Mr. Darcy’s Kindness started as a PMS-induced idea on the eve of Mother’s Day. As a mother, we can go through so much for the sake of our child. I don’t know a single mother who can’t tell me some story that might make you weep and end the phrase with “but it was all worth it for my kids.”
Mr. Darcy’s Kindness centers on the idea of what would happen if Elizabeth married Mr. Collins? Under what circumstances would she be willing to do so? I could think she was only willing to do it for her dearest sister. I remember when I first posted the story and got replies of astonishment that Jane would let her do such a thing. Six years later and I still think it checks out. None of my betas had brought up the issue either. The way I see it, Jane had a chance at happiness with Bingley, so long as both were single. Elizabeth, at the time, was not in love with anyone.
Another key point in the story is that Elizabeth and Mr. Collins have a *normal* marriage. Meaning, yes, it’s consummated. At the time, I hadn’t read a single story where Elizabeth married Collins and they actually had sex. I kept it off the page, but you know it’s happened. She even has a baby by him!
However, the biggest conflict centers around Elizabeth’s complicated feelings for Mr. Darcy and her marriage separating them. There is *no adultery* but Elizabeth feels awful for loving him while married to another man.
A fortnight passed in the same manner. Elizabeth became ill in the morning, recovered as the day went on, but then exhaustion claimed her in the afternoon and far earlier than usual each night. Instead of worrying about herself, her thoughts remained with her family, until a visit from Charlotte Lucas.
“How does marriage suit you,” Charlotte asked Elizabeth after initial inquiries about the invalids in London and the expected date for Lydia’s wedding.
“I have no complaints,” Elizabeth said evasively.
“I am glad to see I was correct.”
Elizabeth fought the urge to roll her eyes. “Recall that we have been married for less than a year. It is rather early for me to declare that I am as happy with him as I could have been with any man. That sort of reflection must wait until the end of one’s life. Surely true vexation and trial shall come later.”
“I am sure you are correct,” Charlotte said. “Only, when I said those words I was counselling you to take a firm offer of marriage rather than cling to your notions of infatuation and love for a man it could never be with. As you are not miserable with your husband, I am glad to see that those feelings died away upon your marriage.”
“My dear Charlotte, as I told my father, Mr. Wickham was only an interesting acquaintance and handsome man. I had barely spoken to him before Mr. Collins’ proposal. I was hardly in love with him.”
“I had rather thought you were in love with Mr. Darcy,” Charlotte whispered.
“Mr. Darcy!” Elizabeth nearly dropped her teacup. “I never spoke to him but wishing to cause him pain.”
“Precisely. His words could not have wounded you so deeply if you had not been interested in him and desired his good opinion. You were angry you did not meet his approval and saw no hope with him. I suspect it is also why Miss Bingley treated you so terribly, and by extension your sister. But then, if Miss Bingley felt threatened then I rather worried she perceived Mr. Darcy returned your affections.”
Revelation pierced her heart and she felt cold and hot at once. Forcing herself to remain calm when she would rather cry, she affected a laugh. “What an active imagination you have! And you claim to not be romantic!”
Charlotte soon had to leave and Elizabeth fled to her room. How had it happened and how had she not known? How stupid and blind had she been? It was impossible for two ladies who were her close friends, and both declared no interest in romance, to see the same thing and it not be true. That Mr. Darcy had loved her. Nay, more incredible. The charge was that she had loved him!
She laid awake two whole hours endeavouring to make out her feelings. She did not hate Darcy and was now ashamed to say she had ever disliked him. She respected and esteemed him now. Indeed, she worried about his welfare as last she had heard he was still recovering from fever. But for Charlotte to think he loved her and then for Anne to think it months later, it must be very ardent love. Sensible of her married position, Elizabeth did not venture to consider her happiness must be tied to his, but when she felt cast aside by her family, she could not help but feel gratitude toward Mr. Darcy for loving her. For his sake, she hoped it was all over. For herself, she knew now if one could divide the heart, if one could cut up just a sliver and give it away and be safe from losing the whole of it, Mr. Darcy would forever have that piece of hers.
If you’re interested in reading more, you can buy or download via Kindle Unlimited here.