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My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting tds-3

Sharon Lathan

  My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting

  ( The Darcy Saga - 3 )

  Sharon Lathan

  Darcy is more deeply in love with his wife than ever

  As the golden summer draws to a close and the Darcys look ahead to the end of their first year of marriage, Mr. Darcy could never have imagined his love could grow even deeper with the passage of time…

  Lizzy is full of surprises…

  Elizabeth is unpredictable and lively, pulling Darcy out of his stern and serious demeanor with her teasing and temptation. Looking ahead and planning for celebrations and life events large and small, Lizzy can still catch Darcy unawares when he least expects it… But surprising events force the Darcys to weather absence and illness, and to discover whether they can find a way to build a bond of everlasting love and desire…

  Sharon Lathan

  My Dearest Mr. Darcy:

  An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting

  Cast of Characters

  Fitzwilliam Darcy, Master of Pemberley in Derbyshire: 29 years of age, born November 10, 1787; parents James and Lady Anne Darcy, both deceased; married Elizabeth Bennet on November 28, 1816

  Elizabeth Darcy, Mistress of Pemberley: 22 years of age, born May 28, 1795; second Bennet daughter

  Georgiana Darcy: 18 years of age; sister of Mr. Darcy with guardianship shared by her brother and cousin, Col. Fitzwilliam; companion is Mrs. Annesley

  Col. Richard Fitzwilliam: 32 years of age; cousin and dear friend to Mr. Darcy; second son of Lord and Lady Matlock; regiment stationed in London

  Lord Matlock, the Earl of Matlock: Darcy's Uncle Malcolm, brother to Lady Anne Darcy; ancestral estate is Rivallain in Matlock, Derbyshire

  Lady Matlock, the Countess of Matlock: Darcy's Aunt Madeline, wife to Lord Matlock; mother of Jonathan, Annabella, and Richard

  Jonathan Fitzwilliam: Heir to the Matlock earldom, eldest Fitzwilliam son; wife is Priscilla

  Charles Bingley: Longtime friend of Mr. Darcy; currently resides at Netherfield Hall in Hertfordshire; married Jane Bennet on November 28, 1816

  Jane Bingley: elder sister of Elizabeth and eldest Bennet daughter; wife of Mr. Bingley

  Caroline Bingley: unmarried sister of Charles Bingley

  Louisa Hurst: married sister of Charles Bingley; husband is Mr. Arbus Hurst; residence London

  Mr. and Mrs. Bennet: Elizabeth's parents; reside at Longbourn in Hertfordshire with two middle daughters, Mary and Kitty

  Mary Bennet: Elizabeth's sister; middle Bennet daughter

  Katherine (Kitty) Bennet: Elizabeth's sister; fourth Bennet daughter

  Lydia Wickham: Elizabeth's sister; youngest Bennet daughter; married to Lieutenant George Wickham, stationed in Newcastle

  Edward and Violet Gardiner: uncle and aunt of Elizabeth; reside in Cheapside, London

  Dr. George Darcy: Mr. Darcy's uncle; brother to James Darcy

  Lady Catherine de Bourgh: Mr. Darcy's aunt; sister to Lady Anne Darcy; residence Rosings Park, Kent

  Anne de Bourgh: daughter of Lady Catherine; Mr. Darcy's cousin

  Stephen Lathrop: Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; residence is Stonecrest Hall in Leicestershire; wife is Amelia

  Henry Vernor: family friend of the Darcys; residence is Sanburl Hall near Lambton, Derbyshire; wife is Mary, daughter is Bertha

  Gerald Vernor: son of Henry Vernor; childhood friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Harriet; residence is Sanburl Hall

  Albert Hughes: childhood friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Marilyn; residence is Rymas Park near Baslow

  Rory Sitwell: Derbyshire resident and Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Julia; residence is Reniswahl Hall near Staveley

  George and Alison Fitzherbert: Derbyshire residents and friends; residence is Brashinharm near Barlow

  Clifton and Chloe Drury: Derbyshire residents and friends; residence is Locknell Hall near Derby

  Dr. Raul Penaflor Aleman de Vigo: Spanish associate of Dr. George Darcy, who refers to him as “Raja”

  Joshua Daniels: son and partner of Mr. Darcy's London solicitor, Andrew Daniels

  Charlotte Collins: Longtime friend of Elizabeth's; married to Rev. William Collins; resides at Hunsford, rectory of Rosings Park in Kent

