This addendum was written in response to a reader wishing she could see how Miss Bingley took the news.
It was very late by the time they pulled away from Longbourn, and Miss Bingley lost no time in bitterly reproaching her brother for his abandonment. "It was the most vulgar, tedious evening I have ever been forced to spend!" she nearly wept. "How could you leave me to them?"
Her brother did not immediately reply; in the light from the carriage lamp she could just make out an expression of blissful abstraction on his countenance. Her sense of injury increased. "You were no help, Louisa!" she cried. "Could you not have found a way to rescue me?"
"It is not as if playing whist with Sir William and Lady Lucas is any great pleasure," said Louisa waspishly.
"Compared to what I endured, it must have been paradise itself!" Failing for sympathy there too, she turned her attention to the other occupant of the carriage (not counting Mr. Hurst, which she did not). "Mr. Darcy! Can you imagine what I endured, sitting through an entire hour and a half of Speculation with Lydia and Kitty Bennet and their hair-brained friends? You would not have believed the shrieking that took place at that table."
"Hmm?" He jerked to awareness. "Why yes, it was a lovely evening." He turned his eyes back to the window, and she saw a small and secretive smile playing about his lips.
It was then that Miss Caroline Bingley received her first horrible premonition of what was to come.
"Charles," said Miss Bingley the next morning to a rather more alert party, "what were you about so long in the garden with Jane last night? It is not large; you must have walked it five times at least."
Her brother's eyes widened, and colour rose into his cheeks before he ducked his head. "We... got lost," he muttered into his eggs.
"Lost? How could you get lost? What is there to get lost in?"
"There's... a maze. We got lost in the maze." He reached for the salt cellar.
"You got lost in a maze the size of a drawing room? How is that even possible?"
"It was dark."
"So dark you could not see at all? Charles, surely Jane has—" she cut off abruptly as Louisa reached under the table and pinched her arm, hard. Although managing not to shriek, she turned furious eyes on her sister, shook her head silently.
"Darcy was in the garden too," said Charles, with a burst of inspiration. "With Miss Elizabeth. I saw him."
All eyes turned to Darcy.
"Certainly," he answered calmly. "Miss Elizabeth had expressed an interest in learning more about the constellations, which has been a particular area of study of mine, so, since it was a dark night, we took the opportunity to survey the sky."
"Ah, so that is what you were surveying, was it?" Bingley smirked. Darcy looked at him repressively.
At the end of the table, Hurst began to chortle.
"I... I do not understand." Caroline looked around the company, who all seemed in on some secret she was not privy to.
"So how were the stars last night, Darcy?"
"Very fine," he said incisively. "I am surprised you did not notice them yourself, Bingley."
"Ah well, you know me; heavenly bodies have never been my forte."
"Until now!" put in Hurst, and nearly fell out of his chair with laughing.
Now both embarrassed and offended, filled with an unidentifiable fear, Miss Bingley set down her fork and raised her voice. "Would someone please do me the kindness of—"
"Sister," interrupted Mrs. Hurst, rising to her feet, "I have need your assistance in the other room. It will only take a minute."
Caroline rose silently and followed her into the morning room, but before she could demand an explanation her sister rounded on her. "You ought to just stop talking, Caroline," she said impatiently. "You are making a fool of yourself."
"But... but I don't understand! What is going on?"
"Come now, are you are really so naive that you are don't know what Charles and Jane were doing in the garden last night?" When Caroline continued to look confused she sighed. "They are about to get married. What do you think they would wish to do, alone, by themselves, in the dark, in the garden?"
"Oh!" Her meaning suddenly became clear. "Oh." She began to blush. "Well, but... I don't see how I could have been expected to... and in any case, what does that have to do with Mr. Darcy? It is not as if he was..." Mrs. Hurst's expression did not change, and Caroline grew pale. "That is impossible. Mr. Darcy would never—"
"He is a man too, Caroline."
"Yes, but not that kind of man. And not with her! You must be mistaken."
Mrs. Hurst snorted. "I am not mistaken. Did you not see what she looked like when they finally came back inside last night? Anyone with eyes must have known what they had been doing! Even Mrs. Bennet knew it, and swelled up to nearly twice her own size. Mr. Bennet saw it too, I am sure, for he immediately asked Mr. Darcy if he would care to see a book in his library, and they went away together. Do you not remember?"
She did remember it, now that Louisa brought it up, but she had not paid any attention to it at the time. "I thought that was only that... they both love books."
"There will be an announcement later today, you mark my words. Mr. Darcy is not the type to behave that way if he did not mean marriage, in any case."
Suddenly the imagine of Mr. Darcy's face, and that small, self-satisfied smile in the lamplight, filled Miss Bingley's mind, and her head began to swim. "Louisa!" She put out her hand, and her sister caught it. "Louisa, I think I'm going to faint!"
"There, there, now!" Louisa helped her down onto the sofa and soothed her brow. "Nothing to get worked up over. Everything will be well. Mr. Darcy is lost, it is true, but you mustn't fret; we'll find you a nice baronet instead. Then you could be a lady. You would like to be lady, wouldn't you?"