Read an Excerpt
From Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol
When Darcy awoke, it was so dark, that looking out of the bed, he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. He was endeavoring to pierce the darkness with his eyes when the chimes of a neighboring church struck the four quarters, so he listened for the hour. To his great astonishment, the heavy bell went on from six to seven, and from seven to eight, and regularly up to twelve, then stopped. Twelve! It was past two when he went to bed. The clock was wrong. An icicle must have gotten into the works. Twelve!
He glanced at the clock that rested on the mantel. Its rapid little pulse beat twelve and stopped.
"Why, it is not possible," said Darcy, "that I can have slept through a whole day and far into another night. It is not possible that anything has happened to the sun and this is twelve at noon!"
The idea being such an alarming one, he scrambled out of bed and groped his way to the window. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing gown before he could see anything, and even after that could see very little. All he could make out was that it was still very foggy and extremely cold. It was a great relief that there was no noise of people running to and fro or making a great stir, as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off day and taken possession of the world.
Darcy went to bed again, thought about it over and over, and could make nothing of it. The more he thought, the more perplexed he was; and the more he endeavored not to think, the more he thought of his father's Ghost. It bothered him exceedingly. Every time he resolved within himself, after much mature inquiry, that it had all been a dream, his mind flew back to its first position, and presented the same problem to be worked through: Was it a dream or not?
"A quarter past," said Darcy counting.
"Half past!" said Darcy.
"A quarter to it." Darcy suddenly remembered that the Ghost had warned him of a visitation when the bell tolled one. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was past; and, considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to Heaven, this was perhaps the wisest resolution in his power.
The quarter was so long that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously and missed the clock. At length it broke upon his listening ear.
"The hour itself," said Darcy triumphantly, "and nothing else!" He spoke before the hour bell sounded, which it now did with a deep, dull, hollow, melancholy ONE. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, and a hand drew the curtains of his bed aside. Not the curtains at his feet nor the curtains at his back, but those to which his face was addressed. Darcy, starting up into a half-recumbent attitude, found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them.
From Christmas Present
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a married man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of an heir, and Mr. Darcy of Pemberley was just such a man. Moreover, he was soon to have that want satisfied, for his wife, Elizabeth, was expecting their first child. As he watched her reading her mail at the breakfast table, his heart swelled with pride.
She opened a second letter and smiled.
"Jane has had the baby!" she said. "A boy!"
"So Bingley is a father," said Darcy with evident pleasure.
"And Jane is a mother. Oh, my dear Jane, how proud and pleased she must be. Bingley is besotted," said Elizabeth, returning to her letter. "Jane says she can scarcely persuade him to leave the nursery to eat and sleep. She adds, and it is not to be wondered at, for little Charles is the most beautiful baby you have ever seen."
Elizabeth looked up at Darcy. "Jane would like us to stay with her for Christmas. She says she can wait no longer to show us the new baby, as well as the new house. I am sure I cannot wait to see them. I will give orders for the packing at once."
"No, we cannot go and see them just yet," said Darcy. He looked at his wife's full figure as she rose unsteadily to her feet.
"You forget your condition."
"I never forget my condition," she said with a rueful smile, resting her hand on her rounded stomach.
"We will wait a few weeks nevertheless," he said. "It will be better that way."
"What nonsense! I am perfectly able to climb into the carriage, and that is all I need to do," she said, laughing at him.
"But you might have the baby on the way!" he said.
"And I might not," she replied.
"We might be in a lonely spot, with no midwife to hand, and nothing but the coach to shelter you," he protested. "No hot water, no maids, no Mrs. Reynolds. No, Lizzy, it will not do. I am sorry, my love, but I forbid it."
Instead of meekly obeying his command, Lizzy's eyes sparkled and she said, "Ah! I knew how it would be. When we were newly married, you would deny me nothing, but now that a year and more has passed, you are showing your true colours and you expect me to obey you in everything!"
"I doubt if you have ever obeyed anyone in your life," he returned, sitting back and looking at her with a smile playing about his lips.
"No, indeed I have not, for I have a mind of my own and I like to use it," she said. "Otherwise, it might grow rusty with neglect."
He laughed. But he was not to be so easily talked out of his fears.
From A Darcy Christmas
He set the painting onto the sofa, assuring it was well supported before stepping away. He gazed at the canvas, a smile spreading as he looked upon his family. His family. The family created by him and his wife, just as he had dreamt for so many lonely years. They stood on the portico of Pemberley flanked by their precious children on the steps. All of them were smiling at the artist. A sentimental man by nature, he silently examined the newest portrait of his family and lost himself in happy memories. Unsurprisingly, since it was Christmas Day, his reminiscences focused on holiday celebrations of the past. So lost was he in quiet contemplations that he did not hear his study door opening. But he did smell the lavender water habitually worn by his wife and extended his arm without averting his attention from the painting. She slipped under his arm, nestling against his side as naturally as a bird takes to its nest, her arms encompassing his waist.
"I plan to hang it there," he nodded toward the wall above the settee. "As much as I love Gainsborough's landscape, I would prefer to have you and our children watching over me as I work.
Someday it can join the others in the Portrait Gallery, but not yet."
She nodded in agreement. "I concur. We look wonderful here. It is an amazing portrait, arriving at a perfect time."
"How true. It induced me to reflect on Christmases past. All of them have been wonderful since you came into my life."
He looked at his wife then, his blue eyes tender and inundated with love.
"All of them?" she repeated, teasing and meeting his eyes with the same intense emotion.
"Even those Christmases that were sad or difficult were special, my heart. My life is complete since we married and I would change nothing. This Christmas is the most recent in a long line of incredible memories."
"It is not over yet!" she reminded him, both of them laughing as they returned their gazes to the painting.
Silently, in sweet harmony, they admired the canvas testimonial to what they, through God's grace, had achieved in the long years of their marriage. They studied the painted images, each beloved beyond measure. The portraitist had easily identified the individual characteristics, capturing them brilliantly. Especially manifest was the love, unswerving commitment, and supreme happiness verily shining from their faces as proud parents to the next generation of Darcys.