Chapter 3

As promised, Mr. Darcy arrived very early in search of Elizabeth. Fortunately for them, Mr. Collins had stayed up late writing an endless letter to Sir William, so he did not wake up to see Elizabeth traveling with Mr. Darcy.

"Dear Eliza, I hope you have a safe journey, and when you arrive in Longbourn, you will find your father much recovered." Charlotte hugged Elizabeth and thanked her for her visit.

"No, thank you for everything Charlotte," Elizabeth responded, downcast and unable to avoid shedding a few tears again.

Mr. Darcy was observing the scene from a distance, not wanting to interrupt the farewell of the two friends. He also worried about his betrothed; when he saw her in the morning, he realized that she probably had not slept much or eaten at all. That was why he decided to ensure she ate when they stopped to rest the horses.

Finally, Elizabeth got into the carriage, and Charlotte asked Mr. Darcy to take good care of her friend. "Thank you, Mr. Darcy, for supporting Elizabeth in this difficult moment."

"Don't worry, Mrs. Collins. I shall do my best to protect Miss Bennet and ensure her well-being and safety." He had assumed Mrs. Collins knew about their engagement because she was a close friend of Elizabeth.

Charlotte stood for a moment, looking at the carriage driving away her dear friend. Although she wished everything would turn out well for Elizabeth and her family. She knew that if Mr. Bennet died, Elizabeth would have to think well about what to do and probably forget her youthful dreams and take advantage of the opportunity that Mr. Darcy had offered her.


Charles Bingley was almost finishing his breakfast when Caroline appeared in the dining room. He was a bit surprised because his sister usually got up late, but he preferred not to say anything; what he least wanted was to start the day with a disagreement with her.

"Charles, why don't you invite Mr. and Miss Darcy to have dinner with us tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? I can't wait to see my dear friend Miss Darcy." Caroline did not care about Georgiana; she believed she was a bland girl who responded to everything with monosyllables. However, she was dying to see the exceedingly handsome and wealthy Mr. Darcy again.

"I'm sorry, Caroline, but Darcy is in Kent visiting his aunt Lady Catherine. And please don't tell me to invite him when he returns because I know he must travel to Pemberley and probably Scotland. So unfortunately, I won't see him for a few more months." After saying that, he hoped his sister would stop insisting on inviting Darcy. He had explained to Caroline on multiple occasions that his friend was not interested in her, but Caroline did not understand, and she kept pressing him over and over with the same matter.

Although Mr. Bingley, in a way, understood his sister because he was experiencing a similar situation. He knew that Jane Bennet did not feel anything profound for him. Still, in the same way, he could not stop loving her. Since he returned to London, he had tried to spend time visiting friends and socializing as his sisters and Darcy had advised him, but nothing had worked. On the contrary, he kept thinking of his angel day and night. On more than one occasion, he had thought of returning to Netherfield and forgetting everything, but he knew very well that Darcy was right. Marrying a woman who did not love him would have been a severe mistake.


Elizabeth looked at the road, unable to see anything; her head was spinning from confusion, and she just wanted to get to Longbourn as soon as possible, praying it wasn't too late. She needed to see her father, know how he was, and above all, hug and tell him that she loved him very much. Thus, she did not realize what was happening around her and its implications for her future. For example, at that precise moment, she was traveling alone in a carriage with a man she did not even consider a friend.

Mr. Darcy couldn't stop looking at Elizabeth; her vulnerable appearance made her look even more beautiful. He was also thinking about how his life would change and wondered why he had wasted so much time and doubted proposing to the only woman he had loved for so long. He was a wealthy man, much more prosperous than his father ever was, and he did not need more money. Furthermore, no one would dare to despise his wife; he was powerful enough that no one wanted him as an adversary.

He was unwilling to admit that he had always been afraid of feeling vulnerable; his childhood had been very lonely, his parents were honorable people who taught him sound principles, but they never had much time to spend with him. Everything was even worse when his mother died because his father turned to work, leaving him to the care of servants. His only company was his little sister, whom he loved more than anything in the world until Elizabeth appeared with her fine eyes and an enchanting smile. She was so full of life and joy that her smile and melodious voice captured his attention from the moment she saw her. That's why it hurt so much to see her gloomy.

"Miss Bennet, we will make a short stop at the Inn in a few more minutes so we can freshen up. After that, we will continue towards Longbourn; I will ask one of my servants to get us some food. We can eat here in the carriage, and I hope you can eat and hopefully sleep too. It would be best if you were rested to face everything that awaits you at home," Mr. Darcy said to Elizabeth in a compassionate voice.

