Edith Adams was the daughter of two humble, hard-working people. Her mother was a cook at a small-town inn, and her father worked in Mr. Robinson's blacksmith shop. They only had one daughter and gave her the best they could. Little Edith was always the prettiest and most elegant girl in her poor village, and when she grew up and became a beautiful young lady, women envied her, and men admired her.
But Edith thought she was born to be a great lady and did not want to have a life like her mother's because she had to work all her life serving others. She always dreamed of living in a big house with many servants and being surrounded by luxuries. She envied all those society women who, without making any effort, had everything she had always desired.
Fortunately, her luck began to change when she turned twenty-one and met Henry Wickham. Although he was twelve years her senior and not very handsome, Edith liked him. He was devoted to his profession and had been very successful thanks to his ethic and effort since he was an adolescent. Moreover, Edith saw in Henry the possibility of escaping poverty and ascending socially. For that reason, she happily accepted him when he proposed.
Within a few months of their marriage, Henry received two pieces of news that would mark the fate of his life and that of his wife. The first news was that he would be a father in a few months, and the second was that he would be the new steward of one of England's most prosperous estates.
When Edith saw Pemberley for the first time, she was impressed with the beautiful gardens and the majesty of the imponent mansion surrounded by a lake. Everything there was elegant, beautiful, and probably very expensive. But neither the estate nor its elegant furnishings impressed Edith as much as his owner. She had never seen such a handsome and sophisticated man, and she fell madly in love with him at first sight. And as expected, in the same way, that she loved George Darcy, Edith hated Lady Anne, a rather plain woman with practically no personality. Plus, that damn woman had everything she wanted, and she could never have. While she lived in the mansion, she had to live in what she considered a modest house with only a few servants.
George Darcy and his wife Anne had been married for five years when the Wickhams came to live in Pemberley. George quickly established a friendship with Henry that would last for many years. He appreciated and valued Henry's diligent work and knew he could trust him blindly when he and his wife were in the London mansion.
Although their families arranged the marriage between George and Anne, they fell in love and were happy together. But unfortunately, that happiness was overshadowed by the absence of children. Lady Anne had had more than one pregnancy, but they ended in miscarriages that left her physically and emotionally drained. George was so afraid of losing his wife that he physically separated from her to prevent pregnancies. And, of course, Lady Anne thought that her husband no longer loved her precisely because of her inability to provide the desired heir to the estate and the family fortune.
When Edith's son was born, she named him George after her godfather and ensured that Mr. Darcy spent much time with his son George. She knew that Lady Anne was such an insignificant woman that she could never give a child to a man as wonderful as Mr. Darcy.
For nearly two years, little George Wickham was the only child who walked around Pemberley holding hands with his godfather. Without noticing, George Darcy had poured all his fatherly love into him.
Lady Anne also loved little George, but she distrusted his mother. She always noticed how that woman looked at her husband and the cruel comments she made about her to make her feel bad because she had not been able to conceive. Although Lady Anne was a sweet and intelligent woman, she was pretty shy and preferred not to cause conflict, so she ignored Edith. They also rarely saw each other because they did not belong to the same social circle.
Edith dreamed that her husband and Lady Anne would die so that she and George Darcy could marry, and her son would become the heir to the entire family fortune. Therefore, she decided not to have any more children and to concentrate all her efforts on little George. She thought he was destined to be respected and influential in society.
But all her dreams vanished because Fitzwilliam Darcy came into the world just a week before George Wickham turned two years old. So George Darcy finally had his long-desired heir.
The years passed, and the resentment towards Anne Darcy and her son Fitzwilliam grew more and more in Edith. What hurt her most was to see that the new Pemberley heir looked pretty much like his father. She had even noticed, like his father, the Pemberley heir had the same crescent-shaped mole on his neck behind his left ear.
Little Fitzwilliam was the most important person to his parents, who loved him deeply. The birth of that child had brought the couple back together, and Pemberley became a happy home. But the boy was loved not only by his parents but also by all the servants, especially the new housekeeper. Mrs. Reynolds had never known such a well-behaved and kind child.
But Mr. Darcy's godson produced opposite feelings because he was a naughty boy who never obeyed orders and behaved as if Pemberley belonged to him. From a very young age, Edith had encouraged her son to feel superior and made him believe that with the help of his godfather, one day, he would be a rich and powerful man. But Edith also fomented hatred for little Fitzwilliam in her son, making him believe that he was born to deprive him of everything that was meant to be his.
