We have all thought about and no doubt read about the number of coincidences in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The twist of fate that fascinates me the most is when Miss Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy at Pemberley.
In As Good as a Lord, Elizabeth is even more concerned about being there than she is in canon and not for the usual reasons. Indeed, Elizabeth and the Gardiners are not alone on the trip to the North. Mrs. Bennet contrives to join them. Here is a glimpse of Mrs. Bennet’s intentions in tagging along on the trip.
Mrs. Bennet sat quietly observing the passing landscapes, but her mind was all aflutter. For the thousandth time, she silently congratulated herself. She was in possession of the most fantastic news that anyone could possibly imagine, and she had managed to hold her tongue. It was a wonder she had not bitten it off in light of the firm grip she had held on it.
What an extraordinary actress she had been in convincing everyone of her general malaise while keeping to herself what she knew. No one would be more surprised than the lady herself would. Aside from getting her five daughters married off to respectable men, gossiping with her friends and neighbors was what she lived for.
She smiled inside knowingly. My second eldest daughter is not the only Bennet capable of keeping a secret.
The thought did occur to her more than a time or two that persuading her brother Gardiner and his wife to allow her to join them on their long-awaited trip to the North was the easy part. The bulk of her scheme relied purely upon circumstances. How was she to be sure that they would go to Pemberley? Were she successful in prevailing upon them to apply for a tour of the renowned Derbyshire estate, what was the likelihood that Mr. Darcy would be there? Mrs. Bennet knew enough about the great men of Mr. Darcy’s ilk to know they were rarely at home.
I shall not worry about all that just now. One step at a time is all I can manage. It will be enough that Lizzy gets a chance to see all that she thumbed her nose at, and then she will be sorry for what she has done.
Foolish, headstrong girl that she is—no doubt she will be lamenting her decision the moment she first lays eyes on the place. It will be more important than ever that I keep my part in the scheme to myself, for if Lizzy is to be amenable to gaining a second proposal from Mr. Darcy, she must think her falling for the gentleman is her own doing.
The presence of Darcy’s noble guests adds to Elizabeth’s discomfort in being at Pemberley. Their party includes more than one eager would-be bride. I find it nearly impossible to resist a Pride and Prejudice ‘what-if’ story in which Darcy entertains the idea of marrying someone other than Elizabeth, so long as it all works out in the end. As Good as a Lord explores that premise. I don’t think I’m giving away anything by saying that everything works out for our dear couple, Darcy and Elizabeth, in this story. However, Elizabeth’s concern over how her being at Pemberley came about causes her to question Darcy’s intentions. Here is a snippet of what Darcy had to say in response:
“One can never know with certainty what might have happened. Perchance what you surmise is possible, but this much I know with absolute certainty to be the truth.” He halted his footsteps, prompting Elizabeth to do the same. They turned and faced each other. “I had not been with you at Pemberley for a second before realizing that no one takes the place of you.”
With such a declaration, can a happily ever after ending be in doubt?
Have your share in the conversation by telling everyone your favorite Pride and Prejudice coincidence.
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