Jack Caldwell

The Three Colonels

Jane Austen's Fighting Men

To Barbara,

who believed in me from the first.

Author’s Note 

The Three Colonels is a sequel to the Jane Austen novels Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I use Austen’s characters from these and her other novels in the body of this story.

Austen aficionados differ in opinion as to exactly when during the Georgian/Regency period the novels take place. For matters of continuity, I chose to date the action in the original novels based on the year of publication, rather than the years Austen originally wrote them (1795–1796). I feel justified in this, since Austen substantially edited both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in the years prior to publication.

Therefore, I have dated Pride and Prejudice (published 1813) between 1811 and 1812, while Sense and Sensibility (1811) is set in 1810.

By making this choice, I believe I have opened the wonderful Jane Austen universe to great possibilities. I hope you enjoy the results.

—Jack Caldwell

Faribault, Minnesota, July 2011

Dramatis Personae

[*]—Historical Character

Delaford Manor, Dorsetshire

Colonel Christopher Brandon, British Army (inactive)—Owner of Delaford Manor, magistrate of Delaford. A veteran of the wars of the French Revolution and the early Napoleonic conflicts, he holds an honorary position in the Life Guards. Close friend to both Colonels Fitzwilliam and Buford and a confidant of Wellington.

Marianne Dashwood Brandon—Wife of Colonel Brandon (1813), mother of Joy Brandon, and friend to Elizabeth Darcy and Jane Bingley

Joy Brandon—Daughter of Christopher and Marianne Brandon (1814)

The Rev. Edward Ferrars—Rector of Delaford Parish

Elinor Dashwood Ferrars—Wife of Edward Ferrars, sister to Marianne Brandon

Mr. McIntosh—Steward of Delaford Manor

Mayfield, Nottinghamshire

Charles Bingley—Head of the Bingley family, who until recently was in trade. Former lessee of Netherfield in Hertfordshire, which he quits in 1814 for an estate of his own in Nottinghamshire, thirty miles from Pemberley. The particular friend of Mr. Darcy.

Jane Bennet Bingley—Wife of Charles Bingley (1812), mother of Susan Frances Bingley

Susan Frances Bingley—Daughter of Charles and Jane Bingley (1813)

Caroline Bingley—Sister to Charles Bingley, friend to Annabella Adams

Louisa Bingley Hurst—Wife of Geoffrey Hurst, sister to Charles and Caroline Bingley

Longbourn, Meryton, Hertfordshire

Thomas Bennet—Owner of Longbourn, head of the Bennet family

Frances Gardiner Bennet—Wife of Thomas Bennet, mother of Jane Bingley, Elizabeth Darcy, Lydia Wickham, Mary Bennet, and Catherine Bennet

Mary Bennet—Daughter of Thomas Bennet

Kitty Bennet—Daughter of Thomas Bennet

Thomas Tucker, Esq—Clerk in Mr. Phillips’s law firm

Pemberley, Lambton, Derbyshire

Fitzwilliam Darcy—Owner of Pemberley, head of the Darcy family, nephew to the Earl of Matlock and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, cousin to Colonel Fitzwilliam, friend to Colonel Brandon

Elizabeth Bennet Darcy—Wife of Fitzwilliam Darcy (1812), mother of Bennet Darcy, friend to the Dashwood sisters

Bennet Edward George Darcy—Son and heir of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy (1814)

Georgiana Darcy—Only sister to Fitzwilliam Darcy

The Rev. Franklin Southerland—Rector of Kympton Parish

Matlock Manor, Matlock, Derbyshire

Lord Hugh Fitzwilliam, 5th Earl of Matlock—Head of the Fitzwilliam family, brother to Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Lady Alexandria Fitzwilliam, Countess Matlock—Wife of Lord Matlock

Andrew, Viscount Fitzwilliam of Matlock—Eldest son and heir of Lord and Lady Matlock

Colonel the Hon. Richard Fitzwilliam, ——rd Lt. Dragoons, British Army—Second son of Lord and Lady Matlock, veteran of the Peninsular War, comrade of Colonel Buford

Buford Manor, Wales

Mrs. Albertine Buford—Matriarch of the Buford family. Of French stock, her family fled the Revolution.

Philip Buford—Eldest son of Albertine Buford, owner of Buford Manor

Rebecca Buford—Wife of Philip Buford

Colonel Sir John Buford, CB, ——nd Lt. Dragoons, British Army—Second son of Albertine Buford, he earned the Order of the Bath due to his service during the Peninsular War. Confidant of Wellington.

