Sorry for the delay. Hope everyone is ok after all the weird weather we had a couple weeks ago. Utah got 11.5 inches of snow in 11 hours. Then 3 days later you couldn’t see that there had been any snow. Crazy. I have been working on some new stories (have 4 in the works right now, and each have been crying for attention). So I have been doing a bunch of research for some of the stories.

Here is the end of this story. Hope you have enjoyed it.

Chapter 23

   Charles Bingley spoke with his family about his friend’s desire to marry while they were at Netherfield. Agatha listened carefully to what her nephew said, then gave her opinion.

   “After all that we have been through this week, it would a blessing to have something as wonderful as a wedding to brighten our day.”

   “But we are in mourning. Would our neighbors believe us to be callous and inappropriate in our actions?” Charles was nervous.

   Louisa and Hurst shared a look. Louisa stood and walked to her brother, taking hold of his hand.  “Charles, our neighbors will not understand what happened here, as it is far from anything they could believe possible. If the wedding is small, as you stated, with the explanation that the bridegroom did not wish to wait another day, we can be forgiven for hosting a small, private wedding breakfast for the couple. It would not be like hosting a ball in their honor or inviting everyone in the area to attend the wedding breakfast.”

   Hurst agreed. “I see no harm in your guests marrying quietly while they are here. They do not wish to invite half of the ton and have a grand event. I welcome the joyful event after what has happened.”

   “I will speak to Darcy. There is no need for them to marry from Longbourn’s chapel, we could have a small ceremony in the music room.”

   “I will speak with Mrs Norris about a simple breakfast. Will you invite Miss Bennet and her parents?” Agatha inquired.

   “Do you believe it is wise to invite anyone outside of Netherfield?” Bingley had a troublesome time hiding his hopes that he could invite his future family to join in the event. “The Bennets have suffered from the attack as well, with their daughter’s husband being part of the highwaymen. I have not spoken with Mr Bennet about his eldest daughter and what will happen with Collins’ body.”

   Agatha had spoken with Mr Bennet when he called at Netherfield earlier that day. “Mr Bennet had the body buried in the village cemetery, alongside the other men who came with Collins and Miss de Bourgh. The clergyman in Meryton as agreed to allow them buried outside the churchyard.”

   “I cannot blame him for not wishing to have the scoundrel on Longbourn’s land.” Charles stated.

   Hurst spoke. “If we had the Bennets join us for the event, it would send the message to the neighbors that we unite the houses of Longbourn and Netherfield. It would protect Mrs Collins when she returns to Longbourn.”

   “Then I will include that in my conversation with Darcy.”

               ~~ ** ~~

   Lord Matlock arrived at Netherfield alone. He had left Richard at Rosings to begin the hard work that was ahead of him in correcting all the harm Lady Catherine had caused before her death. Surprisingly, Mary Collins remained at Rosings, as the Fitzwilliam men offered her a small cottage of her own on the estate. The young lady had suspected her husband’s character, though she did not wish for her mother to know there was anything amiss.

   They decided that on Thursday, the day after Lord Matlock’s return, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Fitzwilliam would wed at ten in the morning. Mr and Mrs Bennet, along with Kitty Bennet, had arrived and taken their seats. Bingley stood as witness for William, being his closest friend, and Louisa Hurst was given the honor of being witness for Lizzy. Lord Matlock took his place with his niece as they entered the room.

   The room was rearranged so the chairs were set in two rows and an aisle between. As Henry escorted his brother’s dear daughter to her intended, the earl could not help but think of Edwin and their father. A tear stung his eye as he wished his brother had lived to escort Lizzy to her future.

   When they reached the rows of chairs, Henry stopped pushing the chair and moved beside his niece, holding out his arm to her. To the surprise of most in the room, Lizzy rose to her feet. Slowly, Lizzy leaned on her uncle as they moved forward, step by step, until they reached William, whose smile showed his dimples. Lizzy took her betrothed’s arm, gripping him tightly.

   “Do you need your chair?” William asked, not wishing to overwhelm his bride.

   “I am well. In your absence, I have been practicing for this moment.” Lizzy was proud of herself.

   The clergyman from Meryton began the ceremony which united the young couple for eternity. When he pronounced them man and wife, William did not wait for the man to give them permission to kiss. The gentleman scooped his wife into his arms, kissing her lips as he twirled around. Those in attendance clapped in approval.

   “Will, you can put me down in my chair.” Lizzy chuckled at her husband’s silliness.

   “I believe I will keep you in my arms for now. I find it enjoyable to have you near me, Mrs Darcy.”

   “Very well, Mr Darcy. Have it your way.”

   Lady Elizabeth was the first to congratulate the newlyweds. “My dearest girl, you have your prince charming. Your grandfather was certain the two of you would make a wonderful couple.”

   Lizzy had tears in her eyes. “He told me so just before he died. At the time, I thought he was being foolish in thinking such, but he was correct. How I wish he were here with us.”

   “He is, my dear. So are your parents and Jane. They are watching over you always.”

