Letter from Lizzie Bennet to Emma Woodhouse #25

Longbourn

My dear Emma,

I wish you all the best for your marriage! Yes, I hope to attend the ceremony in Hartfield this Autumn with my dear husband. I won’t miss your marriage for no reason whatever.

Do you remember? I was so worried to announce my marriage, because my family didn’t like Darcy and they didn’t know how much we all owned him for Lydia. I told my sister Jane about the engagement, and she was really incredulous. I explained her with all the patience I could gather that I was sure I loved Darcy and that I thought about him since my visit to Pemberley. Of course, I had to suffer her reproach for being so reserved with her, but she was very happy for me, in the end.

Darcy talked to papa, and he was upset that I could accept him after all the harsh words I had for him. I had to count the qualities he had, the estimation I had for him and the affection build in many months of acquaintance to convince him. I had to tell him also of the things he did for Lydia, and father could say no more. He was so relieved that he owned my uncle no money for Lydia’s scandal, because he was sure my future husband wanted no repayment. Mother was amazed and dumb at the news. When she recovered, she could only comment on the luck I had, the jewels I would have had and the carriages, much better than Jane’s! Ten thousand a year!!!! Poor mama! At least, she has now three daughters married and settled.

Now that my family is informed of our plans for the future, I asked my dear Darcy when and how he fell in love with me and this was the answer I received: “I cannot fix on the hour or the spot, or the looks or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun”* He admired me for being impertinent with him since the beginning. Probably, I was so different from the other ladies he knew who only looked for his approbation that I interested him from the start. Lady Catherine’s vane attempt to part us was the key of his resolution to talk directly and ask my hand for the second time.  Lady Catherine gave us such a joy! We’ll never thank her enough for this.

I wrote to my dear Aunt and Uncle Gardiner too to announce our marriage. I had to thank them for not going to the Lakes, but to Derbyshire and Pemberley, instead, for their affection, for Aunt’s sensibility and foresight towards my feelings for him. I invited them to Pemberley at Christmas, and I hope to be there myself soon, with my dear new sister, Georgiana.

I’ll miss papa very much, but we’ll invite him very often to our estate and also Kitty will spend a lot of time with us and our friends. This’ll do her a lot of good. I’ll also invite Lydia – of course without Wickham – now and then. She’ll ask for money and I’ll help her as best as I can with my own money, without asking my dear husband.

I forgot to mention dear Lizzie, that we’ll marry together, Jane and me. I’ll send you all the details, because I want you to attend the most joyful day of my life.

Emma and Lizzie will be together after years of letters sent across England. Pen friends meeting. Isn’t it fantastic? I can’t wait for this to happen.

I send you all my love, dear. Yours,

Lizzie B. Darcy

Pride and Prejudice, “Double Wedding” BBC, 1995

 

* “Pride and Prejudice”, Chapter 60

 

 

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Letter from Emma Woodhouse to Lizzie Bennet #25

Hartfield

Dear Lizzie,

your last letter gave me pure joy! That you and Mr. Darcy finally understood each other and expressed your love was not a surprise to me. I was sure this would have happened sooner or later. You are perfect together, you’ll be blessed by a long, lasting love, my dear.

How your family’ll accept Mr. Darcy’s proposal I don’t know, but be strong. I’m sure they’ll appreciate all the good qualities you have already discovered. Talking of families…. how do you think our families had received the announcement of our engagement? John Knightley was happy but not too complimentary. He was not very surprised to hear the news of his brother’s engagement, or the name of the bride (he said he had already imagined the perfect wife for George could be me). Moreover, “he considers the good fortune of the engagement all on my side, but that he is not without hope of my growing, in time, as worthy of your affection, as you think me already.”*

And what about my father? I was scared to tell him the “horrible” truth and waited for a worried reaction from him. One night, when me and George were both at dinner, we tried to introduce our plans without alarming him. Poor father, it was a shock at first, and he tried to dissuade us both from marrying!! He also said it was better for me to remain single and never marry, as I had promised many times. I stressed the good things of our marriage: having Mr. Knightley with us every day and not only now and then, having both of us, every day exactly as before, better than before.

