Hi! This is the last post on this story. It gives an overview of what happened to the rest of the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys.
By the way, were you keeping track of the times that Bingley referenced 21st Century stuff? There were four of them:
Chapter 8 - "Rolling on the floor laughing out loud"
Chapter 9 - "All the single ladies"
Chapter 13 - "Tea Party candidate"
Chapter 17 - "Elizabeth the Second"
On to the follow-ups!
Lizzy has a follow-up that's a one-shot story of its own. Look for "The Most Natural Thing".
After she and Darcy got married, Darcy bought Netherfield. That freed up Bingley's money so he could buy that nice estate up north, only thirty miles from Pemberley. They visited each other all the time.
Both the Darcys and the Bingleys used Netherfield as a vacation home until Mr. Bennet died.
Did she fall in love with Frederick Addams? Yes! A lot of people wanted to say that she was lowering herself by marrying a merchant's son, but they didn't care a bit. They used her dowry money to move to America and settle down. When they got here (I say "here" because I'm an American), they got swept up in the fervor of the Second Great Awakening and became staunch Methodists.
Her husband opened a bookstore and found out that even though nobody back home would ever have considered him high-class, Americans think that anybody who has a British accent is classy. Because of that, his shop was instantly seen as an "upscale" bookstore and did great business.
Kitty and Lydia
After Lizzy and Darcy got married, Darcy became the unspoken patriarch of the Bennet family. He showed way more interest in the futures of the Bennet girls than their dad did.
Even though Darcy's opinion of ladies' seminaries was that they were places for wannabes and social climbers, he thought that it might actually do Kitty and Lydia some good. So he offered to double their dowries if they would agree to go.
Lydia wasn't interested. The dowry she had from Bingley was good enough for her and good old Lieutenant Denny to decide to make a go of married life. They got a place to live in London and Denny found a good enough job that they could live a decent life – not fancy, but decent. She and Denny got along great, but living on a budget took some getting used to. She was content with her life most of the time.
Kitty, on the other hand, took Darcy up on his offer. She went to the same London seminary that Caroline Bingley had gone to. Along with learning some social graces, Kitty got a chance to do what she does best – become somebody's BFF. Within a month, she and another girl at the school were inseparable. When the first school holiday came along, her friend invited Kitty home with her and introduced her to her drop-dead gorgeous, mega-rich, older brother. Mr. Dreamboat worked in his father's business, he was set to inherit the business when his father retired, he thought Kitty was fantastic, and best of all, he had no interest in ever moving to the country. A few months after finishing at the seminary, Kitty married Dreamboat and started living the glamorous London life she had always fantasized about.
Remember how I said that Lydia was "content with her life most of the time"? The time that she was least content was whenever she visited Kitty. After all those times in their childhood when Lydia had bested Kitty in getting all of the pretty things, there was no question who had the most pretty things now. Kitty never gloated because she didn't have to; her house, wardrobe, and carriage spoke for themselves. The hardest blow of all was the time that Kitty saw Lydia admiring a shawl she had and just gave it to her ("You should have that. I really think it will go even better with your coloring than with mine."). Lydia thought the shawl was beautiful, but knowing that Kitty could buy three more to take its place took all the fun out of taking something away from her sister. So visits to Kitty were not always comfortable, but family is family, and their children were all best friends. One thing they totally agreed on was how glad they both were that they weren't living on a farm any more. What were their older sisters thinking?
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet
The Bennets continued on at Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet's favorite hobby was going around to all her neighbors talking about how well her daughters had made out. Mr. Bennet's favorite hobby was showing up unexpectedly at Pemberley.
By the time Mr. Bennet died, none of the daughters were living in Hertfordshire any more. Mr. Collins was eager to take over Longbourn (along with his wife and three kids). Mrs. Bennet said she was perfectly ready to leave, and started sssllllllooowwwllly collecting her belongings, because, really, how fast can an old woman move, you know? The thing was, Charlotte couldn't move into the mistress's chambers until Mrs. Bennet's stuff was out. Next thing you know, the Collinses (along with some Lucases lending a hand) were doing all the work themselves, packing her things and transporting them to Netherfield, where Mrs. Bennet was waiting for them to show them where everything should be put down.
Mrs. Bennet happily lived out the rest of her days at Netherfield. Since she didn't have any more family left at home, and the servants obeyed her every whim, she was all out of reasons to have nervous attacks. She still had a reputation for setting the best table in town, so she could always get company for dinner. The food was good enough that it was worth sitting through an evening listening to her gush about how rich her daughters were. Her children and their families would visit her a couple of times a year, Lizzy and Jane would come in the winter (always together), and Kitty and Lydia would come in the summer (usually together).
When Georgiana came out, men were swarming all over her, of course. Not only was it tiring to deal with so many admirers, she also wondered how she could figure out which ones really liked her for herself and which ones liked her for 30,000 other reasons. You can guess where this is going, right?
Her brother suggested the same decoy ploy that he had used in the past to get the wrong women away from Bingley. Georgiana loved the idea and worked out an arrangement with a pretty friend of hers who was the daughter of a duke (Lady Marian already had an understanding with a one of her cousins, so she wasn't really on the dating market, but hardly anybody knew that).
Whenever a man started paying a lot of attention to Georgiana, Lady Marian would find an opportunity to start a conversation with him, do some eyelash fluttering, and be sure to mention her illustrious dad. If he took the bait and tried to make a play for her, he was disqualified for consideration by Georgiana.
The guy who finally won the prize was the one who not only resisted the temptation, but actually let go of Lady Marian's hand in mid-air and abandoned her on the dance floor when she referred to Georgiana as "mousy". They knew right then that he was a keeper. After they were engaged, Georgiana told her fiance all about the ploy. Once he knew that Lady Marian wasn't really a man-stealer, the two couples became good friends and godparents to each other's children.
Louisa and Caroline
So you remember, right, that Caroline had gone around telling everybody how much she disapproved of Jane Bennet?
So here's the stuff that happened in the next year and a half. Imagine what it did to Caroline's social standing:
1) Jane Bennet's sister married Fitzwilliam Darcy and got presented at court.
2) Jane was seen all over town hanging out with Georgiana Darcy during her debut season.
3) At every ball of the season, Jane was ALWAYS the third woman to dance with Darcy (his first dance was always with his wife, and the second dance was always with his sister).
If people had suspected before that Jane and Charles were the winners in the Bingley popularity contest, now they knew for sure. Social invitations for Caroline and Louisa completely evaporated. The only people who would have been willing to socialize with them in London were Charles and Jane (they're just not the type to hold a grudge, bless their hearts). But Louisa and Caroline were afraid to come around Charles because if they did they might accidentally run into Darcy, and they were sure that he would cut them.
At this point, Caroline's marriage prospects were looking so bad that it was time for desperate measures. She married a middle-aged widower who was friends with Hurst. He was so similar to Hurst in his looks, his personality, and his behavior that people sometimes thought they were brothers. He owned an estate near Hurst's estate. The income it brought in was only a little bit more than Longbourn.
After the season was over they moved back to their country estates and hardly ever came back to London again. They socialized with each other and with their country neighbors. Charles invited them to see him at his estate sometimes (during times when the Darcys would not be visiting), but they didn't visit him very often, since they both felt a little uncomfortable comparing their couch-potato spouses to the hottie that their brother had married.
That's it! Thanks for reading!
While I was writing Discovery, other ideas kept popping into my head for other P&P stories. I'll probably write a few. None of them will be as long as this one, but I hope they'll be enjoyable. See you around!