   William blushed slightly. “Hopefully, they will take tonight off from watching over us.”

   His father and uncle broke out in laughter. Lady Anne swatted her son on the arm. “Fitzwilliam, we have not enjoyed the meal that Mr Bingley’s staff worked to put together for you.”

   “Anne, dearest, remember how we were on our wedding day.” Gerald teased as he wrapped his arm around his wife’s back.

   It was Lady Anne’s turn to crimson. “That is quite enough of such talk, Husband.”

   “Yes, my love. Will you forgive me?” Gerald smiled as he placed a kiss on the side of his greatest love’s head.

   “We will see, later, after you have made proper amends to me.” Lady Anne smiled slyly.

   “Of course, your ladyship. I am your devoted servant.”

   Bingley moved to his friend, clapping William on the shoulder. “Well done, Darcy. I hope you will return the favor when my wedding arrives.”

   “You name the date and we will be available.” William replied.

   Kitty glanced at her intended. “We have decided to hold the wedding in three months. Mamma wishes for longer, as she says it will take at least six months for properly planning such a wedding.”

   Mrs Bennet nodded her head. “As you will marry the most important young man in the area, we must do everything properly. Then you also must allow Mr Bingley and his family proper mourning period for their loss.”

   “So, we compromised and settled for three months rather than six.” Mr Bennet added.

   Everyone made their way into the dining room to find a wedding breakfast fit for a peer. Though the staff had been told the desire for a simple repast, they were grateful to the Darcy and Fitzwilliam families and wished to convey their joy for the newly-wedded couple.

   Mrs Norris stood at the side of the dining room, ensuring all was ready for the guests. When William and Lizzy approached her, the housekeeper smiled. “On behalf of Netherfield’s staff, we wish you great joy and many blessings.”

   “Mrs Norris, you have been so kind to our family. We cannot thank you enough.” Lizzy praised the elder woman. “Please give our appreciation to everyone for their hard work to make this day perfect for us.”

   “Tis no hard work when it is done for people who are generous and kind. Everything you have done to repair the estate, the care you gave to our staff and their families, there are no words to express what you mean to us.”

   “She has not told you the surprise the staff has been busy preparing for you.” Bingley said as he came near. “The cottage at the edge of Netherfield and Longbourn, the one we left our horses at the other day. We have prepared it for you to stay in tonight. Your servants have gone down ahead of you to ensure all is ready for you.”

   Lady Anne and her husband looked at one another, with Gerald finding it difficult to contain his laughter. His dear wife would not have to share the same roof with her son and new daughter on their wedding night. The mistress of Pemberley could think of her little boy still as innocent as he was as a babe.

   The food was eaten and after an hour, the newly married couple left the manor house of Netherfield for the little cottage a mile away.

   Once their servants were given leave from the cottage, William and Lizzy enjoyed the greatest night of their lives. But we will leave what happened behind closed doors to your imagination.

Chapter 24

   One year later.

   Richard was pleased to have his cousins arrive at his estate. “Welcome, welcome. I am grateful you have joined us.”

   “Of course, Richard. Even though you did not attend our wedding, we would not miss yours.” William replied.

   “You did not give me time enough to arrive for your wedding. How was I to know you would rush everything rather than wait until you had originally determined?”

   Lizzy laughed. “Richard, it is wonderful to see you so happy. How is the estate coming along?”

   “We have changed the crop rotations, as Father and Uncle Gerald suggested. The increase in income will bring the estate near making a profit this year.”

   “How is the redecorating coming? Has your intended cleansed our aunt’s taste from your home?”

   “My dear girl has a simple taste in furnishing. After visiting Darcy House last month, she decided the furniture there was more comfortable. Her mother has tried desperately to sway her decision, even writing to ask Mary to send for her to assist in choosing what would be appropriate for the home of the son of an earl.”

   “When will the Bennets and Bingleys arrive?” William asked.

   “We have three days before they will be arriving. It was wise of you to come early. Mother and Grandmother will be here tomorrow, and they will have time to spoil the newest member of the family. Where is the lad?”

   “In the other carriage, with his nurse. Lizzy has had brief rest since the birth, so I insisted on her relaxing in our carriage.” William was holding his wife in his arms as the wheeled chair was carried up the stairs and into the foyer of the manor house of Rosings Park. Once up the stairs, he placed Lizzy in her chair and maneuvered it into the drawing room. There, Mary Bennet was waiting to greet them.

   “Mr and Mrs Darcy, it is wonderful to see you again.”

   “Please, you will be family soon. I am William to my family, and my wife is Lizzy, so as not to confuse her with our grandmother.”

   “Then I am Mary to you. Lizzy, you look wonderful. One would not guess you gave birth just two months ago. How is the young man?”

   “He is wonderful. I cannot imagine how I survived life before his birth. Wait until you meet him. Patrick Edwin William Darcy is the image of his father.”

   “Hopefully, he will not be as shy and somber as his father.” Richard joked.