  Mrs. Reynolds: Pemberley housekeeper

  Mr. Taylor: Pemberley butler

  Mr. Keith: Mr. Darcy's steward

  Samuel Oliver: Mr. Darcy's valet

  Marguerite Charbonneau: Mrs. Darcy's maid

  Phillips, Watson, Tillson, Georges, Rothchilde: Pemberley footmen

  Mr. Clark: Pemberley head groundskeeper

  Mr. Thurber: Pemberley head groomsman

  Mrs. Langton: Pemberley cook

  Mr. Anders: Pemberley head coachman

  Mr. Burr: Pemberley gamekeeper

  Mr. Holmes: falconer

  Mrs. Smyth: Darcy House housekeeper

  Mr. Travers: Darcy House butler

  Hobbes: Darcy House footman

  Reverend Bertram: Rector of Pemberley Chapel

  Mrs. Hanford: Nanny to Darcy firstborn

  Mrs. Henderson: Midwife

  Madame du Loire: Modiste in Lambton


  Snippets of a Physician's Memoirs

  June 23, 1817

  Darcy House, London

  Imagine my surprise to realize it has been over a month since last jotting my musings in this fine book. Of course, writing while at sea is inconceivable. Egad, I abhor being at sea! Luckily the remedies for seasickness liberally doused down my gullet by the ever faithful Dr. Raul Penaflor staved off the worst of the hideous symptoms. I even managed to walk about a bit on deck. Bracing sea air, my derriere! Nonetheless, I was abed for the bulk of the trip, wallowing too far in my personal hellish misery to complain about the narrow confines of our cabin and odiferous mattress. East India trading ships cater to the needs of cargo far above passengers. We disembarked at Ramsgate. I was quite happy to embrace the rigors of overland travel rather than proceeding up the Thames, but several days of subsequent immobility were required to restore my equilibrium ere we moved beyond that lovely seacoast town. Raul, bless his Spanish heart, rather delighted in my incapacitation as it allotted him the opportunity to ramble through the streets and relish the sights. Poor man has never seen England. How does one live? I ask arrogantly.

  Eventually we set off. I did manage to post a letter warning William of my arrival. I hoped it would arrive well enough in advance, although that did not prove to be true. Apparently the mail service of my great country has not improved. Not all can be perfect. Oh well, that is the way of family! I flattered myself that his astounding joy would be profound enough to overwhelm any irritation at my besieging of the newlyweds. This did prove to be true as well as fortuitous, as William had hurt himself, again, and I am sure it was only my timely arrival that saved him from a life of handicap! Ha! However, I am getting ahead of myself, as you know, dear Jharna, I am wont to do.

  This trip home has been so anticipated, sea travel notwithstanding. Naturally I was thrilled that Raul wished to accompany me, but even without his companionship I would have had to come. How many hours did I bore you with memories of my homeland, Jharna? Always wishing and praying that you would agree to travel with me. Perhaps I should have prayed to your gods rather than my own. Ah well, here I now am, and never has the green English countryside and crowded London streets filled me with such joy. It is almost impossible to recollect how anxious I was to leave all those decades ago. Perhaps I am getting old, as you would tease.

  Darcy House stood shining in th
e afternoon sun, undiminished in her grandeur and loveliness. Moderate chaos reigned, much to my delight, when I crossed the threshold. It was a scene evocative of my youth when all us rowdy children would be tearing about the foyer: Alex sliding down the banister to Mother's dismay, Estella hiding in order to frighten delicate Mary, and James doubled over in mirth while I performed some feat of acrobatic skill. Yes, I must be aging if the frequent jaunts down the ancient paths of my memories are any indication. If the obvious affection between William and his bride are evidentiary of their marital relations, then Darcy House will yet again display such a scene. In fact, they are already on the way as Mrs. Darcy is with child.

  How can I describe Elizabeth Darcy? Clinically, emotionally, or both? Physically she is a tiny slip of a girl, although actually of moderate height. Strangely, considering the stature of William, she on the one hand is dwarfed by his bulk while simultaneously looming larger than life. Sheer force of personality and presence overcomes her physicality. With chestnut hair, enormous brown eyes, dainty features, and delicate bone structure, she is a picturesque counterpart for my nephew. They complement each other well on numerous levels. However, it is the aforementioned presence that I know has captured William, as I imagine it does all who know her. She is witty, intelligent, sparkling, kind, courageous, and loving. I can readily find no faults, and you know, Jharna, what a penchant I have for divining deficiencies!

