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Bingley and Miss Jane Bennet are left to their own inclination without the untimely interference of their friends.

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A new set of characters allow the escapades to continue before finally a resolution can be reached, with much the same happily ever after as Jane Austen intended. Reviews from Goodreads. FictionDB Reviews:. Paperback editions:. Hardcover editions:. Dec Createspace eBook Kindle. Audio editions:. Large Print editions:. Darcy then retreated in search of a less crowded room, or preferably an empty hallway, where he might attempt to order his thoughts. The supper set arrived with no little amount of apprehension on the part of Mr.

Darcy and Miss Elizabeth, thus conversation during the set was stilted at best. The earnest looks cast in her direction left Elizabeth in no doubt that upon reflection, the gentleman had deduced the correct meaning the words she had spoken during their previous set, though the responding sentiment behind said looks was not as easy to discern. Darcy offered his arm to escort Elizabeth to supper, and given the silence that primarily reigned over their repast, each finished rather quickly.

Elizabeth flicked her fan, attempting to dispel the nervous agitation she felt seated beside the gentleman to whom she wished to say so much, though little of the subject matter could be addressed in company. Darcy addressed her with practiced calm, "I fear the dining room has become rather warm for your taste. Might I offer you additional refreshment, and perhaps to escort you out for some fresh air? Darcy offered a small smile in return before setting upon his face the same stern countenance he had so frequently worn.

Offering his arm, he led Miss Elizabeth from the dining room, collecting a glass for each of them from a nearby servant as they followed the small contingent of guests beginning to return to the ball room.

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Upon gaining the hall, however, Mr. Darcy took an abrupt turn down a partially lit corridor which opened upon the far end of the balcony. After reaching the location he deemed most appropriate for private conversation without the outward appearance of an overt attempt at seclusion, he looked out into the darkened sky as he addressed Elizabeth in a collected manner which few men could achieve.

The tender hesitance which overtook his features would have been plainly visible to the lady, had she dared to look upon his countenance. Have you become rather fond of the bookshop in Meryton as of late? Elizabeth smiled delicately, turning her eyes up to his as she spoke. Any irritation Mr. Darcy felt in discovering her to be the lady behind the notes began to dissipate, as a certain part of him insisted he could not imagine a more pleasing end to his clandestine correspondence.

He could not prevent a slight upturn of his lips, knowing that his suspicions were correct. With such an expression continuing on his face, containing neither smugness nor disdain, Mr. Darcy rested his elbows against the railing beside Elizabeth, turning his face to hers as he addressed her. I had not thought my words to be that transparent. I believe you know enough of me to realize I do not have the timidity that would keep me from discovering you by covert means, when simple conjecture from your written words was insufficient.

Your fastidious style leaves little room for improvement. However he soon moved his head ever so slightly closer to hers, his tone becoming slightly more serious as he spoke. At this moment, the musicians could be heard from the ballroom, breaking the hazy spell that had cast itself upon them, and reminding the pair that while relatively private, their location was not far from prying eyes.

Darcy extended his hand, and with no further communication between the two, escorted her to the ballroom and into the dance. Though neither party was particularly more verbose than during their previous dances, the easy manners and congenial smiles of both made for pleasant conversation, a circumstance not unnoticed by several parties in the room. Miss Bingley had yet to dance with Mr. Darcy, and while her feelings towards the present pairing in the dance were highly predictable, a certain gentleman's were not.

Bennet had never found more than a passing amusement in the possibility of Mr. Darcy taking an interest in his daughter, but by his count, and apparently many other attendees of the ball were in accord, Mr. Darcy's present dance partner gave statement to a very particular interest in his Elizabeth. All the more surprising was the pleasant nature of Elizabeth's response to the gentleman, which gave Mr.

Bennet to certain suspicions regarding the identity of her correspondent and her good information regarding the same. The dance soon ended, and after Mr. Darcy had delivered Elizabeth to Miss Lucas' company, Mr. Bennet took the opportunity to seek the young gentleman out. Darcy, I see you have developed quite a fondness for dancing, and with my Elizabeth in particular, though I hope you realize your recent partiality has established a certain expectation, and leads me to inform you that many gentleman in the neighborhood frequently call at Longbourn, finding me at leisure for a game of chess, or otherwise if necessary.

