Elizabeth paused in thought and worry. Not that this wasn’t an appropriate beginning for a letter, but she was at odds with herself as to what the next line should be. Mentally, she tried out a few possibilities:
I’ve been meaning to ask you about some specifics regarding Lydia’s wedding. Aside from you and Uncle Gardiner, the minister and the bride and groom, of course, who else was there?
No, that made her query too openended and it was, in fact, not what she desperately wished to know.
I’d heard some mention of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy being in attendance at my youngest sister’s wedding. Could that be true?
Better, but her aunt could merely confirm or deny his presence. Elizabeth needed to know WHY he was there.
Why on earth was Mr. Darcy — of all people! — at my sister Lydia’s wedding?!! What possessed you to invite him? Or did he just barge into the ceremony? And for what reason? And for how long? What did he say or do? Tell me everything!
Ah, that was exactly what Elizabeth wanted to write, but it sounded a bit, well, on the verge of hysterics…even just on paper.
Still, her curiosity on the subject was too powerful to be denied. What was the meaning of Mr. Darcy’s attendance at the wedding? Her mind raced for a way to broach her inquiries with tact and delicacy. But ten, twelve, fifteen entire seconds went by and she was no closer to finding the perfect phrasing and, let’s face it, Elizabeth knew patience was hardly her strong suit.
She snatched the pen and hastily scribbled:
My sister Lydia had let slip that Mr. Darcy was gathered with you all at the wedding, but she likewise revealed that his attendance was not intended to be generally known. You may readily comprehend what my curiosity must be to know how a person unconnected with any of us, and (comparatively speaking) a stranger to our family, should have been amongst you at such a time. Pray write instantly and let me understand it — unless it is, for very cogent reasons, to remain in the secrecy which Lydia seems to think necessary; and then I must endeavour to be satisfied with ignorance.
“Not that I shall, though,” Elizabeth added to herself, as she quickly brought her note to a close. “And my dear aunt,” she muttered, “if you do not tell me in an honourable manner, I shall certainly be reduced to tricks and stratagems to find out.”
With that, she sealed her letter and called for Hill. She wanted this to be posted at once.
Then she just held her breath…waiting…