Chapter 1

Finally, all the members of the Bennet family had gotten up and were ready to have breakfast. "In the note Jane sent me yesterday, she told me she wasn't feeling well. But, father, you know that if Jane admits she isn't feeling well, it is because she must be feeling horrible." Elizabeth was genuinely worried about her sister. From what little she knew, Jane was out walking around Netherfield when it started raining, and she got wet and caught a cold.

Elizabeth did not know that Jane had gone out for a walk with her sisters-in-law and when it started to rain, they had all run for shelter and Jane fell, but neither of them helped her, and she had to wait in the rain until a servant came to help her. But, as always, Jane preferred to hide this little incident from her family and husband to avoid family conflicts.

"Lizzie, now Jane is a wealthy married woman with a husband who treats her like a true queen. Besides, she has two sisters who can take care of her. They live in Jane's house, and somehow they have to show appreciation for her hospitality and treat her as she deserves when she needs their help," said Mrs. Bennet dismissively as if she owned Netherfield.

Elizabeth preferred not to say anything because trying to reason with her mother had always been an almost impossible task. Jane had been married to Mr. Bingley for a little over two months, and she could see how Louisa and especially Caroline did everything they could to make her feel that she was not good enough for their brother. The only thing that comforted her was seeing how much Charles loved Jane and how much she loved him. But she wasn't sure if that love that seemed so sincere and deep would be enough to withstand her sisters-in-law's continued scorn.

"Lizzy, you don't have to be so bitter and always worrying about everything. If you continue being like this, you'll be a spinster," Lydia said with a mocking laugh. "For my part, I'm sure I'll marry an officer, but I still don't know which one yet."

Kitty only smiled because she didn't feel like supporting Lydia in such a hurtful joke. But Mary couldn't keep quiet and interjected, "Lydia, marriage is a serious matter and not something to be taken lightly. If you don't behave like a decent lady, only ruffians will want to marry you."

"Mary, how can you say that to your sister? Please don't listen to your foolish sister, my girl. With your beauty and charm, you will marry a richer man than Mr. Bingley," added Mrs. Bennet, smiling at her spoiled daughter.

"Father, please let me use the carriage to call on Jane and make sure she is alright," Elizabeth pleaded.

Mr. Bennet was reading the newspaper while he drank his coffee, and from time to time, he laughed at the stupidities his daughters said, but especially at his wife, who was the one who spoke the most nonsense of the whole lot of women with whom he lived. "You heard your mother, Lizzy. Jane is a married woman, and she has a husband to take care of her."

"Besides, I'll be using the carriage because I need to go to Meryton. I have to buy some things and talk to my sister," Mrs. Bennet said.

"You have to spend money on things you do not need and gossip with your sister," Mr. Bennet corrected, but his wife didn't hear him.

"Mama, Kitty, and I can accompany you so we can talk to some of the officers," Lydia said excitedly.

"Of course, my dear, we'll be off for Meryton in an hour. I hope there is no problem with the roads after so much rain."

Elizabeth understood that she would achieve nothing by arguing with her parents, who were always more concerned with themselves than anyone else. "Well, I'll walk then. If you'll excuse me, I'll go change clothes," Elizabeth said and left the room.

Mrs. Bennet immediately started criticizing Elizabeth for acting like a wild peasant, asking her husband not to allow her to go to Netherfield. But he ignored her and continued reading the newspaper while drinking coffee.


The day before in Netherfield…

"Louisa, I can't stand that vulgar woman in this house anymore. What was Charles thinking when he decided to marry that insignificant chit," Caroline said as she paced desperately from one side to the other in her room. "You don't know how grateful I have been for these rainy days that have prevented her from coming to give orders as if this were her house."

"Caroline, at least Jane is a decent, well-bred girl. Imagine if she had been like her mother," Louisa said in horror.

"Or her younger sister," Caroline complemented in the same tone.

The sisters had locked themselves in Caroline's room to complain and lament about everything they were experiencing due to their brother's recent marriage. They had done everything possible to keep him away from Jane Bennet, but he had not given in to their demands and desperate pleas.

"I'm sure if Mr. Darcy had been here with us, none of this would have happened," Caroline lamented.

