While I believe Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Joy stands on its own, I was curious about what would happen if some of the other characters got an epiphany too. Hold onto your hats as some of Jane Austen’s least likable characters get a makeover due to continued Christmas magic.
Angels from the Realms of Glory
December 23, 1811
Mrs. Bennet awoke with a start. Everyone was looking at her: her husband, her five daughters, and…Mr. Bingley. Her heart began to pound, and a screech bubbled up in her throat. Before she could even think, her hand was out fluttering before her.
“Mr…Mr…B-B-B-Bingley!” she exclaimed. “You are most welcome, sir.”
“Mama,” Jane said and came to her side. “Rest yourself.”
“Oh, you see how good she takes care of me, sir? So respectful and obedient. Not ungrateful like some of my other girls.”
She cast her eyes about to find Lizzy and gasped to see Mr. Darcy looking adoringly at the girl.
“Mr. Bennet!” She swung her arms out high as she struggled to sit forward. “Mr. Bennet, explain what he is doing with our Lizzy.”
“We are engaged, Mama,” Lizzy said. “Did you not hear?” Lizzy cast a confused look at her father.
Suddenly, Mrs. Bennet realised it was odd that she had fallen asleep in the drawing room, but she had no memory of the gentlemen arriving. Why had no one awakened her?
“Here is Mrs. Hill with your salts,” Jane said and waved them before Mrs. Bennet’s nose.
“Bless me!” she exclaimed when the pungent odour filled her senses. “But Mr. Darcy? How rich you will be!”
Springing to her feet, she rushed to the gentleman. “Oh, you good, good man! So handsome and tall! So kind to us and brave to take on our troublesome girl.”
“Mama—” Lizzy said in her scolding voice at the same time that Mr. Darcy spoke.
“A special dinner! We must have a special dinner for you. What is your favourite dish?”
“Perhaps you may offer a dinner for both of your potential sons-in-law,” Mr. Bennet said with a wry smile.
Mrs. Bennet stared blankly at her husband, who then nodded back at Mr. Bingley.
“Jane?” Mrs. Bennet said, her voice rising an octave.
“Yes, Mama. Mr. Bingley has proposed to me.”
“Well, thank the Lord for that! I thought it would never happen!” She clapped her hands. “Oh, Mr. Bingley, you must be an angel. Did you convince your friend to take Lizzy off our hands?”
“Look how red she is,” Lydia laughed and snickered with Kitty.
“And what are you doing to find a husband?” Mrs. Bennet turned on them. Elizabeth had risen in her estimation considerably, and she suddenly realised how far her younger daughters had to go.
“Mary!” Mrs. Bennet exclaimed. “What are you doing to find a husband?”
A deep voice that Mrs. Bennet did not know spoke behind her. She whirled to face him and gaped at Mary holding hands with a man in a soldier’s uniform.
“She let me kiss her.”
Mary blushed scarlet and buried her face in the man’s arm while her sisters erupted in laughter.
“Mr. Bennet!” his wife shrieked. “Mr. Bennet! You must make him marry her!”
“He has already proposed, and I have given my blessing. However, no other soldier is welcome in our home.”
“But what of your other daughters? Do you not wish for them to be well-settled?”
“Mrs. Bennet,” her husband spoke so sternly that she sat down. “You will not tell me how to discipline our children. We will no longer be in such a hurry to marry our daughters that we do not take care to know the characters of the men in our home.”
“You will not tell me how to find matches for my girls!” Mrs. Bennet’s hackles rose.
“My dear Mrs. Bennet, do you not see that they have done better without your knowledge than with it?”
“But—but—” Mrs. Bennet’s arguments were interrupted by the chiming of the clock seven times.
Feeling faint, Mrs. Bennet cried for her salts once more.
“The clock has reset already?” Elizabeth asked.
The handsome colonel shrugged. “It always did after our epiphanies.”
“True,” Mary agreed. “We returned with a limited amount of time to choose correctly. It seems whatever Christmas magic this is knows how much time to allot each of us.”
Her husband laughed. “Who would have thought your mother needed the least amount of time of us all?”
Mrs. Bennet huffed in annoyance. Would no one come to her aid? Would they all merely laugh at her? Then, she realised they had all moved to seats. Just before her eyes closed, she noticed the other occupants had fainted as well.