Letter #9 27 March 1812 Express to Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam

Richard,

I am at my wit’s end, but for once, the source of my distraction is not our imperious aunt. I pray Darcy has found you in London and has explained our joint concern for Georgiana’s safety and well being. If William has not, of yet, spoken to you in person, the source of our agitation rests solely on my former associate, Mr. Wickham. Since my arrival at Rosings, I have heard from the dastard twice. As one might expect, the rogue initially solicited funds to cover the cost of his most pressing gambling debts, to which I most soundly refused.

Following my denial, a second missive arrived in which Wickham insinuated he would call upon Georgiana and offer himself as her “escort” in her brothers’ absence.

Learning of Wickham’s intentions, I meant to return to London immediately, but Darcy rightly reasoned my withdrawal from Rosings would draw attention to the situation. Therefore, our William has journeyed to Town under the guise of pressing business. Unfortunately, that particular fact leaves me to “entertain” and, likewise, be “entertained” by Lady Catherine. Trust me, I am well aware I deserve such excruciating agony for my short sightedness where George Wickham is concerned.

As I have heard nothing from Darcy regarding the arrangements he has made to protect Georgiana, I am begging for a word from you that all is well in hand.

Theo

 

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Letter #8: 26 March to Sir Montgomery Preston

Rosings Dungeon (rattling his chains), 26 March 1812

Dear Monty,

So much has occurred since we last corresponded; I do not know where to begin. I will leave the biggest event to last in order to keep you in a fever of anticipation.

The first important event has been that I met my aunt’s protégée, a man she has taken under her large bat wing. He a clergyman by the name of Collins who is so obligingly servile ‘tis a wonder he does not throw himself to the floor at the old bat’s feet. I may yet have a use for Mr. Collins. He has so far provided me with an excuse for laughter by becoming tangled in a holly bush, which resulted in such panic and mayhem that even Darcy (I promised myself I will no longer call him Prince William) found it droll. So you can imagine how ludicrous this personage must be!

I know you are thinking that I have turned into a veritable country bumpkin, thinking it worth the cost of ink, paper, and franking a letter to pen such nonsense, but since it is Lady Catherine who is providing all three, I feel no qualms about writing what claptrap I choose.

The second event which provided some entertainment is that I rescued a young lady’s bonnet. You may think that equally trivial and insignificant, but when you hear my third point you will realize the supreme importance of this occurrence.

For now I come to the meat of the matter. I have discovered the root cause of my brother’s transformation into a bull ready to charge at a rag. I will admit that your extraordinary insight into the human heart once more hit its mark. As you suspected, there is a young lady involved, and she is none other than Miss B., the lady whose bonnet I rescued. So you see, Monty, I have not yet taken leave of my good senses, though I do admit I am close. A few more days with Lady Catherine may well turn me into wild lunatic fit only for Bedlam.

But there is more to come, and here is where I require your exemplary wisdom in such matters. I do not yet believe the young lady’s feelings are engaged. The question is, should I allow matters to take their course (which could only lead to a certain party’s disappointment) or should I employ my arts of persuasion and try to influence both parties with the hope of a more favorable outcome?

Awaiting a letter from you with the utmost urgency – or else I shall go out on the fields with the sheep and begin bleating.

Sincerely, etc.

Theo

Postscript: do not be surprised to run into my brother in Town. He has gone there on business and left me at the mercy of the Tyrant.

Letter #6: 23 March 1812 to George Wickham

Rosings Park 23 March 1812

Wickham,

Is this some sort of jest? No, I will not lend you money, nor will I recommend you for a position. As you say, I can forgive a great deal, but not when it involves deliberately hurting the people I love most. Just because I did not give you the cut direct when I passed you on the street does not mean I have forgiven you, merely that I prefer civilized manners.

Waxing sentimental over the old days will not help. I now know how easy it is for you to twist a person’s emotions and use them against him. If you think to amuse me with your barbs about my brother, you have failed utterly. Nor will I pay any regard to your veiled threats, because here is an unveiled one for you: Colonel Fitzwilliam is still longing for an excuse to run you through, and should there be any whisper of gossip about my sister, I would not wager a farthing on your continued existence.

T. Darcy

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.

Letter #4: 22nd March 1812 to Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam

Rosings Prison, Kent                                                                                22ndMarch 1812

Dear Cousin Richard,

I trust you are in good health? I should, in all honesty, berate you, for your absence has much to answer for, not least of which is my presence here in Kent. No doubt you will name your commanding officer as the source but, as we are not acquainted, you will have to shoulder the burden of knowing how I suffer in your stead.

Your company is sorely missed, not least by me. As anticipated, my presence is barely tolerated, both by our aunt and my brother, the latter of whom continues to charge me with a lack of restraint in how I conduct my life.  Further, it seems he will never forgive me my foolish fascination with Wickham as a youth, nor that I see the one life we have been blessed with as something to be enjoyed rather than endured.

Other than that, I endeavour to pass my time constructively. Theseus is a great consolation – indeed, he is my only friend here in Kent. I only hope for some freedom before long, that I might allow him to stretch his legs across the downs. At least if I plan to ride in an easterly direction, the temptation to follow the London turnpike and lie low in the company of Georgiana and the delightful Mrs A would be reduced.

I continue to study the Court reports in the papers – though I am perhaps more diligent at this when the Prince is around than not. Talking of whom, there is something amiss with his Highness. I have yet to determine the source, but rest assured I am on the case. However, if counsel is required, I suspect he will take your advice over mine, and I will therefore take the liberty of keeping you informed of any progress I make on this account. Do not be alarmed; he is in sound good health. The affliction seems to be of a nature to affect his spirits rather than any physical ailment.

How is your dear Mama? Do send her my love, and let her know that I forgive her for the reprimand she bestowed upon me when last we met. Having endured eight and forty hours at Rosings, I gladly reinstate her as my favourite aunt forthwith. Do assure her that this takes immediate effect!

One last thing before my supply of ink runs dry (rations here remain as abundant as ever): a small dilemma, but one I would raise all the same. You may recall, when we were last here in company together, the sketches I pencilled of our aunt whilst hiding behind one of her books. I recall you being particularly taken with the one of her as a parrot, though I still favour the vulture myself! Well, Cousin, I am dashed if I can locate the book that holds these treasures. The Prince will have me locked in the Tower if the old bat comes across it – do you by chance recall which tome I defaced? The library is full of such tedious texts, I truly cannot identify it by its spine and even less can I bear the perusal of each and every one – though if your memory fails you that may well be my fate.

I will bid you farewell, trust that your present occupation is none too arduous and look forward to hearing back from you directly.

Yours etc,

Theo

Letter #3: 22nd March to Miss Georgiana Darcy

An over-furnished, over-heated chamber at Rosings Park             22nd March 1812

Dearest Georgie,

Do not be alarmed by this letter following on so soon after my last. There is naught amiss – though I remain kidnapped and resigned to my fate.

In my haste to send you word of our safe arrival, I omitted to ask you something: you made mention in passing that you felt our brother has been deeply unhappy since he returned from Hertfordshire at the end of last year. Much as it might seem that this would please me, I would not wish to see him troubled when I cannot honestly profess to having been the cause!

I wished to let you know that I too have seen something singular in his mood and behaviour these past few days, and it may be that Hertfordshire is the link, for it has only to be mentioned and his countenance alters (and we both know that it takes a great deal to crack that inscrutable mask he carries with him).

Is there, perchance, anything you can recall him saying, or putting in his correspondence during that time, that might lead us to the cause?

Your increasingly curious brother,

Theo

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