These Three Remain
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2010)|
|Series||Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman|
|Genre||Historical, Romance novel|
|Publisher||Wytherngate Press (US) & Simon & Schuster (US)|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||280 p. (paperback edition)|
|Preceded by||Duty and Desire|
These Three Remain is a 2005 historical Romance novel by Pamela Aidan. It is the third and final novel in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, a series of novels examining Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of Fitzwilliam Darcy, the central male character of that novel.
Following his experiences at Norwycke Castle, Fitzwilliam Darcy accompanies his cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, to Rosings Park, the home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, their aunt. The prospect of spending time with his pompous, self-impressed aunt (and her unsubtle desire for him to marry her daughter, Anne de Bourgh, a shy and sickly girl who, unknown to her mother, secretly writes poetry) is not the only thing troubling Darcy's mind; driven to distraction with his unwilling desire for Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy has finally decided to forget her once and for all. He discards the one keepsake he has to remind him of Elizabeth: a few embroidery threads tied together to make a bookmark. Unfortunately for Darcy, Elizabeth is also in the area visiting her cousin, the pompous clergyman Mr Collins and his new wife (and her close friend) Charlotte, who are frequent visitors to Lady Catherine. Darcy is therefore thrown daily into Elizabeth's company, and finds himself unable to further resist her charms.
Driven to distraction by his feelings for Elizabeth - and his jealousy over the developing friendship between Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam - Darcy finally accepts the strength of his love for her and, after weighing the consideration of her lowly social standing and its possible effect on his future status, determines to propose marriage to her. Much to Darcy's shock and anger, however, his proposal is rejected; not only is Elizabeth greatly insulted by Darcy's pompous, high-handed manner of proposal, but she has also heard from Colonel Fitzwilliam of Darcy's role in persuading his friend Charles Bingley to break his ties with Jane Bennet, Elizabeth's sister, who is in love with Bingley. Furthermore, she has been poisoned towards him by slanderous lies spread by Darcy's nemesis, George Wickham, and is convinced that Darcy is "the last man in the world whom [she] could ever be prevailed upon to marry".
Heartbroken by Elizabeth's refusal and stunned by the depth of her dislike towards him, Darcy resolves to put the matter behind him and leaves Rosings, but not before writing Elizabeth a letter explaining the true history between himself, Wickham, and his sister Georgiana, and attempting to justify his actions regarding Bingley and Jane Bennet. Darcy has been shattered by her rejection of him, however, and upon his return to London begins acting in an increasingly uncharacteristic and erratic fashion towards his friends and Georgiana, culminating in his acceptance of an invitation to a party held by Lady Sylvanie Monmouth, who attempted to seduce him at Norwycke Castle. She holds Darcy responsible for the death of her mother during those events. He is rescued from calamity by his good friend Lord Dyfed Brougham, a seemingly foppish aristocrat who in actually is a government agent. He is investigating Sylvanie, who has links to Irish revolutionaries and intends to drug Darcy and then blackmail him into funding their operations. No longer trusting his own judgement, Darcy proceeds to get drunk in a nearby tavern before confessing the entire matter and his relationship with Elizabeth to Brougham, who sympathizes with him whilst still criticising his arrogant manner towards her.
The next morning, a hungover moment of clarity leads to Darcy realizing the truth of Brougham's criticisms, and he is mortified to realize his own arrogant conduct towards both Elizabeth and Bingley's relationship with Jane Bennet. He realizes that his previous ideas of what makes a good gentleman have been misguided and have merely led him into a cold, disdainful state of mind and being towards others; despite being resigned to having lost her, Darcy nonetheless resolves to change his ways and to make himself into the type of gentleman that Elizabeth would have regard for. Confessing the matter to Georgiana, he resolves to follow her example and improve his faults.
His belief that he has lost Elizabeth forever is soon upturned, however. Riding ahead of the rest of his party (including Bingley and his sister) on a return to his estate of Pemberley, he is astonished to find himself once more in the company of Elizabeth, who is on a tour of Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. They have visited the property under the belief that he was away from the grounds. His behaviour towards her is much warmer than their last meeting, but still guarded; eager to show that he has taken her criticisms of his character on board and is mending his ways, Darcy makes a sincere effort to make her and her relatives feel comfortable and welcome. He soon finds that he genuinely likes Mr and Mrs Gardiner, and is delighted when, upon introducing Georgiana to Elizabeth, the two women take an instant liking to each other.
Just as Darcy believes their relationship is thawing, however, Elizabeth receives news from home that her younger sister, Lydia, has eloped with none other than George Wickham, who is fleeing gambling debts accumulated with the other officers in his militia unit. Grieved at Elizabeth's pain at this potentially ruinous turn of events, and determined to help in any possible way, Darcy returns to London and, unknown to either the Bennets or the Gardiners, uses Dyfed Brougham's contacts in the London demimonde to quickly find Wickham and Lydia. After failing to persuade Lydia to leave Wickham, Darcy proceeds to blackmail and bribe Wickham into marrying her, assuring Wickham's future good conduct by buying his many debts. This carries the implicit threat that Darcy will send Wickham to debtors' prison if he misbehaves. Darcy also purchases for him a commission in an obscure army regiment whose home barracks are in Newcastle upon Tyne, over two hundred miles from Lydia's family. Wickham is forced to agree, and after Darcy has approached the Gardiners with this plan (on the condition that his own role in the affair be kept secret), Wickham and Lydia are married.
Soon after, Bingley decides to return to his estate at Netherfield, to which he invites Darcy; upon seeing Jane Bennet and Bingley reunited, Darcy guiltily confesses his role in keeping the two separate. Bingley is angry, but quickly forgives Darcy; after straightening out the misunderstanding, Bingley and Jane are soon engaged. After hearing a false report that Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy are also to be married, an outraged Lady Catherine arrives at Darcy's London home having attempted to bully Elizabeth into promising to never enter into an engagement with Darcy, which Elizabeth refused. Darcy is elated when he realizes that Elizabeth's feelings towards him might have changed, and he returns to Netherfield. Once again, Darcy proposes to Elizabeth; this time she happily accepts, and the two are married. Elizabeth's first wedding gift to him consists of a few brightly coloured embroidery threads tied together, replacing the makeshift bookmark he had taken as a keepsake.
Relationship to Pride and Prejudice
These Three Remain quite closely follows the plot of the last chapters of Austen's novel, primarily because Elizabeth Bennet is once again in the picture. Unique to this book are its vivid glimpses of Regency London's high society, underworld, and political scene. Some compelling characters are new creations (Lady Monmouth and Lord Brougham, for example), while others (like Colonel Fitzwilliam and Anne de Bourgh) are given much more color and depth.
References to historical people, places and events
The author chose to set the novels in the trilogy in a definite historical time, namely late 1811 to late 1812. Letters between characters are dated appropriately. Contemporary events are referenced, and in some cases have a significant effect on the plot.
At Lady Sylvanie's house Darcy is questioned by a man whom Lady Sylvanie addresses as "Bellingham", and who is a fervent supporter of the cause of Irish independence from Britain. Later in the novel Dy Brougham is unable to directly help Darcy locate Wickham as he is involved in the investigation of the assassination of Spencer Perceval, the then Prime Minister. The actual event involved a man named John Bellingham. However the real-life Bellingham was carrying out a grudge that had nothing to do with Ireland.
There are also references to the War of 1812 where the United States of America attacked Canada, provoking a British response that included an attack on the US capital. One character mentions that Darcy is trading with the US even though the two countries are at war. Dy Brougham re-appears late in the novel having been on a secret mission to America.