TRAAR, Pride and Prejudice Fanfiction

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Rep et able
by Elizabt h
h e Rich Are Always
Prologue
linery in their heads, she is sensible and sweet-natured and
she deserves better.” He was quite pale.
“I see,” said Westhampton. A frightening creature, to be
sure! But a devoted brother’s partiality must be taken into
account. And, of course, a devoted brother’s fierce protec-
tiveness. “You are a most conscientious brother, Darcy.”
“hank you,” he replied dryly.
His close friendship with the family gave him an easy
excuse to call on the Darcys frequently, and develop an ac-
quaintance with young Miss Darcy. She was very like her
brother, not quite so handsome, with striking regular fea-
tures she had yet to fully grow into, a very fair complex-
ion, and formal, gracious manners which not the best of
company could make easy. Like her brother she was ratio-
nal-minded, even-tempered, and quietly obstinate. Proud,
reserved, and not only a little shy, she scarcely spoke before
others; however, she was highly accomplished, even for a
lady of her station; she drew, sang, played the harp and
pianoforte, spoke several languages with ease, danced el-
egantly when she could be persuaded to do so, and once
brought out of her shell could speak cleverly and sensibly
on most subjects.
She would, he decided, make some man a fine wife; and
he would not be wholly adverse to being that man. here
were, perhaps, other young ladies as eligible, or nearly so,
despite his only modest fortune; certainly there were oth-
ers more lively and engaging. Yet Georgiana was the only
one he remained unwaveringly drawn to. heir connection
made matters simple. Georgiana’s peculiar modesty ensured
that she was at present oblivious to his interest.
Darcy was not fooled, but as he did not explicitly warn
him off Miss Darcy, Westhampton felt that nearly consti-
tuted encouragement. An offhand invitation to come to
Pemberley during the summer months increased his con-
fidence, particularly when Miss Darcy enthusiastically sec-
onded the offer. He was determined to remain in their com-
pany, even if it meant enduring the Bingleys. Westhampton
had no idea what had possessed Darcy to befriend such
people, but his cousin had always been rather strange that
way. He gladly accepted the invitation.
This story operates on two assumptions—
(1) Lady Catherine never came to see Elizabeth at Longbourn,
and (2) Darcy is too noble for his own good.
A family crisis comes up which alters the end of P&P.
never forget the day he arrived in the Darcys’
drawing room, just as a young black-haired lady
was leaving. She said something polite and slipped
away before he could gain more than an impression of large
dark eyes in a pale face. He involuntarily glanced over his
shoulder.
“What a beautiful young woman,” he remarked. Darcy
looked as if he did not know whether to be more amused
or alarmed.
“Georgiana?” he said, a little blankly. Lord Westhampton
blinked. “Yes, I suppose so.”

hat
was little Georgiana?” He struggled to reassimilate
this concept into his understanding of his connections. He
had never given his youngest relation much thought. She
was only sweet little Georgiana. He had scarcely seen her,
she was only a child—well, obviously not a child any longer.
Suddenly his interest in his cousin spiked, just as Darcy’s
eyes narrowed very slightly.
“Miss Darcy to you,” he replied coolly, and with not a
little suspicion. Westhampton laughed ruefully. Darcy had
always been too clever by half.
“Surely you do not suspect me of designs on your sister,
Darcy?” So she was out now. No doubt with her looks, ped-
igree, and fortune, she would not lack for suitors. Perhaps
there were already a number regularly calling on Miss
Darcy, all of course under her brother’s sharp eye.
“Of course not—as such,” Darcy said cautiously. “But,
you know, one can never be too careful.”
“I do
not
know,” Westhampton returned easily. “I have
no sisters or daughters, and my only eligible cousin is the
lovely Miss Darcy, who I have just been expressly warned
off from.”
Darcy did not appear fooled by his easy manner. He
replied, “I did not say so. You may speak to Miss Darcy all
you wish, if you do so with propriety, but I will not have her
upset.” hen he added with unusual intensity, “She is not
like other young ladies, with nothing but dances and mil-
2
September 1812
“…I CAN ONLY ASK, dearest, most beloved, Georgiana,” Lord
Westhampton concluded, “that you do me the honour of
accepting my offer.” His hands were clammy and doubtless
it was vastly unromantic to feel severe discomfort in his
knees as he knelt before her.