But Edith's rage and jealousy turned to irrational hatred when George and Anne Darcy threw a beautiful party for the fifth birthday of their beloved son and heir. The most important families of Derbyshire, including the Earl and Countess of Matlock and her two children, attended the party. Seeing little Fitzwilliam admired by all and destined to have a life of luxury while her son was nothing more than the son of a servant infuriated Edith. That sentiment clouded her reasoning to such a degree that she began to think of a dreadful plan.
Two weeks after that day, Edith found the perfect opportunity to get rid of that damned boy once and for all. It was a hot summer afternoon, and little Fitzwilliam had gone to the river with his nursemaid and a footman to cool off. Edith, feigning a casual encounter, began to talk with the woman in charge of the child while her son George played with the Darcy heir.
In a moment that the servants got distracted, she approached Fitzwilliam and pushed him into the river. Before falling into the river, the boy grabbed his dress, causing both of them to fall. Edith immediately started screaming for help, and both the nursemaid and the footman tried unsuccessfully to rescue them. Unfortunately, the river carried much more water than usual due to excessive rains in the last few days, and the current was too strong, causing both of them to disappear in a few minutes.
Edith's body was found three days later, nearly ten kilometers from where the accident had occurred. Everyone thought that she had given her life trying to save little Fitzwilliam, and for that reason, George Darcy promised Henry Wickham that he would always protect his godson in honor of his late mother.
George and Anne Darcy plunged into deep sadness and, for a long time, hoped to find their son's lifeless body so they could give him a Christian burial. But his body was never found, and Pemberley was overcome with sadness and bitterness. Later, when little Georgiana was born, her parents regained some joy, but Lady Anne's early departure overshadowed their temporary happiness.
George Darcy dedicated the rest of his life to working, making his estate productive, and caring for and protecting his young daughter. She was the only thing he had, and he would never allow her to have the same fate as his firstborn.
"Aunt Violet, I will miss you so much. I don't like that you live so far away from all of us," Madeline Watson told her favorite aunt.
"One day, you will marry my dear child, and you too will have to follow your husband wherever he goes," Violet Dalton replied.
"I shall never get married, aunt," Madeline replied. She was fourteen and wasn't interested in boys yet and preferred to spend the day reading and helping her father in their bookstore.
Violet smiled because she used to say the same when she was that age. "If you don't follow your husband, you will have to follow your father then."
"I don't want my father to sell the bookstore, aunt. I want to live here forever; this is my land." Madeline had heard her parents talk about moving to London.
"My dear Maddie, Your father is smart, and your brother has many innovative ideas. Lambton is a small town, and it is challenging to progress in a place like this. You are already fourteen, and you should support your parents in everything, but especially your brother Peter."
"I know, aunt. You are so wise in everything. Thanks for listening, and I promise to write to you every month," Madeline concluded and hugged Violet.
"And I will answer without fail," Violet replied, kissing her beloved niece on the cheek.
The Watsons were from Lambton in Derbyshire. For years had owned a bookshop and teahouse there. But Peter Watson realized the only way to fulfill his dreams was to move to London. He and his father had saved money for years and had the capital to start new adventures in a place where they could become rich if they worked hard.
Violet was the younger sister of Isaac Watson, and when she married Aaron Dalton, she moved to Manchester, where her husband was the owner of a fabric store. The Daltons were a well-matched couple who loved each other deeply, but in almost ten years of marriage, they had never been able to have children. They had assumed that their family would be only two people, and since they had a niece and a nephew, they had turned all their paternal love toward them.
Violet knew that this was her niece's last birthday celebrated in Lambton because, before the end of the summer, the Watsons would be leaving Derbyshire for good. That's why she and her husband, who loved the beautiful and intelligent Maddie very much, wanted to be with her and give her lots of presents.
Unfortunately, the trip back to Manchester was difficult because there was a big storm and torrential rain for many days. For that reason, they had to seek refuge in an inn halfway and spend several days there. As expected, many roads were impassable, and the Daltons' carriage had problems with one of its wheels. So they had to extend their stay in that small town a half day from Manchester.
While Mr. Dalton was talking to the blacksmith repairing the wheel axle, Mrs. Dalton went for a walk to have some fresh air after two days locked in a room. The inn was small, and there was practically nothing to do there. After walking for almost ten minutes, she arrived at a lovely place where she could see the fields and a river. She also noticed that the flooding of the main river carried a lot of water and all kinds of waste.
When she was ready to return to the inn, she heard the crying of what seemed to be a child and became concerned. Then, she approached the river bank and saw a little boy with ragged clothes clinging tightly to a tree branch.
