It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no such thing as Fate or Destiny and everything is a matter of chance. As for Fitzwilliam Darcy, his entire future hinged on the woman that his friend happened to urge him to dance with and who he happened to slight.
It was at the Meryton assembly, shortly after having arrived at Netherfield in Hertfordshire, when the ever rich and handsome Mr. Darcy was standing about in a stupid manner, that his dear friend, Charles Bingley, approached him to urge him to join in the dance.
Bingley himself had been dancing with Miss Kitty Bennet, and offered to introduce his friend to one of her sisters. When Darcy turned to look at the youngest Miss Bennet, he scoffed and exclaimed to Bingley that the girl, though tall and stout, was not handsome enough to tempt him to dance.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, as the case may be, for Mr. Darcy, Miss Lydia Bennet had overheard his rejection. Any other young lady present might have been offended or even amused, but Lydia merely saw an eligible opportunity for a dance, which was her favorite activity. Due to the shortage of gentlemen, Mr. Darcy was the only one not dancing and he was, after all, fearful handsome. Lydia, being the boldest of the five Bennet daughters as well as the silliest, approached Darcy and said, "How can you say you do not wish to dance sir, it is great fun. You have been teasing me mercilessly by saying I was not handsome enough to tempt you. Come now, you are the only man left without a partner and I promised myself I would not sit out any dances this evening. It is not fair, for Kitty gets to dance with Mr. Bingley." She grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the dance floor. Darcy, ever the gentleman, reluctantly followed.
Although Lydia was lively and playful and cared not for Darcy's good opinion, admirable traits to be sure, he could not help but note the total want of propriety constantly betrayed by her actions. When the dance was finished, Lydia had determined that Darcy was the most serious man she had ever danced with. She had enjoyed teasing him, though, and when Mr. Bingley danced with Kitty a second time, and it was consequently decided that Kitty and Bingley would soon be married, Lydia resolved that she would have Mr. Darcy who was twice as rich and twice as handsome. This would make Kitty wild with envy to be sure.
Soon after the assembly, there was a party at Lucas Lodge, a home neighboring the Bennet estate. When Mr. Darcy saw Lydia again, he recalled dancing with her and her inappropriate manner of conducting herself. During the course of the evening, however, he noticed that her figure was full and pleasing, and though her manners were not of the fashionable world, she enjoyed having fun and exuded youthful energy.
During the evening he was approached by Miss Bingley who, in a pathetic attempt to gain his attention, guessed his thoughts regarding the evening. He enlightened her that he had been thinking of the very great pleasure which can be bestowed by a pair of fine ... eyes on a pretty woman. When asked to name the woman who inspired these reflections he replied, "Miss Lydia Bennet."
The day following the party, Kitty was invited to dine at Netherfield with Bingley's sisters. She rode on horseback at her mother's insistence and was wet through. The following morning, she sent word that she was very ill. Lydia was certain that Kitty was merely pretending to be ill and was determined to go and visit her at Netherfield to prove it, or at least to take advantage of the opportunity to throw herself in Darcy's way again.
When she arrived, having acquired the carriage from her father, her suspicions were confirmed. Kitty was quite well. The two girls, however, agreed to keep up the ruse in order to remain in the house.
Luckily for Lydia she was able to join the family for dinner while Kitty was forced to remain in the sick room to keep up the pretense. After dinner, she saw that the others were at cards, and suspecting that they were playing high, joined the game. Miss Bingley observed that "Miss Bennet is an excellent card player, she adores cards and takes no pleasure in anything else."
"I take pleasure in many things," said Lydia suggestively, glancing towards Mr. Darcy, "I enjoy dancing and shopping and gossiping." As these accomplishments were quite apart from those commonly possessed by young women, and Darcy as we all know had grown quite bored with the more common women of his acquaintance, he could not help being enraptured by her candid and innocent admissions.
He had never been more bewitched by a woman in his life, and if she had any less to recommend her, he was sure he would be in some danger.
Some time after Kitty and Lydia had left Netherfield, Mr. Bingley held a ball there, for which they returned. Mr. Darcy was astounded by Lydia's beauty when he beheld her, as she had dressed carefully for the evening with the purpose of capturing all that remained unsubdued in his heart.
Darcy took the first opportunity of dancing with Lydia, which occurred rather late in the evening as her card had been quite full with the names of officers. He was quiet through most of the dance, until Lydia insisted that he converse with her. He offered to talk of books, but she admitted that she did not read. In the end, they talked of bonnets, of which Darcy knew a great deal, due to his having a young sister, more than ten years his junior, and a lifelong friendship with one Henry Tilney.
By the time the dance had ended, both had agreed they would have great fun trimming a bonnet together. But Darcy was rather uncertain as to the propriety of bonnet trimming with a young lady to whom he was not engaged. Yet, his nights were filled with images of leaning over Miss Lydia, while she sat working, and picking out a trim or a lace to adorn her headwear. He shook these fantasies from his mind, as he recalled that she could never be his, though he could not think of a anything preventing it.
