When Georgiana came downstairs for dinner she found her brother sitting alone in the drawing-room. He stood up and kissed her affectionately. "How lovely you look my dear! Are you ready for dinner?"

"Yes, I'm starved. I—I didn't have much to eat today."

Darcy put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. "Well you may eat as much as you want for dinner, my sweet."

"Are we not going to wait for Mrs. Younge?"

"Mrs. Younge is no longer here, Georgie. She would have lost her position regardless for her extremely poor judgment in her chaperoning you, but she all but admitted to me that she knew Wickham before you came to Ramsgate. I have a strong suspicion that they planned this elopement before she was hired."

Georgiana had stopped walking and was standing stock still, her face drained of colour. Her eyes filled with tears and she whispered, "I should have known. I should have known that he didn't really think I was beautiful…all the things he told me were lies." She looked down at her hands, twisting her handkerchief, and said, even more softly, "I knew, looking in my mirror, that I was not beautiful. I am plain and ordinary…only my dowry could possibly make me beautiful."

The tears spilled over and ran down her cheeks. Darcy pulled her into the study and put his arms tightly around her as she sobbed, crooning and petting her until she gradually ran out of tears. When her sobs and hiccups stopped he lifted her chin and looked into her eyes.

"Georgiana, you are not plain and ordinary. You are just young and your guardians did not choose well hiring your companion. Wickham has taken in many, many women, most of them much older and more experienced than you. This is my fault for not keeping a close enough eye on my precious little sister. Someday you will meet someone who loves you, and who would love you without a dowry of £30,000. You will know him by his regard for your reputation and well-being. A man who truly loves you will not push you to do something that you know is wrong or that will cause you to be gossiped about or will hurt your standing in society. Now, I want you do dry your tears, my girl, and I will have Mrs. Burgess make up a couple of trays and we will eat together in your sitting-room. How does that sound?"

"Fine" Her voice was almost soundless, but she managed a faint smile.

The next day Darcy and Georgiana left for London and it was only a few hours before they pulled up in front of the townhouse on Audley Square. Darcy thought his sister looked wan and limp, in spite of her heroic efforts to be a conversable companion. It was clear that she had not slept well, and Darcy wondered how deep the damage was from Wickham's assault on her heart. The thought of Wickham trying to elope with his sister to gain revenge on him made a burning wave of anger rise up. He wished he could tear that rake-hell apart. But first, he must make sure that Georgiana was well and find a new companion who would care for her properly. After a late breakfast, he turned to Georgiana and said, "I believe that we should put out notices for a new companion for you my dear. I will dictate one and send it off to the employment agencies and then we will do something. How about a visit to Bond Street to see the shops? And perhaps a play tonight?"

"Whatever you want, Fitzwilliam."

"What I want is to do something that you would enjoy."

"Could you take me for a drive in Hyde Park?"

"Certainly Miss Darcy. I would be delighted."

Georgiana went up to her room early that night, unable to keep up the pretense of happiness any longer. Even though she knew that Wickham had used her, she could not simply erase him from her heart. It just did not seem possible that he could have kept up the pretense of love for such an extended period of time. She lied in be for hours wondering if he truly loved her, or if he was, indeed, just trying to have revenge on her brother for some slight. She finally sat up and lit her candle. She had neither seen nor spoken with Wickham again after Fitzwilliam arrived. Having him disappear without seeing him made it even harder to understand his behavior. Perhaps she should write him a letter…but what would she say? She pulled a shawl around her shoulders and began to pace the length of her room, her brow furrowed. When she had finished a dozen laps she heard a tap on her window, which made her jump. There were no trees on that side of the house explain the noise. She blew out the candle and peered out through the curtains covering her window.

Georgiana could see a tall form standing in the garden, his face in shadow from the waning moon. He stooped to pick up another pebble from the ground, and she unlatched her window with shaking hands. Fortunately, the townhouse had well hung windows and she accomplished this without much noise. She cautiously poked her head out the window to examine the man, and was not surprised to find that it was Wickham.

He stepped closer to the window and said, in a harsh whisper, "Georgiana, my love, I could not go away without assuring myself that you were being treated well. Will you come down and let me in so we can talk comfortably?" Georgiana pondered his words for a moment, the made her decision.

Would you like Georgiana to:
A.) Wake up her brother and tell him Wickham is outside?
or
B.) Sneak downstairs to let Wickham in the back door?