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Have you ever wondered what might have, could have, or should have happened to some of the leading ladies in classic literature? Male and female roles were clearly defined, with the man in charge of his house and wife. Consequences for the wife were such common aspects of the era that maybe those scenes were simply lost in context. Still, what if we could reveal them?
This book explores four different classic novels and supplies the missing discipline scenes that are led up to in the original works. In "Darcy and His Sister,", Georgiana must face the consequences for attempting to run away with Wickham, and in "Darcy and His Wife," Elizabeth manages to get more out of her marriage by provoking her husband to discipline her. "Emma's Lesson" provides the details of the discipline she was always meant to receive from Mr. Knightley, just as Cathy is finally disciplined in "Mr. Lockwood's Charity." In "Dr. Lydgate Cures His Wife," Tertius and Rosamond's relationship takes a pleasant turn when Lydgate decided to correct, rather than ignore, his wife's errant behavior.
Each story is based on the text of classic works and offers tantalizing extra material for the wandering mind.
Publisher’s Note: This book contains portions of classic literature with a twist and is intended for adults only. It contains themes of domestic discipline.
Mr. Wickham's chief object was unquestionably my sister's fortune, which is thirty thousand pounds; but I cannot help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me, was a strong inducement. His revenge would have been complete indeed.
“You are a creature too pure and beautiful for words, my love... Please, hesitate no longer. Come away with me that we may wed.”
Wickham's smooth and charming words had an effect on Georgiana Darcy that she did not quite understand. His attention stirred her, for it was different than any affection she had received before, but in receiving it she felt a darkness, as one feels when one knows they are sinning. She could not tell if it was this darkness that intrigued her or whether it was the thing which made her hesitate, for how she did hesitate!
Wickham had been patient thus far, even in urging for her returned affection, and it was difficult for her not to offer herself up to him, to be his delight as he wished. She had known him since her childhood and could not think too ill of him, despite her brother's negative opinions, for she had been much too young to witness any of the wicked behaviors that Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam, who was her cousin and co-guardian, had branded him with. Still, the majority of the love and respect her heart offered for any soul belonged solely to her brother, and her loyalty to him gripped her rather unpleasantly every moment she allowed Wickham to woo her.
“Wickham, I do like you very much,” she said quietly. “I like you well enough to say that I love you and that I would like more than anything to run away from school and belong to you. Still, you must know that I love my brother also, and you know how unhappy he will be.” Georgiana looked away and blushed before she spoke next. “Wickham,” she whispered seriously, “if he knew that I had been courting you in secret, I am certain he would whip me and vow to keep me at school forever.”
“What is that to me, Georgiana?” Wickham returned sharply. “If you marry me, you will be spared any whipping at the hands of your cruel brother, for you would belong to me, and I would always endeavor to treat you as a queen. As for school, you shall not be made to go any longer than you desire, for you are a woman with your own mind and must know what is best for yourself. Can you not see that I am best for you?”
Wickham at last conveyed a tone of pleading that softened Georgiana, and she reached out her hand to hold his own. “You are a gentleman in every respect, Wickham, but please... Do assure me just once more, do you love me? Truly?”
“Such doubt, my lady!” Wickham exclaimed a little playfully. His gaze then rested on Georgiana's worried eyes, and without a moment's notice he pulled her into a kiss. “Does that not assure you of my love?”
Georgiana felt herself quite bewildered by Wickham's forward action of kissing her, and she, being dazed, could not do more than nod simply in response to his question. “Then you will be ready in two days’ time to leave here with me and be married. Do not delay, for I cannot bear it, my love.”
“Yes, Wickham,” Georgiana acknowledged softly. “I shall be ready to marry you then.”
“You, fair lady, have made me the happiest of men. Now, pray, go upstairs and go to bed, and I will take my leave and return to you after two days.”