Mrs. Weston and Isabella helped me a lot trying to convince father of the good opportunity that my marriage with George was: “It was a union of the highest promise of felicity in itself, and without one real, rational difficulty to oppose or delay it”*. Just figure, once father told me that we could consider to marry in a couple of years. A couple of years?!? My dear, as much as I love my dad, I cannot ruin my happiness and George’s to humor these whimsy fears.

More news related to people I told you about in the past, first of all, Harriet Smith: she is going to be married to Robert Martin. Finally, my pains for not being a good friend to her are at an end. Robert proposed to Harriet again when he met her in London and she accepted immediately. I feel so happy for her. My sense of guilt towards Harriet, all my bad advices, made me feel so uneasy . Harriet’ll always be a lesson to me, a lesson of humility. When I finally met her, the atmosphere was so pleasant. I could have proof that Robert Martin had substituted Mr. Knightley completely in her heart. More good news arrived about Harriet. We discovered that her father, a tradesman, gave his consent to the marriage. She is not an orphan, after all. I met also Robert Martin, a very good person, I like him.

Frank and Jane: I met them, recently at the Westons’, and after a moment of embarassment, we were all very glad and cheerful and I felt like I have found friends again. Jane and Frank will be married in November. Harriet and Robert in September. And me? I am to be married in October. Wish me well, my dear. How I would like you to come to my marriage. Could you, darling? My marriage will be very much like others, “no finery or parade”*, but a meeting of best friends, much happiness and a lot of good wishes. Please, come if you can. This will be my best wedding gift. I want to know also about your wedding. As soon as you have news, write me, my dearest Mrs. Darcy!

Hear from you soon, your affectionate friend,

Emma W. Knightley

*”Emma”, Volume 3, Chapter 19

 

 

Letter from Lizzie Bennet to Emma Woodhouse #24

Longbourn

Dear Emma,

you were right, Darcy appeared very soon. First, we had news that Bingley was back to Netherfield for several weeks of hunt. Then, Darcy arrived. Jane tried to be indifferent, but I perfectly knew she was happy, very happy. Having met him in Derbyshire, I knew he was still thinking of Jane. One day, Darcy and Bingley visited us, not without embarass, as mother hated Darcy and talked to him with the utmost contempt, but was perfectly amiable with Bingley.

Poor Darcy!! Our family hero, didn’t deserve to be treated like that, but mother didn’t know how much we owned him. They knew nothing of my attachment to Darcy, Jane only knew I had refused his proposal once. We spent several days waiting for Bingley to declare himself and my mother did her best to leave Jane and Bingley alone to discuss the matter. One day, this happened and now Jane is formally engaged and became immediately maman’s preferred daughter, Lydia completely forgotten.

Darcy, in the meanwhile didn’t speak to me very often, he only watched me in silence. Finally he went to London for business and I counted the day he could be back again. I’m so tremendously happy for Jane, but I would know Darcy’s mind and understand if I can hope that I could have an admirer or not soon.

While I waited patiently for him to come back, I received the most astonishing visit of all: Lady Catherine De Bourgh! Our Lady, renowned for her politeness and courtesy, came to Longbourn to ask me if Darcy had asked to marry me. Being very alarmed, she came to ask me directly if the news was to be considered true. Poor Lady! The fact that she came here to visit the Bennets was proof enough that there was something true about the gossip. She told me that Darcy was intended to her daughter since the cradle. I answered that in this case there was no need to worry of me. She added, I had no family, no connections and no fortunes, so I was not entitled to be his wife. I declared that I was not engaged with him, but I would never promise to be not in the future.

She tried to wound me talking of my mother’s low origins and my sister’s ill fate and scandalous marriage, but I didn’t flinch. We parted without a proper greeting. I wonder what’ll happen now. My family thinks Lady Catherine came to give me news of the Collinses. They don’t imagine what there is behind…..

Finally, Darcy came. He visited us with Bingley and we decided to go out for a walk. At first, Kitty was with us, so we were not free to discuss our matters. As soon as we had a little time alone, we started to explain. I cannot give you all the details: the apologies, the admiration, the gratitude, the respect, the attachment we expressed one to the other.

book-illustrations-mr-darcy-and-elizabeth-20710753-493-769

In the end, my dear, me and Darcy are engaged. He has still to talk to my father and I have to announce it to my family. It’ll be a a shock for them, as they don’t expect we to have developed such a mutual affection. What do you think, Emma? Will we be happy? I forecast we’ll be very, very happy, because we have quarreled, suffered and learned to understand ouselves and each other.

