Pride and Prejudice Continues
AN IMPRINT OF SOURCEBOOKS, INC.* NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS
Copyright © 2004 by Linda Berdoll Cover and internal design © 2004 by Sourcebooks, Inc. Cover photo © Simon Carter Gallery, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK/Bridgeman Art Library Sourcebooks and thecolophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews— without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc. Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410 (630) 961-3900 FAX: (630) 961-2168 www.sourcebooks.com The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Berdoll, Linda. Mr. Darcy takes a wife : Pride andprejudice continues / by Linda Berdoll. p. cm. ISBN 978-1-4022-2027-2 9-1-4022-027353 (alk. paper) 1. Darcy, Fitzwilliam (Fictitious character)— Fiction. 2. Bennet, Elizabeth (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Married people—Fiction. 4. England—Fiction. I. Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. Pride and prejudice. II. Title. PS3552.E6945M7 2004 813'.54-dc22 2003027655
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he renowned (if occasionally peevish) lady of letters, Charlotte Bronte, once carped of fellow authoress Jane Austen's work,".. .she ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound: the Passions are perfectly unknown to her...what throbs fast and full, though hidden, what the blood rushes through, what is the unseenseat of Life and the sentient target of death—this Miss Austen ignores." It is forever lost what Jane Austen might have made of Jane Eyre> hence we shan't dally with such a conjecture. And however we are moved to defend Miss Austen's unparalleled literary gift, we cannot totally disregard Miss Bronte's observation, for it was quite on the money. Jane Austen wrote of what she knew. Miss Austennever married, it appears her own life passed with only the barest hint of romance. Hence, one must presume she went to her great reward virgo intactus. As befitting a maiden's sensibilities, her novels all end with the wedding ceremony. What throbs fast and full, what the blood rushes through, is denied her unforgettable characters and, therefore, us. Dash it all! We endeavour to right this wrong bycompleating at least one of her stories, beginning whence hers leaves off. Our lovers have wed. But the throbbing that we first encounter is not the cry of a passionate heart. Another part of her anatomy is grieving Elizabeth Bennet Darcy.
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s plush a coach as it was, recent rains tried even its heavy springs. Hence, the road to Derbyshire was betimesa bit jarring. Mr. Darcy, with all gentlemanly solicitousness, offered the new Mrs. Darcy a pillow upon which to sit to cushion the ride. It was a plump tasselled affair, not at all discreet. His making an issue of her sore nether-end was a mortification in and of itself. But, as Elizabeth harboured the conviction that she had adopted a peculiar gait as a result of her most recent (by reason ofmatrimony) pursuits, her much abused dignity forbade her to accept such a blatant admission of conjugal congress. Thus, the cushion was refused. Dignity notwithstanding, the unrelenting jiggle of the carriage demanded by the puddles bade her eye that same pillow wistfully as its soft comfort lay wasted upon the empty seat opposite them. As she clung to the handgrip, she knew it was indefensibly...