The day after the Netherfield Ball, Mr. Bingley went away and Mr. Collins, Mr. Bennet's cousin, proposed to Jane Bennet, then Lizzy Bennet, then Kitty Bennet, only to be rejected by all. Not being interested in Mary because she was plain or Lydia because she was taller than him, he sought a bride next door, at Lucas Lodge; and finding the eldest Miss Lucas quite on the shelf he proposed to her next sister. Miss Maria Lucas accepted graciously, and being a great friend of Lydia's invited her to visit her in March.
The remaining inhabitants of Netherfield followed Mr. Bingley to London, and Mrs. Bennet sent Kitty there forthwith as well, in pursuit of Mr. Bingley with the strict instructions not to come home until she had become engaged to him.
Lydia traveled to Kent with Sir William Lucas and Miss Charlotte Lucas in March, to visit her friend Maria Collins. She was thrilled to learn that Mr. Darcy was coming to Rosings. She also met his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, who was not nearly as handsome or rich as Darcy.
One day, Lydia was forced to go walking out to escape her tedious cousin. She encountered Darcy on the lane and made sure to tell him that he had found her in her favorite spot and that she walked there everyday at this time. And so they continued to meet there. Their conversations always directed by Lydia to the idea of marriage and the possibility of her staying at Rosings rather than Hunsford on her next visit.
Lydia had a conversation with Colonel Fitzwilliam, wherein he told her that Darcy had purposefully separated Kitty from Bingley because he knew Lydia wanted to be married first, and would be greatly distressed if her sister beat her to the altar. Lydia was so pleased with this news she could not wait to see Darcy again.
That very night, Lydia remained at home to write a letter to her sister gloating over her circumstances. She had faked a headache to get out of dinner at Rosings, and hoped Darcy might call on her. True to her expectations, Darcy arrived at the parsonage, and said, "In vain have I struggled, it will not do, my feelings will not be repressed, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
Lydia replied, "Well of course you do. I am, after all, the tallest of all my sisters, and I think I am nearly as pretty as Jane and lots more fun."
Darcy took her in his arms and continued, "My dearest, loveliest, Lydia, will you do me the great honor of consenting to be my wife."
After struggling vainly, with the direction of this story, the authoress has determined that it would be so utterly incomprehensible for Lydia to reject a marriage proposal, any marriage proposal - and as the authoress has no desire to deviate even in the slightest from the original characterization of our beloved characters, which she has heretofore adhered to most fastidiously - that there will be no trip to Derbyshire with the Gardiners for our heroine, no meeting with her hero at Pemberley, and definitely no second proposal.
However, since some details are too important to be overlooked, whether they were actually in the book or not, our heroine did have one slight requirement before she could consent.
Accordingly, we resume with Lydia throwing her arms around her beloved's neck and kissing him shamelessly. Taking her actions as an affirmation of his inquiry he participated quite fervently in the activity. During this interlude, while distracting the gentleman with the allure of her rich, full lips, she deftly untied his cravat, removed his coat, unbuttoned and removed his waistcoat, and removed his boots and stockings. Once he found himself in this state of undress Darcy realized he must add to his future wife's list of accomplishments.
Lydia then turned away from her passionate lover and, taking a glass of water from the table, she threw its contents at him. His shirt now drenched, she said, "There, that is much better. Yes, I will marry you."
Darcy soon returned to Hertfordshire to speak to Lydia's father and remained there for the course of their engagement. It was during this time, that Lydia's sister, Elizabeth, eloped with a Mr. Wickham from the militia. Having had some history with the man, Darcy offered to find the couple and make them marry, but as Lydia wished to be the first of her sisters to marry, it was put off until after the wedding.
Once they were married, Darcy tracked down Wickham and Elizabeth and brought about a marriage between them, though his wife did not really see why he bothered with it. Once the Darcys returned to London, where Kitty still resided since she was not allowed to come home as she was not yet engaged, Mr. Darcy disabused Bingley of the notion that Kitty was indifferent to him, and eventually, they were married. Jane Bennet was often sent to stay with Mrs. Darcy, and Lydia immensely enjoyed being her eldest sister's chaperone in society. Lady Catherine de Bourgh had disapproved the marriage between Darcy and Lydia, so Darcy never spoke to her again.
Mr. and Mrs. Darcy lived happily ever after at Pemberley and polluted its shades repeatedly with the activities they often committed within its woods. Lydia did not die leaving Darcy free to marry another. In fact she outlived him, and being lonely she invited her sister and brother Wickham to live at Pemberley, where she soon took up with her sister's husband, who had grown quite indifferent to his wife soon after their marriage but found her sister, Mrs. Darcy, excessively appealing.