Chapter 6

 

 

Pemberley

Elizabeth was sound asleep. Darcy had made her as comfortable as he could as she had nestled her head on a little velvet cushion he had strategically placed on his lap. Her legs were slightly curled along the rest of the seat in their luxurious carriage. They were finally on their way home to Pemberley. Although they had been eager to remove to Derbyshire and home, this stop over at Longbourn had been essential since they both were required to stand up in the wedding of Bingley and Jane.

As Darcy stared out the window, not really seeing the scenery flashing by, his thoughts drifted back to the days just before they had left London for Hertfordshire. That morning he had awoke with fright at hearing his dear wife's retching sounds. If left to his own concerns, this trip would never have taken place. They had argued, with him fearful for her health. He insisted she see a doctor. She insisted she would be fine and had tried to persuade him that perhaps it was the evening meal that did not agree with her.

As it turned out, once the doctor had finished his examination of her – Darcy could not have been more astonished and pleased to discover that his dearest loveliest Elizabeth was with child – already. She had conceived an heir for him… and Pemberley – endearing her to himself even more.

He teased her, saying she probably conceived on their wedding night. She was so surprised to be told she was so soon with child, but after the doctor had asked her when was the last time she had her courses, Lizzy realized it had not been since before they had married, which now was a little over two months ago.

The doctor assured William that Mrs Darcy was well able to travel and that the "morning sickness" was very common during the first few months of her coming confinement. Darcy realized how fortunate for them that the timing of the Bingley's wedding would take place soon.

~~~

The carriage hit a rut in the road and startled Lizzy awake which brought Darcy out of his reverie. As she sat up, she immediately apologized for her continual fatigue, but William would hear none of it.

"My dearest Elizabeth, it is perfectly understandable considering your condition. Why you insisted on leaving Longbourn after so short a stay, I simply do not understand you. I presumed that you would have wanted to spend a little more time with your family, at least with your father."

"No, my love… I… well… that is… I thought so myself when I was away in London these past weeks. I did so miss my family, especially Jane and Papa, but it had been so strange to be back in my former home. I no longer felt like I belonged there. As I watched and observed my mother and sisters and all the familiar fussing and silly bickering amongst them all, I realized that I did not feel a part of them anymore. Oh, William, do you think I am being unappreciative and unfeeling toward my family?"

Darcy was staring out the window as he held her tightly against him, keeping his arm embraced around her waist as she laid her head upon his shoulder. The significance of what she confessed gave him more of an understanding of how very intimate they had become. He realized it was not merely their physical manifestations in the marriage bed of becoming one flesh in the biblical sense, but also the true melding of their minds, emotions, and their spirits. He somehow knew this had been what was truly troubling Elizabeth, an unease they had not the opportunity at Longbourn nor the privacy afforded them in London to talk openly of it. Pemberley would give them both.

Yes, I am very glad we are finally going home to Pemberley.

"William? Did you not hear what I just said? You are far away from me again in your thoughts?"

"My darling forgive me… I did hear you. I was just mulling over in my own mind that this had been the cause of your unusual pensive behaviour during our visit to Longbourn. I noticed you were not your usual lively playful self."

At her silence, he continued, "But to answer your question – NO, of course I do not think that you are unappreciative or unfeeling of your parents or sisters – rather I believe you have simply been able to transfer your loyalties, and if you will allow me to say… your familial allegiance to me -- that is, to us. It is not only a fulfillment of your marriage vow to cleave only to me as is your wifely duty, but that your first love is now me, your very dear husband, as my first love is you." He paused a moment to look at her directly,

"I am your first love am I not, my dearest wife?"

"Oh William, you are my ONLY LOVE!" And… yes… indeed… upon reflection that is what I also concluded. I knew from everything that I have heard and all that you, Georgiana, and even cousin Richard have told me… I wanted to go home as soon as possible… to Pemberley."

Darcy could not resist reaching over to kiss her, not just passionately as one lusting after a pretty face, but with all his heart – and she returned his kiss in kind.

~~~

Since Darcy knew it would take more than one day to reach Pemberley, he had his servants ride on ahead to make the appropriate accommodations for their stay in at least two very reputable inns along their journey home. He tried to anticipate the possibility of Elizabeth's health and safety, if she found herself too weary to travel longer distances than his normal experience of two days to reach Pemberley. If they had to prolong traveling for three days, so be it for he would not allow her to tax her strength or stamina now that she was carrying their unborn child.

