Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We met Mr Wickham as we entered the town!

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.

SINCE WRITING THE ABOVE, I HAVE THE MOST MOMENTOUS NEWS TO REPORT!!!
Lord! what a laugh we have had today. The most extraordinary thing has happened. Cousin Collins has asked Lizzy to marry him, but she will not have him! Mama insisted and threatened to disown her if she did not accept him, but papa said he would not have anything to do with her if she did!
Thank goodness for Charlotte Lucas who arrived this morning, and has entertained our sulky cousin for the remainder of the day.

Thursday, November 26th, 1801

Everyone in ill humour today, mama is not even speaking to me, and no one dare utter Lizzy’s name within her hearing. My mother has taken to her room, complaining that she is far from well with a headache, a stomach disorder and a pain which pierces her heart, although Hill informed us that she was able to partake of coddled eggs, hot bread rolls and coffee to break her fast.

Mr Collins has hardly spoken two words together, which one could comprehend if his reserve were the direct result of any true suffering. His silences, although welcome, are too obviously the result of playing a part; indeed Drury Lane itself can scarce have witnessed such a performance! He has been most uncivil to Lizzy, leaving the room whenever she enters it, feigning deafness or talking over her, whenever she speaks. I cannot understand why the fatuous man is still here - I am sure if I had had my proposal of marriage rejected, I would have left at the earliest opportunity! It seems that he is determined to stay until Saturday, however injured he may feel.

We managed to escape cousin Collins and walked into Meryton to see if there was any news of Mr Wickham. We met him as we entered the town and he accompanied us to Aunt Philips’s house, with many expressions of regret at his having missed the ball. He drew me back as we approached the door and whispered that he had heard of my distress on losing my slipper at the ball and how he would dearly have loved to be of assistance in returning it to me, in the hope that he could have placed it himself upon my sweet foot! I declare I was quite taken aback and wondered from whom this intelligence had been gleaned, but I did not have any further opportunity to converse with him privately as Lizzy drew him in for the remainder of the afternoon. Even when I tried to catch his gaze, he appeared not to notice, so engrossed was he with my sister.

Mr Denny and Mr Lansdown soon arrived to pay their respects and discuss the highlights of the ball, regaling my aunt with tales of the evening’s diversions. I have not mentioned my unfortunate accident to a soul, as I would not wish anyone to think that Captain Carter had taken advantage of the situation and indeed had he not been there to revive me, I dread to think what may have befallen me, my head might have been cracked wide open, I may even have succumbed to an unconscious attack!
Mr Wickham and Mr Denny escorted us home to Longbourn and were introduced to our parents. Mama’s spirits rallied and she seemed very cheered by their easy manners, wit and humour. Bless our soldiers for resurrecting her sense of proportion!
Jane told us of the news that the Bingleys have departed for London. Mama lamented this fact, especially as she perceived how well Jane was getting along with Mr Bingley’s sisters, but has been pacified by the drafting of a dinner menu in anticipation of Mr Bingley’s return, to consist of two courses!

Friday, November 27th, 1801

Thankfully, Charlotte Lucas continues to distract our cousin and he appears almost cheerful in her company, for which we all thank the Lord. Lizzy has stopped hiding from mama who now seems able to bear her company without the aid of salts or Hill’s tonic remedy.

We dined with the Lucas family, but what a dull affair it turned out to be - no officers were present and the whole company seemed at odds. Mother did her best to field questions from the hostess as to Bingley’s whereabouts and the duration of his absence, but struggled prodigiously with her composure when Lady Lucas turned the subject around to that of Mr Collins’s proposal, saying it must be very perplexing for mama to have to consider the fact that Longbourn’s future mistress would not be her daughter but most likely a stranger.

Lydia Bennet

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