For villains, Jane Austen’s villains usually didn’t have bad endings, with the possible exception of Mrs. Norris, since living with Maria Betram Rushworth could be considered a bad ending. A writer can do anything to characters. For example, JAFF writers often give bad endings to Wickham. Rather than show a terrible ending for the villains, such as having them killed or maimed, I’m going to give a petty revenge on a few of them. This one is about Miss Bingley.
The season was over. It was a triumph for the former Caroline Bingley. After chasing Mr. Darcy for years, she’d caught the heir to an earldom only ten months after her brother married into that awful Bennet family. Jane was all right, but her family was horrible, especially the second sister, the former Miss Elizabeth, now Mrs. Darcy.
Caroline had to give precedence to both women. She was glad she’d stayed on reasonable terms with them, because it was through her brother that she’d met her future husband. She’d visited Pemberley with her brother and met this naïve young man who preferred fishing to the parlor and didn’t spend the money he had.
She went fishing with him and on long walks in the woods. She was smart enough not to pretend to know about fishing but let him teach her. She pretended enthusiasm and was rewarded by a proposal just as she caught a particularly large trout.
Fortunately, she was able to persuade him that he would enjoy a season in London. He did everything right. They occupied his father’s house, which was in one of the best neighborhoods. He attended every party she wanted to go to and allowed her to entertain extravagantly. He never complained about the late nights, even though at Pemberley he arose at dawn. And her crowning glory was entering the dining room before the Darcys. The only thing that marred her season was that neither Elizabeth nor Jane were at all upset by her elevation. Jane offered her the sincerest congratulation and Elizabeth was too busy flirting with her husband. Who knew Mr. Darcy could flirt?
When the season was over, she wasn’t sorry to take the trip north to the earl’s seat. She was a little alarmed at how young and vigorous the earl was. At the wedding he just seemed quiet and content to stay in the background. Now, she learned he was only forty-six and had the same love of the outdoors his son had. She could wait, but even when the current earl died, it was unlikely that her husband would oust his mother and his seven younger brothers and sisters. The youngest of these was four. The household would revolve around the countess and her children. Caroline was afraid she would be relegated to the background.
But she did her duty. In early autumn she gave birth to an heir, named for his father, William Strickland. In honor of that, the earl gave his son an estate. Caroline would have a home of her own to run.
The journey wasn’t so bad. She was surprised that they went north by boat, but when he explained the estate was in Scotland, she understood. He was sparing her and Master William the journey. They arrived at a harbor and there was a carriage and some wagons for what they were bringing. It took more than two hours for the carriage to make it up the winding back road to the house.
“What do you think?” her husband said as he escorted her inside.
“It looks small.” It did. It was little more than a cottage.
“I know. We can’t have many servants; there isn’t room for them. But there is a marvelous loch only a two-mile walk. The fishing is wonderful. And the stream nearby has trout.”
“How long will we stay here?” Caroline said with trepidation.
“All year. We might make it down to Glasgow once a year but you’ll be pregnant a lot so you won’t want to make the journey. Father is selling the house in London, since I told him I don’t plan on using it. Not that we want to stay away from London permanently.” Caroline’s was suddenly hopeful. “We should visit it every four or five years.”
“But where will we stay when we visit London?”
“We’ll stay with relatives or go to a hotel. We won’t be there for more than a few weeks.”
“Didn’t you enjoy the season?”
“Sorry, but no. I tried. I really did. But it doesn’t compare to fishing. I want to teach William to love it as much as I do. I hope we have many children and that they all learn to fish, even the girls. I could stay here forever. I may let one of my brothers manage the family estate after my father dies. Nothing can compare to this!”
Caroline closed her eyes and sat down in a chair that looked like it had been chewed upon by a dog. “That’s true.”
That’s my revenge. What would be your petty revenge for Miss Bingley?