Elizabeth is outraged. Angry. Her own father might have an excuse, what with her mother being a bitch, but Bingley has Jane! How dare he!
She goes home and sees Darcy’s horse, all lathered up. He must have just arrived. Elizabeth goes inside, worrying. Darcy can read her face quite well and if she doesn’t have a really good story worked up, he’ll know something’s going on. But it doesn’t matter, because Darcy followed her, and is wondering why she spent five hours sitting and watching someone’s house. Finally Elizabeth says that she was watching the house because she’d been told he fathered a son with the woman who lived there. Which isn’t true. Actually, she was just told he fathered a kid somewhere. But hey, what’s a little white lie between a loving couple?
Darcy asks if she believed he’d do that. Elizabeth lies and says no. Darcy asks if he’d even given reason for her to doubt him. Elizabeth thinks about it and quite honestly says that no, she hasn’t. And so she begins to tell the entire story, starting with Lydia talking about how Wickham was unfaithful, and Lydia told her Mr. Bennet was as well. Elizabeth believes this because it supposedly came from Mrs. Bennet’s lips, however, she never told it. So all of Elizabeth’s suspicions about her loving husband of five years who, after much soul-searching, even she admits has never given her a reason to doubt him, come from Lydia, who is a known liar, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, another known liar who has every reason in the world to lie to Elizabeth and attempt to destroy her relationship with Darcy. Darcy, naturally, is astonished that she would believe this. I am inclined to agree. Then again, it does fit in with Berdoll’s “re-imagination” of Elizabeth as a shallow and vapid idiot.
She apologizes to Darcy and they move on. Darcy asks her to promise to not keep any secrets. Elizabeth agrees, and decides not to tell him about Bingley. Ah, true love.
Darcy then thinks about things and realizes that he’s never been happier and never been less likely to stray. He’s completely happy with Elizabeth. You know, I’m actually starting to like Darcy. He is a far better person than Elizabeth actually deserves. He respects and loves his wife and all she does is doubt him. Anyway, Darcy decides that since they’re being completely honest, he needs to figure out how to find the words to tell her the entire story of Abigail, John, and Wickham.
Jane comes over. She and Elizabeth talk about such frivolous things like hitting Wickham over the head with a fireplace poker. Jane is advocating violence. Well, why not? After all, you already did a 180 with her husband, why not with the wife as well?
Finally Jane gets serious, and explains to Elizabeth that her husband has fathered a child with another woman. Elizabeth is vaguely astonished. So am I. I have no idea how Jane figured this out without Bingley knowing, and Berdoll doesn’t bother to tell us. Jane then has a request: She can’t tell Bingley she knows, but she wants the child cared for. The mother has consumption and isn’t going to survive the year, so will Elizabeth take the kid in at Pemberley and take care of it?
Elizabeth says she’ll ask Darcy. Then she asks Jane how she can forgive Bingley. Jane explains that she knows Bingley still loves her, and she’s been confined for much of her marriage. See, Jane listened to her mother and didn’t have sex while she was pregnant. She’s had four kids in five years, so assuming about eight months a kid, for over half his marriage, Bingley hasn’t been getting any. And since she knows Bingley loves her but needs one now and again, she’s fine with it.
Jane heads off for more marital happiness, and Elizabeth goes in to talk to Darcy. She explains that the man she saw at the house was Bingley. Darcy’s astonished. Elizabeth then explains that Jane came and her request. Darcy is at first furious. Then he calms down, and, for some reason, tells her about he and Wickham fucking Abigail Christie. We already know this story, and the only interesting part is a quote from Elizabeth:
“Why do you speak of this only now?”
Yes, Elizabeth. Why wouldn’t he? For that matter, why don’t you ever tell your loving husband that you suspect him of having affairs left and right? In the end, however, Darcy says that they’ll take in Bingley’s bastard.
People think that Bingley’s bastard is actually Darcy’s bastard. This news comes to John Christie, who is horrified to learn that Darcy is even more of a scumbag than he originally thought, and amazed that Mrs. Darcy is angelic enough to care of his bastard. He begins to fantasize about running Darcy through. It takes Berdoll seven pages to give us this information, and the most entertaining bit is a missing apostrophe.