Wickham bid Georgiana goodnight, and she crept slowly up the stairs still dazed and went through the motions of preparing for bed. As she slowly and thoughtlessly brushed her rosy, golden curls, she felt a tingling on her lips that she was unsure of, for Wickham's kiss seemed to linger, and as much as it pleased her, she almost tasted a hint of what seemed to be poison. She did not imagine a man might be so bold as to kiss her in that manner, when she had not expected it, and she was unsure how unwise it might have been not to protest the action. Certainly, her brother would not approve. of that she was most sure, but she could not decide if she herself approved and whether or not it was a good or bad testament to her lover's character. After all, she had already sacrificed much in promising to marry him, and if any doubt rested in her soul, she knew better than to risk ignoring it.
Georgiana's sleep was restless that night as her mind could not stop pondering her situation, and her heart beat in two unequal parts, one for Wickham and one for Darcy. It would not have taken too much contemplation to realize how much greater Darcy's part was, but despite that fact, Georgiana did not yet know which one she would ultimately decide to satisfy.
While Georgiana tossed and turned in her bed upstairs, Wickham sat just below her in the drawing room, sharing a glass of wine with Georgiana's caretaker, Mrs. Younge. Mrs. Younge was a plump, generally pleasant sort of lady, but she had a quick temper, and there was something in her manner that one could not always be sure of. Georgiana respected her, but she never felt comfortable enough to confide in her, and if she had known that Wickham was downstairs speaking to her without her knowledge, she certainly would have felt justified by her mistrust of the woman.
“How much?” Mrs. Younge asked Mr. Wickham sharply. It was the third time she had posed the question to the gentleman before her, and she was growing impatient with his purposeful neglect in answering her.
“As I said,” Wickham replied quickly, for he had become tired of talking around the woman. “I cannot provide the full sum immediately, but you shall have it when I obtain the lady's treasure. That is to say,” he added with a wry smile, “you shall have it when we have consummated the marriage, and I have her and her fortune in my legal possession. I can only give you fifty pounds now in the condition that you will continue to honor your agreement and not alert Georgiana's family when I arrive in two days’ time to take her to London for our marriage. As soon as I can be sure of the rest, you will have the thousand pounds I first promised you for the arrangement.”
“How do I know you will do it?” the woman questioned.
“How do you know that I will not?” Wickham returned. “We have been planning this for some time now, and I certainly have no intention of giving up. The girl has fallen right into my arms better than even I would have planned. Her brother is a troublesome wretch, so it is no surprise that she would wish to be parted from him, but the manner of her affection toward me is unparalleled. I have become her savior, and I would venture to say that it would be near impossible for any hindrance to occur now.”
“Very well,” Mrs. Younge acknowledged. “Let's have the fifty pounds, and I will see to it that the miss is ready for you when you come, and that not a soul other than ourselves knows of her quitting Ramsgate.”
The next day, Georgiana kept to herself and showed little desire to do much other than rest in her own contemplation. Mrs. Younge's attempts to engage her in idle conversation were repeatedly shut down by Georgiana's near refusal to voluntarily offer anything of her own to the discussion. Georgiana could barely be coaxed into taking her meals, which was the only activity she attempted, but she ate nearly as little as she talked, and Mrs. Younge thought it best to leave the young girl alone, sure that she was only acting in the silly character belonging to her age and sex.
In truth, Georgiana had been thinking very hard and very passionately for one as young and innocent as she was. She could not yet pardon herself for even considering the sin of deceiving her brother as she had promised Wickham she would do, and she turned the consequences over and over in her young mind. She dreaded having to face him after the wedding, knowing how disappointed he, a brother who had only ever been proud of her, would be on discovering that his beloved sister had undermined him in the worst way he might be able to conceive. It was simply an intolerable idea.
