His passionate love for Elizabeth only mitigates this character flaw, resulting in the awful proposal at Hunsford.
If happenstance forced Darcy to marry Elizabeth before he loved her, or even knew her at all, would he ever be able to get past his pride to recognise his fortune? Fiction M - English - Elizabeth, Mr.
Despite the season, the sun shone bright, seeming to bless the upcoming union, bathing the small church in warm merry tones, and drawing the eye to the explosions of flowers situated at the end of each pew. Roses, gardenias, violets and even a few delicate orchids, no fashionable blossom was absent. Bennet had procured such a profusion of blooms, at this time of year and upon such short notice, was anyone's guess.
Bennet were called to meet his Maker, it would not do for the new Mrs. Darcy to remember the strained state of the mother daughter relationship in recent years. No indeed, better to give her a lavish wedding, so that she carries all the attendant affection of such a triumphant send off into her new state of matrimony.
Bennet had neither the sense to see that her relationship with her second eldest daughter was beyond repair - and perhaps had been irretrievable before the girl had even reached adulthood - nor the insight into Elizabeth's character to recognize that fripperies and trim meant less than nothing to her. As was generally expected, Kitty and Lydia were making a spectacle of themselves.
Could anyone remember an event where they had not stirred themselves to make a spectacle of some sort? They sat alternately giggling behind their gloved hands and then shoving each other in disagreement over who had rights to their dear departing sister's fine yellow armchair, while a stern Mary looked on in consternation, emitting indelicate huffs. Hurst sat absently playing with her pearl bracelet, her perpetually bored husband on one side and a much subdued Miss Bingley on the other.
In fact Miss Bingley looked quite ill. Her normally clear catlike eyes were red rimmed and her complexion was a mottled mixture of shades, none of them becoming. And yet how could she be otherwise, when the man whom she had held such high hopes for stood at the altar waiting for another? More to the point, he was not waiting for the paragon of society, the princess of the ton, with connections as handsome as her fortune — the type of lady he was expected to marry.
Bitter though it would have been, Miss Bingley could have conceded defeat to such a match. Darcy was marrying a nobody, a country miss with no fortune, no connections and no beauty. With a family uncouth in the extreme thrown into the bargain. To be supplanted by the likes of a Bennet was galling. Why, just look at those two hoydens, to think that they would be welcomed to Pemberley as family!
Well there was nothing to be done, the wedding could not be halted at this late stage but she hardened her resolve. Her impressionable brother would not also succumb to the schemes of the Bennet family; devil take her if she was going to call that artful chit Elizabeth 'sister'. The various other players in the little county drama were much as anticipated. Seated just behind the Bennets, a jovial Sir William Lucas could be heard explaining to a young breathless Maria Lucas that upon her marriage, her good friend and neighbour would soon be presented at court.
Further along the pew an enigmatic Miss Charlotte Lucas solemnly watched yet another girl, many years her junior, precede her into matrimony. Bingley standing up for his long-time friend was wearing an eager smile, oblivious the emotional undertones of those around him.
Of course his attention was consumed entirely by Jane Bennet, angel like, framed in a beam of sunshine on the far side of the altar. She blushed faintly under his admiring gaze, only adding more to her beauty. Last it was an ashen Mr. Bennet, who led his favorite daughter slowly up the aisle and handed her over to the waiting groom with a palpable air of resignation and sadness. However what was not expected would be Elizabeth Bennet shuffling toward her future husband with her gaze stubbornly trained upon the tiled floor, her lovely dark eyes filled with unshed tears.
Indeed with her pale complexion and stooped little shoulders she was as far removed from the notion of the customary blushing bride as could be. All things considered, it may have been just as well not to look at her marriage partner.
Darcy likewise could in no way be described as the customary eager groom, his expression, far from showing warmth and love, was a study of barely restrained fury. Yes, the overriding emotion Fitzwilliam Lawrence Darcy felt on this day, the day of his wedding, was anger. Anger at the parson who was about to tie him indelibly to this little adventuress; anger at her vulgar fortune hunting mother who had no doubt engineered the whole situation; anger for the strictures of society that left him no other option but to take such an unsuitable bride and elevate her to mistress of Pemberley; anger at himself for being careless enough to allow this business to pass.
But the lion's share of his anger was directed at the feminine figure standing across from him - her traitorous eyes downcast even at her moment of triumph. Even as these thoughts roiled around his confused mind Darcy made a conscious effort to mask his expression, to school it into indifference, if he could not counterfeit happiness. He relaxed his jaw, imperceptibly rolled his shoulders and took a deep breath. To stem the tide of gossip and prevent scandal from reaching London, inscrutability was the order of the day.
Think of Georgiana, he reminded himself. He would not do anything to jeopardize her happiness; he would not even denounce this upstart fortune hunter.
His grim ruminations almost made him miss the parson's cue, at a gentle prompting cough from Bingley, he choked out the words: So much for concealing his emotions. A brief flash of dark eyes filled with surprise did nothing to quell his temper.