The grin on Mr. Darcy's face left Mr. Bennet in no doubt of the accuracy of his supposition, nor the wisdom of his suggestion. He had never been a man to pay great mind to the gossiping hens of the neighborhood, and if harmless circumstances that were highly agreeable to his daughter and her suitor would set the ladies talking, then so be it. I should tell you that have it on good authority, in fact from the gentleman himself, that your partner for the last set finds himself unequal to the task, and has graciously requested that I take his place.

Darcy returned her smile, a slight chuckle on his lips as he extended his hand to escort her. Though the looks exchanged by Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth during their dance could never rival those that passed between Mr. Bingley and Miss Bennet, it was no less a heady experience for either party. His drastic transformation was so different from what Elizabeth had imagined would be the result of her reveal, and would have been more than she could believe if she were not bearing direct witness to it.

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Darcy, and though I have said as much on previous occasion, it is no less true during the fourth half-hour of eachother's company than the first. Elizabeth blushed lightly, glancing down before she replied, "Your compliments inspire me to respond in kind, and say that you are turned out rather handsomely yourself this evening, sir. Elizabeth laughed, "You jest, sir. And to think you claimed that I was prone to the twisting of other's words, I believe you are now twisting mine.

Darcy's eyes darted over her shoulder, and Elizabeth turned her head to follow his line of sight, finding the Hursts and Miss Bingley across the room, searching the diminishing crowd as they retrieved their cloaks. Darcy studied her face as he replied, "That it did, in which case we might indulge in a short walk before I meet with your father. Darcy met her gaze, raising her hand in his, "As would I, Miss Elizabeth," he answered huskily before placing a lingering kiss upon her fingertips and turning to rejoin his party for their departure. The following morning brought Mr. Bingley and Mr.

Darcy to Longbourn, at an hour deemed appropriate in consideration of the late hour of the ball the night before, though that is not to say it met the preference of one gentleman in particular who could have easily been prepared to leave at dawn. Upon arriving at Longbourn, the gentlemen were led to the parlor where the ladies of the house were assembled.

Bingley greeted Jane warmly, and suggested they might walk out into the gardens and enjoy what remained of the unseasonally pleasant weather. Darcy looked at Miss Elizabeth in askance, to which she supplied the information that her father was occupied at present, but would join the party for luncheon. Darcy responded with a smile, and offered his arm to escort her out of doors, following Mr.

Bingley and Miss Bennet. Upon leaving the house, however, Mr. Darcy showed little interest in joining the others as he led her towards the little wilderness on the outskirts of the garden and continued on through it down a path towards the nearby wood. As the gentleman seemed determined to remain silent, Elizabeth resolved to enjoy the companionable silence until he chose to speak, which at length, he did.

For fear of expressing myself in a manner more expected from my sister Jane, I must say I cannot recall when I last had a more pleasant time nor enjoyed more pleasant company. Darcy smiled. Darcy then stopped abruptly and turned towards Elizabeth. She looked up at him, her eyes entreating him to continue. Would allow me to court you? Darcy reached for her hand, and placed the lightest of kisses upon it. He placed another lingering kiss upon her hand before intertwining her arm tightly in his and returning to others gathered in the garden.

It was not long before all assembled agreed they ought return to the house, as Mrs. Bennet had prepared for a late luncheon to be served for her guests. Bennet joined the family for the meal, which passed pleasantly with conversation centering on the previous evening, and of course Mr. Bingley and Miss Bennet's engagement, as Mrs. Bennet could speak of little else. As the meal drew to a close, Mr. Bennet patted his napkin on his lips, clearing his throat with a pointed glance towards Mr.

Darcy as he rose from the table. The younger gentlemen soon excused himself to join Mr. Bennet in the library under the pretext of challenging him to a game of chess. Darcy rejoined the party in the drawing room just as Mrs. Bennet insisted the gentlemen must stay for tea. Each accepted the invitation politely before they were once again ushered out of doors that the matron might make the appropriate preparations. Bingley and Jane seated themselves comfortably on a stone bench where they might converse quietly, while the newly courting couple chose to ramble about the garden.

