Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One

Sharon Lathan


  a novel

  Two Shall Become One

  Sharon Lathan

  Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Lathan

  Cover and internal design © 2009 by Sourcebooks, Inc.

  Cover photo © Bridgeman Art Library

  Cover design by Cyanotype Book Architects

  Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

  The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

  P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410

  (630) 961-3900

  FAX: (630) 961-2168

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Lathan, Sharon.

  Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two shall become one: Pride and prejudice

  continues / Sharon Lathan.

  p. cm.

  1. Darcy, Fitzwilliam (Fictitious character)--Fiction. 2. Bennet, Elizabeth (Fictitious character)--Fiction. 3. England--Social life and customs--19th century--Fiction. 4. Domestic fiction. I. Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. Pride and prejudice. II. Title.

  PS3612.A869T86 2009



  Table of Contents


  Cast of Characters

  1. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy

  2. An Intimate Conversation

  3. The Wedding Night

  4. A New Day Dawns

  5. Homecoming

  6. Settling in at Pemberley

  7. A Stroll in the Garden

  8. An Anniversary

  9. Shopping!

  10. Meeting the Matlocks

  11. A Surprise for Poor Samuel

  12. Christmas Guests

  13. Christmas at Pemberley

  14. The Days In-between

  15. Twelfth Night

  16. The Long Winter

  17. Conflict and Calamity

  18. Recovery, Recollection, and Revenge

  19. Romantic Interludes


  About the Author

  Back Cover


  OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND OF 2005, I entered a movie theater with my best girlfriend and teenage daughter to watch Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. My only expectation was to enjoy a sappy chick flick with two of my dearest women friends. I had never read the classic novel by Jane Austen, nor had I seen any of the previous adaptations.

  To my stunned amazement, I walked out of that theater sporting a heart swelling with romantic sentiment and warm fuzzy feelings running amok, and I was soon to embark on a pathway that would change my life. Within two months, I had joined the ranks of fan fiction writers from all over the world who have adored this timeless tale of true love. I have since read the novel and seen a few of the previous adaptations, but my heart remains enamored with the recent movie and the incredible actors and actresses who brought these delightful characters to life.

  My personal quest was to delve realistically into the Regency/Late Georgian Era of England in the early 1800s while exploring the future of the Darcys. It began as a lark, but in true Mr. Darcy fashion, I was well into the middle of it before I recognized what I had begun. Quite before I turned around, I had my own website and was reaching the one-year anniversary of their wedding with fifty-plus chapters under my belt. Yes, it is an obsession!

  What I have strived to recount is a marriage in its purest embodiment: a union based on commitment, equality, passion, friendship, honesty, and love. I wanted to answer the timeless questions regarding happily-ever-after and how two individual people meld into one soul. Along the way there are humor, drama, friends, family, and life events to experience with the lovers.

  The Darcy Saga, in its entirety, is about how two people who are bonded and committed to each other move through life. That is the plot, the theme, and the essence of the story. They are not the same people once they have each other.

  This first novel deals with the initial days into weeks, ending with five months of wedded bliss as the family prepares for the Season in London. I do not rush, as I want the reader to share in the joy of new love as it blooms and alters and strengthens William and Elizabeth. Subsequent novels will travel further along the timeline of life.

  Welcome to Pemberley, and thank you for taking this journey with me.


  Sharon Lathan

  Cast of Characters

  Mr. 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; 21 years of age, born May 28, 1795; second Bennet daughter

  Miss Georgiana Darcy: 17 years of age; sister of Mr. Darcy with guardianship shared by her brother and cousin, Col. Fitzwilliam; companion is Mrs. Annesley

  Col. Richard Fitzwilliam : 31 years of age; cousin and dear friend to Mr. Darcy; second son of Lord and Lady Matlock; stationed with a regiment 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

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

  Mr. Charles Bingley: 25 years of age; longtime friend of Mr. Darcy; resides at Netherfield Hall in Hertfordshire; married Jane Bennet on November 28, 1816

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

  Miss Caroline Bingley: sister of Charles Bingley

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

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

  Stephen Lathrop : Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; resides at 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; resides at Sanburl Hall

  Albert Hughes: childhood friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Marilyn

  Rory Sitwell : Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Julia

  George and Alison Fitzherbert: Derbyshire residents

  Clifton and Chloe Drury: Derbyshire residents

  Mrs. Reynolds: Pemberley housekeeper

  Mr. Taylor: Pemberley butler

  Mr. Keith: Mr. Darcy’s steward

  Mr. Samuel Oliver: Mr. Darcy’s valet

  Miss 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

  Reverend Bertram: Rector of Pember
ley Chapel

  Madame du Loire: Modiste in Lambton

  Marquis de Orman: Derbyshire resident


  Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy

  THANK GOODNESS IT IS finally over, Fitzwilliam Darcy thought with a heavy sigh.