I hope we’ll be as happy and you and George, my dear. There are still many things to solve, but I hope we’ll manage our families, together. Send me your best wishes and prayers, dear.

Your friend on a cloud,

Lizzy

 

Letter from Emma Woodhouse to Lizzie Bennet #24

Hartfield

My dear Lizzy, your latest news almost made me cry for sorrow and jump for joy. Lydia is safe? Darcy run to rescue your family reputation? Why? For Lydia? For his family pride? For his sense of guilt towards Georgiana, that he couldn’t save? Wake up, girl! He is madly in love with you. He doesn’t want you to know what he did for you because he wants your love, not your gratitude. He was conquering your heart in Pemberley, he cannot risk you consider him your saviour, but your lover! You lucky girl, just wait and see. He’ll reach Longbourn soon and talk to you.

Believe me, my dear! I’m so happy for you. Everything is well. I hope everything’ll be well also here, because I fear my father reaction to the news that George and me are going to get married. And what about Harriet? We’ll break her heart again.

In the meanwhile I received a letter from Frank through Mrs. Weston. It was full of gracious compliments, apologies and information, such as the one about the piano. Jane was completely ignorant of the giver. I knew also that Frank did an effort to reconcile with his intended, as she was very angry with him after Box Hill. I don’t want to bother you with further details. These are things of the past and if Frank is still talking about them, is only because of his bad conscience and sense of guilt. For sure, Frank is a charmer. His letter was so interesting, sweet and full of compliments to me that I was angry with him no more as soon as I finished to read it.

George read it as well and commented, but I had something else in mind that was more urgent: our marriage. He knew I could not leave my father alone after our marriage and had considered a double solution: father could stay with us at Dowell, or he could move to Hartfield. This was the perfect choice. We all will be happy and father will consent our marriage with cheerfullness. Poor George, “in quitting Dowell, he must be sacrificing a great deal of Independence of hours and habits, that in living constantly with father, and in no house of his own, there would be much, very much to be borne with.”* He is a darling and a gentleman and I own him all my respect, admiration and love.

And now, talking of poor Harriet. I provided her an invitation to London at my sister’s house and she was very glad to accept for a change. This’ll be a very pleasant holiday for her, I hope and next time we meet, things will be less embarassing and more easy between us. I’m so sorry I lost a friend because of my clumsiness in managing her sentimental life.

I look forward to receiving your letter, dear, because I know you are soon to provide good news of your sentimental life too.

Your more than happy and affectionate friend,

Emma W.

“Emma”, BBC 2009

*”Emma”, Volume 3, Chapter 13

 

 

 

Letter from Lizzie Bennet to Emma Woodhouse #23

(Back to) Longbourn

Dear Emma,

I have a very bad news and a very good news for you in this letter. As they are related, I have to start from the beginning.

Sit down comfortable, relax and don’t be shocked – like I was – I have to tell you about Lydia who eloped with Wickham. Yes, this is not a romance novel, but happened for real, thanks to my silly, reckless sister. At first, my family thought they were heading to Scotland to marry, but it was much worst than this, my dear!

Thanks to Colonel Forster, we soon discovered they were going to London, instead, and they had no intention to get married. As you can imagine, mother and father were destroyed by this news. They knew Lydia was fluffy, but they could never imagine she would ruin herself willingly with a “gentleman” they trusted and liked!!

I had to collect all my things and return to Longbourn with my dear Aunt and Uncle in a hurry and in great distress. Mr. Darcy was the first to know about the disgrace, because he met me at our hotel immediately after I received the news by letters and found me in tears. He was shocked by this news and expressed all his concern and sadness. I asked him to keep this information secret, as much as possible and we parted. We both knew Wickham had no intention to marry Lydia because she had no money and was not the ideal prey for him. He considered her fun for the short run only. She was lost forever.

I had no idea Lydia liked Wickham. Yes, she liked ALL the officers, but didn’t attached to anybody in particular, but it is useless to discuss this, now. My mother was desperate and accused every kind of pain in her body and head. Father was in London, chasing the fugitives, concurring in the pains of mother, as she was sure he would be killed in a duel with Wickham. As you can imagine, our family was in the deepest sorrow and anxiety!