Georgiana both loved and feared her brother, and it was not a great fear, as one her age might feel toward their parent, but enough that she did tremble at the thought of facing his gravity with the level of wrongdoing she would partake in. Darcy had rarely disciplined her, and it was hardly more than a stern look or a gentle verbal reproof, but there was the occasion or two in which he had resorted to whipping her, and the memories sent a chill down Georgiana's spine. It was not so much at the recollection of the pain the whipping had inflicted, though the humiliation of being thrashed by her own brother was quite unbearable, but for the level of disappointment that had caused her brother to take such measures with a sister he was always gentle with. The pain was a physical manifestation of the grief her guardian and mentor had felt with her, and it always left her more than penitent.
Georgiana knew that the amount of disappointment her brother would hold with her if she went through with the marriage would be a most difficult thing to live with, beyond any pain she had felt before. She would have Wickham for comfort, but she could not predict how long it would take Darcy to forgive her. What if she should have her first child without his blessing? How would she bear it? Georgiana was certain that her brother would whip her now if he knew what she dared to do, and she could only imagine his horror upon finding that his sister belongs to man he detests.
Georgiana chewed her lip as she stared into the evening fire Mrs. Younge was stirring, her mind continually pondering her dilemma. She was at last broken from the deep puzzle in her head when she was startled by a knock on the door, and by Mrs. Younge, who had been startled also, dropping the poker which crashed loudly on the hearth. Georgiana stared up at Mrs. Younge with wide eyes, making eye contact for the first time that day, but the woman simply ignored the girl in frustration.
“What a time to knock on a person's door,” Mrs. Younge murmured petulantly as she moved to answer it. Georgiana listened carefully, fearing that it might be Wickham wishing to take her away sooner than planned, and her stomach twisted in anticipation. However, when Georgiana heard Mrs. Younge's overtly pleasant “Good evening, sir,” and the gentle reply that followed, her fears only worsened.
Mrs. Younge led a statuesque gentleman into the room, and as his measured steps approached her, Georgiana knew she would have to conceal her fear immediately. She rose quickly, swallowing hard, turned, and threw her trembling arms around her beloved brother. Darcy returned the embrace with equal force, not at all taken aback by the passion his younger sister showed at his surprise visit, for they were very close, after all.
Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me.
Fitzwilliam Darcy, “Will”, as Georgiana was sometimes personally disposed to call him, had decided to visit his sister on a whim. Whims were indeed uncharacteristic indulgences for Darcy, but where his sister was concerned, he risked much that would seem out of his character in the public eye, for with Georgiana he was not always on guard or aware of how he might be perceived. All that mattered to him in Georgiana's presence was her happiness and comfort, and the attention was hers more than it was his.
In any regular case, Georgiana would have been extremely pleased to have been rescued from a droll day by the pleasant and unexpected appearance of her brother. He was better company than most, not caring how much or how little she spoke, never reproving her for her choice of words or for showing too much or too little excitement. His company was the very natural sort, without judgement or inspection, unless she deserved it, and normally she would relish it.
Upon his arrival this time, however, Georgiana feared and dreaded any company with him, as she knew some level of deceit would be required to conceal what was on her mind. She hated the idea of concealing anything from her brother, as she had never been successful at it before, for he knew her too well not to notice when she was out of sorts or the least bit unhappy. She was at a loss of how to handle herself, and had resorted since his arrival to keeping very quiet, and only asking how his days had been since their last parting. She was extremely inquisitive for every detail he might offer to keep the conversation mostly maintained by him and not herself. She offered nothing of her own, and avoided most of his inquiries, concentrating mainly on school and not at all on her days at Ramsgate.
Darcy knew that first night that his sister was not herself, but he did not question her about it until the next morning, while they sat together in the study, she pretending to be very occupied in writing a letter to a school friend while he distracted himself by reading a little. After a few moments of sensing the tension and agitation of his sister, he closed the book and paced up to Georgiana, gently resting one hand upon her shoulder.
