"You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased."
Pride and Prejudice, 1813
"I cannot make speeches, Emma," he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.
"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never."
As Fitz spread the luxurious blanket out on the cool grass Eliza took note of something she had not seen before in spite of having been here at the lake several times in the last few days.
“I don’t remember seeing the swing before. Did I just miss it?”
“No. It wasn’t there, it hasn’t been there for years. When I was nine the ropes broke and at that age I wasn’t really doing much swinging, tended to climb the tree rather than swing, so my folks didn’t bother putting it back up.”
“Suddenly now you have the urge to swing?”
Saying nonchalantly as he continued unpacking the basket. “You always sit in the rocking chair on the porch so I thought you might like the swing.”
Stunned she asked, “You put it up for me?”
“Well, I asked Lucas to do it. So I can’t really take much credit.”
Maybe not for doing the physical labor but for thinking about doing it at all left her more than a little surprised. “Can I try it?”
“Of course, since Lucas did it I’m sure it’s safe."
She giggled slightly, she’d read about swings like this (a wooden slat suspended from the branch of a giant old tree by rope) and seen them in movies but she’d never been on one. She pumped her legs until the swing was as high as she could get it. She leaned back, her arms stretched to the limit, her legs out in front of her and closed her eyes; gravity did the rest as Eliza and the swing glided through the evening air. Suddenly she and the swing stopped and her eyes popped open. Fitz was standing in front of her holding the ropes, there was something in his eyes that made her stomach jump but she managed to say, “Thank you, I love it.”
Without a word he kissed her, a kiss that made her feel like she might fall from the swing. Their lips parted and he slowly guided the swing to its original position, saying as he did so “Dinner is served.”
After she had finally accepted Mr. Darcy’s explanation for his sudden appearance in Chawton, he had told her of the many changes that were to come. The ones that fascinated her the most were societal, particularly the relationships between men and women.
As the moon started its descent he told her that he must return to the Great House before he was missed and then offered to see her home. She declined then coyly asked him to kiss her good-night. Hesitantly he gave her a light kiss on the lips.
“Is that how you would kiss a woman in your time?”
He smiled and admitted, “Maybe after a first date.”
“And after a second or third date?” He gathered her to him and kissed her more thoroughly. Jane heaved a deep sigh. It had been the first kiss but she was ever grateful that it was not the last. The growing dusk reminded her that it was getting late and she started home.
The cushioning of the summer pasture reminded her of the afternoon she was here with Darcy. She’d run off, as a sort of test to determine if he really preferred women who were spirited and independent as he had declared. He caught up with her, picked her up and whirled her around and then fell with her in his arms tumbling onto the soft grass. Fully aware that anyone seeing them this way would be outraged, she did not care, lying there with him was intoxicating. When he kissed her, her heart fluttered, then beat so hard she was breathless. She closed her eyes and sighed at the memory of his gentle passion. It was a good thing that Darcy was a true gentleman as Simmons said; for at that moment, in the soft spring grass, she had not felt very ladylike. However, gentleman that he was he had not taken advantage, instead he stood and offered her is hand to help her to her feet.
Even now the reluctance she felt as she stood up with his help caused a tightening in her chest and as the years passed she had often wondered what it would have been like if he had made love to her that afternoon. Jane chuckled, somehow the idea that it would have happened in her brother’s field made it all the more exciting.
Jane picked up the beautifully wrought necklace and looked at him questioningly.
“I heard you and Cassandra talking about the cross your brother sent and how you didn’t want to wear it on a ribbon.” he confessed.
Jane was overwhelmed, “Oh, Mr. Darcy, it is beautiful.”
He took the chain and draped it around her throat, bestowing small, gentle kisses to the back of her neck.
Jane turned to face him again. She gently touched the necklace, “so near my heart, as you shall always be.”
Darcy leaned over and kissed her. They lingered on the wall in the warm afternoon sun of that long ago year, exchanging secrets neither of them had ever revealed to another living soul. Exchanging kisses as well. For both were acutely aware that their miraculous but cruelly brief allotment of time together was nearly spent.
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen
"I hoped to obtain your forgiveness, to lessen your ill opinion, by letting you see that your reproofs had been attended to. How soon any other wishes introduced themselves, I can hardly tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you."
Pride and Prejudice, 1813
They sat on the wall in silence. Darcy fingered the medallion he’d worn since his mother had given it to him for his sixteenth birthday. He reached around and unhooked the clasp. Putting the medallion in the watch pocket of his waistcoat, he took Jane’s hand in his and turning it up placed the chain into her palm.