The Bennet Brother – Scene 31
Welcome to the thirty-first and final installment of The Bennet Brother, the interactive writing project from Austen Authors! There are also extra details on Twitter, where this story has taken on a life of its own. Mr. Edward Bennet (@edwbennet) already has a notable presence and regularly interacts with readers, including this interview with Miss Leatherberry on Leatherbound Reviews: Interview with Mr. Edward Bennet.
See how it all started and take a few moments to enjoy the bonus stories of the Bennets as children, The Bennet Children Have an Adventure, and also one about Lady Colette, Fitzwilliam, and Darcy, Lady Colette and the Governess. Both prequels to The Bennet Brother are by Susan Mason-Milks. Full details on Pride and Prejudice Reader’s Choice can be read by clicking on the page via the menu above or the icon to the left. The previous installments can be read in order on The Writers’ Block.
For some reason—alcohol was certainly involved—Jack Caldwell was chosen to write the epilogue. If you like what follows, please feel free to expressly say so below. If not, then, in the immortal words of Mel Brooks, “Keep you big mouth shut!”
Who can be in doubt of what followed? When any two young people take it into their heads to marry—or six young people or more—they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other’s ultimate comfort. It helps, of course, if the couple has a little bit of money, and a fortune eases things along quite nicely.
The weddings that followed were very much like other weddings where the wishes, the hopes, the confidence, the predictions of the band of true friends who witnessed the ceremonies were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the unions.
Aw, who am I kidding? None of these unions were perfect, save the Bingleys. In all the days of their marriage, they never had an argument. Not one.
Sounds boring, doesn’t it?
Darcy and Elizabeth had a marvelous time quarrelling and misunderstanding each other in the first couple of years of their marriage. Two people of such decided opinions must have their disagreements. As spectacular as their arguments were, their bouts of “making up” were that much more incredible. They were determined to make each other happy, after all. Let’s just say that after six children everyone learned to behave themselves. And if you’re looking for more details than that, you’ve got the wrong author here. This isn’t Fifty Shades of Regency.
The Darcys were overjoyed that the Bingleys took an estate within a half-day’s ride from Pemberley. So happy were the ladies to have each other’s company they desired to share their good fortune. Therefore, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley were convinced by their wives to have the remaining Bennet sisters—Mary, Kitty, and Lydia—visit for extended periods in Derbyshire. Lizzy claimed it was for Georgiana’s good, as the young lady was in need of sisters to restore her spirits. It is doubtful that that was indeed the case, for it was the Bennet sisters who received the greater of the improvements. Mary became less judgmental, Kitty less insipid, and Lydia less foolish. The greatest benefit was removing Mary from any danger of a possible attachment with the idiotic Mr. Collins. Mary would eventually find her happiness with an up-and-coming barrister, Kitty with a very dashing clergyman, and Lydia would fall all over herself over an officer who had served with the former Colonel Fitzwilliam.
As for William Collins, he was able to attach himself to Charlotte Lucas. Her joy at the union may only be conjectured by the reader.
Mrs. Bennet could not be happier than the day her darling son Edward took Lady Colette Fitzwilliam as his bride. The author does not mean to imply that Edward was other than deliriously happy with his dear, loving Letty, but he would have to be inhuman not to contemplate, from time to time, what attracted him to a woman who could be, when she put her mind to it, more stubborn and willful than his sister Elizabeth.
He received no commiseration from his neighbors at Netherfield. Upon her marriage to Colonel the Hon. Matthew Fitzwilliam, the former Mrs. Susanna Mickelford reestablished herself in her late husband’s estate. Colonel Fitzwilliam wasted no time bedeviling his brother-in-law, earning himself the occasional tongue-lashing from his sister.
Both gentlemen soon appealed to Mr. Darcy for assistance in managing their estates. Darcy was only too happy to oblige, for he loved nothing more than to be of use to someone.
Mr. Thomas Bennet was pleased to renew his friendship with Lord Neville Fitzwilliam, Earl of Matlock. Often in Hertfordshire, London, and Derbyshire, Bungie and Lumpkin could be found haunting libraries, clubs, and fishing holes, boring everyone but themselves with tales of their unruly past. The fishing brought Mr. Gardiner into their fellowship, and if he found the stories tiresome, he never gave any hint of it. Fishing is fishing, after all.
Mrs. Bennet amused herself by visiting her dear married daughters in Derbyshire, often when least expected. Frequently she was accompanied by Mrs. Gardiner, who was truly welcomed in her nieces’ houses.
Lady Amelia Fitzwilliam, Countess Matlock had no choice but to accept Colette’s choice of husband. She let it be known that Fitzwilliam House in Town and Matlock Manor in Derbyshire were open to her willful daughter and her slightly unsuitable husband, as long as other guests were not in residence. Once she saw how Colette blossomed in her marriage, she suffered to call upon them at Longbourn. All resentment would be thrown aside once the grandchildren came.
It was much longer before Lady Matlock afforded the same respect to Susanna Fitzwilliam, for she well remembered Matthew’s devastation over Susanna’s supposed faithlessness. Time heals all wounds, and while it took longer than it should, pardon was eventually and wholeheartedly given.
George Wickham and Anne de Bourgh, along with their partner, Denny, were incredibly successful managing High Tide Lodge. So successful were they that when Lady Catherine de Bourgh was forced to acknowledge her daughter’s marriage—she was short of funds—the pair was able to secure an independent stake in Rosings Park, uncontrolled by Colonel Fitzwilliam. Eventually, Mr. and Mrs. Wickham left High Tide Lodge in Denny’s capable hands and established themselves at Rosings. Matthew had released more of Anne’s money, and along with the Wickhams’ investment in the estate, matters were ripe for change. A coup of sorts was quickly executed—Lady Catherine was banished to the Dowager House and the Wickhams turned the estate into a resort for the new up-and-coming merchant class, eager to escape London’s stifling heat in the summer.
Miss Monica Perry was wounded by her failure to secure either Mr. Bennet or Colonel Fitzwilliam. She journeyed to London, where she made the acquaintance of a Miss Weatherby. The pair became fast friends and were the toast of the Season. The two ladies would eventually secure husbands, and Miss Perry’s would ultimately become Chancellor of the Exchequer. So there.
And Caroline Bingley? Do you wonder what happened to her?
Of course not. Who cares about Caroline Bingley?
Thank you from all the Austen Authors who participated in this unique writing experience. As far as we know, no one else is doing anything like it online. We’ve enjoyed the challenge of bringing you a new and original episode every week (although I’m certain there have been a couple of panicked moments of staring at a blank screen and hoping for inspiration)! Your devotion to the story has been so amazing that we’re going to do it again! A brand new Reader’s Choice story will be starting in mid-October. What will this one be about? You’ll have to watch for the announcement – coming soon!