Besides, I am not yet willing to relinquish the privacy of our time alone… my estate responsibilities will undoubtedly take up much of my time away from her close presence. I want to savour this precious time together before the demands of being master of Pemberley come upon us.

~~~

It had been a tearful parting when the Darcys said their goodbyes to the newly married Bingleys as they prepared to leave for their month long honeymoon tour to the Lakes. But it was also with much joy and anticipation, for the Bingleys planned to pass by Pemberley for at least a fortnight visit before returning to Netherfield.

All the other guests and relatives staying at Netherfield were also soon preparing to leave. It had been suggested by Darcy that they all were welcomed to meet again at Pemberley for a family reunion during Christmas time.

Colonel Richard had since returned to Hertfordshire to accompany Georgiana back to his parent's home in __shire until Darcy wrote that he and Elizabeth were prepared to receive Georgiana back to Pemberley, perhaps in another month's time. She had very much enjoyed her prolonged stay at Netherfield becoming better acquainted with the Bennet family. Georgianna had spent more time at Longbourn to the dismay of Caroline. However, Darcy had left specific instructions to Bingley and Jane to care for his sister, until the Colonel returned from his duties.

Georgianna had previously sought Elizabeth's advice how to persuade her brother to allow an extended visit in Hertfordshire, that she may attend the Bingley's wedding. It was also Georgianna's desire to become better acquainted with all her new sisters, rather than return to ___shire with her Uncle, the Earl of Matlock and her Aunt Lady Sophia when they had left shortly after the Darcy's wedding.

The Hursts along with Caroline would proceed back to their London Townhouse, taking care to close down Netherfield with just a few servants remaining to maintain its upkeep until Charles and Jane returned.

Caroline was happy to have been present when Darcy extended the invitation for all to come to Pemberley during the Christmas season. Still being sorely disappointed that Darcy was happily married to that chit Eliza Bennet, Caroline was at least grateful she would not be denied visiting the grand estate of Pemberley. Few of the ton were able to boast a close acquaintance with the Darcys of Derbyshire, so Caroline could at least still be coveted for that distinction.

~~~

Darcy had made no fixed plans on how long they would remain at Longbourn. He wanted Elizabeth to spend as much time as she desired, knowing her confinement and long distance to Pemberley would keep her away from her family for several months. He was therefore surprised to find that they were on the road but a day later from the Bingley's departure and on their way home to Pemberley.

Elizabeth, quite refreshed from her nap and in a pensive but playful mood, was nonetheless restless due to the confines of the carriage.

Of course Mrs. Bennet made such a fuss about their departing so soon, but Mr. Bennet intervened. Even though he would sorely miss his favorite, he perfectly understood Elizabeth's desire to reach her new home, especially in her present condition. Afterall, Darcy had privately encouraged Mr. Bennet to come visit Pemberley anytime he chose, tempting him with descriptions of his well stocked library.

~~~

Darcy noticed the smirk on her face and asked, "What are your thoughts, dear wife? Will you not share them with me to explain the mirthfulness of your countenance?"

With a burst of giggles, Elizabeth had to catch her breath a moment to exclaim, "I was thinking of our last dinner at your Uncle and Aunt's home when our cousin, the Colonel, maneuvered you into revealing the happenstance of our scandalous behaviour in the library during the ball at Netherfield."

"Yes, I certainly received more than my share of teasing that night."

Darcy tried to maintain his stern brooding look, hoping the topic would be dropped. He had not minded a little good humored chiding for himself, but had not wished for Elizabeth to relive any embarrassment of the uncomfortable censure that would remind her of the forced marriage arrangements that had occurred shortly after that unfortunate compromising incident.

In the end everyone all agreed that it had turned out as a blessing in disguise, since all of Darcy's family could see how very happily married the two were now.

~~~

"Elizabeth! My love… we have not had the opportunity to discuss this further for I have been quite determined to put that whole affair out of my mind! You realize that I have gone to great lengths to have that scandalous event quieted to have it all but forgot."

"Yes, of course, William and I am most grateful. It is fortunate that you succeeded. My family's good name and my reputation have been restored because of your extraordinary efforts, my love."

"Then I hope you will not mind explaining to me your reason for keeping that torn gown as some sort of treasured keepsake?"

Lizzy burst into a fit of giggles again…

"My dearest William… for one thing -- at the time -- it was one of my very few ball gowns that I owned. Why the lace alone on it is quite expensive." She delivered this last sentence in her best imitation of Mrs. Bennet!

"Can you not be serious, Elizabeth? You now own several much more elegant gowns and can easily discard that torn one to have it replaced by several more!"