Miss Elizabeth engaged Mr. Darcy in many pleasant topics of conversation, the former laughing delightedly as the latter exhibited his wit and new-found ability to tease. After some time, the gentleman found himself entirely spellbound. The lady's confidence in herself and ease in the gentleman's presence were such that her melodious laughter and delightful conversation continued, despite his increasingly hazy replies.

So might their conversation have continued until tea had Mr. Darcy not suddenly pulled her aside and led her into a small copse beside the garden. Just a few moments after his swift movement had interrupted her laughter, Elizabeth found herself standing directly before Mr.

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Darcy, his earnest gaze upon her and her hands clasped in his. How she had even mistaken his intense look for dislike she could no longer understand. She swallowed sharply as at length, the gentleman spoke. Elizabeth was overwhelmed by the fervently passionate expression dancing in his eyes as he inclined his head ever so slightly closer to hers. Goodness, he wants to kiss me. I can no longer deny how ardently I admire and love you, and I can only hope that you might return some portion of my feelings and will consent to be my wife.

Though I confess the feelings I have for you at present may not be as strong as your own, I cannot but anticipation that they soon shall be. Darcy smiled brightly, unable to keep a grin from reappearing in-between his words as he spoke, "You have made me so happy. For a moment I feared your reaction, you looked apprehensive when I first began to address you. Embarrassed, Elizabeth blushed and turned her eyes to the grass beneath her feet. Amused by the thought of his Elizabeth -- oh, the glory of being truly able to think of her as such -- displaying any form of timidity he inquired playfully, "And what request might that be?

I thought you were asking to Darcy smiled and stepped closer, raising their joined hands between then, "Well in that case, you were not entirely wrong, as while we both know that is not the particular request I made, I would very much like to kiss you. At last Elizabeth raised her eyes to his, and inhaled sharply when she realized the closeness of his face to hers. The expression in her eyes answering the question in his, she closed her eyes as she felt his lips brush gently against her own. Her eyes fluttering open to meet his same intense gaze, she nervously thought to lighten the atmosphere surrounding them, "You must think me rather brazen for suggesting such a thing.

Each shared a tender smile with the other which, in combination with the loving gazes so fixed between them, could not but result in another, longer, display of his love for her, and her mutual regard. It was but a moment's work before Elizabeth found herself wrapped in Mr. Darcy's gentle embrace, relishing in the comfort brought by the gentleman of her affections, and the joy of knowing that he returned her feelings in kind. For those who felt the previous alternate ending was sloshed in superfluous mush, rest assured that while portions of this next scene are sloshed in an equally sticky substance, the result is quite the opposite.

Colonel Fitzwilliam was taking his tour of the Park as he did each year upon his visit to Rosings, this year venturing forth rather earlier than usual on account of his cousin Darcy's imminent departure. He had rather enjoyed the scene in the drawing room as Darcy tried to justify his reason for visiting an old acquaintance.

Fitzwilliam did remember rather well the friendship between his cousin and Andrew Beaumont, but to resume the acquaintance now, after having heard nothing of the gentleman during the years since his marriage, was puzzling. If he had not known his serious cousin's disposition so well, he would have suspected a young lady to be involved -- that would certainly be motivation enough for the Colonel to resume a tedious acquaintance from his own Cambridge days. Chuckling over the idea of Darcy secretly being in love, he failed to notice the streak of black headed towards Rosings along a nearby path.

When his dog, Brinkley, eagerly ran off towards the same path, he thought little of it as he assumed the dog to be chasing a squirrel or perhaps a rabbit. Good riddance, as his aunt's grounds seemed to be riddled with a superfluous population of rodents. It was not until Brinkley's ferocious barking was answered by a piercing shriek followed by muffled and indiscernible sounds that Fitzwilliam became concerned, his alarm mounting as the cries ceased but the growling of his large canine was still audible.

By the time the colonel reached the other side of a large hedgerow, he gasped, making the stark realization that he had arrived too late, and nothing could be done but notify his aunt of the unfortunate event that had taken place. Darcy nodded in acknowledgement of his cousin, thankful to have his escape from the house interrupted by the only person of the household who would not have been sent by his aunt's bidding to summon him back to the house like an escaped pig. That only makes it worse, though I have never known him capable of attacking a man!