Did she fear that I would not go through with it? No, she should know that she had chosen her prey with impeccable precision - his sense of honor irrevocably engaged; he could not back out now and still hope to call himself a gentleman. Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live? An involuntary hiss escaped through his teeth.
She would stand there blithely playing the victim! It was she who in her despicable greed had ruined all his plans and dashed his hopes of making a match of affection.
Most of society would have scoffed at the thought. But beneath his stern exterior the Master of Pemberley harboured an unfashionably romanticized view of matrimony. It was not spoken of, particularly with his Fitzwilliam relations, but he had long hoped, nay expected, to emulate his parents' close relationship.
Unlike his peers, Fitzwilliam Darcy had grown up in a warm and loving household. The young master was not confined to the nursery, relegated to the care of servants and only trotted out for the customary viewing of the 'heir' at formal gatherings. On the contrary, from the time he could walk he was included in family life. Defying convention, the Darcy's shared meals with their toddler son in Pemberley's private dining room, after which the family would eschew formality to settle down in front of a warm fire and discuss their day, play board games, read stories or simply do whatever took their fancy.
Often the young master would fall asleep listening to the low rumble of his father's voice and the answering tittering laugh of his mother, basking in the gentle glow of familial affection. Thereon George Darcy himself, never a servant, would carry his son above stairs and tuck him into his bed. It was an unorthodox upbringing to be sure, but part of the legacy of the Darcy family. Love in marriage seemed as natural as breathing to young Darcy.
He spent the first season on the Marriage Mart anticipating the fairytale; he would see an elegant lady from across the room, procure a dance and be dazzled by her kindness, intelligence and gentle beauty. A whirlwind courtship would follow, for who would refuse such a well favoured and well connected suitor? He would quickly make her his wife and fill Pemberley with dark haired, handsome children. Gain a helpmeet to ease his many duties and a companion to fill his lonely hours.
It was not so much a dream as the simple plan for his future days. Despite his aversion to large gatherings he remained steady to his purpose, making a point of accepting a wide range of invitations to dinners, house parties, musicales and even dreaded balls. And his efforts were, on the face of it, rewarded: They had the right family, the proper connections, the requisite accomplishments and handsome dowries.
Most were pretty enough and a few were uncommonly beautiful but, once introduced, they all followed the same tedious pattern. Each conversation held a decidedly rehearsed air.
Topics introduced by the lady at hand eventually lead to what made her uniquely qualified to be the mistress of Pemberley. Accomplishments couched as interests, connections casually dropped into conversation upwards of a dozen times, and if she could obliquely allude to her sizable dowry all the better.
Although delivered in the practiced London ennui, he could sense their feverish excitement; their eyes glittered with predatory zeal. As he stood in the drawing rooms and ballrooms of London, a thousand covetous eyes crawled over him: And yet they saw only the future master of Pemberley and the accompanying wealth and status, not the man, the young man ready to love and be loved.
Even when Darcy valiantly attempted to bridge the gap, to share some of his more private passions and interests in order to break through the drawing room dance of polite nothings and forge a deeper connection, the ladies gave nothing of themselves. When he deliberately strayed from the well trodden paths of exchange to ask the deeply personal questions truly pertinent to the selection of a life partner, blank stares and nervous titters were his only reward.
And of his own disclosures, they were listened to with only half an ear; as though his character was nothing more than a high stakes game, as if they could take the cards of his soul, play them shrewdly and dupe him into matrimony. After his first complete season no one lady stood out from the crowd, indeed he would have struggled to tell one lady from the next: It was as if they had a formula for catching a rich husband, he mused, laugh at everything he says, tilt your face up to look at him, pout as often as you can, sweetly, yes very sweetly, criticise every unattached female within a one mile radius, agree with everything he says, no matter how nonsensical, oh and for heaven's sake never reveal anything personal: On the few occasions the veil did fall, it was far from pretty.
In unguarded moments, when one could glimpse through the sweet docility, he would catch a mercenary glint, the smiles would take on an edge of pitiless calculation. At first their affectations could be viewed with a measure of amusement. They were full young after all, like gambolling little kittens. He could even feel sorry for them: However as time marched on, the sameness of it all began to grate. Near to the close of his first season he experienced his first near compromise.
It was clumsily done and easily foiled, Darcy could even find it within himself to be grateful for the ham-fisted lady and her ill-conceived plan as it had put him on his guard, ready to frustrate much more elaborate traps in his future, set by some he had even thought to trust. As the years passed without finding a suitable candidate, a sense of unease grew. Was he asking too much? Surely there must be some lady in the Ton who possessed the qualities he required for the benefit of his estate, family name and own yearnings.
Or was the Haut Ton a stagnant pool where he would find nothing but these manicured, artificial specimens of womanhood? He began to seek the warmth of affection he had expected to garner from a wife in the seductive half-light of the demi-monde. Never willing to suffer the ignominy inherent in patronising a brothel, like a common sailor, he indulged in a few discreet dalliances and eventually took a more permanent mistress.