Dear Darcy and Elizabeth

The pleasures of Pemberley may be dulled by the pressures of the in-laws, but remember - everyone has great expectations of you. Don't dash our romantic hopes

Now you are married, the time has come for a few words of advice. After a double wedding (which it seems unlikely Jane Austen would have intended - perhaps Mrs Bennet, when she declared triumphantly that she had "got rid of her two most deserving daughters" on the same day meant it as a figure of speech: there is something terribly unromantic in the sight of two men in cutaway coats next to their brides, rather like those Korean mass nuptials in a jumbo jet) you have gone to settle down and enjoy married life at Pemberley.

Enjoyment, as I fear you will discover, Elizabeth, is definitely not on the agenda. As the brides of the aristocracy learn to this day, to be mistress of a great house such as Pemberley and mother to children of a man of fortune such as Mr Darcy is a difficult role to sustain. You will have your work cut out holding your own; your spirit and wit may well diminish severely; and the deathless passion we all expect you to manifest to the end of your days may only too easily be replaced by a series of characteristics of which you would never have thought yourself capable - shrewishness, short temper and a strong desire to escape being just a few of them.

So, Darcy, in order to lessen the risk of your lovely Eliza becoming terminally depressed at having to cope with her in-laws, the daily menu at Pemberley and the long weeks of the festive season in which Lady Catherine de Burgh, your aunt, will be insufferably condescending to Mrs Bennet, here are a few tips.

Stop smouldering! Your admirers expect a sunny smile to light up your features once matrimonial bliss with Elizabeth is achieved - but the sad truth is that smoulderers, once they have picked up the habit, seem in general reluctant to let it go. Wasn't it your friend Bingley who said the sight of you at Pemberley on a dull Sunday evening was one of the most dreadful things he'd ever known? Try and lighten up and pretend to enjoy Mary Bennet's piano playing on Sunday evenings.

Also, do try to include Elizabeth in some of your decisions. It's one matter to order the felling of a forest or two, but quite another to ban your son from Pemberley for wild behaviour and the ingestion of liquorous substances, without so much as informing the boy's mother. Nor does it go down well to turn a blind eye to the turmoil among rural workers so prevalent in the more mature years of your marriage. Elizabeth, like most intelligent women, moves with the times and does not wish to see your tenants evicted even if they are burning your new machinery.

Elizabeth, we all wish you the greatest happiness in your new life. Once you have taken all the necessary precautions, like checking the housekeeper's potential and being so quietly and icily rude to Caroline Bingley that she never invites herself to Pemberley again, you will find the pleasures of the park, with its 10-mile circumference, most calming and reassuring. At least you can hide from the relatives there and I advise the erection of a small cottage where you can retire altogether on the occasion of Mr Collins's annual visit.

Most important, never forget you have married a Romantic Hero. Do not try to make jokes at his expense, for he will most certainly not be able to see them. And attempt to put out of your mind your father's doubts as to the suitability of the match. Mr Bennet said he feared you would enter "an unequal marriage", for you would not find it in yourself to respect Mr Darcy. This I am sure will not be the case. But the marriage - alas! - will be unequal in other ways.

EMMA TENNANT

The writer is the author of two sequels to 'Pride and Prejudice' - 'Pemberley', and 'An Unequal Marriage', published by Sceptre.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Recruitment Genius: Fence Installer - Commercial

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This privately owned Fencing Co...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £22,000

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you answer yes, this company...

Recruitment Genius: Project / Account Manager and IT Support

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in Online Pro...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'