P&P200: Caroline explains it all…
Caroline Bingley awoke in time to hear the dawn chorus, should she have gone out into the early morning mists. But she did not hear it, nor did she hear anything else as she stared up at the canopy over her head. Mr. Darcy was gone… he was now married to that simpering little milk maid, Elizabeth Bennet. God, what a fool he was! They would be miserable within a month.
She pulled her coverlet up over her shoulders, trying to stop the shivering that had shaken her all night. She could not believe that he had actually gone through with it. Elizabeth Bennet had nothing… NOTHING to offer him in the way of breeding, education, or beauty that she did not have. Not to mention her dowry, an area where the Bennet’s were clearly inferior.
At eight o’clock her maid brought in her chocolate and bread and butter, but her mouth felt like a cold, week-old fireplace, the taste of ashes choking her.
Bad enough that her brother had married the prissy Jane Bennet! But her brother was sometimes a fool… if he did not have a pleasing personality no one in London would have anything to do with him… and then where would Louisa and she have been?
Might as well get up… Louisa and Mr. Hurst would be coming down for breakfast soon.
When she came down in her morning dress, hair as impeccable as always, the Hursts had already sat down with their plates.
“Well, good morning Caroline!” Louisa chirped, looking disgustingly fresh for the early hour.
“Good morning, sister,” Caroline responded dully.
“You look like you celebrated too much after the wedding yesterday.” Louisa simpered at her.
“I beg your pardon?” Caroline responded, a touch of acid in her voice.
“You heard me, sister. Now Darcy is gone, bedded down with that pasty-faced wench, and does not even remember you exist. It is time you faced facts.” Louisa sent calmly on with her tea and toast.
“How dare you? I do not care this much for Mr. Darcy.” She snapped her fingers at her sister. “I do not need your vulgar tongue to make me ‘face facts’, as you call it. No man who would prefer Elizabeth Bennet to me is even worth knowing.”
“Except for his contacts in the ton.”
“I suppose. Georgiana is worth knowing, however, no matter how naive and guileless she is.”
“What did you think of the wedding, sister?” Louisa’s face sneered at her sister’s unconcealed distress. Caroline pulled herself together and shrugged.
“Charles looked well. I like that coat he wore. The Miss Bennets gowns were nothing special… probably made by the local seamstress in Longbourn village.” She managed to snicker and Louisa laughed with her.
“And the mother! Have you ever seen so many ribbons and so much lace! I am surprised she could walk!”
They both went back to their breakfast, and Caroline’s thoughts turned back to Darcy, his face ardent and intense as he undressed his bride on their wedding night. She felt her gorge rise and rose abruptly.
“I do not feel well this morning, Louisa. I believe I have a megrim coming on. Please excuse me…I am going up to lie down.”
“Of course, Caroline. I hope you feel better soon.”
Caroline gave her a ghastly smile and climbed the stairs, trying to block out the vision of the Darcys’ wedding night.