Monday, December 1, 2008

A miracle and shoe roses from Meryton!

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.

Sunday, November 22nd, 1801

It is still raining!

The Boil is now the size of a cricket ball and despite steaming it over a Chinese bowl of boiling water with my head covered in mama’s best linens, it is showing no sign of shrinkage. I have considered the possibility of staying at home and not attending the ball, but the thought is unbearable. I decided to resurrect the fashion for patches and spent the day cutting out crescents and spots out of a piece of fabric I assumed was an ancient and redundant riding cloak, only to discover that it is papa’s mourning greatcoat. The patches are not a success, making me look like an old crone from a gothic novel with a peeling skin disease and papa has stopped my pocket allowance, saying that I shall be fifty before it will ever be resumed again!
However, 'tis not all gloom, I received a deliciously gossipy letter from Isabella this morning. She says Captain Carter is wild about me and that she is to wear white lace over satin to the ball!


Monday, November 23rd, 1801

Three momentous miracles have occurred as the result of much fervent praying. I vow never again to gripe, grumble or grouse about daily prayers and I will in future attend church twice on Sundays and endeavour to help the rector’s wife with schooling the little ones in the congregation, as I have often promised, but have heretofore managed to elude.
The first miracle is that the boil has gone, disappeared forever, thank heaven! The second marvel is that the shoe roses we ordered from Meryton arrived this morning, confections of white organza, to match my gown, which is the third and last and most wonderful miracle. My old gown has been made over with some muslin left over from Jane’s new gown and I dareswear anyone would think it a new one! It is soft and white with floral embroidery along the hem. I have new kid gloves and an Indian fan that belonged to mama. My hair will be swept up in curls and kept in place by white beads interlaced with leaves. Aunt Gardiner is very kind and has sent all my sisters silk flowers and decorations for their hair. Kitty complained when mama gave me the largest bunch of ribbon but she should have attended when the parcel arrived, instead of ignoring us all and persisting with Mrs Radcliffe’s horrid novel.
I have dressed my hair in rags with Rebecca’s help but how I will ever sleep tonight I do not know, for I am so excited I declare I shall be sick. Every time I try to lie down, a lump of hair and rag pierce my skull in such a way as to make me want to scream out loud and I am in agony. I do not think Rebecca could have inflicted a more barbaric torture on a young lady, if she had sat down and invented the guillotine itself and as I lie here with my head hanging off the bed, my heart bleeds with terror for those poor unfortunates who had the misfortune to lose theirs.
Mon Dieu! – I curse Kitty for her naturally curly locks!

Lydia Bennet

Illustrations: Lydia dressed for a ball, Jane Odiwe, Regency glove pot-pourri sachet by Trinita Marr

No comments: