Marry In Haste.doc
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Marry In Haste, Repent At;
Version 1: Volume I.
"Marry in haste, repent at leisure."
Proverb 16th Century.
"SHARPER: 'thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure.
Marry in haste, we may repent at leisure.
SETTER: 'Some by experience find those words misplaced: At leisure
married, they repent in haste.'"
The Old Bachelor, 1693, Act 5, Scene 1.
William Congreve, 1670-1729, English Dramatist.
"Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; Men love in haste, but
they detest at leisure."
Don Juan 1819-1824.
Lord Byron, 1788-1824.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a well-known person marries, all those that
know him- and the ones that do not -produce an almost insatiable curiosity about their new
partner in life. How ever little is known of the newlyweds' feelings upon the subject, it is fixed in
the minds of people in general that this bride will instantly be introduced to them after the
announcement of the event.
This was the case with the Earl of Saffron Walden. Having inherited his title at the unexpected
age of nine and twenty, along with several nice country estates, at least two houses in town, and
no disadvantaged dependant relatives, all of Society in general had held high hopes concerning
his marital prospects- that is to say that they wished for him to set an eye upon their daughters.
All wanted him to marry soon and well, and when he did neither of those things, all were
naturally disgusted with him.
One might wonder why I have mentioned him. Could it because he hails from the county of
Essex, which just happens to border Hertfordshire? Perhaps not. Shall I mention that he owns the
great house at Stoke, but has no plans to alter the size of the Drawing rooms? Yes, I thought that
might not satisfy you. Suffice it to say, I mention him because he married a woman whom you
all know very well. They met just by chance when he condescended to attend the Meryton
Winter Assembly, a month before he inherited his title. Naturally the entire village and its
occupants were all a chatter at a Viscount attending their assembly and when he chose to honour
the second daughter of one of the richest gentleman in the neighbourhood with his hand, this
gossip increased. The future Earl himself spent but three weeks in Meryton, before returning to
town upon the death of his father. Everyone but the lady in question expected his return, but all
were surprised when it was announced that he had offered his hand to the lady and she had
This was two years ago. Such a passage of time alone might not be considered astonishing, if it
were not for the fact that after the couple had returned to town, the new Countess of Saffron
Walden was only seen in Society once; when she was presented at Court. Society was in
astonishment. Many stared, some coloured, a few doubted and most were silent. All wondered
why she was never seen again.
They wondered even more when, again quite unexpectedly, the Earl was found dead in the
spring of 1811. The nature of his death proved to be a delicious scandal; he had been thrown
from a carriage while riding down a very poor road, as was a tradition of his club; the Four-
Horse. Society now awaited impatiently for the Countess to make an appearance. Since
mourning in this Era was not as rigid as it was soon to become, and the Earldom of Saffron
Walden was a title that passed through both male and female lines, it was presumed by all that
she would enter Society as soon as possible. All anxiously hoped that she would grace one of
their beloved single sons with her hand.
However, this was not the case. Instead the Countess disappeared from town and was never
heard of again.
Must that woman be quite so loud? Was the first thought that entered Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy's
head when he reluctantly arrived in the assembly of Meryton, Hertfordshire, that fateful night in
October of 1811.
The woman in question was still commenting, or rather complaining, when Sir William Lucas,
after having accosted both Darcy and his friend the moment they arrived, dragged him- not
Bingley, for he was quite willing -over to her and the two younger ladies standing beside her.
"I really must protest to you living there comfortably, Lizzy. The great house at Stoke it may be,
but the Drawing Rooms should really be larger."
Fortunately, it was at this moment that Sir William chose to interrupt. "Mrs Bennet, may I
introduce to Mr Bingley? He has expressed a wish of becoming acquainted with you and your
Whether Bingley had actually avowed aloud this intention or not, Darcy,- nor indeed his friend, -
knew not. All Darcy could remember was that Bingley had fixed his gaze upon the blond that, in
his opinion, smiled too much, and then was lost to everyone else.
Mrs Bennet, now presented with the new eligible young tenant of Netherfield, forgot the
unsuitability of size concerning the Drawing Rooms of Stoke's Great House and began to fawn.
"Mr Bingley. How lovely to see you. This is Jane, my eldest. And Mary sits over there. And
Kitty and Lydia my two youngest you see there dancing. And of course, my second daughter, the
Countess Saffron Walden."