1
May 1812
S
tephen Deincourt, Lord Westhampton, would
Georgiana looked at him gravely. “I should be able to
say something very clever and interesting—Stephen,” she
replied unsteadily, clasping his hand. His thoughts were too
scattered to comprehend this, and, lost somewhere between
despair and hope, he could only say plaintively,
“Georgiana?”
She smiled, with a sudden rare brilliance. “Yes, Stephen;
I
would be honoured to be your wife.”
He laughed, flooded by joy, and looked down at her
long, slender fingers, for the first time intertwined with his.
“You will never regret this, I promise,” he said, grinning like
a boy before kissing her hand exuberantly. Georgiana low-
ered her eyes, blushing a very little.
“You needn’t kneel,” she said softly, and he instantly in-
terpreted the invitation for what it was and seated himself
beside her.
“I have missed you, my love, more than I can say.”
She entirely reciprocated the sentiment, and after sever-
al minutes, or hours, of lovers’ talk, Westhampton returned
to his original subject with characteristic tenacity.
“I cannot comprehend the need for
you
to be at
Netherfield all this time. What have you to do with Bingley’s
wedding?”
She laughed. “I
wish
to be in Hertfordshire, with my
brother, and he wishes me with him. Mr Bingley was kind
enough to invite me to the wedding, and Fitzwilliam is best
man. You know that Mr Bingley is Fitzwilliam’s particular
friend, it would be very rude to refuse.”
“If I understand Darcy’s cryptic comments aright, you
would be in good company.”
She lifted up her eyes, surprised. “I beg your pardon?”
“he family of Bingley’s intended?”
“Oh.” She coloured. “hey are certainly—singular,” she
managed to say diplomatically. “Miss Bennet is perfectly
amiable, and Miss Elizabeth is charming. Even Mr Bennet
is pleasant, once one gets to know him.”
“Which,” he replied sardonically, “leaves only the moth-
er and three younger daughters.”
“I have not met the youngest daughter, she is married,”
Georgiana said, lowering her eyes once more.
“To the son of your family’s steward!” he replied con-
temptuously. “Even Bingley could do far better than
that
.”
Georgiana cleared her throat. “Before we—proceed
with this engagement, my lord,” she said steadily, “there is—
something that I—I ought to speak with you about.” She
inhaled deeply. “he summer before last, I—I did some-
thing very foolish, and were it not for Fitzwilliam, I—I do
not know— I would be so beyond, so lost to my present
happiness that I—I cannot conceive of it.”
He smiled reassuringly. “Come, Georgiana, tell me; I
am sure it cannot have been all that bad.”
“Oh yes, yes it was!” she cried. “Stephen, I—”
he door opened, and Darcy, looking very unlike him-
self, entered. His eyes caught sight of their clasped hands
and he smiled tiredly, raising an eyebrow slightly. “I beg
your pardon, I must speak with you, Westhampton, on a
matter of some urgency. Georgiana, you may join us if you
like.” He frowned as he took in her pallor. “You look upset,
my dear. Is something wrong?” His eyes instantly went to
Westhampton, and hardened.
“No, no, I have never been happier,” she said sincerely.
He relaxed, and brother and sister smiled at one another in
perfect understanding.
“hen perhaps there is another matter of business you
would care to speak to me on, Westhampton?”
“I—yes, of course,” he said hurriedly. “Miss Darcy, you
do not mind—”
She smiled serenely. “Of course not.”
he two men proceeded to Darcy’s study, where
Westhampton prepared himself to ask the blessing of a man
two years his junior. Even as he formulated a stiff request
for Miss Darcy’s hand, he instantly dismissed it. he next,
a comfortable, even casual offer, was even more swiftly dis-
carded.
“Darcy,” he said helplessly, “I—I—”
“You may ask me for Georgiana’s hand in a few minutes,”
Darcy said tersely.
“But I—”
he other man’s eyes turned icy. “I hope you do not
mean to say you have not an intention of doing so?”
“No, of course, I love Georgie—”
“Miss Darcy.”
he sharp, almost unsteady reply jarred Westhampton
out of his own nervousness. Darcy was of a particularly im-
perturbable temperament, to an even greater degree than
his sister. Westhampton felt an unpleasant stirring along
his spine. “Good Lord, Darcy, what is it?” He examined his
friend carefully. here was something vaguely disharmoni-
ous about him, not at all in keeping with his normal ap-
pearance. “You look dreadful,” he said critically. “It cannot
be G— Miss Darcy, I have been with her this past hour at
least.”