  He realized that he probably should not entertain such a thought, but it could not be helped. The past eight weeks of his engagement had held many wonderful moments and all in all had been delightful, but also exceedingly trying. Daily he wanted nothing more than to spend time with his beloved Elizabeth. However, the constant pressures of wedding plans, visits from a seemingly inexhaustible quantity of friends and family, constraints of propriety, and business interests that had taken him from Hertfordshire on several occasions all had conspired to separate him from her far too often. Add to that his own uneasiness with all the social engagements, not to mention his continued distaste for Mrs. Bennet, and the weeks had seemed interminable.

  Nonetheless, he thought while gazing lovingly upon his sleeping wife… my wife!… There certainly were some marvelous times to be remembered. In truth, he and Elizabeth had managed to pass numerous satisfying hours together alone, or at least almost alone, yet it never was sufficient as far as Darcy was concerned. She had teased him on occasion for acting like a petulant child whose favorite toy had been taken away. Initially, he had been a bit offended, but then he realized she was correct and had to laugh at himself. Yet he could not deny how bereft he felt without her by his side and how he had treasured every moment that they were together, even if it was brief.

  They discovered, much to their mutual joy, that the trials of the previous months, during which each had suffered tremendously, had brought them to a place of complete understanding and honesty. The conversations they now shared were open, deeply profound, intimate, and blessedly free of all artifice and misunderstanding. He had revealed himself to her as he never had to any living soul, not even to his sister or dear Cousin Richard. She had done the same.

  They had strived to learn as much as possible about each other. The resulting adoration and respect had only grown deeper with each passing day. And all this before they were married! Now they were truly husband and wife, and Darcy could only imagine their love and communion growing stronger.

  He rested his head back against the rocking carriage wall, tightened his arm around Elizabeth, and closed his eyes as his thoughts continued to drift. The ceremony itself had been lovely. The women had triumphed in every aspect of the arrangements. Frankly, Darcy could not have cared less about the decorations as long as his precious Elizabeth became his wife. However, he understood the importance of these things to the ladies and had to admit that the Meryton church and the reception hall at Netherfield were stupendously adorned with flowers in profusion, ribbons and bows, candles and more.

  Darcy merely gave it all a cursory glance, eyes riveted to the door. Once Elizabeth entered on the arm of her proud father, Darcy saw or heard very little else. She simply stole away his breath and all conscious thought! How he managed to recite his vows was a mystery. Elizabeth was wearing a simple but lovely white gown of silk with lace along the edges and a golden sash. She had styled her hair in an elaborate design of curls and braids with thin gold ribbon and buds of baby’s breath and lavender intertwined. She wore the strand of sapphires he had given her as an engagement gift around her slender neck. Her fine eyes sparkled, her cheeks were rosy, and that special smile only for him highlighted her luscious lips. It was a picture imprinted on his mind’s eye and would remain there flawlessly rendered for all of his life.

  The lovely and ancient church in Meryton, where the Bennet family had worshipped for years, was perfectly suited for the ceremony. In truth, Darcy had always imagined marrying in the chapel at Pemberley and was mildly saddened initially at the natural choice to marry where both Bennet daughters had grown up. However, he quickly recognized the logic to the decision and realized that he honestly did not care as long as they were married with the sanction of the Church, religion being a vital part of his life.

  The elderly vicar performed the traditional ceremony impeccably, his strong voice reciting the vows and quoting Holy Scripture with firm conviction. When Darcy slipped the slim, etched-in-jewels gold band onto Elizabeth’s finger, nestling it alongside the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that had been his mother’s, it was far and away the most profoundly moving moment in his life.

  Elizabeth stirred slightly and he pressed her closer to his side, kissing her gently on the top of her head. He pulled the blanket further over her body and tucked it in. Once he was sure she still slept, he rested his cheek on her head and went back to his daydreams.

  The reception at Netherfield was joyous, filled with all of their respective friends and relatives. The food was superb, the musicians exceptional, and the wine of the best vintage. Darcy had an extremely difficult time tearing his eyes away from his bride, but he did manage to congratulate Charles and Jane on their nuptials as well, realizing with a start that Jane looked quite beautiful herself. He was embarrassed to admit that he had not even noticed her presence at the church’s altar alongside Elizabeth!

