Pride, Prejudice & New Adventures Vol. 5
Resolve & Revelations:
A Pride & Prejudice Reimagining
by Ney Mitch
News reaches Longbourn, Pemberley, and Gracechurch Street that Lydia Bennet Wickham is now going to wed Mr. Henry Darcy of Canterbury estate in America. Many are happy for her chance of luck. Yet good wishes are not expressed all around. For hearing the news, Caroline Bingley is once more bitter at being thwarted by yet another Bennet girl, and she harbors resentment.
As Lydia’s fate is complete, Georgiana and a few others begin to find their own fortunes as well—or their own misfortunes.
While in America, Georgiana makes the acquaintance of a man named Jason, who is both in politics and intrigue. Unable to find him anything less than a wonderful mystery, Georgiana begins to warm to him and develops a desire to help him achieve justice and change in the face of adversity. Thus unfolds the path taken by Georgiana.
Will it all come to rights for everyone?
Or will it be the reverse for all?
Release Date: December 14, 2021
Genre: Historical | Regency
Another Letter That Caused a Sensation
It's a truth, universally acknowledged by all who knew her, that Mrs. Bennet was the most excitable mother in the history of mothers. Also, where her daughters were concerned, her nerves and energy could always be reached to new heights, her talkative nature even more voluble, and her volume at a higher decibel level than ever before.
Therefore, upon receiving a letter a month later from Lydia in America, Mrs. Bennet was all in excitement—then upon reading the letter, her exhilaration knew no bounds.
When finished, she left her sitting room in Longbourn, moved around the staircase and entered her husband's study, where she found Mr. Bennet sitting down and reading The Castle of Otranto.
“My dear Mr. Bennet, have you heard the news?”
“Whatever you are about to tell me, my dear,” he said, still reading, “I'm certain that it has not reached my ears or eyes yet. Yet I see that you wish to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, my dear, you must know that Lydia and Mr. Henry Darcy’s courtship was said to have been going quite well.”
“Yes, I remember you reading their last letter to me, Mrs. Bennet. Twice.”
“Well, I did not think you were paying enough attention the first time.”
“I am paying attention now, however, but no doubt I shall hear what you are about to say multiple times till I know it by heart.”
“Yes, you shall, for it is the most wonderful news!”
Mr. Bennet chuckled, still amazed that his wife was still speaking and had still not got to the point of why she had come. He lowered his book and gave her his full attention, as was her due.
“Well, then, what of Lydia?”
“She has just written to me, and Mr. Henry Darcy has proposed to Lydia at last!”
“Was she foolish enough to have said yes, or foolish enough to have declined him?”
“How can she be foolish either way?”
“My dear, I have learned that in regards to the act of matrimony, a person is foresworn if they do and foresworn if they do not.”
“Oh, how can you speak so?”
“I can because I must. Now, if you will not mind, let us return to the point of our discussion.”
“Oh, of course! You take delight in always throwing me off my path of conversation. You have no compassion on my topics of discussion.”
“You are mistaken in that as well, my dear. I have the highest respect for them. For you have said the same things so many times that I have decided to commit much of it to memory, so that I can easily recall them for recitation.”
“You have thrown me off my point again.”
“Have I?” He laughed. “Very well then, I shall behave. Continue.”
“Lydia has accepted him, and they are going to be married at last! Oh, Mr. Bennet, three daughters married. Oh, fortune has been very good to us.”
“Yes, so it would seem.” Mr. Bennet smiled, actually allowing himself to be happy for his youngest daughter. “The blasted fool, Henry Darcy, has not gotten my consent to have my daughter's hand in marriage. Yet I can forgive him for that oversight, seeing as how we are all separated by a very large ocean.”
“Oh, he has asked. He wrote it in Lydia's letter that he wished to request your permission to marry her. Did I not mention it?”
“You did not, my dear.”
“Well, it is not my fault. You kept continuing to distract me.”
“Yes, yes, I did.”
“Besides, I knew you were going to agree as well, so I figured I'd write back with your confirmation either way.”
“You knew my mind and the decision I would make without asking me first? My dear, your skills and the art of intuition are positively akin. Have I married a psychic gypsy without knowing it for these many years?”
“Well,” Mrs. Bennet smiled smugly, “while I never wish to compliment myself, I do have quite the skills to see into the future, do I not?”