"My God, poor boy, what happened to you?" Violet asked, concerned. But the boy didn't reply. Instead, he just looked at her with eyes full of tears. Undoubtedly, he was terrified and on the verge of emotional collapse.
"Don't worry, my beautiful boy. Please don't be afraid because I only want to help you," Violet said, stroking the poor child's cheek.
Once she had gotten the little boy to trust her, she took off his worn clothes and wrapped him in her shawl. She noticed the boy was wearing a chain with the letter F, so she took it off but kept it because she thought it might give a clue to who he was. Though from how torn his clothes were, she assumed he was the son of peasants.
The boy had no shoes, so Violet carried him much of the way, and it took them over an hour to get to the inn. Once there, she told her husband what had happened, and they immediately tried to contact the town magistrate to find out who the child was. In addition, they bought him clothes and fed him hoping to hear from his parents. But no one seemed to know him or know where he lived. Also, the little boy did not say a single word in the almost three days he spent with the Daltons. That made it even more difficult to locate his family.
After Edith tossed little Fitzwilliam into the water, he managed to cling to a tree branch and was swept nearly fifteen miles northwest by the river. Until he finally washed up on the bank of one of the many branches of the main river. Little Fitzwilliam spent the whole night there, and thanks to the high temperatures, he survived until Violet rescued him.
"The carriage is ready, Violet. We're leaving first thing in the morning," Aaron told his wife as she tucked the boy into the couch where she'd made him a temporary bed.
"Aaron…I," Violet tried to say.
"My dear, I know what you're thinking, and I don't..."
"Aaron, we can't leave this poor child here. You don't realize that if his family doesn't look for him or if they died in the river, he is doomed to be just another orphan. I don't even want to think about what could happen to him…." Violet said, unable to hold back her tears.
Like his wife, Aaron had grown attached to the little boy, and it made him very sad because he was apparently mute. So hugging his wife, he told her. "Alright, dear, tell me what you want to do."
"I want to take him with us. We shall leave our address with the innkeeper; if someone asks for the child, they will know how to locate us. Also, we will contact the magistrate and your solicitor when we get to Manchester and request their help us to find his family."
"And what if he doesn't have a family? Aaron asked, almost knowing the answer his wife would give him.
"If he doesn't have a family, I want us to be his family," Violet replied, and she hugged her husband and couldn't stop crying.
The next day the little river boy left with the Daltons for Manchester. As they had planned, they talked to the magistrate. Still, he hardly took them into account because he thought it was just another child abandoned by his parents like there were so many on the streets of Manchester. He had more important matters to worry about and take care of.
For his part, the Daltons' solicitor placed a notice in the local newspaper saying a family found a child without specifying how or where. But, as expected, no one ever responded.
The Daltons called the boy "River" as they waited to hear from his family, but each day they grew fonder of the little boy. They asked their doctor to examine him to see if everything was well, and he concluded that the boy must be in some emotional shock, and that's why he wasn't talking.
And the doctor was right because little Fitzwilliam Darcy had spent a whole night alone in the woods crying and had blocked out all memory of his previous life. Consequently, each day he also became more attached to the Daltons, who treated him with much love.
"My dear, it's been almost four months since River has been with us, and we haven't heard from his family."
"I know that should make me sad, my dear husband. But I can't help but feel happy knowing that no one will be able to take it away from me."
Just then, the boy entered the room and took Violet's hand. "I am itlliam. Are you my mama?"
Violet looked at her husband and then kissed the child on the forehead. "Is your name William?"
The little boy thought for a moment and answered, "Yes."
"I am Aaron Dalton, and this is my wife, Violet, my dear William."
"If you want, I can be your mama, and my husband can be your papa," Violet said excitedly.
"Yes, I want you to be my mama and papa," replied little William, letting his parents hug him.
After almost a year, the Daltons formally adopted little William, and there was not a day in their life that they regretted doing so because he was the best son.
More than twenty years later...
Aaron Dalton knew he had only a few hours to live and wished he could say goodbye to the two people he loved most: his beloved wife, Violet, and his son William. He had spent the last twenty-two years of his life with them in a home full of love and joy.
"My dear, please don't cry. You and I knew for a long time that this moment would come sooner or later."
"Aaron, darling, don't try so hard and rest," Violet said, trying very hard not to cry.
"The boy, has he arrived yet?" Aaron asked his wife.
"Yes, my dear. He is talking to the doctor."
