While I was writing my first novel, Searching for Pemberley, I had no idea that such a thing as fan fiction existed. It wasn't until my novel was already out that I found A Happy Assembly, and I thought I would try my hand at writing fan fiction. I decided to start with a vignette, Mr. Darcy Regrets, and to see if anyone was interested in my writing. The response was more than I could have ever hoped for, and people wanted the story to continue. So I wrote a second vignette, Elizabeth Bennet Regrets? I will post that piece tomorrow. So here it is. My very first work of fan fiction that lead to so much more. I hope you enjoy it.
Mr. Darcy Regrets?
Mr. Darcy stood by the tall window of the second-floor library of Rosings Park. From this view, he could see the cream-colored stucco of Hunsford Lodge with its rust colored roof and flower-lined walk. This was the only room in the manor house from which the front door of the parsonage could be seen, and Darcy was waiting for Elizabeth Bennet to go through it.
After Miss Elizabeth’s refusal of his offer of marriage, Darcy had gone directly to the stables and had told the groom to have his carriage ready at first light. But after a restless night, he had awoken knowing that Elizabeth’s accusations could not go unanswered. The whole of the morning had been spent writing his rebuttal to her charges, and his ink-stained fingers were proof of the urgency with which he set down his words.
He was angry with himself for the unfortunate situation he now found himself in. What had possessed him to make an offer to someone whose situation in life was so decidedly beneath his own? As soon as he saw Elizabeth return from her walk, he would know that she had read the letter, and his reputation, at least with regards to Wickham, would be restored. How could it be otherwise? Her charges were not only wrong, but they were unjust.
Once she became acquainted with the truth of the dealings between Darcy and Wickham, she would see him in a different light. She would know that he had acted honorably in seeing that Wickham had received his full inheritance in one lump sum in order to be rid of him all the sooner. He had acted rashly there and should have known that any animal will return to the place where it has last eaten. What he had not anticipated was that Wickham’s unctuous charm would play so well on the feelings of sixteen-year old Georgiana, and in concealing Wickham’s true nature, he had set the stage for the attempted seduction of his sister.
Darcy remembered the day when he had first seen Wickham in Meryton and the disgust he had felt upon seeing Elizabeth conversing with him. How had Wickham been able to convince her that he was the villain? Did she think him such a brute that he would cheat the son of a steward out of an inheritance? But she did not know Wickham, and truth to tell, she did not know him either. He had revealed so little of himself in their conversations, and the tension that existed whenever they were together was such that it had acted as a barrier to any greater intimacy between them.
Where the devil was she? Elizabeth had been in possession of the letter long enough to have read it through several times. Was she chewing on each sentence as a dog would worry a bone? Or was she concentrating on the part that dealt with her beloved sister, Jane? Darcy held firm in his belief that he had done his friend a service by removing him from Netherfield. Bingley, who had barely established his own place in society, might very well have sunk under the weight of an unfortunate marriage.
In the letter, Darcy had revealed that he had known of Miss Bennet’s presence in London but had deliberately kept that information from Bingley. He was less sure of himself regarding that action. But what would have been gained by such a meeting between the two? It would have been painful for Miss Bennet, and it would only have confused Bingley who had accepted Darcy’s judgment as to the lack of regard on the lady’s part. But having been informed by Elizabeth that Miss Bennet, in fact, did care deeply for his friend and that only her sense of modesty had prevented a more open display of affection, he was uncomfortable with how forcefully he had pushed the matter to its conclusion.
Damnation! All of this may have been avoided if Miss Bennet had only been as animated as her sister. It was difficult to imagine such a situation happening with Miss Elizabeth. There was no guessing at her feelings. Her eyes revealed everything: the joy she experienced in dancing, the annoyance she felt when asked to dance by Mr. Collins, and the puzzlement she had shown when she had tried to ‘take his likeness’ at the Netherfield ball. He had seen something yet again when she had refused his proposal. He had seen the hurt she felt for her sister and her indignation at his supposed ill treatment of Wickham. Her anger was real and deep, and the contents of his letter may have caused further injury.
What would her eyes show now? Was there any possibility that she might regret her hasty dismissal of his proposal? Upon reflection, could she find any good in him or had he left her with the impression that he was an unfeeling, boorish man? At that moment, he saw a flash of yellow, the color of the bonnet that she had worn in the grove that morning. He stood up and drew nearer to the window. This would be the last opportunity he would have to look upon the woman he had hoped to take as his bride. He would drink his fill, and then move on.
Elizabeth stood outside the parsonage but did not go in. Instead, she sat on a bench outside the front door holding his letter to her breast and looking up at the sky as if to hold back her tears. After sitting quietly for several minutes, her gaze followed the contours of the hill leading to Rosings and up to the window where Mr. Darcy stood. Could she see him? What was she thinking? If only he had been closer, he could have looked into her eyes. Her eyes would have revealed everything.
Tomorrow: Elizabeth's point of view