Risky Regencies

Who gets the happiest HEA?

And the games continue…today, we’re going to take a look at the examples of married bliss in Pride and Prejudice, vote for the most likely to succeed, and imagine how things will go for them in the future.

First, the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Wickham, banished up north, although of course you know Mrs. Bennet will be insisting on a visit (the long-suffering Mr. Bennet in tow) almost as soon as is humanly possible. Life with Wickham will never be boring–think of the excitement Lydia can expect–moonlight flits, stints in debtors’ prison (until Darcy bails them out–for the last time, every time), and lots and lots of babies. Naturally she’ll simper and whisper to her female friends of how passionate a man Wickham is. And I’m sure some of her friends will know exactly what she’s talking about.

Next, Mr. and Mrs. Collins. Charlotte has life very well arranged, as she tells Lizzy–and the gaps are micromanaged by Lady Catherine. In between the gardening, the beehives, and exciting installations of shelves, life will never be dull. The marriage will be childless until the day Lady Catherine tells them it would be extremely appropriate for a man of his station etc. etc. After a few years of earnest procreation, Lady Catherine will make the comment that he seems to have plenty of children, the flow of babies will dry up, and Charlotte can enjoy her comparative solitude once more. And it makes you wonder exactly what was so awful at home with the Lucases that Charlotte was compelled to escape…unless…here’s an alternate scenario: Charlotte produces a baby soon–far too soon–after the marriage. Tongues wag. We see whether Mr. Collins is too stupid to read a calendar. Has Wickham…surely not…then who…

Jane and Bingley. Aaaaw. Sweet, nice, not too bright people who adore each other. How can this marriage not work? I think even with Bingley’s wealth their finances will always be a mess, but they’ll live happily in the country and have lots of children. Jane will plump up a bit. Bingley won’t care. He’ll spend a lot of time riding around the estate, patting his tenants’ children on the head, pretending he knows all about agriculture, and giving dubious advice to his estate manager. The estate manager, of course, will agree with him, because Bingley is so sweet no one (except Darcy) can say no to him, and do what he intended to do in the first place. Later in life Bingley becomes a magistrate and crime rates in the neighborhood soar since Jane won’t let him send anyone to prison, let alone transport or hang them.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet I hope will get on a little better now the financial pressure is off. Possibly with an empty house (Kitty and Mary will become much more eligible because of the Darcy family connection) they may find companionship with each other. Of course the question remains why they married in the first place. He’s a reserved and educated man who married an uneducated, presumably attractive young woman, possibly for the allure of her fine eyes…and who does that remind you of?


Except Elizabeth and Darcy have evolved and broken the pattern–and of course she’s much smarter than her mother. They have learned each other’s deepest and most painful secrets. I have great hopes for these two. Not that I think Darcy will be particularly easy to live with, and Elizabeth, as mistress of Pemberly, may find her new responsibilities challenging. I hope the loyal housekeeper doesn’t revert to Mrs. Danvers mode. I hope their children are not too perfect, or forced by their father to over-achieve. Of course the rest of the family visit them, annoy them, and bombard them with requests for attention, money, or favors. Darcy may have to disappear for a spot of trout fishing with the guys (but not Wickham who will probably be casting for a card game and/or buxom barmaid in the village) if things get excessively feminine or his mother-in-law talks too long and loud. Because even the rarified heights of Pemberly are not immune to Bennets. I hope Elizabeth keeps teasing Darcy. She may, if he becomes excessively pompous, shove him into the pond now and then to teach him a lesson. And frankly, who can blame her?

So let’s hear your take on whose marriage is the happiest and what you see for them in the future–or give us a recommendation for one of the many sequels by other writers for a chance at one of TWO 10th Anniversary Collector’s Editions of A&E’s Pride and Prejudice. If you haven’t already, check out the contest rules and learn more about the prizes at the A&E store. Comment on each of this week’s posts for more chances to win!

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Bonnie Ferguson
16 years ago

My vote would be for Elizabeth and Darcy to get the happiest HEA.

I’m sure they would continue to challenge each other but they know who the other person is faults and all. They can talk, verbally joust, and they have a passionate attraction to each other that extends beyond the physical.

16 years ago

I vote for Elizabeth and Darcy to have the happiest HEA.
I think they are a good match.

16 years ago

Lizzy and Darcy without a doubt. Theirs is a union of the heart and the mind and this will carry them through no matter what family scrapes they keep getting sucked into. Lizzy will lighten up her brooding man while he’ll teach her how to appreciate the finer things in life such as an amiable husband πŸ™‚

16 years ago

I don’t know about happiest, but Darcy & Elizabeth would certainly have the most exciting marriage.