  I will confess that I assumed William, like the vast majority of men in his class, had acquired a wife from the leeches of proper British society. Someone poised, of excellent family, and acceptable, but likely dull, vapid, and shallow. My years away from my favored nephew, his character largely gleaned through James's letters and later his own, fostered the theory that he would take the safe and acceptable road. I cannot claim to have an overly intimate relationship with him, but could have stated with absolute certainty that taking such a path would have rendered him miserable within a year. James always told me that his son's intelligence and restrained intensity mildly intimidated him, William possessing a nature far too zealous and exacting to comfortably fit within the confines of stifling English society. Yet, he would lament, William seemed determined to do so even to the point of suppressing his inclinations.

  As I recall musing in previous journal entries while visiting home, my impressions concurred with James's. William as an adult and Master of Pemberley appeared to be fulfilling the best of James's predictions and the worst of his fears. That he was brilliant as the estate manager and guardian to Georgie was evident, but there was a sadness and stoic quality to him that even I could not crack significantly. A mere smile or laugh was a rare event, and I think he was frankly relieved when I returned to India.

  Estella's letter after the wedding filled me with some hope, her impression of the new Mrs. Darcy and William's emotions all favorable. She also related that Elizabeth was neither of society nor even the best family. Lady Catherine flatly refused to acknowledge the union, shockingly, I write with towering sarcasm! Anyway, I am repeating myself. I guess it is just the surprise of the development that still staggers me. James, of course, had married for love, but I know how rare that is. Would even my dear brother have done so if Lady Anne Fitzwilliam were not of the highest caliber and breeding? I do not know. Regardless, William has found his match in every way in Elizabeth. Theirs appears to be the deepest of loves. I cannot be happier for them.

  Ah, Jharna, how amazing it is to be in the bosom of my family! For too many years I have been adrift with only you to really turn to. Now you are gone and I have longed for the reestablishment of roots. Who would have thought it? And I know you are laughing from wherever you now reside! Be that as it may, I must attempt to smother my sentimental tendencies and write of my days here clinically, or I will fill the remaining pages with nonsense.

  My dearest Georgiana has evolved into a woman in my absence. She is more beautiful and graceful then I would have imagined her awkward and skinny little-girl shape to grow into. So like Anne in every way. William's personality was always more of a melding of James and Anne, his humor and playfulness there, but reserved. More like my sister Mary or brother Phillip. Actually, as I think on it, he receives that trait from my mother! Interesting. Or, with further staring into space recollections, very like the old Lord Matlock, Anne's father. There was an intimidating man! I doubt he ever cracked a smile, as the world is yet in one piece.

  No, Georgie is a straight replica of dear Anne. Blonde, blue-eyed, dainty, soft-spoken, charming, innocent, yet with a sharp humor, intelligence, and quick wit hidden behind her naïveté. It is providential that I arrived at this moment in her life. She is the proverbial girl on the cusp of womanhood: one hour a silly child and the next wise and mature. I am gleaning via oblique hints that William and Elizabeth walked a rocky course on their way to felicity, Georgiana the stabilizer for my nephew's turbulent soul. I do not know the details, although the curiosity is killing me (do not snicker, Jharna). I will figure it out in due time!

  The first several days of our dwelling have been hectic, hence why I have yet to create an entry here until today. Within days of my arrival I met Elizabeth's entire family, Lady Catherine and her daughter Miss Anne, a number of William's friends and business associates, Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley, and my old friend Malcolm Fitzwilliam and his family. The Darcys hosted a ball that Raul and I were in time to attend. It was marvelous to see old faces again, even Lady C. She has always been fodder for entertainment; this time it was a confrontation and subsequent dubious apology for some sort of infraction against Elizabeth. I am still working out the details, but apparently she refused to acknowledge William's marriage, basing her disdain for Elizabeth's country upbringing, as well as a misguided belief that Anne and William were destined to wed. I recall James speaking of this a time or two with humor, saying once that it would be incestuous considering how close the two were as youngsters. Be that as it may, Lady C never gave up the idea even after William made it abundantly clear his leanings were elsewhere. The boy has a mind of his own, make no mistake! Even I could have told Lady C that.