Every passing day, we discovered more wicked things about the man and his habits, as he was a gamester and was covered in debts in different towns and villages.

Lydia and Wickham, "Pride and Prejudice", BBC 1995

Lydia and Wickham, “Pride and Prejudice”, BBC 1995

Now, the twist of the story. After few days we had news from my uncle that the merry couple was found in London and Wickham had agreed in marrying Lydia for a 5,000 pounds bonus, plus 100 pounds a year income. We were all relieved, but also sad (except my mother) to know that my uncle would have offered him much more than was possible to us to afford, to provide a safe escape for our honor.

I was wondering why Mr. Darcy – knowing of my family distress and having endured the same ordeal for Georgiana before – didn’t write me. I almost regretted having told him all about Lydia and Wickham, but there was no remedy now. After this scandal, there was no hope anymore for us to be together. From this moment on, he would avoid me and my family like the devil. It was too late for me to admit, but I would have accepted his proposal. We were perfect together, we completed each other and I loved him.

If we were together, I would have provided him liveliness and kind manners; he would have provided me knowledge and judgement, instead. I was thinking of him, when suddenly….he appeared in Lydia’s affaire, as the Angel of Mercy. It was too amazing to believe! Lydia told me something about Darcy at her wedding and that this was a secret, so I immediately wrote my aunt and she told me the real role of Darcy in this unfortunate situation.

Darcy found the couple in London, talked to both of them and arranged everything for the marriage. First, he tried to persuade Lydia to come back home and leave Wickham, but she was adamant about not leaving her lover. Then, he persuaded Wickham to marry her, bribed him appropriately (and generously), paid all the game debts, purchased Wickham’s commision in the army and finally insisted that the merit was all your uncle’s and not his own.

My god, Emma, how much do my family own him! We could never return all this! And why do you think he did all that? Because he is a great man, worth of respect, kind and generous, of course. Because he feels responsibility to save a young girl from ruin. Or maybe, because he loves me? Can I hope this is true, my dear friend? What do you think? Is it possible? Oh! how I would like to talk to him, look into his eyes to understand if he has still feelings for me……

Only time will tell and my next letter.

Your expectant friend,

Lizzy

Letter from Emma Woodhouse to Lizzie Bennet #23

Hartfield

Dear Lizzie,

after all that has been discovered and said of the secret engagement of Frank Churchill, I finally met Mrs Weston. She told me how grateful Jane was for the Westons’ open mind and acceptance – no, forgiveness – of the secret she and Frank had kept to all the community. This secret “affaire” was a source of never ending anguish for Jane, because she had to lie to people she esteemed and loved. She dreaded the reaction of Colonel Campbell too, as soon as he knew what she had conspired.

Mrs. Weston told me Jane was anxious to meet me and thank me for all the kindness I showed her. I’m sorry we were not friends. I remember, George was persistent on this -being friend with Jane – but I didn’t listen to him. Maybe she would have offered confidence, maybe not, but things would have been more clear between us. I was not her rival or enemy, but she didn’t know because there was no friendship between us.

My dear Mrs. Weston read me also a letter of Frank who was desperate to explain and humbly ask for my forgiveness, but I don’t want to lose your time talking further of Frank because I have better news to tell you about.

Since I trusted you of my secret – that I long to be the most important woman for George Knightley, the one and only he cares for and scolds for being selfish and brash – let me consider with you what my future with him could be.

He never married. I cannot marry because I cannot leave my father. If George decides to never marry at all, I’ll consider myself satisfied. I’m almost sure Harriet is wrong thinking that George has feelings for her. She has misunderstood. She must have misunderstood.

I had dreadful days pondering on these subjects, when one day George returned from London. The moment we met we started talking about Jane and Frank soon to be married. He was concerned that I could suffer for this revelation and I assured him I did not. I had been flattered by Frank’s attentions, but I had never trusted him all the way. I was vain and he fostered my vanity, but that was all.

George was relieved to hear these words, but when he told me he was envious of Frank’s good fortune in marrying the woman he loved, I became suspicious. Was George thinking of Harriet and any possible obstacle that could prevent his marriage with my young friend? No! My dear Lizzie, he was thinking of me. He LOVED ME and regretted to have mistreated and scolded me so often in the past. He wanted me to be more than a friend. He had been jealous of Frank and had left after the Box Hill party because of his jealousy.