But why he had to have all that damnable ham on his person? I wonder if all of this could have been prevented. I begin to regret any jests I made at the expense of the man. I would never have wished such an end on our aunt's parson. Through my acquaintance with the gentleman in Hertfordshire I am aware of his only living relations, and I will take upon myself the task of informing them of the unfortunate incident.

The next morning an express rider made a delivery a Longbourn, and much to the chagrin of Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Bennet refused to reveal the contents of the letter, insisting that he must write to Mr. Gardiner in London and Mr. Bingley at Ashingdon with utmost haste. He hardly knew how to explain the bizarre events to his family, though he assumed as little detail as possible would be the most prudent approach with his wife and youngest daughters.

As to composing his letters, it seemed vulgar to discuss the ramifications his cousin's fatality would have upon the estate, which both Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bingley would realize by their own conjecture, so he resolved that a quotation of Mr. Darcy's own letter would best suit his brother and son. After all, there could not be more than one way to explain that Mr.

Collins had instructed his cook to slosh excessive amounts of extracts from his beehives over a large ham, and sought to impress his patroness with a large sample of the honey-baked concoction.

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It was not until supper that Mr. Bennet left his study, seating himself at the table with a feigned air of nonchalance and began to eat his dinner. With a huff, Mrs. Bennet resigned her efforts of extracting the news and turned her attention to her remaining daughters, such that she was taken quite by surprise when her husband spoke. After sufficient pause for the ladies at the table to realize he was in earnest, the sentiment acknowledged by the gaping of their mouths and widening of their eyes, Mr. Bennet added, "It seems there was an unfortunate incident involving an overly aggressive canine that had missed its breakfast.

Shortly after his covert correspondence begins, Mr. Darcy fears his secret will be found out when someone enters the bookshop just as he prepares to hide a note. The door of the shop could be heard and Mr. Darcy glanced discreetly over his shoulder to see who had entered. Just as he espied none other than Lydia Bennet, his eyes went wide as he noticed she stood on tiptoes, her eyes taking survey of the shop and moving perilously close to his direction. He was certain that if he were a boy of ten he would have hunched down and run to the other side of the shop, but he was a gentleman, and he moved discreetly but quickly!

A burst of giggles embellished by a snort caught his attention, and he rolled his eyes as he observed her purpose in entering the bookshop. The young man in the shop, of some relation to Mr. Awdry if he had heard correctly, rested a crate upon the counter as the young " lady " placed a hand on his arm flirtatiously, jabbering about some nonsense Mr. Darcy did not bother to attend. With a huff, he exited the shop; his errand would just have to wait. Perhaps he could invent some business at the tailors, it certainly would not be the quality he was used to, but after all, Miss Bingley had complimented how fine he appeared in the waistcoat he had worn out riding the day before, saying the tawny hue was quite her favorite -- there's an article of clothing I'm never wearing again.

Bingley are in the library, discussing the upcoming engagement dinner in honor of Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet. Darcy once the gentlemen had gained the privacy of the library. Bingley chuckled as he poured a glass for each of them. You know as well as I it is only appropriate for me to invite them to dine, particularly in light of my sisters' reluctance to pay a congratulatory call on Miss Bennet.

I recognize your distaste for her family, but I am confident even you can survive their company for one evening. Darcy began to pace the room, his reply halting abruptly when the toe of his shoe caught on the rug, nearly causing him to spill his drink as he fought to keep his balance.

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  • Turning his eye to the offensive carpet, he looked agitatedly at the awkward edging of the ostentatious design. Singular choice for a library , he muttered. I do not recall it being present the last time I attempted to walk across this room without losing my dignity. Caroline had it ordered from London, insisting that it is of the latest fashion and apparently believed my library would be an embarrassment without it.

    Exactly who she thinks to impress when she disdains the local society, I have not the slightest idea. Bingley cast a mischievous glance at Mr. Darcy, "Then again, perhaps I do. However I really should reign in her spending habits regardless. Darcy's assistance as he reached down to grab the offending rug, "let us roll it up and ask a servant to place it in the attic before the effect of this port settles in and one of us impales himself in attempt to walk over this atrocity.