16 years ago

Lizzie and D’Arcy all the way!

The bingley’s are just too sweet to know the depths of happiness that heated discussions and the respect that comes out of them for each other, when conducted properly, can bring!

Pam Rosenthal
16 years ago

Bless your wicked heart, Janet, for imagining SOME erotic possibility for Charlotte. Makes one sympathize with Mr. Bennet, when he says Wickham’s his favorite son-in-law.

An old friend of mine, feminist academic Lillian Robinson, once wrote a wonderful essay called “Why Marry Mr. Collins,” where she discussed, in excruciating detail, the lack of autonomy, the being at aging, querulous parents’ beck and call, that would have awaited Charlotte Lucas had she NOT married Mr. Collins. Lillian makes a good case for autonomy and a flock of chickens as the better option.

Of course I vote for Lizzie and Darcy, but that’s rather calling the question — in a sense, with this couple, Jane Austen INVENTED the HEA as we know it.

The genius, of course, lies in the little imperfections, Darcy’s suffering his wife’s connections for the sake of her well-beloved perfections, etc etc. There will sometimes be a bit of stiffness at the breakfast table, I believe. “Your father…making ANOTHER visit, is he?… So… SOON after the last? Ah yes… Quite so.”

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy have the happiest marriage. It is idyllic and wonderful.

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy have the ultimate marriage since it is to their mutual benefit. Great couple.

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy both will have the happiest marriage. Compromise and understanding will take place and the future will be rosy.

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy both understand their situation and happiness will prevail.

16 years ago

I think Darcy and Elizabeth will have the happiest HEA … and the best sex life.

At least this is the way Linda Berdoll portrays the Darcys love life in MR. DARCY TAKES A WIFE. I only read the beginning of the book and plan to finish it at some later date. Anyways, Berdoll shows Darcy as a very randy fellow who can’t keep his hands off his wife. *sigh* Lucky Lizzie!!

Jennifer Y.
16 years ago

I would vote for Elizabeth and Darcy. I think they would have an exciting and happy marriage.

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy are made for each other and understand that they belong together eternally.

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy are the couple whose happiness is idealized and will mature in time.

Elena Greene
16 years ago

I think you’ve nailed the HEAs for most of our couples and LOL on Charlotte’s secret reason for accepting Mr. Collins!

Actually, I always wondered why he didn’t offer for Mary. They seem to be quite well suited except that she doesn’t seem prepared to be a good housekeeper.

This does spur me on to some further matchmaking. I’d love to see Georgiana Darcy with someone nice. I wonder if Colonel Fitzwilliam is too old–and he’s one of her guardians too! It would be a bit Emma-ish I suppose…

Elena πŸ™‚

Keira Soleore
16 years ago

I’ve been wondering about a possbile pairing of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Kitty. He is kind enough to be indulgent but would rein in her excesses. And his being close to Darcy would mean that Kitty and Lydia wouldn’t be seeing too much of each other, all the better for Kitty.

Janet, to turn your question around: Which would be the unhappiest HEA?

I would vote for Caroline Bingley and Mr. Collins. Aie yi yi!

Janet Mullany
16 years ago

I’ve always thought there seemed a tremendous desperation and urgency in Charlotte’s acceptance of Mr. Collins. Even Elizabeth, who knows Charlotte and her situation quite well, is suprised.

I am convinced Charlotte has a deep, dark secret.


Kalen Hughes
16 years ago

I think it’s a toss up between Darcy and Lizzy and Bingley and Jane. I expect that Darcy and Lizzy will fight more often, but that they will also enjoy the stronger bond forged by resolving those disagreements, but I also expect that Bingley and Jane–both of them being so sweet tempered–will be extremely happy.

16 years ago

Well it has to be Elizabeth and Darcy since they are the ones I was most focused on.

16 years ago

Lizzy and Darcy and Jane and Bingley have the happiest ending. . . but I don’t see Wickham and Lydia having a really good marriage, but I am biased from the book because Wickham just never looked thrilled to me from the moment we see him with Lydia on.

Charlotte and Collins, they probably will be happy with what they have. Neither were looking for romance, and both knew that. So, yeah, no Grand Passion, but they seem to be fine with that.

But hopefully Lizzie and Darcy stay the way they are, I mean, that’s why the fell for each other!! πŸ™‚


16 years ago

“Actually, I always wondered why he didn’t offer for Mary. They seem to be quite well suited except that she doesn’t seem prepared to be a good housekeeper.”