“Do you now?”
“Oh yes, remember when I said that Jane's first engagement would be most excellent, for it would throw the girls into the paths of other rich men. And was I not correct, sir?”
“I would agree with you if it weren't for the small insignificant detail that Jane's proposal to Mr. Brocklehurst led to little else but me being amused that my daughter almost wed the most ridiculous man in all of England. Oh, forgive me, the second most ridiculous man in England. Mr. Collins shall always be the first.”
“Well, still, Jane's engagement led to her being recognized by Mr. Bingley, who was bosom friends with Mr. Darcy, therefore Elizabeth was thrown into their path, where Mr. Darcy fell in love with her. Then it was through their marriage that Kitty met Mr. Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and now they are wed, and their honeymoon led to Lydia and Mr. Henry Darcy beginning a courtship and now what a triumph!”
“You truly wish to take all the credit for this, don't you?” Mr. Bennet said, amused.
“Well, I would never call myself the sole reason behind the fortune of so many—yet I believe that I am.”
“Of course, you do, my dear. Of course, you do.”
“But it is all so very vexing!” Mrs. Bennet continued.
“They are going to have the wedding in America! That will not do at all. Lydia is my prize child, and she must be married at Longbourn where all of her friends may see her.”
“Surely you see that is not possible, my dear.”
“No, I do not see that? Why should I see that? Why should that be?”
“Because much of that side of the Darcy family resides in America, and it will be much simpler for everyone here to travel there than reverse.”
“Yet no one here in Hampshire shall see the happy event!”
Mr. Bennet put his book down, took off his spectacles, and smirked.
“Mrs. Bennet, tell the truth. You just wish her to be here so that you can make a large show of it and parade her illustrious new husband, the other Mr. Darcy, before everyone.”
“Of course, I do!”
“Your honesty is as refreshing as always.”
“And I find it very hard that the option of having it here was never opened to us. And Mr. Henry Darcy's pride on this matter is very vexing to me.”
“Well perhaps so, Mrs. Bennet. Yet you might find Mr. Henry Darcy to be no less proud than any other rich man who is used to getting his own way.”
“Riches or not, I am proud of him, but I wished it were otherwise.”
“Then might I suggest you think on it from another perspective.”
“What other perspective could there be?”
“You will find, my love, that there is often more than one perspective in the world today. Sometimes there is often more than two. Yet this one, I believe, will satisfy you. If we travel to America to see Lydia wed, you can boast of being able to have travelled to a new land and watched your youngest daughter being wed to another man that many unfortunate ladies might have dreamed of. There, will that do?”
“It will not matter if twenty such rich men from other lands would propose to our daughters since no one will see it.”
“Depend upon it, my dear. If twenty such should appear in the world, I shall order my remaining single daughters to court them all. Now, can you not find satisfaction in taking that letter and showing it to Mrs. Philips, Lady Lucas, and the Longs as well, so that all of Hampshire will know our joy—and be jealous of us again.”
“Oh, that is a good scheme,” Mrs. Bennet said, kissing his cheek. “And what shall you do in my absence?”
“Well,” he replied sarcastically, “After I have finished sobbing as usual whenever I am left alone and without your presence, I am going to begin writing a letter to Mr. Collins.”
“Why do you write to that odious man?”
“To inform him that while he still may inherit Longbourn, he can rest assured that our fortune is still equal to his.”
Mrs. Bennet clapped her hands in delight.
“Oh, yes my dear, do that!”
“With alacrity and all the goodwill that comes from us God-fearing folk.”
Mrs. Bennet left his study and as she did so, Mary came down the hall.
* * *
Having returned from Hunsford where she had just visited Charlotte Collins and assisted her, Mary had been home at Longbourn for only five days when Lydia's letter came.
“Oh, Mary!” her mother cried out. “A letter has just come from America, and your sister Lydia is now going to be wed to Mr. Henry Darcy.”
Mary, at first, did not reply.
“Do you not care to know the details?”
“I cannot,” Mary objected. “And I should not. How can I condone a marriage that has occurred so soon after the death of her first husband?”
“Oh, you silly girl! Lydia should not waste away just because Mr. Wickham had to be so foolish as to allow himself to be killed in war.”
