As Darcy perambulated up the stairs…
Perambulate means to walk or stroll. That’s all. So this sentence could have been written “As Darcy walked up the stairs”, and meant exactly the same thing. It would also be using a word that most readers are familiar with, and not be thesaurus abuse.
Darcy lies down and angsts about Juliette Clisson and whether it was a good idea to send a letter with his former prostitute to his wife. He angsts about the girl at dinner who wants to lose her virginity to him. He angsts about Wickham. Then finally he starts to think about Elizabeth and HER virginity. We get a flashback to the honeymoon:
Her very tightness excited him to thrust into her again and again. She had never given of herself and he could not show her the gentleness he wanted, nor could he respond to her muffled cry of pain. She was a virgin and he was a beast. No better than Wickham.
I pointed out Darcy’s abusive tendencies back during the honeymoon scene. He is entirely correct. Losing control of yourself and causing pain to someone else – and then not stopping when you KNOW they’re in pain – is the very definition of “beast”. And “abusive”. And other, more colorful terms. Still. The fact that he admits this, and feels sorry for it, is almost a point in his favor. A pure sociopath would not feel any remorse for his actions, or not even notice that his actions were wrong.
Of course, then, immediately afterward he rationalizes it all away:
It was remedy to his soul to realise his loss of reason that night owed to his life for Elizabeth, not merely lust. Hence, he granted himself the luxury of clemency. If virginity fuelled his appetence that night, it was only because it was Elizabeth’s. however overcome he had been, it had been born of love. The heat of the moment may have overwhelmed him, but at least he was not the swine that Wickham was.
In other words: It’s okay to be abusive to your wife, as long as you’re doing it because you love her.
In other words: Darcy, you’re an asshole.
Elizabeth waits. And angsts. We have several chapters describing this. Finally a message comes, saying that she’s been entrusted with a message from Mr. Darcy, and if Elizabeth’ll come (alone), she’ll meet her at the enclosed London address. It’s signed J.C. So it could be Juliette Clisson, Jesus Christ, or even me! Elizabeth orders the coach readied and takes off.
Georgiana refuses to leave the hospital until she’s helped to take care of the rest of the men who still haven’t been treated. Darcy isn’t happy about this, but starts helping by carrying stretchers. One day he sees John Christie carried up with a large hole in him. Darcy demands that he be taken inside. They make a bit of awkward conversation and finally Darcy fetches Georgiana. Later, John starts mumbling about how a British officer shot him. He talks about the officer and Darcy realizes that it could only be Wickham.
Finally John dies. They decide to bring his corpse with them and bury it at Roux’s house. The next day Darcy overhears some doctors talking about an epidemic. The hospital is going to be quarantined, a basic death sentence for everyone there. Darcy gets Georgiana and they sneak Fitzwilliam out onto a cart and head out. They’re interrupted by some guards who decide they need to start the quarantine a bit early. Darcy pulls his sword and orders them aside, and then a moment later Georgiana pulls out a pistol and repeats the order. The guards step aside. And off they merrily go.
Elizabeth sits on a park bench and waits. After a while Juliette Clisson shows up and starts making thinly veiled remarks about what it’s like to share Darcy’s company. Elizabeth feels a bit embarrassed but says that if she saw Darcy and gave him comfort when he needed it, she’ll have her undying gratitude. This somehow makes Juliette realize that Elizabeth is an awesome person to deserves to have Darcy. She explains that she had a letter, but had to destroy it when they were accosted by French soldiers. They part amicably, and Elizabeth spends the ride home wondering about Darcy and Juliette’s sex life. She tries to say Darcy with a French accent, and then wonders about whether Juliette was the one who schooled her husband in the arts of love.
But there was one nagging query she thought she might ask Darcy when he returned. It was about the origin of particular acts of love. She was certain he had told her they were Latin.
But fear not, gentle reader. From my research, fellatio does not make an appearance until the next novel.
They arrived at the Roux’s with little problem, and Darcy heads off to oversee the burial of John Christie. The gravestone maker asks him what John’s last name is. Darcy doesn’t recall Abigail’s last name, and there’s no way in hell that he’s putting Wickham’s name down there. So he tells them to put down John Darcy [!].
Nothing really happens for the first three pages so I’ll just go through and list all the words that Berdoll shouldn’t have used, for various reasons: chicanery, embrocations, elucidation, breviloquence, travails, stratagem, tomes, bougainvillaea, bevy, tumbrel, avocation, ennui, demimondaine, and rapacious.
Finally, Darcy heads in and asks if Georgiana believes herself in love with Fitzwilliam. I’ve no idea where this has come from. Yes, Georgiana has been tending Fitzwilliam herself, but then again, he’s her beloved cousin. But Georgiana nods. Darcy asks if Fitzwilliam feels similarly. Georgiana shrugs. Which ends the subject until Darcy comes in while Georgiana is giving Fitzwilliam a sponge bath. There is a slight and horrified altercation, ended by Georgiana huffily saying that she is going to nurse Fitzwilliam, and that is that.
Shortly after Elizabeth gets home from London, news arrives informing Lydia (who is staying with her family) that Wickham has bitten the dust. Lydia is horrified and goes into hysterics. Then Mr. Bennet, Jane, and Bingley head to Pemberley to inform Elizabeth. Elizabeth starts bawling but isn’t bawling for Wickham. The text is quite unclear as to why she’s actually crying. I don’t really care enough to try and figure out why.
They make plans to head back to Longbourn the next day. Both Elizabeth and Jane notices that Mr. Bennet is not looking well. Then he collapsed. They summon a doctor and he’s hustled off to bed, making jokes the entire way. Then he dies.
…Yeah. Mr. Bennet just popped off, randomly, for no good reason.
Later, at Longbourn, Elizabeth goes in to where her mother is sitting with the casket and tactfully brings up the story of Mr. Bennet’s infidelity. How you can do this tactfully, I don’t know, but for some creepy, weird reason, Berdoll thinks that it works. Anyway, Mrs. Bennet explains that she only said that to make Lydia think that all men did that so she wouldn’t feel so bad about Wickham. I knew it. Way to go, Elizabeth. Way to believe the secondhand word of a liar and doubt your own loving father.
I’m not going to even touch Mrs. Bennet’s reasoning.