Neither Happy Nor Respectable
It became the established custom for two families related by blood and by marriage to spend every Christmas together. Whether it was at Pemberley or at Holcombe Hall it did not signify. One large house was as good as another to gather all manner of relatives under one roof to partake of the festivities to the delight of all.
This particular Christmas however had an added bonus for there were two new members of the family to present. Georgiana Darcy had lately married a Mr. Hardcastle, a person of wealth and position, known to her brother as quite the rising young man. The Hardcastle’s, active in Parliament, had close ties to a noble and titled family, and were each so amiable that Fitzwilliam Darcy often wondered if they where of any relation to Charles Bingley.
Holcombe Hall belonged to his friend; purchased five years ago, nearly a twelvemonth after his marriage to the former Jane Bennet. And it was due to this kindly woman that the second newest member of the family was to be presented. Charles Bingley entered the room swathed in a plethora of pink blankets, with such an aura of happiness about him, that it left no doubt in anyone’s mind whether or not he was the happiest of men.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Amelia Jane,” said he, proudly, as he brought forth the newest addition to the Bingley family: a fair-haired, rosy, cherubic creature to match his four other fair-haired, rosy, cherubic children.”
“Oh, come to your grandmamma, my dear,” called Mrs. Bennet as she stretched her arms in her son-in-laws direction, clearly wanting nothing more to hold and spoil her first granddaughter. “Oh my, so very beautiful, just like you were at this age, Jane.”
Jane protested, “How can you say such a thing Mama? Amelia looks quite like Charles. Does she not, my dear?”
Charles, who never had the occasion to disagree with his wife in the entire course of their marriage, merely smiled his agreement. If Jane fancied that the children looked like himself, who was he to disagree and nobody hated disagreements more than Charles Bingley. With the exception of Jane.
The happy father sat down on the arm of the chair that contained his sweet wife, wrapping his right arm around her protectively, and before everyone and, without embarrassment, he gave the mother of his five children a kiss squarely upon her lips. The fingers of his left hand naturally sought out the plump pink cheek of two-year old Henry who slept peacefully on his mother’s lap, while his three-year old brother, Walter reached up his chubby hands for his father to hold him. Little Charles and Thomas, five and four respectively, thought themselves too big to sit on their father’s knee and amused themselves with the four new golden retriever puppies running about the drawing room. Such a picture of domestic tranquilly would always be found at Holcombe Park on just about any given day. However, at Pemberley, it was quite another matter.
This new story just popped into my head this morning. It is VERY, VERY dark. The last line gives you a clue, but I can safely say, it’s not going to end well… unless your name is Bingley.
I love the idea of contrasts for this story. The more the Bingley’s wallow in their love and happinest and their rosy cherubic children, the more the Darcy’s will descend into madness and insanity. Well, perhaps not insanity exactly.
Ok, before you throw stones and ride me out of town on a rail (OMG, did you see that rail/tar & feather scene in “John Adams”? That was pretty bad, wasn’t it?) consider that it is 3:30 in the morning as I post this. I am sleep deprived and protein deficient and have enough caffeine in my system to fuel a rocket ship. Tomorrow I may wake up and be totally horrified at what I have written here. Then again, perhaps I will not.
Also, I guess I should mention before anyone asks. No, this story has nothing to do with For the Love of Jane. This is called “going rogue”, even though from a canon standpoint it’s going to be very faithful. Jane Austen doesn’t exactly tell us what happens 6 years in. Darcy could have a pot belly or taken to strong drink. Lizzy could have caught the pox and lost her looks in the manner of Ester Summerson and be obliged to wear a veil.
Ok, I’m going to bed. This post is starting to disturb me.