She coyly looked up to him batting the lashes of her fine eyes, and seductively teased him by saying, "My dearest gentlemanly almost perfect husband… that torn gown is my only tangible proof that there is a bit of a scoundrel within you!" Where upon she grabbed his face and kissed him ever so wantonly.

Breathless, he emerged, "You little minx!" He gave her another long, languid kiss to leave her as breathless before he continued.

"I beg you darling wife, you are trying to avoid answering my question. You know it was a complete accident on my part that I ripped your precious gown. When you suddenly jumped up from the sofa, I had not known that my foot was entangled with the bottom of the hem."

"Well, you should not have stood up to stop me from exiting the library. When you moved to sit so close to me, your rakish looks and ardent manner suddenly caused me to realize the danger of how my situation would appear if someone had come upon us alone unexpectedly."

Mumbling to himself, "It is my natural habit, a gentleman always stands in the presence of a lady…"

He added, "Darling, I could not help myself at the time, for at that moment I had also realized how much I loved you… how much I desired you and could no longer hide my feelings for you."

"And to think that I always deemed your glaring at me was from disapprobation, my low connections at being a mere country lass and my intolerable looks. If you remember, at the Meryton Assembly, you thought I was not worthy enough of your attention to dance with me."

"Elizabeth, my love… Did you not forgive me of that unfortunate incident long ago? May I also remind you -- that eavesdropping on your part is something for which I have been inclined to forgive you, too! You were never meant to hear that remark, as you well know, now!"

"Oh William, please let us not argue over those times long past. Do you really wish me to throw away that gown?"

"Elizabeth, I will not demand it of you, but I only want you to understand that for me, it is a reminder of a time when I must have terrified you, when I caused you to want to run away from me. The mortification I felt when it suddenly ripped as I grabbed you trying to prevent you from leaving. At the time it seemed your fear of me caused you to swiftly escape my presence out into the hallway. It only took me a moment to realize the horrendous consequences when I tried to immediately scoop up the remnants of your gown and rushed out to hopefully pull you back into the library. It was all too late… I had utterly compromised and ruined your reputation. Obviously, caught red handed with your ripped gown in what appeared a most scandalous circumstance."

Lizzy could not help giggling again.

With an indignant and confused look, Darcy exasperatingly stated, "Madam, I fail to see the humour in any of this?"

"Forgive me, dear William, but we are such a silly pair… please allow me to explain myself."

"Yes, William, I did want to escape you, but not because I was frightened of you… I was startled by my own feelings that had begun to emerge for you… and you had the same look on your face that you had in my father's library just before you proposed. No, I was not afraid of you. I was confused… and I was too angry at you to notice it then, but I remembered thinking later that I was already affected by your handsome face and demeanour. My own pride and vanity had been wounded by your remark to Bingley about me not being handsome enough to tempt you. Yet, your stately god-like figure had indeed tempted me. I must confess that I was attracted to you from the first time I saw you enter the Meryton Assembly Hall. I stifled those feelings when you turned away and refused to offer to dance with me. Wickham's deception and lies only increased my ability to deny that I had any kind of positive interest toward you. Instead I looked for any kind of fault you displayed."

Elizabeth bit her bottom lip as she tried to further explain, "My love, you must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure…" Her smile lit up her face.

Darcy stopped her with a kiss that continued until they reached the first inn, interspersed in between with playful intimacies, tender caresses and whispers of loving endearments to each other.

~~~

It was late afternoon when they arrived at the inn where they enjoyed an early hearty super. When they finished Darcy called for the proprietor to prepare hot baths for them in their bedchamber. When all was ready, he quickly bathed first, his intentions being to minister to his wife's comforts, dispensing with any need for service from his valet or her lady's maid.

Managing to dress himself without the use of his valet, he immediately entered her room where Elizabeth was leisurely soaking in the tub situated close to the fireplace. With her head leaning back comfortably upon several folded towels and her exposed breasts slightly immersed under the water, Darcy was immediately aroused at seeing his wife's magnificent naked body.

He whispered her name so as not to startle her, "Lizzy, my love, I have come to help you bathe."

Lizzy sat up instructing him to fill the other bucket with the hot water and add the cooler water from the large pitcher on the counter to rinse the soap from her hair. He returned to watch her as she lathered her luscious chocolate coloured tresses, having a very hard time controlling his wanton desires for her.

"William, I am now ready for you to help me rinse the soap from my hair. Please pour it over my head slowly."

"Of course darling, but I am curious to know how would your lady's maid manage to lift up such a heavy bucket to pour over you?"

"You silly man!" she laughingly told him of the smaller container that is used to scoop out the water from the larger bucket. But Darcy insisted that he was well able to slowly pour out the water directly from the bucket over her with little trouble at all. Lifting it, he proceeded to do just that while Lizzy began to protest.

"Hold your breath, Lizzy, while I pour the water over you now!" He immediately began spilling the water all over her and the floor as she hurriedly managed to rinse all the soap out of her hair!

Sopping up the excess to keep from tripping, he asked "Are you finished, my love? Let me get your robe and towels to dry you off. Come closer to the fire."

Lifting her out of the tub and onto a thick carpet, he proceeded to thoroughly rub her body with a towel, presumably trying to dry her -- while trying to keep his ardour for her at bay. Darcy could hardly wait to carry her off over to the large canopied bed.

