In the Arms of Mr. Darcy

Poems quoted by Darcy in Chapter 9:

“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe, 1599

“Your Smile Stops the Minutes” by Stephen Lathan, 1986

This novel is dedicated to my husband, Steve. For over twenty-four years this amazing man has proven to me what romance and true love are. The poem that Mr. Darcy writes and recites to Elizabeth while dancing on Twelfth Night was actually written for me by my husband, at the time my fiancé, and he still quotes it from memory often while gazing into my eyes, just as he did all those years ago. Because of him, my tale of happily-ever-after is possible. Honey, I love you forever! You truly are my soulmate, my blood and bone.

Cast of Characters

Fitzwilliam Darcy: Master of Pemberley in Derbyshire: 29 years of age, born November 10, 1787; married Elizabeth Bennet on November 28, 1816

Elizabeth Darcy: Mistress of Pemberley: 22 years of age, born May 28, 1795

Alexander Darcy: Heir to Pemberley; born November 27, 1817

Georgiana Darcy: 18 years of age; companion is Mrs. Annesley

Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam: 33 years of age; cousin and dear friend to Mr. Darcy; second son of Lord and Lady Matlock; regiment stationed in London

Lord Matlock: the Earl of Matlock: Darcy’s Uncle Malcolm, brother to Lady Anne Darcy; ancestral estate is Rivallain in Matlock, Derbyshire

Lady Matlock: the Countess of Matlock: Darcy’s Aunt Madeline, wife to Lord Matlock

Jonathan Fitzwilliam: Heir to the Matlock earldom, eldest Fitzwilliam son; wife is Priscilla

Lady Annabella Montgomery: sister of Richard and Jonathan Fitzwilliam

Charles Bingley: Longtime friend of Mr. Darcy; residence Hasberry Hall, Derbyshire; married Jane Bennet on November 28, 1816

Jane Bingley: elder sister of Elizabeth and eldest Bennet daughter; wife of Mr. Bingley

Caroline Bingley: sister of Charles Bingley

Louisa Hurst: married sister of Charles Bingley; husband is Mr. Arbus Hurst; residence London

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet: Elizabeth’s parents; reside at Longbourn in Hertfordshire with two middle daughters, Mary and Kitty

Mary Bennet: Elizabeth’s sister; middle Bennet daughter

Joshua Daniels: betrothed to Mary Bennet; son and partner of Mr. Darcy’s London solicitor, Andrew Daniels

Katherine (Kitty) Bennet: Elizabeth’s sister; fourth Bennet daughter

Lydia Wickham: Elizabeth’s sister; youngest Bennet daughter; married to Lieutenant George Wickham, stationed in Newcastle

Edward and Violet Gardiner: uncle and aunt of Elizabeth; reside in Cheapside, London

Dr. George Darcy: Mr. Darcy’s uncle; brother to James Darcy; resides at Pemberley

Lady Simone Fotherby: widowed Marchioness of Fotherby, Buckinghamshire

Marchioness of Warrow: Darcy’s great-aunt; sister to his grandfather

Sebastian Butler: grandson to Lady Warrow; future Earl of Essenton

Lady Catherine de Bourgh: Mr. Darcy’s aunt; sister to Lady Anne Darcy; residence Rosings Park, Kent

Anne de Bourgh: daughter of Lady Catherine; Mr. Darcy’s cousin

Dr. Raul Penaflor Aleman de Vigo: betrothed to Miss de Bourgh

Stephen Lathrop: Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; residence is Stonecrest Hall in Leicestershire; wife is Amelia

Henry Vernor: family friend of the Darcys; residence is Sanburl Hall near Lambton, Derbyshire; wife is Mary, daughter is Bertha

Gerald Vernor: son of Henry Vernor; childhood friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Harriet; residence is Sanburl Hall

Albert Hughes: childhood friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Marilyn; residence is Rymas Park near Baslow

Rory Sitwell: Derbyshire resident and Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Julia; residence is Reniswahl Hall near Staveley

George and Alison Fitzherbert: Derbyshire residents and friends; residence is Brashinharm near Barlow

Clifton and Chloe Drury: Derbyshire residents and friends; residence is Locknell Hall near Derby

Charlotte Collins: Longtime friend of Elizabeth’s; married to Rev. William Collins; resides at Hunsford, rectory of Rosings Park in Kent

Mrs. Reynolds: Pemberley housekeeper

Mr. Taylor: Pemberley butler

Mr. Keith: Mr. Darcy’s steward

Samuel Oliver: Mr. Darcy’s valet

Marguerite Oliver: Mrs. Darcy’s maid

Phillips, Watson, Tillson, Georges, Rothchilde: Pemberley footmen

Mr. Clark: Pemberley head groundskeeper

Mr. Thurber: Pemberley head groomsman

Mrs. Langton: Pemberley cook

Mr. Anders: Pemberley head coachman

Mr. Burr: Pemberley gamekeeper

Mr. Holmes: falconer

Mrs. Smyth: Darcy House housekeeper

Mr. Travers: Darcy House butler

Reverend Bertram: Rector of Pemberley Chapel

Mrs. Hanford: Nanny to Darcy firstborn 

Chapter One

Relative Invasion

Meryton, located roughly one hundred fifty miles to the south of Pemberley in Derbyshire and nestled in the pastoral valleys of Hertfordshire, was experiencing an atypical cold spell for this winter of 1817. Snow had not yet fallen and it was warmer than the northern counties, but beyond a doubt, winter had descended with a vengeance not seen in years. Whatever the facts, weather or otherwise, none of the inhabitants of the modest manor known as Longbourn took note. All energies were either focused on preparations for the trip to Pemberley or avoiding said preparations.

Mrs. Bennet had been in a barely controlled dither since her springtime trip to Darcy House in London. She was further incited by Kitty’s gushing descriptions of Pemberley, after her daughter’s return from visiting there in August. Despite her incessant declarations to anyone listening of the great wealth that her second daughter married into, the woman of humble means had no true concept of such a life. The subdued opulence of Darcy House had amazed her, and based on the picture painted by Kitty, Pemberley promised to be vastly superior. Frankly, she was overwhelmed at the concept and her infamous nerves were on high alert—for justifiable reasons this time.

Between Mary’s wedding planning, the Christmas vacation arrangements, and his wife’s histrionics, Mr. Bennet found himself retreating to the solitude of his study more and more to evade the frenzy. He merely wanted to see his favored daughter and new grandson, enjoy the pleasure of good company, and lose himself in the library. Inconsequentials, such as fashionable clothing and haircuts, were of no interest.

Transportation to Derbyshire had not actually occurred to him as an issue. His plan was simply to utilize the landau, and if five persons proved a bit snug, all better to maintain warmth! The arrival of the luxurious Darcy coach two days before their scheduled departure, with an obviously carefully worded letter from Lizzy, explaining its purpose with her natural humor, brought a smile to his face. The rationale was of no real importance to the practical gentleman. He instantly recognized the advantage and was pleased, not only for the reasons delineated by his darling daughter, but also for the comfort afforded his old bones. It never crossed his mind to be offended. Besides, Mrs. Bennet’s theatrics would have effectively smothered any sensations of insult had they come to mind.

“Such a fine, fine carriage it is!” she gushed. “What a marvelous gentleman he is to be sure! Married our Lizzy when surely no one else would likely have her, always far too independent and sharp-tongued for her own good. Truly a wondrous gentleman, so generous and kind, is he not Mr. Daniels?”

Mr. Daniels’s agreeing reply, the hundredth or so such offered since departing Longbourn, was lost in the continuing rambles of his future mother-in-law. Mary’s gentle smile and soft eyes met his, giving the flummoxed young man the inner strength necessary to deal with the situation. His weekly visits to Mary since her departure from London had given him the opportunity to become acquainted with his soon-to-be family. As Darcy before him, Mr. Daniels was baffled at how the demure, proper young woman who was his fiancée had arisen from such a family. Mr. Bennet was quieter than his wife, but with a clever wit and penetrating gaze not possessed by his middle daughter. In all ways, Mary was an enigma in the Bennet clan, far more than Lizzy ever had been.

Joshua Daniels counted himself a fortunate man indeed, the antics of the Bennets notwithstanding. His betrothed was a steady young lady, prim, stoic, and fairly humorless; but intelligent, kind, and warm. Since these were character traits identical to Mr. Daniels, the two were well matched. Both approached their union with logic and sensibleness, emotion only a dim part of the decision initially. That there was a physical attraction was obvious to them both, but to say it was a raging passion would be erroneous. Their innocent and balanced natures did not lend well to consideration of such things. However, as the long weeks of their engagement unfolded, both began to sense the stirrings of something stronger; emotions that simmered far under the skin as they gradually took tender liberties with chaste kisses and hand touching. This excursion to Pemberley, as painful as it was for the decorous solicitor to reside as a guest in a client’s home, would be an eye-opener. The extended period of time the couple would spend together, often inadvertently alone as people came and went about the enormous manor, as well as witnessing the blatant if constrained demonstrations of affection between their hosts, would enlighten them to the greater riches possibly uncovered in a passionate marriage. Without giving too much away, it is safe to conclude that Mary and Joshua would have a fulfilling marriage in all ways.