While Mr Bingley had gone past the stage of listening to Mrs Bennet and back to gazing at the
blond he now knew to be Jane, his friend's interest had suddenly renewed itself.
Mr Darcy's reputation as the richest man in Derbyshire had granted him the acquaintance of the
late Earl, and he, like everyone else of Society, had wondered over the identity of the Countess.
Now he was the first of them to set eyes on her.
And be struck spellbound. The Countess was a beauty. Darcy found himself mesmerised by her
dark enchanting eyes which complimented her equally dark hair perfectly. However, there was
also one element more that combined with the other two produced the spellbound; that she was
wearing a mask. Not an actual mask, but one of metaphorical speaking, one that presented
emotions of enjoyment of the evening, hiding her real feelings upon the subject. Darcy had seen
that look before, and to his own opinion, far too recently. It had been the same look his sister had
produced the first time she had been in company with anyone but him after Ramsgate. Darcy had
sworn to himself upon witness of this look that he would do everything within his power to
restore Georgiana to the happiness she had previously always felt and displayed, and now, as he
gazed at the Countess of Saffron Walden, a woman he had never met until this moment, he found
himself making the same vow.
"And you, sir. Are as fond of dancing as your friend is?"
Darcy glanced reluctantly at Mrs Bennet, her question bringing him out of his enchantment. A
single look at his friend was all he needed to conclude that Bingley had just achieved his first
wish of tonight, to dance with the blond angel named Jane. Usually he would not be inclined to
acquiesce to this less than subtle hint from a matchmaking mama, but this was different. "Not
quite as fond, Mrs Bennet, but I usually indulge in the custom. Countess, if you are not engaged,
may I request the honour of your hand for the next?"
She looked surprised, Darcy thought, upon receiving the request, and her acceptance, he was
sure, bordered on a wish more to be away from her mother for a brief while, rather than a real
desire to dance. Taking her proffered hand, Darcy gently led her to the floor behind his friend
and her sister. Then, at the last moment, he turned to her and remarked, "would you mind if we
took advantage of the balcony over there for some fresh air? This room is a bit stifling."
After escorting her outside, Darcy stepped away and leant on the railing. Seeing her shoulders
relax in relief, he waited silently until she found the courage to join him. "Thank you, sir," she
began once she had.
"It was nothing I assure you," Darcy replied. "You looked as though you might need it."
"I confess that I did," the Countess remarked. "You are very astute."
"Not terribly," Darcy admitted. "My sister often displays that look when in large groups. She is
rather shy, and I, being her only constant companion, always try to bring her comfort. Indeed I
am often prone to the same defence myself." He paused briefly to turn and face her. "My
expression, however, my sister is convinced, presents quite the opposite." He displayed it.
She chuckled. "Indeed, you do look fearful."
"Well, one has to frighten away the matchmakers."
"Surely not all the time?"
He smiled. "You'd be surprised." He turned to resume his previous stance. "We can stay out here
as long as you wish."
"Unfortunately not," she replied. "My mother will notice that I have disappeared, as much as I
would have liked Jane to have been the centre of attention this evening." She sighed. "I wish I
had never come."
"Only a part of you wishes that, I hope?"
"Only a part." She smiled at him. It was a real smile and Darcy felt all the honour she had
"I must confess," he began honestly, "to possessing the same feeling, until I met you."
She blushed. Through the curtains the orchestra struck up and she offered him her hand. "I
believe I promised you this dance, sir."
Darcy took her hand, and was lost.
It was a mixed and indifferent party that returned to Netherfield later that night.
"Dear god what a ghastly evening," Miss Caroline Bingley was heard to voice as soon as they
had entered the hall.
Darcy merely rolled his eyes and then returned the eager hug his sister gave him upon the
moment of his arrival.
"Was it really so very awful?" She asked him.
"No, Georgie, at least as far as myself and Bingley is concerned. Although, I doubt he even
noticed it was a ball."
"She is an angel!" Declared Bingley at that moment, confirming his friend's opinion. "Was she
not an angel, Darcy?"
"By she I presume you mean Miss Bennet?" His friend calmly queried.
"Miss Jane Bennet?" His friend mused. "Is that not the most perfect name?"
He waltzed into the Drawing Room, followed by Georgiana and Darcy, who commented, much
to her amusement; "you may be surprised to learn that he drank nothing tonight."
"So, Mr Darcy," Caroline rudely interrupted as soon as they had seated themselves in the
Drawing Room, "who was that woman whom you graced your company with all evening?"
"The Countess of Saffron Walden," Darcy replied, before returning to his sister. "Who would
like very much to meet you."
"Will she like me?" Georgiana asked shyly.
"Of course she will, dearest."
"I do not see why people hovered around her," Caroline continued to the whole room. "She
should be at home mourning her late husband."
"Caroline, mourning is hardly fashionable," her sister Mrs Hurst reminded her, knowing that
Caroline was only complaining because Darcy had danced three dances with the Countess and no
Darcy merely rolled his eyes, while his sister smiled at the thought of a future sibling.
1. The Four-Horse Club was a very popular club in Regency times and its members indulged
frequently in the tradition of riding carriages down very poor roads. Source is the Regency
Collection which can be accessed on Austen.com's online Regency links page.
It was only when she had become a widow, that Elizabeth Bennet had been able to use her good
fortune to help her family. Her late husband's inheritance possessed a peculiar advantage. It
could pass to any member of the family, whether they were male or female, and since none had
been left, the Earldom, lands and wealth had automatically become hers to do with as she
wished. With this in mind, she had secured her father's estate and raised its income to three
thousand per annum, and settled the sum of thirty thousand each upon her sisters, which would
be held in trust until their marriage or till they reached five and twenty. This had still left her
with considerable funds, and land to live on comfortably for the rest of her life.
Which she was quite determined to live alone. Nothing in the world at present could ever give
her the inclination to marry again. She had tried love, failed, settled for security, and the
experience had forever changed her. At least, she had believed that it was love. The only kind of
love she had sworn she would marry for, having witnessed daily what marrying slight affection
could do. Barely a day in wedlock had passed before the illusion she now knew it to be had
shattered before her eyes. The reality it had left behind had chilled her to the bone, and she could
not bear to dwell upon it.
But, as she was reflecting the morning after the Meryton assembly, the event had brought some
blessings to her life. Not only the inheritance, but also time to improve her talents. At the
pianoforte she was now a true proficient and the excellent library she had been left deepened her
knowledge of the world's literature. From being no horsewoman she had become a master at both
side and normal saddle. She also had a house- or rather several houses -that was not too far, yet
far enough from Longbourn that brought her welcome peace and solitude. To her mind Stoke
Edith was perfect, including the size of the Drawing Rooms, which her mother had lamented
much of last night. It had been built around 1698 for a Paul Foley, Speaker of the House of
Commons and had thus been acquired by the Cavendishs of Saffron Walden by marriage.
Considered one of the finest Restoration Houses, it possessed the skills of James Wyatt, Issac
Bayly, and James Thornhill. A hipped roof housed the servants' quarters, and windows covered
most of the walls. Its grounds while extensive had both formal and informal design. Only two
things was Elizabeth planning to change; the Hall walls and the Green Velvet Bedroom, which
were in her opinion far too opulent and ornate.
The Wyatt Drawing Room in which she presently stood, was her favourite room. Its position in
the house gave her an advantage to observe any that were coming to visit or leave, while the
furniture simple elegant Georgian and the walls detailed but sparsely carved with Grecian arts.
Now she sat upon one of the sofas, planning in her mind when would be best to ask her sister
over to stay without being forced to invite the rest of her family as well. Peaceful solitude was
the way she had spent most of her marriage, and she had no desire to enter the chaos that was
Meryton Society and her family just yet.
Soon however, her mind drifted on to the recollections of the events that occurred last night at
the Assembly Rooms. Elizabeth had not expected to enjoy the evening. Refusing to attend until
the last moment and even then, only at Jane's persuasion. The first fifteen minutes had confirmed
her expectations. Her mother had monopolised her company, presenting her with great fawning
to Lady Lucas and Mrs Long and her nieces, before complaining to her about the size of the
Drawing Rooms at Stoke Edith. The Netherfield party's arrival had brought a welcome relief. In
particular she was grateful for the presence of Mr Darcy. Astutely attuned to her feelings, he had
cleverly won her company by asking to dance and then escorted her to the balcony, where she
could gain a brief moment of peace. She had rewarded him with three dances, which she felt
were the most agreeable of her life and then spent the rest of the evening in the company of him,
with the occasional additions of Jane, Charlotte Lucas and Mr Bingley.