~~~

"Elizabeth, I believe I love your body more now that you are carrying our child."

"Really, William – stop teasing me, I know my waist has thickened into a less than fashionable silhouette."

"Not at all, darling… in fact I find enjoyment in your more enlarged and full breasts… I love caressing your delightfully curvaceous and womanly body… and I love seeing you blush."

She tried to protest, but he had already captured her lips in a long sensuous kiss while his hand found the now familiar path down her silky arms, across her belly to the area between her legs to busily stroke her, teasing her sensitive core. He continued passionately kissing her as he sensed her body responding to his tantalizing caresses.

She begged him to relieve her suffering, groaning and murmuring for more, "Dear William… I want you…." as she moaned for more of him.

"Yes… Lizzy… Enjoy this way I am pleasuring you, my darling wife."

When he lowered his head between her legs to begin to pleasure her anew with his tongue and lips, he marvelled at how intensely she shivered, writhing and moaning his name, groaning how much she loved him.

When she begged him once more, he swiftly entered her luscious core and proceeded to enjoy taking pleasure in their familiar rhythm together, slow at first, then swiftly increasing the tempo as they passionately kissed in-between, their murmurings of affections for each other.

They reached their peak of satisfaction almost simultaneously with him collapsing atop her, only momentarily to catch his breath. Then gathering her in his arms they nestled side by side, entwined in their favorite position, facing each other. He was still nipping and placing sweet little pecks along her face and neck.

"Forgive me, Elizabeth, I know you must be exhausted from our travels, but I could not help myself. You are my undoing, Madam. I am completely besotted by your beauty that I cannot resist your allurement. I must have you, my dearest, loveliest Elizabeth. I am utterly insatiable when in your sweet presence."

Laughingly teasing him, she proclaimed he was indeed a scoundrel.

"William, my very dear husband, there is nothing to forgive. If you had not made love to me, I would have been sorely disappointed."

"But, my love, I could have taken you more gently, been more considerate of your condition. I may have caused harm to the baby?"

"My dear husband, we women are not like fragile glass. We will not break -- besides the baby is well padded."

"Then as long as you are well, my love, expect this occurrence to happen often, especially whenever I am present to help you bathe."

"Oh you silly man, I do not think the servants will appreciate having to mop up all the split water."

Neither could help but laugh at Darcy’s less than masterful abilities with the bucket.