Lady Suzanne Buford Douglas—Daughter of Albertine Buford, wife of Lord Douglas of Scotland

Rosings Park, Hunsford, Kent

Lady Catherine Fitzwilliam de Bourgh—Widow of Sir Lewis de Bourgh, Bart., owner of Rosings, sister to Lord Matlock

Anne de Bourgh—Daughter of Lady Catherine

Mrs. Jenkinson—Companion to Anne de Bourgh

The Rev. William Collins—Rector of Hunsford Parish, cousin to Thomas Bennet, heir to Longbourn

Charlotte Lucas Collins—Wife of William Collins, friend to Anne de Bourgh

Newcastle, Northumberland

Captain George Wickham, ——th Regiment of Foot, British Army—Husband of Lydia Bennet

Lydia Bennet Wickham—Wife of George Wickham (1812)

Major Archibald Denny, British Army—Attached to the General Staff


Edward Gardiner—Uncle to the Bennet sisters, brother to Frances Bennet

Madeline Gardiner—Wife of Edward Gardiner

Annabella Adams Norris—Wife of Randolph Norris, schoolmate of Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst

Lady Victoria Uppercross—Acquaintance of Sir John

Vienna, Austria

Field Marshall Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, GCB—Hero of the Peninsular War, head of His Majesty’s delegation to the Congress of Vienna (1815), commander of all British forces on the Continent [*]

Lady Beatrice Wellesley—Cousin to Wellington

Countess Roxanne de Pontchartrain—Wife of the Count de Pontchartrain (member of the Royal French delegation), acquaintance of Sir John Buford

Baron Wolfgang von Odbar—Member of the Prussian delegation

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord—Prince of Benevento, French foreign minister, and delegate to the Congress of Vienna [*]

Belgium—Waterloo, Brussels, and surrounding areas

Captain Hewitt, British Army

Prince Willem of Orange—Dutch Crown Prince, Wellington’s second in command, commander of I Corps [*]

Lieutenant General Sir Henry William Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge, GCB—Commander of British Horse at Waterloo [*]

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton, GCB—Commander of the British 5th Division of Foot [*]

Major General Sir William Ponsonby, KCB—Commander of the Union Cavalry Brigade [*]

Major General Sir John Vandeleur—Commander of the 4th Cavalry Brigade [*]

Major General Sir Hussey Vivian, KCB—Commander of the 6th Cavalry Brigade [*]

Napoleon Bonaparte—Emperor of the French [*]


1814. Peace had come to England.

Since 1740, George III’s Great Britain had been in recurrent conflict with its ancient enemy France and all its various governments. She fought Louis XV’s Kingdom of France again and again over their colonies in the New World and India. She prevented the expansion of Robespierre’s homicidal French Republic and its Revolution. She had spent irreplaceable men and treasure to overthrow the menace of Napoleon Bonaparte as he tried to build an empire out of Europe.

After seventy-four years of recurring warfare, her work was done. The cost in blood and gold had been high, but the country was safe. The self-proclaimed Emperor Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. A new French king, one finally friendly to Britain, was established on his throne in Paris. A grand congress of all the allies who had stood against the Tyrant was assembled in Vienna to re-draw the post-war world. Britain was master of the subcontinent. Soldiers and sailors were brought back to sweet England, paid off, and sent home.

Only the unpopular conflict with their former American colonies remained, and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool was working hard to end it. Even now, diplomats in Ghent were dancing the steps of diplomacy to fashion a peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain. It was hoped it would be signed before Christmas.

With the fall of Bonaparte and the end of the American War in sight, the people of Regency England dutifully gathered in church, sang their praises to God and king, and then turned their attention to more mundane and heartfelt concerns: the business of living happily ever after.

*   *   *


Colonel Christopher Brandon sat at his breakfast table in Delaford Manor, enjoying his second cup of coffee. He had become enamored of the drink while serving in India and on the Continent during the wars against France—first against the godless Jacobites and then later against the Corsican artilleryman who dared name himself emperor of the French. At first, his young, lovely wife could not reason why anyone would drink anything but tea, but she assumed it to be another of his eccentricities. Then one cold, winter afternoon, impatient for the teakettle, she seized her husband’s cup and drained half of it. That impulsive act had the result of doubling the amount in the Brandon household budget for coffee.