  Mr. Bingley has matured nicely since I met him two years ago, and married Elizabeth's sister Jane! Mrs. Bingley is a blonde beauty with stunning blue eyes, far quieter than Elizabeth but well suited for Mr. Bingley. The two seem very happy, and I can only imagine how delighted all the individuals involved must feel to be so closely intertwined. Mr. Bingley's sister is a beauty as well. Striking red hair rarely seen without the accompanied poor complexion Miss Bingley thankfully is not stricken with. She, however, is the quintessential product of the English ton. Always the excellent diagnostician of character, it was clear to me that Miss Bingley fancied William and was less than pleased by him choosing Elizabeth rather than her. It was all so amusing. Of course, she is the sort I expected William to end up with, and after studying all the varied interactions, I can only be thoroughly elated that William's backbone and good sense prevailed. With each passing day I am coming to admire the boy more and more. James would be so very proud of his son. Pity how those events unfolded.

  Elizabeth has a large family. Her mother is rather ridiculous, but her father is an interesting man. There is no doubt where Elizabeth gets her character from. We older gentlemen hit it off quite well, kindred spirits to a degree. She has two younger sisters, but I frankly had little time to become acquainted. The room was filled to overflowing. I am certain Darcy House has not seen such an extravaganza in years. Elizabeth was the perfect hostess, William his usual reserved self but with a foolish grin frequently gracing his features and eyes that lit up whenever he gazed upon his wife, which was constantly. I can remember James having much the same expression whenever he even thought of Anne. I was young enough then to tease him mercilessly about it! Now I guess I am a bit wiser and assuredly older, so these displays of affection do not annoy me as profoundly. In truth, the heart gets all fluttery, but I would not admit that anywhere but within these pages! Still, as moving as it is, eve
n this new sentimental me is relieved to know I was never blatantly moony every time you were nearby, Jharna.

  Raul charmed all the available women, and many of those who are not. That man is far too handsome for his own good! Not to mention being a royal—you know that's why I call him Raja, to his annoyance. It was requisite for me to play down his assets, so to speak, to avoid a matrimonial plot by Elizabeth's mother. I find myself curious as to what part she may have had to play in her eldest daughters wooing such eligible bachelors. No insult intended, as both Elizabeth and Jane are excellent ladies; however, their class is clearly not equal to a Darcy. Not that I ever attributed much worth to that nonsense, but it is the world we live in. Perhaps Mrs. Bennet played no part as both men are clearly smitten with their wives, but she is the type, and I have witnessed such manipulations dozens of time. More history for me to unravel. Yes, I know, Jharna, I am a busybody.

  Day two was spent in the company of Malcolm. He dragged Raja and me to White's for an afternoon of debauchery and indolence. I recognized a few faces, but the truth is my years of studying in London did not allow for leisure time, nor was I one to overly hobnob with society. I could have participated more, naturally, being a Darcy, but was looked at askance for my chosen study. I was not of the Cambridge or Oxford elite, nor did I care to be, so it created a mild stigma. No one knew quite how to deal with me, and since I was never interested in another's opinion, it was easier to avoid it all. I sensed some of the same hesitation at White's. I am still a Darcy and in the company of Lord Matlock, so cannot be shunned. Yet I am also a mere doctor wearing strange clothing and toting a Spaniard in my wake! I doubt even listing Raja's pedigree would have helped! Ah well, we had a delightful time nonetheless, the liquor as excellent as always and billiard room elegant.

  The remainder of the evening has been lazy. The loving couple had a prior engagement, so Raja and I stayed with the girls. Georgie's pianoforte skills have improved dramatically since I was last here. She is quite proficient. What a shame that women cannot freely pursue careers in the arts. It has never made much sense to me that our culture expects an accomplished woman to play an array of instruments, speak and read several languages, paint and draw, be expert in all methods of needlepoint, yet do nothing with any of it beyond amuse themselves and their inner circle. I can speak several tongues, having inherited that gift from my mother, but cannot play a single instrument, cannot draw beyond vague sketches of bodily parts, and can only wield a needle when sewing flesh, yet I am considered a more valued member of society! I personally think all men should be forced to observe a woman in childbirth. That would make them think twice about the weaker sex!