“In future I promise to use the tried and true technique of the shallow pail to keep from flooding your dressing closet.”

~~~

Elizabeth found as they drew nearer, she was impatient to see Pemberley. They continued their journey quite early and decided to merely stop for refreshments at the third inn canceling their overnight reservations. Elizabeth managed to convince Darcy that she was well able to travel, unable to hide the fact of her being very anxious to arrive that much sooner to her new home.

Since Darcy was also in anticipation, they continued on their way, reaching Pemberley’s grounds before dusk.

I can hardly wait to have my dearest loveliest Elizabeth with me in my bed... at Pemberley.

As they drove along, Elizabeth watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some anxiety; and when at length they turned in at the entrance lodge to Pemberley's boundary, her spirits were in a high flutter.

The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.

Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into a greater body of water, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.

Darcy had the coachman stop the carriage at the precise juncture on the road that would give Elizabeth a spectacular view of her new home. They had reached this point just as the sun was setting illuminating the large pond in front of the mansion.

Elizabeth was enchanted...

They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove to the front door; where the housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds and the Pemberley staff had lined up in the front hallway to greet their master and his new wife.

Darcy immediately took charge and addressed his staff with a brief introduction of his bride.

"I thank all of you for wanting to warmly welcome us home to Pemberley. Please allow me to introduce your new mistress, my dear wife: Mrs. Elizabeth Rose Darcy."

Everyone bowed or curtsied as Darcy continued…

"I beg you would please forgive us if we ask to dispense with greeting you individually at this time for we have travelled a great length to reach home. My wife is naturally exhausted."

He turned to Mrs. Reynolds and asked her to dismiss the staff, thanking her. Then he turned back and was about to direct Elizabeth towards the dining-parlour.

Elizabeth hesitated only a moment, as she touched Darcy's arm to get his attention then whispered her request. He nodded his approval then addressed his staff again,

"One moment everyone, Mrs. Darcy would like to say something to all of you."

Elizabeth turned to the crowd with a bright smile and her fine eyes sparkling, "I just want to briefly thank you all for kindly gathering to greet and welcome us. I see a few familiar friendly faces among you who were in attendance with us in Meryton. I do hope in the near future to become better acquainted with each of you." Then she gave them all a slight curtsey, indicating that was all she intended to say.

Darcy could not help smiling at her as he put his arm tenderly around her waist, signaling to Mrs Reynolds with his other hand for her to finally dismiss them all. He then proceeded to gently direct Elizabeth down the hallway. Most of the staff who were fortunate to be close enough to observe the master's face, were delightfully surprised to see his countenance so changed. Clearly it indicated a man besotted by his charming and beautiful new bride.

As the servants dispersed, those who had attended their master’s wedding festivities shared their experiences and impressions of the time in Meryton. They expounded on the many virtues and worthy characteristics they had noticed in their new mistress. It was commented by many that their master was obviously a changed man, most happy and contented, which was accounted to the beloved new bride of their master.

Mrs. Reynolds was a respectable looking, elderly woman, much less fine, and more civil, than Elizabeth had any notion of finding her. She followed them into the dining-parlour. It was a large, well-proportioned room, handsomely fitted. Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned with wood, from which they had descended, receiving increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful sight to behold. Every disposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene – the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it -- with delight. As they passed into other rooms, these objects were taking different positions; but from every window there were beauties to be seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of her very dear husband, William's taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance, than any stately mansion she had ever visited previously.

She was not so surprised since the London Townhouse was similarly furnished. But the grounds around Pemberley were incomparable to any other place Lizzy had ever in her limited experience seen such natural beauty and elegance.

"And of this place," thought she, "I am to be mistress!"

"Elizabeth, I believe this brief tour of Pemberley house may be overtaxing your strength. My love… we can partake of a light dinner now and retreat to our rooms later if you wish? Or would you rather go immediately to your bedchamber to refresh yourself first?"

"Yes, please William… I would prefer to see our rooms and perhaps have something sent up to us there. I really am very tired now." She turned to Mrs. Reynolds, "I thank you for all your preparations, but pray excuse me for not being able to enjoy your provisions at this present time."

"Mrs. Darcy, 'tis no trouble at all, I perfectly understand. I will instruct cook to prepare a tray and have it sent up to your sitting room. Your lady's maid, Sarah will join you shortly."

Just as Elizabeth was about to again thank Mrs. Reynolds, Darcy turned to his housekeeper,

"That will not be necessary. Mrs. Darcy will not need Sarah's service. I alone will take care of my wife tonight. Have the staff prepare our baths and send up the food trays to our adjoining sitting room. We will not need anymore assistance until we ring for help tomorrow.

With an emphatic, "Thank you, that will be all," he wished Mrs. Reynolds a good evening.

Mrs. Reynolds reaction was impeccable, yet with a slightly raised eyebrow, she replied, "As you wish, sir, I will inform the staff -- does Fletcher know of your instructions?"

"He does, Mrs. Reynolds, thank you. We will retire to our rooms now. I will meet with you sometime tomorrow, after dinner to be apprised of any concerns you may have."

"Very good, sir." She nodded and quickly departed down the opposite hallway.

He thought, "She knows me well enough to see right through me… how mortifying… I will hear her mind tomorrow… for I am impatient to bed my wife!"

Elizabeth was desperately trying not to giggle, but as soon as Mrs. Reynolds was out of sight, she could not help herself.

"William, are you always so serious in your manner with her? Your brooding countenance is frightful. Must you address your staff with such… haughtiness?"

"My love… this whole affair was quite embarrassing to me. The woman has known me all my life, well… since I was four years old. She has been more like a mother figure to me and Georgianna all these years.

"Forgive me, William, I am teasing you. I cannot help but observe that your behaviour here is quite different than with the London townhouse staff."

"Elizabeth, many of the older servants here at Pemberley have known me since I was a child, often still treating me as such; that is not the case with the staff in London." "But…" he seductively whispered in her ear, "I would rather not have this discussion at present, dear wife… my mind is more agreeably occupied with other matters. Come… let me show you our bedchambers."

Lizzy arched her eyebrows, but remained silent as she was led up the large stairway to the family quarters.