In both gentlemen Elizabeth found much to like. Mr Bingley exuded happiness and liveliness
and, having spent almost all the evening by her sister's side, could not do more to raise himself in
her estimation as one of the best of her acquaintance. His friend Mr Darcy was to her mind
equally deserving of the title, if not more so. His conversation had been intelligent, flowing and
witty. They had talked of books, music and travelling with if not exactly the same opinions, then
well-informed enough to arise new perspectives upon which to consider. To everyone else he
had been a little reserved, but she had spent enough time in his company to put this down to
shyness rather than haughty indifference. In short, she wished to know more of him.
This was a wish that came to be obtained within only a few days of that thought. By the request
of her great friend Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth had been obliged to attend a soiree at the Lodge, in
the company of her family, the officers of the militia which had lately arrived in the
neighbourhood, and the Netherfield party.
After seeing Jane happily settled in Mr Bingley's company, Elizabeth had received her taciturn
friend. Mr Darcy was really pleased to see her, having been forced to attend the four dinners
which she had not been present. After spending some time in conversation, he led her to a sofa,
where there was seated a young woman of about sixteen. As the party was an informal affair- the
Lucas children were also present -Darcy had brought his sister, and he now introduced her to
Lizzy found Miss Georgiana Darcy to be even more shy than her brother, and it was partly due to
his presence and Elizabeth's talent for drawing people out that made Miss Darcy to exert herself
to utter more than just monosyllables. Of blond hair and Grecian elegance, she presented an
intriguing contrast to her brother, whom Elizabeth noted, was content to further their
acquaintance rather his own with her.
The trio kept to themselves until they were joined by Miss Lucas, who had come to ask her
friend's opinion of the relationship between her sister and Mr Bingley.
"I can answer well enough for Bingley," his friend replied, as they discreetly observed the
couple, "he is in raptures."
"And what of Jane's opinion, Lizzy?"
"That if he continues to be all that he has so far, she will soon be in a fair way to be falling in
love with him."
"And Mr Bingley? Do you think he is in love?" Charlotte asked.
"My friend has a propensity for falling frequently in and out of love," Darcy answered her, "but
on this occasion I think it is different. Before he has never established himself within the
immediate neighbourhood. Now he has settled himself here with a view to staying.... Yes he
professes the same emotion."
"Then Jane should leave him in no doubt of her heart. She should show more affection, even than
she feels, not less if she is to secure him."
Elizabeth laughed, surprising her companions who had not realised that Miss Lucas was joking.
"Secure him! Charlotte! That is not sound you know it is not. You would never act like that
"What is your advice then, Lizzy? As one who has been married?"
Elizabeth gazed wistfully at her sister and Mr Bingley. "That they should take their time and be
sure of each other. Neither is going anywhere. They should not feel obliged to conform to the
wishes of anyone that might hold an influence over them."
The remark struck Darcy as having a certain relevance to her own marriage, and he found
himself dwelling upon her words long she had changed the subject of their discourse. It caused
him to wonder whether she had been influenced into marrying the Earl, and the more and more
he thought about it, considering what he knew of Lord Lucius character, he was certain.
The evening continued on, admitting some dancing into its passing, an activity eagerly taken up
by the Lucas children and Elizabeth's youngest sisters. She stayed in the company of the Darcys
and her friend for the rest of the night, before paying farewell to everyone, inviting her sister
over to Stoke Edith on the morrow.
"He is just what a young man ought to be, Lizzy."
It was the next day, and Elizabeth and Jane were walking in the grounds of Stoke Edith,
discussing the gentlemen that recently arrived in the neighbourhood.
"Sensible, lively, and I never saw such happy manners."
"Handsome too," Elizabeth added to her sister's praise, "which a young man ought to be if he
possibly can. And that he likes you excessively, shows good judgement."
Jane blushed. "Lizzy....."
"Indeed, Jane, he does. His friend told me as much last night. Do you doubt such an authority?"
"No, not at all. But we have had so short an acquaintance."
"Do not concern yourself with that. Time nor opportunity do not determine intimacy, only
disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each
other and seven days and more than enough for others." Elizabeth came to a halt and took her
sister's hands in her own. "Believe me, Jane. No one who has seen you and Bingley together can
doubt his affections. Now, what do you think of his sisters?"
