Chapter Seventy-Two – What the Gods Have in Store
Darcy and Elizabeth go out for a ride. Berdoll spends several long paragraphs lovingly doting on how every time Darcy boosts Elizabeth into the saddle he slides his hand slightly up her leg. It would be a cute moment, except Berdoll dwells on it so long that it just gets ridiculous. Anyway, it almost gets to the point where normally they would start having sex, and Darcy abruptly says that Bingley’s business is heading straight into the shitter. In different words, but apparently Bingley’s poor business decisions and England’s economic turmoil have left him close to bankruptcy. Or something. Point being, Darcy has a plan to save him.
The plan involves the neighbors, the Howgraves. Apparently Bingley has a joint called Kirkland Hall, which carries a seat in Parliament, which Bingley isn’t interested in, but the young Howgrave would be very interested in. So Howgrave would pay Bingley’s debt in exchange for the Hall and the seat, and the Bingley gets the Howgrave mansion to live in and becomes neighbors to Pemberley. It’s brilliant!
I kinda wonder how Bingley is going to react to having to rely on his friend to bail him out of his own idiocy. I also like how Bingley is suddenly a moron, unable to handle his own financial matters, and Darcy has to leap into action to save the day – because Darcy always has to leap into action to save the day.
Darcy and Elizabeth are riding home when they’re caught in a torrential downpour. Instead of just heading home they take shelter in a random sheep-barn, when they argue about sheep ticks for several pages. A lamb comes out of nowhere, and Elizabeth is about to pet it when the ewe comes out and charges them. So they both scoot up the latter to the loft and the ewe remains there guarding the bottom so they can’t come down.
This has to be the most weakly written segue into a sex scene that I’ve ever seen. Really? Taking refuge from an angry SHEEP in the loft of a barn? Is that the best you can do, Berdoll? There is a reason that we compare stupid people to sheep, and that’s because sheep are really fucking stupid. I cannot see Darcy as the type of man who would run away from an angry sheep.
Anyway, once they’re in the loft things begin to take their natural course:
With the barest of a caress, his manhood presented itself at attention as dutiful as a soldier (page 305).
I find it amusing that Berdoll suddenly presents Darcy’s arousal as being ‘dutiful’ rather than ‘eager’.
Anyway, they tear each other’s clothes off and Elizabeth rubs Darcy’s calf with her boot and this is so arousing that Darcy begins to gasp her name. However, they are shortly interrupted by the owner of the barn who thinks they are there to steal his wool. So they throw their clothes on, leap aboard the horses, and take off before he catches them. When they get home, there’s a letter waiting for them that informs them that Lady Anne de Bourgh Beecher is dead.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a bitch.
Lady Anne’s corpse is out for viewing. It’s awkward. Lady Catherine doesn’t seem that perturbed about her daughter’s death. Everyone stands around and nothing really happens, except Beecher acts like a prick. Then suddenly Georgiana goes into labour and Fitzwilliam and Darcy start to tweak out a little bit. They summon the surgeon, who was the same chap who attended to Anne when she gave birth (the birth she ended up dying from), who hasn’t been back to Rosings since because he’s too terrified. When he does find out that the summoning isn’t to have him flayed alive, he’s very relieved:
Regrettably, that news was met by an equal relaxation of his sphincter (that had been in puckered state since Lady Anne’s passing), thereby causing him to spend much of Georgiana’s labour perched upon a chamber-pot in the servants’ quarters (page 316).
There’s an image that no romantic Jane Austen sequel should be without.
Anyway, Georgiana pops out a daughter without complications and they promptly name her Anne.
Wait, could this finally be where Lady Catherine’s heinous plan is revealed?
I think so.
She and Lord Beecher take Elizabeth in to see her granddaughter and pretty quickly bring the conversation around to planning unions. Lady Catherine and Darcy’s mother planned to have Darcy and Lady Anne marry each other, and this plan was foiled by Darcy not giving a flying fuck about what they had planned. I’m not sure why Lady Catherine thinks that Elizabeth agreeing to promise her son’s hand in marriage to Lady Catherine’s granddaughter will accomplish anything in particular. Or why she even cares as this point.
Anyway, Lady Catherine says that she’s already talked to Darcy about this last week, and he’s rather keen on restoring the bonds of family between the two houses. Also, they’re naming the baby after Elizabeth.
Now it’s time for the angst section. Roughly 95% of the book is about Elizabeth and Darcy’s complete, unrivaled, and passionate love, trust, and utter belief and confidence in the other person, and the other 5% is where they are full of fears that the other person is a horrible, miserable person without the slightest shred of humanity or common decency.
Here, Elizabeth could simply ask Darcy if Lady Catherine had talked to him about promising their son to Lady Catherine’s granddaughter. Darcy would deny it (because we all know there’s no chance it actually happened) and bam, problem solved. But then Berdoll wouldn’t be able to pad her novel. So instead we get this.
The notion that Darcy, in any way, shape, or form, agreed to such lunacy troubled her keenly. A week ago, she could have laughed at such a notion. Not a day’s time underneath Lady Catherine’s roof and she would believe her beloved husband capable of the most heinous of transgressions. That was a question she had not yet addressed (page 322).
It’s nice to see our lovers sticking together through thick and thin.
Anyway, Elizabeth angsts for awhile longer, they all make fun of Lord Beecher, and finally an urgent letter comes for Darcy. It’s about Bingley. So he has to take off at once. Elizabeth wants to go with him, he says no. And Fitzwilliam says there’s no point in staying to look after Georgiana, he’s got it covered, and plus, Elizabeth should see to her children. She’s angry and upset and to top it all, Darcy is distracted and doesn’t even notice her trying to pick a fight with him. And, even worse, he leaves without kissing her goodbye[!!!].
His leaving her side without kissing her good-bye did not bother her in the least. She loved him no less than she ever had, but she had concluded that until she determined what agreement he had made with his cursed aunt, she could not, in all good conscience, offer her…affection.
There was no doubt of that (page 326).
Ah, true love.
Elizabeth decides to visit her friend Charlotte. She’s getting ready to take off when suddenly Darcy pops up and grabs her and says that there’s no way he’s leaving without saying goodbye. So they slide into a pantry and Darcy gets the door shut and Elizabeth finds the thought of fucking in Lady Catherine’s house quite titillating and she begins to stroke Darcy’s manhood which grows in tumescence. But then Elizabeth stops and demands to know if Darcy promised their firstborn son to Lady Catherine’s daughter. Darcy says he didn’t. Elizabeth immediately says that she knew he would never do something like that, and they get back down to business, culminating in breaking one of the pantry shelves. They make a hasty exit, and then:
When their eyes caught each other’s in identical over-the-shoulder glance, both countenances were over-spread with the same heightened shade of rose. Whilst he strode on with even greater determination, Elizabeth could not keep a small skip from her step (page 330).
And just like that, after five short pages, the angst and drama was resolved and everything is back to normal in Berdolland.