“What troubles you, Georgiana?” he asked softly, and she rose her gaze to his with a look of question. “I sense something unhappy in your demeanor, and if I could be sure as to it being something personal and of little consequence, I should not press you, but as this worry or sorrow, whatever it may be, has colored your features since my arrival and not once truly abated, I am led to believe the trouble is not minor. Please reveal what is paining you so, sister.”
Darcy's tender remark eased Georgiana a little, but not nearly enough as she needed to confess immediately. “You will be angry with me, brother, if I tell you what is in my heart, and I fear it.”
“Have I ever been angry at a reflection of your heart?” Darcy questioned softly, and there was truth in what he implied. He had never been angry with Georgiana's honesty, but only the opposite.
“This is unlike any revelation I have made before,” Georgiana answered quietly. “It concerns someone you do not like, and my attachment to him.”
Darcy was puzzled by his sister's speech, and as he began to compose a mental list of the people Georgiana might perceive that he did not like, he realized there was more to her statement than simply the fact she was attached to someone he was not partial to, but that she was wary in expressing it, and that this person was a “him.” It began to solidify in Darcy's mind that his sister was struggling to reveal a romantic attachment to a young man she must believe he did not approve of. As this idea formulated in his mind, he was tempted to laugh with sympathy at his young sister, for he could not immediately imagine who she must feel so wary of where he was concerned, and her hesitance could only elicit his affection.
“Dearest, Georgiana,” he said with a smile and a reassuring grip of her hand, “fear not, sister. I promise to be gentle and fair in my assessment of whomever has attracted your attentions.”
Her brother's kind affirmation only made the confession Georgiana had to make all the more difficult, for she hated even the thought of disappointing someone who loved and cared for her as perfectly as he did. Tears welled in her eyes as she choked out her speech. “I know you will be disappointed with me, and I know I will deserve it. I fear you will not forgive me in my choice, but he has truly been kind to me... As affectionate as he was when I was a child.”
Georgiana paused, hoping that Darcy might gather the identity of her lover without her having to speak the forbidden name. She watched as his features quickly turned from loose and light, to tight and dark, and she felt a chill run down her spine in response.
“Pray, Georgiana, tell me please who you mean, or my mind will be forced to supply identities that cannot possibly be so.”
“And that is what I fear. For it is so, Will. The identity which you dread is so.”
“Do you speak of Wickham?” he guessed quickly. “Georgiana, if you have anything to tell me of Wickham, reveal it instantly, for you know my sentiments. He is not to be trusted.”
“I trusted him. At least, that is to say, I had wanted to trust him, but I cannot in good conscience disappoint you, and so I must confess to you. He has made me a proposition of marriage, and I have accepted. In knowing that you would never allow this union, he was to take me with him in secrecy tomorrow. This had given me much pleasure until your arrival, and now I confess to feeling rather stupid. I cannot, I will not marry one who would not meet your approval, when yours is all that has ever mattered to me in the world.”
As soon as Georgiana had made her confession, Darcy quickly turned away from her. He could not look upon her and try to comprehend the betrayal at the same moment, and it was simply too much for him to bear. His soft, sweet, pure sister, brought up with protection and dignity, being taken from him by the hands of someone he knew to be evil. Someone who would corrupt her, and abuse her heart. How foolish she had been to allow his attention. Had he not taught her better?
Darcy let out a long sigh, and turned to face his beloved sister, whom would always be cherished and protected by him, even when she would not protect herself. He could not be grieved by anger with her folly when he looked upon her soft eyes, trusting and kind as they were, and he gently pulled her toward himself that he might hold her and be reminded that she was safe in his presence now. For the moment, all that mattered was that she had been spared, and Darcy was thankful beyond his capacity for that.
“Are you... are you quite angry, brother?” Georgiana whispered against his chest, unsure of his embrace.
“Dearest sister, I am thankful to God that you are safe before me. Thankful He has protected you while I could not. I love you most assuredly, and though I am indeed grieved by your foolish conduct, I am more than ready to rejoice in your safety than be angry with you. Can you not feel my affection in my embrace?”
