Sheryl Bonar Craig (Central Missouri Region)
Mrs. Louisa Hurst
My dearest Louisa,
You find me still buried in the country. I have been contriving various stratagems to induce Charles to take me to Pemberley, but thus far he has refused to budge. Whenever I mention visiting the Darcys, Jane has nothing to say, and Charles steers the conversation to other matters, but you know how whimsical they both are; nothing is ever resolved on. I am sure if only Jane expressed a desire to see her sister, Charles should be gone in five minutes. Never-the-less, knowing their easy tempers, I am confident they cannot long resist me, and, by persistence, I am sure to prevail, though I am greatly vexed at present. I have not yet been able to find out how long Colonel Fitzwilliam will be staying at Pemberley, but I must arrange a chance encounter as soon as may be. Since I am not to have Mr. Darcy after all, I am now determined that I shall marry his cousin.
I know your objections, Louisa, and I am well aware that the Colonel is more fashion than fortune, but he is the son of an Earl. He makes a very good appearance, though he is only a Colonel, and I should not be ashamed to be seen on his arm anywhere in town. And, he is sure to be promoted. General Fitzwilliam sounds well enough, and then he would be given a knighthood. Lady Fitzwilliam will suit me very well, and it sounds much better than Mrs. Darcy, does it not? And his elder brother may be very sickly or may fall from his horse, and what then, my dear? I admit, it would be better if Colonel Fitzwilliam were ready-made, still I can make something of him.
Jane has formed some odd notion that the Colonel is destined for his cousin, but I cannot believe it. Georgiana is such an awkward, timid creature. I shall have no difficulty in putting myself forward and appearing to advantage in her company. The last time I visited Pemberley, Charlotte Collins was there, the wife of that odious clergyman now claiming before all the world to be Mr. Darcy’s cousin, though he is no more than a Bennet by another name. I do hope the insufferable Mrs. Bennet is not also visiting. No doubt, Mrs. Darcy and her vulgar relations are contriving to entrap the poor Colonel for one of Eliza’s tedious sisters. Though Miss Eliza did very well for herself, she must not expect them all to have Jane’s good fortune. Considering who and what they are, one wonders that any of the Bennets aspire to more than George Wickham, but we are well acquainted with their impertinence. So I am off to Pemberley where they shall find me fonder than ever of Georgiana, almost as attentive to Mr. Darcy as heretofore and all civility to Eliza. I find myself quite capable of willfully deceiving anyone. I shall be entirely charming and save all of my keen observations and cutting remarks for you, my dear, at least until Colonel Fitzwilliam is secure. As soon as Charles can be prevailed upon, I shall write you from the guest quarters at Pemberley.
P.S. Reassure Mr. Hurst that Jane’s cook does a very nice ragout, so he need have no alarms on that score, but Jane does not much care for cards, so, when you come to the country, he shall have to make a point of it if we are to play whist of an evening.