    Tell me the number of pounds this monstrosity has cost you and I shall purchase it from you. Darcy smiled impishly as he moved to assist his friend, "It is exceedingly difficult to find gifts for my Aunt Catherine, and apparently I should have thought to solicit your sister's similar taste long ago. Darcy paced back and forth in his study, interrupting his motion only to occasionally poke at the fire, glancing wistfully at the shaggy mop of his dog Jemma as she lounged beside the fire, sprawled on the generously sized stuffed bed Georgiana had commissioned for his canine companion.

    He was not entirely surprised at Georgiana's bringing the animal to town when she traveled from Pemberley, he only reflected on the irony that for all the times Jemma begged for attention and unsettled his paperwork with her rambunctious behavior, now, when he would most appreciate the distraction, she would not trouble herself to be roused from her lethargy.

    With a last vengeful poke at the fire, he let out a large sigh and decided to seek out his sister's company in the drawing room. As much as he anticipated Thompson's return, that he might know his note had been delivered safely, the earliest he might be expected to arrive was still over an hour away, and there was a good chance he would not have a return note from her so close to Christmastide.

    Darcy replied. His attempt at a civil reply for the sake of his sister was somewhat effective, though the sarcasm he attempted to disguise was not entirely lost on his cousin. Can you tell me of her? Miss Bingley declares Miss Bennet to be a sweet girl, though she fears the manners of her many sisters may overwhelm me.

    Bingley is quite satisfied with his choice of wife, and though another match could have been an improvement in terms of fortune and connection, I admit I can find no fault in the lady herself. Her sisters however Darcy trailed off, reminding himself of the old adage that if one could not say something nice, one should not speak at all. I suppose she must not be very pretty if she lacks the confidence to garnish your attention with her charms. Darcy retorted a bit too quickly before adding, "though definitely confrontational. Georgiana thought amusedly, the slightest of smirks forming upon her lips as she observed her brother.

    She startled as she noticed her brother scrutinizing her with an inquisitive expression, and excused herself before he might ask her to explain. I suppose I should not be surprised, considering there are plenty of young ladies to entertain you during your leave. Darcy scoffed, "I suppose it is a simple business to walk into a ballroom and single out the one lady in all of England whose lively nature fills your heart with joy.

    I doubt I have ever met a lady of that description amongst the peerage or gentry who make up our insipid society -- have you? The wan smile Mr. Darcy offered in response did little to communicate his opinion on the subject, though his mind quickly turned to a certain lady in Hertfordshire, and when he might avail himself of Bingley's hospitality once again. Having arrived the night before at Netherfield for Mr. Bingley's wedding three weeks hence, Mr. Darcy had anxiously ridden to the Meryton bookseller's and relished in her light-hearted note, discussing their mutual appreciation for the outdoors and the written word.

    He had already determined to return to Hertfordshire to court his Elizabeth, and reading these words only increased his confidence in his decision to pursue the woman who already owned his heart. Little did he know that a slight detour on the way back to Netherfield would bring him face to face with the object of his affections. Elizabeth walked out into the sunshine, enjoying the gradually warming weather and the opportunity to escape the house before her mother confined her along with her sisters in preparation for the evening's festivities.

    A simple dinner at the Philips' it may be, her mother still would not allow any of her daughters to go out into society without displaying themselves to advantage, particularly as her eldest would soon gain the prestigious title of Mrs. Having removed her bonnet, Elizabeth continued to walk along the wooded path until a sudden gust of wind stripped the article from her fingers' loose and inattentive grasp. She sighed, reflecting on the irony that of course her wayward bonnet would settle into the nearby stream.

    Fruitlessly attempting to retrieve the lost item before it drifted out of reach, Elizabeth huffed and searched the surrounding bank for a means of fishing it out. Little did she know what a charming picture she created for the approaching horse and rider as with a triumphant "Aha! The sound of Mr. Darcy's voice startled her from her concentration, a drenched bonnet then slipping from the end of her stick as she jerked into an upright position.

    A Noteworthy Courtship

    Elizabeth stared awkwardly and loosened her fingers as Mr. Darcy took the stick from her hands, only to place it on the ground beside him as he moved down the bank. Within a few moments he reached the bonnet, his tall riding boots partially submerged as he lifted the item and flashed her a cheeky grin. Elizabeth placed her hands upon her hips, and was preparing a retort suitable for the occasion. Noticing her rising indignation, he wondered if perhaps he had been to rash in teasing her. He spoke hastily before the inevitable remark escaped her lips. His steady gaze was finally broken as he looked down at drenched article in his hands, the continuing flow of droplets being absorbed into the grass between them.