In the A&E version it certainly looked like Mary would have accepted Collins if he asked for her, though I don’t recall it being hinted at in the book.

“Oh Mr. Collins,” ::disgusted voice::

Charlotte seemed quite resigned to her life … Although none of us can fathom being married to such a man, I’m sure it was much better than what she would have had to deal with if she hadn’t married.

Having a deep dark secret … I like the thought of it, but my guess the fear of NOT being married was enough impetus to leap at his proposal. (Having to hear from my own 89 yr old Grams, about never being married and how “in the old days, we thought there was something wrong with a girl who never got married” I fully understand! :: roll eyes:: )

I must say, The actress who played Charlotte in the recent movie did a fine, and much more compelling, job then the actress in the BBC version. She’s the only I can say that of. Still, the BBC version Charlotte remained closer to the book version … serene, resigned Charlotte.

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Oh, yes–my own grandmother often tells me that by the time she was my age she had been married for “years” and had 5 children! (She married at 15). At least my grandfather was not Mr. Collins…

p.s. She also tells me I’m not married because I don’t know how to cook πŸ™‚

Kalen Hughes
16 years ago

Well, Amanda, I can cook and I’m not married either. So tell Grams that that can’t be the reason. *WINK* Besides, what with Jamie Oliver and Tyler Florance and all the other boys over on the Food Network, there are plenty of men out there who can do the cooking. All the guys in my crowd can cook (and I don’t mean just mind the grill).

Jaye Wells
16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy definitely. I think you’re right about her pushing him in the pond when he gets too pompous. They’ll be good for each other.

16 years ago

I LOVE the food network men! Just sayin …

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

What I think is remarkable is that Jane Austen could have imagined marriage of equals and HEA between them. With Darcy and Lizzie, and Jane and Bingley, she created people who were meant for each other because of their personalities, not their stations in life.

Jill Monroe
16 years ago

I have great faith in Elizabeth and Darcy in their HEA.

Loved the idea of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett growing closer. It’s a nice hope.

16 years ago

As much as Mrs. Bennett drives me nuts, I absolutly adore Mr. Bennett (I think it’s because he reminds me of myself πŸ˜› ) Lizzie and Darcy definitely have the most going for them in the marital dept. Lydia and Wickham on the other hand are in deep doo-doo. I can see ol’ Wickham going out for a pack of cigarettes some night and never coming back home.

Kate Willoughby
16 years ago

I would hope that Elizabeth and Darcy are the happiest. If she’s not, then I’ll gladly take her place!

16 years ago

Darcy did so much to gain Elizabeth’s affection. They seem so in love. I believe they would be happiest.

Kathy K
16 years ago

I guess it depends on how we see HEA; my first impulse would be Jane and Bingley ~ these two have always totally and absolutely adored each other. Financially there will be no worries, the servants will always be there to run their lives and keep them well looked after and as they are both so easy-going, easy-to-love people they can’t help but remain forever happily in love.

But truly, happiest HEA; it HAS to be Elizabeth and Darcy. There is so much fire and passion between them; they will always be able to appreciate more the love they have for each other. The sparks will often start a conflagration, but they LOVE each other, and they realize that it’s not something to be taken for granted. How could they NOT have a HEA!
Dare I say that Lizzie and Darcy are the ultimate lovers in love?

Well, I’ll say it anyway! ^.^


16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy, of course. They deserve it!

16 years ago

Elizabeth and Darcy because Elizabeth knows humor and this surely does help in a marriage.

Jill Bassett
16 years ago

Undoubtedly, Jane and Bingley’s marriage would be a blissful one, but it would also be somewhat boring and saccharine. Charlotte and Mr.Collins would also work their way around things, and manage to have a successful marriage. Like all the others, I think that Lizzie and Darcy would have a great marriage, and a fiery, fun-filled one at that πŸ™‚
I have my own doubts about wicked Wickham though.

16 years ago

My book recommendation for a series is Kathryn Caskie’s Featherton sister series!! πŸ™‚

16 years ago

I think in P&P it has to be Elizabeth and Darcy; after all, that’s why they are the heroine and hero! And I think Jane and Bingley will be happy, too. The good end happily, and the bad unhappily; that is what fiction means.

But what about Mulder and Scully??! I always thought those two crazy kids had a chance, if the Global Conspiracy didn’t keep coming between them…sigh.

BTW, Amanda, I can cook, and it still took 9 years before my wife agreed to marry me. On the other hand, no sense rushing into things, I guess.


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