After declaring his love for Elizabeth, Fitzwilliam has been hiding in London. Finally he comes back and they have a small party. He tells the men that he is going with the Duke of Wellington to fight Napoleon instead of staying in England to train soldiers. Darcy isn’t particularly happy about this. The women, meanwhile, overhear snippets of this conversation, including Darcy swearing [!]. Then Elizabeth thinks about how smart she is:
Darcy shared his gazettes with her, even the most scurrilous. She devoured them voraciously. She fancied there were few ladies more informed about public events than she.
Yes. Well. This is the first mention we’ve had of this in five and a half years of wedded bliss, and we’ve seen no indication of this anywhere, not even here, so for now I will hold to my belief that Elizabeth is as dumb as a rock.
Georgiana then says she knows why Fitzwilliam’s leaving. She overheard Fitzwilliam’s declaration of love and now the good Colonel is leaving to fight a very ill-advised battle that he’ll probably lose because he doesn’t want to mess up the family.
That morning, Darcy wakes up and heads off to intercept Col. Fitzwilliam. He doesn’t want their last words to be in disagreement. Quite reasonable. So he finds Fitzwilliam and they exchange some minor pleasantries about the weather and finally Darcy gives him a letter with the names of a few families in France. He tells Fitzwilliam it’s a vouchsafement, if he needs it. Vouchsafement is a verb, and used without an object, it means to condescend or deign. So no, I have no idea what Berdoll is thinking. Probably she wasn’t.
Darcy gets back to Pemberley. He’s walking into the courtyard when suddenly John Christie appears. John says he needs to speak to Darcy immediately. In private. So they stroll over into an arbour and John brings up the fact that his mom used to work at Pemberley, and he supposes Darcy doesn’t remember her out of the many servants he’s doubtlessly sexed. Berdoll continues to replace “I” with “Aye” in all of John’s dialogue, and it continues to not make any sense.
John goes into a long rant about how hard and miserable his mother’s life with and how he has no respect for a man like Mr. Darcy who knocks up his servants and then kicks them out to fend for themselves. He then pulls a dagger out of his belt. He explains it was what he intended to give to his father, but isn’t going to do it because Mrs. Darcy and Miss Darcy would both be sorry, and he could never hurt them. He throws the dagger into the ground at Darcy’s feet and walks away. Darcy thinks things over and finally catches up to John and tells him that he’s not his father, and if he had, he wouldn’t deny it. John asks who his father is, then. Darcy waffles for a bit and finally says that only his mother knows for certain. So John stalks off.
Elizabeth looks for Georgiana and can’t find her. Georgiana’s companion, Mrs. Annesley, has become slightly slow-witted due to age, and they haven’t found her a new companion as of yet, so for awhile now she’s been taking care of herself. Elizabeth starts searching and discovers that one of her bags, along with some clothing, is missing.
She heads down to tell Darcy and finds him there with Rhymes. John Christie, it seems, has stolen a horse and gig. Elizabeth gives him the news, and Darcy puts two and two together and pops a vein. Elizabeth points out that if Georgiana packed a bag, she hadn’t been kidnapped, and must have gone with John quite willingly. Darcy quickly gets ten men and sends them off in every direction to figure out which direction they’ve gone.
Darcy and Elizabeth go into Georgiana’s room and find her journal. Odd. I would suspect a writer, particularly one who keeps a faithful journal, to leave her journal behind when running away from home. Then again, this entire episode doesn’t really make sense. There have been a few tiny indications here and there, but Georgiana has never demonstrated the amount of resolve it would take to deliberately run away from her brother, who she loves. Yes, there was the entire Wickham episode, but that would only serve to make her more guarded in what she does. Anyway, the last entry in her journal is filled with quotations. The general theme seems to be “Love is awesome. Doing stupid things in the name of love is even more awesome”. This makes Darcy and Elizabeth begin to suspect she’s eloped. Maybe. Or maybe she’s just run off with a young man.
Still. A naïve young relative of the main characters running off with a man of dubious moral character? Isn’t this one of the exact same plotlines from Pride and Prejudice?
A rider returns and says that the gig has been seen heading south towards Portsmouth. And Darcy decides to go fetch her.