As they continued to walk together, Elizabeth, listening to Jane's opinion of Mrs Hurst and Miss
Bingley, disagreeing with the notion that they were as kind as their brother, thought back to her
own brief courtship, wondering if anyone had thought the same of her and the Earl. She could
remember her mother's enthusiasm for the match, her father's doubts, and her sister's wish for her
every happiness. But had any one thought her to be love with him and he with her? "Jane," she
quietly asked, and in such a tone as to make her sister halt both her walk and her conversation,
"did you think the Earl was in love?" Seeing her sister's hesitation, she added, "please answer me
"I thought him fascinated by you," Jane replied, "but as to love... he kept his feelings hidden a lot
of the time around us all." She took her sister's hands. "Lizzy, did you have a happy marriage?
Please tell me honestly."
"No Jane," Elizabeth answered with tears in her eyes, "I confess that I did not."
1. Stoke Edith is- or rather was -an actual place, though it resided in Herefordshire. Everything I
have stated is true to the house, except for the bit concerning James Wyatt. The decoration in
question is in his style, but has also been attributed to Robert Adam. Tragically, on the 16th
December 1927, a fire struck the building, completely ruining all the fine architecture and
interiors. Only the ruinous wings survive. My source for the place is a lovely book by Giles
Worsley titled 'England's Lost Houses' from the archive of the magazine Country Life. Pictures
of the interior and exterior are contained in the book.
"Why did you not tell me of this before?" Jane asked her sister, after hearing all the events of the
past two years that Elizabeth had kept secret.
"I did not wish to alarm or upset you," Elizabeth replied. She refrained from adding that the Earl
had a tendency to read her correspondence, nor other details which only a married woman would
understand. She did not want to frighten her sister.
"There was also very little that you, or anyone could do about it."
"I am your older sister, I should be able to protect you."
"That is exactly why I kept it silent. I wanted nobody to start blaming themselves for something I
entered into with my eyes open. Rest assured though, it will not happen again."
"Indeed it won't, I am determined to make sure of that."
"It will not, Jane, because I will not marry again."
"You will not marry again? Lizzy, why ever not?"
Her sister gestured around her. "I have no real need, Jane. I have enough comfort and security
with which to live alone on for the rest of my life. And I do not think I could ever let myself trust
someone enough to enter into matrimony once more. Nor am I ready to lay my emotions open to
"But Lizzy, what of Mr Darcy?"
"Mr Darcy? What does he have to do with any of this?"
"He looks at you a great deal Lizzy. And he spent most of last evening in your company, as well
as the assembly."
"I consider him to be just a friend, nothing more. No, Jane, I shall end an old maid, and teach
your ten children to embroider cushions and play their instruments very ill."
Jane would have protested to this, had not the sound of hoof beats suddenly accosted them. They
rose from the stone bench where they had been sitting and tried to discern the identity of the rider
that was coming to meet them.
It was Miss Darcy. Bringing her horse to a halt with the easy confidence of one who had spent
her life around the animals, she descended from her side saddle and greeted them. "I hope I am
not intruding by coming without warning?"
"Not at all, Georgiana," Elizabeth replied, "You are welcome any time."
"Thank you." Georgie's acquaintance with the Countess at Lucas Lodge last night had been
enough to secure her confidence of a firm friendship with her. "My journey also has another
motive. Caroline and Louisa have invited you, Miss Bennet, to dine with them, when the
gentlemen dine with the officers on the 12th. I also have persuaded them to invite you, Elizabeth.
I know what they are like when they invite their brother's friends over to dine." She leaned
forward in confidence. "Inquisition is an understatement."
"I sure that they shall be fine, Miss Darcy," Jane replied, "they have been so nice to me so far."
Miss Darcy choose not to respond to that judgement, leaving Elizabeth to conclude that her
opinion of the sisters was exactly like her own. "Will you come, Lizzy?"
"I am afraid I cannot," Elizabeth replied, "I have promised my father that he can dine with me
that evening." She felt sad about disappointing the young woman, but it could not be helped. It
was the only evening that her father was free from any engagements of her mother. "But I shall
let Jane have my carriage," she added, knowing that if given the chance, Mrs Bennet would make
her ride to Netherfield, in the hope that it would rain and Jane would have to stay the night.
Those thoughts were soon to turn into a prediction, for as the days passed, Jane felt herself
obliged to pass up the offer her kind sister had made, as her mother had made the suggestion of
journey to Netherfield by horseback, impossible to refuse.
"I am afraid I could not persuade her otherwise, Lizzy," her father commented that evening as
they sat down to dine. Around them glowed candles and the sound of crackling from the fire in
the hearth, while from outside, the sound of rain pouring down the window panes, could clearly
"Is there any chance that Jane missed the downpour?"