    Darcy then gently wrung out as much of the remaining water as possible before again offering the retrieved bonnet to her. Elizabeth responded in kind, and with a tip of his hat, Mr. Darcy departed, leaving her to wonder at his uncharacteristic ease of manners, and at least one of his statements in particular. He had referred to the rest of their lives. In any other man she would have acknowledged the implication. As impossible as it was to credit such implications to Mr.

    Darcy, assuming that he had spoken in reference to frequently being in each other's company through the Bingleys was not entirely plausible either. And what did he mean by the boyish grin as he fished out her bonnet?

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    A gallant Mr. Implausible, indeed. We return to a warm spring afternoon, at a modest estate just off the coast of Essex, where a merry party consisting of the Beaumonts, the Bingleys, Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet had gathered on the lawn for a game of cricket. Just as the informal cricket match came to a close, little Alexander Beaumont had begun to fuss, and after a few moments of failed attempts to sooth him through various entertainments and changed positions, Mrs.

    Beaumont relented and expressed that she would be returning him to the house for a nap. Bingley shared a smile, and announced their intent to return to the house as well. Bingley rose from his partially reclined position at his wife's side, and offered his hands to pull her up as well, gleefully stealing a quick kiss once she gained her feet. Arm in arm, they walked towards the house, Mr. Bingley suggesting that while he would first gain a fresh change of clothes, he would enjoy escorting his wife on a quick tour of the gardens before dinner. They had just crossed the foyer and nearly reached the stairs when a carriage was heard approaching.

    Bingley paid it little mind until the front doors of Ashingdon House opened rapidly, immediately followed by an imperious voice demanding to see Mr. Espying the last swish of Mrs. Beaumont's skirts disappear down an upper hallway as she rushed her fussing babe towards the nursery, Mr. Bingley turned and descended the few stairs he had gained, hoping to be of assistance. Darcy is expected to return to the house momentarily. Might I be of assistance? Nicholls, the Beaumont's housekeeper, "might I offer to escort you to the drawing room for refreshment while we anticipate the gentleman's return from the afternoon's sport?

    Nicholls," Mr. Bingley enthused, "My wife, Mrs. Bingley and I, would be happy to offer our company Bingley," greeted Mr. Collins with a solemn bow, having just entered the house in his patronesses' wake, "forgive me when I suggest that you assist us in locating Mr. Darcy directly, as Lady Catherine has urgent business with the gentleman. Nicholls, "shall direct me to my nephew, immediately.

    Shocked expressions graced the faces of Mr. Bingley as they witnessed the great Lady exit the house as quickly and deliberately as she had entered it, though their attention was quickly drawn back to Mrs. Bingley's cousin as he returned from escorting his patroness to the door. Bingley, Mrs. Bingley, allow me to greet you properly now that my revered patroness' needs are being attended. Bingley greeted, baffled in no small degree, "I believe Mr.

    Beaumont will forgive us the presumption of retiring to their drawing room in their absence. I shall call for some refreshment. Nicholls was otherwise engaged. It is with great honor that I have received the assistance of Lady Catherine deBourgh in securing my future happiness, and with your blessing, I hope to secure an audience with Elizabeth directly that I may relate to her the considerations that have been so generously provided to us.

    Bingley said with some concern, "Do you mean to say that your arrival here is not for the assistance of Mr. Darcy's aunt, but rather your intent is to locate Elizabeth? Bingley stared confusedly at Mr. How the gentleman had come to know Elizabeth's present location was puzzling, though the particular outcome he expected to result from his traveling thither was less discernable. Bennet's condition, that is. It is most providential that you have recently married, as you may now fulfill the duties of head of the family. Though I suppose considering my age and future inheritance of Longbourn, I might fill such an office for my wife's sisters once Elizabeth and I are married.

    Bingley stared and sputtered, completely taken aback by Mr. Collins' presumptuous remarks, not knowing which portions he found most offensive and most disturbing, though he assumed each word he had the misfortune of hearing fit into both categories. Unfortunately for Mr. Bingley, his silence was interpreted by Mr.