If Elizabeth had looked at her husband’s face at that moment she would have seen such a look of love in his eyes that she would have been unable to stop the blush that surely would have warmed her cheeks. Intent on not disappointing him or their guests her sweet voice filled the room, accompanied by the lilting strains of the song performed by her new sister, Georgiana.
Darcy’s rapt attention of the two women he loved above all else did not go unnoticed by Caroline Bingley who’s jealousy was more than a little difficult to control and was inflamed by being forced to take part in the holiday celebration here at Pemberley. As enthusiastic applause greeted the end of the Darcy women’s song, she watched him go to the piano and kiss his sister’s cheek, Caroline cringed, Georgiana would never be her sister. But when she saw the look on Mr. Darcy’s face when he took his wife’s hand, it was more than Caroline could bear. In desperation she rose and moved to a window that overlooked Darcy’s vast estate, an estate to which she had dreamed of one day being Mistress; now that dream was gone forever.
Hoping the outdoor view would help relieve her rage and disappointment Caroline was instead met by the sight of her brother and Jane walking arm and arm in the cold December afternoon. She bit her lip to stop the tears then quietly but quickly left the music room and ran up the stairs. The maid had told her that the guest room had been made up especially for her by Mrs. Darcy. She threw herself on the bed and allowed the tears she had been holding back to flow prodigiously.
Mrs. Darcy, a title that would never be hers, an estate where she would forever be nothing more than an unwanted guest and with her brother’s marriage, even to the sweet Jane, she was no longer Mistress of his house. She had nothing. No one. What would become of her? The tears dried but she remained in the room until she was called to dinner.
Darcy slipped out of the library where he, Bingley, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Hurst were enjoying brandy and went to his mother’s writing room. He stood in the doorway and watched his wife play a game with the younger women of the party. Jane sat demurely in a chair as Elizabeth gently drew Georgiana into the game with Eliza’s sister Kitty. In the short time his sister had been with them he had watched his wife, with her natural exuberance and kindness, bring Georgiana out of her shell, something for which he had hoped and was grateful.
He looked at his pocket watch; it was a quarter before the hour. He and Elizabeth had decided on a small celebration for the New Year that would include an old fashioned custom they hoped would become a Darcy family tradition. He and his wife had discussed several things for the holidays that they hoped would become treasured family traditions. The New Year tradition would start tonight, their first New Year as husband and wife. Interrupting the game he asked all the ladies to join him in the west sitting room and then returned to the library with the same invitation to the men in the family.
Maids poured elderberry wine made especially for the festivities. Near the stroke of twelve Mr. Darcy, with a smile to his wife, asked Mr. Bennet (for it must be the family patriarch) to go the front door. Looking strangely at his new son-in-law he then glanced at his daughter whose playful smile made all questions flee his mind. He was followed in his progression by the entire party. The clock in the grand entry struck the twelfth chime and Darcy asked Mr. Bennet to open the door, thereby allowing the old year out and the New Year in. In the doorway they all toasted the New Year as the bells from the village church rang in celebration.
Before stepping on to the porch to join his guests, Darcy took his wife’s hand and drew her just out of sight of the others and in his own high spirits and joy kissed her, “Happy New Year, Mrs. Darcy.” Without embarrassment or concern for propriety Elizabeth kissed him back. In her husband’s embrace she remembered telling her sister that nothing but the deepest love could ever induce her into marriage. A radiant smile spread across her face, she had found that love and could not imagine being any happier than she was right now.