At eleven in the morning of Friday 14th October 1803 Elizabeth Darcy sat at the table in her sitting room on the first floor of Pemberley House. The room was not large but the proportions were particularly pleasing and the two windows gave a view of the river. This was the room Elizabeth had chosen for her own use, to be fitted out entirely as she wished, furniture, curtains, carpets and pictures selected from the riches of Pemberley and disposed as she desired. Darcy himself had supervised the work and the pleasure in her husband’s face when Elizabeth had taken possession, and the care taken by everyone to comply with her wishes, had made her realise, more even than had the more ostentatious glories of the house, the privileges that adhered to Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley.
6年前の本編に続いて、またもやウィッカムが台風の眼になる展開で、謎解きの部分はもちろん面白いけれど、「高慢と偏見」ファンにとっては、エリザベス、ダーシー周辺の人間模様も興味深々です。懐かしい顔ぶれが登場しますが、ハイライトは年頃になったダーシーの妹、ジョージアナをめぐる恋模様でした。これまで「高慢と偏見」の続篇は、何作か出ていますが、内気で楚々とした深窓の令嬢、ジョージアナは格好の小説ネタのようで、「ジョージアナの日記 Georgiana Darcy's Diary」（2011）／Anna Elliott という小説も出版されています。「高慢と偏見とゾンビ Pride and prejudice and zombies」／Grahame-Smith,Seth などというキワモノ的な小説もあって、どちらも面白そうなので、今度読んでみるつもりです。
"With all due respect to such of the present company as chance to be married, my dear Mrs. Grant, there is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry. Look where I will, I see that it is so; and I feel that it must be so, when I consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect most from others, and are least honest themselves.（中略）
Speaking from my own observation, it is a manoeuvring business. I know so many who have married in the full expectation and confidence of some one particular advantage in the connexion, or accomplishment, or good quality in the person, who have found themselves entirely deceived, and been obliged to put up with exactly the reverse. What is this but a take in?”
His blue eyes were watching her now; she saw in them the vulnerability, the invitation, the fear, as she sat down quietly, placed her open hand on his chest, felt the thump, thump of his heart, which would someday stop, as all hearts do. But there was no someday now, there was only the silence of this sunny room. They were here, and her body ― old, big, sagging ― felt straight-out desire for his. That she had not loved Henry this way for many years before he died saddened her enough to make her close her eyes.
What young people didin’t know, she thought, lying down beside this man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm; oh, what young people did not know. They did not know that lumpy, aged and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young, firm ones, that love was not to be tossed away carelessly, …
Her eyes were closed, and throughout her tired self swept waves of gratitude ― and regret. She pictured the sunny room, the sun-washed wall, the bayberry outside. It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet.