Sharon Lathan

Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley

Cast of Characters

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Master of Pemberley in Derbyshire: 29 years of age, born November 10, 1787; parents James and Lady Anne Darcy, both deceased; married Elizabeth Bennet on November 28, 1816

Elizabeth Darcy, Mistress of Pemberley: 21 years of age, born May 28, 1795; second Bennet daughter

Georgiana Darcy: 17 years of age; sister of Mr. Darcy with guardianship shared by her brother and cousin, Col. Fitzwilliam; companion is Mrs. Annesley

Col. Richard Fitzwilliam: 31 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; mother of Jonathan, Annabella, and Richard

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

Charles Bingley: 25 years of age; longtime friend of Mr. Darcy; currently resides at Netherfield Hall in Hertfordshire; married Jane Bennet on November 28, 1816

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

Caroline Bingley: unmarried 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

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

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

Dr. George Darcy: Mr. Darcy's uncle; brother to James Darcy

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

Stephen Lathrop: Cambridge friend of Mr. Darcy; resides at 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; resides at Sanburl Hall

Albert Hughes: childhood friend of Mr. Darcy; wife is Marilyn

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

George and Alison Fitzherbert: Derbyshire residents

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

Dr. Raul Penaflor Aleman de Vigo: Spanish associate of Dr. George Darcy

Joshua Daniels: son and partner of Mr. Darcy's London solicitor, Andrew Daniels

Mrs. Reynolds: Pemberley housekeeper

Mr. Taylor: Pemberley butler

Mr. Keith: Mr. Darcy's steward

Samuel Oliver: Mr. Darcy's valet

Marguerite Charbonneau: 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: head coachman

Mrs. Smyth: Darcy House housekeeper

Mr. Travers: Darcy House butler

Reverend Bertram: Rector of Pemberley Chapel

Madame du Loire: Modiste in Lambton

Chapter One


Elizabeth Darcy stood next to Georgiana on the massive portico before the main doors to Pemberley. They were dressed in their traveling clothes and were waiting patiently for the Master of Pemberley, who was currently speaking with his steward, Mr. Keith, while the grandest and plushest of the Darcy carriages waited in the drive.

The warmth of May in Derbyshire had set in full force, making the days radiant with bright sunshine until late into the evening. The vast gardens of Pemberley were responding to the weather as Mr. Clark and his staff diligently engineered the grounds, which were now bursting in nearly eye-piercing splendor with every color of the rainbow. Every species of tree indigenous to England, and many that were not, enhanced the landscape with diverse shades of green and leaves in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Lizzy had regained her strength and mobility by traversing the miles of pathways weaving through the varied gardens. The by-product of her wanderings was a familiarity with and a deepening love for this place that was now her home.

Lizzy dreamily mused at how tremendously she had changed in the nearly five and a half months since she ascended the steps to Pemberley as a nervous bride. Outwardly, her entire appearance was drastically altered; gowns, jewels, and furs beyond her vaguest imaginings six months ago were now typical. Her hair, even in its traveling coif, was superior to anything she had ever fashioned previously. She was largely unaware of it, but there was a serenity and grace to her bearing that had not been present before. She would forever laugh spontaneously and carry a ready quip on her lips, but her character was notably more refined and softened. The minute gestures and vocal intonations associated with the social etiquette of the upper classes had permeated her being unconsciously.

Inwardly, she recognized a happiness and contentment that anchored her soul. Although there remained an enormous amount of Pemberley's management and the Darcy business affairs that she did not understand, her role as Mistress of Pemberley was a comfortable and accepted one. Her place in the household and the community was firm, and her confidence was secure. This massive house, which had frankly frightened her to death initially, was now home. She no longer walked through the endless halls with feelings of paralyzing awe and unworthiness. In five short months, she had grown to love the manor and its surrounds with a devotion transcending anything she had ever felt for Longbourn. Already she missed the library and bedchamber and sitting room and, well, all of it! The approximately six to seven weeks of their planned absence stretched before her as an empty sadness despite her excitement to see her family, and it was necessary to exert every ounce of self will to not rush inside for one last glance.

At that moment her husband strode out the door with the purposeful and powerful gait uniquely his own, mien intense and serious as he imparted a few last minute instructions to his steward. He paused as Mr. Keith commented about something. Lizzy smiled in admiration at the picture he presented. Commanding all to attention as he stood with shoulders back, masculine six-foot-three-inch frame erect, and impeccably dressed, he was elegant and regal, with sonorant voice authoritative. Pure, potent love and incredible pride burst through her as a wave. All that she had become in these past months was due to him. His love for her, his devotion and respect, his loyalty and faith in her capabilities, his steadfastness and latitude, and mostly his intuitive comprehension of her temperament, perceptions, and requirements encouraged her to blossom into the woman she now was.

He nodded in finality, shook the steward's hand, and turned to his sister and wife. Instantly his face lit with a beaming smile, and although no less noble or masterful, his countenance softened considerably.

“My dears, are you ready?”

“Waiting for you, brother.”

“Come then,” he said, offering an arm to each of his two favorite women in the entire world. He assisted Georgiana into the carriage first, made sure she settled comfortably, and then turned to Lizzy, inquiring with deep concern, “Are you well, beloved?”

“I am fine, William. Do not fuss so.” She patted his cheek and took his offered hand.

Leaning close and wholly indifferent to the hovering servants, he kissed her forehead. “I will fuss whether you wish it so or not, Mrs. Darcy. Therefore, you may as well own to any discomfort you have immediately to save me perpetually questioning!”

He assisted her into the carriage, following behind, as she laughed. The truth was that she had been increasingly indisposed for the past five days. She had attempted to hide her infirmity from Darcy, but this was a fruitless endeavor. His eagle-eyed scrutiny and intimacy with all matters regarding his wife penetrated any guile she ventured. The physician had examined her yesterday and confirmed that which they had presumed: She was definitely with child. Despite previously harboring little doubt, the Darcys greeted the validation with jubilance. Although her queasiness and extreme fatigue prevented her from actually jumping for joy, her heart was leaping. Darcy was nearly beside himself with euphoria and only Lizzy pleading with him to enlighten their families first kept him from informing all of Derbyshire.