"I agree with you, sister. But, unfortunately, because of that unfortunate accident, he couldn't come, and we are involved in this real tragedy." Louisa and Caroline had always dreamed that their brother would marry a wealthy heiress like Georgiana Darcy. A union like that would have helped them to consolidate their social position. But that was in the past, and they had to plan their lives under this new reality.

"I'm worried about Eliza," Caroline said.

"Why? She's the only slightly more decent of that horrible family," Louisa replied.

"Because she's the kind of woman who likes to read and pretend she is so smart, you know, the typical spinster no one wanted to marry. So she can advise Jane to do or say things that don't suit us," Caroline explained.

"You're right. She's not meek like Jane. I hadn't thought of that. Well, I guess we'll have to find a way to keep her away from her sister."

"Exactly," Caroline said. The Bingley sisters were financially dependent on their brother and had always managed to get everything they wanted from him. But, now that he was a married man, they didn't want to lose that control, much less direct access to his wallet.

Caroline and Louisa continued talking behind closed doors without realizing that Jane was suffering from a severe cold and was accompanied by only a servant since Mr. Bingley had had to go out to inspect the effects of the rain on the estate.


"I'm so sorry to leave you alone, my dear, but you know I promised to help Bingley many months ago, but because of the accident, I couldn't do it," Mr. Darcy explained to his sister.

"Don't worry, William. I'll be well. Mrs. Annesley is an excellent company. Besides, I think you should start living your normal life again. You haven't seen your friend in a long time, dear brother, and you couldn't even attend his wedding. So please go and promise me you won't worry about me." Georgiana still felt guilty about what she had done to her brother, even though he told her many times that she shouldn't feel that way.

"Alright, but remember, I'm only going for four weeks, and if I can excuse myself, I'll be back sooner." He really liked his friend Bingley and missed him, but he didn't like having to spend so much time with his friend's sisters, especially Caroline.

After bidding farewell to his sister and asking her companion to inform him of anything they might need, Mr. Darcy set off for Hertfordshire.

On the way there, he couldn't help but think about everything that worried him. The night before, he had had the same dream again, a woman with a melodious voice sang for him, and then they kissed passionately. He tried to look at her face, but he couldn't see it as much as he tried. In the dream, he wanted more than anything to see her face feeling that his happiness depended on that simple action.

But also, he was concerned because he did not know what kind of woman his friend had married. He was an impulsive person who fell in and out of love quickly. However, from what he had told him in his letter, it seemed that the new Mrs. Bingley was a beautiful woman with a good heart. He really prayed that she was like that because she was poor and without connections, so it would be a disaster for Bingley if she was nothing more than a fortune hunter.

The trip was prolonged due to the last few day's rains, which left the roads in terrible condition. When he finally arrived at Netherfield, it was pretty late, and they had all retired to their rooms because the day was freezing. His friend Bingley received him warmly and explained that his wife had a severe cold, and the apothecary recommended she should stay in bed for a few days.

Mr. Darcy spoke briefly to his friend because he was exhausted. Then, he ate in his room and went immediately to sleep because he wanted to be ready the next day to do what he had come to do.


Elizabeth had always liked to walk, but she liked it even more when feeling sad. The exercise always helped her see things from another perspective and maintain her positive attitude, although lately, she was finding it more and more difficult.

In the last year, so many things happened to her. But, unfortunately, those events had managed to overshadow her always cheerful spirit. First, her mother had practically forced her to leave her home after she rejected Mr. Collins, and he married her good friend Charlotte Lucas.

But in a way, she owed that sad incident the opportunity to meet the only man she had ever loved and would love for the rest of her life, her beloved William. He was not only handsome, intelligent, and kind, but he was also hard-working and honorable. Unfortunately, she hadn't heard from him in over six months, and she cried every night, praying that wherever he was, he was well.

The last information she had about him was that he would do some business in the north, and she knew how dangerous the routes could be for a man who did not have the means to pay for protection and had to travel with goods and money.

But also, she was not that naive. She had often reflected and was aware that there were only two possibilities for his mysterious disappearance, and both of them broke her heart. The first was that he had a fatal accident and could not return as promised. The second was that he only played with her feelings and love, which was why he never returned.