“I have no love for Mr. Wickham, believe me, Mama, but still, it is all too quick, and it is not very moral now, is it?”
“Mary, please be quiet.” Mrs. Bennet sighed. “And be happy for your sister. Just this once?”
Upon seeing her mother look so resigned, it touched Mary's heart. Though she no longer despised Lydia, having seen Lydia's character alter so dramatically, it still hurt her to see how Lydia was met with good fortune and she, Mary Bennet, was still undecided as to her future.
When going to Hunsford, Mary Bennet was pleased to find that Mr. Collins was not there. He was sent by Lady Catherine to the Continent to contact a clergyman in Spain for her and interview him for a post she was considering for a neighboring estate. Therefore, while at Hunsford, she was able to assist Mrs. Collins and Maria, meeting with the occupants of the village and tending to the poor. Such actions made her feel useful, but it also left her feeling empty. Charlotte Collins had the life that she had expected to have had instead, and to see her at Hunsford, so well settled, gave Mary a feeling of envy all the while, which she prayed she would finally overcome. Therefore, when leaving Hunsford before Mr. Collins returned, was both a blessing and a relief. She did not know where she was headed, and her studies began to offer less and less solace and satisfaction, for her nature began to change. She wanted to be of some use in the world and did not know where she fit in it. And yet Lydia, who for so long did not deserve a happy conclusion, was now receiving it as quickly as she had discovered herself.
“Very well, Mama,” Mary acquiesced. “I am happy for Lydia and shall welcome Mr. Henry Darcy as another brother.”
“Fine words, that is. Now join me as I take Lydia's letter to your Aunt Philips and give her the good news.”
Mary agreed, but rolled her eyes in the process, for she knew what her mother was up to. Both women put on their cloaks and bonnets, then departed first to Aunt Philips’s home, and then to Lucas Lodge.
* * *
Meanwhile, in his study, Mr. Bennet took out a paper, quill, ink, and began to compose his letter, which would be a great deal different from the one that Lydia had sent to them.
Dear Mr. Collins,
I trust you are well and that your journeying to the continent was met with success and comfort. I also thank you for constantly inquiring about my health in your last missive to me. Your consistency in asking me if I am near death's door does not go unnoticed or not regarded. For I assume that it is meant to be out of general worry for my welfare and not anything otherwise.
I also thank you for your congratulations on the recent nuptials of my fourth daughter, Kitty, to Colonel Fitzwilliam. I do recall that you once wrote to me out of worry that Lady Catherine did not look upon the union with a friendly eye. This seems to be a constant impediment for us, does it not? That Lady Catherine does continuously have a disinclination toward the felicity of my daughters. Or that my family has a disinclination to ever be aligned with her intentions. At first, you informed me that Lady Catherine de Bourgh did not look upon Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy's designs upon my Lizzy with kindness, and then it was Kitty with the Colonel—and now, I am not fully aware if this news shall be to her dislike as well, but my youngest girl, Lydia, might find herself under the boot of Lady Catherine's judgment.
You see, I must trouble you once more for your congratulations. My youngest, Lydia, who was recently widowed, has found a love to her liking once more, and will soon be the wife of Mr. Henry Darcy, of Canterbury estate in America. If your patroness finds herself possibly affronted with this news, I shall confess myself to be mortified, if so. Yet in regards to those intangible things such as family ties and blood bonds, I shall naturally find myself siding with my daughter's felicity and believe her to be in the right.
Yet again, if Lady Catherine could find it in her heart to enjoy this news, then I shall be overjoyed—and I shall admit that the lord hath smiled upon us, for we are still in her good graces. If not, please do your duty as her loyal servant and console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by her many nephews: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Mr. Henry Darcy as well. For I believe that, in the end, they have more to give.
"Yours sincerely, &c."
Upon finishing the letter, Mr. Bennet leaned back and smiled. Content in knowing that he had stoked Mr. Collins’s pride while not being serious about anything he had just written in regards to the apologies, he had only one regret on the matter.
He had wished that while he found joy in the letter, he wanted nothing more than to see the look on Lady Catherine's face when she heard the news.
Therefore, while Lydia's letter caused much joy and jealousies all around, Mr. Bennet sought comfort that he also had another letter that caused a sensation—and it was all his own.