• Victoria Reeve

Pride & Prejudice Flipped CHAPTER 61

Happy for all his paternal feelings was the day on which Mr. Bennet got rid of his two most deserving sons. With what delighted pride he afterwards visited Jack, and talked of Edward, may be guessed. I wish I could say, for the sake of his family, that the accomplishment of his earnest desire in the establishment of so many of his children produced so happy an effect as to make him a sensible, amiable, well-informed man for the rest of his life; though perhaps it was lucky for his wife, who might not have relished domestic felicity in so unusual a form, that he still was occasionally nervous and invariably silly.

Mrs. Bennet missed her second son exceedingly; her affection for him drew her oftener from home than anything else could do. She delighted in going to Pemberley, especially when she was least expected.

Charlotte and Jack remained at Netherfield only a twelvemonth. So near a vicinity to his father and Meryton relations was not desirable even to her easy temper, or his affectionate heart. The darling wish of her brothers was then gratified; she bought and estate in a neighbouring county to Derbyshire, and Jack and Edward, in addition to every other source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each other.

Willard, to his very material advantage, spent the chief of his time with his two elder sisters. In society so superior to what he had generally known, his improvement was great. He was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lionel; and, removed from the influence of Lionel’s example, he became, by proper attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. From the further disadvantage of Lionel’s society he was of course carefully kept, and though Lionel frequently invited him to come and stay with him, with the promise of balls and young women, his mother would never consent to hisgoing.

Maurice was the only son who remained at home; and he was necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accomplishments by Mr. Bennet’s being quite unable to sit alone. Maurice was obliged to mix more with the world, but he could still moralise over every morning visit; and as he was no longer mortified by comparisons between his brothers’ good looks and his own, it was suspected by his mother that he submitted to the change without much reluctance.

As for Georgiana and Lionel, their characters suffered no revolution from the marriage of his brothers. She bore with the philosophy the conviction that Edward must now become acquainted with whatever of her ingratitude and falsehood had before been unknown to him; and in spite of everything, was not wholly without hope that Ms. Darcy might yet be prevailed upon to make her fortune. The congratulatory letter which Edward received from Lionel on his marriage, explained to him that, by her husband at least, if not by herself, such a hope was cherished. The letter was to thiseffect:

My Dear Eddie,

“I wish you joy. If you love Ms. Darcy half as well as I do my dear Georgiana, you must be very happy. It is a great comfort to have you so rich, and when you have nothing else to do, I hope you will think of us. I am sure Georgiana would like a place at court very much, and I do not think we shall have quite money enough to live upon without some help. Any place would do, of about three or four hundred a year; but however, do not speak to Ms. Darcy about it, if you had rathernot.

“Yours, etc.”

As it happened that Edward had much rather not, he endeavoured in his answer to put an end to every entreaty and expectation of the kind. Such relief, however, as it was in his power to afford, by the practice of what might be called economy in his own private expenses, he frequently sent them. It had always been evident to him that such an income as theirs, under the direction of two persons so extravagant in their wants, and heedless of the future, must be very insufficient to their support; and whenever they changed their quarters, either Jack or himself were sure of being applied to for some little assistance towards discharging their bills. Their manner of living, even when the restorations of peace dismissed them to a home, was unsettled in the extreme. They were always moving from place to place in quest of a cheap situation, and always spending more than they ought. Her affection for him soon sunk into indifference; his lasted a little longer; and in spite of his youth and his manners, he retained all the claims to reputation which his marriage had givenhim.

Though Ms. Darcy could never receive her at Pemberley, yet, for Edward’s sake, she assisted her further in her profession. Lionel was occasionally a visitor there, when his wife was gone to enjoy herself in London or Bath; and with the Bingley’s they both of them frequently staid so long, that even Charlotte’s good humour was overcome, and she proceeded so far as to talk of giving them a hint to be gone.

Mr. Carson Bingley was very deeply mortified by Frangelica’s marriage; but as he thought it advisable to retain the right of visiting at Pemberley, he dropt all his resentment; was fonder than ever of George, almost as attentive to Frangelica as heretofore and paid off every arrear to of civility toEdward.

Pemberley was now George’s home; and the attachment of the brothers was exactly what Frangelica had hoped to see. They were able to love each other even as well as they intended. George had the highest opinion in the world of Edward; though at first he often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm at his lively, sportive, manner of talking to his brother. She, who had always inspired in himself a respect which almost overcame his affection, he now saw the object of open pleasantry. His mind received knowledge which had never before fallen in his way. By Edward’s instructions, he began to comprehend that a man may take liberties with her wife which a sister will not always allow in a brother more than ten years younger than herself.

Sir Percy was extremely indignant on the marriage of his niece; and as he gave way to all the genuine frankness of his character in his reply to the letter which announced its arrangement, he sent her language so very abusive, especially of Edward, that for some time all intercourse was at an end. But at length, By Edward’s persuasion, she was prevailed on to overlook the offence, and seek a reconciliation; and, after a little further resistance on the part of her uncle, his resentment gave way, either to his affection for her, or his curiosity to see how her husband conducted herself; and he condescended to wait on them at Pemberley, in spite of that pollution which its woods had received, not merely from the presence of such a mistress, but the visits of his aunt and uncle from the city.

With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Frangelica, as well as Edward, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing him into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.

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