  He and Lizzy had previously agreed that they would make their escape as soon as good manners would allow. Darcy had secured lodging at the White Stag Inn near Bedford. He had discovered this superb establishment years earlier while still at Cambridge. Located only a few miles off the main thoroughfare to London—on the turnpike to Cambridge, in fact—it was secluded enough to fulfill his preference for quiet while traveling, but also popular enough as a halting place for those journeying to Newmarket for the races, or on to Suffolk for the sea, so that it was well maintained.

  It was also the perfect resting point for the two-day ride between London and Pemberley, a trek he had completed more times that he could remember. He had stayed at the White Stag so frequently over the years that the owners, a pleasant couple named Hamilton, knew him well. They had been ecstatic at the idea of hosting him and his new bride for the initial days of their married life.

  All arrangements had been made in advance and, to ensure their privacy, he had rented out the entire second story. Luckily, the late time of year meant the road would be lightly traveled, with hired coaches rarely passing and passengers minimal. Even the pub would see few customers, although it would not matter greatly, as their suite was to the rear of the sturdy red-brick building and well away from the public rooms.

  Their luggage had been sent ahead earlier in the day, so all would be ready upon their arrival. Darcy was breathless in anticipation of this night! Not just for the obvious reasons of their promised intimacy and consummation of their marriage, but for the peace and relief from the hustle and bustle of the past two months. Just to be alone with his beloved! Never in his life had any evening been so tremendously and lovingly contemplated.

  The carriage pulled off the main road, and Darcy knew they were close to their destination. “Elizabeth,” he whispered softly, “wake up, my love; we are almost there.”

  She moaned softly and wriggled closer to his side, wrapping her arms tighter around his waist. “Much too comfortable here,” she murmured sleepily. “Do not want to move.”

  Darcy chuckled. “Well, imagine your heightened comfort in our room, and perhaps that will help you wake up.”

  She leaned her head back, safe and warm within the circle of his embrace, gazed into his brilliant eyes, and smiled. “You make an excellent point, Mr. Darcy, most excellent indeed!”

  They stared for a long moment with their arms remaining tightly wound about each other. Finally Elizabeth could stand it no longer and exclaimed with breathless impertinence, “Are you going to kiss me, husband, or do I need to beg?”

  He smiled impishly. “Perhaps I should have you beg. That might be interesting to watch. The proud Miss Bennet begging.”

  “Ah, but I am no longer Miss Bennet and since you hold the monopoly on pride, William, I daresay I would not be very amusing at all!”
Her eyes were twinkling as they always did when she teased him.

  He feigned deep consideration and seriousness while lowering his face to hers slowly. “Now it appears it is your turn to make an excellent point, Mrs. Darcy.” He kissed her gently at first, then deeply as she responded in kind. Cupping one cheek and caressing tenderly, Darcy murmured, “I love you, Elizabeth, my wife.” Allowing no opportunity for her to reply, he reclaimed her lips. Who knows how far the kisses may have gone, but, alas, they were interrupted by the carriage stopping with a jolt. Darcy released his wife with a lingering caress and regretful sigh.

  They were greeted at the courtyard door of the inn by Mr. Hamilton. He welcomed them both as they alighted from the carriage and hurried them into the warm and inviting reception room. A servant took their coats and gloves. Darcy spoke to Mr. Hamilton, assuring that all arrangements had been carried out, while Elizabeth looked around the room. The pub was to the left through an archway of polished oak and gray stone. Two men in farmer’s garb sat at the edge of the bar, ale mugs in hand, as they attended to an unseen minstrel whose strains of violin music could be faintly heard.

  The reception area was a quaint and cozy room warmed by a roaring fire in a huge fireplace located to the right; numerous chairs and couches were positioned around the heat source. An older gentleman sat in one chair, newspaper in hand, attending avidly to the words. A middle-aged couple sat upon a settee, lifting smiling faces to the Darcys, and nodding politely. There were rooms and hallways branching off from the main chamber, including a public dining area and what appeared to be a tiny library. Lizzy’s attention was diverted to a stout woman with a sunny face who appeared from around a large desk.

  “Welcome, welcome!” she sang. “Mr. and Mrs. Darcy! How delightful! Newlyweds! How precious it is to have you spending your first days with us!” Mr. Hamilton turned and introduced his wife to Lizzy.

  Mrs. Hamilton continued in her breathless, singsong way of talking, “Mr. Darcy has been our guest so very often! And now he is married! What a blessing it is! A private parlor is set up for dining, Mr. Darcy, just as you requested! Dinner will be ready momentarily! All the dishes you asked for, Mr. Darcy! Very private!”