.”
Fitzwilliam looked over at the babe, nestled on her mother’s form. “A daughter. And I can see she has brown hair.”
“It is too soon to see what color her eyes will be, but she is beautiful.”
“Have you thought of a name yet?”
Elizabeth thought long and hard. “Your aunt and my mother are two of the most important ladies in my life. My mother’s name is Frances Charlene, and your aunt is Rebecca Edith. If we took Ed from Edith, and En from Charlene, we have Eden. Eden Anne Darcy. What do you think?”
“I like it very much.” He reached over and placed a gentle kiss on his wife’s forehead.
~~ ** ~~
The Darcy family celebrated the addition of Eden Anne Darcy, including having food and drink served to the staff and baskets sent to all the tenants. Pemberley’s future was bright, and would continue on for many years to come.
Mrs Reynolds and Mrs Williams embraced each other as they watched the young couple doting on their infant daughter, while Gerald and Georgianna looked on, smiles upon their lips.
“I feared this day would never come.” Mrs Reynolds said, wiping tears from her eyes. “The day that Lady Anne died, seeing the loss in Master Gerald and Master Fitzwilliam, I thought they would never recover. Thanks to Miss Lizzy, Master Gerald was able to see the need to love his daughter as Lady Anne would have wished. Years later, Miss Lizzy was able to bring our boy back to us as well. That young lady is a miracle worker.”
“I am pleased that all has worked out, as Miss Darcy is so changed since her brother has decided to be a part of her life. To think how close we came to losing them all, in less than a year.”
“We nearly lost you as well, Barbara. I have said many a prayer to God for sparing your life. Miss Georgianna would have been devastated to lose you.” The housekeeper stated.
“May we all have many years together, and many more happy moments like the one we are now sharing.” Mrs Williams replied.
~~~~~~~ ** ~~~~~~~
Two hundred years later…
Melanie Schertz was sitting in her house, talking on the phone with her mother. “So, Sir John D’Arcy was a Baron?”
“Yes, his estate was in the south of England, if I remember correctly. Not sure where.” Diana replied. “He had a son, Thomas D’Arcy, who married Elizabeth Conyers. They had a son, Thomas, who owned property in York.”
“Ok, got that.
Diana continued. “Thomas Jr had a son, Edward. Edward moved to the United States, changing the last name from D’Arcy to Dorsey. He married Anne. Edward owned a lot of property, and he frequently spelled his last name differently.”
“So he was the beginning of the U.S. family.”
“Yes, and the change of the name.” Diana replied. “He and Anne had a son, who later entered the military, Colonel Edward Dorsey, who was born in 1652. He had a son named Nicholas Dorsey, born in 1690 and died young, in 1718. Nicholas had a son named for him, born in 1713. He was 5 when Nicholas Sr died. The younger Nicholas joined the military as well, becoming a Colonel later in life. He died in 1780.”
“They had a habit of naming the son after the father, and the son became a colonel in the military. Interesting.” Melanie said as she was writing all the information down.
“Colonel Nicholas Dorsey had a daughter, Rachel Anne Dorsey. She married Anthony Lindsey, and they had a daughter, Lydia Lindsey. It was Lydia Lindsey who married into the Whitaker family in the 1800’s.”
“Then the Whitaker line continued on through to Great Grandpa A.J.’s grandparents and parents, right?”
Diana replied it had. “Lydia and her husband, Jesse Whitaker, married in 1793. They had a son named Squire L, born in 1797. He was married twice, and between the two marriages, had fifteen children.”
“Which of the fifteen did we come from?”
“Their son, Jesse. He was born in 1820. He married twice, the second time was to a Mary Elizabeth, in 1884. They had a son, Andrew J, which was your great grandfather.
“So then, after A.J., came Grandma Ethel and all her siblings, then the next branch of the tree is you and your brothers.”
“And then you kids. Does that answer your questions?” Diana asked.
“Yep. Thanks Mom. Love you.” Melanie said as she finished writing down all the information her mother had given her.
After hanging up the phone, Melanie went over the family history which she had been given. “This is really fun. And all this time, I have been using the name D’Arcy in Utah for the different forums, and I really am part Darcy. And Mom’s father’s family is the Moreland family. Our family names are out of the pages of Jane Austen’s stories.”
Thinking about the genealogy, Melanie began thinking of a storyline. Opening her laptop, she began typing. “Chapter 1 Fitzwilliam Darcy was only eleven years old the first time his father showed him the charts of the family history.”
Later, when talking with Pat Weston, her editor, Melanie told of the family history.
“I can feel a story coming on.” Pat teased.
“Yes, I can feel it too. The Bennet and Darcy Arrangement will have an intertwined family history for Lizzy and Darcy…”