Letter #5: 23 March 1812 to Sir Montgomery Preston

In the wee hours of the night, Rosings Asylum              23 March 1812 

Dear Monty,

Do you recall my annoyingly temperate brother, the one who would look down his haughty nose at those of us who might indulge in a third glass of port, or is that memory merely a figment of my deluded mind? I can no longer be certain, having left Prince William at midnight slumped in a chair in the library nursing a bottle of brandy and much the worse for wear. There is, of course, the possibility he did it only to annoy me, since his presence there prevented me from carrying out my urgent mission to discover that dratted book with the caricatures of my aunt, but since he should be unaware of its existence, it seems unlikely. Of course, my brother does have an uncanny talent for knowing things I wish he did not, while never realizing any of those things that might reflect to my credit.

I am even further out of his good graces than usual, after an unfortunate incident involving a suit of armour earlier today, but that cannot account for his truly abominable temper since then. I am more than ever convinced that something is troubling him, and it has to do with my aunt’s parson. I intend to get to the bottom of the matter, if for no other reason than to remove the glowering cloud of resentment that is William from ruining what little pleasure I can find here.  Today he said I should not allow Theseus to go faster than a walk except on the roads, since the rains have made the ground muddy? As if I have not been riding over muddy ground since I was a child!

In any case, I have a plan. Tomorrow I will arise early and ask my venerated aunt for her advice on how to further my career. You may stop laughing now, Monty! I have on occasion seen the sun rise. My intention is to flatter Lady Catherine into thinking she can improve me, and then to wonder aloud whether her parson might be a good influence. Then I can quiz the parson as to what occurred between him and my brother, and if I am fortunate, even have the opportunity to see them together.

But enough of my foolish brother, I can hear you cry! Do not fear, I have not forgotten your charge to me. The stable master tells me he has heard there is a fine team of chestnuts who might be available. The gentleman who owns them lives near Brighton, but occasionally comes up to Maidstone for business. If it is possible, I will attempt to see them and will report back to you.

Yours, as long as my sanity holds,

T.D.

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Letter to Miss Georgiana Darcy, March 22, 1812

On the road to Rosings

Dearest Georgie,

As you have undoubtedly heard by now, our dear brother has kidnapped me and is dragging me off to Rosings to be tortured and tormented by Aunt Catherine over Easter. You know how she simply adores me.

Fortune has truly smiled on you, as William knows how frightened you are of Lady C and has allowed you to stay safely tucked away with Mrs. Annesley instead of making the annual Easter trek to Rosings. Speaking of your companion, please give her my greetings. She is a lovely lady indeed. You are probably so busy preparing for your come out that you will hardly notice my extended absence from town. Has Aunt Matlock been visiting frequently to assist with your training?

Seriously, dear little sister, you must listen to everything Mrs. Annesley and our aunt tell you even when you do not wish to. They are very wise ladies. I am looking forward to dancing with you at your come out ball in a few years so you had best pay close attention to your dancing master. I promise to practice with you when I am next in town.

It has been raining steadily since we left Pemberley, making travel very disagreeable. At least our brother has deigned to let me bring my new horse, Theseus, along behind the coach. Unfortunately, because of the inclement weather, I have not been able to ride for more than an hour or two a day. Instead I have had to endure William’s cheery company in the close quarters of the coach. (By the way, his new coach is quite nice inside and also well sprung for comfort.)

I am finding traveling with our brother even more trying than usual. I am weary of trying to find a subject on which we can converse without arguing or that does not provoke yet another lecture from him on my faults. I have now officially given up on that project and mainly read when the road is not too rough, or more often, I simply sleep. As you might imagine, I have slept so much that I will barely need a bed for the entire length of our stay at Rosings.

I know you carry on a lively correspondence with our Cousin Anne, but I hope I have your permission to give her your love when I see her. I will write again after we arrive and fill you in on all Lady C’s latest advice.

Your (tormented) brother,

Theo Darcy