“I can, sir, but I fear also...” Georgiana said as timidly as one does when they know they are in the wrong.
Darcy pulled away to look at his sister seriously, and indeed he was very serious as he scanned her small features. “On all accounts, you should fear,” he acknowledged sternly. “You know you have been foolish, and there is no excuse for it. Do not wonder, Georgiana, for you will be punished, as you deserve. But for now, pray, put it out of your head, for I cannot yet bear to deal unpleasantly with you.”
And so, the matter was temporarily resolved. Although Darcy could not deal with Wickham publicly, for he had to protect his sister's reputation, he wrote the fiend a letter so serious with regard to how Darcy would pursue him if he came near his sister again, that even Wickham could not help being a little chilled by it. He paid Mrs. Younge nothing, and was sure to inform her that she would never have a respectable person in her charge again once he made his disapproval public. No one would question Darcy on such a matter, and as it happened, Mrs. Younge never did have anyone respectable in her charge after Georgiana.
As soon as could be managed, Darcy took Georgiana home, and he was restless and uneasy every moment between Ramsgate and Pemberley Hall. There was a part of him that desired never to allow Georgiana to leave Pemberley, and he felt he could not be easy until she was safe within its gates. The rational part of Darcy, however, which was indeed most of him knew that she had only to grow a little more before he would again feel easy about her being away from home.
Once they arrived at Pemberley, which was equally relieving for both brother and sister, all seemed well between them. It was not yet forgotten however, and the very next day after their arrival, Darcy stepped into Georgiana's room with a rattan rod in his hand, readying to act upon his assurance that she would be punished as she deserved. Georgiana could not help cowering a little at the sight of him with the dreaded instrument.
“Oh, please brother, must you use that?” she cried out immediately. “I promise I have quite learned my lesson. I shall never risk myself in such a way again, and I am already overcome with the guilt of my folly. Please have mercy upon me.”
Darcy's resolve did weaken with Georgian's request for mercy. There were very few occasions in which he had administered punishment to his young sister, and he never could bear to be as stern as he perhaps should have been. She was so delicate that there seemed something almost cruel about causing her pain. It was as if he were hurting a dove. Of course, a dove is always innocent, and he had to remind himself that his sister had much more heart and mind than a creature who could not help itself.
“Georgiana, I beg you,” he said earnestly. “Do not make this more difficult for me than it already is. You require correction, and I am certain that, whether or not you admit it, in your mind you know that you require it. I cannot risk you doing such a thing again, and as you know from your own experience, this is a very effective measure of prevention, for have you ever been punished twice for the same offense? I do not recall it.”
“Must it then be you? Might you not send a maid to do it?” Georgiana reasoned.
“No, certainly not,” Darcy returned without hesitation. “A maid is not responsible for you as I am, nor does a maid charge and understand you as I do. It is the correct order of life. It must be me, and I will in turn be punished for my negligence by having to cause you pain. I understand your hesitancy, but you know that I am fair. Now, you must accept the consequences, and we will put the matter well behind us.”
Darcy granted both himself and his sister a moment to accept the present situation before he resolved to continue with the unpleasant task. “Rise now, my girl, and position yourself appropriately against your bed.”
Georgiana whimpered in spite of herself as she slowly moved to obey him. She raised her outer skirts as she had long ago been taught to do and braced herself against her mattress. The vulnerability of the position had her ready to shed a tear before any strokes were received.
Darcy paced up to her with his usual measured steps, and stood firmly beside her, swinging the rod a few times in the air in preparation. “Can you tell me why you are about to receive punishment, Georgiana?” he asked her solemnly, positioning the rod against her backside.
“For disobedience, and foolishness.” Georgiana thought 'foolishness' was good enough an explanation for her evils, and she hoped the answer would suffice. She found that it had, for Darcy did not question her again before he raised the rod and brought it cracking down upon her bottom. She hissed in response to the stinging pain and clenched the fabric of her gown tightly in her hands.