(Mr. Knightley’s proposal from “Emma”, 1972)

Lizzie, I cannot believe what I’m writing, but we LOVE EACH OTHER, and this is wonderful, even if we cannot make plans for the future yet.

(Proposal scene, “Emma”, 1996)

Our happines could provide unhappiness to others: my father and Harriet, I mean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTgOLHxQ9mM

(“Emma”, the proposal, 1996)

I don’t want to think about it, now. Let me bathe in this fugacious blessing. Can I?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK_bxcJFQbE

(“Emma”, the proposal, 2009)

He loves me, yes! Do you know what is the most tender thing he told me? That I’m “faultless in spite of all my faults”.*

Isn’t he adorable? I’m confused and happy, I cannot write anymore. Let me recover from this wonderful blow and I’ll be more sane in my considerations in my following letter.

Are you happy for me, my dear friend? I’m sure some amazing surprise is also waiting for you very soon, my dear, dear Lizzie.

Your shocked

Emma W.

* “Emma”, Volume 3, Chapter 13

 

Letter from Lizzie Bennet to Emma Woodhouse #22

Derbyshire

Dear Emma,

do you remember, in my last letter, I mentioned that Georgiana Darcy wanted to meet me. This happened immediately after I visited Pemberley. Georgiana is a very shy girl, not a proud one as someone told me. Bingley was also of the company. He was sincerely happy and good-humored to see me.  I was very pleased and relaxed in his company. I wondered if he thought about Jane and had the answer when he told me with regret how much time it was since he met my family: “We have not met since the 26th of November, when we were all dancing together at Netherfield.”* He remembered! And he also asked me with solicitousness about my “sisters”.

And what about Darcy? He was so relaxed, so friendly and desirous to please the others that I didn’t recognize him. He invited us all to Pemberley for dinner, before we left the county. I think my good relatives guessed Darcy was in love with me and that my acquaintance with him was deeper than I told them. I thought of him very much. I discovered I didn’t hate him. He is proud, but he is not an ill personI respected and esteemed him. I was grateful too, because he still loved me, notwithstanding my petulant refusal. He was still my friend and wanted to preserve my acquaintance. He wanted to introduce me to his circle.

I also met Miss Bingley with Georgiana and other friends of theirs. Georgiana tried to join conversation and said short sentences, here and there, but was very much detained. Miss Bingley listened and checked every word I said, like a hound. She was studying me, jealous of the affection I had roused in Darcy. When Darcy entered the room, all the ladies watched us suspiciously and I couldn’t feel at ease, even if I tried hard.

Unable to refrain her contempt, suddenly, Miss Bingley struck the first blow and commented about the Regiment moved from Meryton and the loss that this was to my family. She was mentioning Wickham without mentioning him. I was detatched in my answer, but Georgiana was very distressed, instead. If only Miss Bingley knew how she was wounding her friend and Darcy too, she would have stayed silent, but she didn’t know about the Darcy’s family secret. Only I knew, Darcy had share a terrible drama with me, and me only. He cared for me very much, you said right, my dear Emma. When I answered with perfect aplomb, Darcy was relieved and also Georgiana relaxed, even if she couldn’t say a word.

Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) in the Sculpture Gallery Inside the House at Chatsworth, Derbyshire

Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) in the Sculpture Gallery Inside the House at Chatsworth, Derbyshire

I was curious to know what aunt thought of Darcy, but she didn’t speak. And so the subject of Darcy was to be considered closed. What do you think, Emma? Do you think this good relationship between me and Darcy these days could bring some developement? He is searching my company, looking for my friendship, being so caring and mindful, I think that maybe….

As you just discovered to be in love with a man you haven’t considered as a husband, your opinion is greatly appreciated. I know you had no luck doing matches for others. “You were vain”, you said. I think you were trying to do good and this blinded you, instead, but as at the moment you are the only one between the two of us who is certain to be in love, please, give advice. What would I do? Encourage Darcy to reopen the matter of love, or wait?

I need your help, dear. Reveal me my own mind, because I’m too confused to read it myself.

