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.Saturday, November 28th, 1801
Horror of horrors! On taking his leave of us all last night, my cousin declared that he wished to accept my mother’s invitation to return to Longbourn as soon as possible, despite papa’s entreaties to consider Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s wishes. Mama has asserted that this must mean he is to pay his addresses to Kitty, Mary or I, but after petitioning her privately, has acknowledged that Mary might be prevailed upon to accept him. Kitty and I were euphoric with relief when Mary decided that he might yet be a suitable marriage candidate, especially if he can but improve himself with more reading!
Sunday, November 29th, 1801
What I have to report is of such astonishment that to write it down in words seems incredulous and indeed, we were ALL confounded by the news Sir William Lucas had to deliver after breakfast this morning. I am not afraid to say that as a result of the shock of receiving such an amazing statement, I instantly admonished him for telling stories. What he had come to report was that his daughter Charlotte had become engaged to Mr Collins! My mother declared outright that he must be mistaken and I was just enlightening him of our cousin’s wish to marry Lizzy, when the latter spoke up confirming his proclamation by extending her warmest congratulations to Sir William. It appears that Lizzy had prior knowledge of this betrothal and had been contemplating the advantages of delaying the reporting of such a bulletin, mindful of my mother’s wrath.
If we were at all anxious about mama’s health before this information, there now seems great concern, for although she seemed to take the news quietly in Sir William’s presence, on his departure there issued forth a torrent of abuse, imprecation and vilification against him, his entire family and all his ancestors, interspersed with hysteric attacks and fainting fits such as have never been witnessed by myself, my father or my sisters ever before. My mother is convinced that Mr Collins has been completely taken in, that he and Charlotte are ill-matched and has convinced herself that the engagement may yet be broken off. Elizabeth has born the brunt of her vitriol, mama asserting that her independence of character, which has been a great handicap since Lizzy learned to speak her first word, will ensure she is an old maid and see her sisters cast out by the Lucases into the street. I do not envy Charlotte her husband but Kitty and I are looking forward to seeing the expression on Isabella’s face when we tell her the news!
Illustrations: Heart by Jane Odiwe, Mr Collins and Charlotte by H.M. Brock