“One, sir,” she said quietly, counting out the first stroke in accordance with the rules previously established for such corrections.
“I forbid you to communicate with Wickham from this moment forward, and if he ever dares to contact you in future, you will inform me immediately, is that understood?” Darcy asked, maintaining an unwavering solemnity in his tone.
“Yes, sir,” Georgiana answered before the rod fell again upon her. “Two, sir,” she squeaked.
“I know you to have more sense than to accept attentions from a person whom I have told you is the worst of men. Will you ever disregard such truth in future?”
“No, sir. Three, sir.”
“Not only did you risk your safety with such a man, you risked your reputation. I believe your intentions toward marriage were honorable, but you had no proof that his would have been, and he might have done unspeakable things to you, Georgiana. You will never risk yourself in that way again.” Darcy spoke fiercely before bringing the rod down twice rather quickly.
Georgiana cried out then, the burning and stinging overwhelming her. She counted the strokes through her tears, and Darcy placed his hand on the small of her back, the touch a simple reminder that he still cared for her feelings even in a moment as unpleasant as the present. It had taken maturity for Georgiana to feel love from the same hand which gave her such painful stripes, and even more maturity for her to learn that the stripes were love themselves.
“Your deceit pains me also, Georgiana,” her brother continued. “Never will you conceal a matter like this from me again. You know that I have always been able to support and guide you, and I will not have an occurrence where concealment has gone on for as long as it had with Wickham. You will be forthright in the future, is that understood?”
“Yes, sir. I am truly sorry, and truly ashamed,” Georgiana whispered through more of her tears.
Darcy sighed, allowing the rod to rest a moment as he spoke to her with consolation. “I know you are ashamed, and I am truly sorry that I must correct you. You cannot know the pain I feel now, child, but it must be done. I already forgive you, but I cannot let your deeds go without consequences and your actions without the assurances that they will never occur again.”
Georgiana nodded before she felt the rod land again in the most painful stroke of all upon her backside, and she jumped a little with the sting. “Six, sir,” she spoke with a struggle, her body shuddering.
Six strokes were common for a punishment, and it had rarely been more or less than that number. Georgiana maintained her position, understanding that she might have earned a longer punishment for such a crime, but she felt her brother gently standing her on her feet, and relief flowed through her body.
Darcy had been struggling as much as Georgiana in his own way, and he simply could not bring himself to further her punishment. Besides that, he could gauge her grief, and he sensed that it had been enough to reinforce the lesson she had already learned. He relished pulling her into his arms and gently stroking her hair in comfort.
“I love you more than you know, Georgiana,” he whispered. “Please do not ever again hurt me as you have done. Do not ever again risk your purity, your loveliness.”
“I shall not, brother. I never mean to do it again. It could never be worth it,” Georgiana assured him earnestly.
They held one another for several minutes, and only parted once Georgiana's tears had subsided. Darcy stroked her face and kissed her forehead tenderly before he let her go. After that, he did something that Georgiana did not expect, and it puzzled her still for several years after.
Darcy picked up the rod he had used, snapped it in half, and threw the pieces into her fire. A rattan rod could only be used once or twice, but Darcy had never destroyed one in front of her before, and she was slightly startled by the action. Darcy then turned around quickly, and smiled upon her proudly before he spoke.
“If you are old enough to entertain attentions, you no longer require the rod, and I shall not place it upon you again. You have grown into a lady, and you will carry yourself as one. I shall be your gentleman until a better one can come and claim you in good time.”
Georgiana blushed and smiled at his speech before running up to him and hugging him rather girlishly. “You are a very acceptable gentleman, brother. Perhaps not forever, but you will do for the present, until I can find a lady to claim you.”
They laughed together at the idea, and all was forgiven and forgotten, and happiness was restored between them both.