~~~

Darcy had decided to take a slightly longer route to their bedchambers, knowing it would take time for his servants to prepare his requests. They passed through the large picture gallery of his ancestors. He briskly walked ahead of Elizabeth pointing out to her some of whom the portraits were and a little history of each person. She could not help pausing before the one with his parents and young Fitzwilliam as a mere boy of about nine years old. Darcy mentioned it was the last portrait of them as a family of three. His mother was soon after to become with child – referring to Georgianna.

"Come… my love, we can spend more time here later. I promise then to be more thorough in relating to you the history of my ancestors."

"William… wait… this one of you, standing alone… when was this likeness taken? Surely, it cannot have been too long ago?"

Impatiently pausing again to comment, he replied curtly, "Elizabeth, that one was painted over five years ago, when my excellent father was still alive. Why do you think it is a recent likeness of me?"

Teasingly again… she coyly responded, "Well, sir… I very much recognize that brooding, reserved glare in your expression… the one you seemed to always direct at me – in the beginnings of our acquaintance – when I mistakenly thought you disapproved of me. In my opinion the artist has captured that look quite well, indeed."

"Elizabeth, enough! You may come here to the gallery as often as you wish to stare at my handsome "god-like" figure… but I beg you now make haste."

"William, if you are in such a hurry to reach our bedchambers than why did we come this way at all? I do not understand you?"

"I knew it would take a little time for the servants to prepare our baths. The family quarters are just around the corner. If as I presumed you would want to return here later, perhaps on your own, you may now do so without getting lost since you have only had a fractional glimpse of Pemberley, my dear wife. Come…” He entreated. “We are very close… and I am anxious to have some privacy!"

~~~

Mrs. Reynolds was quite an efficient housekeeper, having already anticipated some of her young master's needs. So their bathing essentials had already been prepared in advance. The servants were just leaving as Darcy and his new bride entered her bedchamber.

Elizabeth was again enchanted by what she saw. The room was very large, but the delicate furnishings made it quite warm and inviting. It was similar to her room in London, but on a much grander scale. Darcy insisted that she could change anything to her personal liking. It had been his mother's rooms. But Elizabeth loved everything just the way it was.

One of Pemberley's cooks had accompanied the other servants to insure that the small dining table in the adjoining sitting room was set out perfectly. He also hoped to glimpse again the new Mrs. Darcy, since he had last met her at their engagement ball in the Meryton Assembly Hall and had been one of the few servants from Pemberley who remained to prepare the wedding feast. He had continued his correspondence with Longbourn's housekeepers – Mr. & Mrs. Hill.

When Lizzy saw Maurice… she immediately went to greet him with her arm extended as he graciously took her hand and bowed respectfully to her. He blushed slightly beaming with a huge smile.

"How good it is to see you again, Maurice."

"Thank you, Milady, the pleasure is all mine." He saw the master and immediately bowed to him and stated, "Welcome back home, sir, I hope the dishes we have prepared will be to your liking?"

"Thank you, Maurice, I am sure it will all be delicious. We appreciate all your thoughtfulness. Kindly give our apologies to the kitchen staff for their previous elaborate preparations. Mrs. Darcy and I are quite done in from our travels. As you are the only one of the kitchen staff who has been kept informed of Mrs. Darcy condition from the Hills at Longbourn, you can now inform the others of her special needs and dishes she favors."

"Yes, of course, sir… I have already taken care of it. Do you have any further instructions for the kitchen staff, sir?"

"No… I believe you have everything under control, as usual Maurice… you may go!"

"Thank you, Maurice." Elizabeth again gave him a bright smile as he started to leave.

"Thank you, Milady… I hope your family in Meryton are all in good health? Please give Mrs. Bennet and especially Mr. & Mrs. Hill my regards when next you write."

"Oh… yes, indeed they are all in good health. I will Maurice. Perhaps tomorrow evening I may come down and see your kitchen. Mr. Darcy plans to meet with Mrs. Reynolds after dinner time. Is that not so, William?"

"Yes… yes… Elizabeth… Maurice you may go… we will discuss this later, thank you."

Bowing and walking backwards to exit, "Milady, it is good you at last have come home to Pemberley." With this remark he quickly departed leaving the master and his new bride alone… finally!

Knowing her very dear husband's patience was wearing thin as he quickly locked the door after his cook and servants departed, she approached him, reaching up to ruffle his hair and pulling his head down to her that she could more easily kiss his lips. Darcy did not resist, but immediately reciprocated with a slow lingering passionate kiss… gently forcing her lips open with his tongue and probing her deliciously sweet mouth. He was fully aroused and about to carry her to the bed, when they were startled apart by a familiar gasping voice – Fletcher – who had emerged from the master's adjoining bedchamber door.

"Oh! I beg your pardon, sir, madam…" as his cheeks colored and he abruptly turned around to exit from whence he came. Still blushing, he stammered that he had only intended to inform Mr Darcy that the bath water was in readiness.

This time Elizabeth immediately burst into laughter!

While Darcy, whose face and countenance one could conclude as livid… shouted out to Fletcher… "Go, man! I have already instructed you not to bother us until I call for you tomorrow."

"Yes, sir… I apologize, sir… forgive, me… I will leave now." Trying not to trip over his own feet he immediately exited through the adjoining door. Elizabeth assumed that he had been in Darcy's dressing closet preparing for his master's needs.

Darcy turned to his wife and glared. "Madam, I am glad you find this all amusing at my expense… but it seems impossible to have a private time alone with you, even in my own bedchambers!"

"Oh William…" She had to take a deep breath to recover. “You silly man, if you could only see the expression on your face?" She quickly nuzzled up to him grabbing his arms and placing them around her waist. "You are such a fright, you know! I expect tomorrow you will apologize to Fletcher for he was only performing his duties as your loyal and trustworthy diligent servant!"

Kissing her forehead, already calming in her glow, he replied, "You are right, my love… you are always right… come, I may as well show you my bedchamber, now then we should probably prepare for our baths while the water is still hot. We can partake of some nourishment afterwards."

"That is a splendid idea, William… help me undress."

