Chapter 30: Spring 1817

Kitty opened the door to the Rosings' nursery softly. Cathy, her soft hair the same flaming red as Lord Farley's had been, was playing with her favorite doll by the large window overlooking the garden. James Fitzwilliam, Kitty's month-old son was sleeping soundly in his cradle.

How she loved them. It had not been easy, becoming Cathy's mother the moment she was married, and bearing a son of her own when the little girl was only a little over a year old. But looking back on the last year she knew that she would not change a minute of it for all the world.

She felt Richard's arms around her before she saw him.

"You are back early," she whispered, after returning the kiss he placed on the side of her mouth.

"I couldn't stay away from this," he said, gesturing to the babies and smiling lovingly at her.

They sat down together, and Cathy came over and climbed up onto Richard's lap. Kitty had at one time feared that Cathy would not be as dear to Richard and herself as their own children and always took special care to shower affection on the little girl. But she need not have feared. Richard adored Cathy and she adored him. He would jokingly tell Kitty that he would always be forever indebted to Cathy for making her marry him, for she surely would have hesitated longer if she didn't fear for Cathy being brought up by a single man.

James began to fuss and Kitty got up and brought him over to the sofa. The baby quieted when he found himself nestled in his mother's arms. Cathy snuggled down into her father's lap, Kitty leaned her head on Richard's shoulder.

No matter what life presented, they could conquer it, as a family.

"Will you accompany me on a walk Elizabeth?" Darcy asked as he came upon his wife in one of Pemberley's halls.

"Certainly," she replied willingly. "I am surprised however. Usually that request comes from me."

He smiled but said nothing as he offered her his arm.

The path they took was a roundabout one, which Elizabeth knew eventually circled round and came out behind the house near the stables. The pale green leaves overhead fluttered gently in the March breeze.

"Do you know what today is, Elizabeth?"

"Are you inquiring as to the date or the significance of the date?"

"The significance of the date."

She frowned thoughtfully. "Our anniversary was over two weeks ago. I cannot think of another event of importance."

"It was not of quite such significance as our wedding I will concede. But it is none the less dear to me. Today is the day that, three years ago you saw Pemberley for the first time as Mrs. Darcy."

"And they have been the happiest three years a woman could ask for," she said earnestly, tightening her hold on his arm.

He paused and, looking into her eyes, pulled her close to him and kissed her gently, whispering, "I love you," and hearing her whisper it back.

When they resumed walking again he said, "I was reminded of a promise to teach you how to ride, which I made when you first came. I believe I have yet to make good on that promise."

"If you tried to make excuses for yourself I am sure I would find them reasonable. The little time between my pregnancies and caring for newborns has been taken up with caring for wounded soldiers, attending young ladies at their coming outs in Town, and fighting floods and snow in June."

"Well I do not intend to make any of the excuses you have just mentioned, but rather to make good on my promise now." They rounded a curve in the path as he continued, "And for that purpose I have secured a pony for you to ride until you are more comfortable on a large horse."

Elizabeth had already seen the dappled grey pony being led from the stables and she dropped his arm with a cry of delight as she hurried forwards to stroke the pony's sleek nose.

"Does she have a name?" she asked him when he came up with her a moment later.

"Not yet."

Someone had braided little blue flowers into the pony's thick mane and they caught Elizabeth's eye. "Periwinkle," she said. She turned to stroke the animal's neck. "You shall be called Periwinkle."

Darcy bit back a smile. The name suited the round pony so perfectly and he did not want her to think he ridiculed her choice.

The next half hour was spent in learning how to hold the reins, how to direct the pony and how to ride with a side saddle. Elizabeth had ridden her father's plow horses as a little girl, but only Jane had been taught to ride a saddle horse.

When Darcy was quite sure she knew how to manage, Ulysses was brought out and a horse was chosen for Georgiana, who had arrived in the meantime. Georgiana was a fine horsewoman, but she had no horse of her own yet, having been so little at Pemberley before her brother's marriage. Darcy assured her she should have one of the new horses he was planning to purchase in the summer for her very own.

The workers in the field called greetings and the birds sang their songs with extra joy, or so it seemed to those who heard them. It would not be the best year for farming, but Darcy was determined it would be a good one.

They did not ride far that day, Elizabeth being still unused to the exercise, but it was the first of many rides that spring for Elizabeth came to enjoy accompanying Darcy on his morning survey of the estate.

There were days when shadows threatened the peace and happiness of the Darcy family, there were days when tears would fall. But in all the years that passed by over Pemberley house, there was no day when true love did not abide.

The End

Thank you all a million times for your overwhelming support of Life At Pemberley. This is the first complete story I have ever written and your sweet reviews were what gave me the courage and perseverance to follow through with it. Love you all! -RegencyGirl17