Your affectionate,

Lizzie

* “Pride and Prejudice” Chapter 44

Letter from Emma Woodhouse to Lizzie Bennet #22

Hartfield

Dear Lizzie,

it looks like things are happening at a fast pace, for me and you. You confronted Mr. Darcy and Wickham about love and family secrets. I, in this peaceful part of the world, experienced many strange occurrences as well. You know, my friend, how I abhor suspense, but suspense entered my life, nevertheless.

After Mrs. Churchill sudden death, the Westons summoned me one day in a hurry to reveal a secret. Frank and Jane. One plus one is two. They are secretly engaged! They have been since a long time.  Poor Mrs. and Mr. Weston: they were so worried about me being in love with Frank and upset at this piece of news. I assured them I was perfectly calm and happy because I didn’t love Frank. Surprised, for sure, because Frank and Jane were excellent actors, but not uspet.

***

(That is what I told the Westons. This is for your eyes and ears only, instead…)

Frank, THE BASTARD LIAR! He went around our county, flirting with me, fascinating everyone, and he was engaged! And what about the BITCH GOVERNESS Jane, who watched her fiancee flirting in our clan and said nothing? Now, with Mrs. Churchill in the grave, Mr. Churchill is perfectly willing to consent to this marriage. Good luck to both of them and go to hell!

***

I’m so angry with myself, Lizzie. I pushed Harriet to have feelings for Frank, while I should have prevented it. It’s all my fault. I did wrong to her once more. Poor Harriet! This is the second time she developes an attachment without hope.

But surprises never cease, my dear! I hurried to talk to Harriet about Jane and Frank, only to discover that she already knew everything from Mr. Weston and that she didn’t care AT ALL! She had never been in love with Frank, she told me. How could it be when there was a much more superior specimen of man in the nearby? And the superior specimen was…. I almost cannot dare to write the name… GEORGE KNIGHTLEY! She was thinking of him since the day at the ball, when Elton disdained her and only Knightley invited her to dance.

I felt like I had received a blow. This was not possible…I asked Harriet if she had any clue that the feeling was mutual and she answered affermatively. While she told me the excellent qualities, the gentlemanlike behaviour of Mr. K., suddenly I discovered – clearly and for the first time – the truth. I didn’t want her to marry George AT ALL! He was mine. I was the one in love with him, he was the perfect one for me to marry, we were perfect for each other.

I know George likes Harriet for being “without art of affectation, for having simple, generous feelings”* They were so close at Dowell, talking apart from the others, Another time, before he left Hartfield to visit his brother, they were in the drawing room talking a lot and very near. I suspected George was investigating about Harriet’s feelings for Mr. Martin, but I’m not sure of anything, at this stage.

Emma and Harriet 2009

Emma and Harriet 2009

And there’s another truth I discovered, Lizzie. I was so vain to boast that I could understand people and manage others’ feelings. I wanted to rule everybody’s destiny and arrange matches. How could I understand people when I cannot undertand myself and my own feelings? I was an arrogant girl! I mistook Mr Elton’s interest for Harriet and Frank’s interest for Harriet. I was so blind I couldn’t see Frank was interested in Jane and I was the decoy! I never cared for Frank, I always cared for George, but I didn’t know.

Oh, if only Harriet had accepted Mr. Martin’s proposal, months ago. Nothing would have happened and I wouldn’t be in this turmoil. I’m in distress beyond measure, my dear friend. Your letter’ll be a fresh breeze of solace.

Yours,

Emma W.

* “Emma”, Volume 3 Ch. 11

 

Letter from Lizzie Bennet to Emma Woodhouse #21

Derbyshire

Dear Emma,

have you ever thought of the perfect husband? I had. I know that my father cannot be considered one. He was charmed by my mother’s beauty, but there was nothing they could share beyond being young and handsome. They had nothing spiritual or intellectual in common. This was not good for my sisters, who have no idea there is more in a man than being handsome and elegant, so they only look for these “qualities” in their acquaintances.

What I want for me is a husband I can respect, esteem and being in confidence with. What about you, dear? You wrote me about George (is the severe Mr. K. become George now?). Upon my word, something has changed in your opinion of your good friend. You esteem him very much, you respect him and you are his best friend…..Oh dear! Someone would say George Knightley is the perfect match for you, girl!!!

Talking of my sisters, they were dull and distressed after the regiment moved, while I was happy preparing my luggage for the Lakes where I was to go with my beloved uncle and aunt Gardiner. Unfortunately, we had to change our destination quite suddenly, because of my uncle’s business obligations. I longed to visit the Lakes, but I considered myself contented to visit Derbyshire, all the same.