"You can tell him to come. I need to talk to him. Can you give us some time alone, please, dear?"
"Of course," Violet said. She kissed her husband's cheek and went in search of her son.
As soon as William saw his mother's face, he knew his father didn't have much time left. "Mama, how is my father?"
"He wants to talk to you, William. Please go with him," Violet said, stroking her son's cheek.
William immediately entered the room, but when he saw Aaron so consumed and almost without strength, he couldn't help but kneel next to him and cry uncontrollably.
"Son, you must be strong because you must take good care of your mother."
"Father, please don't talk like that. You will recover, and you will be with us..."
"William, my dear son… You came into my life when I was forty, and I thought I would never know what it was like to be a father… and…" Aaron couldn't continue speaking because he began to cough.
"Father, please, you need to rest," William said as he kissed Aaron's hand.
"Very soon, I will rest, son; please let me tell you everything I need. First, William, I want to thank you for making your mother and me the proudest parents in England. Whenever you won an award at school or graduated with honors from Oxford, we were happy that you allowed us to be your parents. Son, I want you to fulfill all our dreams and start a business in London just as we had planned. Everything that was mine is now yours and your mother's, and I know that you will achieve everything I never could because you are the best man I have ever known… I love you, son of my heart…."
"No, father, please don't leave us," William yelled desperately.
The doctor asked him to leave the room, and fifteen minutes later, he broke the news that Aaron Dalton had died. Mother and son cried in each other's arms for almost an hour without saying anything until William knew that he should be in charge of arranging everything for the funeral.
"Mother, I'll have to leave you alone for a few hours to take care of my father. But before I go, I want you to know that I love you very much and that now that my father is not here, I will take care of you."
"I know, my sweet boy. So don't worry and do what you have to do."
Violet had notified the family of her husband's condition, and Peter, Madeline, and her husband immediately headed north. Unfortunately, they only arrived the day after Aaron's death, but at least they managed to accompany the family. Aaron had no close relatives because his only sister had died several years ago unmarried and childless. Hence, the Watsons and the Gardiners and family friends attended the funeral.
After the funeral, William locked himself in what until recently had been his father's study. The death of the man he admired so much had brought back memories of that river where his mother had found him so many years ago. He couldn't tell if they were real memories or just a child's fantasies. "I must forget all this because I have too many important things to do now."
Violet asked her niece's husband to talk to William. He had been studying in the study for many days and almost without eating. Edward was a man of generous character and very intelligent, and she knew that her son admired him very much.
"William, do you have a moment?"
"Of course, Uncle Gardiner. In fact, I wanted to talk to you because I will need your help."
"Of course, tell me how I can be of use." Edward Gardiner also liked William very much. He knew that the Daltons had adopted him, and the boy had been an excellent son. Although because of his reserved nature, many thought he was cold and not very affectionate, those who knew him well comprehended how much he loved and respected his parents.
"I want to fulfill my father's dream, so I have to move to London. But unfortunately, I know very little about the business world of that city, and I want to know if I can count on your help."
"Are you sure? The Dalton business is very prosperous in Manchester…."
"And it will be in London. Dalton Import and Export will become the most successful company in London even if I have to work day and night for the rest of my life," replied William flatly.
"If you are determined, you can count on my help," said Mr. Gardiner, leaving the boy alone because he seemed to have no desire to speak further.
William stayed in that study until night, crying about the loss of his father. Also, he was desperately trying to get out of his head all those memories that appeared between dreams. He did not know what was happening and why he could see people and places that he never saw before. He was afraid and just wanted to forget and do what he had promised his father. "I am a Dalton and always will be."
My dear FF fans and followers,
First, I want to thank all of you for supporting my daughter. Unfortunately, she is a full-time student, and her time for editing is very limited, so her mom has had to help her. Currently, we are editing Compromised, and after that, we will be working on The Aunt. She projects that after publishing four stories, she will have the money for her summer studies abroad.
I also have a full-time job, and I am using my free time to help her, and that has not allowed me to continue writing the two stories that I have pending and which I intend to resume and finish when I have a little more free time.
You have been so generous to me since I started writing on this site. Although I am not an author, I write the first thing that comes to my mind, and also, my English is quite mediocre, you always encouraged me to continue writing. Your support turned what started as a simple hobby into a true passion.
Therefore, I feel guilty for not being able to continue the stories I have pending. For this reason, I decided to translate the last story I wrote in Spanish because it requires much less time and concentration. I hope you like it!
Again, many thanks for your support and for liking my silly stories!