~~~

They had bathed much as they had done at the inn. Elizabeth leisurely soaked in the fragrant warm water that smelled of lavender and roses. She waited for Darcy to come from his own more abbreviated bath to aid her, this time pleased to see that instead of a bucket to rinse Elizabeth's hair -- his staff had a special large piece of porcelain pottery specifically used with a large ladle container that hung over the rim. He used it to easily scoop and pour water slowly over her hair to rinse the soap off spilling not a drop of water. He helped her dry off while she kept a towel wrapped around her hair and then aided her into her robe to keep her from being chilled.

Dressed only in their robes, Darcy escorted her to their shared sitting parlor near the fireplace where the small dinning table had been set up. Elizabeth was hungry but still ate very little, feeling very tired from the effects of the long journey. Darcy could see from her face that she was exhausted.

After sipping a glass of wine, he stood and took the glass from her hand. He easily lifted her into his arms and carried her to his bed, settling her in the middle under the warmed covers. "I shall return very shortly, Lizzy. I will just secure everything in your room and the others. I must blow out the candles and add more wood to the fireplace.” He added with a wry smile, ”I will also make sure that all doors are locked."

"Very well, William, I am not going anywhere else. I will wait for you… my love…"

But Elizabeth did not realize how very tired she was and quickly fell into a deep sleep.

