Two weeks passed quickly for the Bennets and the Darcys. Darcy wasted no time finding a house for the Bennets in Meryton. Mrs. Bennet was in raptures upon seeing it.
“What a lovely house! And so very close to my sister! Jane, come and see the light in the parlor. Oh, this shall be perfect!”
Darcy also gave the Bennets an allowance to decorate their new house. When all was done, Mrs. Bennet hardly needed to spend a crown of her marriage settlement on the move, leaving her well-situated towards the future.
Kitty and Lydia flew through the rooms of the new house to choose their room. They decided on a bedroom with a fine view and begged their mother for it until she consented. Of course, the largest bedroom went to Mrs. Bennet. There were enough rooms left over for Jane and Mary to each have their own.
Elizabeth thought how the house would never be her home. She had a new home now, and a grand one, from what she had heard of it. The weeks since the wedding had given her plenty of time to consider what would be required of her. She had agreed to Mr. Darcy’s desire for her to manage the home, but still she had only a vague idea of what that involved. Her only experience was in watching her father maintain their estate, and maintenance had not seemed to take up too much of his mind. She hoped desperately that Darcy would provide her with some direction in what must be done.
As for Darcy, he longed for Elizabeth each night, although his resolve to wait until she was ready was strong. It was difficult to have a wife with whom he was in love and not to show any signs of affection towards her. This was a new feeling for Darcy. All of his life, he had tried to rely on his intellect alone, rather than his passions. Never before, though, had any of his passions been this strong. He would have to win his wife over sooner rather than later, for his own sake.
After the Bennets were settled in their new home, it was time for Darcy and Elizabeth to make the trip to Pemberley. Elizabeth packed a few of her favorite dresses, even though she knew that they were not fine enough for the mistress of an estate such as Pemberley. Darcy had told her they would have new clothing made when they arrived home; until then, she could continue to wear her own comfortable clothing. She also packed some mementos of her family. She was moving quite some ways from them, and even though she knew that she would see them, she was distraught to leave them, especially Jane, whom Elizabeth knew still pined for Mr. Bingley.
Mr. Bingley! She had not given him a single thought since before the wedding. She would undoubtedly see him now that she was wed to Darcy and she would get the chance to discuss Jane’s amiable qualities. Perhaps there was still a match to be made? The thought cheered her greatly.
Darcy planned to stop in London so that Elizabeth could see the town house and meet Georgiana. After that, the three of them would make the trip to Pemberley together.
Elizabeth was nervous about meeting Georgiana. She wondered if Darcy’s sister was much like Bingley’s sisters. As she could barely tolerate being in the same room as Caroline Bingley, she hoped that Georgiana would prove to be more gracious.
Almost before Elizabeth realized it, she was packed and her sisters were hugging her goodbye.
“Goodbye, Lydia. Goodbye, Kitty. Do behave yourselves with the officers. Do not do anything that would reflect poorly on the family,” she said sternly. After her warning, she embraced both of them warmly. Their judgment might not be ideal, but they were her sisters and despite all, she loved them dearly.
“Goodbye, Mary. I look forward to seeing your progress on the piano forte the next time we meet.”
She and Mary embraced, and Elizabeth heard a small sniffle from her sister. Elizabeth smiled and whispered, “I will miss you too.”
Finally, she came to Jane. “Oh, my dearest sister,” she said, and it was only at that moment that her tears began. “Whatever shall I do without you?”
“You are off on a grand adventure, Lizzy,” said Jane, her eyes also full of tears. “Do not forget me.”
“Never could I,” said Elizabeth, and the girls sobbed in each other’s arms.
“Oh, I shall have none of that!” cried Mrs. Bennet. “Lizzy, you get along. We shall see you soon. There is no need for tears!”
Elizabeth allowed herself to be folded into her mother’s arms for a moment, then extricated herself and climbed up into the carriage. The younger girls ran after them, waving and crying their goodbyes. Elizabeth was unable to stop the tears for quite some time into their journey.