"None at all." Mr Bennet himself had felt the drops as he entered his daughter's carriage for his
own journey that evening. "This speculation however, is useless. We will know nothing of
whether it has effected her until tomorrow."
"True," Elizabeth noted reluctantly as the servants entered with the first course. She changed the
subject, to avoid worrying, asking her father instead for his view on the events that she had
missed. She could always rely on him to brighten her mood whatever its stance, being a studier
of characters like herself. Mr Bennet, it was no secret, regarded her as his favourite daughter, and
as result looked forward immensely to their dinners alone. He was prone to displays of wit and
irony, possessing such an odd mixture of caprice, sarcastic humour and reserve, that few of his
immediate family understood him. Only Elizabeth, who had spent so much time with him during
her youth and unmarried years, had the ability to read him as well as he read himself.
She had only disappointed him once, on the occasion of her marriage. Mr Bennet did not know
that his daughter held this opinion, he only remembered a talk with his daughter after granting
consent to the Earl, whom he felt was a person from whom he was incapable of refusing such a
request. After expressing his doubts to her, he had been forced to relent when she assured him
that she loved the man who had asked for her hand, and was not marrying in the hope that it
would secure her family for the rest of their lives. He did not know that in reality it had destroyed
the former affection but accomplished the latter. Elizabeth did not wish to hear his guilt or
disappointment at the truth of her two year marriage, and so refrained from confiding in him
what she had only just confided in her sister eight days ago.
The dinner passed at a pace suitable for both consumers, after which Elizabeth reluctantly bade
her father farewell before retiring for the night.
Matters unfortunately did go Mrs Bennet's way that next morning, as Elizabeth discovered when
she sat down to breakfast. Upon her plate lay a note from her sister, with the news that she was
unwell, and that her 'kind friends' had insisted she stay at Netherfield until she felt better. Jane's
only concern had been to assure her sister that she fine, and that the physician was only been sent
out of the concern of her friends, nothing more. Elizabeth however, after reading the note, could
not settle. Scarcely an hour had passed and she found herself out of the house, and on a horse to
Three miles away from Longbourn and nearly five times as much from the great house at Stoke,
a rider and horse came to a halt in surprise upon seeing another occupied like themselves.
Despite the distance the rider could discern by saddle alone that the figure was female, leaving
him to entertain a brief prayer which he never in all the world thought to be answered to his
liking. Yet indeed it was so. The horse came closer, and closer still, until he had to firmly grip
the reins of his own stallion in order for it to refrain from backing away, as the stranger halted
beside him and remained a stranger no longer.
"Countess," he uttered in greeting.
"Mr Darcy," she returned. "I have come to inquire after my sister."
"On horse?" He could not help seeking to confirm, noting the effects such an exertion had
brought to her appearance; the joyful exhilaration about her face, her hair barely restrained by
riding bonnet and pins.
"What else do you call this steed?" She replied smilingly.
"Not animal certainly," he answered. "He is magnificent."
"As is your own," she looked over it in comparison. "Would be so kind as to take me to her?"
"Who?" He was still staring at her.
Embarrassed at being caught out, Darcy could only gesture as he flicked the reins and set off,
leaving her to follow and eventually level.
They entered Netherfield's breakfast parlour together, where her appearance caused a great deal
of surprise. That she had ridden all the way from Stoke Edith so early in the day, in such dirty
weather, and by herself, was almost incredible to Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley, who could barely
keep their countenances. Their brother however was all politeness, kindness and good humour.
Instantly did he deliver a faithful and detailed report of her sister's health since her arrival, before
escorting Elizabeth to the room himself.
Jane, her worry at the inconvenience or possible alarm preventing her from expressing such a
desire in her note, was very glad to see her. She felt her headache acutely and her feverish
symptoms increased after the apothecary had proscribed his diagnosis and draughts for the cure.
Elizabeth silently attended her for most of the day, and by the time the illness had lessened just a
little, it was too late to return to Stoke Edith by day light, nor could her sister contemplate even
the thought of being parted from her. Miss Bingley, her dislike of Elizabeth tempered by her
title, invited the Countess to stay until her sister had recovered. Elizabeth consented willingly,
and a servant was dispatched to collect a supply of clothes, travelling via Longbourn on the way
to inform the family of the situation.
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