   “As my husband has never been shy or somber around me, I believe you must have inspired such moods when you were with him.” Lizzy returned the teasing.

   “My, the house is nothing like I remember from my youth.” William said as he looked about the room. “What did you do with all the furniture Aunt Catherine admired?”

   “We store some of it at the dower house until after the wedding. Mary’s uncle, Mr Gardiner, is planning to sell it in London for us.”

   “How is Mr Gardiner? Are he and his family making the journey for the wedding?” William was curious.

   “Yes. Uncle Gardiner said he would not miss my marriage to such an honorable gentleman.”

   “It is wonderful that you and Richard fell in love while working to restore Rosings to being a profitable estate. Richard has sung your glory when it comes to dealing with the tenants and staff. From what he says, everyone has praised him for having the good taste to become engaged to you.” Lizzy smiled.

   Richard nodded his head. “They have. Many have declared that Mary will be the best mistress Rosings has ever had.”

   Mary blushed at the praise. “I have only done my duty to the people who make Rosings a wonderful place. There are so many wonderful tenants and servants here, and they have been generous with their kindness.”

   “She has seen to clothes made for the children, food and medicine for the families, and reporting any damage to any of the cottages to me so we can have repairs made.” Richard was proud of his betrothed. “To think it was a year ago that we met. Without Mary, I doubt I would have made a success of the estate. Mother is looking forward to introducing Mary in the coming season, as she has plans to throw a ball for us at Matlock House.”

   “Lady Matlock has already made an appointment at her modiste’s to have my trousseau made. My father told her it was not necessary, he would pay for my gowns, but her ladyship insists that it is her gift to me.”

   “My dear, I have told you, my mother is already buying items for the nursery. She cannot wait until she is a grandmother. Mother has not forgiven Malcolm or I for not being first to wed and have children. Malcolm says we are fortunate to live so far from Matlock, as he hears her complaints every day since Patrick was born.”

   William laughed. “She has informed my mother that it us not fair, as you and Malcolm are older than I, therefore you should have married and had children years ago.”

   “I pray that she will enjoy Patrick enough to allow us a chance to have the wedding. Then I will be Mother’s favorite son.” Richard grinned.

   “You know Malcolm will find some way to repay you for the misery he will endure.” It pleased William to have bested his cousins.

   Lizzy shook her head. “You boys will behave. It is not a contest, though if it were, William won.”

   Both William and Richard burst into laughter, with Mary joining the merriment. “I can see that joining this family is going to be filled with adventures.”

   “Indeed, Mary, and it is too late to change your mind. Aunt Rebecca and your mother would not allow you to escape now.” Lizzy said.

                  ~~ ** ~~

   In the days to come, they filled Rosings with family and close friends. The Darcys, Bennets, Bingleys, and Hursts joined the Fitzwilliam family at Rosings. The servants of Rosings later declared it to have been when joy returned, and the manor house became a home.

   The families spent many years enjoying each other, gathering at one estate or another. Weddings, births, holidays, and any occasion which could be used as a reason to gather.

   The Darcys enjoyed five more children after Patrick. He was the perfect big brother to all his siblings.

   The Bingley family was blessed with three daughters and a son, while the Hursts had two sons. Mrs Bennet had nervous fits with each daughter in which Kitty presented her husband, finally calming after Charles Bennet Bingley arrived.

   Mary and Richard were the first to make Lady Matlock a grandmother. Malcolm married within a year of his brother, and Frederick found his perfect match three years later. Between the three brothers, they blessed Rebecca Fitzwilliam with fifteen grandchildren. She still treated the Darcy children as though they were her grandchildren, giving them all the love equally.

   They broke the entail on Longbourn, and Mr Bennet decided to leave the estate to his youngest, Lydia. As her sisters were married to wealthy men who had their own estates, he thought it would give Lydia the ability to enjoy a love match, as each of her sisters had. Lydia decided to follow after the example of her sisters once she abandoned her silliness of flirting with men wearing red coats. She married Mr Phillips’ clerk and lived at Longbourn, allowing Mr Bennet to enjoy reading to his grandchildren from his favorite books.

   Lady Elizabeth died peacefully in her sleep when Patrick Darcy was two and ten. Lizzy and William had brought her ladyship to live at Wilton Hall prior to Patrick’s birth, giving her time to know her great grandchildren.

   The Darcys’ third child was a daughter, with her mother’s dark curls, chocolate eyes, and disposition. Rightly, they named her Elizabeth Jane Darcy. When she was just a babe, Patrick was sitting beside his cherished great grandmother, asking her questions about their family.

   “But Grandmamma, how can you know that she will be a good sister? Rose is not nice to me.”

   “I know that you will be a fine gentleman one day, as they named you for the best man I ever knew. Your great grandfather was the love of my life.”

   “But what about Lizzy?”

   “She is going to be an obstinate, headstrong girl, as she is named for two such ladies. She is also going to be loyal, loving, and protective. How could she be anything else, when she is named for two Lizzy Fitzwilliams?”

               The End