When William returned he saw that she was sound asleep. He crawled underneath the covers, leaned up on his elbow and looked to his beautiful bride's face… kissed her forehead and settled in next to her. He embraced her waist with his arm and gently placed his leg over hers, nuzzling his face near her ear to breathe in her delicious scent. He, too, soon fell fast asleep… his last conscious thoughts of marveling how very fortunate he was to have her here… finally in his very own bed… at last home together at Pemberley.

~~~

In the middle of the night, Lizzy awoke to the sound of William's light snoring in her ear. She tried to turn around to face him, but his hand was cupped over her breast and his leg was entwined, locked in place over both of hers.

Whispering, "William… my love… wake up… please… William… I am trapped.

Moaning in her ear still asleep… "I love you, Lizzy… Do not leave me… Hmmm? What…? Oh, what is wrong darling? Are you unwell?

"William, you have me so ensconced that… I cannot move… I am sorry, my love… I must have fallen asleep? I do not recall you coming back to bed?"

"Yes, darling you were fast asleep. I knew you were exhausted so I did not want to disturb you, my love… go back to sleep."

He started to release her to change position, lying on his back and stretching out his legs. But Elizabeth had other desires on her mind. Her hair was still bundled in a turban style with the towel. She began to remove it and her robe, then quickly plaited her hair tying it away from her face.

Darcy was already completely unclothed and still half asleep.

"What time is it, William?"

Mumbling, he barely replied as he tried to go back to sleep… "No idea…" yawning and stretching again, turning his back to her.

But Lizzy was wide awake now and feeling playful… "William, my love… must you go back to sleep?"

"Hmmm…"

She nestled up against his back slightly wiggling back and forth, with her breast rubbing against him and nibbling at his neck. When he failed to respond… Lizzy reached in front of him grabbing his bunchage* and began with slow deliberate strokes.

Suddenly… Darcy turned over to roll atop her… "You little minx!" He immediately captured her mouth with a searing kiss.

Elizabeth was trapped once again, while Darcy’s tongue forced her mouth open and proceeded to devour hers. His one arm was locked under her neck while his other hand roughly caressed her breast and everywhere else he could reach.

She struggled to push him away, but he would not release her, except only momentary to breathe as he continued to assault her mouth in a manner as if their tongues were fencing swords.

Darcy’s hand followed the familiar path of her body down between her legs that he had separated with his knee. As she tried to reach his bunchage* with her hands at the same time trying to push him off of her, he grabbed both her arms. Lizzy was excited and laughing in between trying to catch her breath.

"Madam, I believe I am fully awake now… what is your pleasure?"

"Make love to me… but William… gently please."

"Hmmm…"

Still holding both her arms above her head he repositioned himself that he may suckle her breast while his other hand again traveled down between her legs to caress and further stimulate her. Whimpering, she moaned, "Ohhhhhhh…. William….. Yesssss…. More….."

"Behave Elizabeth… and I will release your arms."

He immediately replaced his fingers with his tongue and continued to ravish her with his mouth, feeling her body shivering and writhing back and forth whimpering, "More… oh do not stop… I love this, William…"

Moving upon her, he immediately plunged into her core… capturing her mouth and lips again with his own… all the while murmuring… "I love you, Lizzy."

In a rhythm as old as time… they rode each other in perfect tempo… his hands cupping her face… his lips capturing hers… faster and faster they moved together in complete syncopation… looking deeply into each other's passion filled eyes… she, willing herself not to swoon from the intense sensations, he, driven by the ardency of his love for her… each focused on the culmination of being satiated, until finally Elizabeth began to groan out loud……

"Ohhhhh… Williammm… yessss…. how I love you!"

Darcy held back as long as he was able… his face contorted as he gritted his teeth, trying to keep the rhythm and holding his own release as he watched and waited for Elizabeth to indicate that she had reached her peak… finally… he burst forth within her crying out her name in complete and utter bliss.

Collapsing to the side of her… still whispering endearments breathlessly, and nipping at her neck and lightly kissing her face… he murmured and nuzzled against her ear,

"Are you well, Lizzy"?

Trying to calm her breathing, she whispered… "yes… dearest… yes, I am very well… thank you… I love how you love me."

Turning on their sides facing each other, they continued to kiss and caress one another.

"My dearest wife… It is I who must thank you, for even accepting me in the first place."

Cupping his face and looking deeply into his eyes, she stated, "Now… my very dear husband, we are not going to ever bring up any more unpleasant arguments again… please."

"Not ever, Lizzy?"

"No… you must remember my philosophy dearest."

"I do remember it, my love… you only wish to think upon those memories which give you pleasure rather than the opposite. However, my darling Elizabeth, that is not my nature to completely ignore and dismiss unpleasantries – as if they never occurred."

"Oh William… I know you have always considered yourself resentful." Teasing him even more she added, "And you do brood so well my love as I have the proof of it in the painting of you in the gallery."

"Little minx… I have been endeavouring to change those weaknesses which you, at first so vehemently expressed to me that day in the Netherfield library."

"As far as I am concerned, William, I am resolved to forget those horribly mistaken things for which I accused you of so long ago. I was misinformed and my knowledge of you at that time was very limited… prejudiced, as you well know."

He turned himself above her again… whispering, "Then let us not recall those unpleasant events… my love…" With a smoldering look deep into her sparkling beautiful fine eyes, he sighed, "I desire you again…"

"Oh William… you silly… incorrigible… loveable scoundrel… I want only you… do make love to me again…." As she cupped his face and kissed him most ardently… "Slowly this time… my very dear husband."

"With pleasure my dearest loveliest Elizabeth."

The torn gown keepsake, the long forgotten scandal and their previous arguments faded from their memories. They were both resolved and agreed that the unfortunate incident at the Netherfield ball which caused the compromise was indeed the means of happily uniting them.

FINIS

Post script: I must at least mention that after several months, Elizabeth presented him with a healthy heir, their first born son -- Master David Anthony Darcy.

~~~

* bunchage: I know... I know it isn't at all a "regency" term, but I just had to get the word into my story somehow… in dedication to all my fellow "BoB" babes!

2006 held by the author

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