26 December 2013
Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are now married with a son and prepare to host their annual ball at their country mansion Pemberley. Among the guests are upright Colonel Fitzwilliam and young radical lawyer Henry Alveston, both love rivals for Darcy's sister Georgiana. Whilst walking in the woods Elizabeth sees a mysterious woman, said to be local ghost Mrs Riley but this is forgotten as she welcomes her guests, including her parents. Younger sister Lydia and her feckless husband Wickham have not been invited but Lydia makes a dramatic entrance, announcing that Wickham has argued with his friend Denny in the woods. Two shots ring out and a search party finds Wickham bloodied and drunk and Denny beaten to death though Wickham denies killing him. Nonetheless unpopular magistrate Hardcastle arrests Wickham to charge him with murder. After they have gone Darcy tells Elizabeth that years earlier Hardcastle sentenced to death a young poacher, whose mother hung herself in grief, the mother being Mrs Riley, whose ghost is said to appear to harbinger bad news.
27 December 2013
Wickham is visited in jail by Fitzwilliam, who has his own reason for keeping quiet although Fitzwilliam has an alibi for the murder as he was publicly seen in the company of one of his soldiers' widow. Elizabeth assures the staff that they have nothing to fear - whilst cancelling the ball - but is intrigued by fragments of a torn letter whose writer sought to meet Darcy in the woods. She tells Hardcastle she saw the woman believed to be the ghost in the woods but was certain she was mortal. Later she comes upon a grave in the woods and is told it belongs to the Darcys' great grandfather, a reckless gambler who almost lost Pemberley. Whilst Georgiana turns down Alveston's marriage proposal the young lawyer supports Darcy at the inquest, whose jury finds Wickham guilty of murder and sends him to the Assizes. Furthermore Elizabeth learns that Wickham has used a false name to have sex with serving girl Louisa Bidwell, who has borne his child.
28 December 2013
Things look very bad for Wickham as Hardcastle learns that he fathered Louisa's baby. Meanwhile Louisa tells Elizabeth that Denny was arranging for her to have the baby adopted by the woman seen in the woods - although Louisa refused - and that Fitzwilliam was listening to them. Wickham goes for trial, defended by Alveston - who will later marry Georgina. To the horror of snobbish patroness Lady Catherine De Burgh Darcy goes to give evidence for Wickham, seeing the woman from the woods, who he recognizes as Wickham's sister. The jury return a guilty verdict but Elizabeth is not convinced and conducts her own investigation to find out who really killed Denny.
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