Darcy smiled faintly. “Yes, I know. It is Lady Rosemary.
Did you hear about the Duke of Albini’s—courtship, for
lack of a better word?”
Westhampton grimaced. “Yes, along with the rest of
London. Poor Rosemary. I cannot imagine he took her re-
jection well.” Lady Rosemary Alfreton was their only other
relation, a sensible, refined young woman of about nine-
and-twenty, and a favourite with both cousins. here was
no doubt in his mind that she would have refused the duke,
whose depraved character was a matter of public knowledge,
regardless of circumstance.
“No,” said Darcy sombrely; “not well at all.”
No fool himself, Westhampton caught his tone easily
enough. “What has he done? She is in full command of her
fortune, he could not possibly have influenced her in that
manner. We are her only relations, she need not sacrifice
herself for our sakes—”
2
“It seems,” said Darcy quietly, “that he—compromised
her honour.”
“What?” Westhampton cried. “Impossible, how could—”
“I do not know,” interrupted Darcy, “she was too over-
wrought to speak coherently.”
“She went to you?”
“Of course,” he replied impatiently, “who else did she
have? You know how delicate her sense of honour is, how
she shrinks from scandal. Even if he did nothing else, this
would be enough. I did not dare leave her alone.”
“He means to force her to marry him.” Westhampton
tapped his fingers. “She has no-one in the world to protect
her, but us. And even so—with his influence, he could very
well claim—well, whatever he liked. She travelled so much
last year, he might very well say they eloped or something
equally ridiculous. She is known for her eccentricity.” He
sighed. “What a disaster.”
“Yes,” Darcy said succinctly.
“Something must be done,” Westhampton continued
agitatedly. “If only she could be married, but I can’t imagine
who would take her, after this. No, it must remain within
the family.” he realisation struck him in an instant. “You,
or I, must…”
“Yes.”
“But I—you saw us, Darcy, surely you cannot expect—
I have heard of no recent attachment on your part. No at-
tachment at all; in fact, you live as plainly as ever. It is a
great step, to be sure, but she is a fine woman, you could do
far worse.” He looked at his cousin earnestly. “I have just
promised myself to your sister, Darcy.”
“Yes,” he said, “I know. I supposed as much when I
spoke with Rosemary.” His expression was contemplative,
wistful, almost grieved. A horrible suspicion flashed into
Westhampton’s mind.
“Darcy, you are not—
you
are not engaged, surely? I had
not heard, but you have spent a great deal of time in the
country, and I know you were in Ireland for some time in
June. Perhaps something quiet—”
“No,” said Darcy softly, “there is no understanding.” He
sighed. “You are quite right, Westhampton. We shall speak
to Rosemary in the morning. Now, I believe you have a
question to ask me, regarding my Georgiana.”
Chapter One
“My dear cousin, please be rational,”
Westhampton interrupted, exasperated with
his relations’ tactful manoeuvring. “We can-
not be anything
but
rash.”
Lady Rosemary smiled faintly. “I am very grateful to
you both, but this matter is my concern.”
“Rosemary,” Georgiana said gently, “if this becomes
public knowledge, it will not only be your concern. It re-
flects on all of us.”
Rosemary lowered her eyes, playing listlessly with the
fringe on her shawl. “I cannot ask such a sacrifice of you,
cousin.”
“I did not hear you ask anything,” Darcy replied easily.
“Rosemary, it is a good match for both of us. I am almost
surprised I never thought of it before.” He did not mention
what everyone present knew; Rosemary’s fiancé had died
ten years before and since then, she had refused to entertain
even the idea of another attachment.
“You gain
nothing
,” she said, raising her cool blue eyes
to meet his own. “You do not need the connection, not
with Stephen and Georgiana’s engagement; you could have
someone far wealthier if you wished it, but you do not need
fortune in any case; and you do not love me.”
“Do you think, my dear, that I would do this for some-
one I did
not
love?” Darcy inquired softly. “No, Mary, I am
not
in love
with you; but love is not enough for a good mar-
riage in any case. Perhaps it is even better to base a marriage
on solider principles.”
Rosemary looked down, her slender, almost transpar-
ent hands settling on her lap. “Be that as it may, you gain
nothing, and I—I receive everything. I could not enter into
such an unequal union.”