Every day she waited for Uncle Archibald's letter in which she would confirm one of her two suspicions, but she was still waiting. For that reason, she lived in permanent anguish, with her heart broken but full of hope at the same time.

Elizabeth wiped away the tears when she saw Netherfield in front of her. "My dear Jane, at least I know you are happy." And she kept walking, thinking about anything but her problems.


Mr. Darcy got up early and went for a ride. A few weeks ago, the doctor had allowed him to ride again. The blow in his head had been severe enough to lose all memory of the last year of his life. Although he dreamed of that female voice and a small house with yellow walls every night, he couldn't understand if they were experiences of those twelve months that he didn't remember or just part of his imagination.

His cousin and his sister told him that his life during that time had been as usual, and they didn't remember anything in particular, which confused him even more.

The ride helped clear his mind. The only people who knew about his memory loss were Richard and Dr. Davis. Richard had told him the most important things that happened in their family and the world, and he had managed to catch up on many things related to Pemberley and his business.

When he returned from the ride, he couldn't have breakfast alone with his friend as he wanted because Caroline woke up early to accompany them. So, he could not talk privately with Mr. Bingley and ask more personal questions about his recent life.

After breakfast, they went to the drawing room to continue conversing. Louisa and Caroline joined them so they could question Mr. Darcy and learn more about the accident that had kept him out of society for a while.

"You don't know how happy I am to see you so well, Mr. Darcy," Caroline said coquettishly. She was happy to see that the man of her dreams was still just as handsome and distinguished, although a little thinner and somewhat gaunt. But nothing that time could not fix. Before that, she worried that perhaps the accident had disfigured his future husband's appearance. She still would have married him, but she would not have enjoyed her married life as much as she had always dreamed.

"Thank you, Miss Bingley," replied Mr. Darcy. He had been in Caroline's company for an hour and already wanted to get out of there.

"Jane is really looking forward to meeting you, Darcy. I've told her a lot about you, but she had a bad night. I've already sent an express to my doctor in London and asked him to come to see her," Mr. Bingley said worriedly.

"Charles, please, do not be so dramatic. Your wife just has a cold!" Caroline said, but her brother ignored her.

Mr. Darcy asked Mr. Binglye to give his best wishes to Mrs. Bingley and not to worry about him. "Your wife's family lives near here, right?"

Mr. Darcy asked. He noted the looks Louisa and Caroline exchanged and could appreciate that they did not like their sister's in-law family.

Elizabeth arrived at Netherfield, warmly greeted the butler, and told him not to worry because she would talk to Mr. Bingley. When he explained that he had a guest, she thought it was probably a neighbor and was not concerned about her appearance. Before entering the house, she had wiped the mud off her shoes and petticoat as best she could.

Once Elizabeth entered the room, she affectionately greeted her brother-in-law. "Good morning, Charles. I heard Jane was sick and I wanted to come to see her. I hope I'm not disturbing you and your family."

Charles was delighted that Elizabeth was there because that would make Jane very happy. "Of course not, my dear Lizzy. You are always welcome in this house."

Caroline and Loisa looked at each other in horror and couldn't help asking in unison. "Eliza, did you walk here? It's almost three miles."

Elizabeth blushed a little and answered as casually as she could, "I like walking."

Mr. Darcy was genuinely petrified, and he wondered who this woman was and why she looked familiar if he was absolutely sure he had never seen her before.

Caroline noticed how Mr. Darcy looked at Eliza and was pleased because she thought she saw censure in his eyes. She needed him as an ally for what she was planning, and it seemed she would have his support.

"Lizzy, let me introduce you to my friend. I have told you about him on more than one occasion. Darcy, this is my sister-in-law Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzy, this is my dear friend Fitzwilliam Darcy."

Elizabeth looked at the man in front of her and couldn't help but say, almost without voice, "William?"


Thank you so much to everyone who followed the story enthusiastically and always left supportive comments.

As I am almost done with Hidden Feelings, I have decided to start editing this story that many read in its first publication and without editing. Since I went on vacation, I didn't have time to write an epilogue. So this new edition will include some extra scenes and dialogue, plus an epilogue.

To all who decide to read or reread this second edited edition, I thank you very much and let you know that I will publish a new chapter every other day or so.