Elizabeth was astonished by Mr. Darcy's attitude and even doubted that the kind and compassionate gentleman in front of her was the same Mr. Darcy she knew from Hertfordshire. She could not forget that he condemned a good man, like Mr. Wickham, to poverty out of jealousy and separated her sister from the man she loved. But none of that mattered at the moment; he was helping her through the most challenging moment of her life, and she felt tremendously grateful.

"Thank you very much, Mr. Darcy; I will try to eat something and sleep as I am exhausted."

After saying that, she fell silent, and Mr. Darcy kept looking at her thinking how happy he was to have her by his side. He wanted to protect and comfort her and, in doing that, demonstrate how important she was to him. So he continued the journey, making millions of plans for the beautiful future that awaited them together.


Jane had gone to accompany her mother for a moment. Mrs. Bennet was still in her bed crying and complaining, especially about Elizabeth, who had not wanted to marry Mr. Collins, and because of her, they would all live on the street if Mr. Bennet died. Jane listened to her silently but believed her mother did not help with her constant wailing. The burden of the house and of caring for Mr. Bennet had fallen almost exclusively on Mary and Jane, and both were tired, so their mother's complaints only made everything even harder. Even Kitty and Lydia tried to help, which made Mrs. Bennet look like the most immature person in the family.

But Jane, a very understanding person, knew that her mother's nerves had a certain validity, so she did not judge her so harshly. When her mother fell asleep, Jane sat next to the window and began to think about him. She felt that everything would have been easier if Mr. Bingley had been there, supporting her.

Since he abandoned her, Jane had been plunged into deep sadness. When she traveled to London, she still hoped to see him again, to dream that perhaps he loved her as much as she loved him. But the reality had been harsher than she thought; Caroline and Mrs. Hurst had made it clear that neither they nor their brother was interested in her.

Jane didn't blame Mr. Bingley because she knew she had nothing to offer him besides her love. A rich and handsome man like him had the right to aspire to marry someone better. But, given her family situation, she realized she could no longer waste time with dreams that would never come true. Now, her priority was to protect her family, and that she would do; it was her duty as the oldest sister.

"Jane, dear," Mrs. Gardiner quietly said so as not to wake Mrs. Bennet. "Dr. Miller wants to talk to your sisters; in an hour, we shall leave for London, and he wants to explain what you need to do to care for your father and answer all your questions."

"Thanks for letting me know, aunt. Let me cover my mother with a blanket, and I'll go to the drawing room."

"We will be waiting for you, my dear." Mrs. Gardiner was very distressed to see Jane pale and trying to deal with the family situation while her sister-in-law lay in bed.

Jane joined the rest of the family, and Dr. Miller explained how they should care for the patient and promised to return in a few more days to see how things were progressing. Jane and all her sisters, including Kitty and Lydia, thanked the doctor for his assistance and promised they would follow each of his recommendations.

The carriage was ready, waiting for the Gardiners and Dr. Miller to leave for London, when Elizabeth arrived at Longbourn with Mr. Darcy. No one noticed until Elizabeth appeared in the room and ran to hug Jane and the rest of her sisters. Mr. Darcy stood at the entrance without saying anything and with the solemnity that characterized him. Once the hugs and greetings were over, Elizabeth realized that she needed to introduce Mr. Darcy to her Aunt and Uncle, and wiping away her tears, she said, "Well, Mr. Darcy, you already know my sisters, let me introduce my uncle Mr. Gardiner and my aunt Mrs. Gardiner."

All the Bennet sisters greeted him very reservedly, seeing him as grave as ever, and he just replied, "Miss Benet, Miss Mary, Miss Catherine, Miss Lydia, Mr., and Mrs. Gardiner." Then, he bowed, showing the minimum of courtesy and nothing more.

Seeing the questioning faces of everyone present, Elizabeth tried to ease the uncomfortable situation a bit by explaining the gentleman's presence. Still, he spoke before she could do it.

"Mr. Gardiner, I hope you understand that due to the emergency, I had no other option but to accompany my betrothed without being able to make other arrangements. However, I imagine that you are the guardian of Miss Elizabeth while her father is incapacitated, so I ask that you grant me an interview as soon as possible."

When he finished speaking, everyone present was stunned, but none more than Elizabeth.


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