“It is
not
unequal. You are in rank and fortune my equal,
or almost so; your connections are nearly identical to my
own; and if I may say so without sounding unduly melo-
dramatic, I believe you
would
bring something of substance
to my life.”
She threw him a sceptical look. “I cannot believe it.
What do you suppose
I
could give
you
?”
“Companionship,” he said, simply. “When Georgiana
and Stephen marry, I will be left to myself; and if there is
one thing above all others I do not wish, it is that. I am hap-
py for
them
, but selfishly dissatisfied for
me
. Rosemary—”
he leaned forward intently, “I do not wish to be alone. I
want a family, Mary, a wife I may hold in the highest es-
teem and respect, children. No, I am not in love with you,
and I would hazard to say that you are not in love with
3
Book One
“F
itzwilliam, you must not be rash—”
me; but, Mary, has love brought either of us any lasting
happiness? Not I, to be sure. I hope, I believe, that a more
steadfast attachment—for we have always been fond of
each other, have we not?—
will
grant us both some degree
of contentment.”
he other three stared at him, Georgiana’s expression
faintly guilty. “I—I had not thought of that,” Rosemary
said. “Fitzwilliam, you are certain? You will not regret it? I
do not think I could live with myself if I knew I had made
you unhappy.”
“I shall not, I promise,” he said, briefly clasping her
hand.
Rosemary laughed, suddenly. “
his
shall be a story to
tell our children. I do not think I have ever received a more
unromantic proposal of marriage.”
“I have a rare gift.”
“Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin…”
To
avoid fornication.
Never again, she thought; no man would
dare lay a hand on Fitzwilliam Darcy’s wife. he burden
lightened still more, and her sharply-drawn breath startled
the bishop, who threw her a reproving look. Rosemary tried
to feel penitent and lowered her eyes, but the relief spread-
ing through her was too much for words.
“hirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help,
and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both
in prosperity and adversity.” Fitzwilliam’s voice echoed in
her ears.
Companionship…I do not wish to be alone. I want
a family, Mary.
She blinked rapidly, holding tears back, and
thought,
So do I.
She had always been a little solitary, but
the company of no-one but a series of companions who en-
dured her eccentricities for the generous wage she paid them,
that was not company at all.
He
would understand—he was
so much that way himself—
He was speaking, in his clear, unwavering voice, “I,
Fitzwilliam, take thee, Rosemary, to my wedded wife, to
have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse,
for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and
to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy
ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.”
Rosemary smiled brilliantly, and repeated the words: “I,
Rosemary, take thee, Fitzwilliam, to my wedded husband,
to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for
worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to
love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to
God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.”
He replied, slipping Lady Anne’s ring on her hand,
“With these ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship,
and with all my worldly goods, I thee endow: in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
At the end of the ceremony, her ring warm against her
finger, she signed her name,
Rosemary Darcy
.
2
TO AVOID ANY AND all complications, Lord Westhampton
procured a special license, before the Duke had so much as
guessed whither Lady Rosemary had gone. he only pos-
sible touch of scandal to the affair was its unseemly haste;
they were married within three days of the engagement.
It was a small, private affair, attended only by the six sur-
viving members of the Darcy-Deincourt clan (including
the bride and groom), the clergyman officiating, and the
Fitzwilliams, who overcame their (entirely reciprocated)
antipathy towards the Deincourts in order to lend their
support to Darcy. “You are a fine man,” the Earl told his
nephew, clasping his shoulder. Darcy only smiled.
“Dearly beloved,” the bishop began, with a proud look
for his favourite godchildren, “we are gathered together
here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congre-
gation, to join together this man and this woman in holy
matrimony…”
Rosemary inhaled deeply, glancing over at her cous-
in’s—fiancé’s—tall, upright form. His blue eyes were fixed
on the bishop, without any shadow of regret or melancholy,
or ill intent. he great weight she had carried on her shoul-
der’s since the Duke’s attack lightened, a little. He was too
good for her, but she
would
try, she could be a good wife to
him. With a guilty flush, she returned her attention to the
words of the marriage ceremony, although she knew them
so well she could have recited them by heart.
“First, it was ordained for the procreation of children…”
Children. She had always loved children, and almost
more than James’ death, she had regretted
that
loss. And
Fitzwilliam, too, he had been wonderful with Georgiana,
and later on, his own godchildren and cousins. he realisa-
tion struck her without warning; it was a gift, this marriage,
a second chance for her, and perhaps for him.
4
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