Yes, I’m in Derbyshire right now, the county of Pemberley, as to say, Mr. Darcy. The district is so huge, I was confident there was no danger we would meet, but I was wrong. We were in Lambton one day, a village where my aunt lived and wanted to visit. I didn’t imagine that it was only 5 miles from Pemberley. Aunt wanted to visit it and I couldn’t deny her the pleasure.

PemberleyWhen I saw Pemberly for the first time I simply thought it was… magnificent. “It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned”* 

Inside, the manor was magnificent as well, not too opulent, but really of perfect good taste in furniture and decoration. Oh dear! If I think I could have been mistress in this place and receive my aunt and uncle there, instead of playing the tourist with them. I could see the beautiful woods and the stream from my windows and stroll about the perfect lawns every day.

We missed Mr. Darcy, said the housekeeper, who was to arrive the following day with friends. His sister was with him. The housekeeper showed us some portraits of the family, Darcy among them. He was very kind and generous, since he was a child – she said – as she had never heard a harsh word from him in years. He was good-tempered like his father. He was also a good landlord, and all his tenants could vouch for it. Some people call him proud, but he was not. He was a good and caring brother too.

I was pondering on this “new” Darcy I didn’t know of, when he himself appeared from the stables and met us. I could barely talk to him. He was just as embarassed as me. He was civil but repeated his questions about our staying in Derbyshire and how was our relatives, and then left. My usual bad luck! If we had left earlier, if we had anticipated our visit of only one day, we would have prevented this unfortunate meeting.

As we continue our visit of the estate, he joined us unexpectedly and stayed with us a little more. He was again very kind and solicitous, offering my uncle to go fishing in his estate. Uncle was very flattered by his courtesy. He also told me his sister Georgiana wanted to make my acquaintance. I don’t know if I met the real Darcy or a copy model of him.

What do you think is he trying to tell me, Emma? Do you think he still care for me? I don’t know and I review our fortuitous meeting again and again, to give me an answer. When will I meet him again? My heart hopes it’ll be soon, because I need to translate the messages he is sending me. I’ll keep you posted of further news, in case I have any.

Your concerned and hopeful friend,

Lizzie

* “Pride and Prejudice”, Chapter 43

Letter from Emma Woodhouse to Lizzie Bennet #21

Hartfield

Dear Lizzie,

after the disaster of Boxing Hill, I went  to visit the Bates as soon as possible. I wanted to ask their forgiveness for my bad behaviour at the picnic. At the Bates’ I discovered that Jane had a destination and a new job as a governess of three delightful girls, to a Mrs. Smallridge. Jane was very distressed by the news and was retired in her bedchamber with a headache. Mrs. Elton was the architect of this situation. At first, Jane was not keen on accepting a job before Colonel Campbell was back, but she decided differently after a time of meditation.

Another new event is that George is going to London for a while. He wants to visit his sister, but this is a sudden decision, I cannot interpret. For sure, he is still angry with me for what happened at the picninc. When I told him I had just visited the Bates, he seemed well impressed and relaxed. Actually, he held my hand and was going to kiss it, when he suddenly thought otherwise and let it go. I would have him waited a bit more, I wanted to share my information about Jane with him and have the aknowledgment of his friendship, but I couldn’t.

kiss-hand

Further unexpected news: Mrs. Churchill died. We thought she was not seriously ill, but evidently, she was in the end. What can I say? “After being disliked for 25 years, was now spoken of with compassionate allowances”* And what about Frank? How would he be affected? Now he would be free to choose a wife, maybe Harriet???

I tried one more time to visit Jane to bring her a little comfort and friendship, but she was feeling worse. Or better, she refused to see me, to go out for a ride in my carriage and to talk to me. I was very distressed. I know she met other people, and had a walk in the country, but she didn’t trust my friendship and company. I was the last person on Earth she would have met.

I’m pondering on this behaviour…what have I done to Jane that she cannot stand me? I hope you won’t ever refuse my friendship and, in case something serious should happen between us, promise me a confrontation.

Dear friend of mine, what do you say?

Your loving and puzzled friend,

Emma W.

* “Emma”, Volume 3, Chapter 9