Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Eve at Longbourn

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Thursday, December 24th, 1801

Lord! I am frozen to the bone with hands that are so swollen and itching with the cold, it is impossible to write. I daresay I have frostbite and the apothecary will have to be summoned and I shall lose some if not all of my fingers.
I awoke early this morning, filled with a sense of tingling pleasure at the prospect of the festivities to come and the promise of a day, which might bring any amount of delights. The weather was bitterly cold, there were dark grey clouds looming over the hills, and swirls of frost painted like fairy ferns and flowers on my bedchamber window.
Kitty and I went with Jenkins the gardener to help bring in the holly, ivy and mistletoe, which is a tradition we have carried out since ever I can remember. To think that I imagined it was the highlight of Jenkins' year! I was sorely mistaken.
I could not find my mittens and Kitty would not let me wear hers and so I had to struggle without any. I am prickled all over, scratched by holly and stained by berries and to make matters worse, Jenkins, the old brute, insisted that we walk as far as Holly Knoll which is a good two mile walk away with a contraption on wheels, which we had to take turns to pull. If I had known we were setting off on such an expedition and that I would be forced to endure not only exhaustion but also a snow blizzard on our return, I should never have gone. Jenkins’ humour does not improve with age. I have a childhood memory of a jovial chap, lifting me onto his shoulders and carrying me home - not the snarling, grumpy, ill-humoured old troll that actually raised his voice to me on Christmas Eve, of all days. I do not know whether I shall recover in time for this evening’s entertainment and if I do not, we will all know who is to blame. I have had to forgo the enjoyment of decorating the house as I am too ill and mama has insisted that I lie down. She says I have a very similar constitution to her own, and as we are such delicate creatures we must be careful and conserve our strength. Hill has been sent up with a bowl of hot soup - she was muttering away under her breath, something about having enough to do, birds to pluck, stock to stew, pies to bake. Anyone would think I was desirous of being an invalid! I will lie down for a while so I will feel refreshed for this evening’s revels. Captain Carter and Mr Wickham have promised to attend. And whilst I contemplate that certainty I feel I have every chance of recovery!

Lydia Bennet

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